With the success of Agent Carter, the kick-ass ladies of Agents of SHIELD, and this week’s release of Jessica Jones, Marvel Studios and Marvel TV have demonstrated an affinity for including as many interesting, entertaining, and empowered women to their live-action line-ups! With this groundwork already in place, we decided to let Marvel know who we think should get the spotlight next with either movies or their own series.
Editor’s Note: I know this is Psycho 7, but we had to include a special 8th Wonder with Spider-Woman. The rights to her character are a bit of a muddle, so just in case she’s available, we thought we’d include her as a bonus entry!
And awaaaaay we go!
Spider-Woman needs her own star vehicle, whether it’s a feature film or, preferably, a series along the lines of DAREDEVIL or JESSICA JONES. There is so much potential with this character, from the various roles she has played since her character’s conception through all of the possible crossovers in the ever growing Marvel universe. She has power and pathos, style and skills, but hasn’t fully been given her props. Though she’s appeared in a wide range of titles, remains an incredibly talented and powerful character, and makes an incredible poster pin-up, she’s remained something of a blank slate in the superhero world. With the appropriate writers at the helm, hers is a story just screaming to be told in a continuing format on the small (or big) screen.
While her secret identity has changed a few times, the most commonly accepted alias is Jessica Drew. Her initial starting point involved uranium exposure, irradiated spider blood, and a genetic accelerator, though later origin stories changed it to her mother’s womb being hit by a laser beam containing DNA traits from different spiders. Whatever. In either case, she was recruited by HYDRA (under generally false pretenses), where she was trained as an assassin and kick-ass fighter. Further training by SHIELD expanded her abilities to include covert operations, stealth, espionage, and information gathering.
Considering all of the ways Spider-Woman could kill someone with her bare hands, she barely needs superpowers at all. However, she can lift up to seven tons, possesses superhuman speed, stamina, agility, and reflexes, and her palms and soles secrete a special fluid that allows her to cling to solid objects. Spider-Woman, get it? The most intriguing aspect of her, though, is that her body produces a highly concentrated pheromone which affects those around her, eliciting attraction and fear in men and revulsion in women. In the earlier incarnations of her character, Jessica often dealt with feelings of isolation due to the differences from her peers, both seen and unseen, and she often struggled with the strange reactions of those around her. This is all in spite of her being a stone-cold fox.
With the right casting and talented writers, Spider-Woman could be more than just a powerful guest star in someone else’s story. Imagine the crossover potential with THE AGENTS OF SHIELD, DAREDEVIL, or the latest smash, JESSICA JONES. Such a show is ripe with possibilities for other appearances as well, since there’s hardly a major character in the Marvel universe she’s not crossed paths with. She’s had her own cartoon, been in numerous video games, and even had her own commemorative stamp in 2007. Isn’t it time that she showed us what else she can do?
In her own words, from a March 2015 issue of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: “I have never needed rescuing. Ever. See my wiki entry.”
— John E. Meredith
First appearing in her own short-lived title, Dakota North is a private investigator in the main Marvel Universe. Her career has had her cross paths with superheroes, including Spider-Man, Power Pack, and Daredevil, often being hired as an investigator and a bodyguard.
A series or movie based centred around Dakota North Investigations would bring a new approach to the usual superhero story – the effects of the superhero world on a regular person. While at first glance, it looks like a Dakota North movie or series would cover the same ground as Jessica Jones or Agents of SHIELD, Dakota herself does not have either powers, like Jones, nor the extensive government backing that SHIELD has. Dakota must rely on her own abilities and could be outmatched if a case leads her to someone with superpowers.
As a TV series, Dakota North Investigations would show the intersection between the worlds of the superheroes and of the mundane. While murder mysteries are common for detective series, twists on some classic private investigator jobs could also be explored. What happens if Dakota needs to serve a superpowered individual a court summons? What would she do when the husband she was hired to follow because his wife believes he’s cheating on her turns out to be a costumed hero? Dakota North would allow an exploration of the ins and outs of everyday life from the view of someone who has seen the best and worst of people.
— Scott Delahunt
We already know for certain that Elektra will be introduced in Season 2 of Daredevil. She was mentioned by Foggy back in Season 1, as the “smokin’ Greek girl” and Elodie Young has been cast in the role. This is a perfect way to set up Marvel’s most badass and enigmatic assassin for her own series. Elektra was created by comics legend Frank Miller and made her first appearance in Daredevil #168 in 1981. While she has always been closely associated with the Man Without Fear, Elektra has an incredibly rich history in comics and would be a perfect addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her series would fit in both tone and substance with the newly established and upcoming crop of Marvel shows airing on Netflix.
