Here are all the upcoming movies that have been announced from Marvel from now until 2018: Captain America 2, Captain America 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4, X-Men: The 1970s, X-Men: The 1980s, The Avengers 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and the untitled Fantastic Four reboot.
That's a lot of tights -- but very few women are in them. Female characters will have varying levels of prominence in some of the movies listed above, but there isn't a single female (or nonwhite) protagonist on that slate. Despite mounting evidence that films about women make more money than films about men, Marvel is hewing to the "conventional wisdom" that audiences worldwide only want to see white male characters as the good guys.
As a comic-book company, Marvel has a storied history of featuring both male and female heroes of diverse races, sexualities, and creeds. One of its newest characters is a reboot of the older Ms. Marvel character, who's since become a Muslim-American teen from New Jersey. And yet Marvel's movies have dishonored that rich, progressive history by heavily whitewashing and "male-washing" its cinematic universe.
Thus Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is allowed a sidekick role to Iron Man and Captain America and to comprise one-sixth of The Avengers (while Johansson's role in marketing products is reduced to eye candy), but not a standalone movie of her own. Marvel head Kevin Feige even expressed satisfaction to Badass Digest last week about the limited role women have had thus far in his movies:
I'm very proud of the way the Marvel movies handle the female characters who are in all the movies we are making, as opposed to feeling the pressure of "When are you doing a female movie?" We're exploring a lot of Widow, and that's going to continue with [The Avengers sequel] Age of Ultron in a big way.
Then he gave an utterly nonsensical answer as to why there was no Black Widow movie in the works:
Frankly if we do a Black Widow movie after Age of Ultron, when she's been central in three or four movies I don't think we'd get the quote unquote credit for it. People would say, "She's already a big giant superhero!" But if we had a great idea, we'd do it. "
I guess it's only in the Marvel universe that a superhero is too "big" and too "giant" to get her own movie. You know, like Spider-Man. And Iron Man. And The Hulk. Those guys are already such "big giant superheroes" that they definitely shouldn't get their own movies.Feige didn't completely close the door on a female superheroine movie, however. In the same interview, he said:
I like the idea if we're going to do a [female lead] do a new one. Do a wholly new character, do an origin story. ... We've talked a lot about [Captain Marvel]. I think that would be very cool.