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© Provided by People Kelly Sullivan/Getty Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba thinks there is still work to be done for racial diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a cover interview for Glamour UK's July/August issue, the 41-year-old actress — who has been open in the past about her Latina roots — says she believes the superhero giant's films are "still quite Caucasian."
"Even if you look at the Marvel movies — that's the biggest driver of fantasy and what's happening right now in entertainment, because it's sort of the family thing — it's still quite Caucasian," said Alba, who played Sue Storm/the Invisible Woman in Fox's Fantastic Four (2005) and the 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
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"I would say I was one of the few back in the day ... and it was before Marvel was sold to Disney ... but it's still quite … more of the same," added the actress and Honest Company founder.
Reps for Disney/Marvel did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Alba added about progress in the movie-making industry, "It's a business initiative for people now that they realize how much money they can make. It's something they care about, which is fine. How they get there really doesn't matter. You're like, 'Great. Now you realize there's a whole group of folks that you just frankly left out of the conversation because you just didn't even see them. They were there the whole time.' "
"And I guess it's the people in charge. However they get there, it really genuinely doesn't matter," she continued. "I just think more for the younger people who are coming up, who are going to be our future leaders, it's important for them to see the world on screen, or in stories, in the dreams that we create as entertainers; it reflects the world that they're in."
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Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. © Provided by People Everett Collection Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four (2005)
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Diversity in gender, sexuality, race and more have been ongoing topics of conversation in Hollywood over recent years, and the MCU is no exception.
Back in July 2020, Anthony Mackie — who has starred in several Marvel projects, including Avengers: Endgame, as Falcon and, later, Captain America — told Variety that it "really bothered" him that he didn't see more diversity on the sets he has worked on.
"I've done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white," he told Variety.
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Asked later by Fatherly what prompted that response, Mackie, 43, replied, "I'll say this: I don't think what's happening is a racism problem. I think it's an unawareness problem. With Marvel, I really think with most companies, they feel like they're doing what they should be doing. In no way, shape, or form, is it enough."
"My big thing is, put your money where your mouth is," he continued. "You can't cast a Black dude as one of your main superheroes and not expect him to have that conversation. It's just in my DNA to have that conversation."
Marvel has made a push in recent years to diversify, with Marvel Studio President Kevin Feige saying in 2018, "When you have diverse voices, you get better stories and you get more exciting stories, you get more surprising stories. And that is something that is very clear."
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Of the Marvel films previously released before Mackie's comments, two were helmed by non-white directors: Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok (Waititi, 46, also returned for the recently released Thor: Love and Thunder) and Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. Mackie co-headlined The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series and appeared in several Marvel films, including Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, produced by Trinh Tran, who is of Asian descent.
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The MCU also now includes films from several filmmakers of color, including Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, who directed The Eternals; Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of Japanese descent and directed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings; as well as Coogler, 36, who's returning for the sequel to Black Panther, titled Wakanda Forever. The recently wrapped Ms. Marvel series, created by Bisha K. Ali, also featured the MCU's first Muslim Marvel superhero, played by Iman Vellani, who is Pakistani-Canadian.
Feige, 49, told Variety last year that the company's dedication to diversity and inclusion is "a combination" of design and storytelling progress.
"When you're doing a story about a female lawyer who is giant and green [She-Hulk], or a Muslim teenager with superpowers in Jersey City [Ms. Marvel], or working with filmmakers and writers of color as we are — it's so prevalent and so much a part of who we are and what we do now, that it doesn't seem abnormal," he said. "It's no longer a headline. A woman is directing something! Wow! I hope this will become the norm to the extent that this is no longer a rarity."
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