Diversity in MCU’s Future
Joe and Anthony Russo have spoken out about diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Their comments were precipitated by recent criticism from Anthony Mackie, the actor who plays Falcon in the popular Avengers films.
Anthony Mackie’s Comments
During a recent interview with Daveed Diggs for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Mackie revealed his discomfort with being one of the few black people on set for the Avengers films he’s worked on.
“It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.”
Mackie went on to discuss Black Panther, mentioning the fact that nearly every person who worked on the production was black.
“And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”
The Russo Brother’s Response
Joe Russo, who directed Avengers: Endgame with his brother, Anthony, was recently interviewed for a podcast with MovieMaker. Although unfamiliar with Mackie’s comments, the brothers made several comments about diversity in MCU during the discussion. Joe Russo stated:
“I think we can always all do better at diversity constantly in this business in every facet of every industry, so he’s not wrong at all. So I think that we all have to work harder to keep endorsing and supporting diversity on both sides of the camera.”
His brother, Anthony Russo, added to Joe’s sentiments by expressing admiration for Mackie.
“We have a ton of respect for Anthony Mackie. He’s not only an amazing actor, but he’s an amazing person, and we’ve loved our collaboration with him. He’s a very smart guy.”
The Russo Brothers made their Marvel debut at the same time as Mackie, both on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Mackie went on to appear in seven different MCU films, many of which have been directed by the Russos.
Stan Lee Committed Marvel to Diversity
As Marvel focuses on inclusion, many feel it is carrying out Stan Lee’s legacy. The late Marvel editor and publisher used his notoriety to promote his “Stan’s Soapbox” column. In it, he addressed many subjects, including social and racial injustice.
In one frequently referenced column from 1968, Lee wrote the following.
“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today.”
The Future of MCU
Everything we know points to a diverse future for the MCU. Fans have already seen females play important roles, particularly as they worked together to destroy Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. The group of diverse women who unite during the epic battle scene included everyone from Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Nebula, Black Widow and Shuri to Pepper Potts, Gamora, Wasp and Scarlet Witch.
Mavel Studios President, Kevin Feige, has been talking about diversity and representation in the MCU for quite some time. He made several comments on the subject back in March 2019, including the following:
“So, the notion of representation on screen, in front of and behind the camera, somebody asked me once, so is Black Panther a one-off? I said, no, it’s not a one-off. This is the future. This is the way the world is, and the way, certainly, our studio’s going to be run going forward, because it brings about better stories. The more diverse the group of people making the movie is, the better the stories.”
Not only is Avengers: Endgame laden with examples of strong women, but several upcoming Marvel projects include additional examples of diversity. For example, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will feature the first Asian super hero. The upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Solider will feature Mackie’s Falcon, and WandaVision will feature the female Scarlet Witch. Also, Black Widow will star in her first standalone movie, making the first film in MCU’s Phase Four centered on one of its heroines.
It looks to us like the diverse future of MCU is bright! What do you think of diversity in the MCU?
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