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4 Pop Culture Icons Who Were Originally Meant to Be Women

No matter how many times you point out that Batman doesn't have manboobs, or that Jason Bourne never wank-stalked his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, some people will always dismiss stories with ass-kicking female protagonists because they "just can't identify with them." That's why Hollywood had to stick Wonder Woman with two male chaperones before finally letting her appear on the big screen. But hey, it could've been worse. For instance, they could have decided to make Wonder Woman a man, which actually isn't as implausible as it may sound.

In fact, it turns out that plenty of your favorite fictional characters were almost women until someone came in and said, "Hmmm ... needs more penis." Like with ...

#4. Venom

Marvel Comics

I don't hate Spider-Man 3. I do think it's a bad movie, but it admittedly had some good stuff in it. On the other hand, the film couldn't have fucked up Venom any more than it did, even if the entire finale was just 10 minutes of him being brutally sodomized to death.

Columbia Pictures
Or did that actually happen, and I just repressed it?

What really baffles me about it is that, despite being a cool villain and all, Eddie Brock (the version of Venom used in the movie) isn't really that complicated of a character. Simply put, he's the anti-Spider-Man: Peter Parker is a scrawny nerd, while Eddie is a religious bodybuilder; one is a colorful, optimistic wisecracker, while the other falls into a deep depression and contemplates suicide after losing his job and journalistic credibility. Now compare that to Topher Grace's Eddie Brock: a whiny, sarcastic twig who at one point actually begged God to kill Peter Parker for him.

Columbia Pictures
"There's 20 bucks in it for you!"

The whole "Spider-Man's opposite" thing becomes even more obvious when you consider that David Michelinie, one of Venom's creators, originally wanted the character to be a woman. But not just any woman: a pregnant woman about to give birth, whose husband is hit and killed by a taxi because the driver got distracted by Spider-Man. In the story that Michelinie envisioned, this would then cause the woman to go into labor on the street, and lose the baby, her husband, and her sanity all in the same night.

Marvel Comics
But I'm sure that getting fired was equally devastating for you, buddy.

After getting out of the hospital, this proto-Female Venom (Fenom) was supposed to bond with the alien symbiote, the source of Venom's power, and become a sinister villainess whose main thing was that she didn't trigger Peter's spider-sense, and could thus attack him from the shadows.

It's also worth mentioning that the comic book symbiotes have the ability to "give birth" to other symbiotes, which would fit beautifully into a story of an insane, grieving mother who lost her child. Unfortunately, Marvel editor Jim Salicrup thought that a woman, even when smeared in extraterrestrial vegemite, wouldn't be a believable threat to a teenager with spider superpowers. That's when Michelinie reworked the idea and came up with the Eddie Brock Venom, effectively robbing us of a chance to see a truly unique baddie beat both Spider-Man and 1980s comic book sexism harder than some readers would've beaten their dicks to this character, probably.

Adam Jay, SuperHero Photography/Freddie Nova
Correction: definitely.

#3. James Bond

OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images

James Bond. You know him, you love him, which is why it's so ridiculous to suggest that this legendary lady killer could ever have been a killer lady. But speaking of things that are ridiculous: you know what else is ridiculous? James Bond.

United Artists
"You're stupid!"
"I said ridiculous."

Or at least, that's what the producers of the first (planned) Bond movie thought. In 1955, Gregory Ratoff optioned the rights to Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, hoping to turn it into a hit action movie about a suave British intelligence agent. But there was a problem. After carefully studying the book, which he probably should've done before shelling out money for it, Ratoff found Bond's character incredibly unbelievable and "kind of stupid." Those were actually the exact words of Lorenzo Semple Jr., who was hired as the movie's screenwriter, and who also kind of had a point. Think about it; if you'd never heard of James Bond, would you ever buy the idea of an internationally-recognized spy whose entire personality consisted of killing people and ejaculating, probably often at the same time?

United Artists
Correction: definitely.

That's why, at one point, Ratoff and Semple seriously considered making their James Bond a woman -- Jane Bond. They even went as far as choosing an actress to play her: famed starlet Susan Hayward, who, according to Ratoff, owed the producer a favor and would totally be up for the role. And yeah, with an attitude like that, it's obvious that Ratoff wanted to take Bond's ridiculousness to its inevitable conclusion, and turn the entire movie into a comedy based on the "hilarious" notion of "a woman spy?! *monocle drops into champagne glass*"

"What's next? Movies about women harassing men in the workplace?

On the other hand, at the time, Hayward was an accomplished dramatic actress famous for her portrayals of vicious alcoholics. So maybe Ratoff and Semple did understand Bond's character, and could have delivered a good spy flick with a female lead.

But sadly, the movie never made it out of pre-production, and a few years later, Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli came out with Dr. No, where Sean Connery's fantastic performance made it impossible for audiences to associate James Bond with anything other than a gigantic, STD-ridden cock.

Still, I can't help but wonder how modern pop culture would look like if Jane Bond had actually seen the light of day. Mostly though, I really want to know what penis innuendo names the movie would have come up with for Hayward's Bond Boys. So far, I've come up with Richard Thick, Penn Island, and Crotch O'Plenty, but feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section.

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Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

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