Diversity onscreen and behind the camera is a hot topic in film. With Marvel's Black Panther breaking box office records for both superhero films and movies from black filmmakers, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says that whether studios are forced to diversify their casts and crews or not, they should.
"Well, one question really is: Should people be forced to do it? And maybe the answer is yes, maybe the answer is no. If you're in a position of power and you're the one doing the hiring, we have learned — on our last number of movies and a number of movies that haven't come out or haven't been announced — that the more diverse the group of people around the table, the better the movie," Feige told The Hollywood Reporter. "[Black Panther director] Ryan Coogler actually said, 'Do you have production designers, costume designers that you like to work with?' And we said, 'Sure, but if you have some let us know.' And he said, 'Well, I've worked with various people on films that were excellent but much smaller than Black Panther.' And in the case of every single crewmember that he brought to us, they blew us away, they were incredible. And it was because we were open to listening and giving people an opportunity. And now, you know, we're desperate to work with them all on all of our films going forward.
"Black Panther is not real, he is not a real person, but he represents real hopes and real dreams and real representation," Feige continued. "And so there is a certain amount of pressure that came with that, delivering on what people had been dreaming about for years, whether they read the comic book or not. Because a lot of people said 'Wait a minute, this is a hero that looks like me,' and the importance of that really can't be understated. People get so excited to see themselves on that big screen, and you take that very, very seriously."
One thing Feige couldn't address is what those unannounced projects might be - or whether they'd include characters that are a part of Disney's in-progress buyout of 21st Century Fox.
"Well, [the buyout is] not a hundred percent complete yet, so there's only so much I'm allowed to say, or so much they even tell me," Feige explained, quickly pivoting to discuss the upcoming Disney Play streaming service. "[The streaming service is] something that we're going to be adding content to, which is exciting. I love your analogy with the campfire, right? As many people as you can get around the campfire and tell stories. Campfires can be different: We are going to tell stories for the streaming service that we wouldn't be able to tell in a theatrical experience — a longer-form narrative, that's what comics are, it's about as long-form a narrative as exists. But also maintaining that theatrical experience, which is our bread and butter, and the lines around the block, if you're lucky."
Disney's purchase of Fox is expected to be completed in 2019. Disney Play is expected to launch in 2019 as well.