Disney often appears unstoppable. And honestly, with how much the company actually owns and controls, why wouldn’t it? The company owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm, two massive companies responsible for globally recognized franchises. And as of a few years ago, Disney also owns Fox. Now, one of the main stars of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+ series has revealed that Marvel seems to be aiming to “change the way society looks at itself.”
On a recent episode of Assembled (via Bounding into Comics), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie admitted that Disney and Marvel Studios are attempting to reshape society.
Here’s what Anthony Mackie had to say about Marvel’s ever-evolving approach and how grateful he is that he is the new Captain America: “It’s been an emotional experience, especially in the time in which we live in now. For Marvel to give me the opportunity as a black man, from the south, to become Captain America, I think, says a lot, not only about the work that I’ve put in to get to this point that they would would entrust me with that. But with the way that they’re hoping to change the way society looks at itself.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier definitely addressed race as it relates to the Captain America mantle. With Mackie’s transformation into the new Captain America, Marvel has entered an incredible new era of expanded possibilities for both quality representation and better, richer storytelling.
The folks at Marvel have been incredibly intentional with their handling of such an important topic, and it looks like they are wanting this approach to produce a specific outcome. There’s honestly not too much stopping them, either. With the kind of overwhelming clout that Disney currently possesses, it isn’t impossible to imagine the Mouse House reaching this lofty but worthwhile goal.
In addition to what it accomplished with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel is also intent on ensuring that each of its movies brings them closer to this goal in some way. And if you look back at some of their more recent projects, you can definitely see that. Working from an increased emphasis on diversity, Marvel and Disney have slowly been moving away from the all-white team rosters that have characterized superhero comics in the past. And that’s an amazing thing. We have gotten great new stories out of it, and we get to broaden our paradigms through our exposure to different perspectives. There will, of course, be many who resist this positive change, but that won’t stop Disney for a second.
Sure, Marvel and Disney are not always perfect with how they handle representation. There have certainly been some blunders. But the way I see it, the very fact that they are working so hard to make sure marginalized voices are heard and disenfranchised groups are seen speaks to an honest, earnest desire for positive change. And that is, if nothing else, encouraging.
It will be interesting to see how Marvel and Disney continue to push boundaries and challenge their millions of fans. It will be equally as interesting to see how they will continue to hold mirrors to society in an attempt to get people to look inward rather than lash outward.
Regardless of what ends up happening, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Marvel is doing its best to appeal to everyone, and it rightly recognizes the importance of inclusion in that mission.