If events in the upcoming season of Daredevil shake out similarly to the comics, resulting in Elektra’s death, then the show could start out with her resurrection by the Hand and continue from there. This could lead to some pretty awesome crossover potential. On the other hand, it’s not actually necessary to bring in DD at all. Why not do some sort of riff on Miller and Sienkiewicz’s brilliant Elektra: Assassin? It is the greatest Elektra story ever told. She is one of the most compelling characters in comics: unparalleled Ninja skills, the ability to control the minds of others, but also an allegiance that is constantly in question, vacillating over the years between mercenary and hero. Now that Marvel is embracing the darker, grittier corners of their universe, it’s time to bring another formidable female into the mix and Elektra is just the chick to shake things up.
— Jamie Gerber
Faiza Who? you may say, as she was introduced in Captain Britain and MI: 13 and I was the only person who read that. Faiza is a British woman who worked as a doctor until she got zapped by weird science during an alien invasion and ended up with vague biological control powers; this brought her into contact with Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom and a Skrull Beatle and they fought Dracula on the moon.
You really should have read the comic; it was ace.
For a TV version I wouldn’t bother with the origin and I’d start with Faiza already having powers, perhaps explaining it in a flashback episode later on. She was designed as a viewpoint character, like Kitty Pryde or the companions of Doctor Who and I would emphasise that and structure the series as a sort of Marvel UK Team-Up, with Faiza bouncing around the British corner of the Marvel Universe — and beyond, if budgets allow — meeting a new superhero or villain each episode.
Although there would be drama now and then, the main thrust of the programme would be cheerful and positive. As a superhero fan Faiza would be full of excitement at bumping into all these characters, even the bad guys, and I’d pull in as much of the bonkers stuff from the MI: 13 comic as — again — the budget would allow. That said, Faiza isn’t a giggling, swooning fan; she has to be a bit more sensible than that to work as our lead character, otherwise it becomes a programme about a sidekick and that’s a waste. Playing up her medical background and showing her in her daily life as a doctor would help, giving her an air of authority that she can take with her into her superheroic adventures.
Keeping things light-hearted should also help avoid falling into the trap of being boring about Faiza’s Muslim faith. We don’t want to drop that aspect of the character, because it’s important and there will be stories that are informed and enriched by it, but we also don’t want every story to be about Being Muslim, just as every Northstar story seems to be about Being Gay. It’s reductive and belittles the character and we can do better than that these days.
Faiza Hussain’s Marvel UK Mash Up would be a hard sell. Every aspect of the character seems to shave away a potential slice of the audience, but even if the average white American male won’t want to watch a series about a British Muslim woman teaming up with Z-list characters he’s never heard of, I know I would, if only for the Dracula-on-the-moon series finale.
— Kelvin Green
Jane Foster Thor
There are droves of Marvel gals prime to star in their own spotlight series or film but one is trulyworthy.
In the last year or so Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s excellent run on the Thor comic book has focused on supporting cast stalwart Jane Foster and her ascension to the mantle of Thor, Goddess of Thunder. Movie goers will recognize Foster as the female lead of the Thor movie franchise, a part played admirably by upper tier Hollywood talent Natalie Portman.
The consistent buzz around Marvel Studio’s contact talks constantly speculate on the inevitability of recasting the major roles. Portman can lead a film, she’s proven that, and the need for more women among the mainline Avengers cast can’t just rely on the addition of Carol Danvers. Many entries on this list are completely new concepts but introducing this new Thor could be done in as quickly as a post-credits scene at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Any Marvel casting switch would be a big deal and allowing the MCU Jane Foster to wield the hammer could shake up Asgard in a mighty way.
— Jamil Scalese
Did you ever get that feeling while watching a movie or TV show or reading a book that the fiction you’re experiencing is exactly the thing you’ve always wanted to see, but just never really thought about it? We already know that Simone Missick has been cast as Mercedes “Misty” Knight for the Luke Cage series. Rumors abound that we’ll be seeing Knight’s steadfast sister-in-arms Coleen Wing in that same series. I hereby submit that we take this relationship to the next level, Netflix.
This world would greatly benefit from a “Daughters of the Dragon” series in which Misty and her partner explore the martial arts wing of the Marvel Universe. DotD have been linked to Shang-Chi, Heroes for Hire, and even the NYPD (Misty started out as a patrolwoman). Misty herself has been romantically linked to Danny Rand (Iron Fist) for most of her fictional life.
Well, until recently, at least.
Just think, that empty shell at the core of your soul might be shaped exactly like a television series featuring a team of two female martial artists working for hire on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen. See? There it is. You just realized that Daughters of the Dragon is the show you’ve been wishing for all your life. And now you’ll just have to live with that gaping vacuum in the deepest reaches of your heart. Ahem. Sorry about that.
