Many people have been enjoying the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies for the past nine years, but fans of the comics would really like to see films starring characters like Black Panther or Captain Marvel who are not white men. Happily, both characters will be getting their own movie. Chadwick Boseman is slated to play the Black Panther, while Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel. Their movies will premiere in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
As far as fans are concerned, it’s about time. Nate Moore, the executive producer for Marvel Studios explained the reason for the delay during an interview with “Complex.” Basically, Marvel wants to take its time introducing female and minority characters to make certain their movies will do well. The Captain Marvel and Black Panther movies need to be hits in order to persuade Hollywood executives that there are markets for superhero movies with a woman or minority as the lead. If the movies bomb, it could be years before Marvel Studios tries again.
Marvel Studios seems to be taking an optimistic view, for they are already planning more movies with female and non-white protagonists. The second Guardians of the Galaxy movie added some female characters to the Guardians’ ranks, and the third movie will introduce even more super-powered women. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” will feature Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp, and the movie is expected to come out in 2018. Tessa Thompson will play Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok” which comes out this fall.
Black Panther and Captain Marvel are not new characters. Black Panther debuted in 1966 and is thus the first black superhero to appear in mainstream comic books. That gives filmmakers over fifty years’ worth of stories to try to distill into a two-hour movie. Captain Marvel also comes with several decades of comic history behind her. Their ardent fans doubtless have ideas as to which villains should be used and which aspects of the characters should be emphasized. Marvel Studios will indeed have to choose carefully.