Star Wars, gender, and female leading roles

Feature Ryan Lambie 6 May 2014 - 06:16

Following the Star Wars: Episode VII casting news, Ryan argues that it's the quality of female characters, not quantity, that is important.

The 29th April saw the appearance of what has already become one of the most scrutinised and discussed photos of recent months. You'll already know what we're referring to from this piece's headline alone: the artfully composed, black-and-white photograph from Star Wars: Episode VII's read-through. Since it was published on Starwars.com's web page, it's become the franchise's equivalent of Da Vinci's Last Supper.

That this picture and its accompanying announcement has attracted so much fierce criticism and debate says a lot about the hunger and anticipation for a Star Wars sequel. Everything from the unexpected additions to the cast - not least Max von Sydow and Andy Serkis, whose connection to Star Wars was a rare surprise - to their seating positions have been mulled over in detail, not least on this very website.

Among the debate, there was a certain amount of disappointment over the male-dominated nature of that monochrome image. Among the 15 people sitting around in comfy chairs, apparently chatty and relaxed, only three are women - and one of those women is Kathleen Kennedy, producer and Lucasfilm head honcho. The other two, of course, are Carrie Fisher (returning as Princess Leia) and Daisy Ridley, the relatively unknown British actress who's said to be playing a major role in next year's sequel.

Director JJ Abrams has since said that there's a further actress who's yet to be announced, but the fact remains that Star Wars: Episode VII, as it currently stands, looks to be just as male-dominated as its predecessors. Over on io9, writer Analee Newitz wrote about her reaction to the Episode VII read-through photograph, and how much she loves the Leia character in the Original Trilogy. Star Wars, Newitz rightly argues, is a universal story that draws in fans of both genders, and they deserve a diverse cast they can identify with.

I do wonder, however, whether we're being a little hasty in judging Episode VII on the basis of a single casting announcement or black-and-white photograph. Sure, the Star Wars franchise has long been told through the eyes of male characters, and that widely-shared image implies that nothing much will change in Episode VII, but isn't it just possible that the sequel's writers have something a little different in mind?

Take, for example, the air of secrecy surrounding actress Daisy Ridley. Despite intense media interest, little is known about the actress at all: her Twitter account is now private and her Vimeo showreel is no longer available to view - even her precise age is currently a mystery. It's been said in earlier reports that she was one of the first characters to be cast; all signs suggest that her role in Episode VII is a major one.

This is pure speculation, of course, but wouldn't it be a bold move if Episode VII was led by a heroine - perhaps the descendant of Han and Leia, as has been rumoured, or even Luke Skywalker? Movies like The Hunger Games and Frozen have, after all, proved that a female-led fantasy film can make a huge impact at the box-office.

Even if Ridley's character is a co-lead rather than the central character - another persistent rumour is that Attack The Block's John Boyega is Episode VII's hero - a Star Wars film headed up by a female and a young black actor would serve as a decisive response to the franchise's (understandable) criticisms of a lack of diversity.

This brings me to another thought: does the number of female characters in a Star Wars sequel  - or any film - matter as much as how well they're written or portrayed? The issue of how characters are written is an important one. A film could quite easily be packed full of female characters who are flatly delineated and poorly treated by the writers and directors. On the other hand, a movie could also contain a single female character who’s superbly rounded, treated respectfully and positively leaps from the screen. Isn’t the latter a vast improvement over the former?

There are examples of this within the Star Wars universe itself. Just look at Princess Leia in 1977‘s A New Hope: confident, funny and vibrant, Leia gets all the best lines, and is far more than the mere love interest she could have been. George Lucas would admit himself that he’s no genius when it comes to characterisation and dialogue, but Leia, thanks in large part to the inspired casting of Carrie Fisher, becomes one of the film's most interesting and rounded protagonists. Lucas allows Fisher’s inherent intelligence and sardonic nature to come through in her character, and while she’s a fairytale princess, she’s very much a spin on that old archetype, just as Harrison Ford provides his own peerless take on the rogueish pirate template.

By contrast, Padme Amidala in the prequel trilogy remains stubbornly flat through six-or-so hours of popcorn cinema. Red Letter Media addressed this problem brilliantly in their now-legendary dissection of The Phantom Menace, where it was correctly demonstrated that the characters in Episodes I to III aren’t even fairytale archetypes - they’re simply a collection of attitudes.

