Marvel's Victoria Alonso Looks Beyond Phase 4: "We Have 6,000 Characters in Our Library"

Victoria Alonso - Getty - H 2019
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Marvel Studios executive vp of production Victoria Alonso asserted Monday during a keynote conversation at the CG confab SIGGRAPH that there’s “so much more to come” beyond the studio’s 2020 and 2021 slate that was announced July 20 at San Diego Comic-Con.

“There are so many stories to tell,” she said of the opportunities afforded by motion pictures and the Disney+ platform. “The thing about Marvel is we have 6,000 characters in our library. There will be children forever telling these stories.” Alonso also got a laugh when she quipped that at Marvel “dying is just a state of mind.”

The exec also emphasized the pressure to maintain quality. “If we don't make a good movie, that's on us,” said Alonso. “The pressure internally is far more than the media and the fans give us. We try to do things that are not the same. That are a little different. We take a risk. … We can’t do the same all the time.”

The next Marvel release is Black Widow, slated for a May 1, 2020, release, and Alonso therefore said that movie “should be the best movie that we make.”

During the keynote, the exec also addressed diversity and inclusion. “I have been coming to SIGGRAPH for 24 years,” Alonso said. “When I first came to SIGGRAPH,  I think I was one of a dozen [women]. We have come a long way and it feels like it is the slowest race ... and I don't mean diversity is only male and female." She urged those who hire to eliminate excuses, and added that Marvel aims to "hire on potential. ... When you take that risk, it is the most beautiful thing you can do. If a person doesn't have it on their résumé, it doesn't necessarily mean they can’t do it. It means they haven’t had the chance.”

During a Q&A, Alonso was asked her views on keeping VFX work in Los Angeles when most facilities have left the city to pursue tax incentives. "I have strong feelings about working in L.A.," she said. "We work with anywhere from 40 to 50 VFX companies, globally. If you are in L.A., we have worked with you consistently."

"I wish we could do all the work here," said Alonso, while admitting "the tax incentive is a big deal. I would love to keep as much work as we can in L.A." She added that she was open to ideas on how to do that.

Siggraph runs through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.