After directing the third highest-grossing film of all time, The Avengers, Joss Whedon could have done whatever he wanted. Turns out what he wanted is to make a black-and-white adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing before he became essentially Kevin Feige’s right hand man at Marvel, shaping the Marvel cinematic universe by creating a “S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV series and preparing for The Avengers 2. Now the geek god is opening the conversation to a larger issue: the lack of female superheroes on film.
Whedon told The Daily Beast:
“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. 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. 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.’”
He has a great point. Catwoman and Elektra were godawful movies, period – not just godawful female superhero movies. And with the rise of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and characters like Black Widow and Maria Hill in Whedon’s own work (not to mention his TV heroines like Buffy, Echo, and River), perhaps Hollywood will slowly start to get the picture. Studios certainly look at dollar signs most of all, but having worked at one in the past, they don’t actively try to create monsters out of humanity. They just need to step into the 21st century and realize that having strong female characters in huge movies shouldn’t be looked at as a big deal – it should be just as common as having strong male characters. It’s not rocket science, people.
And also, Collider points us to some comments the writer/director made about Robert Downey Jr.’s possible return to the character of Tony Stark. Much has been made about his potential exit from the franchise, but Whedon seems to think that the actor will be back:
“He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond. I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected. But I loved working with Robert, and everybody knows he embodied that role in a way no one else can. The day he was cast, I went up to [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige and said, ‘You brilliant son of a bitch.’”
So it would appear that we’ll have at least one more adventure with RDJ in the red and gold armor, but in typical Hollywood fashion, Whedon leaves the door open for any possibility. We obviously hope Marvel and RDJ can come to an agreement so he can keep playing this iconic character, and we appreciate Whedon dropping truth bombs and raising awareness of equality issues on film. After all, now that he’s no longer “just” a TV guy, maybe people will start to take notice. Thoughts?
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