Margot Robbie as Barbie in a pink car
(Warner Bros.)

Barbie Girl Summer Is Coming and Everyone’s Invited

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is shaping up to be the movie of the summer. Here’s everything you need to know about the star-studded Mattel doll … biopic? Romantic comedy? Thrilling pink adventure? We can’t wait to find out! Not to enforce the gender binary, but it’s nice to see a major blockbuster pull IP from the girl’s aisle in the toy store for once. Sorry! I’m trying to delete it.

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What we know about Barbie

Gerwig will direct the movie, with a screenplay she co-wrote with her husband, Noah Baumbach. (They previously collaborated on Frances Ha, but with Baumbach in the director’s seat.) The indie darlings may seem like an odd fit for a character who exemplifies the mainstream, but that’s kind of what makes this movie all the more exciting.

The Barbie teaser gave us film history and so much dancing

The opening 2001: A Space Odyssey homage in the first teaser for Barbie was perfect, and then it explodes into color and light and the most delightful vibes. I see you in your Gene Kelly best, Simu Liu!

The second Barbie teaser trailer revealed so much…

But also not so much that I feel like the movie’s been spoiled. We have an idea about the plot, right? It’s about a Barbie in BarbieLand who goes to the real world with her Ken. All of the Barbies get along, and all of the Kens are jealous of each other. But other than that … surprise me!

The Barbie character posters tease the theme and some deep cuts

The character posters, released on the same day as the second teaser trailer, were just as much of a moment on the internet. The posters instantly became a meme and you can even make your own.

The tagline revealed on the posters speaks volumes. “She’s everything. He’s just Ken” Every Barbie’s character poster has a job or accomplishment, like Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Supreme Court Justice, lawyer, diplomat, Pulitzer Prize-winner, celebrated author, doctor, and President. Women can do everything in BarbieLand! But that means… they have to do everything. Kens just get to be Kens.

There are also two characters from Barbie lore that you may or may not be aware of: Midge and Allan. Allan, played by Michael Cera, is Ken’s buddy. Marketing in the ’60s, when Allan was introduced, advertised that “all of Ken’s clothes fit him!” No comment! With so many Kens in BarbieLand, is Allan stretched a little thin as a BFF? That’s my theory, anyway. Midge, on the other hand, is a controversial doll brought to life by Emerald Fennell. Created as a “less sexually intimidating” counterpart to Miss Barbie, Midge was Barbie’s pal, Allan’s girlfriend, and later his wife. The “Happy Family Midge Doll” gave Midge a pregnant baby bump, and the doll was soon discontinued as to not encourage or romanticize teen pregnancy.

When will Barbie be released?

The film will open on the same weekend as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, debuting on July 21, 2023. This raised some eyebrows on Twitter, particularly in light of Nolan’s beef with Warner Bros. Is it deliberate counterprogramming? Are we expected to believe that Oppenheimer and Barbie will have similar audiences? There probably is more crossover than you’d think—both films have cast enough recognizable names to fill seats for weeks—but it doesn’t seem like either studio would make that assumption.

You could fill a toy chest with the celebrities in the cast of Barbie

Margot Robbie IS Barbie. Ryan Gosling IS Ken. Will Ferrell IS the “CEO of a Toy Company” (okay, LEGO Movie vibes) … and that’s not all. The cast of Barbie also includes:

  • America Ferrera (The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants)
  • Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
  • Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
  • Ariana Greenblatt (In the Heights)
  • Alexandra Shipp (tick, tick… BOOM)
  • Emma Mackey (Sex Education), who many think looks just like Robbie
  • Mackey’s Sex Education co-stars Connor Swindells and Ncuti Gatwa
  • Issa Rae (Insecure)
  • Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
  • Hari Nef (Transparent)
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir (The OA)
  • Rhea Perlman (Matilda)
  • Emerald Fennell (The Crown, she also wrote and directed Promising Young Woman)
  • Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary)
  • Scott Evans (Grace and Frankie, Chris Evans’ Instagram)
  • Ana Cruz Kayne (Painkiller)
  • Ritu Arya (The Umbrella Academy)
  • Jamie Demetriou (Fleabag)

You couldn’t possibly guess what Barbie is about

“All we can say is whatever you’re thinking, it’s not that,” Robbie told The Hollywood Reporter. “We like the things that feel a little left of center. Something like Barbie where the IP, the name itself, people immediately have an idea of, ‘Oh, Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is,’ but our goal is to be like, ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different—the thing you didn’t know you wanted.’”

Fine, I won’t have any expectations, then! I was more of a Polly Pocket girl anyway.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Author
Leah Marilla Thomas
Leah Marilla Thomas (she/her) is a contributor at The Mary Sue. She has been working in digital entertainment journalism since 2013, covering primarily television as well as film and live theatre. She's been on the Marvel beat professionally since Daredevil was a Netflix series. (You might recognize her voice from the Newcomers: Marvel podcast). Outside of journalism, she is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings to stage lighting and comics about teenagers. She lives in New York City and can often be found in a park. She used to test toys for Hasbro. True story!