Leia can be described in a number of ways - sarcastic, brave, cynical, witty, strong, loving. Amidala, on the other hand, is simply stoic. There’s little sense that her character has any life or personality beyond what we see on the screen: she’s repeatedly upstaged by her own gowns and gonzo hairstyles. This problem isn’t limited to Amidala, either; the male protagonists are equally hollow, from the impenetrably solemn Qui-Gon Jinn to the blank-eyed young Obi-Wan.

What’s surely important, then, is that Star Wars: Episode VII builds on what made A New Hope so brilliant, and learns the lessons of where the prequels went wrong. That Leia is the only rounded female character in the Original Trilogy is a fair criticism, but if Episode VII had at its core a character as well-written and acted as she was, wouldn’t that still make for a great Star Wars film?

In the 21st century, mainstream genre movies can and should provide great characters for people of all races and genders to identify with, and characters such as Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow prove that they’ll be eagerly embraced by film fans. While ratios of male-to-female undoubtedly matter, I’d argue that it’s equally - if not more - important that female characters in these movies are three-dimensional and treated respectfully. If Star Wars: Episode VII can do this, then it will surely satisfy moviegoers everywhere, irrespective of gender.

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Disqus - noscript

Even if there are fewer prominent women than men, there is a possibility that the few female parts might have a bigger impact than many male roles combined.

Whoa there, hold your horses - Katniss Everdeen a strong and well written character? Oh, come on! She's a bland, crying child who fights tooth and nail against being anything more than a pretty face on TV.

Black Widow... I'd argue she's still too much T'n'A for my liking, but she's definitely strong and can hold her own. So I agree on that.

But Ryan, I absolutely agree on that quality is more important than quantity. IF we really get a well written female character, it doesn't matter if she's lead or co-lead, because her character will transcend this - you make the point with Leia yourself.

Surely the counter-argument is the question of why does it have to be either/or? Are women really so difficult to write for that Hollywood can only put together enough quality script for one significant female character with the same amount of effort producing quality script for 4 or 5 male leads?

"Sucker Punch" is a great example of why quantity doesn't automatically equal a pro-female attitude. But it's not a binary choice here and it's not the case that writing more women *has* to dilute the quality of their script. Unless writers want to let it. Look at "Game of Thrones" - while there are certainly problems in the show, the girls are getting the best lines at the moment and there's loads of them.

It's just frustrating that while male characters can be old and wise, young and naive, middle aged commanders and pilots, fresh faced heroes, aliens, evil etc, women usually only get to be a young, hot and sassy love interest. However, the inclusion of older Leia is a hopeful sign that women in the film won't just be reduced to eye candy. I hope Daisy's character is allowed to be a Jedi/pilot in her own right and to have storylines that don't just revolve around being someone's love interest or needing to get rescued.

I'm praying for JJ Abrams to surprise me. Whilst I liked the portrayal of Uhurua in his first Star Trek film, by the second she was reduced to the nagging girlfriend archetype. Han and Leia's (likely) daughter deserves better!.

Headline is pretty much true. But then you realise that Leia is the only decent female character in 6 films. Although to be fair, it could be argued Episodes I-III don't have ANY decent characters so those statistics are a bit harsh.
And let's not forget Leia does spend some time in a ridiculous gold bikini as a sex slave type thing to a giant slug.

Whilst I accept the argument that quality is more important than quantity, surely we should also acknowledge that, in the absence of other evidence, there is no particular reason to assume that the female roles will be of the necessary quality to outweigh their paucity. Indeed whether on straightforward probability, track record or general observations of the genre, if one were to place a bet, one would probably bet against.

It seems rather a shame that even without the more frequently quoted "barriers" of historical authenticity, pseudo-historical authenticity, the period of source material etc. it appears likely that the gender focus will remain skewed.

if they remade the dirty dozen would people expect six of them to be women?

... people will complain about ANYTHING really. What I saw in that photo, and the announcement were people, most of them actors playing unknown roles in a movie for which we don't know the plot yet. That's it. Who cares about gender and race? I want to see if the movie is good, that's all

We need to move past the gender roles and we need to accept that not all women should be mothers or lovers. We need women who are fighters and leaders and that's it. Women do not exist just to be maternal or alluring. They should not be solely defined by how men respond to them or require them. In the majority of movies women are either the prize for the men to attain if they do everything right and beat the bad guy or they're the obstacle in the way of the man having fun. When it comes to women heading up their own movies it's usually only about them attaining a husband or falling in love. We really, really need to move past this. Women are exactly the same as men and have the same goals, needs and wants. The only difference is that we allow men to be ambitious and strong and weak and conflicted and dangerous and flawed yet women are either hot, bossy, motherly or bitches. There's nothing else. It's exhausting and when it comes to Star Wars there's no reason why the go-to default character is a white male. Almost all casts should be 51% female just like f**king reality.

