Speaking at the Producers Guild's 10th annual Produced By conference, Marvel's Kevin Feige has declared that many future Marvel movies will have female directors. The superhero genre is more popular than ever, but female directors of superhero movies remain few and far between.
The future of the superhero genre clearly involves embracing diversity. The tremendous success of Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman has shattered the glass ceiling for female superheroes, proving that a female-led, female-directed superhero film can work. Ryan Coogler's Black Panther blazed a trail for diversity, both in terms of the cast and the crew. Next year's Captain Marvel will be Marvel Studios' first movie with a female director, Anna Boden. Marvel producer Victoria Alonso recently noted that she hopes the future of Marvel will be "half and half." As she explained, "We want the best person for the job... Hopefully the best human, as we continue to fill out our slate, is half and half."
In November of last year, Kevin Feige revealed that Marvel has plans for the next 20 films after next year's Avengers 4. Speaking at the Producer's Guild's Produced By conference, Feige was asked whether or not "the next 20 Marvel films should be directed by women." According to Variety, his response was simple; "I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors," Feige noted, "but a heck of a lot of them will."
Moving on, Feige stressed the importance of diversity to the future of both Hollywood in general, and Marvel in particular. He pointed to the remarkable success of Black Panther, which has grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide. The film's domestic total is just shy of $700 million, a tremendous achievement - it's actually unlikely Avengers: Infinity War's domestic gross will catch up to Black Panther's. Feige insisted on giving much of the credit for Black Panther to director Ryan Coogler, and remembered telling him, "I think that’s the best movie we’ve ever made. You’ve made us a better studio."
The reality is that it's easy for studios to pay lip service to diversity. Superhero films like DC's Wonder Woman and Marvel's Black Panther have showed that real diversity, both in the cast and the crew, pays dividends; the two films won audiences over with the authenticity of their voices, and with the quality of their world-building. Marvel Studios has a number of projects starring female superheroes in the works, most notably the Black Widow movie, which is expected to begin filming in 2019. Marvel has reportedly met with over 65 potential directors for the film, but is yet to make an announcement.
Meanwhile, Feige recently revealed that he has plans for the character of Ms. Marvel, possibly as part of the Captain Marvel franchise. And a number of Marvel's female stars are pushing for a female team-up movie akin to the comic book "A-Force." One scene in Infinity War is generally viewed as setup for that project. Of course, the reality is that female directors shouldn't automatically be assigned to female characters and franchises. As Victoria Alonso rightly noted, it's all about finding "the best human" for the job - male or female.
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