Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)

Mark Ruffalo says Kevin Feige was set to leave Marvel if MCU wasn’t allowed more diversity

It might seem like a no-brainer that inclusivity in the Marvel Universe, both in the comic book realm and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a good thing — but apparently we should be lauding Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige all the more so for the vision with which he has so meticulously shaped the MCU in the past dozen years.

With upcoming offerings such as Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals and an upcoming She-Hulk series for Disney+ looming on the horizon, the MCU stands to be more diverse and comprehensive than ever before — but it wouldn’t have been that way if Feige hadn’t “fought long and hard against Disney executives to get the MCU to an inclusive place,” according to Bruce Banner/Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel
Black Panther and Captain Marvel were two of the most profitable films in MCU history

“When we did the first ‘Avengers,’ Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow,’” Ruffalo explained in an interview with The Independent. “And he’s like, ‘Ike does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring super movie.’ So if I am still here tomorrow you will know that I won that battle.’” The “Ike” to which Feige was referring was Ike Perlmutter, former CEO and current chairman of Marvel Entertainment and one of the biggest impediments to Feige’s creative decisions before the latter became not only president of the MCU but also Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer.

“That was the turning point for Marvel,” Ruffalo continued. “Because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes. He changed the whole Marvel universe. (And of course, Perlmutter wasn’t correct about people not going to a “female-starring super movie,” considering Captain Marvel, which made $414.0 million in profit, stands as the fourth most profitable film in the history of the MCU.)

“We now have gay superheroes, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She Hulk next. No other studio is being that forwardly inclusive on that level.

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson is set to star as Black Widow in her own solo film on May 7th, 2021

“They have to, though,” he added. “This is the f***ing world. The culture is way ahead of the politics.”

Ruffalo, who has played the dual-role of Bruce Banner and the Hulk in the MCU since 2012, is set to return in some capacity as the Hulk in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe phases, although to what extent at this point is unknown. (Although we hope he reprises his excellent chemistry with Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson sooner rather than later.)

What do you think of actor Mark Ruffalo’s comments regarding Kevin Feige’s fight for inclusivity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments.

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