Marvel Studios executive producer Trinh Tran recently commented about Marvel’s Phase 4 and beyond plans noting “this is the first step to more diverse characters and franchises.”

Tran spoke with Inverse shortly after San Diego Comic-Con to discuss Phase 4 and its “visibility of women and superheroes of color.”

Tran stated, “Female representation, the diversity of it all, is very important because this is the world we live in.” She added, “There’s so many different people out there and in order for us to relate to them, we have to make movies that are different. We can’t always be about one race or gender. That’s not the way to connect with the world.”

Tran would then go on to explain she’s excited about the upcoming Black Widow and Shang-Chi film before noting these Phase 4 films are just the first step for Marvel Studios.

“This is the first step to more diverse characters and franchises. I am hoping for more down the line. We have so many characters in the Marvel Universe, it’s a matter of picking which one makes sense to the MCU.”

She adds:

“In thinking about the future of the MCU and how all those characters are gonna connect, diversity is crucial in our future.”

Tran then states, “I think we’re heading towards the right direction. Ten years ago when we started making these movies, you probably don’t see much of that.”

The first Iron Man movie featured Robert Downey Jr. as the main character. However, it also featured a pretty diverse cast that included Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, Faran Tahir as Raza, Shaun Toub as Yinsen, Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart, Sayed Badreya as Abu Bakaar, Paul Bettany as JARVIS, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Interestingly enough Tran discusses how she started out at Marvel with Iron Man.

“It’s really sad. I started off with Iron Man. I wasn’t a huge comic book reader but I remember sitting in that room in post-production. It was the first time I watched Iron Man and to this day he’s still one of my favorite characters. Robert became Tony Stark in front of my eyes.”

She continues:

“I knew when I watched it was something special, and I wanted to make these movies because I fell in love with that character. Just being a part of Tony’s journey from beginning to end was remarkable because I felt like I was part of his journey. It’s sad, but I am happy it’s allowing for more opportunities with these new characters to be a part of the MCU.”

Tran concluded by stating, “we like to say that, Phase Four and the future, there’s great characters and different franchises we look forward to.  we like to say that, Phase Four and the future, there’s great characters and different franchises we look forward to. We are ending Infinity Saga with Endgame, that’s the end of the old and we look forward to the new.”

This talk of diversity for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is probably the most defining aspect of Marvel’s Phase 4.

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige recently declared that a character in the upcoming Eternals film will be gay. Feige told Good Morning America, “He’s married. He’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is.” (Related: Marvel Studios Boss Kevin Feige Confirms Gay Character for The Eternals: “He’s Married. He’s Got a Family.”)

Feige and Tran aren’t the only Marvel Studios executives discussing diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Producer Victoria Alonso made it very clear what the studio’s agenda was in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

She stated, “we are actively working on making our universe as diverse and inclusive as we can. Be patient with us. We have a lot coming in the future.” (Related: Marvel Studios Producer Victoria Alonso: “We Are Actively Working On Making Our Universe As Diverse and Inclusive As We Can”)

Alonso also previously called the name X-Men outdated. She stated, “I don’t know where the future is going. It’s funny that people call it the X-Men, there’s a lot of female superheroes in that X-Men group, so I think it’s outdated.” (Related: Marvel Producer Victoria Alonso Believes The Name X-Men Is “Outdated”)

As you can see Marvel Studios and their executives have made it pretty clear where they plan on take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Phase 4 and beyond.

What do you make of these comments? Are you interested in what Marvel has planned for Phase 4 and beyond? Or are you looking to get your superhero fix somewhere else?