The Bechdel Test, named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel, asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. (Sometimes the "test" includes whether the characters are also given names.) It's amazing how many films can't pass that simple test. But Gunn promised that "Guardians 2" won't be like them -- or just present generic "strong" women -- because that's lazy, boring writing and he has higher ambitions than that.
Here's part of his Facebook post:
"... Now I know, in these weird times, just for writing this, I will be accused of being an SJW or 'having an agenda'. Who knows. You can categorize it however you want. But in truth I DO have an agenda, and that is telling FULL and TRUTHFUL stories, where ALL the characters are deeply realized. As a person I am a man; as a writer, I need to be everyone. Only in this way will our art and our entertainment adequately express life and inspire all of us. 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.
Great male characters, from Michael Corleone to Marty McFly to Han Solo to the Joker, are never perfect and never one-dimensional. They are sometimes heroic and sometimes villainous and often deeply flawed. But they always reflect the fullness of the world around us. I do not think that is true of the majority of female characters in films.
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..."
He's a good egg. Zoe Saldana returns from Vol. 1 as Gamora, with Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis. Also, Elizabeth Debicki is playing Ayesha, and we have our eyes on her character to make waves as well. Of course there are dudes in the movie, too, and one of them is called Star-Lord, played by the inimitable Chris Pratt. He said the "Guardians" sequel would be the biggest spectacle movie of all time. So Vol. 2 now has several big promises to keep.
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" opens May 5, 2017.
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