For the first time ever, Disney+ added a new special ASL option for watching an MCU movie
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's representation of the deaf community has increased dramatically in a way that wasn't previously present in the Infinity Saga.
One of Eternals' featured leads, Lauren Ridloff, aka Makkari, was deaf. Additionally, Hawkeye introduced Alaqua Cox's deaf hero Echo, who will be going on to get her own series.
Now, in tandem with Disney, the studio is bringing a brand new viewing experience for those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Marvel Studios Adds Special ASL Option
Marvel officially announced a new ASL option for the deaf community to experience 2015's Ant-Man, which went live on Disney+ on Friday, April 14.
The viewing option will see an ASL performer at the bottom right corner of the screen, translating all dialogue throughout the whole movie for those hard of hearing or deaf.
The ASL Video service was created by Deluxe in partnership with Grupo Steno. RespectAbilityt's Delbert Whetter joined the project as a daily consult on ASL best practices while also helping to build Creative Guidelines.
Whetter boasted that the "deaf creatives on the team... exceed expectations" for this new experience:
“The Deaf creatives on the team, which include Douglas Ridloff and ASL performer, Jac Cook, exceeded expectations as they set out to communicate Ant-Man’s entertaining dialogue and sound effects in a manner"
American Sign Language coach Douglas Ridloff, who worked with Marvel Studios on Eternals and Hawkeye, was also part of this new project. In addition, he worked with the ASL performer Jac Cook, who can be seen throughout this new Ant-Man feature.
Ant-Man is the first Marvel Studios project with unique ASL options. However, Netflix also introduced the Marvel Televsion-produced Daredevil introduced its own unique Audio Descriptions for the series.
A Great ASL Option, But Why Now?
Some might wonder why this special ASL option is even needed since closed captions are an option for every MCU project and are generally the standard across the industry.
The answer? It's simply another option for the deaf community to experience the film.
Seeing an ASL interpreter perform the story adds another layer to the experience for those unable to hear the film's original audio. As a result, it can be far more intimate and entertaining than simply reading subtitles on the screen.
But why add this option now? It could have something to do with the upcoming Disney+ series Echo, featuring Alaqua Cox's deaf anti-hero.
For a while, it seemed like the show would be pushed back into 2023, but recent rumors suggest that it could make it onto the streaming service before the end of the year.
If Marvel's test for this feature goes well, it could lead to the ASL performance being a standard option for all of the MCU's offerings.
Ant-Man is now streaming on Disney+.