Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

In my last article, I talked about the negative portrayals of women in media geared towards geeks. Specifically, the movies and TV shows where the creators don’t think, and when there’s no thinking, there’s no effort to change things. And if there’s no effort to change things and be different from the regular status quo, then things will stay the same.

Fortunately, we’re not stuck with that same old story in all of our media. There have been several movies and shows where people did think and did put effort into their portrayal of female characters. And the best example of this is one of the most popular franchises in current geek culture: The big cinematic shared Marvel universe movies.

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Of course, female representation in these movies is not exactly perfect. Unlike the Star Wars movies, where they’re starting from scratch and can write whatever they want and include plenty of female characters (though they probably won’t), the Marvel movies are working off an already established world from the comics, where certain characters have a long history and you can’t just gender-switch them without having hordes of fans take up pitchforks and torches and gather at your front door.

However, in spite of all that, the Marvel movies are at least making an effort in regards to including women in their movies, and right now they’re doing a lot more than most major studios. There are plenty of instances where their films could have gone with the status quo, and simply cast white men in these roles because that’s the Hollywood default. Instead, each and every one of their movies has at least one female character who plays a much larger role than just being an empty love interest for the hero.

Pepper Potts may in fact be my favorite female lead in any superhero movie I’ve ever seen. And that’s not praise I hand out lightly, since she’s basically competing against such names as Lois Lane and Vicki Vale. Pepper not only capably takes over as CEO of Tony Stark’s company, she’s ultimately the one who defeats the villain in Iron Man 3.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

The Black Widow, a rather empty vessel upon her first appearance, has over time been allowed to develop, with her latest appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier by far being her best. Which just goes to show that sometimes, simply introducing a female just to have a female character (and pander to male geeks with a hot actress) can pay off later.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

Maria Hill is another woman who was introduced in The Avengers. Let’s face it: they could have given her few lines to a nameless male SHIELD agent, but including her has given us another recognizable female face and someone to use later on, like in the Winter Soldier where she also appeared again.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

But out of all the Marvel movies, the ones that have the best representation and have put forth the greatest effort so far are the Thor movies. They manage to have not just one, but four different and identifiable women in them, all with distinct personalities and purposes in the plot. Frankly, that’s twice as many as most regular superhero action movies.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

The fact is, they didn’t need to include Frigga or Sif or Darcy. Heck, Darcy is a complete invention of the movies, as such a character never appeared in the comics. And they didn’t have to let them any of them play such large roles; Darcy could have just as easily been a male researcher working with Jane Foster.

But just having them there is a huge positive and it shows the movies are making an effort to have realistic female representation. This, however, does pose an interesting question for the future of Marvel movies, a question that’s been asked and discussed a lot: When will they take the next big step and have a female superhero as the central character of one of their movies?

Sure, their shared universe is still growing, and then there are many more female characters yet to be introduced. Gamora and Scarlet Witch are soon to make their movie debuts in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron respectively, but only as part of larger ensembles.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

Things on the TV front look slightly more optimistic: A limited series focusing on Peggy Carter has been just been picked up by ABC, to air during Agents of SHIELD’s second season hiatus. Jessica Jones is also supposed to get her own miniseries on Netflix leading up to a big Netflix crossover event for the Defenders, which, like Agents of SHIELD, will exist in the same universe as the movies.

But a female-centered Marvel movie would be a huge deal and really move things forward. And fans have a lot of different wishes for which female character they want to see finally get her own movie.

The Black Widow seems like the obvious choice, appearing in three Marvel movies so far. There have been rumors floating around for years about a standalone Scarlett Johansson-led movie, but nothing official has ever been announced. Still, it would be exciting, though a bit of a letdown if Marvel’s first female lead turns out to be someone with no powers.

The Wasp seems to be another big contender, mostly because she’s in fact known for being one of the original Avengers in the comics, and is the love interest of Ant-Man, another Marvel character who will be getting a movie soon. Even before Edgar Wright parted ways with Marvel, there wasn’t any indication that Wasp would appear in the film, beyond Evangeline Lilly being cast in an as-yet-undisclosed role. Now, it’s even more questionable (who knows if the movie itself will happen), but an appearance by the Wasp is certainly something a lot of people are hoping for.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

She-Hulk is yet another strong contender that fans have been asking about for a very long time, and why not? Now that they’ve finally managed to make the Hulk actually work within a movie, maybe it’s time to have his musclebound cousin appear as well. That is, if the audience can handle it. And despite what a certain screenwriter thinks, she’s a lot more than a “giant green porn star”.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

Maybe the Enchantress could appear in the next Thor movie, as she is indeed Loki’s established love interest. Even more than that, she’s the person he uses and abuses in the same way the Joker uses Harley Quinn. She’s also a great sorceress and has very rich stories in the comics, so it’s not out of the question that the character could perhaps be the basis of her own movie.

