Disney investor-turned-foe Nelson Peltz questions Marvel’s recent strategy

81-year-old Nelson Peltz recently questioned in an interview why Marvel films sported “all women” and “all black” casts.

nelson peltz, disney

It’s no secret that Disney’s effort to display more diversity has been criticized in the past, and it becomes a hotbed of controversy. The debate would notably heat up when established characters would be cast with actors of another race or sex. However, movies like Marvel Studios’ Black Panther films and The Marvels would attempt to capitalize on the brand’s comic IP, which has already been established in the comic world as diverse characters. The reception of the movies would differ, as the Black Panther movies became smash hits at the box office while The Marvels fizzled with some of the studio’s lowest performances.

While the success of these films and other films like Black Widow or the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World seem to fluctuate with the popularity or reception of the characters, Disney activist investor Nelson Peltz would recently call into question why they need what he says are “all black” and “all woman” casts. Variety reports that the 81-year-old Peltz recently gave an interview in Financial Times where he asked, “Why do I have to have a Marvel [movie] that’s all women? Not that I have anything against women, but why do I have to do that? Why can’t I have Marvels that are both? Why do I need an all-Black cast?”

It is not clear whether Peltz is meaning to say “predominantly” when he says “all” or perhaps he misguidedly thinks the movies literally have “all woman” or “all black” casts. However, Bob Iger, who has been instrumental in some of the most dominant phases of Disney, has both championed for the characters in question as well as tried not to let agenda get in the way of storytelling. In Iger’s memoir The Ride of a Lifetime from 2019, he mentioned how tensions would heat up with Marvel and Disney as he butted heads with Ike Perlmutter and wrote, “We had a chance to make a great movie and to showcase an underrepresented segment of America, and those goals were not mutually exclusive. I called Ike and told him to tell his team to stop putting up roadblocks and ordered that we put both Black Panther and Captain Marvel into production.”

Additionally, now that Iger has been reinstated at Disney, last fall at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, he would explain, “Creators lost sight of what their No. 1 objective needed to be. We have to entertain first. It’s not about messages. People go to watch a movie or a show to be entertained. They don’t go to get a message.”

Source: Variety, Financial Times

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.