DRAMATIC DIVERSIFICATION. Destin Daniel Cretton, left, and
Simu Liu speak during the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten
Rings portion of the Marvel Studios panel on day three of
Comic-Con International in San Diego. Marvelís push for more
women and people of color in its immensely popular film
franchise is extending to behind the camera as it launches its
next round of films after the massive success of Avengers:
Endgame. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #15 (August 5, 2019), page 8.
Marvelís next films will bring diversity,
onscreen and off
By Ryan Pearson and Katie Campione
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES ó Marvelís push for more women and people of
color in its immensely popular film franchise is extending to
behind the camera as it launches its next round of films after
the massive success of Avengers: Endgame. Of the five films the
superhero studio announced at the recent Comic-Con, only one is
set to be directed by a white man.
"Itís about fresh voices and new voices and great filmmakers
who can continue to steer the (Marvel Cinematic Universe) into
new places," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said in an
interview after the studioís explosive Hall H panel. "And I am
as proud of that lineup of directors as you saw today as any."
In addition to a slew of women and people of color at the
helm of the upcoming Marvel films, the announcements promised
more diversity on screen.
First up for release is the long-awaited solo film starring
Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, the lethal assassin she
has played for nearly a decade. The film is set for release in
Johansson said the search for Black Widow director Cate
Shortland wasnít easy.
"Itís really interesting because when we were looking for a
director, you start to see some of the systemic problems,"
Johansson said. "Even looking for a female director who has had
enough experience ó who has had the opportunity to have the
experience to sit at the helm of something huge like this, you
know, choices are limited because of that. And it sucks."
The actress added that she was proud to see the diversity on
stage during Marvelís Hall H panel.
"Looking out on that stage tonight, it was incredible. It was
really moving, also just to see how incredibly diverse the
universe is ó and reflects what we see all around us. Itís
incredible," she said.
In terms of more diversity, Black Widow is just the
The Eternals will feature a cast full of actors of color,
including Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, and Salma Hayek.
Simu Liu will become Marvelís first big screen Asian-American
superhero when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is
released in February 2021. Natalie Portman will play a female
Thor in the new Thor: Love and Thunder, which will also feature
Tessa Thompsonís character, Valkyrie, as the MCUís first LGBTQ
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning)
"First of all, as new King (of Asgard), she needs to find her
queen, so that will be her first order of business. She has some
ideas. Keep you posted," Thompson said during the panel. Feige
later confirmed the news in an interview with the website io9.
The studio is also reviving one of Marvelís most iconic black
characters, Blade (previously played by Wesley Snipes), with the
help of Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali. Feige told The
Associated Press that right after winning his second Academy
Award for Green Book earlier this year, Ali set up a meeting.
"Within 10 minutes, he basically was like, ĎWhatís happening
with Blade? I want to do it.í And we went, thatís what happening
with Blade. Letís do it," Feige said.
Captain Marvel, released in March, was the first of Marvel
Studios film to be centered entirely on a female character. It
earned $427 million domestically, and along with the DC Comics
film Wonder Woman has created momentum for more films with
female heroes leading the way.
"Marvel is really focused on having very strong female
characters at the forefront of their stories," said actress
Rachel Weisz, who also stars in Black Widow. "And I think thatís
great. This film has got three. Itís Scarlett, Florence Pugh,
myself. So I think yeah, they are doing wonderful work to
represent women, people of color, and tell different kinds of
The sliver of Hollywood still on the outside of the Marvelís
cinematic empire was paying close attention to the news.
Actress, writer, and director Lena Waithe tweeted: "Captain
America is black. Thor is a woman. The new Blade got two Oscars.
007 is a black woman. And The Little Mermaid bout to have locs.
(Expletive). Just. Got. Real."