The money-printing machine that we know as Marvel Studios is gearing up for another box office takeover this weekend with Captain America: Civil War, but the studio has come under fire recently for a perceived lack of diversity, both in its casting choices and its headlining heroes. Despite fans clamoring for a Black Widow film, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the works, and we won’t see a Marvel heroine get top billing until 2019’s Captain Marvel (unless you count Ant-Man and the Wasp, currently slated for 2018). And let’s not get started on the whitewashing controversy surrounding Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange.
Obviously, diversity is something that fans want from their superhero fare, and if recent comments from Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo are to be believed, it may be coming sooner rather than later. The duo recently sat down to chat with Collider, where they were asked point blank about the chances of an LGBT character appearing in a Marvel film:
“I think the chances are strong. I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible. It’s sad in the way that Hollywood lags behind other industries so significantly, one because you think that it would be a progressive industry, and two it’s such a visible industry. So I think it’s important that on all fronts we keep pushing for diversification because then the storytelling becomes more interesting, more rich, and more truthful.”
Many film studios might balk at the idea of introducing an LGBT character into a major franchise. After all, these tentpoles still need to generate revenue in other countries, including those where LGBT people are openly – and legally – discriminated against. But Marvel isn’t just any studio, and their nearly unmatched levels of success put them in a unique position to take more risks without being a slave to the box office:
“I think this is a philosophy of Marvel, in success it becomes easier to take risks. There’s a lot of unconventional ideas in Civil War in terms of what people’s expectations of a superhero movie are, but I think we were able to do that because Winter Soldier worked and Marvel’s been working in general, so there’s more of a boldness in terms of what you can try and where you can go. So I think that’s very hopeful for all of us moving forward that bolder and bolder choices can be made.”
Let’s hope these comments are indicative of plans that Marvel is already working on, and not just a vague representation of something that might happen somewhere down the road. Also, is it too early to start shipping Cap and Bucky? Because seriously.
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