Even as this year’s slate of Marvel Studios properties features Ms. Marvel, a Disney+ series dedicated to the first Muslim superhero, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the follow-up to the widely successful 2018 film Black Panther, Jessica Alba believes the franchise still hasn’t done enough to address the issue of diversity.
“Even if you look at the Marvel movies – that’s the biggest driver of fantasy and what’s happening right now in entertainment, because it’s sort of the family thing – it’s still quite Caucasian,” Alba told Glamour UK. “I would say I was one of the few back in the day… And it was before Marvel was sold to Disney, but it’s still quite more of the same.”
Alba, who is Latina, played Susan Storm in 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer, both of which were distributed by 20th Century Fox, well before the merger with Disney.
Marvel Studios has made progress towards becoming more inclusive in recent years with The Falcon taking over as Captain America, releasing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings last year with an Asian-American superhero, and getting Latino actor Oscar Isaac to play Moon Knight in the series of the same name. Alba said her push for greater diversity stems from a desire for younger people to see themselves represented in Hollywood.
“I just think more for the younger people who are coming up, who are going to be our future leaders, it’s important for them to see the world on screen, or in stories, in the dreams that we create as entertainers; it reflects the world that they’re in,” she explained.
Before dedicating her time and effort to her billion-dollar empire Honest Company, Alba was an actress who endured an industry that consistently struggled to put her in a box due to her heritage.
“They couldn’t figure out my ethnicity. I would always go out for ‘exotic,’” she recalled in a 2017 interview with PopSugar. “They were like, ‘You’re not Latin enough to play a Latina, and you’re not Caucasian enough to play the leading lady, so you’re going to be the ‘exotic’ one.’ Whatever that was.”
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige could possibly announce something about the direction of the MCU in the coming days at Comic-Con, but more likely at the D23 Expo in September.