NPR examines the rising role of of the female protagonist driving megafranchises in print and on screen.
“If you look at the most successful pop franchises over the past 50 years — from James Bond to Star Wars to Harry Potter — one thing is obvious: They’re dominated by men. Which makes it all the more remarkable that right now there are two cultural juggernauts centering on women — the Twilight series, created by Stephenie Meyer, and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, featuring The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Together the novels have sold tens of millions of copies, while the screen adaptations are raking in dollars by the hundreds of millions.
To be honest, neither Meyer nor Larsson is a great writer. But their legions of fans don’t care. That’s because Twilight and Millennium offer something readers often like better than literary merit — primal fantasies. And what’s interesting is that these two fantasies are almost diametrically opposed, not least in their image of women.”