Scarlet Witch may be appearing in Captain America: Civil War on May 6th, but for some reason the new Avengers superhero is absent from the Disney Infinity toy set. The first trailer for the new Infinity play set includes Black Panther, Ant-Man, Vision, an updated Captain America, and Spider-Man donning a black suit, but it did not showcase any female characters, Fusion first reported.
It’s not the first time Marvel has put a female superhero on the back burner. Black Widow, the Marvel universe veteran who has appeared in several Avengers films, had a bleak launch and was hard to find in stores. The lack of attention toward Black Widow even drew criticism from one of the biggest members of the Avengers. Mark Ruffalo, also known as The Incredible Hulk, asked Marvel on Twitter to expand its lineup for his daughters and nieces. Disney responded, and plans to release more Black Widow merchandise this year across several product lines. The company is also working on a "Women of Power" initiative to highlight female characters on comic book covers and in games, as competitor DC Comics plans to release a "DC Super Hero Girls" toy line at Target.
.@Marvel we need more #BlackWidow merchandise for my daughters and nieces. Pretty please.— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 29, 2015
Toy companies are realizing that they can’t avoid talking about diversity and offering it in their products. Hasbro learned a hard lesson when it left the hero of the new Star Wars movie, Rey, out of a board game. The company said it did so to avoid spoilers, but critics rejected that flimsy claim and demanded a Star Wars game that includes the film's female protagonist. Even director JJ Abrams said leaving out Rey was "preposterous and wrong."
Female superhero toys remain a rarity
Black Widow and and Guardians of the Galaxy's Gamora action figures are the only two female characters to ever feature amongst the 28 characters in the past editions of Disney Infinity play sets. The newest rollout includes no women — at least, not at the time of launch. Marvel’s films may be getting better about representation, but in the meantime the Infinity toy lineup could use some attention.
Update: A previous version of this story indicated that it was unclear if Disney had plans to release Scarlet Witch merchandise in the future. The character does not appear in the new Disney Infinity set, but the company is working on a Scarlet Witch Marvel Legends action figure, and will include the character in other products. The story has also been updated to include information about Marvel's Women of Power initiative.