We loved the assemblage of The Avengers. And with the movie cruising past box-office records every day, the idea that Disney and Marvel will order a sequel is less a thought, and already a foregone conclusion at this point. But if there was one way you could improve the film, it might be to sprinkle in some of the female Avengers from the comics, to balance out the sausage fest. And when even writer-director Joss Whedon himself has said the female ranks could use a boost, who are we to argue? Here come the girls...
Special powers: The ability to shrink to insect size, or grow to giant proportions; energy bursts.
Dossier: Van Dyne is actually the person responsible for coining the name “Avengers” so if anyone deserves a place in the next film, it’s her. Originally a spoiled rich kid, she got a sharp slap of reality when a raging alien monster killed her father. Working - and ultimately developing a complicated relationship - with Dr Henry Pym, AKA Ant-Man, she became one of the best-loved members of the team.
Why her? The back and forth banter between Janet and Hank is prime fodder for Whedon’s work, and she’s a strong character who more than carries her weight, even when she’s miniature. It’s likely that Edgar Wright will be introducing her with the planned stand-alone Ant-Man film.
Casting call: Stana Katic. Because we already want Nathan Fillion as Pym and these two have great chemistry thanks to US cop drama Castle.
Special powers: Superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability, a limited precognitive "seventh sense” and alien-enhanced ability to combat poisons and other threats.
Dossier: First introduced into the Marvel canon in the 1960s as a human Air Force officer, Danvers is changed after being caught in the explosion of a Kree device. A controversial character over the years (with arguments over both how she was dressed and portrayed), she’s emerged a stronger, more assured hero and one of the company’s most popular icons.
Why her? With those powers and her history, she’d balance things out with the likes of Thor and her military background means she’d likely see eye to eye with Steve Rogers. She’s also not likely to take much crap from Tony Stark.
Casting call: Killer Elite’s Yvonne Strahovski. While the Aussie actress didn’t get a chance to demonstrate it there, her time on Chuck proved she can kick ass and act, often at the same time.
Special powers: The ability to manipulate luck and physics using hexes.
Dossier: The daughter of Magneto, Scarlet Witch was raised without knowing her powers. Once they activated, she and her brother Quicksilver begrudgingly join his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but later end up as members of the second-generation Avengers team.
Why her? Her powers are interesting and have a tendency to backfire from time to time, which could up the tension levels. Plus her history as a villain could be tapped – while she spent years as a valued Avenger in the comics, the sequel could play with the idea of her deciding to take some revenge for how mutants have been treated. And while she’s been associated with the X-Men a fair amount in stories, her film rights are also held by Marvel, which means she could show up.
Casting call: Marion Cotillard. Forget wondering whether or not she’d do it, she’d be great in the role.
Special powers: Flight and the ability to generate and manipulate microwaves that can, among other things, generate great heat. Hence the name…
Dossier: A mutant, she was recruited by Emma Frost and the Hellfire club to be part of the organisation's young branch, the Hellions. But after most of that team were murdered, she moved on to the New Warriors, often working alongside Spider-Man. After that, she proved herself to the Avengers and served for a while with them, helping to take down the likes of Whirlwind.
Why her? Her spectacular powers deserve some screen time, and since she’s mostly been seen on the small screen in Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, she deserves something a little better – and bigger. Plus, she’s got a forthright personality that would play well in Whedon’s hands.
Casting call: If she has time in her ever-busy schedule, Jessica Chastain could be the perfect Firestar. And when she turned down Iron Man 3 for timing reasons, she did say she wanted to work on a Marvel movie…
Special powers: Like Black Widow, she doesn’t have superpowers, but is a highly skilled fighter and athlete. She also boasts a Ph.D. in biology.
Dossier: Morse has a long, typically complicated history in the Marvel universe, and we’d guess the movie would narrow that down to her time in S.H.I.E.L.D., where she’d most closely work with Maria Hill and Natasha Romanoff. But there’s one big relationship in her life, which could provide some intriguing fodder for plotlines (see below).
Why her? In the comics, she ends up married to Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye. The chemistry between these two could add a definite extra level to the scenes with Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson, even though there wouldn’t likely be time to fit everything in.
Casting call: Greta Gerwig seems like a good fit, especially if the film keeps to the high standard of actors more usually found in indie pics, such as Mark Ruffalo – and look how he turned out!
