Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor

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201408041801 Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor
WHO will be the first studio to make a female led superhero film?

Answer: Warner Bros! They made Super-Girl 30 years ago!

Oh you mean in the new world of girl-powered entertainment and social media outcry?

Well, given LUCY triumphing over HERCULES at the box office—Scarlett Johansson is now a bigger action star than The Rock—you’d think Marvel or DC would finally fish or cut bait, shit or get off the pot, stop hemming and hawing, pull the trigger…

…AND while I was thinking of more metaphors for their on again off again pursuit of a female-led film, Sony scooped them all with a not at all vague and impossible to say if its true scoop at Deadline that says after Sinister Six in 2016 they’ll put out a female led film in 2017!

Having pushed the next installment of its Spider-Man franchise out of 2016 and into 2018, Sony Pictures is doing a top-to-bottom revamp of its most important property, insiders say. And that includes a female superhero movie which is being eyed for a 2017 release date, Deadline has learned.

201408041803 Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor
Sinister Six, the next installment from writer-director Drew Goddard, was announced in April and its release date revealed during this year’s Comic-Con. It will bow November 11, 2016. The villain bash is the first of several planned character and story expansions for the Spider-Man franchise which the studio is hanging onto by developing other character spinoffs — much like Fox has done with its successful X-Men franchise. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing Sinister Six, which revolves around all the villains of Spider-Man converging after the evil Dr. Octopus summons them. There are a lot of different Sinister Six team-ups so it has yet to be revealed which characters might appear, but one possibility is Vulture, Mysterio, Electro, Kraven the Hunter and Sandman. And Goddard is said to be a supreme comic book geek — not that there’s anything wrong with that — who truly understands all the aspects of the Spider-Man universe and its characters and storylines which is key for that movie and the next.


So it’s going to be The Black Cat isn’t it? Or Spider-Woman? Or Spider-Girl/aka Araña — feisty and ethnic!

201408041804 Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor

Or The White Tiger!!! She’s already on tv!

201408041807 Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor

A lot to choose from and they’re all either cat or insect branded, which works for girls.

According to Deadline’s Anita Busch it could be “Silver Sable, Black Cat, Stunner, Firestar and Spider-Woman.” You should really read the whole thing because it contains a lot of insights into the pressures on Sony heads Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton (my former boss!), although when my former co-worker Busch writes “It was only a matter of time that someone would announce a female superhero movie — and it happens to be Sony who is the first out of the gate” i’m sorta like….wow, no comics website has announced a guest post by Michael Fassbender, either….so The Beat is the first!

In other words…this is yet another trial balloon by Sony. So Sony if you ARE reading this: Arana. I’m telling ya. Young, multi-culti and malleable.

MEANWHILE back at success ranch, as much of a genius Kevin Feige is he just can’t get this female superhero movie thing down, telling CBR:

How close are we to a Marvel film with a female lead? Because I’m feeling a groundswell of demand in that direction.

I think you’re right about that, and I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story. I very much believe in doing it. I very much believe that it’s unfair to say, “People don’t want to see movies with female heroes,” then list five movies that were not very good, therefore, people didn’t go to the movies because they weren’t good movies, versus [because] they were female leads. And they don’t mention “Hunger Games,” “Frozen,” “Divergent.” You can go back to “Kill Bill” or “Aliens.” These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have — which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that’s because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don’t know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we’re playing right now.


Oh dear timing, not quite right, problem, what to do. Luckily Slash FIlm’s Angie Han deconstructs this very handily with a timeline of Feige’s similar tishing and toshing, as in Avengers was a female led movie, and so was Cap 2 and oh I don’t know and etc etc etc…

Taken individually, any of these excuses makes perfect sense. Black Widow is already a great character, with or without her own movie, and she does have prominent roles The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It does make sense to wait for the right filmmaker, the right character, and the right time, rather than rush out a half-assed movie to placate the fans.

But taken together, the pattern becomes clear. Feige doesn’t have any real drive to make a female superhero movie, even if he’s not willing to come out and say it. Or at least that’s how it looks to me. Believe me, I’d love to be proven wrong on that front.


Money talks, and the success of female led films like Malificent, DIvergent and HUnger Games are what will pull this trigger.

And while I”m on the gender topic, one more thing about women behind the camera. Marvel does have one female-directed film, Lexi Alexander’s Punisher 2, about which the less said the better. Patty Jenkins left or was pushed from Thor 2, which ended up being the weakest of all the MCU films after The Hulk.

Interestingly, there wouldn’t even be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie without a woman, Nicole Perlman who was enrolled in Marvel’s screenwriting development program when she picked it from a list of characters:

Marvel had plenty of more high profile character to choose from but Perlman was drawn to the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. Started in 1969, the series is the most sci-fi of the Marvel world because it takes place in space. Guardians consists of dozens of heroes in several different incarnations. The scope of the world gave Perlman plenty of room to play with the characters.

“Everything in the screenplay is original in the sense that it’s not based on any particular comic book,” says Perlman.

Perlman was able to move characters around, create new relationships and even change the backstory of the film’s hero Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt).

It’s pretty clear that most of the movie is Gunn’s, but Perlman seems to have had a vision when no one else did. Meanwhile based on her round of press interviews, Perlman has some other offers coming in, although nothing at Marvel, unlike male program participant Christopher Yost, although to be fair he does have a bigger superhero background than Perlman. On yet a third hand, he did write the story for Thor 2….

Meanwhile, even as Perlman enjoyed her little victory lap, she fell prey to the same amnesia where female achievements are concerned with this headline:

How Nicole Perlman Became the First Woman to Write a Marvel Movie

I’m sure the awesome Jane Goldman, screenwriter or story on X-Men First Class and X-Men Days of Future Past (not to mention Secret Service and Kick-Ass) would be very surprised to hear that.

