Diversity Will Be an Even Bigger Part of Marvel Studios Going Forward

With this year's Black Panther solo debut came a massive box office haul for Marvel Studios. In fact, the domestic box office receipts for Black Panther dwarfed the stateside return of Avengers: Infinity War by $22 million.

The first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring a cast made up almost entirely of black actors ended up being Marvel Studios' highest-grossing film domestically. And the production house plans to get even more diverse as the shared entertainment universe progresses into Phase 4 and beyond.

Speaking on Playback with Kris Tapley, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said that the success of Black Panther encouraged the studio to stay on the path they've always wanted to go.

"Yes, absolutely," elaborated. "Sometimes people have asked very directly, 'Is [Black] Panther a one-off?' in terms of inclusion representation and the answer is no, it's the beginning. That it worked out as well as it worked out just encourages to head in the direction that we were going to head anyway. You look at that film and the experience of the film...it was incredible. That movie, obviously, would not have been what it was if everyone sitting around the table looked like me or you and that's actually true for all the movies."

Feige went on to explain that the production team at Marvel Studios is nearly split down the middle with the company being made up of equal parts men and women.

"As Marvel Studios has grown and as our creative team has grown, it's the same thing," Feige continued. "It's almost half men, half women now. We try to grow and promote in-house, almost anybody that works around me has worked here for many, many years and people are going on the produce some of our next films came in below people producing the films now. When you have diverse voices, you get better stories and you get more exciting stories and you get more surprising stories and that is something very, very clear to us."

While Black Panther featured the first black actor in a lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the upcoming Captain Marvel will be the first solo film to feature a female superhero in Brie Larson's Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel also featured the MCU's first female director in Anna Boden, who co-directed the project with frequent collaborate Ryan Fleck.

As the MCU progresses into Phase 4, several diverse projects have been announced which would back up Feige's claims about being more diverse. Although Feige stopped short of confirming that Black Widow or The Eternals were actual films in the development, he did hint that there were more women developing movies behind the scenes before their initial announcements.

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Black Widow has reportedly hired Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome) to direct from a script by Jac Schaeffer while another project in development — The Eternals has hired The Rider's ChloeZhao. Reports have previously surfaced that Marvel Studios' has also pushed a movie featuring Shang-Chi in development, which would be the genre's first flick to feature an Asian superhero in a title role. Wonder Woman's Dave Callaham, an Asian-American screenwriter, has reportedly been tapped to pen a Shang-Chi script.

Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, Avengers: Endgame on May 3, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.