After nine years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the slate is starting to become more diverse, showing Marvel’s strategy to develop characters organically and not rush some just for diversity purposes. A continued push for diversity in front of and behind the camera has not only been an emphasis in the superhero genre, but for Hollywood as a whole. With all of their films so far featuring white male leads, the MCU is finally moving into a position where it can better represent more people.
Highly anticipated characters like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) will get solo movies over the course of the next few years. The former previously debuted in Captain America: Civil War, but both had been atop lists of characters fans wanted to see brought into the universe. They may have had to wait longer than anticipated, but Marvel wants to make sure they get them right.
Complex spoke to Marvel Studios executive producer Nate Moore – who served this role for Civil War and will do so again with Black Panther – and asked him about Marvel’s upcoming diversity push. He made a point to clarify that while they are thrilled to bring diverse characters to the big screen, they don’t want to rush their introductions just for that purpose.
We want to tell the best stories with the strongest developed characters and scripts that we can. Our biggest concern is that, in trying to get more characters out there, we rush something that’s not ready and we deliver something that’s not up to our standards. So it’s less about us rushing a character that’s diverse to get it out quickly and more about figuring out how to do it right.
The explanation sounds good on paper as it shows Marvel’s care for all of their characters, but specifically those that do add diversity to their lineup. With female heroes and those of color being a major minority in the genre, fans are eager to see more of them, but Marvel understands that these characters specifically need to be hits. The better these diverse films do, the more likely it is that they will see sequels, but also they can be examples for Hollywood to follow suit. We’ve seen films like Get Out and Wonder Woman be these examples this year, and the hope for Marvel is that Black Panther and Captain Marvel will be just the beginning of a diverse lineup in the years to come.
That said, this rationale still does not account for these characters taking so long to make it to the big screen, when stranger and more obscure concepts like Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, or Ant-Man move through production at a faster rate. Yes, Moore’s explanation still adds up with them putting the emphasis on quality of the characters over how quickly they debut, but it is difficult to rationalize why diverse characters take a longer time to “get right” – unless they just don’t have a similar urgency put on them.
Thankfully, this should only be the beginning of Marvel Studios diversifying their universe. They may have even laid the groundwork already to have an incredibly diverse lineup in the future if Anthony Mackie becomes the next Captain America, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is the next one to wield Mjolnir, or by putting Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp into a prominent role in a sequel and having multiple female leads in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Plus, should Scarlett Johansson get the long rumored Black Widow film, it will only further diversify their lineup – and none of this accounts for new characters that will be introduced down the road. Either way, it is not surprising to hear this is Marvel’s approach, but it’s great to see their plan finally making it onto the screen.