Marvel and the Woman Issue

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We want to preface this article in stating that it was prompted by MamaSeppinRek who went all Hulk this morning after reading some comments made by Shane Black the director of Iron Man 3.

In a recent interview, Mr. Black stated that the original villain for Iron Man 3 was supposed to be a female, but the idea was shelved because a female villain wouldn’t sell enough toys…

Mama SeppinRek in 3…2…1

 

“There was an early draft of ‘Iron Man 3’ where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female…We had to change the entire script because of toy making.”

The director explained further that “in the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian [the role Guy Pearce played] – and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like ‘Remington Steele,’ you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘no way.'”

There must have been some problems behind the camera because we all know that Killian isn’t the Mandarin. I mean, come on.

Black was quick to clarify that this did not come from Kevin Feige, the current president of Marvel Studios, but “Marvel corporate,” which at the time included Ike Perlmutter, who previously oversaw the development of all Marvel Studios properties (including “Iron Man 3”), a task that he ceded to Feige in September of 2015. Black said, “If you ever say anything about decisions made at Marvel, I hope you’ll qualify it by saying that Kevin Feige is the guy who gets it right. And I don’t know if it was Ike, I don’t know who it was. They never told me who made the decision, we just got that memo one day and it was about toy sales. That’s all I know.”

Now, let’s discuss another issue and this one has to do with the fan favorite, Black Widow.

According to a former Marvel employee who wishes to remain anonymous, before its Disney overhaul, Marvel did care about catering to all consumers, and was also very sensitive about how its female characters were depicted on merchandise being sold to children. But ,of course the marketing department didn’t head in a great direction with design, and their poorly executed, female marketed product lines didn’t do well. The ex-employee goes on to say that after Disney acquired Marvel, she noticed in slides created by the Disney marketing team, “unlike the actual demos, the desired demographics had no females in it whatsoever.” When she asked her supervisor why that was, she responded:

“That’s not why Disney bought us. They already have the girls’ market on lockdown.”

Of course, the anonymous source went on to say that it wasn’t Disney’s fault, but the retail giants of Target and Wal-Mart that are really at fault because they want to sell toys and they need Disney to produce the most marketable ones…

But wait, can we now see a faint glimmer of light and hope?

Kevin Feige recently stated that he is committed to making a Black Widow movie and that they also have a Ms.Marvel movie in the works.

Hmmm, could it be in response to this:

Whether you hate DC or Batman v Superman, only a fool would deny that the entrance of Wonder Woman was not only epic, but groundbreaking. We’re sure Disney took note and it was like a light bulb went on over their heads.

“Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.” Feige also clarified that discussions were “ongoing,” so Marvel is not yet ready to confirm Black Widow, but… they’re working on it.

 

Note he said, ‘They are not ready to confirm YET.’

A lot of people, thousands, have been quick to say that DC has a lot of catching up to do with Marvel, but one issue that Marvel needs to do some scrambling on is trusting in the female heroine. Why can’t Storm or even Rogue get their own solo films?

Netflix green-lit an entire season devoted to a female character, Jessica Jones, and guess what? It was a smash hit.

Warner Bros. not only just finished production on a SOLO Wonder Woman movie, but it was announced yesterday that Margot Robbie’s, Harley Quinn was also going to star in her own standalone movie. Robbie will also produce the film and the rumor is that it will feature Batgirl and Birds of Prey.

Yes, you read right. An all female superhero film.

But let’s dive in deeper. DC has always had a stronger knack for developing female characters. We don’t care how much of a die hard Marvel fan you are, even both sides can agree on this. DC has a very strong line of heroines and villainesses and they have been focusing on those characters with the rise of its female readership and fan-base. It recently introduced DC Super Hero Girls, a line of comics and products targeting the young female demographic. This plan was set up by none other than Margot Robbie who fell in love with the DC super-heroines and asked for them to do more. The characters getting the spotlight include Quinn, Batgirl, Batman villainess Poison Ivy, Katana (Quinn’s fellow member of the Suicide Squad) and Bumblebee, who can fly and shrink.

We have stated our concern for awhile about how Marvel needs to step up their game and they also need to fight for their characters against the Disney powerhouse team that is in charge. The fact is, their movies are starting to blend in together and they need to shake things up. One of the reasons why Guardians of The Galaxy was so popular was because it was different and people responded to it favorably.

