Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige continues to leave no doubt about their expressed commitment to diverse representation in Marvel Cinematic Universe films. In a newly-published interview, the Marvel movie head was more emphatic than ever that diversity is a cornerstone of the company - and that it was something set in place by Stan Lee back in the 1960s, and that they're just carrying that tradition on.
"We’re just the stewards, the current stewards, of these characters that he and his co-creators brought together - and all of them were created in that spirit of those ‘Soapboxes' [by Stan Lee]," Feige told the Los Angeles Times prior to Captain Marvel. "That was very much what Stan’s worldview was, and that’s what these movies represent."
“Because that is - how do I put this - it’s the right way to be," Feige continued. "It is the way the world should be. And one of the great things about movies is you get to showcase the world that you want to reflect and the way you want the world to be. And that’s what he did with these characters."
After eleven years self-producing its own films, Captain Marvel is Marvel Studios' first with a solo female lead - and first with a female director. Marvel unsuccessfully attempted to co-finance a She-Hulk film in the 1990s, and Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins was briefly set to help 2013's Thor: The Dark World but left over creative differences.
Feige revealed that when Captain Marvel's Brie Larson and Black Panther writer/director Ryan Coogler initially met with Marvel, he was surprised they were hesistant about working with the studio.
"The initial meetings that we had with [Larson] were not dissimilar to our initial meetings with Ryan Coogler," he laughed. "Oh, wait a minute. They’re interviewing us. We’re not interviewing them."
"[Larson] had a lot of choices, and I think she had just won the Academy Award, and she knew the power of what this could be,” Feige added.
When asked about why it took a decade before Marvel Studios would produce a film with a leading actor of color, Feige said it was a timing issue and jokes that Coogler was too young to do it before.
"I wouldn’t have had it any other way because the timing does work; I sometimes joke that Ryan Coogler would still be in high school or elementary school if we tried to hire him to do Black Panther early on in the MCU."
In 2008 when the first MCU film Iron Man was produced, the then 22-year-old Coogler was filming a short titled Locks.
Regarding any future films featuring more diverse characters and actors, Feige said that "[Captain Marvel is] only the beginning."