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Joss Whedon: Lack of Female Superhero Movies is ‘Frustrating’

We live in a world where we’ll see Rocket Raccoon and Groot blasting their way through Guardians of the Galaxy before Diana of Themyscira gets the chance to kick ass and take names in a big-budget Wonder Woman movie. If that’s confusing to you, you’re not alone. Joss Whedon spoke with The Daily Beast about the lack of movies starring female superheroes, making it quite clear he’s “pissed off” about where things stand.

“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,” he said. “It’s stupid, and I’m hoping The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies.”

“It actually pisses me off,” he continued. “My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, ‘My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,’ and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. 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.'”

For his part, Whedon is increasing the field of live-action superheroines by adding Scarlet Witch to The Avengers 2. With the film’s 2015 release date nearly two years away, there’s plenty of time for Whedon to add even more of Marvel’s most recognizable women to the superhero sequel.


  • JokersNuts

    Wonder Woman really wouldn’t be that difficult to do in the hands of a competent team. Joss Whedon would be the ideal director / writer for that, but there is really no reason a good WW movie shouldn’t exist.

  • cylon

    Films outside the Hollywood studio system are being made all the time. The complain that “movie people” are not interested is not as important as people make it seem. It is their money, if they feel like not investing them in a movie starring female superheroes, so be it. There are more ways how to finance a movie.

    And isn’t Luc Besson developing a superhero movie with Scarlett Johansson?

  • Shallbecomeabat

    Yeah! They should just use the mythology and tone from the new 52 WW! That would eliminate all the cheesy stuff and elevate it to a really bad ass flick!

  • The One and Only

    A few years ago, I remember one critic saying the lack of super-heroine flicks came from the fact that the audience that likes those films. Nerds. Can’t deal with strong women, so that was the reason for the flicks failing. Although, the UNDERWORLD, and RESIDENT EVIL flicks have not had any problems with having a badass chick in the lead.

  • Hawk

    Marvel definitely needs a movie with a female superhero as the lead. Captain Marvel or Black Widow would be perfect. They could also do with adding more women in general.

    Those people who say that people don’t go to see superhero films with female leads are full of crap. People don’t go to see bad superhero films, no matter what gender the lead is. The difference is that the small number of superhero films with female leads are the ones that are singled out as why more films with female leads shouldn’t be made.


    The problem is the “big guys” think that the audience is: 1- All teenage boys. 2- Are all misogynists that don’t want the status quo to be challenged.

    When in fact it’s just them projecting their own views and opinions and using it as facts for an excuse.

  • Tamara Brooks

    I’d prefer the mythology & tone from the long Perez run where the Amazons weren’t turned into baby-murdering a-holes.

  • Breonne

    I disagree. He doesn’t seem to get Wonder Woman, and went on record saying she has no good villains (which is far from true to anyone whose actually read the comics).

  • rubberczech

    The real problem is, Marvel has no “headliner” female characters with the iconic status of Wonder Woman. Even Supergirl, Batgirl or Catwoman (NOT the Halle Berrie version) would have more draw than ANY Marvel female character. I’m not saying the Marvel females aren’t great characters, just that they have no presence in the general public’s mind. And, as we’ve been told ad nauseum, movies are not just made for the fan-geeks. They are made for the general movie-going public.

  • mrterrific

    LOL what? You turned Johansson into talking boobs

  • Ovaltine Pineapple Jenkins

    To be fair though, Iron Man had no presence in the general publics mind. And that’s just refering to comic book movies. If the general public needed prior knowledge of a character before seeing a film, nothing would get popular.

  • Alex W

    They just have problems with everything else about those movies.

  • Joel Conley

    This is a good point. But I think Ms. Marvel could win audiences over pretty easily.

  • simon austin

    You’re completely right, and the irony of that thinking is that I’m sure all those teenage boys would love to see a hot female superhero kick butt.

  • JokersNuts

    I haven’t read that interview but, yeah, I agree with you that its a misguided assumption that she has no good villains. I still think Joss would be great to tackle the character, but think others could do a good job too. I don’t think the character is that tough to adapt, especially considering how well Thor has been done at Marvel.

    Like you, I’ve read the comics (and read them, and read them some more), and still hold out hope for a great WW adaptation. It shouldn’t be too difficult, and perhaps if Man of Steel is successful enough, we we will get to see it happen sooner rather than later.

  • simon austin

    What cos of 1 scene where they were a bit jiggly? What he did was have her as an insane ass-kicker.

  • JokersNuts

    I love the Perez run very much (and by extension love the character and George Perez very much), but Azzerello’s run has been a good read too. And that art by Cliff Chang, great!

  • Tamara Brooks

    I’ve been stuck on #10 because the some of the changes made me so mad. I have more issues, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to read any of them after that. It’s not because he changed stuff, it’s that he seemingly changed stuff for no good reason plus I’ve thought of at least 15 other ways of arriving with the same major story breaks without changing WW’s origin. Cliff’s art is astounding – it’s what kept me buying the book as long as I did.

    It just seems like they want everything to be “grim & gritty” and “MOAR DARK!!” without really thinking if it’s the ideal tone for the long run. Their 90s is happening 20yrs later.

  • Tamara Brooks

    It’s about execution and the right creative team. RDJ is perfect for Tony Stark. If they did that with all the other characters (like Sif, not as much like Black Widow), that’s half the battle right there.

