Disney just announced the release of new branded merchandise to coincide with the release of their new Marvel blockbuster "The Avengers: Age of Ultron." But many people are noticing that one key character is notably absent: Black Widow, the franchise’s first breakout female star.
"Age of Ultron," which is a sequel to the original 2012 "Avengers" film, hits theaters on May 1st, and features a cast of iconic superhero characters including Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Captain America.
Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the first film's only lead female character. In the sequel she is joined by actress Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch.
However, female fans eagerly awaiting their chance to buy "Age of Ultron" merchandise with their favorite heroines were disappointed to see very little representation of either character among the new products released online in the Marvel and Disney stores. Many items featuring the core group of "Avengers" seem to be missing Black Widow, such as T-shirts and posters.
Many female fans took to Twitter to express their displeasure with Disney and Marvel for leaving women out.
Black Widow is also one of the few "Avengers" characters that has not been the subject of their own solo film, a subject that has not gone unnoticed by female fans, either.
Johansson said in a recent interview that she thinks there is "room for a standalone movie" about the character, but Marvel Studios' lineup until 2019, released last fall, does not currently include a solo Black Widow film on the schedule.
Disney has not responded to a request for comment from msnbc at this time.