It is no secret. Hollywood is a heavily male-dominated frontier, as with almost any other film industry in the world. It truly is. Denying it won’t change the status quo, it is time for action. We have seen innumerable incarnations of the DC and Marvel comic books on-screen by now and almost all of them have been focused on male leads, with a few notable exceptions. Hell, male superheroes have gotten entire trilogies of films and separate universes to their names, and it is high time female superheroes got their due, something for which the way seems to have been paved by the unprecedented success of ‘Wonder Woman’ in 2017.
With the ‘Captain Marvel’ movie out this March, and a ‘Wonder Woman’ sequel already in development, the winds sure seem to blowing in favour, and while it is time for some to enjoy their time in the sun, we bring to the fore a couple of kick-ass, lesser known female superheroes who we would love to watch in a solo film or origin story. It is about darn time! With that said, here’s the list of female superheroes who deserve their own movies.
A cousin of Bruce Banner who receives a blood transfusion from him to save her life, and acquiring the Hulk condition herself as a result. The addition of Jennifer Walters to the current MCU could correct the slew of the studio’s unsuccessful outings with the popular character. As a result of the transfusion, she is only able to acquire the condition partially, and while she does become the big green monster when engaged, she is able to control most of her actions and retain most of her personality. While an origin film solely might not be able to work, a team up film starring Mark Ruffalo who is owed his own origin film might just be the way to go for one of the strongest Marvel characters, following the end of Phase 3 of the MCU.
19. Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Brianna Hilderbrand sure turned heads when she played a brief yet polarizing part of the character in ‘Deadpool’. While Ryan Reynolds took all the laurels and the limelight, Warhead gave us plenty of moments to have a laugh and see her in a more expanded role, a part she reprised in 2018’s ‘Deadpool 2’ as well. The teen’s insouciant attitude, her taciturn-cum-sarcastic nature displayed at its best with Deadpool, and her incredible bursts of atomic impulses surely will make for a satisfying watch. Seeing her deal with challenges like daily life and high school (before she joined Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters) would be insanely fun. Hope people are listening!
18. Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan, a teenager living in the world of Marvel Comics in New Jersey, idolises Captain Marvel but struggles with her own identity, family and religion on a daily basis. Naturally, when Kamala discovers her own powers of shapeshifting, she adopts the name Ms. Marvel as an homage to Carol Danvers’ alter ego, even taking the mantle from her in a certain story arc happening eventually. There is already a Captain Marvel movie with Brie Larson releasing this March, and based on its success, it would be interesting to see if Marvel also introduces a Ms. Marvel character in Captain Marvel’s standalone future movies. As was intended by the creation and publication of the character in the first place, Marvel making a film with Ms. Marvel would send a strong message of inclusiveness and diversity to its worldwide audience.
Amber Heard proved her naysayers wrong with her kickass turn in 2018’s smash hit ‘Aquaman’, which is also true for the film as a whole. ‘Aquaman’ defied expectations, and will soon be the highest grossing DC movie, beating the likes of ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and a majority of MCU films in the process. I believe Mera was given an ideologically correct treatment in the film and even ‘Justice League’, far from the damsel in distress and yet having a significant part to play in the progression of the story with a fair share of well-choreographed action sequences, albeit mostly accompanying the star of the show, Momoa as the titular character. Her origins, relationship with Nereus, Arthur and even Vulko were merely hinted upon, and I would pay a fair buck to return to the underwater world Wan created for the film.
Interestingly enough, the mantle of Thor was borne by Jane Foster for a very short period of time in the comics, during which she was able to wield the Mjolnir when Thor failed to, adapting her moniker as the Goddess of Thunder. The storyline came to an end with the character sacrificing herself against a grave danger, and Thor resuming his stead as the God of Thunder. Considering an expectedly major shakeup in the original lineup of characters following ‘Endgame’, Natalie Portman taking on the role while Hemsworth moves on could be a neat way for Marvel to materialise its next phase. Alternatively, it could also mean a neater exit for Natalie Portman from the MCU if they follow the original storyline to the T. Given the popularity of Thor as a character following ‘Ragnarok’ and ‘Infinity War’, I can see this working.
We have seen almost no widely embraced portrayals of Elektra in movies, apart from a brief part played by Jennifer Garner in the critically panned Ben Affleck starrer ‘Daredevil’ and an equally panned spinoff standalone film. While the movies sank and bombed pretty badly, Garner did receive considerable attention for her portrayal. A bladed sai-wielding assassin, the femme fatale is also book smart and has a troubled past, which accounts for her intrinsically dark nature. Trained in the martial arts and a gladiator style of fighting and having enough comic book history to make for a solid origin film, it is time for Elektra to step away from the shadow of Daredevil’s character and prove to the world what a badass she is despite her deeply troubled past.
