Sarah Michelle Gellar knows firsthand how well female actors can thrive in genre television series and movies. Gellar became a genre icon thanks to her role as Buffy in the long-running “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series, which ran for seven seasons and 144 episodes between 1997 and 2003. But Gellar has noticed a change in recent years, especially when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking to The Guardian, Gellar said it’s “very backwards” how female-led Marvel projects often get torn apart in a way male-led Marvel projects do not.
“Genre is where women can really succeed and hold an audience,” Gellar said. “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.”
Gellar might be referring to how female-led Marvel projects such as “Captain Marvel” and “Ms. Marvel” were review-bombed on platforms like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes before they were even released. Trolls flooded these websites with negative reviews due to the projects spotlighting female superheroes in leading roles.
Twenty years after the end of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Gellar has returned to genre television with a starring role in the Paramount+ supernatural series “Wolf Pack.”
“It’s really hard when you’ve done something like ‘Buffy,’” Gellar previously told Den of Geek about returning to the genre. “Because it’s not that I’ve avoided genre, it’s just that I can’t top that. So it has to be either something that’s so different or equally good [as ‘Buffy’], or all of those things have to sort of come together. I love genre, but it has to fit.”
Gellar recently made headlines for saying she would not want to reprise Buffy in a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reboot. “I am very proud of the show that we created and it doesn’t need to be done,” Gellar told SFX Magazine. “We wrapped that up.”
“I am all for them continuing the story, because there’s the story of female empowerment,” Gellar continued. “I love the way the show was left: ‘Every girl who has the power can have the power.’ It’s set up perfectly for someone else to have the power. But like I said, the metaphors of ‘Buffy’ were the horrors of adolescence. I think I look young, but I am not an adolescent.”