Twenty movies into its box office domination world tour, there’s still one thing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have: an all-female team-up movie. While MCU stars like Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson, and Zoe Saldana have been vocal about pitching Marvel head Kevin Feige on the concept, the billion-dollar franchise has yet to capitalize on the idea, though upcoming additions to its slate have hinted at a more female-focused lineup to come. Still, Larson and company aren’t giving up on their dream, and Captain Marvel herself remains enthused about the possibility of bringing the franchise’s female heroes together in their own feature.
During a recent interview with Variety, Larson was asked if she and her Marvel co-stars have engaged in talks with Feige about finally making that all-women Marvel movie. “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,’” Larson told Variety. “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.”
Last year, Thompson explained that Marvel seemed pretty high on the idea. “I think Kevin Feige is really excited by the idea,” she said, “and if you look at what’s happened already in Phase 4 with me and Valkyrie and our story, and then in ‘Black Panther,’ the women rule supreme. There’s an interest in having women at the forefront of this phase. I feel like it’s hopeful.”
As the studio prepared to release “Black Panther” in 2018, Feige continued to hint at a future for the MCU that included more diversity, including for its female filmmakers and stars. “I think it’s only the beginning,” Feige told IndieWire at the time. “I think you’ll see more and more of that in front of the camera, behind the camera and that that is what is required of us as storytellers. … We want these movies to reflect the world in which they are made, and be brought to life by all types of people behind the camera.”
The women of Marvel last appeared together on-screen during the climatic final battle that capped off “Avengers: Endgame.” Despite the giddy joy of seeing Captain Marvel teaming up with fellow Marvel heroines like Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Okoye, Mantis, Shuri, Hope Van Dyne, Gamora, Nebula, and Pepper Potts, some fans (including this writer) saw the scene as pandering to an audience that would like to see more of the MCU’s female stars.
But Larson has only good memories of that part of the shoot, and she expanded on why it felt so powerful to Variety. “It was just a great day,” Larson told the outlet. “To get to be with all of those women for the day and you get this feeling of, like, almost a little bit of naughtiness because it’s a secret and none of us can talk about it — that it felt like we were a part of this like coven working together for this goal. It was an opportunity for us to share and hang out. And as many people know, a lot of the time women aren’t working together. It’s kind of been this new breath of fresh air for us in our industry that there’s more female ensemble films, which has allowed us the opportunity to really communicate with one another.”
Despite the short-shrift nature of the “Endgame” moment, the franchise has plenty of directors within its fold invested in telling female-led stories with nuance and care, from “Captain Marvel” helmers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden to Peyton Reed, whose “Ant-Man and the Wasp” offered a female-fronted superhero film months before “Captain Marvel” debuted. When that film was released last summer, the filmmaker was clear with IndieWire about his desire to make sure Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne reflected a superhero with some real grit.
“Evangeline kept banging this drum in a great way,” Reed said at the time, recalling that she told him, “I don’t want to be overly glam. That’s not who Hope Van Dyne is. When I fight in the movie, I want to be sweaty, and in terms of my hair when I’m in the suit, I want it to be a clean, practical ponytail, because how is that helmet going to go on and off otherwise?”
Last year, “Black Panther” star Danai Gurira told IndieWire how her experience with director Ryan Coogler on the set of the smash hit made her feel secure in the direction of the film. She told IndieWire that one of the great joys of the film was a vision that was rooted in the women that Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole had made central to their story — including not just her own character, but roles for T’Challa’s mother, sister, and a love interest.
“He would describe these women characters in ways that I’ve never heard women described,” Gurira said at the time. “I want to see stories told authentically, given accessibility, that’s my thing. What was also really thrilling was that he wrote them as women of integrity and women of complexity and women of strength.”
While Marvel has yet to greenlight its female team-up movie, Phase Four of the franchise does offer a number of female-centric features. The series’ first post-“Endgame” feature will arrive in theaters in May of next year, when Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as Black Widow in the long-rumored “Black Widow” standalone movie. That film will be followed by the November release of Chloe Zhao’s “The Eternals,” which includes starring roles for MCU newbies Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Lauren Ridloff, and Lia McHugh.
In 2021, the series will roll out yet another lady-powered feature when Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” arrives in theaters, which will not only see the return of star Thompson, but has already announced a prime role for Thor’s original love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). This time around, Dr. Foster is literally picking up a very special new weapon, as she wields Mjolnir and becomes female Thor in the process. Now that’s a team-up.
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