If I’m honest, before today I couldn’t really say I was all that excited about the interconnected Hasbro Cinematic Universe that Hasbro and Paramount are developing. So far the planned features for the universe are G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), and ROM: SpaceKnight brands. I say before today because given the writers room that Hasbro have assembled for these projects I might soon be eating my words with fistfuls of popcorn.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Hasbro have pulled together well-known names from comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These creators will include Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay; Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Coker; Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman; Saga and Y: The Last Man’s Brian K. Vaughan; Lindsey Beer of Transformers 5; Spider-Man: Homecoming writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein; Geneva Robertson (a writer on the upcoming cinematic Tomb Raider reboot); Black Panther movie writer Joe Robert Cole; Jeff Pinkner (writer of the upcoming The Dark Tower adaptation); and Nicole Riegel, who’s the writer behind Blacklist screenplay Dogfight. Overseeing the writers room and taking up an executive producer role across the films is Akiva Goldman, Oscar-winning writer of A Beautiful Mind.
I mean, that’s an impressive list of people. Not only that, it’s a diverse list with more women and people of colour among the writers than we’re used to seeing not only in the comic book movie genre, but in Hollywood generally.
Even more promising is what the Hasbro CCO Stephen Davis told the Hollywood Reporter:
“We first and foremost put together a list of writers who we wanted to be in business with and could be the world-builders that we needed. But we want to be sure that in the room we have diverse perspectives, diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences. Female empowerment is a central theme through a lot of these properties and one of the reasons we wanted diverse voices.”
A diverse and impressive writing team is certainly a good step towards making your cinematic universe more inclusive and turning the phrase ‘female empowerment’ into something more tangible than an empty selling point and buzzword. Hopefully Hasbro and Paramount will listen to their excellent writing team as well as perhaps extend the same care for inclusivity into their casting and directorial choices.