Kevin Feige on The Importance Of Diversity in the MCU

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige (our lord and savior) has helped make comic book movies some of the most profitable films of all time. Feige cut his teeth in the early days before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was established. He produced such films as Spider-Man 2 and Fantastic Four, learning what worked and what didn’t work. Today he continues to guide the MCU, reaching new heights with every film. Both Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange were both smash hits and helped solidify the MCU’s new standard of quality first reached with Captain America: Winter Solider.

Feige has managed to cast an absurd amount of A-list talent in the MCU including Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, Scarlett Johannson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tilda Swinton. As incredible as the cast of the MCU is, there’s one major problem. They are all white.

The upcoming Marvel’s Black Panther solo feature will begin to offset that trend with a cast that includes Chadwick BosemanForest WhitakerMichael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Angela Bassett. While speaking with Variety, Feige expressed the importance of moving forward with a more diverse cast and crew not just racially, but in terms of gender as well:

“When you look at “Black Panther” — when you look at “Captain Marvel,” which will be Brie Larson in the title role — it is a very important thing for us to have diversity both in front of the camera and behind the camera.”

On the subject of Captain Marvel which stars Brie Larson, Feige also added:

“Having a female director at the helm to tell the story of a woman who is also our most powerful hero by far is very important to us.”

While Hollywood and Marvel still have a long way to go, Marvel is already making strides as it recently announced every episode of season two of its female-led series, Jessica Jones will be directed by women.

This year also saw the release of season one of Luke Cage which featured a primarily African-American cast while at the same time remaining inclusive to every race. The series featured an Emmy-worthy performance from actress Alfre Woodard as well as Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick in major parts. But what was exceptional about the series set in Harlem was the way it took hip-hop culture and engrained it into the story, becoming an integral part of the narrative.

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SOURCE: VARIETY

‘The Defenders’ Set Photos Reveal Steamy Reunion

The contents of this article may be considered SPOILERS. You’ve been warned!

The contents of this article may be considered SPOILERS. You’ve been warned!

Luke Cage (Mike Colter) has had several romantic ties with the women of the Netflix corner of the MCU since his introduction in last year’s Jessica Jones. But neither his relationship with Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) nor his fling with Misty Knight (Simone Missick) can compare to the connection he made with Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). Since their reunion in season one of Luke Cage, we watched the two fall for each other as Luke battled for Harlem’s soul.

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At the end of season one of Luke Cage, Luke was being carted off to prison after his true identity was outed. But as we saw Bobby Fish (Ron Cephas Jones) found the documents that will help clear Luke’s name so it’s only a matter of time before Claire takes those documents to her lawyer pal Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) to free Luke from prison.

Netflix is currently filming The Defenders on location in New York City. In case you don’t know, The Defenders is a team-up series that will see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist put their resources together to take on a villainous Sigourney Weaver who’s character still remains a mystery. The series will serve as a follow-up to all of Marvel’s Netflix series including Iron Fist which will make it’s debut this March.

Thanks to NetflixDefenders, a Tumblr account dedicated to The Defenders, we have a look at some steamy set photos revealing what is most likely the reunion of Luke and Claire after Lukes return to New York City from prison.

The series will see the return of many cast members from the Netflix corner of the MCU including Elodie Yung (Elektra), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse), Scott Glenn (Stick), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker) and Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing).

The Defenders stars Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Iron Fist.

The Defenders hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

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SOURCE: NETFLIXDEFENDERS

Three More Join ‘The Defenders’

The Defenders is shaping up to be not only a team up series for the Netflix corner of the MCU, but one that will showcase most of the supporting cast from the rest of the Netflix shows as well.

The Defenders is shaping up to be not only a team up series for the Netflix corner of the MCU, but one that will showcase most of the supporting cast from the rest of the Netflix shows as well.

Just yesterday it was announced that Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson) and Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse) would be joining the cast and today it has been officially announced that another three supporting cast members will be making an appearance as well.

