Joss Whedon Says Black Widow "Will Not Be The Only Female Character" In The Avengers

As I've discussed previously, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse) is incredibly gifted when it comes to creating strong, intelligent, self-reliant and complex female characters. That may not mean much to some, but in an industry where strong female characters are a rarity, Whedon might as well be the face of the cinematic feminist movement.

But what's Whedon to do with this talent on The Avengers, yet another film property dominated by a male cast? Is Black Widow, with all her gleeful geek-pandering sex appeal, going to be left to dry as the sole female character for women in the audience to identify with, or does Whedon have plans to bring a slightly more varied perspective to the mix?

An interview with Whedon at Moviehole helps clarify the situation, if only a little.

It is true that the movie is only going to have one female Avenger. But she will not be the only female character.

That isn't a whole lot to go on, admittedly, but it's what I like to hear. If spoken by a lesser filmmaker, I probably wouldn't make much of the comment. (More than one female character? Quick, give Marvel a medal!) But this is Whedon we're talking about, and I seriously doubt he's going to let his practically all-male Avengers team butt heads without finding some creative ways to mix in a challenging female presence or two. Maybe he'll even find something else for Scarlett Johansson to do besides just wearing skin-tight outfits and looking really, really ridiculously good looking.

In another story with Moviehole, it was rumored that Marvel wished to cast Alice Eve (She's Out of My League) as a minor villain for The Avengers, with the character's purpose being to help connect the film to Thor. That doesn't sound like a particularly meaty role, but it could be one of the female characters Whedon is referring to.

At this point, we really don't know a whole lot about Whedon's plans for The Avengers, but he has offered a small taste of what to expect for all you comic book readers out there:

It will be a new story that has many things from different arcs of the comics in it. There is no one Avengers story that you can just do the way that you can do the origin of Spider-Man. You really have to cull from the original and The Ultimates, which is one of The Avengers titles.

This is no surprise, what with Marvel trying to work out how best to tie together all these fantastically distinctive comic mythologies in a way that translates smoothly to the film medium. If attempting to do that while also firmly adhering to the source material as it was originally introduced, the result would be chaos.

Fingers crossed that they find a way to make it work.