the bechdel test

Director James Gunn Says That Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Will ‘Not Only Pass the Bechdel Test, But Run Over It and Back Up Over It Again’

Photo: Marvel

James Gunn recently expounded on the importance of creating fully fleshed-out female characters in film, and, in doing so, the director made some big (kind of gruesome promises) about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’s women. Writing a Facebook post in honor of Tuesday’s International Day of the Girl, Gunn argued against the prominence of flatly characterized women onscreen, also taking issue with the trope of the strong female character. He wrote:

I am sick of stories where there are a bunch of fully realized male characters and one female character, whose primary characteristic is simply being “the girl” or the personality-less object of some man’s affections. I’m not sick of this because I’m politically correct – those of you who know me know I am far from that – but because it’s boring, and it’s b.s. Likewise, I don’t think only making female characters “strong” is a fix either - you see her all the time these days, the perfect female warrior, who is a reaction to the stories of the past, but who is equally as boring and one-dimensional.

Determined to walk the walk, Gunn says his argument is one he intends to implement in the upcoming Guardians sequel. The first Guardians movie got a lot of attention for being the first Marvel movie with a female co-writer, passing the Bechdel Test to boot. But that film, which situated itself more with Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) hero’s journey and his romance with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) than, say, with Gamora and Nebula’s (Karen Gillan) deeply messed-up sibling rivalry, still had its fair share of feminist critics.

Now, Gunn says Vol. 2 will commit to a focus on its women, teasing, “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.” At this point, we might raise some skepticism about the over-reliance on the limited Bechdel Test as a metric, but, hey, no one here is trying to get in the way of an 18-wheeler.

GOTG 2 Director Promises Better Women’s Stories