Diversity Controversy Sparked by Jessica Alba’s Marvel Statement Because “She’s Factually Right”

The Fantastic Four (2005) star Jessica Alba spoke in a recent interview with Glamor UK Magazine about how the Marvel Cinematic Universe still has a long way to go in terms of racial diversity. The actress thought the majority of the main characters in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) were Caucasian because she starred in two Fox productions of Marvel’s First Family, The Fantastic Four.

It was claimed in the interview that Jessica Alba’s own diverse ancestry seemed to have supported this theory. The 41-year-old Californian has Mexican-Indian, Spanish and French ancestry on her father’s side, and French and Danish ancestry on her mother’s side. Alba continued by noting the lack of diversity at Marvel before Disney bought the company. The actress claims that most things haven’t changed, however.

On July 21st, after this interview was published, many MCU followers reacted to what she said. Others seemed to agree with Jessica Alba, while some defended the brand by noting the recent addition of various characters. Twitter user @RichHomieKony provided such a comment, mentioning:

“Marvel has made strides in promoting diversity recently, but she’s technically correct when she says Marvel is still predominantly white.”

@BuzzFeed @realRoseMulet There have been 23 Marvel movies released since 2015. Only 3 of those 23 films contained a main character who was not white. Though Marvel has been making strides toward diversity lately, she’s absolutely right when she notes that the company is still mostly white.

What does Jessica Alba have to say about the diversity of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Here’s what the actress-turned-entrepreneur-turned-actress said when discussing the diversity of Marvel movies before the studios were acquired by The Walt Disney Company:

“If you look at the Marvel movies, they’re the biggest driver of imagination and what’s going on in entertainment right now because it’s sort of a family concept — it’s still pretty Caucasian.”
Jessica Alba later hinted that her selection in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four series was an example of diversity due to her mixed parentage. She further added:

“Back then I would say I was one of the few. It was also before Disney bought Marvel, but it’s still pretty much the same.”
But it should be noted that when Fox decided to revive the series in 2015, the production company chose Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Captain America star Chris Evans previously played the role.

MCU fans are responding to Jessica Alba’s request that the studio offer more variety.

Many fans have defended the MCU, citing its recent initiatives to include more characters of color or from the LGBTQ+ community. Many comments criticized Jessica Alba for not mentioning the various characters that have featured in MCU films over the past few years. However, it’s not certain if Alba acknowledged the recent inclusion of characters from diverse backgrounds, as Glamor Magazine’s interview with the actress contained only a very small number of comments about her opinion of Marvel’s diverse character roster.

@BuzzFeed In hindsight she’s not wrong I suppose. There are tons of non-white characters to introduce as I’m tired of seeing people of different races play the same roles. Please specify some uniqueness!

@BuzzFeed The last show was literally about a Muslim American Pakistani girl.

I will never understand the “representation business”.
Simply put, the position should go to the best candidate.

People don’t realize how unethical it is to require a production company to select actors of a certain race or ethnicity in order to ensure *representation*.

Jessica Alba has been the target of heavy criticism from MCU fans for her statement that Marvel films are “too Caucasian.” That’s why you go after her all because she’s right.
Jessica Alba: Marvel movies are too racially diverse.

Avengers fans: They’re not, as evidenced by the 3 or so films out of 40+ that don’t have a white actor (@nick weaver4 @Pollos Hernandy). I AGREE. However, the MCU HAS evolved and has become more representative over the years. Black Panther and Blade both have a predominantly black cast, while The Marvels is one of the most diverse films of the future. The real problem with the MCU is ethnic kidnapping and whitewashing.

@Pollos Hernandy @MalikB5498 Not only that, but it seems obvious that they are using a fountain that is definitely not meant for them to lighten their skin tone. Make them appear less Caucasian and more like a Simpsons character.

MCU supporters largely agree that the franchise has done a good job of bringing diverse main characters into its films, starting with 2018’s Black Panther starring the late Chadwick Boseman, was in attendance. Ryan Coogler, a black director, co-wrote and directed the film in addition to its black cast.

In contrast, Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, made history in 2019 by becoming one of the MCU’s first female superheroes. Similarly, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was the second such film with a female lead, released two years later. Marvel’s first Asian superhero was featured in Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings that same year. Iman Vellani’s portrayal of Kamala Khan in Disney Plus’ Ms. Marvel has completed the trifecta of diverse actors in those roles. Khan was born in Karachi which makes her not only a young Muslim but also a person of South Asian descent.

With the introduction of new characters like Riri Williams in Disney Plus’ Iron Heart and the potential for Shuri to take on the iconic Black Panther mantle in the sequel, Wakanda Forever, Marvel seems to be offering more variety as well.