Smack in the middle of yesterday’s massive Marvel announcement – so many movies! like, more movies than we expected to be getting! – came the news that the comic book behemoth is finally bringing one of their beloved superheroines to the big screen in her very own movie. Both Marvel and DC have long been the subject of speculation and derision over their lack of diversity in their features, and that seems to be changing in a big way. Someone finally noticed that entire subsets of the population were being underserved in their features!
While DC finally announced a Wonder Woman film as part of its ballooning slate (set to hit sometime in 2017), Marvel has now answered with its own feature: a Captain Marvel film. It may have taken two whole phases, but Marvel has finally slated a female-led solo superhero feature for July 6, 2018. That placement is key, because it means that Carol Danvers (the current Captain Marvel) will likely play a part in Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2, which will arrive on May 3, 2019 (even better, she’ll undoubtedly be teased and/or wholesale introduced in Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1, which hits theaters two months before the single film opens). This couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Fans and foes of superhero movies have spent entire years demanding a female-led superhero movie, and despite some attempts at satiation – think Black Widow in the MCU, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the big reveal of Wonder Woman as the third lead in Batman v Superman: Man, We’re Warring Now – there’s always been one thing that would calm those cries: a standalone film. And now we’re getting two. (With yesterday’s announcement of Black Panther, the studio has also set up a new superhero franchise for an African character – and no, not an African-American character, because Black Panther comes to us straight out of fictional African nation Wakanda – another demographic that needed to be spoken to).
Captain Marvel may not have the name cachet – yet – of someone like Iron Man (who, let’s be honest, wasn’t the world’s best known superhero when Marvel made him their first star) or Superman, but she’s part of a long line of Marvel heroes. “Marvel” is actually in her name, for chrissakes. Although there have been seven widely recognized Captain Marvels, Carol Danvers isn’t the first female Captain – she’s actually the third. Captain Marvel has often changed identities and whole personages with little worry or concern about something like gender identity, the kind of messaging that the comic book community, long perceived as a boys’ club, could benefit from.
Captain Marvel certainly has a lot going for her, including a dedicated fanbase who went predictably nuts after the announcement. They call themselves the Carol Corps, and they got a big shoutout yesterday on the character’s just-revealed Twitter account:
— Captain Marvel (@captainmarvel) October 28, 2014
Comic book movies pull in giant, staggering box office numbers because they are able to appeal to lots of different people – and, hey, space raccoons and sentient tree people now, too – so it’s not a surprise that the company is going after a new demographic who love a certain character a lot. The Carol Corps are going to flood theaters in 2018, and they’re going to do it in a way that realigns the comic book community with what it is most positively known for: dedicated, excited fans. Diversity in the MCU, in the DC universe, and way beyond is a good, positive thing that bonds people through shared experience. That’s sort of the magic of entertainment – any entertainment — in a tiny, spandex-clad nutshell.
It’s about inclusion, and that’s something that any and all supposed niche community needs in order to grow within its current fanbase and to appeal to newbies. Marvel and DC may have given plenty of lip service to their diversity dedications over the past few years, but now they’re finally walking the walk. (Or, as is the case with Captain Marvel, flying the flight and then also absorbing the absorbable energy and superhumaning the superhuman power.)
Related Topics: Marvel