Thursday, August 11 2022

By Charlene Badasie | Posted

Calls for new diversity efforts in the entertainment industry have finally begun to materialize in major movie franchises. Both Star Wars and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe have seen big expansions in their on-screen representation. After 2018 Black Panther, the studio has really stepped up its policy of inclusivity. But no matter how hard movie bosses try to do well with their audiences, it’s still not enough for some people. Jessica Alba recently shared her thoughts on the state of the film industry while taking aim at Marvel Studios.

Speaking to Glamor UK, the actress said the superhero franchise is still too dominated by white actors. And while she believes there has been a growth in representation, she claimed it was not sincere. Instead, Jessica Alba called the shift to more inclusive castings “a business move” for those who realized that more diversity led to increased profits. She noted that more improvements were needed and specifically targeted the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Even if you watch the Marvel movies…it’s still pretty Caucasian.”

Jessica Alba then mentioned herself as one of the first non-white actresses to be cast in a Marvel property, referencing her role in 2005. The Fantastic Four. “I would say I was one of the few at the time. And that was before Marvel was sold to Disney… But it’s still… more or less the same,” she told the publication. Ironically, the 41-year-old (of Mexican descent) had no problem changing her naturally dark hair to blonde and allowing the filmmakers to lighten her complexion, so she mingled with her co-stars from superheroes at the time.

Despite the technical glitches in her argument, casting Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in the first two adaptations of Marvel’s First Family marked a major point in superhero movies. This meant that a character’s race in the comic book pages no longer prohibited an actor of a different race from playing them on the big screen. There were a few bolder attempts in the same direction in the years that followed. Some went almost unnoticed, like Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin in DaredeviI. While others, like the cast of Michael B. Jordan in 2015 The Fantastic Four provoked a fiery speech among the fans.

Contrary to Jessica Alba’s claims, diversity in superhero movies isn’t a big deal for most fans – if it’s done right. Phase four of Marvel movies and TV shows are bringing more people of color to the camera than ever before. This includes Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as well as the next Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It only becomes a “problem” when a legacy character is changed so dramatically (race, gender or otherwise) that they are no longer recognizable.

Meanwhile, Jessica Alba’s acting career has been pretty quiet for the past few years. Most recently, she starred opposite Gabrielle Union in LA’s Finest. But the action comedy series about two female detectives was canceled after two seasons. However, the Marvel alum is set to appear in Trigger warning by director Mouly Surya. The story follows a traumatized veteran who inherits his grandfather’s bar and faces a moral dilemma after learning the truth of his untimely death.


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