Feb 18, 2023 - Economy

Charted: Diversity behind the camera in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Data: Axios research; Photos: Getty Images; Chart: Thomas Oide and Lindsey Bailey/Axios

It took almost a decade, and 17 movies, for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to branch out from white, male directors. But once it did, the floodgates opened.

Driving the news: "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" — the newest MCU movie, released on Friday and directed by Peyton Reed — is only the second Marvel movie released since 2021 that is directed by a white man.

  • Five of the last seven MCU movies have been directed by women or people of color.

Yes but: It took nearly a decade from the MCU's inception in 2008 to introduce a director of color: Taika Waititi who directed Thor: Ragnarok in 2017.

After Waititi's introduction into the MCU, directors of color helmed more and more of the biggest, most popular movies.

  • Ryan Coogler, director of both Black Panther movies, became the MCU's first Black director with the release of Black Panther in 2018.
  • Anna Boden, who co-directed Captain Marvel with Ryan Fleck, became the first female director upon the film's release in 2019.
  • Cate Shortland became the first solo woman director in the MCU with the release of Black Widow in 2021.
  • Destin Daniel Cretton became the first Asian-American director in the MCU with the release of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021.
  • Chloé Zhao became the only woman of color to direct an MCU film with the release of Eternals in 2021.
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