Sarah Michelle Gellar says Marvel fans still won’t accept female superheroes

"There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero’, this very backwards way of thinking"

Buffy icon Sarah Michelle Gellar believes that Marvel fans still won’t accept female superheroes.

Gellar rose to fame as the super-powered vampire slayer in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But, despite having played the lead in a female-fronted show about a powered-up hero, the actor told the Guardian that there was still a lot of “backwards” thinking about women when it comes to the genre of the superhero.

She explained: “Genre is where women can really succeed and hold an audience. Every time a Marvel movie tries to do a female cast, it just gets torn apart.


Film still from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: from l-r: James Marsters, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan (2001). CREDIT: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

“Unfortunately, audiences weren’t as accepting. There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero’, this very backwards way of thinking.”

Gellar, who is enjoying a Hollywood renaissance thanks to 2022’s Do Revenge and new series Wolfpack, is still most famous for her starring role on Buffy, although the show has most recently been tainted due to various allegations against showrunner Joss Whedon.

A number of Gellar’s co-stars have made claims about Whedon’s behaviour on set. Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase in Buffy, claimed Whedon victimised her while she was pregnant. Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister while still a teenager, also made claims. She alleged there was an unwritten rule that Whedon was not allowed to be alone with her.

When asked about the Whedon claims again, Gellar said: “I’m never going to go into detail because it doesn’t help anything, it doesn’t solve anything … My heart goes out to people who are willing to tell their truths and their stories and their experiences.

“I just know that, for me, rehashing things – there’s nothing to be gained for me, in that experience. Where I gain is making sure that there’s better experiences for the next generation.”


In regards to the allegations made against Whedon by member of the Buffy cast, and others, the director and writer has denied all wrongdoing. Speaking about the claims last year, he said: “I think I’m one of the nicer showrunners.”

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