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Marvel Studios has at times come under fire from critics who say its films aren’t diverse enough — particularly in light of Doctor Strange‘s “whitewashing” of the character the Ancient One from its comic book Asian origins to the movie’s casting of Tilda Swinton. But studio president Kevin Feige says the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s cast of characters is only getting more diverse.
“I think that in the movies we’ve already made, and certainly in the movies that are coming up, it will be as inclusive a group of characters as one could want,” Feige told Vulture “For us, it’s important that we don’t feel like a completely white, European cast.”
Sure enough, things look better in upcoming movies — next year’s Thor: Ragnarok features Tessa Thompson as the Valkyrie, race bending the character away from her blonde, Caucasian comic book origins, and 2018’s Black Panther will feature the studio’s first solo lead that isn’t a white male (2019’s Captain Marvel will be Marvel’s first solo movie with a female lead). In the Vulture interview, Feige touts next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, produced by Marvel for Sony, for its diverse cast.
“Our filmmaker came in and had pictures of real high schools, and they are as diverse as you could imagine,” Feige said about director Jon Watts’ attempts to reflect the real world in casting the second big-screen reboot for the Spider-Man franchise. “That was something that was important to us, to set it apart from other Spidey films that have been made — to carve that niche — and to have it represent the world today.”
There’s still some ways to go before the central cast of Marvel’s movies match the diversity in Marvel’s own contemporary comic books, however. Currently, the core Avengers title features an African-American Captain America and a female Thor, alongside Spider-Man, the Vision and other heroes. But could that be coming in a future phase of the Marvel Studios plan…?
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