Substantial development on ‘Justice League: Dark’ and WB’s and DC Films’ eagerness to adapt it to the big screen might finally open doors for a long due, definitive film for John Constantine and his love interest Zatanna. While I am unapologetically more excited for the first one due to a more personal affinity towards the character, exploring Zatanna’s origins might be DC’s foray into the territory of magic, much like ‘Doctor Strange’ was for Marvel.
Raven is one DC character for whom I have endless admiration and intrigue, each fuelling the other. Her origins as the daughter of a demon father and a human mother, making her half-demon herself, her powers of telepathy, teleportation and operating as an apparition away from her physical body, and her struggles with her own darker self is readymade material for an entertaining action-horror flick with huge potential. To have a glimpse of what I am talking about, you might want to catch the animated ‘Justice League vs. Teen Titans’. One can only hope that DC execs are listening.
12. Black Canary
We still don’t have a Green Arrow in the current DCEU, but what better way to introduce him than in a standalone film with Black Canary, separately exploring both their origins? That should work considering we’ve had a television series documenting that for over seven seasons now. The duo has anyway worked better as a team-up anyway, with the Canary’s athletic yet bone crushing acrobatic style of fighting complementing the Green Arrow’s skills as an archer. While the TV version played by Katie Cassidy is serviceable, the DCEU should use the ‘Injustice 2’ version of the character as a benchmark to live up to, and as a framework for designing the character for the screen.
A DCEU film titled the same was rumoured to begin production later this year with Whedon set to direct. Considering the shambles he left the reshot part of ‘Justice League’ in, it is to be considered as nothing except good news that Whedon is off the project. While that means the project will lie in limbo indefinitely, Batgirl will definitely be a worthy addition to the new DC cannon focussing on standalone films for lesser known characters, and it can’t be soon enough for DC to act upon it, if ‘Joker’ works. In fact, by this time, an entire film series comprising of members of the bat family or his rogues gallery should have been under materialization. One of the most iconic Batman story arcs involving Batgirl is ‘The Killing Joke’, and while I cannot lament enough about the fact that having the future of our current Batman in deep doubt is preventing any such future adaptation from materialising, we at least deserve a film where we know what Barbara Gordon was up to before donning the mantel of Oracle.
Among the most iconic and formidable duos in the history of the Justice League, I don’t believe I need to give reasons why an origin story for Hawkgirl and her partner Hawkman are an absolute necessity by now. Their origin film could be a solid mix of action, old world (or other worldly based on the origin tale they go with) mythology and history. It has been sorely long since we have seen Hawkgirl battle scream and swing that mace in action. Given that DC’s film division has chosen to now focus on solo films rather than universe building vehicles before ‘Justice League 2’ even materialises, a solo film for at least each of the original members of the league should be in place, and what better place to start than this powerful duo of reincarnated Egyptian royalty?
To be fairly honest, not a fan of the film, but Dafne Keen has a fan in me. With Jackman no longer portraying Wolverine, I highly doubt the character will come back as part of any universe, and for the foreseeable future, it is imperative for X-23 to carry his legacy forward. Even though Dafne Keen did an amazing job in the movie, it would seem slightly unrealistic picturing her in her own movie, and for Fox to bankroll that. However, with some characters interspersed with hers tying up to the current dystopian future in ‘Logan’ and how it turned out such, with the unison of her young mutant friends, a movie can come to life, and we really hope it does.
8. Spider Gwen
The stellar and unprecedented success of ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ can definitely pave the way for a standalone Spider Gwen film, given her popularity as a character almost rivaled that of Spiderman following her introduction in the comic book arena in 2014. In an alternate timeline wherein Gwen Stacy was bitten by the genetically modified spider rather than Peter Parker, it would be insanely fun watching Gwen battle the criminals in New York city, the pressures of high school and managing her relationship with a “normal” Peter Parker. Just thinking of it in the vivid animation style of ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ gives me a lot of hope.
Who better to start the revolution than Jennifer Lawrence? At one point the highest paid actress in the world, she has been a vociferous supporter of equality in the industry regarding the pay, respect, and the attention male stars get. The strong-headed and adroit female is emblematic of her character of Mystique in the X-Men series. A true reflection of the actress who plays her, Mystique, a mutant shapeshifter, who can mimic the appearance and voice of any person with exquisite precision has always been an important cog for the story to move forward, and will remain to be in the upcoming films. With immense star power as the face of the blue mutant, commerce shouldn’t be a reason for a Mystique film not happening.
