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Joss Whedon: The Lack of Female Superheroes In Movies “Pisses Me Off.” Tell Me About It, Dude.


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.

Said Whedon:

“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.

(via: /Film)

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  • Bryant Francis

    I’ve spent the last few days arguing with coworkers about some of this stuff, and that Junot Diaz quote is perfect. Media doesn’t exist just to prop up one group of people, stories, comics, films, games, are for everyone, and deliberately denying that for arbitrary reasons is so damaging to our society.

  • javakoala

    Thanks
    for the sentiment Joss. Crazy thought: You’ve got pull in Hollywood
    and given how much money your films have raked in, I’m pretty sure the
    big-wigs have given you carte blanche. Ergo, why don’t YOU make a good
    Female Superhero movie or include more ass kicking female characters in
    your ensemble films. Walk the walk broha.

  • Alice Ruppert

    The Gaming industry needs to think about the same thing.
    There’s good things happening right now though, with Beyond: Two Souls, Remember Me and The Last of Us. All three new IPs with female leads.
    (Okay, the guy is the playable character in Last of Us, but they were the ones to put the lady in front on the cover saying people WILL buy it anyway)

  • Will Beaty

    I would guess that he’s doing everything in his power within Marvel to make that happen, including shoving Black Widow and Scarlet Witch down the throat of a company that has never used either properly. And lord knows he did what he could to work with Joel Silver to get a Wonder Woman movie made.

  • http://twitter.com/kayforaday Kay

    I love Joss Whedon and I love his female characters, and I love that he sees exactly what the problem is. It’s tragic that there’s such a strong boys’ club mentality in… well, everything, but especially the nerd industries so near and dear to my heart.

    (I downloaded Marvel Heroes today and am extremely disappointed to see that there are only five playable female characters — even Sue Storm, who is featured fairly extensively in the promotional materials, isn’t available — and sixteen male characters in the vanilla game. If your promotional artwork needs to feature every single female character in the game just to make it not look like a sausage-fest, you should rethink your choices.)

    I am wishing and hoping and praying that he can put his money where his principles are, and make that Ms. Marvel movie, or that Black Widow movie we’ve all been eagerly awaiting since Iron Man 2. And CAN I get me a significant leading role for Scarlet Witch please.

  • John Wao

    I think a Wonder Woman movie is coming. There’s lot of support for it. Plus if Marvel keeps introducing more female heroes to the screen, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Gamora, on top of all the X-men, Invisible Woman from the FF, then DC/Warner Bros will be under a lot of pressure to do a Wonder Woman movie.

    I can’t see any other DC character that should have priority over Wonder Woman. They’ve done Superman and Batman to death, they’ve done Green Lantern, Green Arrow has his own show, who are they going to do next Flash? Aquaman?

    They just need the right script and actor. My suggestion would be Missy Peregrym of Rookie Blue.

  • Jon E. Christianson

    Signs point to the fact that he’s been trying. He wanted the Wasp to be in Avengers and wrote a Wonder Woman movie that Warner Bros. turned down.

    I’d hazard to say that it’s every other male director in Hollywood we should be talking at.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    He did walk. He made Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. Regardless of what you think of them, they have female leads. Then there’s Firefly, Astonishing X-Men, Angel, Cabin in the Woods, heck, even Alien: Resurrection. He always includes as many if not more female characters, regardless of what you consider of their portrayal.

  • Anonymous

    Word.

  • Calum Syers

    While I can understand the frustration of some of the commenters who accuse Judd of talking the talk but not walking the walk. The problem is, is that as long as he is contracted to Marvel, he’ll have to push up hill with all of the CEOs and other businessmen who want more swinging cods (as beautifully put by Jayne in Serenity).

    I disagree, given his history of TRYING to get Wasp into The Avengers and get Wonder Woman made, and for pushing Black Widow into a far more prominent. Then there’s his work with comics and TV and stuff, but anyway, I’m on a tangent.

    One of the changing faces of Hollywood, I think, is guys who make movies that LOOK like they have a studio backing them, and a $100m budget, but are actually making films independently, like Kick-Ass, Skyline, Monsters and District 9. (Not that I’m defending the quality of the individual works, just that they were independently financed with impressive visual effects). When Joss is free of his Marvel contract, he can use his newfound media clout to make a indie-Hollywood work, independently of the studios, but with a big budget sensibility.

  • tos fan

    Now that Joss made them a ton of money with “The Avengers” he could probably get Wonder Woman made (money talks louder than studio head idiocy), but oh…he’s at Marvel now (and a different studio). Suck it, Warner Bros. (But sucks for the rest of us about Wonder Woman.)

  • Daniel Parker

    I’ve noticed that “The Heat” isn’t really being billed as a “girl buddy cop film” but just a straight up buddy cop film – at least as I’ve seen it.

    Not the cultural touchstone you might be looking for, but its not super serious like Cagney and Lacey where their genders are the primary focus – it’s 21 Jump Street. It just happens to be with women.

  • Anonymous

    Too bad those arent are progressive as theyre always praised for.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I love that about The Heat, especially after a lot of the talk surrounding Bridesmaids had a tinge of “OMG women being funny and gross!” With The Heat it’s more like “Yeah, Melissa McCarthy is funny. You already know it.”

