This is highlighted by heroes with physical disabilities making their way onto the big screen, various cultures from around the world getting their Marvel moment, or the diversity of cast and crew that make up these monster productions. Through this, Marvel Studios' blockbuster franchise, as it stands, reflects the real world and with all its wonderful people, genders, and sexual orientations better than it ever has.
While movies like Black Panther and Shang-Chi broke ground with their representation, one of the biggest moments for the super-powered universe came during Avengers: Endgame. What has been dubbed the "Female A-Force Scene", showcased just how far Marvel has come, highlighting the various wonderful women of the MCU as they readied up to take on Thanos.
It was a pretty special moment, and one of the brains that made it happen has opened up, revealing how it came together as well as some changes that were made during production.
Endgame Producer Opens Up About Female Avengers Scene
As a part of the recently released The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe book, Avengers: Endgame producer Trinh Tran offered some insight into how the "Female A-Force" scene came together in the film.
According to Tran, writer Craig Kyle was inspired by seeing "Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson, Zoe Saldana, and others... bonding in front of him," so he came to the film producers asking to bring "those women together for [a] photo." It was seeing them all standing there that "spurred their collective talk about an all-female Super Hero film" and "led to the expansion of the finale battle featuring all of their characters in Endgame:”
“During reception, [Evangeline] Lilly connected with her fellow empowered actresses like Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson, Zoe Saldana and others. Seeing them bonding in from of him, Craig Kyle was inspired to try and capture the moment for his daughter back home. He asked Trinh Tran if she could collect them all for a group shot. Bringing those women together for that photo is what spurred their collective talk about an all-female Super Hero film that they then pitched to Feige. And in the immediate future, it led to the expansion of the finale battle featuring all of their characters in Endgame.”
I took this shot for my daughter and it’s the coolest picture I’ve ever taken! #BadassLadiesOfMarvel 💪@MarvelStudios @Avengers @Guardians @Antman @theblackpanther @captainmarvel @thorofficial #AvengersInfinityWar pic.twitter.com/u36x1SB0zN
Tran explains that that moment was a long time coming for the franchise, saying the all-female scene was "in the script for Endgame since day one," as the team has "always wanted a moment to really showcase and empower the women [in the MCU]:"
“One of the most memorable moments from the climax of Endgame underlined Marvel Studios’ to showing heroic acts performed by all people.The teaming up of Captain Marvel, Wanda Maximoff, Valkyrie, Okoye, Pepper Potts, Mantis, Shuri, The Wasp, Gamora, and Nebula was in the script for Endgame since day one. ‘We’ve always wanted a moment to really showcase and empower the women [in the MCU],’"
However, despite that day of shooting being "more poignant than... expected," early screen-tests for the film caused the crew to question if the move would be seen "[as] pandering" by simply "putting that scene in there just to put the scene in there:"
"However, when Endgame went into postproduction, the sheer joy for the sequence shifted to a more pensive place. In earlier cuts, Tran admits, ’When we started screen-testing it, there was a little concern for ‘Does it come off [as]pandering?’ Are we going to get people saying, ‘Oh you’re just putting that scene in there just to put the scene in there. Does it actually have a story to tell with the rest of the narrative?’ That was always a concern in the back of our heads.'"
The idea of cutting that sequence was discussed, but Tran was adamant that it remain in the film:
"‘The other option would’ve been to cut it out completely,’ admits Tran. ’And to me, I was like ‘absolutely not. Let’s try to figure out a way to make it work.’"
Ultimately it was "additional photography elevated the initial concept" giving Tran, her niece, and "all young girls - this heroic moment:"
"Ultimately, additional photography elevated the initial concept: The character were split up and brought into the moment in smaller groups. It was an emotional process of development and resolution for Tran, especially as she had her niece in the back of her mind. She wanted to give her - and all young girls - this heroic moment. ”
A Scene Worth Fighting For
Representation is important, especially in these highly mass-marketed blockbusters that the world loves. It's cool and all to see the likes of Captain America and Iron Man muck about and take on the evils of the world, but the world is a lot more than just a bunch of heroic dudes.
Yes, some may see this all-female sequence in Endgame as pandering, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Judging from these short passages in The Story of Marvel Studios, the team behind this mega-hit was geniunely trying to create something special. And many would say they accomplished just that.
Marvel Studios has made better reflecting the diversity of the real world their M.O. in recent years, offering a broader spectrum for their heroes to fall into. Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter, slick-back gentleman superhero. Times have changed.
The studios' continued efforts for this initiative are even evident today, more than two and a half years post-Endgame. To find evidence one only need look at the upcoming Eternals movie. That team is made up of nearly a 50/50 split of men and women, and will even feature other diverse categories such as Marvel's first on-screen gay couple.
This cinematic universe is better when it can tackle stories and characters from all walks of life, whether it be men and women, gay and straight, or able-bodied and disabled. The world is that way, so why shouldn't the MCU be as well?