Can't work out if your being overly pc in a humorously knowing sort of way, or if this is a genuine opinion?

Genuine opinion.

Would love to see a woman Sith. Played by Rhonda Rousey.

Katpiss Neverclean is indeed NOT a good example of a strong female character. The Honest Trailer got it right: "Watch as this global role model and feminist icon spends the entire movie getting saved by boys, complaining, being anti social and getting manipulated to the point her actions have had no effect to the plot at all."

Only if it's one of those charming Porn parody things

I am with you until the end there. The cast should be determined by the needs of the story. Essentially creating a gender or ethnic quota or ratio when writing is an unnecessary restraint on an art form. Storytelling is not about equal opportunity representation. It is about accurate representation tho. I think you have a very valid point about what women characters are often reduced too.

Here is a radical thought, why doesn't Den of Geek hire women to write articles about women's issues in media? Instead of being part of the problem, how about being proactive and giving women an actual voice instead of attempting to speak for them?

You're right of course but when you stop and consider that most movies have one female character for every nine male ones it's quite warped. We have become used to seeing fewer women on screen than there are in reality, and when we do see women on screen in non-gender specific roles we question it.

Geena Davis made an excellent point about this not too long ago. When a screenwriter writes 'two cops investigate the scene' the casting director or producers will inevitable go to the default of putting two men in that role, more often than not two white men. We've just become conditioned to accept the marginalisation of women and believe that the needs of the story dictate only men can perform certain story functions when in fact all stories are made up and there's no reason why you can't have more female roles in films and not just for women who are there to be either sexualised or victimised.

I'm sure that if Disney thought that there was any chance that Star Wars would appeal to a larger female audience, they'd have made sure to tailor the cast in that direction. Disney being Disney, they probably know marketing better than anyone on Earth. This isn't high culture. They just shelled out $4B to buy this thing from Lucas. All they care about is getting that back and then some as quickly as possible; by putting as many butts in theatre seats as possible in Asia, and selling as many X-Box games to guys at Christmas as possible. Women will just have to find some other way to give Disney their money.

Hi Amanda, being one of the site's editors I'm obviously biased, but I do feel your point is wide of the mark. A great many women writers contribute across Den of Geek on a range of topics (not limited to “women’s issues” or otherwise). I've certainly never felt that any of the men who write for the site are ever "attempting to speak for" me. Suggesting that only women should have opinions on topics like this seems counter-productive.

As for DoG being “part of the problem” - excuse me if I come across as defensive here - but I strongly feel that isn’t the case. There are countless instances of the site’s editors making a stand against the misogyny and general f*ckwittery that can accompany online geek culture, which is why I’m proud to work here alongside talented men and women who have voices and are free to use them to contribute to whatever’s under discussion (and sometimes, just to mess around making RoboParsnip costumes out of tin foil). I’ll get off my soap box now, but your assumptions about the site and Ryan’s thoughtful piece struck a nerve, hence this garbled reply.

Louisa

I would love a remake with 6 women!

If your over riding point here is that more well written roles for women would be a good thing then I agree. But I don't think you can ignore the fact that men and women are inherently different whether it be nature, nurture or a mixture of both. To use your example, I actually think it's lazy writing to have 'two cops investigate the scene' and not define gender. In a male dominated profession like the police a woman would act and interact differently to a man. Unless these two characters are non speaking extras in which case I'm not sure that is the sort of role your championing for women.

They're background extras. Go read Geena Davis' article in THR. I've made my point and as clearly as I can. There's not much more to be said from my point of view.

There are war films and the US army currently has around 13.6% of the army as women, so I'd say that a couple of characters out of a dozen is about right.

There aren't many male nurses in Casualty, but then there aren't many male nurses in real life, which sounds fair to me.

Personally I dont give a stuff as long as the story is good. Thats all that should matter. Not equality quotas.