  • Emily Neenan

    I hate the justification of “Oh, but Electra and Catwoman were terrible movies, so female superhero movies don’t work”. Cause that’s obviously what happened with all the terrible Superman and Batman movies we’ve had. Male superhero movies just don’t work? Give us a break! And also, give us a Black Widow or Ms Marvel movie. And also make Ant-Man into “Ant-Man And The Wasp”.

  • Anonymous

    I’m confident Joss has had some effect on the Marvel films, given the difference between Black Widow’s role in Iron Man 2 (pure fanservice) and in The Avengers (valuable, intelligent badass member of the team with emotions and a backstory). But given that he’s basically been put in charge of the overall direction of the Marvel films, it’s disappointing that none of the movies introducing new heroes for Phase II focus on female characters. Given that I have no evidence pointing to “he’s not trying” as opposed to “he hasn’t succeeded”, though, it seems unfair to blame him for that. On the plus side, there’s gender balance in the SHIELD show if I’m remembering correctly.

  • Anonymous

    I’d hope they keep the Junot Diaz quote to heard when considering who’s in the Avengers 2. I don’t want another team of white dudes with one or two white ladies. Though TBH that last part worries me a bit since I’ve never been too impressed with Whedon’s handling of non-white characters.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, but I also think he’s aware that the Good Female Superhero movie is all on him. At the end of the interview: “And back to the female-hero thing, I’m not going to let nobody do it. It doesn’t have to be me, but it could be.”

    I’m gonna take that as a post-Avengers 2 promise.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Regardless, as I said. Although I am sort of tired of hearing people whine about how he gets praise that he doesn’t deserve since he’s probably the ONLY male creator/writer/director that seems to do his very best to give everyone a fair shake and tell as many stories about female characters as male. If not more. He didn’t do it to get in anyone’s good graces and he seems to have done the best he could at the times he did what he did due to his abilities and the companies he worked for. If you don’t want to give him credit, don’t, but that backhanded compliment shit is old. …this rant is not specifically directed at you.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    You think he made 100% of the decisions for The Avengers? He has plenty of people above him who have a big say in all of it. Not to mentione he wanted Wasp in the movie: http://www.themarysue.com/whedon-another-avengers-female/ And he’s setting up Scarlet Witch for the sequel.

    And when did he say there was no need for a Wonder Woman movie? He’s constantly saying how upset he was over his version never getting made: http://www.themarysue.com/joss-whedon-wonder-woman/

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Yeah, the Superman reboot flopped. “Hey, guys, let’s try again!”

    And let’s not forget, Electra and Catwoman aren’t straight up “heroes” either. I’d love for them to give Batgirl or Supergirl a shot.

  • Cinnamongirl2

    YES!!! The irony, it burns.

  • Anonymous

    Joss Whedon doesn’t exactly have the best track record in the Marvelverse — *all* the X-Men films and Thor have more women as a % of core cast than Avengers.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously. I mean, why Ant Man instead of Wasp?

  • Anonymous

    I tend to think of Whedon as a floor rather than a ceiling. If Joss was the least progressive of Hollywood, we’d be in pretty reasonable shape.

  • Thomas Hayes

    He doesn’t have THAT much pull, given that he’s already been trying as hard as he can. Maybe it’ll be different after he’s got the Avengers movies done and behind him (especially if the second one is as big a hit) but before Avengers he was just a guy whose first film as Director failed to recoup its budget and who made four TV shows of which only one came to a natural end. He’s not Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas or James Cameron.

  • Anonymous

    I think some of that is a function of the nature of the film. I mean, you’re pretty much locked into Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Cap before you add anyone else, just to continue the existing franchises. Fury and Agent Coleston were kinda non-negotiable, too.

  • Thomas Hayes

    My ill-informed outsider guess would be that in order to see WB make ANY superhero film that isn’t another Batman we need Man of Steel to do well. I too really hope the next one is Wonder Woman. I’d like it to be Supergirl but let’s face it, her name-recognition isn’t anywhere near as good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozmikPariah Ryan Colson

    It interests me this man is raving about no lady heroes in movies or not enough or whatever, and in the one he did that made a bajillion dollars, neither of the top tier females really did a whole heck of alot compared to, say, the dudes…

  • Anonymous

    Not really, Avengers could have had Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, the list goes on… by the same argument there was no need for Thor to have any women characters either.

    Existing franchises being man-centric isn’t really an excuse.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Black Widow was the one who closed the portal. Heck, in the scheme of things, she did more than Captain America (who mostly ran around and hit things, which everyone was doing, really).

  • Thomas Hayes

    Black Widow got the third most screen time in the film after Cap and Iron Man. I’d argue that she’s crucial to the plot of the film. Maria Hill unfortunately didn’t have much to do other than be there, which is a shame – but I can understand why those scenes of her talking to the SHIELD Council were cut, they’d have added nothing to the film.

  • Laura Truxillo

    No. They really couldn’t have. In theory, the very first Avengers movie could, in fact, have all of
    those characters. But we don’t live in theory-land with the magical
    theories and their gossamer wings–the whole POINT of the Avengers was
    that it was the culmination of the first wave of Marvel-produced movies
    to have come before it. The first Avengers movie needed to be made with the established MCU characters. Joss wasn’t the one who picked which movies got made first or which characters made it into that movie. He was working a little like ensemble comic writers usually do: “Here’s the characters you can have. Write a story with that.”

