Tuesday, October 11 marked International Day of the Girl, which Guardians of the Galaxy 2 director James Gunn decided to celebrate by speaking about the female roles in his superhero sequel. While his original 2014 blockbuster featured two prominent female roles, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and her sister, Karen Gillan’s Nebula, those ladies will return, and be joined by newcomer Pom Klementieff’s Mantis, with the director revealing in his note that he can’t wait to see how fans react to these characters.
The director published this note on Facebook this past Tuesday, revealing how he has always tried to develop his female characters as full as he possibly could. He added that his sequel passes the “Bechdel Test,” meaning the movie has at least two female characters talking to each other about something other than a man. Here’s part of director James Gunn‘s lengthy statement below.
“Women all over the world have been pushed to the sidelines in the interests of men, and their person hood is often forgotten or delegitimized. This is true in the realms of politics and education and religion. But it is also true in the realm of STORIES. That is my personal area of expertise, and that is where I believe women – and girls – deserve the fullness of character that men have often received. I have done my best, as a male writer, with varying degrees of success, to bring female characters and female stories to the forefront. Whether they’re protagonists like Ana in Dawn of the Dead or Starla in Slither, comedy relief like Deadly Girl, Nightbird, and Power Chick in The Specials, or the insane, scene-stealing roles usually reserved for men, like Libby in SUPER. And I can’t wait for you all to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis in action, where we not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truck, and where their stories and the men’s stories don’t come at the expense of each other, but are interwoven in a way to strengthen and optimize all of them.”
The director also addressed several iconic male characters in filmdom such as Don Corleone, Marty McFly, Han Solo and The Joker, who, regardless if they’re the hero or villain, are never one-dimensional, while, conversely, several female heroes often are. He added that simply making a female character “strong” isn’t enough, and they must also be “deeply flawed” like their male counterparts. We’ll have to see if the female characters in Guardians 2 will be praised as much as they were for the first movie.
Gamora, Nebula and Mantis will be joined by Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as Groot. New cast members include Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet, Star-Lord’s father, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface} and Tommy Flanagan as Tullk. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will kick off the summer movie season on May 5, 2017.