The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially entered Phase 3 earlier this year with the premiere of Captain America: Civil War — the 13th film in Marvel Studios’ shared universe that additionally includes two TV series on ABC (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, the latter of which was cancelled after two seasons) and three series on Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. As has been pointed out by fans and critics, the MCU predominantly features male leads, with the exception of Agent Carter and Jessica Jones. The lack of female heroes on the big screen with their own solo vehicles has led to the push for a Black Widow movie, with the fan movement especially gaining traction after her turn in The Avengers.
Of course, the MCU will make strides in terms of becoming more equal in the coming years, with Ant-Man and the Wasp to feature its first female superhero co-headlining a film, and Captain Marvel as the studio’s first female superhero to headline a solo outing. Now, Marvel Studios executive vice president of physical production Victoria Alonso addresses this push to becoming more gender equal both in front of and behind the camera.
During a Women in Technology luncheon, Alonso said there is “conscious change” happening at Marvel Studios in order to bring more women into the company’s ranks, as reported by THR. She said, “Led by [president of production] Kevin Feige and [co-president] Louis D’Esposito, we are determined to make change.” Further expanding on the issue of gender inequality in Hollywood and why it’s necessary to address, Alonso stated:
“We have had gender inequality for some time. It wasn’t always talked about …. In the past year, it bubbled up and it’s no longer acceptable to women and some men. Change is needed and hopefully we can make a balanced Hollywood for the next generation. … I don’t want to be the only [woman] in the room. Our rooms should be 50/50. If any of you — men or women — can lift [women] up, we’ll all be better for it.”
Certainly, Alonso’s statements seem to be partially backed up by what we know of the upcoming Marvel film projects; the Captain Marvel movie script was penned by two women — Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) — and the studio is currently in the process of selecting a director, who they’ve stated will be a woman. But, aside from Captain Marvel, all the other films on Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate are expected to be written and directed by men.
Marvel TV — though separate from Marvel Studios under the Disney banner with a different executive team headed by Jeph Loeb — is pushing to make strides in gender equality as well. Most recently, Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg announced season 2 will be entirely directed by women. Plus, Marvel TV is working on a series based on The Runaways (a teenaged superhero team made up of boys and girls) for Hulu, a Cloak & Dagger show for Freeform, Brian Michael Bendis’ Scarlet series, and a New Warriors show featuring Squirrel Girl. All this is to say, Marvel TV is developing a number of projects with female leads.
That said, although Marvel Studios and Marvel TV may be pushing for more gender equality behind the scenes and in terms of female leads, the change is slow. Fans have been calling for more gender equality (or at least one film with a solo female lead) from Marvel for many years. But, with Marvel TV focused on introducing more female led properties, and Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 plan still unknown, fans will hopefully see Alonso’s words come to fruition in the coming years.