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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a bit of a transitional period at the moment. As Phase Three continues, there are a ton of new characters and heroes being introduced to the shared universe. Meanwhile, some of the less important supporting characters from the first two phases are fading out of the spotlight. Case in point, Thor: Ragnarok, which has written out Natalie Portman's Jane Foster. This move makes room for Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, who will make a splash both romantically and heroically when Ragnarok hits theaters. And Thompson recently revealed why this role is so important to her.
I think it's really important for little boys and little girls to go to these movies and see themselves reflected on screen. I'm really excited about this generation of young women that can look at a screen and see some brown people in space. I'm happy to join Idris Elba so he doesn't have to be the only one. He's lonely!
While being cast as a comic book character is pretty much every actor's dream at this point, it appears that Tessa Thompson's concerns go beyond the notability and paycheck. She wants to be a visibly powerful character of color for kids who don't usually see their culture represented in blockbusters.
The subject of diversity and visibility in Hollywood has been a very hot one for the past few years. There are many who maintain that the majority of stories in TV and film revolve around (and are produced, written, and directed by) white men. The issue came to a head with the 2016 Academy Award's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, where all of the acting categories were taken by caucasian actors. This started an important conversation about diversity in Hollywood, and the Emmys, Tonys, and Oscars were all significantly more diverse this past year.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has certainly been guilty of not being inclusive enough. Until this point, white men have still been the main characters in every MCU installment. But that will soon change. Black Panther will feature an outstanding cast of black actors, and the first black lead. Additionally, Spider-Man: Homecoming will feature a racially diverse cast to properly populate Queens, and Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp will be the first installments with a female protagonist.
Thor: Ragnarok will arrive in theaters November 3, 2017. Be sure to check our 2017 premiere list for the release dates of all your favorite upcoming movies.