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Kevin Feige teases the future of diversity in the MCU: 'It’s only the beginning'
"There will be many more announcements to come,” he said. “Put it this way: It’s only the beginning."
Black Panther was the first Marvel film to be helmed by an African American director (Ryan Coogler) and feature an all-black cast (which included Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, and more — and won the Screen Actors' Guild Award for Best Cast).
In addition to making over $1 billion at the global box office, the film became an all-encompassing cultural phenomenon, with the Wakandan salute — crossing one's arms over one's chest — and the Wakandan battlecry "Wakanda forever!" instantly becoming ubiquitous. Despite the disintegration of T'Challa at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, a sequel to Black Panther is already in the works with Coogler back in the saddle.
Captain Marvel is the first MCU film to feature a solo female protagonist, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), and the first to be helmed by a female director, Anna Boden, who co-directed with her longtime collaborator, Ryan Fleck. Entering its third week in theaters, the movie has provided Marvel Studios with another hit, raking in nearly $300 million domestically and almost $800 million globally.
Looking back at Captain Marvel's big-screen genesis, Feige compared his early meetings with Larson to the ones he had with Coogler.
“The initial meetings that we had with [Larson] were not dissimilar to our initial meetings with Ryan Coogler,” he added. “ ‘Oh, wait a minute. They’re interviewing us. We’re not interviewing them.’ ”
Of course, it may be natural to wonder why it took a decade for Marvel Studios to start making more inclusive films, but Feige doesn't view it that way. In fact, he feels that we're in the perfect moment to make comic book movies with more representation.
"I wouldn’t have had it any other way because the timing does work; I sometimes joke that Ryan Coogler would still be in high school or elementary school if we tried to hire him to do Black Panther early on in the MCU," he said.
That's not an overstatement, either. In a Marvel Studios directors' roundtable on the home video release of Infinity War, Coogler relates an anecdote to Jon Favreau about how he saw the first Iron Man (2008) when he was still in film school at USC. The acclaimed writer/director really was an ambitious youngster when this entire shared universe began to take shape.
All of the heroes introduced thus far, including Captain Marvel, will come together to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Endgame, which opens in theaters April 26.