What an odd argument. The US army currently has 0% laser blasters, wookies or intergalactic space ships so presumably the films should follow suit?

Those people never complain about the Sister Act gender make-up.

Presumably the counter argument would be that the historical setting of the Dirty Dozen would make that unlikely.

I wonder what the comparative argument is for a fictional universe, populated by fictional creatures, set in a fictional future?

Do we have characters that have to do some running about, maybe some physical combat? Who's better at doing that, men or women?

Just saying that even in an era of battle where we mostly use rifles, we still mostly have armies made up of men.

If you had scenes where they were getting career counseling, or sexual assualt sensitivity trainining, or diversity training, you could have some lady soldier leading something like that.

I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't have strong women characters in an action/war film. But what's the mix?

Are we still talking Star Wars here because any good geek should know that its not set in a fictional future, but a long long time ago....

Ha - a fictional period would have been better phrasing, I grant you.

Better or worse than wookies and ewoks? I should think that was pretty much at the discretion of the creative team wouldn't you?

Perhaps it would be better to make that judgement after the movie came out? There's no reason to assume it won't be of the necessary quality either.

Thanks for that. Valid opinions come from many sources. I (as a guy) think women have great input on traditionally male subjects. Guys can have even-handed opinions on traditionally female subjects as well. Marginalizing the opinions of the opposite sex(in any subject) doesn't result in fairness for either sex, it just results in an argument and more misandry and misogyny.

Lots of people care about gender and race. Star Wars is for everyone; we're not all white men. We deserve more than crumbs.

Lucasfilm was not restrained in the brand new characters and story they could introduce with Episode VII. They choose to go in the direction of making the vast majority of the main cast white men. There's no reason why more female roles couldn't have been created other than they only wanted one or two out of seven or eight.

This is the kind of nonsense reply you can expect from people.

Not every movie needs greater gender and racial diversity in it, but something like Star Wars does because it is universally beloved and lends itself to a diverse assortment of characters from across the galaxy.

Look at the action scenes from the OT and PT. Tell me which ones women wouldn't be able to handle.

The prequel hate tarnished what could have been a very pleasing article.

-While I agree that the quality of the female lead is more important than quantity, only 2 females out of 13 characters is still inexcusably bad and should not be sugarcoated.

-There is not a shred of evidence that Daisy Ridley is the lead. Knowing the Disney corporation and their traditional dissing of the female gender, Ridley is more likely going to be the love interest, a pretty princess, and little else. Of course, I hope you're right and that she is the main star. Seeing a female-led character in this new trilogy would be exciting and very much like Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games, who was the only major lead in a world populated by men.

-Leia was not as "strong" as you claim in this article. Sure, she had some witty one-liners and was sarcastic and outspoken... but she had to be rescued from the Death Star! In Return of the Jedi, she was sexualized in a golden bikini and then rescued by the male characters. At least Padme Amidala led the Siege of Naboo and had some strong politically argumentative moments. And she kept her clothes on, for the most part. Her wooden acting had nothing to do with her somewhat strong character; that is just the prequel hate coming out.

I don't mean to sound mean. I still enjoyed reading this article, but I wish more articles would address the negative gender dynamics going on here. Perhaps then Disney will take note and realize that women are 51% of the population and not the "other" living on the edges of masculine peripheral vision.

Tim Almond,

Star Wars is a fictional universe that allows its storytellers to imagine any world and character imaginable. In many ways, it is a world we would all like to visit. Is it too much to ask for one or two more females in this highly-idealized world? Of course not.

You say that the US army has only 13.6% women. This may be true. However, the Star Wars Galaxy is hardly the US army and it does not need to imitate it. The Star Wars universe is a fictionalized movie watched by an audience that is OVER 50% women. The film series is no longer a boys-only club. Go to Comic Con and you will see.

It is time women get what they deserve.

I don't follow your argument, Tim. There wasn't much hand-to-hand combat in Star Wars. I know you're trying to convince people that only men can fight, but your argument falls flat.

Also, did it ever occur to you that the reason the rifle-ridden military of today is mostly men is because of tradition? If people like you are constantly shouting that only men can fight, is it any wonder that more women don't decide to become a soldier? It's the same reason boys aren't "allowed" to play with dolls in this culture; they are shamed by people like you if they do.

Would love to see a woman ANYTHING in this movie. Two women in a galaxy of men is not enough no matter how you analyze it.