    Now that he has some clout, he’s adding in at least two of the ladies you’ve mentioned.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Boy howdy, do I hate the whole “girl action figures don’t sell” line. It always makes me think of Avatar and I always want to march into the office of whoever decided to forgo a Toph action figure for a generic Fire Nation soldier.

  • Anonymous

    I dunno – Hawkeye wasn’t exactly established and Hulk is a very different Hulk to the Edward Norton one. I see your point thought, but I guess at what point do movie directors go “not another white guy protagonist movie”? No-ones individual responsibility but just frustrating all around I guess. Especially given that Shadowcat movie got cancelled.

    Avengers didn’t pass the Bechdel Test either. I guess every Marvel movie has felt like step backwards from Thor to me.

  • Thomas Hayes

    They actually did that? Forego a main character for a faceless goon? And the coolest main character too. I don’t know in which universe this makes sense…

  • Suzanne Larsen

    they gave Supergirl a shot. and It. Was. Awesome.

  • Roberta

    the Melonlord does not accept this.

  • Sole-Train

    so i just finished reading this article and then i get one of those side-pop terribly worded survey questions that appear on themarysue every now and again.

    How fitting: “If you were to cast a big-budget action movie, which of the following actors would you pick as your lead?” 1) Dwayne the rock Johnson, 2) Will Smith, 3) Vin Diesel, 4) Jason Statham, 5) Tom Cruise, 6) Liam Neeson, 7) Vinnie Jones, 8) Nic Cage

    …..none of the above. Can’t even get a damn survey question to include women. (I hate to be rude but as an aside, can you fire whoever makes these questions? I write survey questions for a living and I get so nerd angry at how poorly worded they all are).

  • Anonymous

    I find it fascinating and troubling that I’m seeing a hovering poll on this page (“If you were to cast a big-budget action movie, which of the following actors would you pick as your lead?”) with zero female actors listed as options. The poll says “The Mary Sue” at the top, which suggests it’s been cleared to appear here, but it’s a very unpleasant contrast to the article it’s appearing with.

    [ETA: I see a few others have noted this issue as well; I guess I can amend to say it's STILL here.]

  • Anonymous

    Funny but I don’t remember he was choke-full of ideas for the female characters who basically disappeared when he wrote for Xmen for a while.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me? Black Widow had a meatier and ultimately more important role than Captain America in the Avengers – she brings in the Hulk, she saves Hawkeye and then vouches for him, she interrogates Loki and strips him bare, she closes the portal…

    What more did you want? Her single handedly destroying a space whale? Good GOD.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me? Black Widow had a meatier and ultimately more important role than Captain America in the Avengers – she brings in the Hulk, she saves Hawkeye and then vouches for him, she interrogates Loki and strips him bare, she closes the portal…

    What more did you want? Her single handedly destroying a space whale? Good GOD.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty sure Falcon’s going to be in it.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Who is Judd?

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Who is Judd?

  • Anonymous

    Uh, he was going to MAKE a Wonder Woman movie, only DC hated the script and fired him. What the hell????

  • Anonymous

    Because Edgar Wright has been pushing for an Ant-Man movie for years? And because Wasp gets her powers thanks to Hank Pym, who is, oh, I don’t know, ANT-MAN so he has to be involved regardless?????

  • Carmen Sandiego

    And I think we can still be crazy about Joss’ work (Browncoat here) and still hold it up to be examined and given critical review and demand better. :)

  • Carmen Sandiego

    All decent movies (the latter three, that is); some of them even passed the Bechdel test.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Could have had Enchantress as well. And maybe even Squirrel Girl. :D

  • http://pandoranage.com/ Dante D’Anthony

    Cyborg Super Spy Lisa Sulla… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ERMOTtxT4

    “THE MAGNIFICENT RAIDERS OF DIMENSION WAR 1”
    A female super-spy and a mad Overlord organize a circle of Smugglers, Soldiers and Pirates to fight a new horror crossing into our dimension.

    http://www.pandoranage.com/

  • Laura Truxillo

    Yeah, there was this little set of four interlocking figures (not really action figures, but still toys). You’d get ‘em and put them together and it would make a fight scene. I’ve got Sokka with his boomerang, and there was Aang, Zuko, and…random Fire Nation Helmet Person. Because having an earthbender or a waterbender would’ve just made too much sense.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Actually, the 80s Supergirl is one of my favorite movies, but many don’t look at it in a positive light.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    We don’t control what polls appear.

  • Thomas Hayes

    I feel a bit conflicted about that film. I liked it a lot when I was younger, probably because I like the character and think Helen Slater was good in it… but I don’t like it much now. Especially whenever the Dude who’s the love interest for both Supergirl AND the villain is on screen. He’s got less personality than the coconut that hits him on the head. There’s certainly not much of an arc in it for Supergirl, compared to Superman from only a few years earlier (and the same producers). Also now that I know it had a reasonably good budget and competent production for it’s time, it feels remarkably light on Supergirl actually doing anything awesome in it, given how long the full film is.

    If it’s one of your favourite films, does that mean you have trouble seeing anyone else in the role? I do. Who would you pick from?