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

But the biggest question for many fans (yours truly included) is when will Ms. Marvel AKA Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel show up? She’s pretty much the Marvel equivalent of Wonder Woman, in that she’s a female superhero who ranks up there in powers with the toughest of the men. And now that the Guardians of the Galaxy movie is coming up just two months from now, there are rumors that it might feature an appearance by Ms. Marvel, or at least a cameo from Carol Danvers. After all, Ms. Marvel got her powers from Kree technology, and the Kree will most likely factor into the movie in some way. (Also fueling speculation is her upcoming appearance in the Guardians comic book.)

Dear Marvel: Give us a solo female superhero movie

Obviously, there are other female Marvel characters who might be good choices for a movie, like Spider-Woman, the Invisible Woman, or various mutants like Rogue or Mystique, but of course with the rights to those characters held by various other entities, they won’t be showing up in the Marvel movie universe anytime soon.

All of that is of course neither here or there; Marvel has put forth a valiant effort in this area and it’s worth applauding. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time for them to sit back and do nothing. They’ve got to keep on putting in that effort, and no, there’s no end goal where they can just stop. Because if they do that, things will just regress and nothing will have been accomplished. And a good way for us all to feel a sense of accomplishment is by finally having a female-led movie. If Marvel can take a chance on a movie starring a talking raccoon, then certainly they can take a chance on a movie starring a female superhero.

I personally am very excited for the future of Marvel movies for many reasons, but one of them is that it’s an extra bonus for me to see what other females they’re going to introduce or create from scratch, and how they’ll be used in these movies.

[—Editing/cleanup/revisions to this article provided by Dr. Winston O’Boogie and Elliot Hodgett.]

Tag: Marvel Cinematic Universe

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  • Crobatman

    I could see Enchantress being in a movie. Her sister was already in Agents Of SHIELD, so they have a starting point for her.
    Not to mention just how easy it would be to introduce She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters gets into an accident, they use Bruce Banners blood and there we have a superheroine.

    • Sofie Liv

      yup, it would be easy, question is if they would have the balls to do it.
      I don’t even need her to be the lead star of a movie, but just to have her there would be… well interesting to say the least.

      • Crobatman

        I’d quite like to see She-Hulk in a Courtroom Drama type movie. The Marvel movies so far have been a number of different Genres, so I think it would be fun to see an entry in the series where action wasn’t the main point. It could be a great movie as long as they make sure to hire a writer who gets her (AKA not Goyer).
        It could be really interesting from a continuity viewpoint as well, depending on how they set it up. Somebody could be suing the Hulk for destroying Harlem or such, leading to Jennifer defending him. It could be a good introduction to the character without her being in her She-Hulk form.
        They could even use it to measure enthusiasm for the character if they felt they had to tie it into the Hulk at first, with her own movie if she was popular enough.

        • Sofie Liv

          Sounds more like a TV plot than a movie plot to me… But hey! I’ll buy that to!

          She-Hulk mini series to go along-side Agents of Shield, I VOTE YES!

          My biggest question though, has to be… how to make She-hulk?
          Are we going to find a female amazonian wrestler and paint her green, or are we going to make an motion capture animated goddess of muscle? .. what are we giong to do here?

          • Crobatman

            Maybe it could be like the new Daredevil thing on Netflix.
            I’d personally prefer motion capture due to my enjoyment of having the same actress for both roles.
            They could go the Steve Rogers route and hire a muscular tall actress (Gwendoline Christie from GOT?) and use CGI on the pre-gammaed Jennifer. It worked well before

          • B.

            Google “Gina Carano”, that woman has the perfect body for She-Hulk. And she definitely knows how to fight.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      And as Actress for the Enchantress I’d choose Tricia Helfer. She did a great job in BSG (playing all those facetts of the Number 6 character) and I think, she and Tom Hiddleston would be working perfectly together.

  • MichaelANovelli

    Great female characters AND hunky dudes? The Thor movies really have it all! ^_^

  • spiff2268

    Well, we did get that God-awful “Electra” movie.

    • Sofie Liv

      Before the big Marvel studio era though and… sigh.. Electra actually might be the least bad superheroin movie that we got :/

      • John Wilson

        Well, adult XXX movies,while not being very good in a regular movie sense. Has done a lot of female center superhero movies. There was also “The craft”. Which was pretty much a super hero movie to me.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      I watched Electra and thought it was not god-awful. Sometimes it could be pretty boring, yeah – but in the end I felt entertained.

