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June 08, 2013

Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Posted in: Comics,Movies

superheroines2 Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Superheroes may be dominating at the multiplex, but there's a scarcity of superheroines who get their own movies. Click through the gallery for a look at some female heroes who could headline their own feature films. (CBS; Marvel; Warner Bros.)

wonderwoman Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Superman and Batman have both seen several big-screen incarnations. Isn't it time that the third member of DC's power trio got her own movie? Wonder Woman (A.K.A. Diana Prince) possesses super speed, strength, stamina and reflexes. The Amazon warrior woman can deflect bullets with her bracelets and discern the truth with her lasso. She can even fly. Lynda Carter, above, embodied the role for the late-1970s TV series "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman," but the Amazon deserves a chance at the big screen. (CBS / Los Angeles Times archives)

blackwidow Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Scarlett Johansson has twice portrayed Natasha Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow, on the big screen, first in 2010's "Iron Man 2" and again in 2012's "The Avengers." She'll don the black again for 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." But the gun-toting redhead could be the fantastic star of her own super spy thriller. (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel)

shehulk Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

She-Hulk could be the star of her own movie, especially if it were part superhero flick, part legal drama. Jennifer Walters possesses some of the Hulk's powers after receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner. She's also a skilled lawyer. Her clients? Superheroes. (Greg Horn / Marvel Comics)

catwoman Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

So she's not exactly a superhero, but Catwoman deserves another chance at her own movie beyond the much-maligned 2004 Halle Berry version. Anne Hathaway's turn in Christopher Nolan's 2012 "The Dark Knight Rises," above, and Michelle Pfeiffer's performance in Tim Burton's 1992 "Batman Returns" brought to life the slinky burglar Selina Kyle fans know and love from the comic books. A Selina Kyle Catwoman movie could be as much a caper as an action film. (Warner Bros.)

supergirl Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Helen Slater, above, played Clark Kent's cousin Kara Zor-El in 1984's "Supergirl," which faced a lackluster reception from critics and moviegoers. It's been nearly three decades since Supergirl has flown out of theaters. The right director could help restore this daughter of Krypton from Razzie status. (Richard Blanshard / Getty Images)

captainmarvel Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Carol Danvers (also known as Captain Marvel and formerly Ms. Marvel) is a "crackerjack pilot" for the U.S. Air Force. She's endowed with powers, including flight and enhanced strength, after being caught in the explosion of an alien device. Who doesn't want to see this butt-kicking aviatrix on the big screen? (Ed McGuinness / Marvel Comics)

mariahill Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Maria Hill may not possess superpowers, but she bosses other superheroes around. Cobie Smulders, above, played the character in "The Avengers." Her tough military background and her position as a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent could make for a compelling stand-alone tale of action and espionage. (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel)

jeangrey Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Jean Grey, and her more powerful alter-ego Phoenix, could (probably) destroy the rest of the Marvel Universe. This telepathic and telekinetic mutant can read minds, alter people's thoughts, emit energy blasts, generate force fields, fly through space, manipulate atoms to rearrange or disintegrate matter and more. Her powers put the likes of Iron Man and Spider-Man to shame. Famke Janssen, above, portrayed Jean Grey in the "X-Men" films, but in the end, she gets used as a weapon. Phoenix deserves to reign over her own film. (20th Century Fox)

marvelwomen Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Speaking of mutants, Marvel's new all-women "X-Men" comic, starring Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey and Psylocke, could provide the lineup for a classic Joss Whedon ensemble production. The first issue, released in May 2013, beat out Batman to be the month's top-selling comic, according to Diamond Comics. These deadly women could be a winning team at the box office. (Olivier Coipel / Marvel)

birdsofprey Joss Whedon wants more female superheroes. Who would you pick?

Another team of superwomen who could headline a Whedonesque ensemble film is the Birds of Prey -- a group of crime-fighting gals in Gotham City. "Birds of Prey" was a short-lived TV series in 2002, but the Birds might be the perfect combo for a buddy-cop superhero movie. The team is led by Oracle, the wheelchair-bound former Batgirl Barbara Gordon, who uses her information network and hacking skills to direct the team remotely. Core members include martial artist Black Canary, former mafia princess Huntress and pilot Lady Blackhawk, also a weapons expert. (Stanley Lau / DC)

It comes as no surprise that Joss Whedon, who created one of fandom’s most beloved superheroines in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” thinks Hollywood should make more movies about female superheroes.

Whedon is credited with writing strong women in genres where female characters often fall victim to cliched, two-dimensional portrayals. With so many comic book heroes dominating the multiplex, “The Avengers” director is upset at the scarcity of women in leading roles.

“Toymakers will tell you they won’t sell enough, and movie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, ‘You see? It can’t be done,’ Whedon told the Daily Beast this week. “It’s stupid, and I’m hoping ‘The Hunger Games’ will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. … My daughter watched ‘The Avengers’ and was like, ‘My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, of course they were.'”

PHOTOS: Superheroines with some kick

The Black Widow, of course, is Scarlett Johansson’s black-clad S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, introduced to the big screen in “Iron Man 2” but fleshed out in “The Avengers.” Maria Hill, portrayed by “How I Met Your Mother” actress Cobie Smulders, is second in command to S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Hill, a relatively new character in the comics, was added to the script when Whedon felt the story was a bit heavy with musclemen.

“I wanted someone there for Fury and [Agent Phil] Coulson to deal with, and I wanted another woman in the movie,” Whedon told Hero Complex last year. “There’s a lot of boys, and I felt the movie definitely needed another strong female presence just to balance it out, and someone at Marvel suggested that we use Maria Hill…. I was like, ‘That’s perfect! That makes sense, because she’s always had a bit of a beef with Fury, so we’ll have some tension there.’”

Whether or not Black Widow and Maria Hill get their own feature films, Whedon thinks Hollywood should do more to represent women in the superhero genre, even if it means taking matters into his own hands.

PHOTOS: Will Wonder Woman get her own TV show?

“I’m not going to let nobody do it,” he told the Beast. “It doesn’t have to be me, but it could be.”

With that door open, Hero Complex couldn’t resist compiling a short list of superheroines who deserve to be spotlighted on the silver screen. Click through the gallery above for a look at the potential leading ladies and let us know what you think in the comments.

— Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark

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