Coming as no great surprise we will see Scott Glenn reprise his role as Stick, who narrated the first teaser for the series. Also joining is fan favorite and Night Nurse herself, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple. Lastly, and a bit unexpectedly, the series will see Rachael Taylor will return as Trish Walker, the best friend and adoptive sister of heroine Jessica Jones.

Little is known about the plot of ‘The Defenders’ at this point. All we know is that it will see the street level heroes of the MCU put their resources together as they team up to take on a villainous Sigourney Weaver who’s character is still unknown.

The Defenders hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

‘Luke Cage’ Season 1 Spoiler Review

Sweet Christmas. Harlem’s hero is here and its about damn time. The new Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage made it’s debut over the weekend, crashing Netflix’s servers along with it. The bulletproof superhero is a well-written, well-cast series that continues to push the bounds of what is achievable on television. Mike Colter is a force as Luke. He wasn’t just playing Luke Cage. He is Luke Cage.

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A hero meant to inspire hope and the battle for Harlem’s soul.

Sweet Christmas. Harlem’s hero is here and it’s about damn time. The new Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage made its debut over the weekend, crashing Netflix’s servers along with it. The bulletproof superhero is a well-written, well-casted series that continues to push the bounds of what is achievable on television. Mike Colter is a force as Luke. He wasn’t just playing Luke Cage. He is Luke Cage.

The first episode takes its time introducing us to the world of Harlem and the culture that is integral to the show. This is the first Marvel series that feels as if it not only takes place in our world, Luke Cage is now.

By the end of episode two, the story kicked into high gear and Luke began his journey to become a hero. The loss of Pops (Frankie Faison) was tragic but necessary. Luke needed his call to action and there couldn’t have been a more powerful way of thrusting him into the center of the drama. Luke knew the only way to shut down Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) was to destroy him one piece at a time until there was nothing left. But you could tell the clock was already ticking for the villains. These gangsters were doing a good enough job at tearing each other apart. Luke helped accelerate their downfall.

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Mike Colter as Luke Cage. (Netflix)

The fourth episode was no doubt one of the best in the series. The flashbacks were seamlessly integrated with the present day storyline and featured some incredible editing in the sequence where Luke punched his way out of prison in the past and the rubble in the present.

The villains of the show are a mixed bag but for the most part positive. Theo Rossi is a talented actor, however. His performance as Shades wasn’t that great at first. I don’t think he realized it, but the moment he stepped into the room with Mahershala Ali, he was gobbled up by Ali’s talent. Rossi was cheesy and seemed out of place. But as the episodes went on, especially once he started having scenes with Alfre Woodard, he evolved and elevated his performance to the same level as the cast around him.

Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth gives Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk a run for his money. He was brilliantly unpredictable as the suave gangster at the top of Harlem. His sense of humor provided a levity that made him likable so when it came time for his origin story you truly felt for him. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy. It didn’t matter how high he rose in power; he would always be standing on that balcony looking down on the club’s musicians with envy. What moved me most about his character was the look of admiration in his eye whenever Luke was in the room. Luke possessed the integrity that he lost forever when he was forced to murder his Uncle.

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Mahershala Ali as Cornell Stokes A.K.A. Cottonmouth. (Netflix)

Where the series faltered was the way in which its criminals were handled. Cottonmouth was dangerous. His goons, not so much. They were cheesy and it takes you out of the gritty realism that is present throughout much of the show. They sure did some shady stuff out in the daytime huh? But in a way that cheese factor helped lend itself to a Marvel meets The Wire sort of feel.

Alfre Woodard was exceptional as she played Mariah Dillard with tremendous conviction. As corrupt and as criminal as she was, I had so much respect for how far she was willing to go to improve Harlem. It was truly shocking when she murdered her cousin Cottonmouth. Nobody expected his death so early. It was disappointing to see such a talent exit with six episodes left to go but it made sense. Cottonmouths death was crucial to the destabilization of the criminal climate in Harlem. The show would have also risked feeling overcrowded with villains if he was still in the mix once Diamondback finally made his debut.

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Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage. (Marvel/Netflix)

The midpoint of this series was unbelievable. From Luke being shot to Cottonmouths death, it was twist after twist after twist. My head was spinning. It felt like anything could happen at that point. No one was safe.

