Why are there no female Minions?

Originally conceived as robots, the banana-hued critters have always distinctly male

The Minions in Despicable Me 4
Despicable Me 4 is heading to UK cinemas in July. (Universal)

July sees the release of Despicable Me 4, the latest film in Illumination's Despicable Me series. It's the highest-grossing animated film franchise of all time, eclipsing Shrek, Ice Age and Disney's lucrative Toy Story series, thanks in no small part to the Minions.

The gibberish-spouting henchmen having been the star attraction of the series ever since they first appeared in 2010's Despicable Me. Originally conceived as robots, the banana-hued critters have always distinctly male, but have you ever wondered why?

The creator of the Minions explained the reason behind the lack of females in their population back in 2015 – and it's not what you might think.

Read more: What we know about Despicable Me 4

Talking to The Wrap, Pierre Coffin said, "Seeing how dumb and stupid they often are, I just couldn't imagine Minions being girls."

You see? Being an occasionally-idiotic henchman is a man's job only because women wouldn't be so silly as to act the way Kevin, Stuart, Bob and co do.

The Minions in Minions: The Rise of Gru
Their last big-screen outing was 2022 prequel Minions: The Rise of Gru. (Universal)

The French director also revealed how the main trio got their names.

"Kevin comes from an ancient Greek word ('Kevinos') which means leader," he said. "Stuart comes from the Latin word 'Stuartalumni' which means (loosely translated) 'the one who slacks.' As for Bob, it means short. For Robert."

Of course, this no-woman revelation has thrown up some interesting conundrums, namely how the Minions came to be in the first place if there isn't a mummy Minion around.

Coffin has suggested that they aren't able to replicate or multiply like some single-celled organisms, although biology nerds have interpreted one of their short films to mean that they are clones from the same DNA.

The other explanation is slightly less kid-friendly – that the yellow beasties are actually former humans shot with some kind of special beam.

Either way, don't ever call them a sexist species. Patriarchal sure, but not misogynist.

Despicable Me 4 will be released in UK cinemas on Friday, 12 July