It took just over 10 years and 20 films for Marvel Studios to release a movie with a female character in the title with this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. It will be several more months before Marvel releases their first solely female-led film in Captain Marvel. It is long overdue and while Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige can’t fix the past, he assures that this mistake will not be repeated in the future.

“With [Ant-Man and The Wasp] and now with Captain Marvel and many movies to be announced in the near future, I’m anxious for the time where it’s not a novelty that there is a female-led superhero movie, but it is a norm,” Feige tells Entertainment Weekly. “And it is less a story of, ‘Oh, look, a female hero,’ and it’s more a story of, ‘Oh, what’s this about? Who’s this character? I’m excited to see that.’ And I think we can get there.”

Feige can certainly lead Marvel Studios there. A Marvel Cinematic Universe and broader superhero genre in which movies starring female leads and people of color are just part of the slate, like all the films starring white males, is a worthwhile goal. Achieving that goal requires a commitment that goes beyond a couple of films like Captain Marvel and Black Panther.

The next female-led movie for Marvel Studios after Captain Marvel next March will be Black Widow. The film is being directed by Cate Shortland and will star, of course, Scarlett Johansson. Black Widow will probably shoot next year for a 2020 release.

One potential issue on the horizon could be immediate, lazy comparisons between Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman as if only one female-led superhero franchise can win. It is natural and fair to compare superhero films to one another, but that should mean assessing where Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman stand relative to the entire genre (which is how all male-led films are assessed) rather than limiting the field to just those two franchises.

Feige doesn’t see Wonder Woman as a competitor to Captain Marvel, but an ally to root for.

“I’ve always said, I root for all genre movies because the success of those movies helps us,” he explains. “Because not everybody knows the difference between what studio makes what movie or what comic book company what character comes from. So I’m very pleased when any film in our genre [does well] — not just superheroes, but action or sci-fi or anything. The success of Wonder Woman made me very happy because as I’ve said before in the press, I’d much rather the question be, ‘Oh gosh, what did you think about that successful female-led hero that came out a few years ago?’ Rather than the question I used to get, which was, ‘Are you afraid that people don’t want to see a female hero?’”

Feige is correct in that many moviegoers still don’t know the difference between one superhero universe and another, so cheering every film in the genre (and across other genres) is the best approach. A rising tide lifts all boats, including the ones with female captains.

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly