Joe and Anthony Russo, co-directors of Captain America: Civil War — the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most politically-charged outing — say it’s “incumbent upon us as storytellers” to put lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, and transsexual superheroes in Marvel’s movies.
“I think the chances are strong,” Joe Russo told Collider when asked about the chances of an LBGT character entering the Marvel Universe. “I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible,”
“It’s sad in the way that Hollywood lags behind other industries so significantly, one because you think that it would be a progressive industry, and two it’s such a visible industry,” he added. “So I think it’s important that on all fronts we keep pushing for diversification because then the storytelling becomes more interesting, more rich, and more truthful.”
Captain America: Civil War is the 13th film in Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic superhero universe. Marvel unveiled its most visible diversity hire in 2008’s Iron Man, when Samuel L. Jackson was cast to play Nick Fury, the historically white leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Since Iron Man, which debuted on May 2, 2008, Marvel superhero films have grossed more than $9 billion.
“I think this is a philosophy of Marvel, in success it becomes easier to take risks,” Anthony Russo said, adding: “There’s a lot of unconventional ideas in Civil War in terms of what people’s expectations of a superhero movie are, but I think we were able to do that because Winter Soldier worked and Marvel’s been working in general.”
Marvel’s apparent push for more non-white male characters predated the “OscarsSoWhite” controversy that characterized liberal-run Hollywood as a paragon of segregation. Going forward, Marvel Studios is set to release the Chadwick Boseman-starring Black Panther in 2018 and the female-led Captain Marvel in 2019.
In February, Marvel’s latest superhero, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, told Variety that he would support his character being gay, saying that it would be “nice” if his character had a male lover on the silver screen.
“I certainly wouldn’t be the guy standing in the way of that,” Reynolds said. “That would be great.”
“There’s more of a boldness in terms of what you can try and where you can go,” Anthony Russo added in his interview with Collider. “So I think that’s very hopeful for all of us moving forward that bolder and bolder choices can be made.”
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6.
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