Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman, has done a great service for women directors hoping to break into the superhero genre. Wonder Woman is shattering box office expectations, and receiving critical acclaim. Her success and the hype surrounding her directing Wonder Woman has already started to create change in the industry. Gina Prince-Bythewood just landed the Black Cat and Silver Sable project over at Sony. Jessica Jones season 2 will have an all-women directing team. Anna Boden will be co-directing Captain Marvel.
It is an exciting time for women; finally things are shifting.
So here are 6 women directors and suggestions on which comic book properties to adapt.
Ava DuVernay was in negotiations for Black Panther a couple of years ago. Instead, her good friend and fellow filmmaker Ryan Coogler was hired to direct. Coogler will have the honour of bringing the Dora Milage, and Wakanda to life. However, the primary focus will be on the titular Black Panther. I propose that DuVernay bring to life World of Wakanda, the comic book series by writer Roxanne Gay and poet Yona Harvey. The comic follows Wakanda warriors Ayo and Aneka who are recruited to the Dora Milage, and delves deeper into the inner workings of Wakanda civilization. It is a fitting project for DuVernay because of her dedication to representing the strength and power of Black people, and particularly Black women.
Jennifer Kent is an Australian filmmaker who made a big splash in 2014 with her first feature-length film, The Babadook. The horror film was a met with great critical acclaim and it brought in $7.5 million, on a $2 million budget. The film is terrifying and intense, but is a genuinely heartfelt. The Babadook creature is more than just a monster who has no purpose or reason, it represents the all consuming nature of grief, fear, and trauma. Ultimately, The Babadook is something the characters of the film need to live with, the darkest part of us is something we just need to accept. I do not do this film justice at all, it is a wonder to behold. Kent is perfect for Justice League Dark, because she will surely bring the horror elements to life in a way that is terrifying, but meaningful. The DCEU needs to embrace the differences in their projects, and Justice League Dark is the perfect film to introduce horror into the DCEU.
Jennifer Phang is an American filmmaker who helmed Sundance darling, Advantageous. The film was set in the near future following Gwen, a woman who is offered a second chance at life through transferring her consciousness into another body. Throughout the film Phang’s interest and understanding of technology is evident. She is able to convey the beauty and horror of technology, and in the centre of this technological world are humans. A Cyborg film needs a director who can portray the best and worst elements of technology and ultimately show that it is a human being under the metal and wires.
Stella Meghie is a Canadian director who is the only Black woman to have a wide-release in 2017. Her film Everything Everything starred Amanda Stenberg as a young woman grappling with parental expectations and first love. The film is an adorable and lovely teen drama, but the main take away is how Meghie presented Maddy. Maddy is a bright, curious, smart and incredibly imaginative girl. Meghie certainly knows how to portray a young woman being more than just boy crazed. Riri Williams is 15 year old genius, skilled inventor, and engineer. She is the kind of character Meghie can certainly bring to life with respect and care. If Marvel intends to adapt Ironheart to live action, Meghie will sure make magic with it.
Amma Asante is an English filmmaker who brought us cinematic gems Belle and A United Kingdom. She is in post-production for her fourth film, Where Hands Touch. The world of Wonder Woman is now ready to be fully explored, thanks to a successful first film. WB should begin to look to future instalments featuring various characters from Wonder Woman lore. One of those characters is Nubia, Diana’s Black sister. Her origin story has never been properly defined, but she is ultimately Wonder Woman’s equal, and has battled Diana for the title. I propose Nubia be brought to live action by Amma Asante, but instead of entering the world of mankind, Nubia’s story should lead her to the world of gods & monsters. There is a great amount of mythology at play in the Wonder Woman world, it will be fun to explore that mythology with Nubia. Asante’s work has been leading to a project like this, her mission has been to tell the story of Black people in scenarios they are often not associated with.
Anna Foerster is an German-American filmmaker who has worked on hit tv series Outlander and the recent Underworld: Blood Wars. Marvel should be speeding up production on Captain Marvel, as they now have a worthy opponent. They should also consider giving special attention to Lady Sif. After all, she is based on the Norse goddess and is Asgard’s fiercest warrior. She is in many ways Marvel’s Diana; she has superhuman strength, speed, and agility. She is a skilled fighter and is proficient in various weapons, although she prefers a sword and shield. Underworld: Blood Wars is not the greatest film, but Foesrster proves she is quite capable with stylistic action. There are some breathtaking moments and shots riddled throughout the film. She also helmed a few fantastic episodes of Outlander. Under the Marvel umbrella, Foerster can bring us an exciting look at Sif and Asgard. Her story should focus on Asgard and the other realms as we have already had Sif work on Earth in Agents of SHIELD, and that has been done already with the Thor films.
Wonder Woman seems to be the film that will certainly make studios less hesitant to hire women directors. Hopefully, more women are given the opportunity to bring our favourite heroes to life!