A good way to measure female roles in a film is to put it up to the Bechdel test. In an age where moviegoers are asking more from their female characters than just to be love interests or supporting characters, we are seeing more female-driven films from The Hunger Games and Cinderella to the soon to be released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Still, there are a couple of blockbuster films that have strong female characters that fail to pass the test. But James Gunn hopes that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 passes. More on The story below.
For those who are not familiar with how the Bechdel Test works, it needs to pass three of the following critera:
The movie has to have at least two women in it,
Who talk to each other
About something besides a man.
As memory serves the first Guardians of the Galaxy – which had a diverse cast to boot – passed the Bechdel test. The film has strong female characters like Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillian), but because the film was focused on Star-Lord/Peter Quill’s journey, Gamora and Nebula’s story was sidelined a bit. It wasn’t intentional, but it is something Gunn wants to change. The director took to Facebook to talk about how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will pass the Bechdel test with flying colors:
“Women all over the world have been pushed to the sidelines in the interests of men, and their personhood 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 almost said “always received” but then remembered much character writing sucks, regardless of sex).
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.”
It should be interesting to see how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will crush the Bechdel Test with an 18-wheeler. The sequel also stars Pom Klementieff as Mantis, a new member of the Guardians with empathic powers who was raised by Ego (Kurt Russell), while Elizabeth Debicki will play Ayesha, the golden High Priestess and the leader of the Sovereign people, who enlists help of the Guardians.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5, 2017.