Marvel Studios will seek out more diverse filmmakers in the future. Such is the declaration of Marvel Studios President and producer Kevin Feige, who said the studio’s efforts at increasing diversity have shifted “…from a very purposeful initiative to just a fact of life, to just a way of doing business.”
Despite the assertions of management in Marvel’s publishing wing that diversity is killing their business, Marvel Studios has found nothing but success in attempting to present as wide a range of characters and stories as possible. While this effort initially began with recruiting more experimental filmmakers like Edgar Wright and James Gunn who didn’t make traditional blockbuster movies, Marvel Studios then recruited Creed director Ryan Coogler to handle Black Panther. This resulted in a film that has quickly become one of the Top 10 Highest Grossing Films of all time and has inspired serious talk of a Best Picture nomination at next year’s Oscars.
Feige’s comments were reported in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Feige replied in the affirmative when he was questioned about Marvel Studios’ seeking out more women and minority screenwriters and directors to handle future films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, he said the initiative had already begun.
“…there are people we hired that we’re not ready to announce in all different capacities, particularly behind the camera. As Panther has so loudly declared, [representation] can only help you, can only help you tell unique stories, can only help you do things in a new, and unique, and fresh, and exciting way. If you do that, audiences will notice it, and appreciate it, and support it.”
This news is sure to please both fans and creators, who have been lobbying Marvel Studios (and fellow Disney subsidiary, Lucasfilm) for such changes for several years. The studio famously shot down suggestions for a Black Widow solo film, despite Scarlett Johansson’s willingness to engage in such a project, until Wonder Woman defied the Hollywood wisdom that superheroine movies couldn’t be profitable. Actresses like Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) have both expressed interest in an action movie focused on Marvel’s heroines, and indeed lobbied Marvel Studios along with Johansson, Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Pom Klementieff (Mantis) and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) to consider a film loosely based on A-Force, a comic series centered around an all-women Avengers team.
The move to incorporate a wider chorus of voices makes sense from a financial perspective as well, given the overwhelming success Marvel Studios has had with Black Panther. Show business is still a business as the saying goes, and there’s little sense in pursuing a course that isn’t profitable in the long run. With Black Panther having proven that there is a demand for a wider variety of superhero movies and that the majority of audiences won’t turn away from a quality film regardless of the color of the protagonist’s skin or their gender, it only makes sense for Marvel Studios to take the step of seeking out a wider variety of creators to help build a better world, both on-screen and off.
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