James Gunn Promises ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Will Have Better Female Stories
When it comes to superhero movies, women are often relegated to the margins, sculpted as one-dimensional, or exploited as objects of desire. Look at any cover of a superhero film featuring a woman and you’ll find her in poses that emphasize her body or show her as a damsel in distress love interest. We’re only just getting DC’s Wonder Woman next year, but Marvel Studios is also looking to make efforts improving female representation.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took to Facebook on Wednesday in honor of International Day of the Girl to advocate for better stories for women in film. Gunn lamented weak female characterizations and even took criticism with the call for simply “strong” females who aren’t developed with as much nuance as the men. Like well-written male characters, Gunn also wants women to “reflect the fullness of the world around us.”
I am sick of stories where there are a bunch of fully realized male characters and one female character, whose primary characteristic is simply being “the girl” or the personality-less object of some man’s affections. I’m not sick of this because I’m politically correct – those of you who know me know I am far from that – but because it’s boring, and it’s b.s. Likewise, I don’t think only making female characters “strong” is a fix either - you see her all the time these days, the perfect female warrior, who is a reaction to the stories of the past, but who is equally as boring and one-dimensional.
Gunn also reassured fans that he aims to improve this with upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which will feature Zoe Saldana reprising her Gamora and Karen Gillan as Nebula, plus Pom Klementieff’s new character Mantis and Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha. Gunn promised that his sequel will not only pass the Bechdel Test, but his Guardians characters will all be approached with the same care and detail regardless of gender:
I can’t wait for you all to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis in action, where we not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truck, and where their stories and the men’s stories don’t come at the expense of each other, but are interwoven in a way to strengthen and optimize all of them.
That’s the type of thinking more superhero movie directors (and all filmmakers, really) need to be maintaining. Luckily there’s female-centric stories still on the horizon with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also features the return of Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, plus newcomers Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. The film hits theaters May 5, 2017.