— Rick Shingler
Jennifer Walters — better known as the She-Hulk, or my personal favorite, Shulkie — presents an enormous amount of potential to a television series, which only becomes more clear the longer I dwell on her and her characteristics. Jen has the ability to present a quadruple threat and, in the right hands, be the focal point of a massively enjoyable series.
Firstly, we have the fact that She-Hulk is… well, a Hulk, and can provide a facet to a corner of the Marvel Universe that has been suffering from an incredibly muddy continuity (not aided by the fact that three different actors have now played Bruce Banner). The other side of the same coin is that she’d be capable of hugely destructive action scenes the likes of which we’ve never seen on television before (as, at least in the comics, her strength is comparable with that of the Fantastic Four’s Ben Grimm). Tack on the fact that Jen is a lawyer (and a damn good one at that) and we now have an element of drama and an easy manner of structuring a complex, episodic storyline.
Then we have the rich, creamy filling — She-Hulk is hilarious. After all, this is the same girl who got kicked out of the Stark Tower for partying too hard (and one can only imagine how challengingthat must be!), and in her emerald-skinned form she’s always had a boisterous, confident personality that will be an absolute joy to see brought to screen. She’s even been seen on more than one occasion breaking the fourth wall, something that, while it may be a little too out-there for a more “serious” series like Daredevil, would fit right in as part of a more humor-packed, action-packed, all-out fun program. After all, if it works so well for Deadpool (who grows more popular by the millisecond), a moment in the limelight should be more than enough time for the Sensational She-Hulk to work her mojo.
— Lexi Wolfe
My elevator pitch for a Squirrel Girl series would go something like this: “The deadpan humor of The Tick live action series meets the fan service of Batman: The Brave and the Bold with a dash of the self-awareness and pop-culture post-modernist approach that made Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim film so fantastic – starring a spunky female protagonist that calls to mind the physicality of Buffy Summers and the smarts of Veronica Mars. But, who is part-squirrel. Or has squirrel blood. Well, she definitely has squirrel powers and can talk to squirrels.”
I wouldn’t blame you at this point for asking “Who the hell is Squirrel Girl and how is that even a thing?” She’s certainly one of the lesser-knowns of Marvel’s roster of female superheroes, but she has long been a fan-favorite and she finally debuted in her own ongoing series this January to rave reviews. As a squirrel-themed costumed crimefighter, Squirrel Girl has largely been the source of comic-relief in her previous appearances and while the funny definitely continues in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, there’s also a lot of meta-commentary, body positivity and diversity going on.
We’ve seen Marvel pull off the dark and gritty. Hell, Jessica Jones was so pitch-black I often wondered if it shouldn’t have been preceded by some sort of disclaimer or trigger warning. This shift towards the grimdark has been a necessary and vital part of comics properties establishing themselves in pop culture and being taken seriously. I think we may finally be in a place where the general public is able to accept a little something fun and goofy, and a Squirrel Girl series could be just the thing.
The series could take its cue from her recent solo run, picking up with Doreen Green starting college at Empire State University, intent on keeping her secret identity safe while continuing to pursue her crimefighting career. While Squirrel Girl’s adventures are technically canon in the Marvel Universe, they often take place in a way that means only she or a select group of others are even aware of what’s going down. This allows for some great latitude in storytelling, because it doesn’t have to connect back to the established film/TV Marvel Universe proper. She can take out Galactus (yes, she defeated Galactus) without the rest of the world being the wiser.
I imagine the show as a mixed-media affair, combining live action with animated and digital overlays, playing up the fun cartoony side of the character. Given the likely budget constraints, it’s okay if some of it looks kind of shitty in an intentional way. Guest spots from other heroes could utilize different actors than the established films/TV series, keeping the hammy/goofy nature of the approach intact. Maybe we even get Lou Ferrigno out of retirement for some Hulk action! The show could go deep into the character archives, bringing an ever-expanding roster of bad guys to the screen, elucidated by Squirrel Girl’s omni-present deck of “Deadpool’s Guide to Supervillains” cards. This way, fans can see some crazy obscure or otherwise neglected favorites on-screen while newcomers get to just roll with the punches via the quick pre-battle synopsis.
Where the show really scores though is in its intelligent approach. Yes, it’s all an incredible amount of fun, but one of the things that makes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl some next-level shit is that she often finds herself talking the bad guy out of his rampage just by rationally approaching the situation. It’s not all four-color brawls (though there are plenty of those), there’s also this super-smart existential streak running through all the absurdity. It’s what sets this character apart, and I think it’s worth the praise and investment in a small-screen series. Besides, the “nuts” jokes practically write themselves.
— Adam Barraclough