  • Anonymous

    IIRC, Joss was the main pusher of a Wonder Woman film to WB, who balked and turned down his script. Go figure, huh? Maybe now that he’s pumped so much money into the studio with Avengers, he can finally get that film he wants. http://screenrant.com/joss-whedon-wonder-woman-sandy-139177/

  • Travis

    If Warner Bros. was capable of producing a WW movie that they thought would make money, they would have made one by now.

    At this point, I have a feeling that Marvel is going to beat them to the punch with Carol Danvers.

  • Anonymous

    That’s unfortunate.

  • Anonymous

    I want to see Danvers/Captain Marvel in a movie so bad it hurts.

  • Anonymous

    My 8 year old son LOVES Toph!

  • Matthew Walton

    Black Widow movie! Yes! She carried half of Iron Man 2 by herself anyway.

  • Calum Syers

    Goddamn typos! One second, I’ll edit.

  • Roberta

    On top of everyone’s previous comments, I would like to add that the Black Widow appeared on her own accord. Sure, there was an alluded relationship/fling/something with Hawkeye, but she was there as a top assassin, not as the girlfriend or sidekick of another person. And she actually kicked ass as a participant, not as the Damsel in Distress. Frankly, that is major.

  • Nick Gaston

    Maybe they can just BUY Wonder Woman, and import her into the Marvel canon. It’d be faster and easier, and DC’d get to finance their next-next Batman reboot immediately.

  • Nick Gaston

    Y’know, maybe female superhero action figures would sell better with a ludicrously “boy friendly” gimmick…

    …like, one that comes with a little magnet/chip in her hands, and when used with the (sold seperately) evil minions and supervillain figs, it lets you rip their limbs and heads off, and they scream. Y’know, foot-in-the-door, hearts-and-minds features like that.

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

    I’m really pissed right now that there’s a Justice League set of action figures on the shelves at Target, and you can get all of the guys individually, but the only way you can get Wonder Woman is to buy the whole set for $50. I don’t want all the other figures. I just want Wonder Woman. But I’m not gonna shell out that much just to have her.

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

    I’m fairly certain that the poll questions are part of the advertising and they don’t really have control over the questions. Given the cost of running a site, I’m okay with advertising to help enhance revenue, so I just ignore the polls.

  • Guymelef

    I second this.

  • Guymelef

    WHAT. That is beyond ridiculous.

  • Guymelef

    Yes! Also the recent Tomb Raider (which a focus on character and not just T&A).

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    No Katara, either, or Suki. Hell, you can get a Bumi figure, and he was in what, two episodes? He was rad in those episodes, yes, but Toph and Katara are right there!

  • Canisa

    I suspect this is deliberate. By making Wonder Woman effectively cost $50, they can dissuade people from buying her. Then, when it comes time to decide if they’re going to make any more female action figures, they can point to this and say “Well, much fewer people bought Wonder Woman, so there’s no point making any more women, because they don’t sell as well!”

    I wonder if the Catwoman and Elektra films mentioned above were deliberately made bad to give the studios an excuse not to make films about female super heroes?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I agree with that. I just finished Dollhouse for the first time and it has a LOT going for it…but I’m going to be selling the set this coming week.

  • Kamil Kukowski

    where’s the series of movies about lady liberators? since the avengers are doing well in box-offices, they could go that way with super-heroines

  • Anonymous

    Oh, there are things to criticise about Avengers. But business-wise, given the existing franchises, there really wasn’t a lot of protagonist wiggle room.

    And yeah, Thor was the best.

  • Anonymous

    Pffft, that’s backstory. He can be the dedicated husband who’s her damsel in distress, so that in addition to backstory he’s constantly her motivation as well.

    You know they’d do it to her in a heartbeat. Why not to Hank Pym?

  • Anonymous

    …you just described Kick-Ass 2, right?

  • http://twitter.com/Luvagoo Tallulah Alice Mae

    It’s not great that this possible (likely?) paradigm shift is starting with movie adaptations of terrible young adult novels targeted at hormonal teenage girls, but I think it’s fair to say that we’ve got to start somewhere?

    As this said, just the fact these things are led by females (the role modelability of whom is another discussion) and make a shitton of money is a good thing.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    No, for some odd reason I wouldn’t have trouble seeing someone else in the role. I would love for them to introduce someone in Man of Steel and spin her off from there. Haven’t put much thought into who could play Kara but I did see someone do a photoshop of Saoirse Ronan in an awesome costume: http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?p=25869715

  • Amanda Cox

    I like that Whedon has the guts to speak out about this stuff, particularly as a white man who may have received special privileges above women or minorities in the past, and I’ve always respected his outspokenness towards women’s rights. However, hearing such words from Whedon can often ring hollow, and I agree wholeheartedly with the essay you’ve linked to here, about his own representations of women. Both Maria Hill and Black Widow were a bit more emotionally responsive than some of his other “tough girls,” but Whedon still seems to live in this dichotomous world where a woman must be stone-faced, sexually appealing but not overtly sexual in action, and must be able to perform a badass kung-fu move at least once per episode; either that, or they must be the “sexually liberated” individual who performs deeds her male companions will certainly appreciate, but is still at one point victimized due to her not being strong enough to defend herself.