As grounded as this series was, even with super strength and cellular regeneration in the mix, it was the introduction of bullets made from alien technology that helped take this show to the next level while still remaining inherently street. Episode six felt like it could have been a finale but the twists of the sixth, seventh, and eighth installments helped set a new stage and rejuvenate the series’ life for the final five episodes, making this one of the most binge-worthy shows ever. (Daredevil should take note of this.)

The final five episodes were exceptional. We got to fully discover Luke’s backstory in Georgia and out came the heartbreaking truth about Reva. It had been frustrating me that we didn’t know more about the history of these characters as I was watching but the brilliant writers held back, waiting for the perfect moments to dole out the truth of the past, having the most impactful effect possible on the present.

Luke coming to the understanding that he wasn’t in love with Reva, rather he was infatuated with the idea of Reva was probably the most real moment in the entire show. Luke is good, though. He and Claire are already Mom and Dad.

The dynamic between Misty Knight and her Lieutenant was also impressive. Instead of Misty butting heads with the L.T. for the duration of the series, instead, she began to learn from her superior and grew because of it. Without that, I don’t think Misty would have been able to survive the series. Thank god she did because she is amazing. The way she was edited back into the crime scenes for her visions was incredible.

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The end of the series was incredibly powerful and inspirational as a bulletproof black man in a hoodie became a hero. Luke battled for his and Harlem’s soul in the street with Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey), sporting a hammer tech suit that was a perfect adaption of his look from the comics. Diamondback was scary and entertaining but I thought he overplayed most of the time, however. He did come to play ball in the climactic showdown with Luke. The action in the Netflix corner of the MCU isn’t as epic as the feature films but that’s what makes it stand out. It’s raw and the fights are much more creative and artistic with the stunts and camera operation. How awesome was it when Luke delivered that last hit launching Diamond back into the air and leaving him nothing more but a broke ass?

What I loved the most about the finale is that all of the villains who were alive at the beginning were still alive at the end. In Luke Cage, the bad guys can win. We can assume we’ll see the return of Mariah Dillard and Diamondback in the inevitable second season.

Luke is heading back to prison but we know that isn’t going to last.

8.9 – GREAT

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‘Luke Cage’ Showrunner On The Shows ‘Inclusive Blackness’

Luke Cage comes at a time when a bulletproof black man couldn’t be any more relevant. Speaking with students at Morgan State University on Thursday, Showrunner Cheo Hodari Choker discussed the shows ‘inclusive blackness’.

Luke Cage comes at a time when a bulletproof black man couldn’t be any more relevant. Speaking with students at Morgan State University on Thursday, Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker discussed the shows ‘inclusive blackness.’

I see ‘Luke Cage’ as what I call ‘inclusive blackness.’ When I say that the show is ‘inclusively black.’ I mean that it is a deep meditation on our culture, but it’s done in such a way that when people watch the show, they don’t feel like they’re excluded from the story or the experience of watching the story.

The show features a mostly African-American cast and it’s incredibly refreshing. Even though the show is dealing with superpowers, theres something about it that feels more true to life than anything else Marvel has done in the past.

Coker also commented on the current state of racism in Hollywood.

The racism in Hollywood is not usually just ‘Oh, you’re black, you can’t do it.’ The new racism is not getting the benefit of the doubt, meaning that you’re not considered for projects because you’re black.

My hope is that the show will be looked back on as a milestone in entertainment history. One that paved the way for superheroes of all races leading their own films or television shows.

I’m currently nine episodes deep into the series and thoroughly enjoying it. Mike Colter is fantastic as Luke and Misty Knight(Simone Missick) is sure to be the fan favorite, however. The stand out performances are coming from the antagonists Mariah Stokes (Alfre Woodard) and Cornell Stokes a.k.a. Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali).

To see what else Coker had to say head on over to the Baltimore City Paper.

Luke Cage is now streaming on Netflix.

SOURCE: BALTIMORE CITY PAPER