Black Panther’s Meteoric Success Encouraged Marvel To Pursue More Diverse Stories
No one, not even the wishful thinkers among Marvel’s impassioned fanbase, expected Black Panther to reach the dizzying heights of $1.34 billion – $699M of which was collected in North America. For the record, only Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens have earned more at the domestic box office.
Ryan Coogler’s Afrocentric epic made history, then, and its meteoric success has left Marvel Studios “emboldened” to pursue more diverse MCU stories. That’s according to head honcho Kevin Feige, who spoke to ComingSoon.net in anticipation of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
And so, after outlining the next pint-sized adventure from Peyton Reed, Feige took a moment to reflect on the ways in which Marvel handled Black Panther, and its inherent ability to shine the spotlight on marginalized groups.
It was the path that we were heading in any way because they’re great stories from the comics. The success of Black Panther, like a lot of things with the history of Marvel Studios, has just emboldened us to just continue doing that and to continue heading forward with that.
The Marvel Studios boss then went on to name-drop the sci-fi genre as a prescient platform in that stories like the X-Men are able to mirror contemporary societies and the challenges they face – xenophobia, for instance.
And you’re bringing it to a great point that that’s what genre films are. That’s what I loved about genre films – science fiction films is you’re telling these very serious, very real stories – the X-Men are a great example of that – any great science fiction stories where you’re dealing with things like alien races or wars but you’re really talking about contemporary society. You’re really talking about people which is what I love. It gives you something fun and entertaining to watch on screen because that’s what I wanna see when I go to the movies but you’re getting a message.
In closing, Feige recalled the advice given to him by Black Panther‘s director, Ryan Coogler:
Empathy is a great word that you’re saying and Ryan Coogler used to say something great when people would ask him, ‘Will non-people of color be able to see this movie?’ and he was like ‘Yes. I’ve watched white characters for so long and connected with them.’
Coogler looks set to return at the helm for Marvel’s Black Panther sequel, too – even if it takes another 12-48 months before the wheels are in motion. Next up for King T’Challa, meanwhile, is the arrival of Avengers 4 in May of 2019.