Comic book movies are big. Even obscure franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy are becoming huge successes, everyone’s talking about Batman v Superman, and Marvel are so sure of their dominance that they’ve announced their movie releases through 2020, and have planned through 2028. There are bound to be loads more comic book adaptations before the fever fades, and people are eager to guess which ones they might be.
But we’re still kind of lacking comic book movies about female protagonists. They crop up in ensemble movies, or as love interests (or both), but they don’t really get to lead the story.
And that doesn’t make sense. Not only has the comic book industry had lots of success with its new wave of female protagonists, from Ms Marvel to the new Thor, but many recent successful genre movies have also had female leads, from The Hunger Games to Star Wars to Mad Max: Fury Road. There’s clearly an audience for these stories. So where are they?
With that in mind, here are the comic books with female leads that I most want to see as movies in the not-too-distant future.
This is a bit of a gimme, since the movie rights have already been optioned (although I can’t find any news of progress on it since last June). But still. Nimona is a fantastic graphic novel/webseries about a fantasy world supervillain, his rival hero (who he’s totally not in love with), and the shapeshifting girl who shows up one day, insisting she needs to be his apprentice. It’s all very hilarious and adorable and tongue in cheek… at least until it gets all emotionally intense instead.
And it would make such a good movie. It’s one cohesive story, with a fairly straightforward main plot but lots of twists and turns too. It’s incredibly fun and genre savvy, has lots of action, lots of humor, and lots of great characters too. Animated or live-action, this would be completely fantastic to watch. Please?
Jumping from the most likely movie adaptation to the least likely, we have Rat Queens. Rat Queens is a D&D-esque fantasy story about four badass female adventurers who fight monsters, cause trouble, and kick tired old tropes in the face. Again, this series is absolutely hilarious while also being emotionally compelling, with a great mix of the fresh and the familiar.
Maybe after Deadpool, someone would be willing to do this? Probably not. But I can dream.
They’ve already promised a Captain Marvel movie, so a movie about the new Ms Marvel is the natural next step, right? Ms Marvel has been a huge success for Marvel, proving that diversity is not an obstacle to comic book sales, and her fangirling ways would help create a Marvel movie with a fresh tone — something that the studio has seemed eager to capture with each new addition to the franchise. Plus, Ms Marvel is just so good. It’s a very Spiderman-esque story, with the highschool student suddenly developing powers and having to deal with them, but with a female muslim protagonist (and also set in Jersey).
She’s not an Avenger, which is good since Marvel already struggles with superhero character soup, but she’s a great character to add to the movie world.
The Wicked and the Divine
This is an absolutely beautifully drawn comic with a very intriguing premise. Every 90 years, a group of young mortals become gods and gain supernatural powers, with the catch that they then only have two years to live. The comic book has lots of good ideas, but I ultimately found it a bit confusing, and was disappointed with how some of the plot threads were developed. But I think this would make a fantastic movie. It’s full of spectacle and music, for one, as many of the gods become performers. The story is good, but hard to follow, and a movie version might sharpen its focus into something more cohesive, plus make it easier to distinguish between the many different gods.
Apparently the TV rights to this have been optioned by Universal, but nothing’s happened with it yet. And a TV show would be a great format for this, as long as it didn’t get lost in its sprawling set of characters. Otherwise — movie. Please.
This is another great comic book series that I’ve got a little lost in. It starts off great, but as the story sprawls out, threads seem to get lost, and plotlines get confused. The basic concept is that there are two civilizations that have been at war seemingly forever, and two soldiers on either side of the war fall in love and have a child, who is the protagonist. People on both sides of the war now really want them and their child dead.
Also, there’s a cat that can detect lies, to great dramatic effect.
You couldn’t tell the comic books’ overarching plot as a movie, because it has too many threads, and it covers far too many years. In fact, the Atlantic called it unfilmable. But a movie about the start of the comic book story, about the parents, as they dodge one very focussed assassin and struggle to survive, could be really compelling to watch. And, like many other examples, it would feel both familiar and original. Space opera, and a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story? Sure. But their space ship is a tree, their babysitter is a ghost, and they’re pursued by a spider-lady and a ruthless assassin who somehow ends up adopting an adorable 8-year-old.
Basically, it’s another comic book with a great concept that stopped working for me, and I really want a great movie or TV adaptation to give it another try.
They’re bound to reboot Spiderman for a fourth time in the near future, so they might as well finally do something different with it. Plus her costume is pretty damn cool.
But what do you guys think? If the movie business finally realized that you can make comic book movies with actual female protagonists, what adaptations would you like to see?