    Perhaps as both his big-screen and small-screen careers continue to move forward, Whedon will develop a more balanced voice when it comes to giving life to both male and female characters, and while I still enjoy his previous works and look forward to his future projects, I don’t find his viewpoints on feminism nor his representations of women all that revolutionary or progressive.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    I think Avengers toys had the same issue with Black Widow. I saw plenty of toys for Captain America and Hulk hands and Iron Man masks. Little to nothing relating to Black Widow. It didn’t help my mood that all the superhero toys were in the blue/boys toy section as opposed to the pink/baby doll girly section. Fucking gender stereotypes yo. The marketing for superhero movies is terrible. They are ignoring half the population!

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Didn’t Joss’s early scripts include the Wasp? Anyone else remember this? I got really excited because I think Jan would be a fantastic addition to the seriousness of the MCU. She is such a fun character. I’m still hoping it’s her & Hank for the Ant-Man movie.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Hawkeye was introduced in Thor, so I though it was clear they were setting him up to be in future movies.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Me toooo! I actually can’t even decide if I want a Ms Marvel movie first or a Black panther movie. Seriously, there are so many interesting characters Marvel can branch out to now and tell their stories. I really hope they take advantage of their huge list of choices.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    I def agree. & your comment reminds me of a blog post Greg Rucka made about this kind of thing:

    “ Here’s the thing: I am sick and tired of super-heroes who aren’t super and aren’t heroes, but more, I’m sick and tired of Hollywood blaming us for their failures. I am sick and tired of
    hearing various Hollywood studio execs who are as disconnected from the reality of middle-American taste as Rick Perry is from Christianity excusing the poor performance of their ill-executed product by tacitly blaming you, me, and everyone else of us who didn’t pay to see their garbage.

    Catwoman fails?
    Instead of, perhaps, just perhaps, acknowledging that the movie is a piece of excrement unworthy of use as fertilizer, they conclude instead that a female lead can’t open a movie unless her name is Jolie.

    So now we’re not only guilty of not being
    willing to pay for 90 minutes of intellectual abuse, we’re all apparently
    sexist jerks, as well. The problem with Green Lantern’s performance at thebox office is that it’s not “gritty” enough? I don’t think so.

    […]

    I can think of no other industry where the consumer
    is made to bear the blame for the product’s failure as much as Hollywood.
    Seriously, let’s think that one through. The movie didn’t perform, therefore it’s our fault? You got food poisoning eating the fish they served and you paid for, it’s your fault? The brakes on your new car crapped out and you wrapped it around a tree, it’s your fault?

    Here’s a crazy thought.

    Maybe you made a bad movie.”

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Isn’t the Avengers his first big movie hit? Serenity wasn’t racking in the dough in reality. And I thought he was mostly TV before then. Popular TV granted. But that doesn’t mean much to Hollywood bigwigs. I’m confused at why you think one hit movie would give him “carte blanche” to do whatever he wants?

  • http://radicalcentristblog.wordpress.com/ HeatherN

    Here’s the thing…his feminism and his viewpoints on representations of women aren’t really all that revolutionary within feminism. They ARE actually quite revolutionary within mainstream movies/T.V./etc.

  • Amber Barnes

    Don’t forget Bioshock Infinite. Elizabeth is definitely the lead of that story.

    Unfortunately, Remember Me is getting panned by critics for its lackluster story and shallow combat system. Of course, its poor reviews are already being blamed on the female lead.

  • zaz_cag

    I wish there were better female super heroes. Advice: Don’t cast Sandra Bullock as a super hero, period.

  • Amber Barnes

    I loled

  • Amber Barnes

    one of my biggest fears is that in order to get a “female superhero movie”, we’ll have to see the leading lady in question secede part or half of her screen time to a male “companion” hero.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    To me that’s like… a “normal” gimmick. I want that on everything. So maybe just stop having stupid “ladied versions” of female action figures? Or wait! Sell lady action figures. That’s what they should do. I can never find any.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    Even the alluded thing with hawkeye, to me seemed like intense bromanship.

  • Anonymous

    ” He is not nearly as progressive as he wants the world to believe.”

    Um….(Advisory Board, 28th down) http://www.equalitynow.org/about-us/board-staff

    (I’m in no way stating that Joss Whedon is a perfect man, who always recognizes his privilege; I’m sure he’s got faults just like the rest of us. But as for talking the talk AND walking the walk, hell yes. When he says things like this, yes he’s preaching to the choir. But it’s SO IMPORTANT that he is saying these things in the toxic culture we’re all trapped by, with the HUGE platform that he does.)

  • Anonymous

    Second ALL of that, Adam. Awesome.

  • Abraham Mireles

    I will be flamed for this by a lot of feminists. But the truth is most “badass” women suck.

    Why?

    yes they kick ass and are independant and don’t need men to succeed etc etc.

    But they lack something most male heroes do and that is morals you know being an example, something to aspire. Superman and batman are great rolemodels but to given an example cartoon WM is just and “angry female that feels superior to male” and actually have much better backstories.

    I take the humble farmer or the tortured avenger to the angry feminist anyday.

