2020 will likely be remembered as a watershed year for civil rights. Now, more than ever before, Americans are out in the streets protesting for the equitable treatment of BIPOC people. The sentiment is reverberating throughout society, but it’s being felt especially in entertainment, where representation of minorities in film and TV has long been pretty meagre.
Despite films like Black Panther, Disney’s larger Marvel Universe has been guilty of this. But their new commitments to standards for minority representation have already started to make a positive change. Of the seven upcoming movies for whom directors have been announced, only two will be directed by white men. The production company used Comic-Con@Home to reveal a sneak peak of its forthcoming Disney+ documentary series called Marvel 616. According to Marvel, each episode, directed by a unique filmmaker, will be a standalone documentary exploring the diverse and inclusive values of the Marvel world. (The first, directed by actress and director Gillian Jacobs, will draw attention to the women of Marvel Comics.)
“A lot of people have an idea of what Marvel fans and fandom looks like,” executive producer Sarah Amos says in a panel for the series. “Marvel has characters and creators that speak to every walk of life. I’m very very excited for everyone to watch it at home and see themselves reflected in the people on screen.”
Amos was joined at the panel by show producer Jason Sterman. “The process of making a documentary allows for the inclusion of different voices and interests within the Marvel world,” Sterman says. He adds that everyone behind the camera brings a different point of view to a character and their storyline, and that 616 will spotlight creators whose take on the Universe hasn’t been heard before.
While it may just be a documentary, 616 offers an opportunity to go beyond the cursory makings of a superhero movie and address critical issues at our cultural forefront. The panelists muse that their duty is to challenge viewers’ expectations and explore the full scope of Marvel’s multifaceted world. We can only hope that each episode will do so, not just in the character backgrounds they consider, but in the perspectives they represent.
This content was originally published here.