“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.”
– Roman Payne
In 6 weeks we’ll see, for the first time, the big screen debut of Wonder Woman when director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot change the landscape and disrupt the boys club in a major way.
With all signs pointing to a successful outing, this will almost certainly open the doors to more opportunities to see women super heroes (and villains) with their names at the top of the marquee.
Already in the pipe is Marvel’s Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019) starring Brie Larson and DC’s Gotham City Sirens (TBD) starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Catwoman and Poison Ivy have not yet been casted.
Recent announcements of Joss Whedon jumping ship to DC to write/direct a Batgirl feature and a Squirrel Girl lead New Warriors TV show have fans buzzing on the internet on potential castings and future possibilities.
The last few years alone have brought us exciting female representations on the big screen with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow holding her own in the Avengers/Capt. America films and the aforementioned Margot Robbie’s long awaited debut of Harley Quinn which was easily the best thing about Suicide Squad. So much in fact, it directly led to green lighting DC City Sirens and reports have Killer Frost for a potential Suicide Squad 2 lead character.
The Star Wars universe, not to be outdone, brought us not only the return of Princess/General Leia Organa, but two newcomers in Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones who played the lead protagonists in both The Force Awakens and Rogue One…quite well I might add. Or another way to look at it is women kicked ass in the lead role in the top grossing films of 2015 and 2016. This can’t be understated in an industry that bases all decisions off of box office receipts. In their superb TV adventures with Star Wars: Clone Wars and Rebels they have given us the likes of Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla.
This doesn’t even mention Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch, Evangaline Lilly’s WASP and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique all whom have more than held their own against their macho male counterparts.
Not to be outdone, on the small screen we have a successful (finally) Supergirl series starring Melissa Benoist, Jessica Jones starring Krysten Ritter and the above mentioned New Warriors series just announced which will be a Squirrel Girl lead ensemble.
Years past have brought us popular yet ineffective representations with the 1970s Linda Carter Wonder Woman TV series, Helen Slater’s 1984 Supergirl film and disappointing versions of Storm and Jean Grey in the X-Men franchise. Two low points on the big screen have been 2004’s Catwoman and 2005’s Elektra, neither which Halle Berry or Jennifer Garner are to blame. None seemed to have captured the true essence of the characters strengths choosing to focus more on their weaknesses.
While things are headed in the right direction it’s taking longer that it should. A huge majority of roles, especially lead ones, are still reserved for men. While it’s risen the past couple of years, thanks in large part Star Wars, the lead roles are still only going to women 20% of the time. That’s up from an embarrassing 12% just two years ago. In fact women only get 30% of the total speaking roles in Hollywood, and that definitely needs to change since women have a voice and a strong one at that.
To simply ignore the great characters and stories still out there would be foolish. There’s absolutely no reason that big or small screen opportunities couldn’t exist for heroes such as She-Hulk, Rogue, Spider-Girl or Power Girl.
I suppose it’s fitting that Wonder Woman could be the one that swings the pendulum after all these years. After all, she’s been fighting the good fight since 1941 and I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more…
Till next time…