Diversity in mainstream media has been a hot topic as of late, particularly over the past few years. While mega-franchises like Star Wars and the MCU have made strides towards better representation on-screen, a contingent of fans haven't reacted as favorably to this change, calling the likes of Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm "woke" for the move.
This uproar has prompted plenty of stars to use their own platforms in defiance of these critical audience members, calling out racist, sexist, and generally hate-filled comments.
These public statements in solidarity with diversity in Hollywood have become a regular thing for some of the biggest names in the business, with Ewan McGregor, Kumail Nanjiani, and Oscar Isaac being just some of the stars to stand up to these internet bullies. But this is only just the beginning, as - despite studios making small moves in the right direction - they have a long way to go.
Jessica Alba Calls Out Marvel Studios
Speaking with Glamour UK, Fantastic Four star Jessica Alba criticized the level of diversity seen in the MCU.
Alba reflected back on when she joined the Marvel universe in 2005, saying she was "one of the few [diverse characters] back in the day." She went on to describe modern moviemaking, saying that despite some steps forward, the MCU and mainstream entertainment is "still quite Caucasian:"
“Even if you look at the Marvel movies – that’s the biggest driver of fantasy and what’s happening right now in entertainment, because it’s sort of the family thing – it’s still quite Caucasian.”
The actress said that she thinks "it’s important for [people] to see the world on-screen" reflect "the world that they’re in:"
"I just think more for the younger people who are coming up, who are going to be our future leaders, it’s important for them to see the world on-screen, or in stories, in the dreams that we create as entertainers; it reflects the world that they’re in."
How Diverse Will Marvel Go?
The diversity question is a difficult one in Hollywood. While strides are being taken with projects like Black Panther, Shang-Chi, and Ms. Marvel, some will argue that there is still plenty of work to be done in terms of representing different kinds of people in these multi-million dollar productions.
And some will ask, "Why does this effort need to be made from companies like Marvel and DC?" Well, right now, comic book movies are the biggest form of entertainment in the world. These are billion-dollar-making products with millions of people sitting down in the theater to see each and every new super-powered release. That means if real change is going to be made, these sorts of projects could be the ones to do it.
If true inclusion both on-screen and in the real world is to eventually happen, it's the normalization of these differences in a Marvel movie, for example, that could make the difference. Everyone deserves to have that moment where they look up at the screen and see themselves saving the day. It doesn't matter race, religion, sexuality, or gender identity, all stories should be told and everybody deserves to feel accepted.
As mentioned above, yes, Marvel has taken strides towards better diversity, but there is still more progress to be made in this arena.