Say what you will about “armchair activism,” but the squeaky wheel gets the oil. At least when it comes to progressing media beyond its comfort zone of straight white male narratives. After a bumpy start, Marvel has righted the ship with their cinematic universe, adding in more POC (People of Color) and women both behind and in front of the camera.
One of the worst offenders as far as diversity went in the MCU was the Thor franchise. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), one of the world”s top astrophysicists, was regulated to a distressed damsel. Heimdall (Idris Elba) was a glorified elevator attendant. Frigga (Rene Russo) fridged, Hogun (Asano Tadanobu) vanished. Sit (Jamie Alexander) fared better, but not by much. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is looking to break that terrible track record.
Speaking to The Daily Beast about his upcoming film Hunt of the Wilderpeople, the questions inevitably turned to Marvel. Waititi takes his representation responsibility seriously.
“Everyone”s aware of the need [for POC casting] and also the need for female characters. But female representation is something I feel is even still behind in the conversation about representation. It”s something that”s equally important to my mind. So it”s great having female heroes.
This film has [Marvel”s] first female villain, and that”s exciting for me. I want to see more females onscreen and not just dudes. There”s nothing wrong with that, but there”s a lot of it in the world. We need more representation of all kinds. In all seriousness, from what I”ve seen-although it”s not like I”ve been around a lot of studios-they are aware of it, and they”re very conscious and vocal. I”ve heard people say, ‘We need to make them better.””
In case you forgot what Cate Blanchett will be rocking in Thor: Ragnarok (as Loki”s daughter?), here”s some concept art.
So the next time you get down and wonder if your screams to treat people that aren”t straight white cis males like humans and not plot devices are vanishing into the void, just remember: Hollywood is listening. And like a behemoth awakening from a long slumber, it is changing direction as fast as it can.