Marvel has been pushing for more diverse movies, particularly with woman-led films, but Sarah Michelle Gellar thinks the audience reception of it is “backwards.” In an interview with the Guardian, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer star spoke about the good a female cast can do for a superhero movie but how audiences are not accepting of it.
Buffy boosted Sarah Michelle Gellar to stardom, which she gives credit to “genre” for being a place “where women can really succeed,” like a Marvel movie. It has been shown in other areas, too, like horror, where Anya Taylor-Joy, Allison Williams, and more have thrived in. Although, the superhero genre has not seen it on the same level. While there have been beloved portrayals, like Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, it has seen pushback from fans to see more diverse films.
“Every time a Marvel movie tries to do a female cast, it just gets torn apart. Unfortunately, audiences weren’t as accepting. There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero,’ this is [a] very backwards way of thinking.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar on poor reception of woman-led Marvel movies
Regardless of audience reception, Marvel has been pushing forward for more diverse casts. We have seen people of color, the LGBT, and a spectrum of women get major roles in the MCU, from Eternals to Ms. Marvel. Still, some of these have seen major pushback, most infamously the review bombing of Captain Marvel, leading to Rotten Tomatoes changing its policy on audience reviews before the release of the film. Ms. Marvel was also review bombed, but IMDB saw no changes after racist and Islamophobic reviews were submitted.
Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in Buffy at a time when things were shifting in movies and TV before Marvel became a dominant force in the industry. Since then, changes have been made. While the star makes a point, there have been successes for women in the superhero genre, like Wonder Woman and the animated Harley Quinn series. As the genre grows and pushes to expand its stories and characters, audiences will shift along with it.
Marvel has quite the slate of diverse films coming ahead. For example, multiple women have major roles in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which releases next month, and women and women of color in The Marvels this summer.