Marvel and DC’s female superheroes launch powerful #GirlSquad at Comic Con 2016

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Kayleigh Dray
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For years, the world of mainstream superheroes has been absolutely dominated by men – despite the fact that there’s a plethora of amazing feminist comic book characters just waiting to star in their own movie.

And, over the years, plenty of moviegoers – both men and women alike - have clamoured for Marvel and DC to make more films about female superheroes.

Now, at last, it seems as if the comic book giants are going to give the public what they want; badass women in capes.

At Comic Con 2016, the world watched as women took centre stage at the biggest pop culture event of the year – and reclaimed their rightful place in geek culture.

First of all, DC rolled out the action-packed trailer for Wonder Woman, their first female-led superhero movie since Elektra – and their first ever superhero movie to be directed by a woman.

Better still, Zeus's daughter – played by the incredible Gal Gadot – will be shunning Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) for a host of inspiring female teammates. Think Robin Wright as General Antiope, Wonder Woman’s aunt, and Connie Nielsen as her mother, Queen Hippolyta, to name but two.

The film, directed by Monster’s Patty Jenkins, will follow the Amazonian princess as she finds herself pulled into battle when fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on her island. 

And, yes, she will be picking up her iconic lasso for the fight scenes.

Watch the trailer here:

The DC presentation caused the convention to erupt into wild applause – but they had one more ace up their sleeves in the form of Harley Quinn (aka the most cosplayed character at Comic Con this year).

Margot Robbie’s anti-heroine looks set to be one of the best things about Warner Brothers’ Suicide Squad – which is why they’ve now planned to give the baseball-bat wielding villain her own spin-off movie.

The Hollywood Reporter says that, much like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, the new Harley Quinn film will be a serious girl power affair, with Margot taking the helms as producer and a thus-far unnamed female writer penning the script. 

While the plot remains unknown at this point, it’s unlikely to focus on Harley’s complex relationship with the Joker (Jared Leto).

After all, Margot did previously say that she "wants to keep looking for roles where the main interest will be in the character and her importance in driving a story forward, rather than her relationship with a male character." 

Watch the Harley Quinn featurette here:

And it isn’t just DC who intend to add some much-needed girl power to their superhero line-up; Marvel also used Comic Con 2016 as a means of introducing both the new and old female members of their star-studded universe.

First of all, Brie Larson took to the stage in San Diego to announce that she will be playing Captain Marvel, an Air Force pilot who acquires superpowers after a nasty brush with some alien DNA.

The movie, which has a script by Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman and Inside Out's Meg LeFauve, is due to be released on March 8, 2019 – and, yes, this will be Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie. 

Brie confirmed the news on Instagram shortly after the panel, sharing a photo of herself captioned: “Call me Captain Marvel.”

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Marvel also revealed that Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurir will be starring alongside Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther.

The first Marvel film to be directed by an African-American, the two women will play members of Wakanda’s special forces known as the Dora Milaje. 

Get your first look at Marvel's Black Panther here:

Director Ryan Coogler explained: “The thing that’s really cool about Wakanda that we know from the books, that’s consistent with all the different stories, is that they worship the panther goddess.

“It’s a place where gender roles are very different than how we see them in today’s age. The Dora Milaje are the most elite fighters in the country, and you can only be a woman in the Dora Milaje.” 

But that wasn’t, by any means, all that Marvel had to offer their filmgoers in terms of diversity.

They also introduced Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Zendaya and Laura Harrier; Guardians of the Galaxy's Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Debicki, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff; and Doctor Strange's Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams.

Watch the new Doctor Strange trailer here:

Throw in the likes of Avenger Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter, and Ant-Man's Evangeline Lilly, all of whom were unable to make the event in San Diego, and you have a recipe for a bright new future for women in blockbusters.

Speaking at the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel, Wonder Woman’s Connie Nielsen explained that, as women, we all need to question the 'norm' of gender bias in male-led movies.

"It’s nice now we can finally talk about it and not feel as if we’re these horrible shrews who are demanding the same as men,” she said. “There are so many things that are unconsciously still in screenwriters’ and producers’ minds, and even in audiences’ minds, about what really is it to be a woman and a man? What values do these things carry with them?"

Nielsen continued: “Until we really ask, again and again, why we expect one thing from a female or a male character and why we accept that, we’ll still see eight men and one woman as a line-up.

“Until we really ask why is that acceptable, and why is it that you don’t want a much more real experience? Because the reality is we are all here at the same time in these real numbers, and we need to be able to see that when we talk about who we are.”