Comic book buzz about a female-led superhero film has been flying through the Internet like a caped crusader recently as several Marvel big-wigs have gone on record as saying that a superchick-led flick could be coming to a theater near you.
Marvel, after all, has tons of awesome femme fatales to choose from – Storm, Jean Grey, Tigra, Ms. Marvel, etc. -- each with their own flair and intriguing back story. But with a slate of “Avenger”-themed films on deck in the coming years, it may take some time to wrap up some outstanding stories and tie-ins.
Plus, movie studio execs have long memories – and the performance of “Elektra” and “Catwoman” at the box office didn’t exactly set the world on fire. But comics fans have become increasingly vocal, saying that past failures shouldn’t keep great female comic book characters from reaching the cinema.
“Sure, they were burned by ‘Elektra’ in 2005, but they were burned by ‘Hulk’ in 2003 and it didn't stop them from doing it all again in 2008,” Kelly Thompson, a comic book writer and author of the novel, "The Girl Who Would Be King," told HLN.
“They were burned again in 2008 and it didn't stop [Joss] Whedon from putting Hulk in ‘The Avengers’ in 2012, to huge success,” she said.
Thompson said the idea that you have to get it right the first time out with a superheroine film is a myth that we should try to eradicate.
"There's no reason to only get one try - Batman has seven different films with four different Bruce Waynes, Superman has six films with three different Clark Kents,” he said.
It’s a valid gripe. So, what’s the problem, movie studios? “Cat(woman)” got your tongue?
If so, there are other big-screen options. As the Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson did well in “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 2” -- a fact, Thompson said, that should not be overlooked. “The Black Widow character is well established in some huge superhero films and the star is a talented popular box office draw -- seems like a recipe for success -- and yet we have no ‘The Black Widow’ in production."
Earlier in September, director/producer Louis D'Esposito, who has been at the helm on some of Marvel’s largest projects, such as “Iron Man 2” “Thor” and “Captain America,” stoked the flames when he acknowledged that Hollywood should look at doing a female-led superhero blockbuster.
"There's obviously a drumbeat that is banging louder and louder that we want a female lead superhero," he told ComingSoon.net. He then mentioned the strong characters featured in Marvel’s films so far – “Black Widow to Pepper Potts to Peggy Carter” and dropped this tantalizing line: “Maybe there's an offshoot film with one of them. Or Captain Marvel, you know?"
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stirred the pot earlier this year when he said, as reported in Entertainment Weekly, that a female-led film was “just a matter of finding the right storyline, the right filmmaker, the right time,” he said.
And this week, none other than Stan Lee, the creator of so many of Marvel's top characters, told TooFab.com, that "probably ... they’ll make a movie of the Black Widow.”
Marvel Comics refused comment when reached by HLN, but comic book fans – the ones that support the vast industry that has seen books and story arcs crafted in the 1950s come to the big screen just now -- say the time is now for a superhero on the big screen with more estrogen than esoterics.
“The comic companies don't put their muscle behind female books, so they don't sell, they cancel them, and then they use them as examples for why it can't work,” said Jeremy Whitley, a longtime comics fan and author of “Princeless,” a book about a black female lead character set in a castle.
“The end result is there are fewer big or well-known stories focused on those characters, they're not as well defined, and they don't garner the same size of fan base. I think if one of the big two companies really put the type of time, focus, and money into a female-led book, they could have something worthy of the cinema,” Whitley told HLN.
“I still think they could do it,” said Whitley. “They keep citing the characters as too confusing or risky. But look at what a chance they take on some of the other movies. ‘Iron Man’ was a virtual unknown to your average moviegoer before they put the movie out. ‘Batman Begins’ was taking a huge chance as they completely reinvented the character from what people knew from the past movies. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ has a talking Raccoon! Why do we think people can't deal with a female-led superhero movie? I think we're just afraid to try,” he said.
As for DC, which news reports have tied to a Justice League movie to counter Marvel's Avengers: "Wonder Woman is obviously the superheroine movie that everyone knows should already have been made, or at least be in production," Thompson said.