Last year major progress was made when it comes to diversity in mainstream media with movies like Crazy Rich Asians. This year is expected to bring even more progress in regards to diversity in mainstream media. One company that is not falling short of diversity this year is Marvel Entertainment and their brands including Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics and Marvel Television.
Last year Marvel Studios released Black Panther, a movie which featured a cast consisting of mainly African Americans including an African American director. Not only has the movie been praised for being the first superhero movie with a black lead, but it has also been nominated for seven Academy Awards including best picture a category no other superhero movie has ever been nominated in. This year Black Panther will be returning to the movie theater for free to celebrate Black History Month. Following the success of the movie Marvel Comics released a new comic book series about Shuri, the Black Panther’s sister. Fans were excited for the representation in both the movie and comics.
Marvels Runaways is another example of diversity in a Marvel Television show. The show which airs on the streaming service Hulu features one of the most diverse casts in any television show. Among the lead characters are an African American boy Alex Wilder played by Rhenzy Felix, an Asian American girl Nico Minoru played by Lyrica Okano and a Latina girl Molly Hernandez played by Allegra Acosta. Fans of the show were impressed with Marvel Television’s decision to make Molly Latina since in the comics she is not Latina. In addition to a diverse cast of teenagers the parents on the show are just as diverse.
Aside from movies and television Marvel Comics has also been including diversity within their various comics. The Spiderverse includes a spider character for just about anyone including an African American character Miles Morales and female Korean character Cindy Moon. Other diverse characters from the Marvel Comics include America Chaves a Latina girl who takes on the role of Captain America, Kamala Khan a Muslim girl who becomes the new Ms Marvel and Riri Williams and African American girl who takes on the role of Iron-Man.
Last year Marvel Studios released Ant-Man and The Wasp, the first Marvel movie to feature a female superheroes name in the title. This year Marvel Studios will release Captain Marvel the it’s first female led superhero movie. Marvel Studios will also begin production of the Black Widow solo movie this year.
The late Stan Lee who created comics for Marvel during his lifetime and was involved in many of the Marvel Studios movies and Marvel Televisions shows was a big advocate for diversity in the Marvel universe. Lee created a pin called the Hands of Respect pin that anyone regardless of race or political affiliation could wear. Lee also said in various interviews that the reason he gave Spider-Man a mask is so that all people regardless of skin color or race could put themselves in his shoes.