When celebrity boxer and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey started campaigning for the role of Captain Marvel—the superhero studio’s leading lady, slated to get her own movie in 2018—Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was tickled. “I love it,” he said last week, in response to fan-made art of Rousey in a Captain Marvel get-up that the star had posted on Instagram.
“You look at the ways we’ve cast our films in the past and it’s always about who’s the best person to inhabit the character,” Feige added in an interview with IGN. “For us, it’s sitting down with people and starting to meet people and as the script takes shape and as we start to build who the character should be and finding the right person to match it up.” In other words—wait and see.
Rousey has added her name to a growing list of actresses who’ve expressed interest in the role or whose names have been floated. The others include Charlize Theron (with rumors that her director would be Angelina Jolie), Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson (of Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation fame), and Bryce Dallas Howard (of Jurassic World), who told Cinema Blend: “Yes, let’s start a campaign now. That would be rad.”
It’s little wonder that so many stars have thrown their hats in the ring—this is the first time that Marvel, arguably the most recognizable name in the superhero business, is making a movie with a female lead. The rival DC Comics universe will beat them to it, with a Wonder Woman movie scheduled for 2017.
With all of these box-office darlings vying to play a headlining lady superhero, we thought Marvel should do its best to make supply meet demand. Here are a few suggestions for movies they could make next.
Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson
Fans have been clamoring for this since ScarJo first played the enigmatic Widow in Iron Man 2 in 2010, and the actress herself has said she’d be into it. What is Marvel waiting for? Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly wrote about exactly this question in May, concluding, “Marvel accidentally made a great female superhero, and now they have no clue what to do with her.”
OK, so this wouldn’t be a Marvel movie—but Fox, which owns the movie rights to X-Men (originally a Marvel Comics creation) should’ve made this literally a decade ago.* Fans loved Berry’s Storm in X-Men, and Berry has said she would happily reprise the role. Storm is also the paradigmatic black woman superhero, which is pretty awesome. Somehow, though, after X-Men’s success, Marvel decided that Wolverine was the one who should get a solo spinoff.
She-Hulk starring Ronda Rousey
When Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer receives a blood transfusion from him, she quickly finds herself going all green. Like the original, she derives power from anger—but unlike him, she keeps hold of her original personality, and reason, even when she gets mad and Hulk-ifies. That gender commentary could use a little more nuance, perhaps, but it’s an interesting place to start.
Scarlet Witch starring Emily Blunt
This Avengers team member has endless stand-alone potential. With a costume worthy of The Wizard of Oz and reality-warping powers that fall somewhere between quantum physics and magic, she could easily fill 120 overproduced minutes.
Invisible Woman starring Charlize Theron
This original member of the Fantastic Four is a classic. Plus, according to her 1960s-era backstory, she’s the daughter of a gambler father and the wife to a domineering husband—and her superpower is to be invisible. Let a thousand think pieces bloom!
This list could go on and on, and the studio has to cast its Captain Marvel movie first. As Blunt pointed out to Indiewire last month, there’s a fundamental problem with the way we think about casting women in superhero movies—because we just don’t see that many of them. As Blunt put it, “So I think as soon as you do a role like that, like Charlize did or I did, or Rebecca [Ferguson]’s done—there’s like four of us or something. And Jen Lawrence. So I feel like us four, we get talked about—and Angie, Angelina. So it’s a list of like, four [Ed: five] women who are going to be considered for those kind of roles. So I think that’s why the rumors happen, because they’re like, ‘[W]ho else? Surely not another girl can wield a gun,’ you know what I mean? ‘A woman doing push-ups? There’s only one who can do that.’ ” The only way to fix that problem? More movies headlined by female superheroes.
*Correction, Oct. 7, 2015: This article originally misstated that Marvel owns the movie rights to X-Men; they are the property of Fox. (Return.)