Disney+ knocked it out of the Park with this one!
In recent years, there’s been a significant effort made to ensure that Marvel fans of all kinds can enjoy the content being produced by the studio. In large part, this has been shown through representation: putting characters and faces on screen that more fans are able to relate to, including heroes like the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Echo (Alaqua Cox), and others who more fans can identify with. This next step brings that accessibility home!
Though it’s difficult to quantify, these steps have done wonders in the lives of Marvel fans. For kids and adults to see heroes that look like them makes a big difference and further encourages them to apply the values and strengths represented in the movies and series in their own lives. It says, “If that hero, who is like me, can overcome this obstacle, if that hero can be brave in the face of danger, and still do what’s right, so can I.”
This inclusion took big strides with Black Panther (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), and especially with the Hawkeye series on Disney+. Initially introduced as an antagonist opposite Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, Alaqua Cox’ Maya Lopez/Echo was a huge leap forward in representation. Not only is Cox herself deaf actor, but she’s also a Native American and an amputee, allowing three different communities of Marvel fans all over the world to relate to her.
Marvel and Disney+ have taken one more step towards making these movies more accessible and more approachable for communities like these with this latest update! The Direct reported on a new update to the streaming service, which marks a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of yesterday, Disney+ began offering an American Sign Language interpretation option for their first Marvel Studios film: Ant-Man (2015).
The Direct also points out that, while subtitles have been available for the deaf and hard of hearing, the option to watch the film with ASL interpretation adds a whole new level to a film and, for many, feels more “intimate and entertaining.” Regardless, it’s a great step forward and represents an effort to connect with a community that has been, in large part, marginalized in the world of entertainment.
While there’s no word if Disney+ will be expanding this option to other offerings on the streaming service, The Direct states that it could well be that if this test performs well if enough viewers use it and express interest in it, it could become much more widespread. All in all, it’s a win-win for the studio: more people are able to enjoy their products, it’s a sensible, humane thing to do, and while it may cost some, it also employs ASL interpreters for each film!
What do you think of this update? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!