  • Gallen Dugall

    Frankly I feel that TV > Film in story telling potential these days – the tools that used to be the exclusive domain of summer blockbusters combined with modern serialized story telling make television more satisfying even if it is typically more slowly paced than the “get everything in in two hours” film format.

    • Sofie Liv

      More about that next time ;)

  • Dex_Meridian

    I think having Kaytee Sackhoff as Carol Danvers in her own movie would be just about perfect. But as Captain Marvel, please.

    Meanwhile, wouldn’t Disney be smart to pull ABC Family channel into their spoils and give them a teenage superhero story? You know, with a female lead? If the CW can have two DC shows, I think Disney could one-up them by launching Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) and extending their Marvel empire to multiple networks.

    • Immortan Scott

      I was about to post about how awesome a Katee Sackoff starring Carol Danvers would be, but you beat me to it.

  • Alexa

    I kind of feel bad for Darcy, nobody really likes her. I never really thought her a bad character per se, but she does come across as kind of superfluous. But then again she is comic relief character and it’s very rare that a comic relief be female. Beyond this I really want a She-Hulk movie, that would be awesome and of course Captain Marvel would be great, but I want her in her most recent costume because it looks cooler in my opinion.

    • Moppet

      I liked her, I actually thought she had more personality than Jane in the movies, I don’t even know what Thor sees in Jane when he has Darcy around to electrify his life. I guess he’s into vehicles.

  • Murry Chang

    I’d love to see a Monica Rambeau movie, she’s my favorite Captain Marvel since she’s the one I grew up with in the early 80’s:)

    • Thomas Stockel

      I like Monica, too. She’s currently appearing in the pages of Mighty Avengers, the only Avengers title I’m currently buying.

  • Moppet

    Yes! Agreed! Affirmative! Indeed! I concur! Also Wasp movie please! Wasp is the Avengers! Want. ;_;

    • Moppet

      Wasp in* the Avengers. I can’t type. ;_;

  • If it were possible I would like to see a big screen Marvel superhero movie which was CGI (like The Incredibles) rather than a live action, especially if they used talented voice actors instead of big name actors.

    • Sofie Liv

      Well.. they are kind of doing that with “Super 6.” that will reach cinema this very december… the first trailer is out, you should check it, it is adorable!


    I’d love an Ally McBeal-style TV show for She-Hulk, especially if you get Dan Slott to write it.

    I’m really hoping that Kitty and Blink get more to do in the next X-Men film. I will run over a pack of nuns with a bus full of orphans and drive it straight off a cliff to get Lupita NYong’o to play a young mohawked punk Storm.

  • Endorenna

    I’d love to have a movie focusing on a female superhero, but my one fear about it is this – Marvel will get so focused on “Hey, we should make a movie about a female superhero because everyone wants one” that the movie will suck due to it having no focus besides “There’s a female superhero in the lead!” That being said…as a girl, I freakin’ LOVE kickass females, and if they made a good movie about a female superhero, I would watch the hell out of it. ^_^

    • Sofie Liv

      I like to give Marvel studio more credit than that.

      If it was Warner Brothers I would go. “Oh brother.” and that would be my exact fear.

      With Marvel studio though, I trust them to be clevere than that! Also remember Josh Whedon has a finger on ALL movies they produce right now and have a say in them.
      Josh Whedon creatory of Buffy the Vampire slayer and Firefly having just a finger in the creation of a superheroin movie? … SOLD!

      • Endorenna

        Wait, Joss Whedon has his hand in all the movies, not just the Avengers movies themselves?! Whew. That makes me feel much better. XD

        • Sofie Liv

          Yes he is hired as executive script supervisor on ALL the avenger related movies AND television shows, which mean yes, also Agents of Shield, he is the one sitting untop of the entire pile making sure they fit together plot wise and gets to do the last polish and green light for every single script.
          As well as playing an executer role on all the movies as advisor ones again making sure they fit together and are, you know.. good.

  • Cristiona

    Doreen Green. Imagine the nerdgasms.

  • mamba

    I like the idea of a lead, but remember they have to balance it between “make her the lead” and “get her to do stuff that doesn’t MATTER if she’s a girl or not”.

    Hollywood REALLY has this problem with balance. It’s like as soon as they have a female in any role, they have to checklist her “female attributes” or somehow people will lose interest? HA!

    That’s why I liked Maria Hill…the fact she was female was irrelevant: her femaleness wasn’t rubbed into our faces, nor did she suddenly go “girly”…she simply EXISTED and did her thing. Period!