Marvel has strong female heroes and they deserve to partake in their fair share of the limelight. We’re not just talking about Black Widow and Ms.Marvel, but what about She-Hulk and Scarlet Witch? Satana and Tigra? Two characters that are not very well known but Marvel could make them very popular today!

Making movies shouldn’t be about selling toys and merchandise. We understand that it does come into play and we would be naive to think it doesn’t, but before you start thinking about toy sales, shouldn’t you think about the story and the characters?

Women love movies as much as men. Women love superhero movies just as much as men and fanboys. Little boys and girls love action figures. Little girls and boys also love superheroes. It really doesn’t matter to them whether it is a male action star or a female action star in a movie as long as they get the bad guys in the end.

Little girls also need role models other than Princesses’ or women whose main goal in life is to snag a prince. Why can we say this? Because we have a little sister who has embraced the idea of woman superheroes so much that the much beloved Frozen room has now been transformed into an all girl power Wonder Woman, Bat-girl, and Supergirl lair.

We saw firsthand her reaction to Wonder Woman and it was incredible. She has already started to beg us to take her to Suicide Squad because she wants to see Harley Quinn  on screen and she won’t take no for an answer.

(We’re going to preview it first though)

The comments and revelations made by Shane Black were startling to us. We’re also fairly perplexed as to why this isn’t such a big news story. It almost seems to be buried on other websites and we can’t help but scratch our heads.

This is huge. This is basically a confirmation that Disney/Marvel has been biased towards women and the female audience, but where are the protests and riotous indignation? Is it the fear of the Disney corporate backlash or is the fact that most writers on the websites that focus on comics and superheroes are men/fanboys who just don’t see it as a big story?

Well, on our website it’s a big story and also in our world. We will continue to investigate and report on it because the fact is, it’s not right, and it should not be ignored because…

 

Thoughts?

 

~Seppin

~Rek

~MSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Marvel and the Woman Issue

  1. Eh….I judge this by what the companies do in general media. And when it comes to TV shows and movies, DC has a TERRIBLE track record concerning female leads. The ONE time they got it right was the Wonder Woman TV show. After that? No movie for Wonder Woman for decades, even though she is part of the Trinity (no animated show for her alone either, only Batman and Superman get shows and movies). The terrible Supergirl movie. The even worse Catwoman movie. And let’s not forget the all around insulting Birds of Prey TV shows. And now? In the CW verse, every time they accidentally create a good female character, they either kill her off or turn her into a love interest and suck all the personality out of her.

    I am also very ready to get down on Fox, who own Marvel’s most highly prolific characters and keep doing NOTHING with them. I am still fuming over their take on Rogue and Storm and how they first ruined the Dark Phoenix Saga (not that they ever bothered to give Jean Grey a personality to begin with) and then gave a storyline which belonged to a female character to Wolverine in Days of Future Past.

    The MCU, well, Perlmutter is clearly the problem there. This gut just didn’t believe in female lead movies, though there are a number of well done females in the TV shows. Now that he is out of the picture, hopefully there will be some changes in this regard.

    It is no secret that Disney bought Marvel partly because they wanted the merchandise. I have been complaining about the way they marked their movies (I HATE what they do in the Disney Princess franchise…not that it exists, but how it looks like) and how they are unable to think outside the frilly dresses box for years. But make no mistake here: That’s the marketing and merchandize department. When it comes to creating movies, Disney has delivered more compelling female leads than most of the other studios, if you consider how few movies they actually produce every year.

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  2. I think both DC and Marvel need to take steps into providing more equality towards female heroes. I applaud DC for making A Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn movie. I also applaud Marvel for their shows like Jessica Jones and Agent Carter. I really wish both franchises would open up even more and make movies about their leading ladies. I mean, who here doesn’t want to hear Black Widow’s backstory or meet someone cool like Tigera? What about a female villain like the Enchantress? She’s pretty cool! Although I love watching the men kick butt in all their respective movies, I would love for some more ladies to take the lead. It’s silly to say “it doesn’t sell” or “men don’t like it.” Because, believe me, they do.

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  3. Shane Black was just saying as it was. He did not say he liked the decision that the Marvel executives made. He is not the one to blame. The marketing team on the other hand…

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