Both LucasFilm and Marvel have come under pressure for making movies with a certain lack of leading female characters. Star Wars: Episode VII was hit hardest after the initial cast was announced, revealing only one new female cast member, unknown actress Daisy Ridley, who was joining the only other woman at the table read, Carrie Fisher, reprising her iconic role as Princess Leia. Marvel has felt the pressure too, as fans loudly demand a female led superhero movie, hoping for a Black Widow solo adventure or a stand-alone Captain Marvel franchise. While these are certainly still possibilities, and may even be announced at Comic-Con this Saturday, Kevin Feige has stated that his studio will not be forced into making a female superhero movie.
Speaking with Screen Crush about the backlash, he promised Marvel would not be swayed by the outrage, and will continue making the movies that they want to make. And if that includes a female-driven adventure, then great. It's something that will probably happen sooner then later (with Captain Marvel even rumored to have a cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
Asked if he felt the same pressure that J.J. Abrams felt when the Star Wars: Episode VII cast was announced, a reaction which many believe led to the casting of Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie later on, Kevin Feige helped clear the air,
"I don't think J.J. Abrams or the Star Wars people - I have no idea - but my guess is that they were not swayed by any backlash. We're not going to be swayed by the backlash. We're going to keep bringing the movies out the way we envision it and the way we believe in it - and that includes diversity in all of the active films. And certainly, on our development slate of many of the characters - some of which you just named - and always being conscious of that. The great thing for us is the comics have been conscious of that through the decades and have been rather pioneering in that over the years."
Kevin Feige then commented on the recent changes to Thor, who is now a woman, and Captain America, who is now The Falcon, an African-American. Will we see these iterations on the big screen in the future?
"Well, look, listen, as you know, that's happened before in the comics. It's getting a lot of attention because they've just done it, but both of those things have happened in the past. So, it's always that's part of the fun. There's always that chance to surprise people or to switch up - a number of people have worn the Cap' costume. A number of people have lifted Mjölnir. So, that's all fodder for future storytelling."