Joss Whedon’s Won’t Stand By And Let There Be No Female-Hero Comic Book Movies

Joss Whedon, infamously and sadly, spent a lot of time developing a Wonder Woman movie for Warner Bros. that, ultimately, they just wouldn’t make. But why didn’t they give him the go ahead? Perhaps his recent interview with The Daily Beast explains:

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.

Toys. Again. Terrible.

Whedon went on:

It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off… 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.”

But he’s not just complaining about this issue, as Whedon’s going to be part of the solution.

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.

And why should there be only one? Why should there be just enough for a tiny a female-hero movie ghetto?

Marvel’s a great source for these films with plenty of great characters to draw on. There’s Black Widow and Maria Hill already, of course, and they could easily get expanded roles or projects of their own; there’s Ms. Marvel, She Hulk, Kate Bishop, Mockingbird, Jessica Jones, Wasp, Scarlet Witch – who is already set to show up in the Avengers sequel – and many more.

Ms. Marvel will come first, I bet… and if so, I have a hunch that it will be a phenomenon.

Incidentally, Whedon also has other projects in mind, mentioned in more or less the same breath:

I’d love to do a ballet, but I’m still thinking about how to stage it.

That’s as good as a promise, I think. We may have to wait a while, but there’s a ballet coming, I’m sure of it now he’s started thinking about it. …read more

Via: Bleeding Cool Comic News+

21 thoughts on “Joss Whedon’s Won’t Stand By And Let There Be No Female-Hero Comic Book Movies

  1. David Levenstam
    June 7, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    I wish they’d let him make that Wonder Woman movie. I suspect it would have been much better than that abortive Woman Woman series that even Adrianne Palaki couldn’t salvage.

  2. David Levenstam
    June 7, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    Plus then maybe he wouldn’t have felt so compelled to give a third-stringer like Black Widow more time than the Mighty Thor! 😀

  3. Amy Bailey
    June 7, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Black Widow ROCKS in the movie. Not her fault OR Joss’s that there’s so few female first- and second-stringers. Her screentime is good to add more folks from genders to the audience, which helps to have Avengers 2. There is so much about that early scene that is just hilarious – Coulson patiently waiting, etc. that I am very glad it was there.

  4. David Levenstam
    June 7, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    I’m fine with her being the only one who could outwit Loki. That doesn’t mean she should have gotten more screen time than Thor.

  5. Amy Bailey
    June 7, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    According to this, the ONLY Avenger who didn’t get more screen time than Thor is Hawkeye. If you’re frustrated that a minor character is getting so much screen time, you should blame the original writers of the comic books who created so few kick-ass female characters to have on screen today. http://i.imgur.com/IWEVoGp.jpg

  6. David Levenstam
    June 7, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Yes, it pissed me off that a third-stringer like Hawkeye is the only member of the movie who got less time than a first-stringer like Thor. Why did a third-stringer like Black Window get more time than a first-stringer? Because Joss Whedan, by his own admission, has a fetish for super-powered teenage girls. Okay, so he couldn’t put a teenage girl into Avengers like he did Buffy and Firefly, nor give Black Window actual superpowers, so he did the next best thing, and just had her overshadow one of the first-stringers. In fact she got more time than anyone but Iron Man and Captain America. I don’t blame the original writers because they also brought us Jean Gray, Storm, and the Invisible Girl. Those three are all first-stringers. I didn’t object to the amount of screen time any of them got in their movies. Indeed I objected that Jean Gray got so LITTLE time in her last X-Men movie. That’s why I wish they’d have let Whedon DO his Wonder Woman movie. SHE is a first-stringer. That’s why I wish they’d do another Supergirl movie with an actual plot to it, instead of whining about how the piece of garbage that the Salkinds made out of her didn’t succeed. They ruined the Superman franchise too. I want to see movies about first-string superheroines–not see third-stringers overshadow the first-stringers.

  7. Amy Bailey
    June 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    No, I mean you should blame them that 51% of the Avengers doesn’t match the possible viewing population which is 51% female. It’s not even quite 20% female in the movie (1 in 6), and even our military is close to 20% female on average. When 51% of the population has money in their hands to buy tickets, you really ought to appeal to them a little more than 3 out of 11 main characters (if you add in Hill, Pots, Coulson, Loki and Fury.) So yes, that’s what Joss was trying to do. Probably for reasons other than $$, good for him. 🙂

    Note: according to this, women bought 40% of Avengers tickets- http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/2012/0507/Women-and-3D-help-The-Avengers-set-box-office-record-video

  8. David Levenstam
    June 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    I’m a Jew. If I believed in movie casts matching their percentage portion of the US population, that means I’d want no movie to ever have a Jewish character. I enjoy an occasional Jewish character in a movie despite the fact that we make up only 2% of the US population. 😀 I don’t worry about movies matching the population. There are no Norse gods living in America (to my knowledge, although Dirk Gently had both Thor and Odin living in Great Britain in The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul :-D).