    The fault is on the writers ofcourse. It’sn not enough for a female to be badass, they have to actually be you know heroes.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    It’s going to probably take a lot of comments and commentators to explain in detail the amount of things wrong with your argument so I will just try to cover one. Batman is not exactly a great role model. He’s freaking crazy. Isn’t that obvious to you by now? Yes, he is amazing and large part of him is good, but he has flaws. The biggest one being bitterness, and a very stubborn nature. Why do you think Superman and he argue so much?Superman is not exactly a great role model either. He at times has a severe God complex.Hardly any of the superheroes are wholly good people to the core. They make mistakes….that’s kind of what makes them relatable. So your whole lose definition of what you think is “morals” for a character is all kinds of warped. I get that you want writers to improve female characters, which I completely agree with you on but you should examine your male ones a little closer. They aren’t perfect.

  • Abraham Mireles

    They aren’t perfect obviously, having flaws is good storytelling.

    I don’t agree with your interpretations and many professionals wouldn’t. Superman is the embodiment of uncorruptible goodness in “supeman vs the elite”.

    There are many interpretations of the characters.

    “We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.” Grant Morrison

  • Abraham Mireles

    Of course they aren’t perfect. Good story telling requires characters to have flaws.

    That beign said I strongly disagree with your interpreations of the characters. The characters do change a lot depending on the writter. Superman on “superman vs the elite” is the embodiment of doing the right thing while injustice’s superman is an outright tyrant.

    But at their core heroes are something to aspire, that’s the entire point of their existance. Heroes set an example and yes millions of people find relatable heroes like superman, spiderman and batman becuase despite their flaws they embovy the best of us.

    Interestingly I never gave a defnition of “morals”

    “I agree the core of Superman is good. But it’s not flawless.” GREG weisman

    “We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.” grant morrison

  • Guest

    Of course they aren’t perfect. Good story telling requires characters to have flaws.

    That beign said I strongly disagree with your interpreations of the characters. The characters do change a lot depending on the writter. Superman on “superman vs the elite” is the embodiment of doing the right thing while injustice’s superman is an outright tyrant.

    But at their core heroes are something to aspire, that’s the entire point of their existance. Heroes set an example and yes millions of people find relatable heroes like superman, spiderman and batman becuase despite their flaws they embovy the best of us.

  • Guest

    Of course they aren’t perfect. Good story telling requires characters to have flaws.

    That beign said I strongly disagree with your interpreations of the characters. The characters do change a lot depending on the writter. Superman on “superman vs the elite” is the embodiment of doing the right thing while injustice’s superman is an outright tyrant.

    But at their core heroes are something to aspire, that’s the entire point of their existance. Heroes set an example and yes millions of people find relatable heroes like superman, spiderman and batman becuase despite their flaws they embovy the best of us.

    Interestingly I never gave a defnition of “morals”

    “I agree the core of Superman is good. But it’s not flawless.” GREG weisman

    “We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.” grant morrison

  • Abraham Mireles

    interesting

  • Guest

    Of course they aren’t perfect. Good story telling requires characters to have flaws.

    That beign said I strongly disagree with your interpreations of the characters. The characters do change a lot depending on the writter. Superman on “superman vs the elite” is the embodiment of doing the right thing while injustice’s superman is an outright tyrant.

    But at their core heroes are something to aspire, that’s the entire point of their existance. Heroes set an example and yes millions of people find relatable heroes like superman, spiderman and batman becuase despite their flaws they embovy the best of us.

    Interestingly I never gave a defnition of “morals”

    “I agree the core of Superman is good. But it’s not flawless.” GREG weisman

    “We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.” grant morrison

  • Thomas Hayes

    That’s a great costume, and I could get behind Ronan in the role. I like the classic outfit a lot but at least this idea would get rid of the issue of what happens if she flies upside down … and it matches the Man of Steel one just fine. Also I read some of the rest of that thread – if this tie-in about Kara is written by Goyer, that makes me feel quite optimistic that we’ll get her in the films… if MoS is any good and does well of course.

  • Thomas Hayes

    If by “WM” you mean Wonder Woman, isn’t that only the Frank Miller interpretation of her? It doesn’t sound like the original Marston idea or any other writer’s version from what I’ve seen.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    It was more of an exaggerated effort to point out that Batman and Superman are capable of having flaws and that regardless of the way they are interpreted by each writer, their “dark tendencies” still stem from a place that to me was some what included in their backstory. Just like people like Merida are capable of making mistakes. If I have misread the intention of the first post, I apologize. To me I do not see WW as an angry female feminist, just like I don’t always see Batman or Superman as always having the best intentions. At times I believe they act very personally and with bitterness, whether they fall through with those actions depends. Which is why I though that when this was said, “being an example, something to aspire. ” was indicating that they were some exception a part from having flaws.

  • Alice Ruppert

    I did not name Tomb Raider because it has been an established series for fifteen years, but yes: the new TR definitely proves a point, too.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    I’m not sure which one of these comments I replied on, but I promise it’s here somewhere.

  • Alice Ruppert

    I thought exactly the same! Elizabeth is who people will remember about BioShock Infinite, not Booker.

    Yes, I’ve heard the same about Remember Me. It’s a pity, but well, not every game is good because it has a female lead… The bad thing is just that games like this tend to cast a shadow on every game idea with a female protagonist.

