Stephen Colbert loved "Captain America: Civil War" as much as the next fan, but he's not giving the Marvel Cinematic Universe a pass on its lack of interest in female characters.

He made it a focus of a new "Late Show" segment:

"I could not help but notice when I watched ['Civil War'], sitting there in the theater, absolutely thrilled by the movie, so many of the characters had something in common: Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther Man. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is kind of a sausage fest, and I gotta say, all that spandex really showcases the sausage."


Colbert also referenced the recent report from "Iron Man 3" writer/director Shane Black, who said he was told to nix a female villain for merchandising reasons. Here's what Black told Uproxx:

"There was an early draft of 'Iron Man 3' where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand we've changed our minds because, after consulting, we've decided that toy won't sell as well if it's a female. So we had to change the entire script because of toy making."


Colbert's reaction: "This is shocking. 'Iron Man 3' had a writer?!" But he joked that it made sense that they had to change the villain for the toys, since, "Girls don't play with dolls."

Colbert added, "This is so disappointing. Back in the '80s, we weren't so hung up on the gender of our action figures. I collected Hannah and her Sisters. I mean everyone had to have Meryl Streep from 'Sophie's Choice.' I really struggled with whether to open that one or keep it in the box. It was a real ... quandary."

He further joked that Darth Vader was first written as Darlene Vader, "a talented, powerful woman who struggled to balance her imperial ambitions with raising her rebellious twins." plus, "Doctor Doom: Why does he have to be a man? Are you saying a woman can't be a doctor, or be an evil techno-sorcerer? They better fix this in the next 'Fantastic Four' movie, and there better not be another 'Fantastic Four' movie."


It does seem strange to change a character's gender out of fear that not enough people will buy the toys, but that's marketing for you. At least Marvel is now committed to giving Black Widow her own solo movie, which would presumably follow Captain Marvel's 2019 solo film, which will be the MCU's first female superhero solo film. Meanwhile, "Wonder Woman" is coming out for DC next year, and there's a Harley Quinn and company film in the works.

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Based on 44 critics

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