Saturday, August 15, 2020

Thor: Love And Thunder’s Tessa Thompson Says Better Representation In The MCU Is A Big Deal

Disney and Marvel Studios have been on a mission to increase diversity for quite a while now. Justifiably stung by accusations that the team in 2012’s The Avengers were overwhelmingly straight white men, they began expanding their casting. That process is set to accelerate in Phase 4, with movies like Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder either introducing or putting a spotlight on a more diverse set of heroes.

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Disney and Marvel Studios have been on a mission to increase diversity for quite a while now. Justifiably stung by accusations that the team in 2012’s The Avengers were overwhelmingly straight white men, they began expanding their casting. That process is set to accelerate in Phase 4, with movies like Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder either introducing or putting a spotlight on a more diverse set of heroes.

Leading the charge in this is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who Kevin Feige confirmed will get an LGBTQ-focused storyline last year. Thompson recently discussed the evolution of the MCU’s diversity and why it’s important during an interview with Variety’s Actors on Actors series, saying:

“I think in this next phase of Marvel, we’re really talking about what representation looks like in those spaces. Because the truth is these movies travel globally in such huge ways, and if you can represent people that are of color, if you can represent people with disabilities, if you can represent the LGBTQIA community inside of these films, it’s a pretty big deal. There’s millions and millions of people, particularly young people, that show up to the cinema. And I think if you can show them something that looks like them, they feel valued. Particularly inside of these narratives of the comic books, that’s what it’s all about. It’s that our differences make us special.”

Stan Lee couldn’t have put it better himself. Granted, there will be the usual suspects grousing about this, but almost from its inception, Marvel Comics has been about using superhero stories to reflect real-world diversity and using political allegories (most famously with the X-Men). In addition, it’s also a simple matter of relevance. If the MCU wants to stay popular, it has to reflect the society that the films are being released into, and audiences around the world want to see heroes that reflect themselves on the big screen. If you’re not on board, well, this is The Walt Disney Corporation, they have shareholders and that’s capitalism for you.

Thompson was later asked what better representation means for Valkyrie in her upcoming appearances, saying:

“I’m really excited that we’re able to continue to push the bounds of that and that I’m able to do that with Valkyrie, because there’s so many cool queer characters in the comic books and they should have a place on-screen.”

We’ll next see Thompson’s Valkyrie in Thor: Love and Thunder on February 11th, 2022.

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