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Marvel boss promises ‘heck of a lot’ more female directors

Bringing the total number up to two following Captain Marvel

Black Widow Marvel Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige promises Marvel is going to hire “a heck of a lot” more women for future Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Feige spoke at the Produced By conference in Los Angeles today, exploring a range of topics related to the MCU. One question that came up during an audience Q&A asked whether Feige and the team at Marvel have plans to hire more women for directorial roles — an area they’ve sorely lacked representation in.

“I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors but a heck of a lot of them will,” Feige said, as reported by Variety.

The current iteration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently made up of 19 films, with this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp marking the 20th instalment in the franchise. Not one Marvel movie of those 20 was directed by a woman. The first Marvel movie to be directed by a woman will be next year’s Captain Marvel, which Anna Boden will co-direct.

Still, Feige’s promises can be viewed with skepticism.

He has promised a number of female-led vehicles at Marvel that never came to fruition. He’s spoken about working on a Black Widow stand-alone movie ever since her debut in Iron Man 2, addressed fans’ enthusiasm in 2014 for more female-led superhero movies by saying Marvel wanted to produce that movie and most recently was met with questions from Marvel actors over a female-team-up movie. Feige is always in support of these movies, but they’ve never really happened. It seems, more than eight years later, that a Black Widow movie may finally happen, but there’s also a good possibility that it won’t.

Bringing on more female and female-identifying directors to work on superhero movies about female or female-identifying superheroes is an important move for Marvel. The last time a female director was rumored to be in final negotiations to take on a major Marvel movie was Ava DuVernay for Black Panther. DuVernay stepped away from the project citing creative differences, and Ryan Coogler stepped in to direct.

It’s not all negative, of course. The studio has done a better job of incorporating female characters, like Gamora, Nebula, Captain Marvel and Mantis, but there’s certainly always more work to be done.

Feige did not suggest whether the studio was engaging in talks with female directors for upcoming movies, but that will certainly be the question on everyone’s mind going forward.

The next Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, is directed by Peyton Reed. It will be released on July 6.