Wait a second, does this article really begin with the question ‘Who Is Squirrel Girl’? I mean, are you seriously saying you’ve not heard of the greatest, most dangerous Marvel superhero of them all? I’m not kidding; Doctor Doom? She aced him. Thanos? She took down the real deal, not a clone, declared so by the Watcher! Galactus? Talked him out of eating the Earth and got him to take up a diet of nuts instead! Yeah, we’re talking about Squirrel Girl!
So Just Who is ‘Squirrel Girl’?
OK, if you really insist on an introduction (I mean, where have you been living?), here are the facts. Real name Doreen Green, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was created by Will Murray and the legendary Steve Ditko himself! She was originally envisioned as a mutant (so Murray didn’t have to bother with an origin story), but that’s kind of been retconned so she doesn’t have to get caught up in the latest mutant-centric events.
The idea was to create a fun, more-than-a-little-absurd superhero as an antidote to all the grimness and darkness that characterized comics in the 1990s. Although Squirrel Girl got a few cameo appearances, she soon dropped into the background, only to re-emerge as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers in 2005. Brian Bendis gave her a shot as back-up cast in his New Avengers run, and in 2014 Marvel launched her first ongoing series!
This being Marvel, she’s now in her second ongoing series (Marvel has an annual relaunch of any comic they think is good). Although individual issues haven’t always sold that well, the trades are top performers in the Young Adult market, and the current Unbeatable Squirrel Girl run is up for one of the comic book industry’s prestigious Eisner Awards!
Squirrel Girl’s status quo is that she’s a superhero with an attitude, overwhelmingly confident of her own greatness. In the pattern of Peter Parker, Doreen Green’s settled down as a college student to get education and real-life experience. She keeps her secret identity by stuffing her tail down her pants, giving her what she calls “a conspicuously large and conspicuously awesome butt”.
It’s not taken Squirrel Girl long to build up a cool background cast. Her roommate Nancy – a superhero fangirl with a major thing for Asgard – soon discovered her secret identity, but they’re best friends anyway, and Nancy got to save Asgard by using Wikipedia, so everything’s fine there. Meanwhile, Squirrel Girl soon learned that there are other animal-themed superheroes at her college – Koi Boy and Chipmunk Hunk! They’ve become firm friends. That said, her oldest love-interest is Speedball.
The good news is, now that Captain America: Civil War‘s out of the way, Speedball is never going to kick off the MCU’s superhero Civil War (in the comics, he was part of a team who made a critical error and caused a lot of deaths, triggering the Super Human Registration Act). That means he’s also never going to go all dark and gloomy, so the split between the two need never happen!
OK, So Is There Really Demand For Introducing Squirrel Girl to the MCU?
In a word: ABSOLUTELY! Deadpool proved that superhero films can afford to throw in some fun, irreverent ideas and that those movies can do well. Sure, an Unbeatable Squirrel Girl film isn’t going to be R-rated, but the R-rating wasn’t what made Deadpool work. As James Gunn – of Guardians of the Galaxy fame – :
“Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.”
Deadpool‘s success should be a major hint to Marvel Studios that you can do something unusual, and really make it work. I mean, it’s not as if Marvel doesn’t have form for risk-taking; I can remember when Guardians of the Galaxy was being mocked (“It has a talking raccoon and a walking tree, how is this not going to bomb?”). It’s not as if the cast of the MCU aren’t up for a bit of fun…
What’s more, the actors are queuing up to play the part! Anna Kendrick – next to appear in The Accountant – told that she’s up for it, and her brother’s recommending her for the role. Even her ex, director , has weighed in to support the idea. (That may not help, of course; Edgar Wright famously left Marvel Studios’s Ant-Man in a bit of a huff. He’s still cool, though, and the film did well anyway.)
Anna’s got real competition. Shannon Purser – who you may have just seen in – wants to take on the role as well!
So who do I talk to about being Squirrel Girl?
— Shannon Purser (@ShannonPurser7)
There’s only one way to resolve this casting conflict.
Seriously, though, I can see no reason Marvel can’t give Squirrel Girl a shot. Yes, this film would essentially be aimed at a young audience, but so what? There’s always been an outstanding range of superheroes, targeted at different groups and successful in different ways. What’s more, with superhero films now in the mainstream, the kind of self-aware humor you see in the pages of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is likely to be a hit – both with audiences, and with critics.
Come on, Marvel, give a (Squirrel) Girl a chance!
Do you want to see an Unbeatable Squirrel Girl film? Let me know in the comments!
I’m a British guy who has a particular love of superhero movies – and I’m having a great time writing for Movie Pilot! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @TomABacon!