    In the 1960s, when Marvel created The Avengers, there were virtually no woman in the US military and virtually no girls bought superhero comics. Although by the end of the 1960s Wonder Woman would become a feminist icon, that doesn’t mean that Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan were BUYING Wonder Woman comics. While romance comics were big with girls in the 1950s, it was primarily boys buying superhero comics, including Woman Woman–and it was boys who made Wonder Woman one of only three DC comics that survived, uninterrupted, the terrible days of the 1950s Congressional persecution of the comics industry. We’re frankly lucky that the folks at DC gave us Supergirl (who, again, took off with boys, no pun intended :-D)) (1958) and the folks at Marvel gave us Sue Storm/Invisible Girl/Invisible Woman (1961), Jean Grey (1963) and Ororo Munroe/Storm (1975). I dragged my girlfriend to see the Supergirl movie three times–not the other way around (and imagine how many times I would have seen it if they’d given the character a plot worthy of her!) One needn’t be a woman to enjoy good female characters, and one shouldn’t have to be man to appreciate good male characters. Over the past two weeks I watched the entire six seasons of “Sex and the City” despite the fact that of the four stars, zero are men.

    It’s contradictory to laud Joss both for appealing to women to make more money and for giving up more money to appeal to woman. He can’t have done both, but he can have done neither, as he suggested when he said that he has a fetish for super-powered teenage girls. I never watched his Buffy series, (although I enjoyed the film) but I sure did like his super-powered teenage girl in Firefly. Indeed my favorite scene in the whole series came when River shot dead three or four villains with barely a glance and one bullet each, and then turned to a startled Kaylee and repeated with deadly earnestness what had been Kaylee’s joking phrase from their game earlier in the show, “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.” I rather like his fetish for super-powered teenage girls (although I’ve generally preferred older women myself :-D)–and that’s still no excuse for giving Thor less screen time than anyone except Hawkeye.

    Growing up I knew no girls who liked superhero comic books, and outside the rare woman who plays D&D or the women I find in science fiction groups like this one, the only woman I’ve met in half a century who actually likes comic book superhero characters is my best friend’s wife. The attitude I’ve commonly seen from women generally has been the one conveyed so comically in The Big Bang Theory–that it’s a childish pastime of dysfunctional high-IQ men. So if women really did buy 40% of the ticket sales for Avengers–and for themselves, not for their boyfriends or husbands–then all I can say is, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” 😀

  9. Amy Bailey
    June 8, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    I couldn’t tell people I liked superheroes when I was growing up, because it was considered weird for a girl to like the stuff. But I had Superman sheets. I admit I never got into comics, but then I probably didn’t see any except maybe an Archie until I was 30 or so. I don’t remember going to a comic book store before then.

    Joss is making movies today for today’s fans. But we’re probably just going to disagree on this – I really like the changes that you dislike. 🙂

  10. David Levenstam
    June 8, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Other enjoying having a third-stringer overshadow a first stringer because she’s a woman and he’s a man (and is it better because he’s a Nordic man?), what changes that I don’t like do you like? Is there anything else I said I like that you don’t like?

  11. Amy Bailey
    June 8, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Nope, I think that’s the main one. And it’s not because of anything about Thor. I simply LOVE HER ROLE. 🙂 Her toughness – and everyone’s calm acceptance of it – contributed a great deal to my enjoyment of the movie. I don’t care about who she has more screen time than – I didn’t even notice. I’m 1/8 Swedish myself. Thor is great, I like him lots. 🙂

  12. David Levenstam
    June 8, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    There’s always been a problem in the team up comics like Justice Society/League of America and Avengers in that you have superheroes who are just well-trained humans competing for script time with superheroes who have god-like powers. In most of the JSA/JLA comics you didn’t even HAVE Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. They were generally off doing some other mission or something, so you in the JSA/JLA comics (except the big annual crossovers DC started doing in the 190s) you weren’t actually reading about the first-stringers at all. I’m not as familiar with the early Avengers comics, but I think Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk actually did appear regularly for long runs of the comics.