    I fear the same could be applied to the Assassin’c Creed Series (of which I admittedly am a huge fan, in general): They published one game with a female lead and it was the least successful of the series.
    Some people will interpret it as a failure because of its protagonist’s gender and race, whereas the real problem lies in bad mechanics, a half-hearted story (so I’ve heard, I haven’t been able to play it) and a platform not many people have: the PS Vita.

  • Amber Barnes

    Exactly. Aveline’s game was doomed to failure because they plopped it on a weak, little used, and already failing mobile platform. But instead, they’re gonna pin the failure on her gender and race.

    Gaming companies seem to be invested in making sure female-lead or PoC-lead games fail so they have justification for not making more. Then they get to pretend that the market just doesn’t want to play female protags. Ubisoft themselves said at a reveal for AC: Black Flag: they never, ever thought that the story of the Kenways could feature a woman lead. Because the Kenways breed by way of budding, apparently.

  • Kimship

    Yeah, I was not a fan of Black Widow in IM2(she was one of several things about that movie that grated), but she’s one of my absolute faves in Avengers. And Joss’ tv shows are generally pretty evenly balanced, gender-wise, and Agents of SHIELD looks to continue that trend.

    He does need to work on using more non-white people, though.

  • Kimship

    That’s great.

  • Alice Ruppert

    Pity… All the women we HAVE met on the AC series are badass enough… I mean, I would not mind playing as Maria Thorpe or Ziio, or Rosa (‘kay, she’s not an ancestor), but I don’t see that happening any time soon, unfortunately.

  • Anonymous

    Yup, really enjoyed IM3 :)

    Hawkeye barely got a line in Thor though. Jane or Darcy would have been more obvious choices for existing characters, and really wouldn’t have been hard to get in given the whole “science lab” setting at the start. Think after this I agree with Laura above though — while I’d like there to have been more women in Avengers, the real issues with that film probably lie elsewhere.

  • Anonymous
  • http://borderhouseblog.com/ Lake Desire

    This is why we need a Xena movie. Joss can direct it if he wants.

    https://www.facebook.com/Xena2011MovieCampaign

  • Roberta

    So, because some female characters are written poorly we must declare that all of them have terrible backstories?

    I don’t think so.

    In the Avatar series, The Kiyoshi warriors took their unique fighting skill to the rest of the world to defeat the Firelord. They did it not to prove something, but because they felt they had a duty to.

    In the Disney universe, Mulan joins the army to keep her father safe, and then saves China because she knew she had to.

    Both did their part to save their worlds because of a sense of duty and honour, not to be the token angry feminist.Do they completely dismiss your argument? No, there are several female characters that could have better motivations. But they show is has been, and can be, done.

  • http://twitter.com/Deviija Devi Sage

    I own Elektra. I actually rather like it. I mean, it’s not great and there are many issues, but just as a little no-brainer action movie with some heart, I enjoyed it. Catwoman, on the other hand, uhhh no. That was atrocious. Moreover, I don’t care for Halle’s Storm portrayal either. Hm!

    Anyway, it’s the same line over and over and repeated in the video games industry as well. Point to two or three games that didn’t sell well that HAPPENED to have a lady protagonist and that is precisely the reason why it didn’t sell well. It’s not, say, the horrible (voice) acting or bugs and glitches or terrible gameplay design or absolute lack of character and interest in any story. Pretty much all of this can be applied to movies as well. Same false arguments with no actual extensive studies and proven data, spoken around a table to other muckity mucks or PR departments. It’s bull.

    Make a GREAT movie or a great game or a great book and it doesn’t matter who the star might be. Consumers will want to consume it because it is GREAT. Simple. And like was said, there have been many many many male superhero/heroic fantasy games and movies that have sold abysmally — some that have even tanked studios — yet those are never looked at with the explanation of ‘WELP, sold poor ‘cuz DUDES.’ :P

    Lastly, my good lawd! I want that Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel movie so much. Really, I’d like Joss Whedon to do it. I think he could do it amazingly well. Though I am secretly hoping that Melinda from Joss’ S.H.I.E.L.D Agents tv show is going to be a lot like her. Pilot, military, trained martial arts. Oh joy!

  • Abraham Mireles

    No I said “most” badass female. There are alot of great female characters I love.But the recent ones have been dispappointing

    I love yale’s steward wonderman for instance but she is usally poorly done.I love Wonder Woman but I have yet to see her being used in mainstream media as something better than “angry feminist.

    I put the blame in the writers.

  • Abraham Mireles

    Obviously not.

    I think the re are great female characters out there. But most mainstream ones leave a lot to be desired.

    Mulan is my favorite disney character and I agree avatar has had great female characters with the notable exeption of Korra.

    Korra is badass, doesn’t need men etc (feminist heroine yay!) etc….. But she never sacrificed anything for the greater good or never did anything heroic at all. In fact the other female characters had to sacrifice themselves for her!

    Asami on the contrary had to betray her father for the greater good. To me the badass female character (Korra) isn’t a good role model and she is much inferior to Aang no matter how badass she is.

  • Thomas Hayes

    I haven’t seen Wonder Woman in much mainstream media other than the 70s TV show – unless you count the animated films (which I would argue aren’t mainstream), and she’s not an “angry feminist” in those.

    I’m very glad that the David E. Kelley TV show didn’t get greenlit though, because it would have been pretty much exactly what you’re describing – I saw the pilot (you can probably find it somewhere online and there are reviews of it by SFDebris and on Thatguywiththeglasses). She was more like Batman in that, except with less of a conscience and more violent.

