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Kevin Feige Responds to Black Widow Criticisms, Lack of Female MCU Leads

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige addressed the backlash surrounding women's -- and particularly Black Widow's -- roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saying "our films have been full of smart, intelligent, powerful women."

The Wrap reports that Feige was asked why female characters so often get sidelined in Marvel Studios films, with "Ant-Man's" Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) cited as an example.

"They haven't been the title characters up to this point and that has changed now that we've announced 'Captain Marvel,' in which the title character will be Carol Danvers," Feige said.

He added that Marvel didn't feel pressured to make a female led film, but that they had always "gone for the powerful woman versus the damsel in distress."

Feige also addressed the controversy surrounding Black Widow's role in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," where she underwent a ceremony at her assassin training school the Red Room and was rendered sterile by it. "In terms of essays written about Black Widow in 'Ultron,' I think they're all valid. Everybody's opinions are valid... That Black Widow went through a program in which she was forced to have her reproductive organs removed is probably a little upsetting to her. So that people would be upset that she's upset -- that's a little strange."

"Ant-Man," the next installment of the MCU, opens on July 17.

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