How the MCU is addressing its messy history with diversity by Axios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, but until recently, the characters it depicts on screen did not reflect the diversity right outside our windows. We manually collected data on every named character in the MCU, and their associated race or gender as depicted on screen.

Our analysis found that Black Panther was a turning point, prior to that film every single movie had featured a white man as the titular character, after Black panther, 11 out of 16 nonensemble projects featured a woman or person of color as the titular character. We found that in the early phases of the MCU, the percentage of characters of color was between 22-26%, while later phases ticked up to 41-52%. On gender they lag further behind, with only 36% women characters in the most recent projects.

Our story is designed and laid out as a comic, and features nearly 40 original illustrations.

  • Credits
    Reporting: Sara Wise, Will Chase, Nicki Camberg, Lindsey Bailey and Sara Fischer; Illustrations: Lindsey Bailey, Allie Carl, Sarah Grillo, Maura Losch and Brendan Lynch; Data collection and analysis: Will Chase, Nicki Camberg, Thomas Oide, Skye Witley, Sara Wise; Design and production: Will Chase, Sara Wise, Sarah Grillo; Editing: Sara Wise, Will Chase, Sarah Grillo, Sheryl Miller
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