Kevin Feige Says Marvel Won’t Repeat That ‘Where’s Black Widow’ Toy Controversy
When Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters, many fans were especially excited that the movie featured not one, but two fantastic female characters. But then something weird happened: Gamora, one of the main five Guardians, was oddly absent from the majority of toys found in stores, her likeness and figurine even scrubbed from sets and merchandise purportedly featuring the whole team. When Avengers: Age of Ultron premiered, it was the same story over again. Both of these instances prompted the hashtags #WheresGamora and #WheresBlackWidow from fans who were sick of the lack of female representation for kids and adults alike. Kevin Feige, we’re all happy to hear, says that that won’t happen again.
While speaking to the press at the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set visit, via /Film, Feige spoke about the controversy and how weird it seemed even to people on the inside of Marvel.
That was very frustrating for us, because we see, we see it from the other side. When I say we, I mean the filmmakers, because we’re presented with the stuff that’s being made, and I don’t know if there’s an absolutely equal sampling, but Black Widow was all over that. Gamora was all over that stuff. What we don’t see is how much of it is in any given store. How easy is one piece of merchandise to find versus another piece of merchandise. So, we see the stuff and we go, oh great, these are all our characters, they’re all great represented, they’re all going to be sold, and then we find out, oh, you can’t find this, you can’t find that, or there’s lunch boxes or a backpack where a certain character is not on it, and I think the outrage was great, because that’s not going to happen anymore.
Plus, Guardians 2 already has more female characters than the first one, and that’s no accident.
And that was one of our big things we set out to do and was very important to James [Gunn] as well, was putting, as we did in the first film, with a number of characters, even more so this time, putting women at the forefront of the story.
In addition to Gamora, her adoptive sister Nebula is getting a much bigger role as well. The sequel is also adding villainess Ayesha and Mantis, who is a member of the Guardians in the comics but has been absent from the films until now.
Feige also said that he and the rest of the Marvel team want to have more of a say in what toy companies produce.
We can’t have sway over what a retail store, how many items of what they want to stock on a shelf, but when toy sets come over, or t-shirt designs come over, if they’re not represented properly or representative of the film, we’re not even saying is the equality of each gender specific, we’re going does it represent the movie we’re making, and if it doesn’t, we send it back until it does.
It’s great to hear that not only are Marvel execs listening to the fans, they’re taking an active role in making their company better. It’s up to toy stores what they choose to have, but, hey, think about it this way: with both of their solo films arriving soon, Toys R Us can’t not stock Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel merchandise.