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Disney Board Hopeful Criticizes Marvel About Inclusion, Takes Aim At Black Panther And More

 Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.
Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe features countless characters and, in more recent years, the superhero franchise has opted to freshen up its roster of major players. Younger and more diverse MCU heroes have particularly been entering the fray amongst the Multiverse Saga. A number of these characters have seemingly started to strike a chord with audiences since their respective introductions. Now, an investor – who’s hoping to become a board member of Marvel Studios’ parent company, Disney – is sharing his critiques of the creatives’ efforts to be inclusive. And he specifically took aim at Black Panther and other titles while discussing them.

Nelson Peltz is the individual who’s apparently not too a big fan of the diversity that’s become present within the MCU in recent years. The 81-year-old investor made his thoughts known while chatting with the Financial Times about his efforts to join Disney’s board of directors. During the interview, Peltz questioned the need for a Marvel movie that only features African American stars or a film that only highlights women:

Why do I have to have a Marvel [movie] that’s all women? Not that I have anything against women, but why do I have to do that? Why can’t I have Marvels that are both? Why do I need an all-Black cast?

To be clear, Marvel Studios has not produced a film that falls under any of those categories. 2018’s Black Panther and its 2022 sequel, Wakanda Forever, both feature predominantly (and not solely) Black casts. Likewise, the 2019 film Captain Marvel nor its 2023 follow-up, The Marvels, has a cast that’s solely made up of female performers. In short, the films do highlight characters of color and put women at the forefront, but they don’t exclude talent that falls outside of those particular demographics.

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It’s honestly a bit interesting that Nelson Peltz would choose to chastise these titles specifically, especially considering some are amongst the highest grossing MCU offerings. Black Panther consistently shattered box office records years ago and finished its theatrical run with an impressive $1.3 billion worldwide cume. Wakanda Forever didn’t hit those financial heights but still managed to rake in $856 million globally. Captain Marvel’s haul at the BO was also strong, as it earned $1.1 billion. The Marvels brought in only $206 million last year, though one could argue that external factors like the ongoing Hollywood strikes and lack of promotion played into that.

Some trolls have called out Marvel Studios for its diversity efforts, which coincide with a period of time that many have viewed as a creative slump for the company. It doesn’t seem that the superhero entertainment  house is planning to pull back on that front, though. Shang-Chi, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and Maya Lopez (Echo) are just a few of the characters who’ve played large roles in the MCU as of late. And even more diverse characters seem to be on the way under the guidance of studio president Kevin Feige. As for whether Feige should be removed from his post, Nelson Peltz also said:

I’m not ready to say that, but I question his record.

That professional “record” would include birthing a massive multimedia franchise that now spans both movies and TV shows. And cumulatively, the MCU’s 33 films have grossed $29.8 billion globally. With that in mind, it would be quite surprising if Disney cut ties with Kevin Feige, who’s also the CCO of Marvel Entertainment. On top of that, I’d be even more shocked if the successful exec and his colleagues steer away from their efforts to diversify their franchise.

You can stream Black Panther, Captain Marvel and the rest of the Marvel movies in order using a Disney+ subscription.