There have been reports that Kevin Feige the brains behind the Marvel cinematic/TV universe wants Selma director Ava DuVernay to direct a Marvel superhero movie, possibly either Black Panther or Captain Marvel.
Naturally this sparked outrage about how racist and sexist it is of Marvel to consider a female African-American woman to direct either a female or African character.
Pretty nonsensical, because if they offered DuVernay Avengers 3 the same people would condemn Marvel for asking her to make a movie about a team that's mostly white and male.
It's literally a no win situation when it comes to the outrage of the perpetually outraged, but it could be a win-win situation for DuVernay.
Because there are three kinds of film every filmmaker should do at least once, regardless of their personal tastes.
1. Action film.
2. Horror film.
3. Comedy film, but not a vehicle for an established comedy star.
Why should they do these films?
Because they are challenges that brings out a filmmaker's real talents and prove their worth for all time.
If all you do are action films, you can coast on CGI and explosions. If you only do "important dramas" then you can coast on the quality of your actors and the script. If you only do comedies for established stars you can coast on that star's popularity and charisma. If you do only horror films you can coast on gore and cats jumping out of closets.
However, doing a variety of projects can only help establish your credibility as a filmmaker.
DuVernay's background was mostly backstage in broadcast journalism, public relations, documentaries, and very serious dramas. If she sticks with that strategy she will expect to be the director equivalent of Sean Penn, someone whose career only exists for Oscars noms and internal Hollywood adulation. That can only offer diminishing returns because Hollywood people don't pay to see movies. After a while you risk reaching a point of no return, where even if you try to go more mainstream, you can't, the audience just isn't into you.
However, DuVernay is still relatively a new comer to the wider pop culture world. That means she can use the cachet she earned from Selma, to land a big mainstream action adventure gig, and if she does a good job, proving she can make commercially viable vehicles, then she can write her own ticket.
It's not that big a stretch. If she has at least one big box-office blockbuster under her belt, that she delivered on time and on budget, and pleased both fans and critics, do you think she'd have a problem raising financing for at least one smaller scale serious drama?
Filmmakers need to learn that the mainstream is like running water. It's where the water is deep, clean and makes the water running on the edges possible. There's no shame in swimming back and forth. In fact, it's probably a very smart strategy.