201408041758 Marvel Studios has a woman problem again but Sony might be the knight in shining armor
Helllooooo Hollywood. Hire this woman…again.

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    GRRR…
    Marvel…. are they really that stupid?

    Here… punch this into your GPS, Mr. Feige:
    2300 Riverside Dr
    Burbank, CA 91506

    You’ve got an animated feature coming out in a few months with them.
    Surely, you can find someone in Disney’s story department who can adapt one of your many female solo heroes into a decent movie.

    How about Ultragirl? You’ve already teased the Kree in GotG.

  2. Black Widow as a movie in 2 or 3 years should be a no-brainer.

  3. Forgot to add: then Captain Marvel to tie-in after GOTG2. It makes so much sense with how they are currently positioning the character in the 616.

  4. Hoping to get Painkiller Jane out there before all of this.

  5. Warren says:

    That story is referencing Marvel Studios films. None of the scripts that Goldman wrote were for Marvel Studios.

  6. MBunge says:

    “So Sony if you ARE reading this: Arana. I’m telling ya. Young, multi-culti and malleable.”

    Go with the original Spider-Girl. The whole Peter Parker’s daughter angle will draw mainstream media attention like flies and you could even bring in Garfield (or Tobey!) as a supporting character.

    Mike

  7. Johnathan Blackh says:

    Like most executives skilled at marketing, Feige is keeping the spotlight on what he has for sale now—Guardians of the Galaxy—while offering minimal information about what’s up next. A Black Widow movie is not a part of the discussion because of where it sits (if it exists) on the schedule.

    If Marvel green lit a Black Widow movie last year it would still have to wait it’s turn. 2014 and 2015’s releases were already in the pipeline. However I think 2013 (or 2012) would not have seen the approval of a Black Widow Film.

    It seems reasonable that Feige and company would want to see how Captain America: The Winter Soldier turned out first before giving a Black Widow film the go ahead. Given the importance of Widow’s role and the development of her character in CA:TWS, that film could be seen as a good test run or The Black Widow 0.5. Only after Marvel was satisfied with the product and it’s reception would they have committed to a BW movie. Also, the events of CA:TWS changed a lot that might define the direction of a BW movie (unless it took place in the past.)

    While others see Feige’s comments about timing and juggling franchises as evasive or worse, I see it as logical. Captain America, Thor and Iron Man take precedence over the Black Widow. Those are the characters (plus the Hulk) they committed to for the purpose of building Marvel Studios. Their movies (unless they are seen as unsuccessful—see Hulk) are musts on the schedule along with their team-up Avengers films. The Ant-Man is an anomaly that would not have existed were it not for Edgar Wright.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy film exists I believe for two reasons. One: Marvel’s executive team saw the property’s potential to expand the scope, range and appeal of Marvel Studios films by introducing the cosmic end of the Marvel Universe to audiences. Thus giving the company a way to offer a different type of film than the Avengers family of franchises. Two: Nicole Perlman, a writer in their development program came up with something they liked. This took the Guardians from something interesting with potential to something worth investing in.

    Because a Black Widow film would not expand Marvel’s canvas (and tone) in the potentially lucrative way that the Guardians could, they took priority. The same argument can be made regarding Dr. Strange.

    Thus far, under Feige Marvel’s moves have been [mostly] well planned and that approach has paid off for the company and its audiences. I’m really hoping Marvel does not abandon this approach in an effort to pacify a vocal minority. Better to wait and have a quality Black Widow film than one rushed out to appease critics. Until then I and many others look forward to continued quality handling of the character like was delivered in CA:TWS.

    – Johnathan Black

  8. The X-Men movies aren’t Marvel. I mean, they’re Marvel properties, but they weren’t made by Marvel Studios. So that was probably what they meant. Otherwise, spot on article!

  9. According to Deadline’s Anita Busch it could be “Silver Sable, Black Cat, Stunner, Firestar and Spider-Woman.”

    Sony has the license for Firestar? Huh. I wouldn’t have expected that since Firestar isn’t a character from the Spider-man comics from the 1990s. I would have expected her to go with the X-men license or, more likely, stay with Marvel because who in the 1990s when those contracts were signed cared about Firestar?

    If Sony actually has some kind of claim on her via the connection to the Amazing Friends cartoon then damn it they should be making a movie. Sony has a ridiculously small number of heroes to play with in the Spider-man franchise and if Firestar counts then they should be going for it.

  10. It’s hard to root for Jane Goldman when she’s helping on the one hand but hurting on the other with her ‘look’ (don’t be a #dickaccessory). Women will never be taken seriously until they stop putting their looks and sexuality at the forefront. It’s a bad example for young girls and it harms all women by objectifying them. I’m looking/hoping for comic book heroines who are not scantily clothed (or nearly nude) male-fantasies. It’s so important that female heroines be seen as people first, and not lose their power and be dismissed because they are objectified or objectify themselves. We’ll never be taken seriously all tarted up and it’s ridiculous in a super heroine.

    I’d like to see a Super Girl movie because she’s more appropriately clothed than many others, and I’m really sick of Spider-Man. Also, she’s very All-American. I can’t believe they didn’t case Gina Carano as Wonder Woman . . . It would have been great to have a truly strong woman in the role instead of a waif-skinny model. Ronda Rousey would be great as Super Girl! Now if only both of them would keep their clothes on in real life and realize the reach they have to positively influence young women and their self esteem.

    And, yes, I’m a radical feminist.

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