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Marvel’s Phase 4 Will Offer Different Incarnations of Characters and Have More Female Directors

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For those opposed to the idea of a more diverse, female-driven Marvel Cinematic Universe—well it is going to be a hard time for you in the upcoming Phase 4.

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Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige, according to Slash Film, is claiming that the upcoming 4th Phase of Marvel will include “different incarnations of characters you know” and more female directors to helm forthcoming films. This is wise on Feige’s part. He is well aware that Marvel is the outlier in the successful film franchise universe boat. Even Star Wars has had to take an “L” with Solo under-performing for a Star Wars film.

To survive with the same success, Marvel has to keep evolving: using the things that work, fixing the things that don’t, and giving talented directors the room to do their thing. Bringing in people with fresh perspectives like Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), and Jon Watts (Spiderman: Homecoming) have really helped to keep the life-blood of this universe going.

It’s very good that Feige has heard the “we want more female directors” battle cry and responded with,”I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors but a heck of a lot of them will” instead of pretending that there is no issue.

Additionally, we know that  Avengers 4, whatever it ends up being, will be the end of the era of Marvel films we know and love at current. My hope is that it won’t end with the original team dead (yes, even Hawkeye) due to contract issues, but that they find creative solutions for guest roles and cameos from the actors and characters we’ve come to love in the future—those characters just won’t be in the spotlight anymore.

(Credit: Marvel Comics)

Thankfully, Marvel comics has already been preparing people for this new reality. Legacy characters are nothing new in comics, and some of the best characters have come out of one character taking up the mantle for another. People are more used to the idea of multiple versions of the same hero in comics. The question is: how that will translate to filmgoers?

I know for a lot of people, for example, the affection is not so much for Thor and Loki, but Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki. While there are certainly great actors who could play those roles in various incarnations, these characters have really become synonymous with their comic counterparts.

We do have a few good track records for this change-of-the-guard situation working, however. Batman has several beloved versions, as does Superman. People don’t hold Grant Gustin’s Flash against Ezra Miller’s Flash. Yet I wonder if people would feel that way about someone else playing Steve Rogers in a distant Captain America reboot? Or, more closely to our timeline: how would audiences feel about MCU Sam Wilson or Bucky Barnes taking up the mantle, as they have done in the comics?

Will a different incarnation just mean Bucky or Sam behind the shield—or will it mean making room for Riri Williams as Ironheart and Jane Foster as Thor? And will audience show up for it?

Personally, I think that Marvel has done a good enough job of creating goodwill among mainstream audiences that they will give even something that seems “different” a chance. If they made Guardians and Ant-Man and Ragnarok work, I think they can give Ironheart a chance.

(via Slash Film, image: Marvel Comics/MCU)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

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