What are you talking about?!? Are you implying that a woman cop with a man cop would not work together? Hello, but have you ever heard of something called reality?

Also, there is far less difference from women and men, once you get rid of the human-made and moderated gender roles in society. Go take a gender study class or read a book about the subject and you will see how wrong you are.

Quit waving around the term PC in a derogatory way. What you may call 'politically correct' I call by another phrase:

"Being fair to half the population."

There is a pretty even 50/50 ratio of women to men in the world. Movies should reflect that. Whether your character writing sucks has nothing to do with gender.

And no, I am not advocating imposing "gender quotas." I am advocating a society where we don't need a "quota" to get women in the movies because the notion of favoring men is so backwards that if anybody brings it up we all laugh at it. We shouldn't NEED quotas. Women (and other diverse characters) should be a natural part of the storytelling process.

The nonsense is all the 'chip on shoulder' political correctness about what IS a diverse cast.

Take a good look at the picture and bear in mind that this is just the cast announced so far. Two women, a dwarf, a giant, a black man, a pensioner. Yes, shock and shame, there are white males in Star Wars but there is also a very diverse mix for those that choose to see it.

Sorry jake but not sure how you got that from my post, was not my point at all. I just don't agree that you can write a character and not take into account their gender, for me it just wouldn't ring true. I would use the example of the two recent incarnations of dr watson. I think they are both brilliantly written and executed. Thats because Joan is a well written female character and John is a well written male character. On You other point I would still maintain that there is a difference. You can't say 'once you get rid of the human-made and moderated gender roles in society" and also talk about 'something called reality'. That is the reality of the world we live in my friend.

I would just call that equality myself.

That's the problem with alot of the posts here. Do you want realistic reflection or fantasy universe? You can't have your cake and eat it!

As an avid movie watcher I can tell you that gender equality has no baring on whether I like a movie or not. If it has strong female characters then great, but I'd rather see a movie that plays to it's strengths over one that awkwardly tries to check off things on a PC list.

That said: If Star Wars only has one or two lead females I hope that they can live up to Princess Leia, who WAS a strong female character in a trilogy dominated by males, but if they can't then I'd be okay with seeing a thrilling, fun movie with characters i care about. Regardless of gender.

Women don't need to be sassy to be good characters, they don't need to be bright and smiley and strong and powerful to be good characters - just like men don't.
Katniss was sixteen when she was forced to fight to the death with 23 other children; she was hardly going to be all brave and wanting to fight. Key components of her character are her selfishness, the fact that sometimes she's scared (as anyone would), she cares for people but at the same time recognises the need for sacrificing lives. Go and read a book.
And as for Black Widow, she's a bad-ass ex-brainwashed, ex-Russian spy-turned-American-Spy, who isn't sentimental, kicks butt without a second notice; she's also incredibly intelligent (see Avengers Loki scene), crafty (see Iron Man 2, and the aforementioned scene, AND Captain A); just because you can't see past her body if you fault, not hers.
Get your head out of your arse. It's not a hat.

I know that that's a joke and wouldn't work but I'd pay to see that

She gets saved by one boy, Thresh, and even then he only saved her by killing Clove and deciding not to kill her for Rue. She complains because, she's a teenage girl for one, and for two, she's sixtee years old and being forced to fight 12-17 year olds to the death. I'm pretty sure everyone would be pissed if they had to do that.
You people are delusional

We were talking about a strong woman - pretty sure your definition doesn't fit either.

Plus if I want to see The Hunger Games - Realistical Reboot(TM), I'd go head over to North Korea.

Dude! Read my comment. I value Black Widow as a strong character as much as I value her butt.

For your Katniss-justification, read my post above.

And for further reference, don't try to guess where my head is at because you're pretty bad at it. Also, I would rather enjoy a conversation without having to result to foul language. Keep it civil.

In fairness, I also don't think that most people are unwilling to recognise the context of a film. I rarely hear complaints that films set in men's prisons, historical ships, submarines or indeed monasteries are unreasonable in having all/ mostly male casts. If there is some confine or historical reasoning, I think most folks are reasonable in their assessment.

However, with an entire galaxy to play with, that scarcely offers a fig leaf for Star Wars.

Very true - the time for a final judgement is after the film's release.

But I'll still happily take a bet in the meantime if you fancy putting some money on it!

