Marvel Comics has long been a champion of diverse characters and voices. By fighting racism in their pages, and promoting characters who represent all backgrounds, Marvel has always attempted to reflect the realities of our society in the pages of their comics. In the film industry, however, diversity has always been much more of an issue.
People of color have had a hard time breaking through in the film industry and sharing their unique voices with the world through the medium of film and television. Marvel Studios made a step in the right direction with Black Panther, a production that featured a mostly Black cast and crew, which broke box-office records and garnered a coveted Best Picture Oscar nomination. However, while Marvel Studios has done a lot for increasing representation, there is still work to be done.
In a transcript from an upcoming Variety Actors on Actors intervew between Anthony Mackie and Daveed Diggs, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie shared his thoughts on the lack of diversity at Marvel Studios. Mackie states:
When "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" comes out, I'm the lead. When "Snowpiercer" comes out, you're the lead. We have the power and the ability to ask those questions. 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.
The Marvel actor then commented on his thoughts about Black Panther's mostly Black production team, saying:
But then when you do "Black Panther," you have a Black director, Black producer, you have a Black costume designer, you have a Black stunt chroeographer. 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?
Anthony Mackie finished by saying that he wants to push for Marvel to "hire the best person for the job. Even if it means we're going to get the best two women, we're going to get the best two men."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Anthony Mackie sheds a lot of light on the issue of diversity at Marvel Studios. His comments about having been a part of seven films with all white production teams are especially revealing, reflecting an unfortunate truth as to how Hollywood works as a whole. With Anthony Mackie now being a lead for the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he more than likely feels an elevated sense of responsibility in talking about issues of race on set.
When it comes to the issue of Black Panther, while it was a win in terms of more representation, Mackie seems to feel that the decision to hire more Black voices isn't continuing on after the film. Even though the showrunner of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is of African-American descent, Anthony Mackie brings up a valid point that hiring people of color needs to extend beyond the writers room and director's chair as well. Marvel projects consist of thousands of crew members in costume departments, stunt teams, and producer's assistants. There's plenty of room to bring in more diversity.
With upcoming Marvel Studios projects like Black Widow, The Eternals, and WandaVision consisting of more women and voices of color in key production roles, hopefully Marvel Studios is heading in the direction of hiring people that come from all backgrounds in order to create the best possible product.