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10 years and no women in the MCU? Blame it on Kevin Feige's childhood

Where are the women? (Picture: Marvel/Rex/Getty)

In 2018, Marvel are making one small step for the studio and a giant leap for female superheroes by giving a woman the first equal billing in Ant-Man And The Wasp.

And actually, although a sequel to 2015s smash comedy, this film should really be called The Wasp And Ant-Man, so front and centre is Evangeline Lillys character, Hope Pym.

With this latest Marvel movie the 20th in ten years, its still baffling that arguably the biggest studio in the world has taken so long to give audiences a movie that gives a female perspective – DC Comics and Warner Bros did it in four years with Wonder Woman – but also, perhaps not all that surprising.

I think Kevin Feige was such an enormous comic book lover when he was young – he spent his childhood obsessing over comic books – and the majority of comic book characters were male and they permeated his subconscious, and he probably spent so many hours fantasizing about being them that by the time he got to finally exorcise all of that stuff that he had ingested what came out was what had preoccupied his thoughts as young man, suggests Lilly who plays the titular Wasp.

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Then one day, he had his head down and he worked and he worked and he worked – and this is all speculation – but he probably sat up and looked around at his world and went “where are all the women? Wait a minute, I need to fix this”, as there is a really innocent desire [at Marvel] to represent women all the time really well.

From the very beginning, Agent Carter and Black Widow and Scarlet Witch and Okoye and the women of Black Panther, and Tessa in Thor: Ragnorak… they are formidable women and [Kevin] does a great job, and they do a great job, of creating female characters.

But I think it may have just occurred to him all of a sudden that, “wait, they are not title nor leading characters and we need to fix this.”

10 years and no women in the MCU? Blame it on Kevin Feige's childhood

Kevin Feige (Picture: Getty)

Its easy to place blame on Kevin Feige, a producer with Marvel for nearly two decades and the President of the studio since 2007 (he is also known as the Godfather of us all, says Lily).

Others point the finger at Ike Perlmutter, Chairman of Marvel Entertainment but a man who many claim is stuck in the past and, as one source previously told Vanity Fair, neither discriminates nor cares about diversity, just cares about what he thinks will make money.

The studio however talk about [the female audience] all the time, says director Peyton Reed, who joined the franchise in 2015.

And not just the female audience, every audience. We want to make movies that are reflective of the audience at large. People want to see themselves on screen and see different storytelling points of view for these different characters, and the Marvel comic library is so dense with all these characters, male and female, so I think its absolutely part of the plan.

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Plus as he adds, as Marvel have achieved successes that theres no excuse not to.

10 years and no women in the MCU? Blame it on Kevin Feige's childhood

Evangeline Lilly takes centre stage (Picture: Marvel)

As for why its taken so long, Reed also suggests that ten years ago superhero films just werent viable and that the studio had to start with male-focused movies.

People forget in 2008 it was a chance doing a movie that combined super heroics and comedy and casting Robert Downey Jr, he says.

I think these were considered B- or C- movies before that, and I think, its like having proof of a concept – will anyone go see Iron Man or Thor or Captain America? Its a risky proposition as little as eight, or even seven years ago, so finally its proving the viability and getting the MCU in place and it has taken a while.

Feige has previously admitted that he did wish Marvel got there first when it came to a female-fronted comic movie and he remains insistent that everything will work out; by all accounts, Captain Marvel is looking like another MCU success, with a major teaser at the end of Infinity War.

We of course have Black Widow and Scarlet Witch but for me, I am extremely proud to be the first to have a female Marvel hero in the title, adds Reed.

When we found out we could do a sequel, it seemed like the logical progression, Ant-Man And Wasp were a partnership to me, that has been the story since 1962, so for me it is about damn time.

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Ant-Man And The Wasp is out in cinemas on 2 August.

MORE: Fans are loving a gay sex scene between Pyro and Iceman in the newest X-Men Gold issue

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