  • Chuck777

    Outside of the greek pantheon, she doesn’t really have any truly memorable villains.

  • Chuck777

    Another issue is that most of the popular female characters are X-Men (Jean, Rogue, Emma, Kitty, Storm, Betty, etc.).

    On the Avengers side of the MU, you have She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, Wasp…? And they are not headliners in the same way that the X women are.

    Still, you don’t need to be famous to get a popular movie, you just need a good writer and a great actress.

  • Jay

    Creating a successful superhero film has little to do with
    “iconic status” but rather the quality of the story. There were three success Blade movies before a good Fantastic Four film.

    There are plenty of good stories featuring Marvel superheroines. It just up to Hollywood to find them.

  • mrterrific

    so she is an “insane ass-kicker” with boobs. Not a very compelling character.

  • Hawk

    I get the feeling you were watching a very different movie, or you were more interested in her boobs than anything else.

    Natasha was the most useful character in The Avengers. She was the one who got Banner, she was the one who found out Loki’s plan, she was the one who shut down the portal.


    Fine – go write a Wonder Woman script and get it made. Done. He who has the most ability to change this should be the last one complaining.

  • DarthTigris

    So it’d only work for you if she had a double mastectomy?
    Women have breasts. Deal with it.

  • DarthTigris


    I can make it even worse. Where are the superhero movies with non-white leads? There are actually black characters that you could use (and one African one in particular), but when you start trying to think of latino, Asian or Arabic options, it gets much worse.

    Basically they think the public at large is sexist and racist. The disturbing question, though, is are they wrong …?

  • RogueBlader

    You mean the script he wrote in 2007 which was ultimately not used?

  • Ghostblood

    When I think of female Avengers, I always think of (in this order), the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, and Ms. Marvel.

    the Black Widow is way down on my list. Not because I hate the
    character, but because she isn’t closely identified with many memorable
    Avengers’ runs, and rarely stayed around for long runs, anyway.

  • srob

    A Green Lantern movie with Jon Stewart, or even using him for the Justice League instead of Hal, is one of my dream superhero films.

  • simon austin

    OK if you want me to expand – She’s an insane ass-kicker who is a master of manipulation, did a hell of a lot more interesting things in the movie than half the other characters, and just happens to have breasts… Cos you know… She’s a woman.

    You seem incredibly fixated on her boobs, but in a negative way…

    half of the characters were hardly “developed” in the film.

    – Thor – Insane ass-kicker with a hammer.
    – Hawkeye – Insane ass-kicker with a bow.
    – Black Widow – Insane ass-kicker who didn’t need a crazy weapon and happened to have boobs…

    You get where I’m going with this?

  • jay

    I can only think of the Cheetah and Dr. Psycho in his Captain Wonder alter ego. The Silver Swan maybe?

  • joelx1000

    is there this whole thing about strong female characters now? like brave, hunger games, to an extent harry potter, and even a few years ago they had veronica mars, hell now they the chick from once upon a time, and yet wonder womans tv show didnt get a green light, serisouly now is the time to make a wonder woman movie because thats whats popular, you could even market the film to girls instead of having action figures have dolls like barbie style and the invisible plane and the lasso of truth, and a horse, also if they do make a wonder woman im sure ill be dragged to watch it 4 times by niece who always asks me when are they making a wonder woman movie. she is 11 and wants a wonder woman movie

  • Christopher Shafer

    It also frustrates him that women insist on wearing shoes.

  • Jerry Harris

    I thought the 2009 animated Wonder Woman movie was spectacular (if a bit shorter than it should have been to permit a bit more character development). I’m not saying that a live-action movie should be a carbon copy of the animated one, but it shows that a really good Wonder Woman movie plot is possible.

  • JamesJournal

    Black Widow made it on the team because she was an easy character to stick next to Fury in the Iron Man movies

  • Ovaltine Pineapple Jenkins

    “market the film to girls”…just wow, you started well and then nose dived with that sentence.

  • zodd

    Her character would work great in a Daredevil or Punisher movie.

  • True Marvelite

    I would to see a well written and under 40 millions budget movie starring a character named Natasha Romanoff along with her various aliases. Make it a straight action spycaper ala the underrated ‘Haywire’. Have a nudge nudge wink wink movie with minimal reference to Marvel Cinematic universe.

  • JamesJournal

    Let’s put it this way. Even a lot of us comic fans would be hard pressed to think of many movie ready solo female superheroes that aren’t either completely obscure or just off shoots of a male character. I mean you could make an Echo movie, but wouldn’t that basically be the same in principle as the Elektra movie? This steams off the fact that women were excluded from leading roles in comics back in the mid 20th century when all these characters were being created.

  • Jay

    As a comic fan, I disagree. Being an offshoot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as both Supergirl and Batgirl can attest. However, many of these offshoots have evolved in such a way that they could have a story completely removed from their male counterparts, such as She-Hulk and the current Captain Marvel.

    Just because a character can’t sustain a comic book title doesn’t mean they can’t sustain their own movie. Blade and Ant-Man being examples. So it doesn’t make sense to limit the possibility of female superhero moves to characters with “leading roles.”

  • Chuck777

    Cheetah is definitely in the TV cartoons but… I mean… Come on. She’s a pretty lame villain.