Women in Marvel Comics have always been a present force. They’re a necessity to the literary genre and have been a cornerstone element of strong storytelling across graphic novels and comic book publications. Female superheroes and femininity in pop culture and entertainment media have encouraged diversity among character types, tearing down the barriers of who are able to enjoy comics. Indeed, Marvel Comics has integrated prominent women across their endless library of titles and continues to embrace them to their fullest potential.
Much like their role in comics, women have created a prominence for themselves in superhero movies and live-action comic book media. They, much like their masculine counterparts, are worthy of the page-to-screen representation. Looking at the slate of woman-led MCU projects (released and upcoming), it’s clear that Marvel Studios has kept women present in their work. However, the studio has seemingly hesitated when allowing them to step into the spotlight. It took a long time before a woman-led MCU movie even happened during the Infinity Saga, and even now, there have currently only been 2 solo movies dedicated to women characters (out of 27 movies in total). Avengers: Endgame, in a controversial scene, showed its superheroines banding together in the movie’s final fight, teasing the possibility of the A-Force, an all-women Avengers team, in the MCU. Beyond that snippet, of course, the question remains: will an all-women Avengers MCU movie ever happen?
The Evolution of Women’s Representation in the MCU
Marvel Studios has included women across the scope of its cinematic landscape, though still has yet to overcome certain gender biases when incorporating the full strength of women characters. Pepper Potts may be the CEO of Stark Industries, though her rise to corporate power is set by the wayside throughout the extent of the Iron Man trilogy. Jane Foster is just now experiencing her cinematic transition into the role of the Mighty Thor, and while the Thor saga acknowledges that Foster is a prominent scientist, it also makes sure that she is bound to her requirements of acting as a love interest. Peggy Carter’s popularity granted her a spinoff series of her own that was inspired by the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, though her ultimate plot arc was to finally reunite with Steve Rogers. Meanwhile, characters outside designated romantic relationships, such as Maria Hill in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, are given minimal screen time.
Supporting women characters have been more incorporated after Marvel Studios departed from its initial phase and waded deeper into its sprawling cinematic universe. Natasha Romanoff and Gamora were able to live up to their comic-like ability in ongoing projects. The introduction of Wanda Maximoff evolved the character altogether, and the juxtaposition of Wanda’s journey of emotion over rationality is yet to be resolved in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The events of WandaVision were caused by her grief and suffering, though at its heart, tied back to her unrelenting love for Vision. There is the advancement of women-led female storytelling present, though Marvel Studios is nonetheless keen to keep a masculine presence nearby.
Later phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe accepted women as more than just romantic pawns used for love-struck subplots. Women characters excused themselves from the constriction of the male gaze as the MCU matured. The idea that the purpose of pulling women from the comics into the MCU only to be overlooked by the core narrative was dismissed. Women characters are granted the screen time that they deserve and given more to do besides simply exist in the frame. Women of color were more appreciated in Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. Upcoming future Marvel Studios projects will continue to honor the importance and impact of women of color in comics. The strides made for the visibility of women, regardless of who they are where they come from, in the MCU inherently apologizes for the delay in keeping women in the foreground.
Would an All-Women Avengers Movie Work?
Letitia Wright encouraged Marvel Studios to explore the option of creating an all-women Avengers movie that would assemble a new, female-centric team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I don’t think we have to fight for it,” she said when referring to the concept of an all-women Avengers crossover in an interview with Yahoo! News shared by Independent. “Victoria Alonso [Marvel Studios’ EVP of Production] is very strong about spearheading it, alongside Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios President]. It’s only a matter of time before they do it.” Marvel Studios co-star and Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, shared Wright’s sentiments. “I will say that a lot of the female cast members from Marvel walked up to Kevin, and we were like, ‘We are in this together, we want to do this!’ What that means, I have no idea. You know, I’m not in charge of the future of Marvel, but it is something that we’re really passionate about and we love and I feel like if enough people out in the world talk about how much they want it, maybe it’ll happen,” Larson said, per a report published by Pinkvilla.
A Reddit thread gauged fans’ responses to Wright’s comments in favor of an all-women Avengers movie and the conversation around the concept divided them from multiple points of view. Some were quick to defend the concept of an all-women Avengers movie and insisted that gender should not dictate the success of on-screen quality. Their argument was positioned that there is little pushback to all-male crossover events and that all-women crossover events should be viewed from a stance of equality. They voice their favor for a Marvel Studios project to pertain to the means of a collaboration of women characters.
Others look to the two previous women-led features released by Marvel Studios and reflect their past reception. Captain Marvel and Black Widow were underwhelming in the eye of a media critic and struggled to resonate with fans who have been patiently waiting for select solo films. There is skepticism around an all-women Avengers movie due to the backslash to projects such as Captain Marvel and Black Widow. There’s no saying that an all-women Avengers movie would be out-ruled as a possibility, though it would determine the quality of the film. It could work if the creative elements aligned with the characters and talent on-screen. Marvel Studios must remember to put quality before quantity.
Is an All-Women Avengers Movie in the Works?
Upon reviewing the upcoming projects in development for the MCU, there is no specific mention of an all-women Avengers movie creeping into the lineup. If Marvel Studios were to cultivate their crossover, it must be done across a multi-picture slow-burn tactic that would allow the inevitable team-up to be timed purposefully. The transitional narrative from masculine-led stories now allowing women-led features to fall to the focus of the franchise is finally budding. Thor: Love and Thunder will establish a new Thor within the MCU and pass the ruling of Asgard to its new King. Ms. Marvel and The Marvels lay the foundation for an even greater all-women Avengers movie that will be built up as time goes on. Ironheart and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are to intersect one another, and the perpendicular angle of each property makes way for a collaborative future. America Chavez’s introduction to the MCU following Kate Bishop’s debut in Hawkeye adds two more key women heroes to the roster. Because of the fresh introduction of new or emerging women characters, it still remains too soon for Marvel Studios to consider their approach to an all-women Avengers movie. However, the seeds being planted across film and television have the ability to grow into something more.