'Guardians of the Galaxy' director says sequel will address Hollywood sexism by showcasing strong female characters front and center

For International Day of the Girl on Tuesday, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn promised that the sequel he’s working on will “not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truck.”

The Bechdel test measures whether a movie treats its female characters as fully developed ones, or just as props for men. For a movie to pass, it has to accomplish three things: (1) have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. It’s a pretty low bar to clear, but somehow fewer than half of 2015’s movies cleared it.

Gunn intends to address pervasive Hollywood sexism in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” by making his female characters — Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis — not only “strong,” but well-developed.

“Women all over the world have been pushed to the sidelines in the interests of men, and their personhood is often forgotten or delegitimized,” Gunn wrote in a Facebook post.

“I DO have an agenda, and that is telling FULL and TRUTHFUL stories, where ALL the characters are deeply realised. As a person I am a man; as a writer, I need to be everyone. Only in this way will our art and our entertainment adequately express life and inspire all of us. I am sick of stories where there are a bunch of fully realised male characters and one female character, whose primary characteristic is simply being “the girl” or the personality-less object of some man’s affections. I’m not sick of this because I’m politically correct — those of you who know me know I am far from that — but because it’s boring, and it’s b.s. Likewise, I don’t think only making female characters “strong” is a fix either – you see her all the time these days, the perfect female warrior, who is a reaction to the stories of the past, but who is equally as boring and one-dimensional.”

Gunn wants to write movies where women’s stories and men’s stories don’t come at the expense of each other, but are instead “interwoven in a way to strengthen and optimise all of them.” The first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie also distinguished itself by being the first Marvel movie with a female writer, Nicole Perlman. 

Marvel has a patchy record when it comes to passing the Bechdel Test, but the studio is improving. “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the two “Thor” movies, and the “Captain America” and “Iron Man” sequels all pass it. The first “Iron Man” movie, “Captain America,” “Ant-Man,” “The Avengers,” and “The Incredible Hulk” do not.

You can read Gunn’s full Facebook post below:

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will be in theatres May 5, 2017.

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