Her appearance as a primary character in ‘Injustice 2’ should leave no doubts as to why she is such a prized possession for DC, one that they should have capitalised on by now. Sharing virtually the same storyline, even powers, as Superman following her escape as a grown child from Krypton upon its destruction and chancing upon Earth much later than Clark did, Kara Jor El should be the way forward for the DCEU to expand its family of supers. If WB are still skeptical about making a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel, how about this as an idea? Bring in Supergirl and have her trained under Clark for the first half of the film, and a showdown with either Brianiac or Metallo in the second half. That’s a freshly baked script idea right there the video game laid out for them. Alas, we can only dream.
5. Scarlett Witch
The fact that she was able to hold off Thanos for even a short while towards the end of ‘Infinity War’, if so, single handedly, should give you an idea of the extent of her powers. While currently embodying a different story arc in the MCU, she is Magneto’s daughter in actuality and the twin sister of Quicksilver. An origin story, either in the current MCU, or her introduction in the currently revived X-Men timeline, discovering her troubled upbringing and abandonment by their father, her powers of telekinesis and mind control, and finally choosing to side with either the X-Men or the brotherhood can make for an interesting film. Elizabeth Olsen currently portrays Wanda Maximoff in the ongoing MCU, and we won’t complain if we are given an origin film by that studio either. Her innate goodness, powers capable of obliteration, and stunningly good looks ensure that the Witch is one of the most exciting prospects for Marvel to capitalize upon.
4. Harley Quinn
Among the already numbered things right with ‘Suicide Squad’, Margot Robbie as the scene stealing Harley Quinn was definitely among the top. The psychiatrist-turned-criminal formed a prominent part of the aforementioned, and was pivotal in bringing down the Enchantress in the climax. Deviously twisted, with an appealing sense of humour, Robbie ticked all the right boxes playing the signature character. With her status as a superstar, and Quinn’s as the most villainous femme fatale in DC, there should be no reason why DC should hold production on either a standalone or a Suicide Squad sequel with a better script and a meatier role for Robbie. A Gotham City Sirens movie is currently in development with Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy, and while it seems to be in the works with Ayer to direct supposedly, there is no saying what direction DC’s film division takes following ‘Aquaman’.
While not a superhero herself per se, she has been found to have a dubious loyalty with ulterior motives to say the least. However, her role as Batman’s love interest and as a frequent companion as well as leading her own crusade against the unruly rich has shot her position up amongst the Batverse. The sly cat burglar has, as of now, made two appearances in full length feature films, and one in the standalone TV show ‘Gotham’ as a younger Selina Kyle, while also routinely being Batman’s aide in the Arkham series of video games. In my opinion, at least in the film versions, the character was able to steal a fair share of the limelight from Batman himself, and while that is no mean feat, I cannot credit that enough to the incredible performances from both Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway. Looking to the future, if DC is able to establish a Batverse successfully, a standalone Catwoman film with sizeable cameos by Batman as a part of universe building is long coming. She is touted to appear in a ‘Gotham City Sirens’ adaptation along with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, but it is yet to begin development.
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One look at Storm’s fictional character biography and you wouldn’t be asking why she deserves her own standalone film. If Fox needs an idea for revitalising their now derelict ‘Origins’ series of films, this might just be it. In fact, even if she is to be a part of the MCU, the only way I believe Marvel can repeat the success of ‘Black Panther’ is by acting upon the production of an origin story for Storm and focussing on her Kenyan roots, her early years in Cairo as a pickpocket and finally the realisation of the full extent of her powers in being able to control weather, making her one of the strongest mutants and Marvel comic book characters.
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1. Black Widow
Who else did you think would top the list? The prima donna of female characters, Agent Natasha Romanoff is the sumptuous and sly operator every organization needs. Blessed with pristine looks and the greatest sex appeal in the world, Scarlett Johansson couldn’t be a better embodiment of the character herself. Having played the character since the very first live action appearance of Black Widow, the stunning actress has been a highlight of every Marvel movie she has featured in, right from ‘Iron Man 2’ till even ‘Infinity War’. Her origins were slightly hinted at in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, but being one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel cannon, also immensely popular and routinely kicking ass otherwise, her long standing origin movie is far, far overdue, given everybody else introduced with her in Phase I already has a trilogy established. However, reason to rejoice: Marvel is seriously considering an R-Rated origin film for Black Widow, showcasing her training and association with S.H.I.E.L.D in a spy-espionage thriller of sorts.
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