Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has long wanted the mega-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe to embrace diversity in a significant way. And now that he’s overseeing the entirety of Marvel Entertainment as the company’s chief creative officer, he’ll encounter far less resistance when it comes to implementing that change in the studio’s upcoming Phase 4 slate of films and TV shows.
Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the MCU, recently participated in an Actors on Actors conversation with Ramy star Ramy Youssef, and she confirmed that Marvel’s Phase 4 will indeed actively feature a more inclusive roster of characters than what has previously been showcased in the existing films.
“I think in this next phase of Marvel, we’re really talking about what representation looks like in those spaces,” Thompson said in the conversation (via ComingSoon). “Because the truth is these movies travel globally in such huge ways, and if you can represent people that are of color, if you can represent people with disabilities, if you can represent the LGBTQIA community inside of these films, it’s a pretty big deal.” Her comments should be a familiar refrain for regular readers of the site, since they’re reflective of the ongoing conversation we’ve all been having about representation in media over the past several years.
Thompson went on to underline how important that level of representation is, especially to younger audiences. “There’s millions and millions of people, particularly young people, who show up to the cinema,” she said. “And I think if you can show them something that looks like them, they feel valued. Particularly inside of these narratives of – comic books, that’s what it’s all about. It’s that our differences make us special…I’m really excited that we’re able to continue to push the bounds of that and that I’m able to do that with Valkyrie, because there’s so many cool queer characters in the comic books and they should have a place on-screen.”
Thompson, who is attracted to men and women, revealed back in 2017 that her version of Valkyrie is indeed bisexual, despite a pivotal scene further establishing that idea being deleted from the final cut of Thor: Ragnarok.
When Phase 4 was initially announced at Comic-Con 2019, the slate was supposed to include Black Widow, Eternals, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, WandaVision, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Loki, What If?, Hawkeye, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Black Widow and Eternals have already been delayed due to the pandemic, and it’s unclear exactly what level of reshuffling will be required in the months and years to come.
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