DisneyOne of the biggest hits in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe was 2018’s ‘Black Panther’, which grossed $1.347 billion at the box office, as fans declared, “It’s Not A Movie, It’s A Movement!” And outside of that film, Anthony Mackie has the role of Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon and possibly the next Captain America, while Don Cheadle portrays War-Machine/James Rhodes. But even though Mackie is set to co-headline the Disney+ series ‘Falcon & Winter Soldier’, he thinks Marvel Studios and parent company Disney could do a lot more to increase diversity behind the camera.
“When ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ comes out, I’m the lead. When ‘Snowpiercer’ came out, you’re the lead. We have the power and the ability to ask those questions. It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.
“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore. He produced ‘Black Panther.’ But then when you do ‘Black Panther,’ you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?
“My big push with Marvel is hire the best person for the job. Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. Fine. I’m cool with those numbers for the next 10 years. Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something as leading men that we can go in and push for.”
‘Black Panther’ ultimately won three Academy Awards including Best Achievement in Costume Design for Ruth E. Carter– the first Black person to win in this category– and Best Achievement in Production Design for Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart– with Beachler being the first Black person to be nominated or win in this category. (The third award was for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) for Ludwig Göransson, who is White and Swedish.)
Surely, that should prove their worth, as the other Marvel movies have only been nominated for technical awards.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around for more than a decade, that’s not a very long time in the grand scheme of things. ‘Black Panther’ was the first Marvel film with a Black lead. Last year’s ‘Captain Marvel’ was the first female-fronted movie, although Evangeline Lilly shared top-billing in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ in 2018. And ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ is now in production, and will feature the first Asian hero. (Not counting Pom Klementieff whose character, Mantis, is technically an alien… in the movies, anyway.) There’s also ‘Luke Cage’, but… I mean… I’m pretty sure Kevin Feige says that never happened.
But, while things have become more diverse on-screen, it sounds as though there need to be more opportunities on the creation-side. With Mackie headlining his own series, surely he has some clout, and hopefully, there will be more talented individuals of whatever color working on these high-profile projects.
If you’d like to watch the entire interview between Mackie and Diggs, it is below: