Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says the groundbreaking success of Black Panther has emboldened the Disney-owned studio to continue to explore an even more broader and diverse range of stories.
Asked by Coming Soon if the powerhouse performance of Black Panther means more efforts towards the inclusion of heroes of color like Kamala Khan, America Chavez, or Miles Morales, Feige said, “Absolutely. Yes.”
“It was the path that we were heading in any way because they’re great stories from the comics,” Feige said.
“The success of Black Panther, like a lot of things with the history of Marvel Studios, has just emboldened us to just continue doing that and to continue heading forward with that.”
At the heart of these stories, Feige said, are people — and people can come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors.
“That’s what I loved about genre films, science fiction films, is you’re telling these very serious, very real stories — the X-Men are a great example of that — any great science fiction stories where you’re dealing with things like alien races or wars but you’re really talking about contemporary society,” Feige said.
“You’re really talking about people, which is what I love. It gives you something fun and entertaining to watch on screen, because that’s what I wanna see when I go to the movies, but you’re getting a message. Empathy is a great word that you’re saying and [Black Panther director] Ryan Coogler used to say something great when people would ask him, ‘Will non-people of color be able to see this movie?’ and he was like, ‘Yes. I’ve watched white characters for so long and connected with them.’”
Black Panther was the first Marvel Studios production to feature a black lead and a predominantly black cast, a rarity in both the superhero genre and mainstream moviemaking — and its success signals a hunger for a diverse audience to continue to see themselves represented on screen.
Marvel Studios next releases Ant-Man and the Wasp — the first Marvel production to include a heroine’s name in its title — followed by the Brie Larson-led Captain Marvel, the studio’s first production to star a woman in the lead role.
“I think Black Panther proved that will be the case, I think Ant-Man and The Wasp will prove that, and I’m hoping that Captain Marvel will prove that,” Feige explained.
“Even in rough dailies of Captain Marvel and seeing what Brie is doing in that costume, even before the effects are on. Seeing her flying, using her powers, you get inspired by that. I sit up and wanna feel more heroic when I see her doing these things. And I think that’s the audience-film relationship. And it’s going to work and including, someday in the future, with the other characters you mentioned.”3comments
The baseball cap-sporting producer said elsewhere the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to expand with the inclusion of more LGBTQ+ characters, “a heck of a lot” more female directors, and as well as “new heroes, new types of heroes,” a promise that comes as the MCU shifts into a new era following Avengers 4.
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens July 6, followed by Captain Marvel March 8, 2019, Avengers 4 May 3, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home July 5, 2019.