Marvel Head Dodges Lady-Led Superhero Movie Question & Here's Why We Won't Let Him off the Hook
Sigh. Another day, another instance of being called upon to blog about the patriarchal practices of the comic book movie business. Sometimes we see signs that we've taken some notable steps forward, and then they pull us right back to the sighing. This time? It's Marvel studio head Kevin Feige handily avoiding the issue of a female-led solo superhero film.
Asked by Movies.com if DC would beat Marvel to the punch with a lady-led film, Feige responded “Good question. I don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re planning. I know we have numerous exciting female heroes, whether none of them are currently slated, some of them are in development."
Which, yay! Then:
Frankly, you can look at what Jane Foster does in [Thor: The Dark World], look at Pepper Potts literally saving the day and defeating the bad guy in Iron Man 3, and I’d say we already have great female heroes that are showcased and play major roles in our universe now. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as you will see, features Black Widow in her biggest role yet in any of our films. In terms of a solo standalone female hero, I’m not sure when that will be. We make two movies a year, we’ve planned through 2015 and we have some ideas of what we’re doing in 2016 and 2017, so we’ll see what happens.
But here's the thing, Kevin Feige: We adore Jane Foster and her representation of women in STEM fields. We cheered practically every time Pepper Potts was onscreen in Iron Man 3, especially when she decided to kick some serious ass. But those stories were still very decidedly not about them — they were still positioned within the story as the love interest.
And while they are awesome women and their relationships with Thor and Tony Stark respectively should not detract from that awesomeness level, the fact of how they're positioned does make a difference when it comes to female representation.
And even with Black Widow, who is notably not positioned primarily as a love interest, she is still being featured primarily in films that spend a lot of time focusing on the men they're named after. Having a film that centers around a woman as the main and/or title character would have an impact, and an important one.
As The Mary Sue's Jill Pantozzi pointed out in her write-up, it is very possible that Feige skirted the question in an attempt to avoid any bean-spillage in relation to Marvel actually planning a lady-centric thing. We've heard Katee Sackhoff mention the Captain Marvel possibilities, after all, as well as hints from Natalie Portman and reports of a possible Peggy Carter TV show.
So, Kevin Feige, we might be misinterpreting yours words, but just in case Marvel needs some ideas of what ladies you have in your catalogue who could handily deliver you a blockbuster, here's a list of just the ones we actually know Marvel's been talking about developing, or have already been written into the Marvel cinematic universe:
Seriously, every time we think about how Black Widow doesn't have her own movie yet we get a little bit Hulk-style mad. In our opinion, she's actually got one of the most compelling back-stories of all of the Avengers, and yet we have two movies of Thor being muscly near some aliens and none exploring the development of a Russian super-spy. And we're a little sore about that, especially after seeing this absolutely perfect tumblr Gif set depicting how cool it would be.
Plus she's played by Scarlett Johansson.
Katee Sackhoff is a seasoned action heroine with a big ol' geeky fanbase. Even if they don't go with her for the casting, Captain Marvel could pull off the spectacle needed for a blockbuster.
It was recently rumored that Rashida Jones is at the top of list of contenders to play Janet Van Dyne in the upcoming Ant-Man movie. This is especially notable because, while her appearance in Ant-Man will apparently not be as Van Dyne's alter-ego The Wasp, there will reportedly be many references to her superheroic future. The Wasp is actually arguably even more popular than Ant-Man among Marvel fans — as ComicVine put it, "[She] started off as the comic relief female sidekick who went on to surpass her former mentor in every way that mattered."
This gives us some hope that Marvel might choose to act on that future and actually give her a movie — Jones is primed for an even bigger film break-out, and it just seems silly not to give her the chance.
They've already cast Elizabeth Olson in the part of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Wanda Maximoff has a lot going on outside of the Avengers team, though — she and her brother Quicksilver (rumored to be being played by Kickass' Aaron Taylor-Johnson) remind us of the Luke and Leia of the comic book 'verse. If Marvel decides to put a woman front-and-center maybe we'll even let Quicksilver tag along on this one.
She's being played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy. Do you need more information? Saldana's a solidified action heroine, and it's time she was upped from her Star Trek sidelines. Gamora's one of the most dangerous women in the galaxy and she's got a helluva back-story, including being raised by Marvel ulta-villain Thanos. Plus she's being played by Zoe Saldana, did we mention that part?
We're hoping Feige just put his foot in his mouth with this one and was dodging the question in the hopes of hiding a hopefully-soon-to-come announcement of some new film projects with women at the center. The examples we've listed, after all, are just five of many (many) options. But as Feige said, "we'll see what happens." Hopefully this will all happen before we're all 80.
(Apologies to anyone reading this who might already be 80.)