While its Academy Award-winning predecessor, 2018’s Black Panther, made history at the Oscars and paved way for greater representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we take a look at how far the MCU has come, leading up to Wakanda Forever’s release.
Just a few years following the #OscarsSoWhite campaign that boycotted the award ceremony for its poor standards of racial inclusivity, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther defied all odds, securing multiple nominations at the Academy Awards, including the much-coveted Best Picture category.
Prior to that, the MCU, like most successful film franchises over the last decade, would predominantly feature white, cis-het men as major characters across its many films.
A study conducted by the Bergen County Technical High School in New Jersey, USA, analysed the four Avengers films - the most popular film events in the franchise - in terms of whether or not they passed the Bechdel Test.
The Bechdel Test was developed in the 1980s to measure the appearance and portrayal of women in any given piece of media. Movies that failed the Bechdel Test also lacked central women characters, their women characters had less meaningful roles than male characters, they lacked meaningful relationships with both men and women, and there were fewer women in the film in general.
According to the test:
The results of the Bechdel Test on the Avengers films were as follows:
Data collected in the Hollywood Diversity Report 2022 by the University of California Los Angeles which analysed content from the previous year, made the following observations:
In the years since, the MCU has evolved and restructured itself, keeping up with the rapidly expanding standards of inclusivity in Hollywood in order to increase representation from minority communities.
Here’s a quick look at all the standout roles in Phase 4 of the MCU that have been a step forward towards greater inclusivity in mainstream Hollywood: