Superhero films are more popular than ever. The genre has dominated our screens for years and shows no signs of slowing down, with films such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Shazam! and Avengers: Endgame being just some of the big superhero blockbusters due to grace our screens in the coming months.
But with all these big releases, I have one question: where are all the women?
Despite the ever-growing popularity of superhero films, there has only been one female-led superhero film since 2005 (DC’s Wonder Woman in 2017). Since then, there has only been one more put into production – Captain Marvel, due to be released this Friday – which makes history as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led superhero film. But with over a decade of its cinematic universe under its belt, isn’t there something wrong with the fact that Marvel is only just getting round to releasing their first female-led film? Especially with so many incredible female characters in its pantheon of heroes?
So, with all of this in mind, here is a list of female superheroes who deserve their own solo film, and hopefully will get one in the near future!
Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy)
“Better back up off my friend, Moon Pie. Urban Assault Spider-Gwen is about to battle damage your sorry butt… like it’s 1993.”
After Spider-Gwen’s cinematic introduction in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there is certainly enough material to unpack with this character that could warrant her very own solo film.
Existing in Marvel’s Earth-65, an alternate reality to the main comic universe (known as Earth-616 in Marvel Comics terms), Gwen Stacy has an origin story very similar to that of Peter Parker (as joked about throughout Into the Spider-Verse) that allows her to become Spider-Gwen, her universe’s very own version of Spider-Man.
Though her Earth-616 counterpart may be deceased (due to the unfortunate accident adapted in The Amazing Spiderman 2 which made us all bawl our eyes out), Ghost Spider a.k.a. Spider-Gwen shows how Gwen Stacy would fare in an alternate reality where her death never happened, and she gained her own true spider calling. With the roles between herself and Peter Parker reversed, the tale and origin of Spider-Gwen is something that we surely deserve to see explored more on the big screen.
By July of this year, we’ll have had five films that focus on the same incarnation of Spider-Man since 2016. I reckon it’s time for a new Spider-powered hero to take the reins, and Spider-Gwen is definitely a contender.
Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan)
“My name is Kamala Khan. And I’m here to take out the trash.”
With Captain Marvel making her cinematic debut within the next few days, we feel that it’s worth mentioning one hero that was inspired by Carol Danvers.
Though initially believed to have been born without powers, after an event known as Inhumanity, Kamala – along with many unsuspecting individuals – go through the process of Terrigenesis after the Terrigen Mist is spread throughout the world. Now an Inhuman, she gains the ability to polymorph (or as she calls it, ’embiggen’). She is able to transform her body into anything she pleases, as well as stretch her limbs, grow in size, change her features and heal at an accelerated rate.
Kamala eases herself into the superhero lifestyle, eventually taking on the codename Ms. Marvel and making herself a costume largely inspired by that of Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel and attempts to protect her hometown of Jersey City whilst using her idols as inspiration for her work.
This Pakistani-American teen is a force to be reckoned with, and as Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan certainly deserves her own film.
X-23 (Laura Kinney)
“If you say I told you so, I’m going to hit you with my severed arm.”
Laura Kinney, also known as X-23, is a female clone of the X-Men’s Wolverine. As audiences wll know from her appearance as her younger self in Logan, Laura is not one to underestimate.
X-23 was created from Weapon X’s only remaining chromosome, the X chromosome, after the Y chromosome from the original sample was unable to be salvaged. X-23 was raised to be a weapon, although her mother attempted to give her some sort of humanity through her time in captivity. But after fears that X-23 was growing too soft, she was given a “trigger scent” that forced her to kill frantically. It was one of these triggered frenzies that resulted in the death of X-23’s mother, Sarah Kinney, who named X-23 “Laura” as she was dying.
As a relation of Wolverine, it is not surprising that she shares many of his abilities including regenerative healing, retractable bone claws and superhuman senses, although her limits do not quite match Wolverine’s, due to the lack of adamantium in her skeleton. That being said, her skills are not to be undermined.
Laura Kinney’s story is dark and twisted but full of intrigue and would make an incredible movie, and should not be one to be missed.
Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro)
“I’m merely considering the difference between brandishing a weapon… and being one.”
Despite bombing critically, DC’s blockbuster Suicide Squad held some hidden gems that are yet to be explored in its cinematic universe, and we are itching to see more on one of its lesser featured characters – Katana.
Japanese born Tatsu Yamashiro is a martial arts master with a tragic backstory that rivals most of her male counterparts. After her husband and twin daughters died in a fire caused by the Yakuza, Tatsu trained as a samurai before heading to America to fight for justice with a unique weapon in her arsenal: the Soultaker Sword. This sword is unique in its ability to take the soul of any person that is slain with it and trap it in the blade for eternity and includes the soul of Tatsu’s own husband Maseo, who was killed by his brother before Tatsu acquired it.
