In case you’ve been living under a rock over the last year, there’s a superhero movie opening this weekend that seemingly has a lot riding on its success. It’s titled “Wonder Woman.”
Yes, finally, after decades of tentpole movies based on white male superhero characters (how many more Spider-Man movie reboots do we really need?), fans will march to theaters nationwide this weekend to watch what they hope will be a massively successful female-led superhero movie – the kind of success that will ultimately lead to even more female-led superhero tentpole (and otherwise) films and live-action TV series.
And no, I’m not counting Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” or Jenny Garner’s “Elektra” movies, as both were failures on multiple levels; although while the $43 million (budget) “Elektra” was at least watchable, “Catwoman” (which cost $100 million to make) was an unmitigated disaster. I like to pretend it was never made. Alas, it was.
“Wonder Woman” is on track to earn $80 million to $90 million in ticket sales this weekend according to box office analysts, although its studio – Warner Bros. – is intentionally and maybe understandably talking down expectations. Reviews have been stellar so far, boasting a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (133 reviews thus far), with the consensus being that it’s a “thrilling, earnest” movie that “succeeds in spectacular fashion,” thanks in part to star Gal Gadot’s “charismatic performance.” Its 92% rating is good enough to make it the DC universe’s highest rated movie. As you all know well by now, the WB/DC universe movies just haven’t been able to match the critical and commercial successes of the Disney/Marvel movies to date. Maybe “Wonder Woman” will mark the film that turns the tide.
It’s also noteworthy that the movie is directed by a woman filmmaker in Patty Jenkins.
But all the excitement over “Wonder Woman” inspires the question: When will fans be treated to the first tentpole movie based on a black woman superhero character (again, I’m not including “Catwoman” with Halle Berry), and what character might have the best chance at leading her own franchise. Just as fans have been waiting for a long time for a successful female superhero movie, I’m sure there are those who are really looking forward to one that’s centered around a superheroine that’s of African descent.
So who would be in your top five?
The most obvious to me is Storm (aka Ororo Munroe) of the X-Men, if only because the character is fairly-well known and has mainstream awareness thanks to the X-Men movies. Also, according to the Marvel wiki, she’s regarded as one of Marvel Comics’ most important female superheroes. Everyone seems to know or had heard of Storm. So if Marvel was thinking about a major movie franchise around a black female superhero, Storm would likely be at the top of their list. It’ll present a potential career making opportunity for an up-and-coming young black actress. I wouldn’t cast Alexandra Shipp who played the character in the last X-Men movie. I’d start fresh.
In addition to Storm, I’d say pretty much any black female superhero that’s already seen some screen time, either in an animated series of her own (like Vixen, a DC universe character; although she’s also appeared as a supporting character in the CW’s Arrowverse series), or as a supporting character in a live-action series (like Misty Knight as played by Simone Missick in Netflix’s “Marvel’s Luke Cage”; although she isn’t a superhero in that series… at least, not yet).
There’s also Amanda Waller who’s appeared both in animated series as well as live-action series and movies (although she’s not a superhero; but she is a force in other ways). Upcoming we’ll get a first-look at Anissa & Jennifer Pierce (aka Thunder & Lightning respectively) in The CW’s “Black Lightning” series which premieres next TV season. They are the daughters of Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning), who follow in their father’s footsteps.
Zazie Beetz will play Domino in the next “Deadpool” movie, although I don’t believe the character is written originally as a black woman (comic book experts can correct me on that if I’m wrong). But maybe it doesn’t matter. If Domino is a hit in “Deadpool” and fans really take to her, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel decided to take a chance and greenlight a spin-off project, at a time when spin-offs are very popular with movie franchises.
Who else? Chime in below…