An Open Letter To Joss Whedon: I'm Not Asking For More Female Superheroes, I'm Demanding Them

Since you have raised my hopes and expectations, I have a few more lady-Avenger suggestions
Publish date:
September 3, 2013
joss whedon, avengers

Dear Mr. Whedon,

When I heard the rumblings about the first "Avengers" film, I was floored. I had seen all three "X-Men" movies, and I was excited to see how the next team-based Marvel movie would be handled. Once I saw the film, I saw one major difference: while the "X-Men" included multiple female characters with their own interesting plot arcs, "Avengers" had Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson had to somehow play out an underdeveloped female action hero whose sole responsibilities were to worry about Hawkeye and look hot in black spandex -- and she did both well. Throughout the film, though, I wondered why you could not include another (or a better) female character.The recent announcement of Scarlet Witch's inclusion in "Avengers II" has made me hopeful for Marvel movie spinoff superheroines everywhere. Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver are both the children of classic X-Men villain Magneto, and their conversion from terrorist mutant fighters for his Brotherhood to Avengers makes them both interesting and complex. Scarlet Witch also falls in love with the android Vision while in the Avengers, and their mutant-robot romance has more ups and downs than the angsty, unrequited crush between Hawkeye and Black Widow in the first film. I hope that you will tap into the depth and murkiness in Scarlet's origin, in order to make her a deeper female superhero.Since you have raised my hopes and expectations, I have a few more lady-Avenger suggestions, perhaps for "Avengers III" or the inevitable crossovers between Marvel movies. And don't worry, they all kick ass.Ms. Marvel

As her name suggests, Ms. Marvel is perhaps the most self-referential S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliate. Once you look past her odd moniker, the truly remarkable Carol Danvers appears. She is a pilot by trade, eventually becoming a major in the Air Force who works with the CIA and NASA at various points. Although she does not have any “powers” to speak of, she fights a plethora of villains and joins the Avengers.Since Danvers remains loyal to Nick Fury for her entire career, she could easily make a great cameo in the Avengers films or future Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons, after Colson's dead-but-not-dead routine grows tired. Marvel, I'm practically doing your crossover work for you.She-Hulk

Since we already have involved Bruce Banner, why not include his cousin Jennifer Walters? The Hulk's more introverted cousin turns into She-Hulk from a transfusion of Banner's mutant blood, but the two have completely different “hulk” experiences. Walters is a powerful lawyer before she turns big and green, and she continues to practice after her “accident.” Unlike the tortured Banner, She-Hulk eventually learns to love her hulk form, and through intense training and mental control, she can control her anger. She stays in her green skin for long segments of her time, going about her business as a super-tall, super-strong advocate for law and order.I realize that the current direction of the Avengers films may have veered beyond legal intervention and into the galaxy, but She-Hulk could always make an appearance to show Bruce some techniques for anger management.Moondragon

Moondragon has been relegated to the ranks of “minor” superheroes, but she should re-emerge in the Avengers. She is both one of the only openly bisexual heroes in the Marvel universe, and one of the few who was neither born as a super-human (or a Norse god), nor exposed to some event that made them mutate (ahem, Bruce Banner, ahem). Instead, she honed her telekinetic and telepathic “abilities” by careful meditative practice during her childhood on Titan. She also has a huge ego, and often switches allegiances, making her a great antihero to juxtapose against the likes of Captain America. She has been in both the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers over the years, so why not put her back in both? The world could use a good dose of all the great things Moondragon has to offer.Mr. Whedon, allow me to say that if a casual nerd like myself can easily assemble a list of fierce and multifaceted female Avengers, you could probably add a few more to the many Avengers movies (and spinoffs) to come. And this time, maybe you could pick one that has an origin story and non-traditional female superhero body. Or you could work really hard to bring out all of the darkness and depth in Scarlet Witch, and continue this character development for another new lady recruit.

As one of the many faithful nerd girls out there, I'm not asking for multidimensional female characters.

I'm demanding them.