For years, creators of superhero movies have shrugged off questions addressing the scarcity of women stars, echoing the sentiment, “Comic books are for boys.” But in recent films, I have noticed a shift. I was thrilled to see Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) in The Dark Knight Rises; both were complex, powerful, terrifying yet sympathetic heroines (or anti-heroines, if you prefer). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) graced the screen and kicked some butt in The Avengers.
Natalie Portman has a rich history of portraying fantastical, otherworldly characters who grapple with the strengths and fears of being a woman. In Star Wars, she was the martyred mother to the generation of “new hopes;” in Black Swan, she was a woman caught between the poles of sexual innocence and experience. The Thor series, of which the second installment is due out November 8th, has the actress portraying astrophysicist Jane Foster.
In discussion with SciFiNow, Portman discusses her thoughts on the presence of women in superhero films, and reveals her desire for a female lead superheroine. She recognizes that recent blockbusters “do definitely have strong female characters in them,” and she gives Marvel props: “the people who run Marvel [have] respect [...] just normal human respect for women, the way they want to characterize them; you can tell when men talk to you, as just a person or as a ‘woman’”
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises
But she, like the rest of us, yearns for a female protagonist: “it will be exciting when there is a central female character which I think is coming – I have heard is coming.” She also lets on that there might be a non-white hero on the horizon. Just where is she hearing this thrilling news, and where can we get in on it?!
In conversation with Too Fab, king of Marvel Stan Lee sheds light on the subject, and he for one, is confident that all Marvel heroes (women included) will grace theaters in the coming years. While no one has yet confirmed who our first lady-hero will be, Lee admits, “probably at one time, they’ll make a movie of the Black Widow.”
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in the Avengers
It’s probably going to be a bit of a wait for female superhero stars, but the future looks promising. We’re all aching for a magical, badass chick, and our cries are finally being heard. Disappointingly, Stan Lee doesn’t seem to be in a rush, noting, “the thing is, [...] women like the movies as much as the guys, so we don’t have to knock ourselves out to find a female.” Discouraging as his words are, at least people are starting to acknowledge that girls need superheroes as much as guys do. Superheroes embody the ideals of justice, kindness, love, and fairness, so let’s please get a gal in there already!
What woman superhero would you like to see first? What villains? We’re eager to hear your thoughts in the comments!