There was a time when comic books were not only geeky, but a total "guy thing." Whenever I hear conversations about superheroes, it would be two guys arguing about whether or not Batman can take down Superman. I will admit my love of comics did come from watching comic-book film adaptations, but once I realized there weren't enough superheroes being represented on the big screen, particularly superheroines, I decided to do a little research of my own. It turns out that all the superhero films I grew up watching were directed by men, and the comic book nerds were mostly young boys and older men. Of course, there are young girls and women who are into comics, but it would make sense for them to feel overshadowed by the overbearing masculinity in the comic book industry, and by Marvel Studios. But, all that has changed. As many of us know, Marvel Studios has taken an interest in women-led superhero films, but some of us are oblivious to the women behind the camera and the pen. In this article, we'll be discussing women in Marvel including women directors of Marvel films, women showrunners, and writers of Marvel series. [Texts bolded in red are links to Marvel.com]
Before Captain Marvel was adapted into a film, I remember seeing a comic book of a superhero with blonde, short hair labeled Captain Marvel, and my first thought was, she must be the most powerful superhero if she's named after Marvel Comics. The point is I didn’t know much about her, and sometimes when I see a superhero onscreen that I’m not familiar with my expectations aren’t that high. But, there was no disappointment in watching Captain Marvel. My only disappointment is that not enough people are talking about this Superhero film. Not like the recent Marvel superhero films. This film has been directed by the filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. This means technically, Captain Marvel is the first Marvel superhero film to be directed by a woman.
I’m not going to lie; I didn't know Black Widow is directed by a woman. I’m not even sure if Marvel has advertised the fact that the highly anticipated Black Widow solo film will be directed by a woman. While Black Widow is Cate Shortland’s Marvel debut; this film wasn’t her first time directing a woman-led film. Cate Shortland directed an indie film, Lore (2012); at first, the title of the film made me feel like I was ready for a horror film, and it was scary in some ways. While Lore isn’t a horror film per se, it follows a group of German siblings seeking shelter after their parents abandoned them in Nazi Germany.
Asian American director, Chloé Zhao is one of the few women indie directors that was already in the spotlight. Before, she became the first colored woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards; most of us were familiar with her work such as Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), The Rider (2018), and the Oscar-winning Nomadland (2020). For that reason, when word got out that Chloé Zhao is directing a Marvel superhero film, Eternals, it became one of the most highly anticipated Marvel films to watch in 2021. Eternals was given some love-and-hate responses, but overall it was the most diverse Marvel film.
The Marvels is the upcoming sequel to Captain Marvel. In this sequel, Captain Marvel will fight alongside her prodigy, Ms. Marvel. The Marvels will be directed by Nia DaCosta, and if her name sounds familiar, it’s because DaCosta directed the 2021 reboot of Candyman. And if you’re like me, who didn’t know Candyman has been directed by a black woman, that’s namely because the film’s marketers put the spotlight on Jordan Peele who is the producer and co-writer of the film. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Nia DaCosta in the headlines after the release of The Marvels.
You can stream Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus.
Now, to move on to my favorite Marvel series and one of my favorite Marvel superheroes, Jessica Jones. "Jessica Jones" is unlike any of the other Marvel shows, for it is the studio's first woman-led series. In terms of its content, the show can be dark for some viewers. In the first season, we find out our superhero was taken advantage of by a mind-controlling purple-suit British man. But, this is what made "Jessica Jones" shine out from the other
Netflix Disney Plus Marvel shows; it’s dark and gritty just like in a neo-noir. Melissa Rosenberg is the creator of the "Jessica Jones" series and collaborated on some of the episodes as a writer. I know the female gaze is a more common term nowadays, but this show is the meaning of the woman's gaze; Jessica Jones literally gazes at people through her camera.
"WandaVision" is by far the best Marvel series on Disney Plus. I was so pumped up to witness Wanda’s full powers; a request many Scarlet Witch fans have been seeking since her first appearance in Age of Ultron (2015). I loved how Schaeffer gave us multiple sides of Wanda/Scarlet Witch; we see her as a wife, mother, vengeful girlfriend, villain, and hero. Jac Schaeffer is the creator of the series and served as the head writer. While the show was a massive success in continuing Wanda/ Scarlet Witch’s story after the death of Vision, and the departure of The Avengers; "WandaVision" will not have a second season and I don’t think the series needs to continue any further. Schaeffer did an excellent job of not only creating Scarlet Witch's story arc, but bringing together other characters from other MCU films such as Darcy Lewis (from Thor) and Monica Rambeau (from Captain Marvel). All hope is not lost, for "WandaVison" will have a spinoff series "Agatha: House of Darkness" with Jac Schaeffer as the head writer and executive producer once more.
After the events of Endgame (2019), fans were excited to hear that their favorite anti-villain, Loki would be getting his own series. The episodes are directed by none other than Kate Herron who is also the showrunner of the series. While "Loki" is renewed for a second season, Kate Herron will not be returning as the show’s director; Herron revealed she intended to direct the first six episodes and she gave it all she got. However, we hope to see her name in future Marvel projects.
I'm excited to say, we finally have a live-action She-Hulk series! Comedy writer, Jessica Gao created She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and is the lead writer of the show, and Kat Coiro will serve as the show's head director. Since our leading director and writer of the show are known for their humor; it is expected that She-Hulk fans will not only witness her fury, but her sense of humor as well. "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" is now streaming on Disney Plus.