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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a behemoth in the film industry since Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The franchise got some flack for focusing almost entirely on white male protagonists during the first two phases, resulting in much more inclusion and diversity throughout Phase Three. But there's still work to be done, and Sam Wilson/Falcon actor Anthony Mackie recently clarified his comments about race and diversity within the MCU.
Anthony Mackie made his Marvel debut in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and has appeared in a whopping five MCU blockbusters in total. While Mackie will continue his tenure as the character when The Falcon and The Winter Soldier arrives on Disney+, he also recently spoke to a lack of diversity behind the camera, especially in regards to Marvel producers. Now the actor has further expanded his thoughts, saying:
I’ll say this: I don’t think what’s happening is a racism problem. I think it’s an unawareness problem. With Marvel, I really think with most companies, they feel like they’re doing what they should be doing. In no way, shape, or form, is it enough. My big thing is, put your money where your mouth is. You can’t cast a Black dude as one of your main superheroes and not expect him to have that conversation. It’s just in my DNA to have that conversation. It’s a huge opportunity for me to be part of the Marvel universe so it’s my job to make sure the Marvel universe is as good as it can be.
The Falcon has spoken... again. Anthony Mackie has gone on to clarify what he meant about the lack of diversity at Marvel Studios. While he doesn't believe the studio has a problem with race, but that people might simply be unaware of the discrepancy. But as a Black man, it's something that Mackie notices and would like to see changed for the better.
Anthony Mackie's comments to Fatherly help to put further context into his previous comments about diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Mackie has spent years playing Sam Wilson, and obviously has a perspective on how things are run. And while he doesn't feel like the studio has a problem with racism, he'd like to see more people of color both behind and in front of the camera.
Marvel fans can re-watch Anthony Mackie's time in the MCU on Disney+, which will eventually be the home of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
In his same interview, Anthony Mackie went on to explain the lack of diversity isn't exclusive to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, he it's symptomatic of a larger problem within the entertainment industry. He explained this sense of otherness, saying:
Anyone who’s big in our industry, if they have a party at their house, their party is 98 percent white. If you go to their office and their office is 98 percent white, that reflects their reality.
The conversation about race and inclusion within the entertainment industry has been going on for years now. After the #OscarsSoWhite campaigned highlighted a lack of diversity with Awards Season, there's been continued strides for diversity both behind and in front of the camera. And while the MCU has taken some major steps forward in this regard, Anthony Mackie would still like the studio to do even better moving forward.
We'll just have to wait and see what Marvel has in store for Phase Three and Four, as we're currently occupying the interim period between phases. Projects like The Eternals show how the studio is continuing to make the shared universe a more inclusive place, with a cast that's racially diverse, will include LGBT characters, as well as the first hearing impaired superhero.