Under the codename Katana, Tatsu becomes a vigilante hero and a member of various groups such as the Outsiders, Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey and the Justice League of America, using her mastery of martial arts and tactical expertise to commit herself to her acts of heroism. Though despite her commitment, she is desperate to free the souls trapped within her blade – including that of her husband – so that he can finally be at peace.
Katana’s story is unique and flips the stereotype of women being killed for “man pain” in favour for a man being killed for a woman’s pain and to further her origin story. This perspective is largely unseen in modern superhero films and would surely be a worthy watch if given the cinematic treatment it deserves!
Squirrel Girl (Doreen Green)
“I’m Squirrel Girl. This is my friend Tippy-Toe! We’re here to kick butt and eat nuts!”
Squirrel Girl is one of the weirder heroes in Marvel’s arsenal but might just be one of the most powerful heroes in the entire universe.
Doreen Green made her comic book debut in 1991 and is credited as being Deadpool’s exact opposite. Fun, quirky and light-hearted, Squirrel Girl shows that superheroes don’t always have to be dark and edgy to be entertaining, and Squirrel Girl certainly is that.
Born with a squirrel-esque tail, Doreen discovered that there is more to her squirrel-like appearance as she developed squirrely powers such as the ability to communicate with squirrels, superhuman strength and speed. This, along with her intelligence and combat skills makes her an unlikely threat that has taken on the likes of Thanos, Doctor Doom and Galactus – and won.
Squirrel Girl truly lives up to her name of being ‘the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’, and thus this character is well-deserving of her own movie.
Ms. America (America Chavez)
“The laws of physics can kiss my ass.”
Latina, lesbian and legendary; Miss America the super-heroine we all need.
America Chavez was raised by her two mothers in a dimension outside of space and time known as the Utopian Parallel. After the collapse of ‘Utopia’ and the death of her mothers, America adopted the guise of Ms. America and travelled from dimension to dimension to prove herself as a superhero.
As a Fuertona Starling and an inhabitant of the Utopian Parallel, America acquired her own unique array of powers including super speed, flight and the rare ability to travel between dimensions using star-shaped portals. She is also bilingual, being fluent in both Spanish and English.
America has been described as “One mysterious interdimensional superhero with a mysterious background and mysterious anger issues,” by Loki, making her a perfect subject for her own solo movie which could delve deeper into the world of the force that is Ms. America.
Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
“I have no powers and not nearly enough training, but I’m doing this anyways. Being a superhero is amazing. Everyone should try it.”
We all know the Hawkeye name and the loveable Clint Barton (or the somewhat flat representation of Clint Barton that is represented in the MCU), but like many of the Avengers, Hawkeye has a successor and Kate Bishop just happens to be nothing short of incredible.
Much like her predecessor, Kate Bishop relies on her skills in swordplay, martial arts and archery in her acts of heroism and does not possess any powers. She is also a sexual assault survivor, a driving force in her becoming proficient in combat, and attended therapy to work through her trauma.
Kate is stubborn, independent and complex – something that is rarely seen on the big screen with female characters, especially in heavily male-dominated genres such as the superhero one. She is a fierce leader, a credit to the Hawkeye name and is not afraid to step outside of her norm to do what she feels is right – even if that means that others don’t agree.
In short, Kate Bishop is incredible and a film with her name on it is one that I hope we’ll get to see in the future.
Raven (Rachel Roth)
“Fighting in the shadow of evil is hardly anything new to me.”
Half human-half demon, Raven’s life is more tumultuous than most. Growing up as the daughter of the inter-dimensional demon Trigon who seeks to conquer the Earth, Raven is the inheritor of his dark powers. Though with powers triggered by extreme emotions, Raven spent most of her childhood learning how to suppress these emotions and the demonic powers that came with them.
Unsurprisingly, as the daughter of a demon, Raven is extremely powerful. She has magical, psychic and telekinetic powers along with the ability to manipulate shadows, energy and emotions, but craves normality more than anything – something she can never have due to the constant threat of destruction that comes with her powers.
Despite her darkness, Raven’s connection to the Teen Titans is not something to be forgotten, and she is willing to sacrifice anything to ensure their safety, including surrendering to her powers and surrendering her life in the process.
Raven’s story is full of intrigue with her biggest strength being her biggest curse, and her story could truly be a work of cinematic gold.
Although these are only a few names, there are many more female heroes that deserve their own feature film. Honestly, most of them do and it’s a shame that in the past decade there have only been two female-led superhero films. Two, in comparison to the innumerable male-led films. There are so many interesting female superheroes of all different varieties – dark, quirky or even both – and it’s a shame that they haven’t been acknowledged and appreciated by the cinematic world. Hopefully, with the release of Captain Marvel, studios will appreciate the need for female heroism on screen.
However, until that time, we’ll have to sit and hope that in the future, we get more.
Captain Marvel is in cinemas this Friday, March 8th.