Why Didn’t Marvel Get More Progressive With Its Superheroes Sooner?

Word keeps going around that Marvel will soon be a lot more diverse in the types of people they represent in their movies. For those concerned about the influence of MCU in shutting out smaller films portraying real life, it’s becoming more of an imperative Marvel address marginalized groups in their films soon.

How they go about that is still a point of contention. We imagine the debates about approach are also intense in the board meetings.

Despite recent Marvel announcements to create more diversity, we have to wonder what’s taken them so long. They still have yet to act fully on some of their projections, particularly in LGBTQ characters.

Let’s take a minute to see what might be going on internally at Marvel and whether politics have intervened there as much as America.

Kristen Stewart seems to offhandedly factor into Marvel’s inclusion decisions

Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart | Marc Piasecki/WireImage

If you’ve ever wondered why Kristen Stewart has never acted in a Marvel movie, there seems to be a good reason. Based on a recent interview with Stewart in Harper’s Bazaar, she’s been told to hide her sexuality in public so she could land a role at Marvel.

She doesn’t name who it was that told her not to publicly exhibit the reality of her having girlfriends. It makes you wonder if it was someone directly from Marvel, though we assume it was an agent or casting director.

Whoever it was, Stewart more or less sets up the argument for why Marvel keeps waiting to be more inclusive in the type of people they want to represent. Through Stewart’s eyes, she won’t work for anyone who looks at life and business like this. She says life isn’t a game, and you can’t help but agree with her.

What we hope it doesn’t represent is Marvel having major divides within their own organization on how fast they want to diversify their superheroes.

At least Marvel is representing women first

The good side to Marvel is they have gone forward on bringing more women into the superhero roster, plus exploring a larger ethnic culture. With Brie Larson alone, they’ve reinvented how we view women as superheroes, outside the gripes of minority male fans who’ve grown up strictly with the comic books.

Soon, they’ll have She-Hulk on Disney+, plus other female characters in Phase Four, something we all should celebrate. Yet, there was also discussion recently of having Captain Marvel possibly being outed as bisexual or lesbian. The Russo Brothers said they plan to incorporate more LGBTQ representation soon, barring any mention of who or when.

We’ve said before about Marvel saying they want to do this is easier than having it done. After all, political and philosophical views on same-sex relationships are more divided than ever.

Considering Marvel is a diverse group of people in making executive decisions, who’s to say they aren’t having internal debates about whether having gay superheroes is a smart marketing move?

Disney owning Marvel might be the reason for the slowdown

Having Disney owning some of the biggest movie franchises in the world has a bright side and a very dark side. In the latter case, we’re already seeing the possibility of Disney shutting out smaller films due to big franchise films like the MCU dominating theaters.

Another side to this is Disney still trying to uphold their conservative values. Since many of their fans represent these demographics, there may be internal fear of alienating them if they openly promote gay superheroes in the MCU films.

So far, they’ve been working around it lightly with little hints at LGBTQ characters. Those in latter community have been calling it out as halfhearted.

Whether it happens in coming years with one of the starring superhero characters is still up in the air. Too bad we don’t have cameras to watch the likely fierce debates going on internally between Disney and Marvel executives on how extensive their diversity should be beyond the talk.