Will Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Solve Marvel’s Merch Problems?

In recent years, Marvel Studios has taken some flack for under-representing female characters in its merchandise. Both Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora have been difficult to find in stores, with the former being excluded from a set that revolved around one of her biggest Avengers: Age of Ultron sequences. That decision inspired the #WheresBlackWidow campaign, a regrettable chapter in MCU history that studio president Kevin Feige recently spoke about.

“That was very frustrating for us, because we see, we see it from the other side,” he said. “When I say we, I mean the filmmakers, because we’re presented with the stuff that’s being made, and I don’t know if there’s an absolutely equal sampling, but Black Widow was all over that. Gamora was all over that stuff. What we don’t see is how much of it is in any given store. How easy is one piece of merchandise to find versus another piece of merchandise. So, we see the stuff and we go, oh great, these are all our characters, they’re all great represented, they’re all going to be sold, and then we find out, oh, you can’t find this, you can’t find that, or there’s lunch boxes or a backpack where a certain character is not on it, and I think the outrage was great, because that’s not going to happen anymore.”

In spite of Feige’s comments, there is plenty of evidence that Gamora was intentionally excluded from a number of products showing the Guardians as a group. However, don’t expect that to happen with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as director James Gunn has made a concerted effort to include more women in the cast. “That was one of our big things we set out to do,” Feige said of the sequel, explaining that it “was very important to James as well… putting women at the forefront of the story.”

In addition to the first film’s Gamora and Nebula, you can expect to meet Mantis and the MCU’s first female villain, Ayesha—when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 arrives in theatres on May 5. To see these women in action, check out the teaser below.