Comics

The Great Untamed Wilderness of Female Heroes

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There’s a meme going around, I’m sure you’ve seen it, which pokes fun at DC’s notoriously Wonder Woman-phobic live action department. It’s amusing, sure, highlighting how the most iconic female superhero of all time can’t get more than a bit role in The Great Super-Bat Brood Off while Marvel is willing to throw space Vikings, talking trees and enormous green rage monsters into their films to see what sticks.

Brett White Twitter

Of course, this neatly ignores that Black Widow, who has appeared in more Marvel Cinematic Universe films than the Incredible Hulk, can’t get her own film. Likewise, Captain Marvel has still been left at the wayside while Doctor Strange is already confirmed for a film in Stage 3 of the MCU. While Marvel may have more, and arguably better women in its films, this is getting a little ridiculous.

One of the reasons female characters are said to be so difficult is that their character or mythology are harder to nail down.

Which shows those people don’t have any business making films.

An overly constricting mythology can be a death knell, as it limits so many aspects of production. If all people think they’re interested in with Batman is a gloomy, ponderous “realistic” mess, that’s all you’ll get. But, say, Stargirl? Who the hell knows what they want out of a Stargirl movie? I love Stargirl, and I don’t know.

The general public didn’t know what they wanted out of an Iron Man film either (or even who he was in most cases), and that film basically birthed the MCU as we know it. So why not do the same with some other characters? Like, oh, I dunno…these ones!

War Machine & Rescue

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I know the title of this article says it’s about female heroes but shh the will they/won’t they actually do something with James Rhodes is one of the biggest questions in the MCU. Robert Downey Jr. is still in negotiations as to whether he’ll appear in more films for Marvel, and if he really does check out at the end of Avengers 2, he’ll be leaving behind both Rhodes and Pepper Potts.

Both are good characters with good actors in the role, and both have donned the armour in the comics at various points. Rhodes’ War Machine is already established in the films, and we’ve seen that Pepper can use the armour, too. Or maybe you could just keep her Extremis powers which were never definitively removed at the end of Iron Man 3. Either way, what I’m proposing is to shift the espionage style of the Iron Man trilogy to more of a road trip/buddy cop dynamic as Pepper & James travel the world to…do a thing.

Oh, I dunno, maybe they’re trying to find out what happened to Tony, or maybe they’re continuing his legacy, or maybe they decided they can do good in the world with the suits. Doesn’t matter. I just want these two to star in a film that isn’t…REPULSIVE! Hehehehe, get it? Cause the suits, and the things in their hands are called…OK yeah, sorry.

Starfire

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I’ve already advocated for a Raven TV show, but she’s not the only Teen Titans alumni ready for more. In some ways, Starfire’s mythology is similar to Thor’s. She’s the princess of a planet of warrior-aliens who pals around on Earth most of the time. She’s tall, she’s orange, she flies, she’s really strong and she shoots energy blasts. Those are cool things. I like them.

While I certainly have a list of desires regarding the portrayal of Starfire’s personality (no dead-eyed, sex-starved empty cipher a la the New 52, lots of fun-loving cheerfulness a la the animated series, please), Starfire’s character isn’t the sole reason she should get her own film. Starfire is a way of opening up DC’s cosmic side in the same way Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy are for Marvel.

There’s a ready-made villain in her sister Blackfire, and you could say that Starfire’s world is at war with, say, the Thanagarians. Set up for the introduction of Hawkgirl, anyone? Not to mention you can set up, introduce or otherwise feature DC properties like the various Lantern Corps, Apokolips, the Omega Men, the Daxamites and Starro.

How’s this for a premise: Blackfire sends her sister to Earth to find a secret weapon that will turn the tide of the war with the Daxamites. Namely lead, a substance which here is unique to Earth. In the comics, lead was like super-Kryptonite to Daxamites. What if Starfire’s efforts to raid a military supply base caught the attention of a bunch of younger heroes? Say, Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Raven? What if Starfire saw firsthand the power of lead as a weapon of extreme power against the Daxamite soldier Mon-El, who had followed her, and decided the weapon was too inhumane to use? What if Blackfire sent an invasion force to Earth to claim these weapons, only for Starfire to help the other heroes send them packing, leading to her being exiled on Earth with her new friends?

Elsa Bloodstone

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Elsa Bloodstone should get all the films because she is the very best like no-one ever was. But seriously, Elsa is a very infrequently appearing Marvel heroine who I’ve fallen utterly in love with. She was part of the fantastic Nextwave and the promising but sadly short-lived Fearless Defenders.

She’s the daughter of of 70’s Marvel monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone, and gains great strength and endurance from the jewel she wears around her neck. Having taken up her father’s trade, Elsa has morphed into a no-nonsense, tough talking, battle loving, badass monster hunter in her own right. As well as generic movie monsters like vampires and werewolves, Elsa can grapple with the large catalogue of aliens, monsters, dinosaurs and demons that have grown to inhabit the Marvel universe.

There’s her younger brother Cullen Bloodstone, for example, who is possessed by an extra-dimensional monster called Glartrox. Or what about the Dread Lord Dormammu, a demonic enemy normally the domain of Doctor Strange?

As for the style of the film, imagine it as something like Hellboy with an woman or Van Helsing but good. Given that Marvel is experimenting with grand science fiction in its Phase 2 films and Doctor Strange is set to be part of Phase 3, it makes some sense for them to attempt to move into horror and monster films in Phase 3 or 4. Elsa is a great character to do that with. She isn’t bogged down in vampires like Blade and she isn’t restricted by the various rules and conventions of Strange’s mythology, either.

Gee, it’s almost as if less rigidly defined characters gave you a lot of wiggle room for creativity and experimentation or something…

A good chap who frequently gets tea leaves stuck in his eyebrows.

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