The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always been dominated by white male superheroes and has been criticized for the same. Finally, 2019 saw a new era where Marvel introduced ‘Black Panther’ with a predominantly black cast and crew and it’s first female-led film ‘Captain Marvel’.
Both the films were outrageously successful (‘Black Panther’ grossed $1.34 billion worldwide, exceeding every MCU film except Endgame and ‘Captain Marvel’ outperformed most of the other movies of the franchise, grossing $1.12 billion). And with that began a new phase for the superhero universe that will likely deliver a horde of films, more inclusive, helmed by female protagonists and directed by female directors.
The new arrivals
We’ll finally see a solo ‘Black Widow’ movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, and directed by Cate Shortland. It will release on May 1, 2020. The film will take place shortly after the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’, and, hopefully, will give fans some closure.
The fourth movie in the Thor series, Thor: Love and Thunder (releasing November 5, 2021), will have Take Waititi returning as the director and stars Natalie Portman as Lady Thor. It also introduces the universe’s first openly queer character with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.
Angelina Jolie is also being officially conducted into the Marvel canon of superheroes with the upcoming ‘The Eternals’ (out on November 6, 2020) and directed by indie director Chloe Zhao. The movie will also feature Salma Hayek, Don Lee, Kumail Nanjiani and Richard Madden amongst others, and will also have MCU’s first deaf superhero—Tony-nominated Lauren Ridloff Makkari.
Why this change?
It might have taken Marvel a decade, and 20 feature films, to have a female-led superhero franchise but looks like it finally got it right. Better late than never, we say! Marvel’s first two phases were led by white males, and despite the wave of diverse castings across Hollywood and their success with Black Panther, it remained dominated by white men in the title roles. It’s refreshing then that, in addition to starring more women, Phase 4 will also see many movies helmed by women.