Sarah Michelle Gellar on backlash to female-led Marvel films

Sarah Michelle Gellar on backlash to female-led Marvel films

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Photo: Jesse Grant (Getty Images)

As star of the beloved (but in recent years controversial) series Buffy The Vampire SlayerSarah Michelle Gellar knows the highs and lows of working within the supernatural genre better than most. The pros? Incredible story-telling! Emotional character arcs! Mind-blowing special effects! Werewolves!

But the cons? Sexism. So much sexism.

“Genre is where women can really succeed and hold an audience,” Gellar said in a recent Guardian profile. “Every time a Marvel movie tries to do a female cast, it just gets torn apart… Unfortunately, audiences weren’t as accepting. There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero,’ this very backwards way of thinking.”

Unfortunately, we all know the specific breed of awful fanboy troll Gellar is talking about here: the ones who thought they really did something by review-bombing Captain Marvel before it was even releasedand then attempted the same for Disney+’s Ms. Marvela prospect 19-year-old star Iman Vellani called “honestly quite laughable” in an NME interview.

While the younger actor’s impressive ability to let the hate roll off her back may point to positive change in the industry, Gellar opened up about how she still struggles with misogyny behind the scenes. “I still don’t get taken seriously by men on sets. I still feel the need, sometimes, to read [out] my résumé, like: ‘How many of these shows have you done? How many experiences have you had at 2am with 250 extras, a late shot, a stunt–all of these things? I not only have produced it, but I’ve also been in it. Listen to me, because I know where I’m coming from,’” she said.

Still, Gellar made her long-awaited return to what she calls “the genre that has been so good to me” in 2023’s Wolf Packa show where—unlike Buffy—she actually has leadership power as Executive Producer, but—like Buffy—she was determined to use that power for good. “[I was able] to set up an infrastructure for the younger cast”, she said. “Something that I know for sure that I didn’t have on any of my jobs.”

Wolf Pack is now streaming on Paramount+.

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