“We have so much coming your way that you might tell us, ‘Okay, take a break now!’” said Victoria Alonso, executive VP of film production at Marvel Studios, during a conversation with Marc Malkin, Variety Senior Editor of Culture and Events, at this year’s NALIP Media Summit.
As an executive producer on Marvel’s “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” Alonso played a key role in earning the studio a historic 28 Emmy nominations. But instead of pausing to show off her superpowers, Alonso is already running toward her next adventure.
“Balance is the key to how we can be better storytellers, more efficient filmmakers, better executives, better people,” Alonso said during a conversation that addressed diversity and inclusion in superhero stories and Marvel’s venture into animated television She added that while it is not Marvel’s “mandate” to change society, the company looks at where the world is and listens to its fans.
“I think it’s important to consistently listen to what fans are saying,” Alonso said. “If there’s a vast majority that feels that something is not hitting home, then we need to look at it, but then there’s times where we say, ‘You know what, this is a story we’re gonna tell.’”
With “Loki” featuring Marvel’s first gender-fluid character and “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” marking important steps in Black and female representation on screen, one of Alonso’s goals is to increase diversity and visibility.
“There’s something really magical about being seen,” she said. “When you are being seen, the shame drips down like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a layer of shame that goes away, there’s a layer of “I don’t belong, I don’t deserve it, I am not worthy” that goes away.”
Buenos Aires born Alonso also spoke about her own experiences as a gay woman trying to climb the Hollywood ranks.
“I walked into rooms that I wasn’t invited to, but I should have been there, and I just sat there until somebody asked me to leave,” Alonso said. “If you cannot find your fit in those rooms, make your own rooms for you. If the room didn’t want me, I walked away, unless I felt like I belonged in that room, and I refreshed their minds of the reasons why I should be there.”
Alonso also discussed Marvel’s groundbreaking TV series, calling streaming a “gift” for allowing the studio to expand the stories of characters such as Wanda and Vision.
“When the chance of being a part of this streaming world came about, we were beyond excited because all of a sudden we could actually give the fans far more than 1/4 of a page or three cool moves.”
While Marvel’s next show, “What If…?” will be the studio’s first animated series, it is far from the last.
“We’re going to have our animation branch and mini studio, and there will be more to come from that as well,” Alonso said. “We’re super excited about animation, which is my first love.”
Finally, Alonso also offered important advice to young storytellers looking to break into the industry.
“You don’t need a cape, you don’t need a hammer, you don’t need a shield. Your superpower is your voice, and your voice will create change for yourself, for society and for those who you love,” Alonso said. “If you use your voice, you will create the kind of energy that will bring change to us. To not use your voice is silence, and silence is poison.”
(Pictured: Victoria Alonso at a fan screening for “Black Widow.”)