It’s been a big week for comic book fans. The Marvel Comic-Con announcements have been dropping left, right and centre, along with a new era of diversity and inclusion.
First up, it was announced that Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek and Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry would be joining the Marvel Universe as part of The Eternals. The series, which is slated for release in November 2020, is also set to introduce Marvel’s first deaf hero.
Next, fans were treated to the news that Mahershala Ali will be replacing Wesley Snipes as Blade in an upcoming reboot of the film and there was also the confirmation of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which will feature newcomer Simu Liu, Tony Leung and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina.
But the exciting announcements didn’t end there. Much to the delight of fans, it was revealed that Natalie Portman would play the female Thor in Taika Waititi’s next instalment of the film, and Tessa Thompson confirmed Valykrie as Marvel’s first LGBTQ hero.
It’s quite clear from all the Marvel Comic-Con reveals that the media franchise is well and truly ushering in a new era of diversity and inclusion within the universe. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said this new phase was inspired by the legacy of the late, great Stan Lee.
According to Feige, all the characters in the Marvel Universe are inspired by the spirit of ‘soapboxes’ and the social consciousness that Lee was so passionate about.
“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,’” Feige said. “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. 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.”
It’s true. Not only is there a lot of money to made by shining a mirror on society as it currently stands (and how we want it to be), but there is comfort and hope in seeing ourselves reflected as superheroes, no matter who we are, where we’re from or how we identify ourselves.