Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says the Disney-owned studio “absolutely” has plans to introduce more LGBTQ characters into its Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film side of the franchise featured its first openly-gay character in Avengers: Endgame, played by director Joe Russo in a cameo appearance, something Feige once said was meant “as a small step” towards inclusivity and to better represent the reality of Marvel’s diverse moviegoing audience. In August, Feige noted the cast of the Chloé Zhao-directed The Eternals, releasing in November 2020, includes a more prominent gay character. During a recent Q&A hosted by the New York Film Academy, where Feige was asked if Marvel has plans to introduce LGBTQ characters, and “specifically trans characters,” Feige pointed towards Eternals:
“Yes. Absolutely, yes,” Feige said. “And very soon, in a movie that we’re shooting right now.”
When another student asked if the blockbuster success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel meant the MCU would continue to grow more inclusive and diverse, Feige said that “was always the plan” for Marvel.
Black Panther, Marvel’s first film to feature a predominantly black cast, earned $1.34 billion worldwide; Captain Marvel, the studio’s first film with a female lead, was another success, earning $1.12 billion.
“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 added. “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 also noted behind-the-scenes inclusivity is important for Marvel.
“Both films we have coming out in 2020 are directed by women,” Feige said, referencing Eternals and the Cate Shortland-directed Black Widow, before pointing out two of Marvel Studios’ upcoming Disney+ series — The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki — are directed by women.
“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,” added Feige. “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.”
Marvel Studios next releases Black Widow, out May 1, followed by The Eternals on November 6, 2020.