While the MCU is working hard to create more diversity in their upcoming slate of superheroes for Phase Four, the writing team is where change truly happens. Representation in the writing rooms is where real understanding about the motivations of women superheroes or even LGBTQ characters can be fully realized.
A decade ago, Marvel probably had few if any women screenwriters working on these films. Now they have more, including one prominent one: Jac Schaeffer.
No, Jac isn’t a guy, and she’s the writer of upcoming Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson. In a recent interview, she talked about how she’s plunging in to make the kind of superhero movies she wants to make. Part of this involves shoving off bullies who may think a woman writing an MCU movie isn’t apropos.
Jac Schaeffer wants to reinvent superhero movies from how males see them
It’s not a secret that comic book films were once mostly a guy’s thing, if having some women fans. What we definitely didn’t see in the earlier days was a woman writing a superhero movie from her own perspective.
Schaeffer’s view of a superhero film is far different from what we’ve seen right up through Endgame. During a recent interview on Inverse, one of the most notable things about Schaeffer is she was never a big superhero movie fan when younger.
No doubt it’s because so many of them used the same old tropes of over-the-top villains, pyro, and the use of over-the-top weaponry to fight back. In Schaeffer’s mind, superhero movies with women should involve more smarts, including hearing from marginalized voices. Also, the villains should be made more complex so there isn’t definitive takes on who’s really bad and good.
All of this should sound worthwhile to those who care about bringing something different to Marvel films. So far, Schaeffer has helped that along by being one of the writers on Captain Marvel, plus being the head writer on the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series WandaVision.
The criticisms thankfully don’t faze her
Yes, the male comic book club has gone after Schaeffer with a vengeance as you might expect. Since she was involved in letting Captain Marvel use more power of intellect over using weapons, fans were all over her social media accounts for changing superhero perceptions.
Now she’s about to do the same thing with Black Widow, despite the movie taking place in the past. The good news is Schaeffer isn’t letting the “sour grapes voices” bring her down in bringing the vision she wants to showcase.
We find it inspiring she’s being allowed to bring her own creative ideas to the table. She attributes this to Marvel being surefooted as an instant moneymaking machine. When Schaeffer worked in independent film before joining Marvel, she says the creative environments there were far more stifling.
This news alone is eye-opening and proves how much of a gilded place Marvel has turned into for those who want to up their creative game.
Will Schaeffer’s views hurt the audience of future Marvel films?
When Schaeffer also noted recently she’s not interested in adhering to comic book canon that’s discriminatory, it could mean the Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff seen in prior Marvel movies might not be the same in the solo film.
Perhaps we’re about to see women superheroes are far different from the male ones for the same reasons women are so different from men in the real world. That should send just as much of a strong statement in future Schaeffer-written Marvel movies.
So will Schaeffer’s smarter vision translate to the same devoted audiences, or alienate far too many? We’ll have to wait to find out, yet we think there’s a strong female contingent of viewers who’ve been around all along who will cherish this reinvention.
Just like when good movies about women bring women out to theaters (and surprises everyone), we’ll likely see the same thing happen with Marvel movies thanks to a bright new voice.
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