When the lights came back on, and the excitement began to wear off, several things lingered after I had time to digest The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Firstly, the very obvious, and widely noted, lack of female characters lingered, like a bitter aftertaste. It’s no secret that the addition of Tauriel was widely criticized for not being “canon,” and although her character was reduced to that of a love interest in the third movie, it was refreshing to see her get a piece of the action. Elven ruler Galadriel was also given a fight to be part of, albeit again, not canon, and even the women of Lake Town took up arms in the grand battle. It’s a sloppy step, but times are certainly changing. There’s hope for equal representation in fiction now, especially with the announcement of all female Ghostbusters, and an all female version of the Expendables, and women are clamoring to see themselves on screen. There are scores of book series, mountains of graphic novels, hours of vintage films, all in need of a movie, just like the Hobbit, so here’s a look at my top favorite women led properties for a cinematic adaptation (or in one case, a remake)!
From our own interview with the prolific Tamora Pierce, we know that the author has some apprehension about adapting any of her beloved Tortall universe into a film. Fifteen published novels currently follow several young heroines on their paths to adulthood through a medieval world of magic and knightly martial arts. Her beasts are fantastical and her queer representation is notable, but one of the reasons we love these books the most is for the diverse featured females characters. While there certainly hasn’t been a dearth of these sort of female-led young adult adaptations, the dystopian future science fiction universes will fall out of fashion soon. It would be legendary if films like the Hunger Games and Divergent were to end up as more than a fad and actually pave the way for other genres like Pierce’s medieval-themed fantasy to get adapted for the screen, especially after the success of the definitely more adult-oriented Game of Thrones.
If anyone told us that we could grant a title of masterpiece to a comic series with only 3 published issues…well that’s as ridiculous as demanding a film adaptation of a series with only 3 published issues. But ODY-C really is that good. We’d actually pay money to attend the pitch meeting to see comic super star Matt Fraction summarize his book as a retelling of the classic homeric myth in space and with all the major characters depicted as women (because that sure went well for ghostbusters). Actually, a more truthful summary would also include that men have been declared taboo by the gods in all of creation so a third gender was created by woman. Science fiction in film deserves to be as progressive and groundbreaking as we expect it to be in other mediums. Let ODY-C take it there.
The Books of Magic
If we didn’t love Harry Potter as much as we do (and we do, oh we do), we’d say it’s a shame that this comic series would appear to movie goers as a rip-off of J.K. Rowlings popular novels, even though it was written first. However, be-speckled teen magician, Timothy Hunter, was created by Neil Gaiman, to introduce readers to magic in the DC/Vertigo comic universe, with inspiration from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Tim was given his own ongoing series that took us to the classical world of faerie and the nightmares of young teenage fear. One of the most endearing parts of the early comics penned by John Ney Rieber were the supporting cast of female characters, some magical and some not, that shaped and influenced young Tim’s life. So while not technically a women-led property, The Books of Magic would be a treat to see on screen.
The Mayfair Witches
For too long the witch archetype has been that a decrepit old crone, a negative vision of what a woman in power can end up as. Anne Rice turns this on its head with the matriarchal led family, the Mayfairs, in her mid-90s book series. Taking place in New Orleans, the story centers around the successful neurosurgeon, Rowan Mayfair, as she comes to terms with inheriting the legacy of the Mayfairs, including the family “spirit,” Lasher. The Creole culture is also prevalent, giving ample room for people of color to be cast, as well as having a whopping THREE male characters in the varied cast of characters. A few of Rice’s works have been adapted in the past for the big screen, so why not this one?
Young Wizards Series
Wow, we seem to really like our youngsters when they dabble in the arcane arts. This YA series crossed all sorts of genres, while still capturing adolescence and just how freaking unfair it can be to be a teenage girl. Our main chick Nita receives her calling to be a wizard from a library book, but really learns her craft through out several volumes of sublime examples of urban fantasy, space operas, and natural wonders. If only a studio would be willing to commit the time and money to really flesh out the oceans depths and starry cosmos in the series, we’d really see something spectacular.
Have I missed your favorite series? Is there a classic that should be revamped? Let me know in the comments, or tweet it my way (@deadrabbit92)!