In a discussion with The Daily Beast, celebrated feminist (or not; your mileage may vary) and god among superhero movie directors Joss Whedon was asked why he thinks there are so few female superheroes who have made the jump to film. I would like to cosign his entire response.
“Toymakers will tell you they won’t sell enough, and movie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, You see? It can’t be done. It’s stupid, and I’m hoping The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, ‘My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,’ and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. I read a beautiful thing Junot Diaz wrote: ‘If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.’”
I feel a gif coming… oh yes… here it is.
Say what you will about the quality of recent female-starring blockbusters like the Twilight series, Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Hunger Games (which I liked; haven’t seen the others), but they’ve made a ton of money, largely from female moviegoers, and we all know a movie’s gross is what’s important to the studio that makes it.
We’re staring to see more movies with young adult female leads in development: /Film points out The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Divergent, both based on highly popular YA books. So—and this might be naïve of me—I’m hoping there’s a chance that the next few years might see that understanding of the bankability of female leads cross over into the superhero genre. Marvel is reportedly considering a Ms. Marvel movie, after all.
(And while you’re at it, Hollywood: More gender balance in other genres would be great as well. Comedy, crime dramas, historical epics, etc.. Just sayin’.)
But yeah, that female superhero movies/TV shows haven’t been developed yet, or that they’ve started and stopped development over and over again (looking at you, Wonder Woman), is very pissed off-worthy. And I think I’ll stop preaching to the choir right about now.