    I’m cautiously optimistic for Legend of Korra. I liked more than I disliked in the first “Book” but I really feel like Aaron Ehasz was missed on the writing team – hopefully the next season fixes some of the issues and DiMartino and Konietzko don’t go all George Lucas on the franchise. And Asami is great, despite having far too little screentime.

  • Xena Movie Fans

    Why isn’t anyone mentioning Xena among these? Lucy Lawless has been tweeting hints by flat-out saying that she would do a Xena Movie, and that she was recently contacted to re-invigorate the brand! She is perhaps hotter than ever, and it doesn’t get any more iconic than flawless Lawless reprising Xena. In fact, part of the problem in their case is because there is a rights dispute with Universal Pictures and part of their so-called complaint is because they don’t think there’s enough to profit if they have to share. This is where fans need to speak up and take action to say otherwise!!! It’s one thing to comment all day on message-boards, but if you want to actually help EFFECT CHANGE, you have b willing to take it to the studios directly! Even if you’re not a Xena fan, the fact that it could set a precedent for other female action movies to follow is reason enough to support the cause. You can do so by signing the Xena Movie Petition (google it- it has 6030 sig right now) and the Xena 2011 Movie Campaign on FB where they have links and contact info to Universal. Together, we CAN change this, and one of the biggest female icons of all-time is putting herself on the line to offer to do that…..let’s help her make it happen!!

  • Xena Movie Fans

    Xena Movie Petition (no worries, it has direct links to the movie campaign within it) – http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/xena-warrior-princess-movie.html

  • Xena Movie Fans

    Lucy said in a tweet, “I think we really have to petition Universal.” That is exactly what we’re doing and it gets blasted to them non-stop via social media and print. It’s over 550 pages printed.

  • Xena Movie Fans

    It always seems odd to me why nobody ever interviews Rob Tapert. He’s brought some great female roles to the screen – Xena & Gabrielle, which came before Buffy, and recently several female roles in Spartacus.

    Spartacus wasn’t all action roles for the women, but had incredibly strong dramatic roles as well as more than usual female action roles, all as strong as the men’s roles. It was nice to feel like you were watching genders equally playing to each other’s strengths instead of women thrown in as eye candy.

  • Roberta

    I will give you points for Korra, she needs to find her way to save the world and sacrifice and all that fun heroic stuff. I hold out hope for season 2, if only because I am on optimist.

  • Nick Rowley

    Squirt?

    I love Supergirl, I don’t especially like Catwomen Electra or Wonder Woman as comic properties so the films might not be especially interesting to me but there are tons of characters that would be great. Wanda wouldn’t be bad (though since they’re rooting the movies in the Ultimates universe to a fair degree that opens up a worrying plot line).

  • LifeLessons

    Amen! Now let Joss do his “Wonder woman” movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozmikPariah Ryan Colson

    My bad, I meant like, screentimewise. She did close the portal, but she never really felt substantial in the film’s scheme, to me.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Screentimewise she still does better than, say, Thor, and about on par with Bruce. She’s the one trusted to bring in the Hulk. She’s the one who interrogates Loki. She’s the one who brings Hawkeye back. She closes the portal. She does a lot in the movie, and she’s in it quite a bit. I think people are just used to the female heroes fading into the background and automatically categorize them that way without realizing it. Same as the folks who talk about her being the T&A as if she were anymore objectified than Cap or Hawkeye.

  • https://www.facebook.com/LucyTheEcoWarriorPrincess Cae

    I’d also like to give a shout out to Xena and the need for a movie (that *isn’t* Shatner’s documentary). I’d also accept a Wonder Woman film, despite how so-and-so in the comments believes it’d be ‘boring.’

  • Anonymous

    I can think of about a dozen action films with male leads that flopped. Yet, they persevere. I’m in the film business and can say unequivocally, men run every large set, finance every blockbuster and dominate in sheer numbers in the production. It’s how it is. These men want to see a male hero, male villain, male main characters. They identify and relate to themselves. There isn’t some mysterious reason they don’t make them. It’s clear. Oh, the money thing is partially true but mostly bullshit. It’s about reflecting themselves and loving the male image. Seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozmikPariah Ryan Colson

    This makes sense then, although in my circles, Cap’s Boxing Ass scene is significantly discussed more than BW’s Captured scene… lol

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I need to see it again, but I didn’t think Electra was that bad, and in fact thought it was better than the Daredevil movie.

  • Anonymous

    I’m just tired of him being worshiped like he’s the most progressive. He’s just got a big platform, and he uses it to push a bunch of misogynist shit into view.

  • Alex

    OBVIOUSLY he doesn’t make 100% of the decisions. that doesn’t stop his fandom from heaping 100% of the praise on to him.

    ”But I don’t necessarily think we need a Wonder Woman movie per se. We
    need more female heroes. We need ‘wonder women’ movies. But Wonder
    Woman may not be the wonder woman we need.”

    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20447419_4,00.html

    That’s when he said it.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    The last time? Frozen. The time before that? The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Before that? Gravity. Also female led movies like Alice in Wonderland, every Twilight film, Brave, Tangled, Tomb Raider, Charlie’s Angels, Salt….