Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, would like everyone to know that he’s super-excited about the idea of a big budget movie based around a female central character, and also that he has no plans to make one in the foreseeable future. His comments to Comic Book Resources were provoked by a commendably direct question, which led to a predictably chickenshit answer:
“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.”
Feige naturally sidesteps the actual question, by making it sound as if Marvel’s schedule of upcoming movies had simply been found down the back of a sofa, or carved on a stone tablet by the invisible finger of God. Every item on their filmmaking agenda has, of course, been carefully thought out by the studio’s top dogs, following Feige’s lead. The exclusion of female characters from the centre-ring is not the product of “timing,” and certainly not of audience demand as he gutlessly suggests. It represents a series of calculated creative and financial decisions made by Marvel as a company.
As many have observed, it’s an especially bizarre lapse considering that Marvel has already featured Scarlett Johansson – one of the world’s least talented but most bankable female stars – as a secondary character in three separate films. As they reach further and further out into left field in search of fresh material, it’s only going to get bizarre-er. As Feige himself points out:
“…as we go further in upcoming movies, it just gives us, again, a broader canvas to play with…to tell all the stories that the comics have been telling for years and years and years. I think the notion that the cinematic universe consists of something as real world as a billionaire who used to make weapons and wants to repent that in Tony Stark’s story, or something as out there as Peter Quill, who now adventuring on the other side of the galaxy with a maniac, two thugs and an assassin…”Ant-Man” is a more contained sort of character, heist movie. And then, when “Dr. Strange” comes about, that, I hope, will start to broaden the canvas and expose the canvas even more into the supernatural side, into that undercurrent of magic which is really sort of about alternate dimensions and parallel dimensions and that end of the comics.”
The only limits are the boundaries of our own imaginations! You were imagining another white guy with a six-pack too, right?