Marvel’s The Avengers was a success on many levels. Not only did the film rake in over $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide, but it also enjoyed positive critical reviews and widespread fan acclaim. Bringing such a beloved property to the screen in a way that pleased diehard fans and general audiences alike seemed like an impossible task, but writer/director Joss Whedon knocked it out of the park. Furthermore, Whedon crafted a unique entry in the superhero genre in that The Avengers involves well-rounded, three-dimensional female characters that serve a purpose larger than being eye candy and/or acting as a human MacGuffin that needs saving from the male hero; a foreign concept, I know.
Whedon is currently hard at work on prepping The Avengers 2 to start production early next year, but the filmmaker recently took a moment to comment on the depressing state of female superheroes in cinema. Moreover, Whedon also discussed the notion of Robert Downey Jr. possibly not signing on for more Marvel films, saying he has no intention of making Avengers 2 without RDJ. Hit the jump to read on.
Speaking with The Daily Beast, Whedon expressed his dismay at the lack of female superheroes in film:
“Toymakers will tell you they won’t sell enough, and movie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, You see? It can’t be done. It’s stupid, and I’m hoping The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, ‘My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,’ and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. I read a beautiful thing Junot Diaz wrote: ‘If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.’ “
I wholeheartedly agree with Whedon’s sentiment. It’s become exhausting to see tentpole after tentpole in which female characters are relegated to the sidelines or appear only when they act as a convenient plot point in relation to the male protagonist—Alice Eve’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness appears to serve no functional purpose whatsoever. Thank the Maker for filmmakers like Whedon. With Scarlet Witch confirmed for Avengers 2, I’m eager to see the writer/director’s take on the character, and hopefully after the film’s all-but-guaranteed billion dollar gross, studios will finally realize there’s an audience out there for strong female characters (they probably won’t).
“He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond. I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected. But I loved working with Robert, and everybody knows he embodied that role in a way no one else can. The day he was cast, I went up to [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige and said, ‘You brilliant son of a bitch.’ “
Last we heard, RDJ had commenced negotiations to return in The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3, but had not yet started talking about more Iron Man movies. I’d be shocked if he didn’t appear in Avengers 2, but the notion of Downey reprising his role in more standalone Iron Man films is less certain.