It's an open secret: #Marvel doesn't do right by its female characters. The company's reclusive CEO Ike Perlmutter has long been convinced that female characters just don't sell well, particularly as action figures; incredibly, he even forced the script of Iron Man 3 to be rewritten to ensure the main villain wasn't a woman, purely for toy sales!
All this has resulted in a very masculine Cinematic Universe. Captain Marvel — due in 2019 — will be the first Marvel movie with a female lead, while Black Widow still hasn't had her solo film announced!
Perlmutter's background is in toys, and he's always had a major influence with the tie-in merchandise (his background is in toys). Despite Black Widow being introduced in Iron Man 2, it wasn't until The Avengers that we got an action figure. Appallingly, action figures of Avengers: Age of Ultron actually swapped Black Widow for Captain America on a motorcycle!
When Guardians of the Galaxy was released, poor Gamora got the short straw. Her presence was so low that #WheresGamora trended on Twitter.
Last year's reorganization in Marvel lessened Ike Perlmutter's influence, and since then we've seen female characters increase in prominence. Today, James Gunn took to social media to assure fans this is going to continue in the merchandising for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
He followed this up with more detail in a Facebook post:
"I'm making sure this time around the female characters are more represented in the toy world. Not only Gamora, but Mantis, Nebula, and Elizabeth Debicki's character as well."
Gamora was a major figure in the first film, and it's exciting to look forward to Nebula being developed as a character. But I'm staggered at the idea that Mantis, a lesser-known cosmic character, is going to get an action figure!
Now, I freely admit to being saddened that he needs to personally intervene just to push for female action figures. That said, I'm delighted that he has; the reality is that Marvel's female characters are just as strong as the males, and it'll be exciting to see characters like Gamora, Mantis, and Nebula holding their own in the toy stakes!
Are you excited to see some of these characters in action figure form? Let me know in the comments!