Warning: contains Avengers spoiler
Special powers: She’s the most powerful human telepath (she once took over an entire planet with her mind); martial arts; piloting; some telekinesis.
Dossier: She was nearly killed when Thanos blew up the car she and her parents were driving in to conceal his arrival on Earth. Douglas was found by Mentor (Thanos’ dad) and sent to live with the monks of Shao-Lom on his home world of Titan. There, she was honed into a fighting machine and developed her psionic powers. She was later part of various fighting teams, including a stint in the Avengers.
Why her? Spoiler alert! Her history with Thanos surely makes her a prime candidate, given the reveal during the end credits of the first film. And she definitely doesn’t look like most of the other female Avengers characters.
Casting call: Noomi Rapace. After The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, you know she can transform herself – Moondragon’s shaved head should be no challenge.
Special powers: Superhuman strength, speed, agility, claws and some mystical powers.
Dossier: After her policeman husband is killed, Nelson lobbies her old physics professor to undergo experimental treatments that end up giving her powerful abilities. Later, mortally wounded by HYDRA, she is revived in a cave by a gathering of alien Cat People (yeah, that old story) and becomes bikini-clad crime fighter Tigra.
Why her? Though she’ll need a costume switch (we’re not sure anyone outside of the Nuts/Zoo readership really wants her wandering around battle zones with a bikini on), she’s definitely got visual appeal and her wereperson nature could make for intriguing story avenues. Potential Tony Stark nickname: Litter box; Whiskas.
Casting call: Michelle Rodriguez is the standard favourite for this one, and we can definitely see her in the role.
Special powers: Legal prowess, losing control and turning into an Amazonian green rage monster.
Dossier: The shy, retiring cousin of Bruce Banner, she’s injured while he happens to be in town and, thanks to a blood transfusion, ends up inheriting his Hulk qualities. Unlike her cuz, she later opts to retain the Hulk form permanently and has served in the ranks of several superhero teams, including the Avengers. She’s also worked for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Why her? We’d tinker a little bit with the character – calm down, purists – and have her revert to human more regularly (think of the budget if she was She-Hulk all the way through the running time!). Plus, while she’s known in the comics as Bruce’s cousin, we think she could be retconned to become a love interest. After all, doesn’t Bruce deserve someone who truly understands him? Besides new BFF Tony that is...
Casting call: Gina Carano would be our pick for Walters, since she can handle herself even when she’s not a Hulk, and the idea of a strong woman who doesn’t always need her alter ego to help is compelling.
Special powers: Superhuman agility and strength, enhanced vision, smell and other abilities. Prehensile tail.
Dossier: A young mutant, Doreen originally crosses paths with more famous heroes when she tries to convince Iron Man to take her on as his sidekick. While he refuses, he’s then captured by Dr. Doom and Squirrel Girl more than proves herself by rescuing him. And despite her seemingly silly status, she’s been more than a match for various heroes and villains, even beating Thanos at one point.
Why her? See above. She’s the perfect blend of a character that could easily be written off by the others as a joke, yet who ends up showing the boys how it’s done. And she has squirrel sidekicks! The possibilities are endless.
Casting call: Ellen Page. She’s served time in the Marvel universe before (albeit only in a small role in X-Men: The Last Stand) and showed she could be an unexpected sidekick in James Gunn’s superhero spoof Super.
Special powers: Martial arts, commanding personality, song.
Dossier: A member of variety entertainment troupe The Muppets, Piggy is apparently some sort of mutated porcine that has taken on human attributes. A born leader, she is also given to some diva tendencies that would see her fit right in with the Avengers. After all, she could go quip-for-quip with Tony Stark.
Why her? All right, chill. Yes, she’s not from the Marvel universe. She’s never been an Avenger except in what we assume is slightly disturbing fan fiction. But Disney owns Marvel and The Muppets and this one is a natural combo. Can you imagine her sparring with the rest of the team? We can, and we’d watch that. If her karate moves don’t help defeat the bad guys, you know she’ll mock them.
Casting call: There is only one person for this and it’s the lady herself. Let’s hope she doesn’t ask for too much money up front – maybe Downey Jr could dip into his huge Avengers profits to cover her fee?