Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie has been speaking out about what he perceives as a lack of diversity at Marvel. Recently, after he created a firestorm with his comments, he has added clarification.
Here is Anthony Mackie’s most recent comment to Fatherly: “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.“
You’re on notice Hollywood. If you hire a black actor, you’d better be ready to have a conversation about diversity. That’s rapidly becoming the norm and it’s starting to have a big effect.
Originally Mackie had this to say to CINEMABLEND: “When The Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes out, I’m the lead of the show. When Snowpiercer came out, you’re the lead of the show. So we have the power and ability to ask those questions. It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies now, every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white. We have one producer, Nate Moore, who’s black.“
Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo are backing up Mackie’s accusations. When asked about it by MovieMaker Joe Russo agreed saying, “he’s not wrong.” He then went on to explain, “I think we can always all do better at diversity constantly in this business in every facet of every industry, so he’s not wrong at all… So I think that we all have to work harder to keep endorsing and supporting diversity on both sides of the camera.”
Anthony Russo then added, “We have a ton of respect for Anthony Mackie… He’s not only an amazing actor, but he’s an amazing person, and we’ve loved our collaboration with him. He’s a very smart guy.”
Many would argue that lack of diversity wasn’t an issue on the movie Black Panther. Anthony Mackie thinks this makes the problem even worse. He says, “But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, you have a Black costume designer, you have a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?“
Marvel brass haven’t responded to his comments, but Mackie seems determined to get some response from them. He continues, “So my big push with Marvel, with everybody, is, you know, hire the best person for the job… Because it starts to build a new generation of people that can put something on their resume to get them other jobs. If we gotta divvy up percentage, divvy it up.“
Fans have had a mixed reaction to Anthony Mackie’s accusations. Many have a hard time understanding his complaint, given that one of Marvel’s top-grossing movies is Black Panther. Others are in full support and think Marvel needs to do a lot more.
Luckily for Anthony Mackie and his supporters, it seems like Marvel is moving strongly in an increased diversity direction. Their upcoming movie The Eternals could end up having one of the most diverse casts of any movie, ever. And Marvel has made it a focus going forward to replace many of their white male superheroes with new versions played by women and people of color. For example, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is slated to become the new Captain America and Thor is being replaced by Jane Foster as the new Thor. There’s also talk of making the new Iron Man a black teenage girl for the upcoming Marvel TV show Ironheart. Almost none of Marvel’s upcoming projects star white men as their main superhero characters.