Kevin Feige is the leader of Marvel Studios, but even he isn't saying when Black Widow or Ms. Marvel will get their own superhero movies. Speaking to Comic Book Resource, Feige said it might be some time before a female-led Marvel movie arrives in theaters.
"I think it comes down to timing, which is what I've sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story," Feige said before citing "The Hunger Games," "Frozen" and "Divergent" as examples of female-led movies that have struck a chord with audiences. "I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have -- which is a very, very good thing and we don't take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that's because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don't know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we're playing right now."
This isn't the first, second or even third time Feige has discussed his studio's inability to put a female superhero movie on its schedule, an inaction that has created some backlash for Marvel Studios in online circles. In an interview with ScreenCrush earlier this year, the producer said he was not going to be swayed by public opinion when it came to scheduling the studio's features.
"We're going to keep bringing the movies out the way we envision it and the way we believe in it -- and that includes diversity in all of the active films," Feige said. "The great thing for us is the comics have been conscious of that through the decades and have been rather pioneering in that over the years."
About those comics: Last month, Marvel announced plans for a female Thor. But when speaking to HuffPost Entertainment, Feige said the change wouldn't affect the studio's distribution plans.
"I love when they change things up and move things along and do the unexpected," Feige said. "That's why these characters have endured for 50-plus years, and it gives us material to keep the movies fresh down the line. I'm not going to say any of those changes are going to happen any time soon in the movies, but the fact that they have happened -- and, by the way, that's happened before; there have been female Thors and black Captain Americas in the past -- keeps it current and in the public eye."
Marvel has a giant slate of features on the calendar through 2019. Whether one of those films winds up being a standalone female superhero movie remains to be seen.
For more on Feige and his thoughts on female superhero movies, head to Slashfilm.