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Could Fandom Shame Marvel Studios Into Being More Diverse?

Kevin Feige says that fan demands are "something we have to pay attention to"

Kevin Feige
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The lack of diversity in Marvel Studios’ movies is a subject that’s been getting a lot of attention in online fandom recently, especially following the apparent removal of the Wasp from Ant-Man. New comments from studio president Kevin Feige suggest that the studio has noticed the amount of upset caused.

Talking to IGN, Feige said that fan demands for rumored projects such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel — which would feature a black male and white female lead, respectively, as opposed to a white male named Chris — may have reached a tipping point.

“It’s a question I get asked more than anything else, more than Iron Man 4, more than Avengers 3,” Feige revealed, saying that both projects have been developed as movies but declining to go any deeper into their status. “And that’s sort of the first time that’s really happened for us, and I think that makes a difference. I think that’s something we have to pay attention to.”

He went on to say that, traditionally, the studio has tried to shy away from making decisions based on fandom “because opinions online change, and they alter and they’re based on limited information to what’s going on behind the scenes,” but that “in this particular case, I think it is a groundswell, and I think it means something substantial.”

Even if this means that the teased release schedule through 2021 will change to showcase nonwhite male leads — despite Feige’s earlier commentary about the difficulties of doing so — Marvel will still be playing catch-up with Sony, which earlier this month announced a female-led Spider-Man spinoff scheduled for 2017.