The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become one of the most successful and popular film franchises of all time. But it wasn’t always this way. In the early days of the MCU, the films were predominantly white and male-led. However, in recent years, Marvel has made a conscious effort to diversify its cast and crew, and this has paid off in a big way.
Earlier in its cinematic journey, the MCU was criticized for a lack of representation, with the Avengers, its core team, primarily composed of white superheroes. Before the groundbreaking success of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Marvel canceled another major movie due to a similar reason.
Why Did Marvel Cancel Runaways?
Diversity and inclusion can make movies more successful in a number of ways. Though Marvel now pushes for more female-centric movies or minority-driven movies, it was not the same scenario earlier.
Before the release of Black Panther, Marvel faced backlash for its decision to cancel the Runaways film adaptation. This popular comic series featured a diverse group of young heroes, including girls and minorities.
It has come to light from the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios that the film got canceled only because it had some girls and minorities. Quoting screenwriter Drew Pearce, the book says:
“We were doing heroes that were white and in their mid-twenties and mid-thirties- that was the sweet spot. That’s what moved plastic. And that’s what our stories had to be. Runaways got thrown to the side because they were not in their twenties and there are some girls and minorities in that group. So, that’s out“
In 2017, Hulu brought it back as a series, though it has now removed this superhero series from its content library
The MCU has come a long way in terms of diversity and inclusion, from its early days dominated by white male superheroes to its current trajectory of embracing a broader range of characters and stories.
Things Are Changing From All-White Characters to Diversity and Inclusion
Fast forward to the present, and the MCU stands as a beacon of success, owed in no small part to its embrace of diversity and inclusion. The recent phases of the MCU have witnessed a variety of films and series featuring characters from different ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds.
Projects such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Eternals, Wanda Vision, and the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye have showcased a commitment to diverse storytelling.
The turning point for the MCU came with the release of Chadwick Boseman‘s Black Panther. The film shattered box office records, becoming a cultural phenomenon and a beacon of representation for the black community. Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa not only brought a significant change to the MCU but also set a new standard for representation in superhero films.
As the MCU continues to evolve, it’s clear that diversity and inclusion are now firmly at the forefront of Marvel’s storytelling. From criticism and missed opportunities to a conscious effort toward change and transformation, the MCU now celebrates a peak in its success, largely attributed to its commitment to diversity and inclusion.