Amazon's newest project just might be dissecting one of the most controversial tropes in the world of comics.
According to a new report from Deadline, the studio is developing Deadtown, a live-action pilot adapted from the Catherynne M. Valente and Annie Wu novella The Refrigerator Monologues. The pilot, which will be written by Shauna Cross, is reportedly a "blueprint" to create an original, feminist superhero universe set in the modern era.
Deadtown will reportedly "follow five recently-dead women who meet in the titular town, a purgatory where they discover that their entire lives were merely in service to the superhero men they happened to cross paths with, resulting in each of their deaths. They start to discover their own powers, tell their sides of the narrative, and decide to write their own damn stories. And a group of seemingly ordinary women discover their own true power. It’s a subversive, kick-ass exploration of what it means for women to find their inner power – and use it."
As avid comic readers surely know, this story is a sort of remix of the "fridging" trope, which refers to female characters being killed or brutally injured as a way to provide more emotional pain for their male counterparts. The term "Women in Refrigerators" was coined by comic writer Gail Simone, who chronicled various examples of it on a blog of the same name.
Cross is known for writing Whip It (as well as the film's source material, the novel Derby Girl), If I Stay, and Bad Santa 2. She will executive produce the project alongside Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, Cliff Roberts, and Catherynne M. Valente.
The notion of a TV series tackling the fridging trope head-on is certainly interesting, especially considering the amount of female characters who have endured the same fate in recent movies and television. Arrow's Laurel Lance, The Amazing Spider-Man's Gwen Stacy, and Deadpool 2's Vanessa Carlysle all met controversial deaths in recent years, although the latter of the three was arguably seen as a bit of a subversion of its own.
"Quite frankly, [Vanessa] doesn't leave the movie," Deadpool 2 director David Leitch told ComicBook.com. "She is a huge point of contact for him and learning his lesson in the world and learning that one of act of kindness can change history. And I think without her being the vehicle that he learns that from, I don't know, it wouldn't have been the same film and so we wouldn't have had that emotional context. Even the scene at the end where they visit each other in the afterlife, hugely emotional, great performances by both of them. So, again, I don't think she left the movie."
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