Before an auditorium packed with people, victoria alonsothe producer of more than twenty films of the Marvel Cinematic Universesaid: “I don’t like superheroes”. After that confession, she laughed, perhaps seeking complicity with those who listened to her, people who were probably surprised to hear that.
How is it that one of the key minds of the most important commercial franchise in contemporary cinema is not attracted to these figures? Rather than the type of characters or the reputation that some of them may have in pop culture, Victoria Alonso has only been concerned and interested in something during these years: telling stories.
That search began a long time ago, when I was living in Argentina. That desire was, until last Friday, one of the main engines of him at the helm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That day, March 17, 2023, was her last as president of physical post-production, visual effects, and animation at Marvel Studios. Although his departure from was not revealed until Monday, March 20.
At the time of writing this text, there has not been a formal explanation of the reasons why Victoria Alonso left her position, closing an extensive career of 17 years working with Marvel Studios. During that time, dozens of productions were endorsed by her and the company earned more than $20 billion. It doesn’t seem like a bad balance, for someone who just wanted to make movies.
His story: from Argentina to Hollywood
When Victoria Alonso was 19 years old and lived in the silvera city that is just under 60 kilometers away from Buenos AiresHe stood before his mother and said: “I’m going to the United States to make movies…”. The sentence did not end there. Perhaps looking into the eyes of her mother, the young woman added: “…and tell stories”.
Making movies and telling stories, like the one she was starting to write for herself. In the travel suitcase went some clothes, some footwear and that dream: to make a space in the industry, find a way to meet that goal, make stories visible. She came to the United States, began studying psychology and theater in Seattle. When she finished doing it, she was sure that she wanted to be an actress. But the context of it presented him with the first narrative knot of it.
When he was looking for options on tables, he started hearing all kinds of comments. “You are very tall”, “You are very short”, “You are very fat”, “You are very skinny”, “Are you Latina?”. A mountain of buts that led her to ask herself a question: who decides those things? Victoria Alonso, at that time an actress, had been hearing negatives for six months. When she heard the answer to her question, she dedicated herself to changing the direction of her professional career, starting with a decision: “I’m going to be a producer!”.
Over time, she recognized that, rather than wanting to be an actress, she wanted to have decisive power to tell stories. That was the starting point of her career that led her, for 15 years, to be traveling to different parts of the world, doing production jobs that she liked and others that she did not. Those were years in which she worked, for example, in digital domainthe digital effects studio of James Cameron. She was also the visual effects producer for The big fishof Tim Burton.
However, this dynamic, coming and going between places, generated a kind of wear and tear that led her to want to settle in The Angels: “I don’t want to travel anymore, I don’t want to fly anymore”, they said to themselves. A short time later, a coworker told her about a movie they were going to record there, where Victoria Alonso had decided to stay. Her decision began to resonate in her environment: In 2006, she began her career at Marvel Studios as Executive Vice President of Visual Effects and Post Production..
His first big job was Hombre de Hierro, released in 2008. This film was the foundation stone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During a TED conferenceVictoria Alonso recalled that moment and explained the decision to join the producer and the project: “(I did) not because I liked superheroes, but because I stayed at home (Los Angeles)”. Perhaps, by then, she was not fully aware that she, in her own way, was also building another home, one in which she would spend 17 years of her life.
Victoria Alonso and construction
from the Marvel Cinematic Universe
When the recording process finished Hombre de Hierro, Kevin Fiege, who by then was already in the executive part of the company, asked Victoria Alonso to fully join the plan, the possibility of building a universe. To which Alonso replied: “No. I don’t like being a student, I don’t want to be an executive. I’m not interested in being a part of it. I want to be part of the group that produces movies worth telling.” That refusal came with a nuance.
Victoria Alonso asked Kevin Feige the possibility of structuring those stories in a way and still being part of the production work. Only then could they work together. What was her reasoning? The idea that, with Hombre de Hierro, they had started to do something that she defines as “different”. That? She explained it like this:
“We throw superheroes from the altar. The rest of the superhero world was hiding and we, in our first movie, did it differently. I realized that maybe we could start to make a change.”
Victoria Alonso, during a TED Conference.
Unmasking Iron Man. Having the character expose himself to a group of journalists is just one of the changes that Victoria Alonso, along with Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel Studios team, began to make. Then came several more, such as Thor’s appearance and Captain America’s relationship with his shield. However, these aspects are not the ones that she esteems the most.
Two of the most satisfying projects of his career
In 2008, with Hombre de Hierrobegan a path that, for now, will end in 2026 with Avengers: Secret Wars. After her resignation, Victoria Alonso will no longer be in the credits of some of the productions that come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, she will remain in more than thirty projects in which she participated.
Among them, there are two that he considers special: Black Panther (2018) and Captain Marvel (2019). About these productions, he said a few years ago:
“They are two of the pillars that I leave to my daughter; they are columns in which, at a certain moment, we communicate something on a cultural level. These are two films that we were told about, constantly: ‘These are not feature films that the world wants to see’; ‘They are not going to have any kind of fiscal success’; ‘The world is not ready to see a black hero, a black cast, directed by a black director. They won’t see it’; “The world does not want to see a leading woman, it does not want a woman to direct or write or produce it.” For us, if it was the last thing we did, it was a good start. We decided we were going to do it.”
Victoria Alonso, during a TED Conference.
But both were commercial successes that grossed $2.5 billion at the box office. Besides, Black Panther was nominated for seven Oscar awards. The value of these productions, in terms of making historically marginalized communities visible, cannot be measured in numbers. But there are many testimonials from people who celebrated that, finally, they saw themselves represented in important and respectful roles in the cinema.
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That is the “cultural level” to which Victoria Alonso refers. Her departure from Marvel Studios comes at a time when the franchise is going through turbulence, while still being, from a commercial point of view, the most powerful in the industry. Beyond the present, superhero cinema has changed over the years due to the work of people like Alonso. In a few decades, when this moment is studied, her name will be one of those that will be mentioned.