In the era of superheroes, these characters not only take over the big screen, they also make the jump to television, streaming services, and – of course – all types of merchandise. An ongoing issue now that superhero movies dominate the industry is that of the representation of female characters in all kinds of merchandise, from action figures and playsets to other objects such as clothing.
Marvel Studios is currently working on Phase Three, which began last month with the release of Captain America: Civil War and will continue later this year with the introduction of the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange. The first Marvel movie 2017 will be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which has just wrapped filming. Although it’s still early to talk about their marketing campaign, director James Gunn is teasing some great news regarding the film's tie-in toys.
In response to a concerned father's question about whether he will be able to purchase a Gamora action figure for his daughter, Gunn replied on Facebook [h/t ComicBook.com] with great news about the female characters in Guardians 2:
“I’m making sure this time around the female characters are more represented in the toy world. Not only Gamora, but Mantis, Nebula, and Elizabeth Debicki’s character as well.”
The market has often failed to produce merchandise based on female characters – an issue seen with characters like Black Widow (who was replaced by Captain America in a playset of a scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron where she drops out of a jet onto a motorcycle) and Wonder Woman in terms of comic book adaptations. But, even characters outside the world of superheroes, like Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, have been noticeably absent from tie-in toys.
Before Gunn’s response, Marvel had already revealed some of their plans for the film’s merchandise, saying they will focus on Groot toys this time. While fans grew attached to Groot, he is certainly not the only character that deserves more attention. Gamora and Nebula also had a significant impact on the audience, and Mantis and Debicki’s yet-to-be revealed character probably won’t be the exception.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.