    Elektra tried that too, but fell flat because they couldn’t help themselves. Female strong lead, well established character, lots of potential. But nope, HAD to chain it to a love story (“hollywood trope 1, female must be bound to a man in all things”) and have her be a surrogate parent to the child (“hollywood trope 2, felames always love being mother figures, it’s all they live for!!!”). Oh SURE she’s also a ninja assassin with a quest for vengeance and an off-moral compass all while looking for answers, but that’s HARDLY enough to carry an entire movie if you lead’s a GIRL, right?

    Men never go through this…and Maria Hill never had to go through this. She’s the ONLY ONE though! I swear, if they ever make a movie with her in the lead, I’d bet they discover either (a) a child in her past that drives her, or (b) a secret love for a fellow male agent so she can get “girly” again!

    You’d think the answer would be simple…write your plot without assigning gender at all, and then after everything’s all done, take the genders and pull them out of a hat. If your love interests happen to have the same gender, then they become gay or bisexual. Simple, eh, and as fair as you can possibly be by rendering the gender 100% irrelevant, as it should be.

    • Sofie Liv

      I think there is one other super powered woman in the movies that manages to carrie her own story without falling into those tired old tropes (And yes I agree with what you said.)

      That person is mystique of the X-men franchise!
      yes she is a femme fatale and did use some sexiness to her advantage in the original triology BUT it was never her defining characteristic, it was just one of the many tools she used to be a profesional at what she did.
      She just exsisted there beside Magneto as is dead awesome henchwomen, for the most part, it was compleately irrevelant that she was a blue naked woman.. feels weird saying that.
      And then in the new prequel movies, she gets to step even more up as the movies focuses around her and her development which yes.. is connected to two guys but NOT in a romantic way at all.
      It’s about these two extremely big ideals and Mystique caught in the middle just wanting to be her own person and carrie out her own agendas, so she becomes her own person.
      Mystique in those movies, all five movies she appears in, is absolutely wonderful, she’s perfect!

      But yeah, they should sincerely get their heads out their asses and realise that women are also people. Don’t write. “the woman.” write. “The person.”

      Also a great thing about how Black widow functioned in “The winther soldier.” her gender had very very little to do with her and her actions.
      She was not a love interest, not even close to it, she very clearly represented the oposing ideal to Steve Rogers own older ideals and it was about these two strong opposits had to meet and work together some-how.
      That she was a woman in that instance, was irrelevant… good job Marvel movies, good job!

      Though to be fair, it is kind of also the stable for all male superheroes with little exclusion to also have a love story over it all.
      Ghost rider, X-men, Superman, batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk… all stories that maybe didn’t need the added love story, but we just kind of accepted it needed to be in there.

      In fact the X-men movies could maybe have been improved if Wolverine didn’t have that love thing going with Jean Gray it just… we never got any reason why he would fall for her in particularly, they never got to share any-thing special, and ultimately it didn’t really go any-where.. so.. yeah talk about tagged on love story that sincerely didn’t need to be there.

  • Jonathan Campbell

    WB are going to announce a bunch of new superhero films….and Wonder Woman is going to be one of them. And yes, this looks like its confirmed.
    Looks like DC beat Marvel in that, at least.

  • Liam Redmond

    Why would anyone make a film about She-Hulk. Am I the only one who thinks thats a ridiculous idea. Sorry but believe it or not Marvel do not get it right all the time. All these female equivalents of male superheroes are lazy and as aforementioned ridiculous, and I don’t know where they got the idea from. Some feminist no doubt…

  • groupthinker1984

    I’m all for there being a female led superhero movie I just want two things to be avoided here.
    1) I don’t think they should lead with an Elektra or Black Widow type (though I’d probably go see the Black Widow movie but only because I’m that invested in the shared Marvel Universe at this point). Make it someone who’s actually a heroine, not an assassin or a spy.

    2) Avoid preachiness. Marvel movies have been working because they’re fun. The Wonder Woman animated feature couldn’t resist getting some heavy handedness and preaching in. We don’t need to be told “women can accomplish anything.” If you put a female in the lead role and have her doing the same kinds of things the male superheroes, that should be plenty to sell the message. Show, don’t tell. I also really don’t want to see another movie where the men start acting like pigs so the woman can give them their comeuppance. I hardly show up for movies anymore and this will put me right off.

    Also keep in mind that as a Marvel character, she’s going to need personality flaws, big ones like the others have. Not just clumsiness or being too honest and telling it like it is. Its going to need to be something like hubris.

    Also this is more of a side gripe but can we skip the scene where some piggish guy says “A woman? What can she do?” followed by her kicking his ass or something like that? I’m really really really tired of that scene. They did something like that with Peggy Carter and Black Widow (I’d almost forgotten about Black Widow’s scene and was prepared to praise Marvel for skipping it but nope, Iron Man 2 we get a relatively benign version of this scene with her and Happy.)