Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo say "we can always all do better" in agreement with their Avengers and Captain America star Anthony Mackie, who recently decried a lack of behind-the-scenes diversity at Marvel Studios. Mackie, who starred as Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon, across all four Marvel blockbusters directed by the Russo Brothers — Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame — admitted on Variety's Actors on Actors series he was "really bothered" by predominantly white crews during the making of multiple Marvel Studios movies, including appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.
"I think we can always all do better at diversity, constantly in this business, and in every facet of every industry — so he's not wrong at all," Joe Russo told MovieMaker. "I think that we all have to work harder to keep endorsing and supporting diversity on both sides of the camera."
Added Anthony Russo, "We have a ton of respect for Anthony Mackie. He is not only an amazing actor, but he's an amazing person, and we've loved our collaboration with him."
"It really bothered me that I've done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every [production assistant], every single person has been white," Mackie told Hamilton actor Daveed Diggs during his Actors on Actors appearance, where Mackie said Marvel has had "one Black producer" in Civil War and Black Panther executive producer Nate Moore.
"But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. I'm like, that's more racist than anything else," Mackie said. "Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they're not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?"
In December 2018, Victoria Alonso, the longtime executive vice president of production at the Disney-owned studio, said Marvel aims to represent every community in their films "in some way, at some point in time." During a Reddit Q&A last June, Alonso said Marvel Studios is "actively working on making our universe as diverse and inclusive as we can."
Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige, also Chief Creative Officer at Marvel, similarly promised the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe would continue to add more diversity both in front of and behind the camera with projects like the Cate Shortland-directed Black Widow and the Chloé Zhao-directed The Eternals. The latter highlights a diverse cast that includes an openly gay superhero.
"Every time we do a movie, we hope it's going to succeed so that we can make another movie. That's always the idea," Feige said during a December visit to the New York Film Academy. "And with those two films in particular, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, we wanted to keep showcasing heroes from the comics that represent the world that goes to see our movies. So our intention was always to continue to do that."
"What's exciting is that both those movies were such big hits that it squashed any sort of question otherwise, and I hope — and I think — it inspired other companies around the world to do the same thing and tell those different types of stories," Feige added.
Beyond Black Widow and Eternals, Feige noted Marvel's big-budget television projects set at the Disney+ streaming service — including coming series WandaVision, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel — have a wide range of behind-the-scenes diversity.
"We've got three other shows that we've announced, but we haven't announced the players. Spoiler alert: two out of three of them are women," he said. "And it makes for better stories, I say. When you're sitting at a table, and everybody looks like you, you're in trouble. You're not gonna get the best story out of that."
Mackie next returns to the MCU opposite Sebastian Stan in upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.