    When you do have varying levels of power though it’s always a problem. How do you have Batman contribute when you’ve got someone who can move tectonic plates (or blow out a star, at one point during the Silver Age), someone who can move at nearly the speed of light, someone who can instantly create energy constructs that can block nearly anything or create blasts of power?–not to mention the ones who can fly unaided and those who can’t? (Silver Age comics had a lot of scenes of flightless superheroes handing from flying superheroes, so much so that you’d figure that Batman or Green Arrow or somebody with lots of money would have invented a collapsible harness or something to hand to Superman or Green Lantern every time they needed to fly somewhere. 😀 To some degree they could even things up a bit with lots of gadgets ala Batman, Green Arrow and Iron Man, but generally they had to make the regular humans really smart to figure out things that the super-powered ones would have figured out on their own in their own comics. So Superman and Thor got dumber in the team-ups (most of the time) and had to have Batman and Iron Man do their thinking for them. It’s annoying if you’re a Superman or Thor fan. Hulk is a bit different, in that, once he IS the Hulk, it doesn’t matter how darned smart Bruce Banner is, he’s just not very smart. Somewhere there’s a great Hulk story where Bruce got to KEEP his intellect as the Hulk, but you can’t really allow that in a team-up issue because then you really don’t need Tony Stark (except for the snarky lines of course :-D)

    So with Black Window you’ve got the same problem, only she’s not even known for gadgets. How do you make her or Hawkeye relevant in a movie with Thor and the Hulk? Really, given that those aliens were just a physical threat, Hulk should be able to take them himself, while Thor laughs and wacks on the head one or two that get past Hulk. There’s not really even any need for Iron Man, much less Hawkeye or Black Widow. So how did they make Black Window relevant? By having her outsmart Loki. And that’s the part I liked about having her in the movie.

    Now in Iron Man II it’s a different matter. Stark’s not very reliable, and so Nick Fury sends Natasha to baby-sit him. That’s not very glamorous, of course, but it’s fun to see her clash with him. I have no problem with the amount of time she got in that movie. She could have had more, for my taste, and we could have seen less of Pepper Potts, who really has just never done anything for me. I’m not saying that they should have had a romance–on the contrary, I like the fact that Natasha isn’t fooled by whatever it is about Stark that fools so many other woman (could be the brilliance, the wealth, or the wit :-D). I would be disappointed if Natasha were interested in him romantically. I do like the fact that Nick Fury doesn’t trust him but he does trust her so he sends her to baby-sit Stark. Plus, if you’re a good shot and have the right caliber, you might actually be able to beat some guy in powered armor with a gun. 😀

    It’s the same thing with Hawkeye. He was great in Thor because 1) we didn’t know if the de-deified Thor could take an arrow and survive (my money says “yes,” but we don’t know for sure! :-D) and 2) Hawkeye starts to LIKE Thor and gets one of the best lines of the film. In Avengers he does pretty much nothing for me though. Heck, for my money they could have done the Avengers with Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man and skipped both second-stringers. I would have been fine if it had been Bruce Banner or Tony Stark who outsmarted Loki (I don’t really see Thor or Captain America, who are so earnest, being that sneaky), but since they’d already introduced Black Widow and she needed to do something important, I’m okay with Joss making her the one who outsmarted Loki.

    I frankly think that Black Window would be more interesting if they did her own movie and showed her background as a former Soviet assassin who defected. The current movie incarnation is probably too young to have been an actual Soviet assassin, so they’d probably have to update her a bit, and maybe just make her an assassin for the KGB’s successor. I would love to see her duke it out with her own successor, Captain Yelena Belova . I’d like to see how she defected and how Nick Fury recruited her. I’d like to see her as a Russian assassin first, and then after she’s defected, like some of the chickens she hatched as an assassin come to roost on her after she’s switched sides–but the survivors of her victims wouldn’t care that she switched. I mean, even now that we’ve already seen her in two movies, I think it would work to have a movie with her set before the ones we’ve seen. If anything, the two movies she’s been in have given her extra exposure so that a Black Widow solo movie would have better chances of success now. I’d much rather see her in her own movie than .. Ant-Man?! 😛

  13. Amy Bailey
    June 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    I should see if there’s a book-bound version with other volumes available. The flimsiness and 50% advertising of the individual comics irks me no end.

  14. Amy Bailey
    June 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Thanks!! I’ll try it.

  15. David Levenstam
    June 9, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    You’re welcome. Actually I got interrupted in the middle and never got to post the link for the bound edition of issues 6-8: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Widow-Kiss-Duane-Swierczynski/dp/B0096DXL4Y/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1370730575&sr=8-3&keywords=black+widow+comic

  16. David Levenstam
    June 9, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Here’s another Black Window title I found. She apparently hasn’t often had her own title, and these are the only I’ve found so far. On the positive side, this makes it easier to get all her titles than if she’d had a regular run some time in the past 50 years. 🙂 On the negative side, if you really like it, there’s no much more to be found. 😛 http://www.amazon.com/Black-Widow-Deadly-Paul-Cornell/dp/0785144021/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2U3FIN0UJZSQP&coliid=IZEU2YGCTTUEI

  17. Amy Bailey
    June 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Cool, thanks!

  18. Aar Pawl
    June 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Wait, Thor’s not a chick?

  19. Amy Bailey
    June 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    He does have good hair. 🙂

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