I'm agreeing with you really. Everyone seems to be backing their argument with a random percentage, we can all pick a standalone stat to back up the particular point we are making. Think we are losing the real issue a little bit.

Oh well that's all good then. I completely agree that the random percentage argument presented by Mr Almond doesn't make a jot of sense (which is what I was poking at with my original reply)

It's not intended as a chick flick. Perhaps we should not try and pretend that it is one.

Who suggested it was? I'm afraid I can't make head nor tail of your comment and so am not sure how to reply.

Hi Louisa, thanks for responding. But you're wrong, which is probably why I struck a nerve.

I never said men cannot have opinions on women's issues. I fully believe that men can be feminist allies. However, when men's voices on women's issues are e only voice people hear, that is a problem. Women in media are even more grossly under represented than in other fields (check out geena Davis' women in media organization for more information), and DoG and Star Wars are representative of that problem. On your homepage, out of 36 articles, 3 are written by women. *3.* that is 8%. At least 20% of the people at the Star Wars meeting were women. I can see why DoG authors felt the need to say something about that, by DoG standards, there was far too much estrogen in that room.

As for Ryan's original argument, he is wrong. It is extremely easy to say "quality is better than quantity) when your sex (or race or sexual orientation or religion) is already overly represented in every aspect if life. Ryan's argument is not one most women would make because he simply does not grasp the problem because it doesn't affect him.

Never mind this, let's get back to making one of the main Sex in the City characters a chap.

Start counting ratios in any creative process and the end product will suck. These are the kinds of reasons people don't like left wing politics.

Anyway, I've always assumed R2D2 was female. She's always on top of the situation and extremely capable.

(Sorry post too long on iPad I think; having problems posting)

Maybe the one central female character in the new series will rock; maybe she won't. It doesn't change the fact that the next generation of Star Wars fans will have one female character to look up to or cosplay as or criticize or loathe.

Star Wars is a great example of why the quality vs. quantity argument is simply bollocks. Episodes 4-6 had all male characters exept for 1 (even the droids are all male) and ey were all awesome. Episodes 1-3 again had all men except 1, and they were all terrible. Star Wars is not a good example for this argument.

Eventually, we will be able to argue about the quality of female characters, but now isn't the time. Until women are equally represented by numbers, the quality of them is only a secondary issue. I would argue that with quantity comes quality. With more female creators making more female characters, we will have more of quality. That's just science.

"It is time women get what they deserve."

Then maybe they should conceive, produce and direct a flipping sci-fi film! Then they can have one white lesbian woman, one crippled Chinese man, a dwarf from Nigeria and a corpse tied to a donkey. I'm sure the queues would be round the block.

What's stopping them? You can knock together a decent indie film on your lap top these days.

Will Luke end up a bitter old vet unsupported by his govt for whom he lost a hand, turn to drinking and eventually kill himself with a revolver he brought back from Endor?

"Leia can be described in a number of ways - sarcastic, brave, cynical, witty, strong, loving. Amidala, on the other hand, is simply stoic. There’s little sense that her character has any life or personality beyond what we see on the screen"

Isn't that more due to Portman's lack of care/ability/direction in the role?

If you're sitting counting boobs and skin tones in a movie, then either that movie sucks or you're no fun to go to the cinema with.

It doesn't matter what junk they have or what colour it is.

Do you want more females in the thing (straight replacements, eg a female Solo) or do you want more female characters?

Of the characters there, 1's a Wookie, and 2 are Droids.

Are we really counting Wookies and robots now?

Good idea, but let's please focus it on positive things rather than simply going on and on about how unfair everything is.

Women's issues too often turns into griping sessions.

It's defeatist and incredibly patronising to the women who are a success in media.

Negative signals can also put girls off, thinking that the field is closed to them.

There are wonderful inspirational stories to tell, women to interview and movies to be reviewed.

All of which are more interesting than article after article bemoaning lack of chances and so on.

The conspiracy theory implies studios are passing up cash in order to do women down, which frankly is ludicrous given their research capabilities and eagerness for money.

"Hi Louisa, thanks for responding. But you're wrong, which is probably why I struck a nerve."

Sorry, but that's the funniest thing I've seen all week.

Disney aren't infallible though. In the longrun they survive, sure. But The Black Cauldron and Treasure Planet spring to mind as huge amounts of money never recouped.

Surely it's safe to say we can't blame the actors for their work in the prequels...?

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