The Fiercest Women in Sci-Fi History
Sure, Superman and Batman are pretty cool, but characters like Storm from the X-Men and Wonder Woman are among the fiercest women in science fiction who truly redefined what it meant to fight like a girl. It's impossible to talk about superheroines without bringing up either of the two, and with Comic-Con in full swing, we decided to celebrate by rounding up 22 of the best women from our favorite comic books, TV shows, and movies. But it's not all about the good guys--with their quick ability to strategize to get exactly what they want, bad gal villains like Catwoman and Poison Ivy also make us geek girls proud. Whether you're looking for cosplay inspiration, or are in need of an extra dose of girl power, click through our gallery to see each character now!
It's impossible to talk about badass women in sci-fi without bringing up Wonder Woman, who was played by Lynda Carter in the '70s-era TV series. Known back on her home island as Princess Diana of Themyscira, the Amazonian superheroine-clad in her star-spangled ensemble-fought for justice with her lasso of truth, and rocked arm cuffs and a tiara that doubled as weapons.
We admit-we had a hard time picking a favorite X-Men member among Rogue, Jean Grey, Mystique, and Shadowcat, but Storm is truly a force of nature with her ability to manipulate energy and the weather, and can use both as weapons to create lightning bolts, super-strong tornadoes and hurricanes, and wind gusts so strong that they can lift entire buildings.
Also known as The Bride or Black Mamba, Uma Thurman played the skilled assassin in Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2, and is the only member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to master the five point palm killing technique. Just as the film's title suggests, Kiddo's main objective was to get revenge on the squad leader Bill and her ex-colleagues, who murdered her wedding party and attempted to kill her just before her walk down the aisle.
Speak softly and carry a large stake... After answering to her calling as the Slayer, Buffy Summers takes on the task of keeping Sunnydale safe from vampires and other supernatural forces. She and fellow slayers Willow and Xander are trained by Giles, and are taught exactly how to take on the creatures they eventually face.
Ellen Ripley came out as the sole human survivor in 1979's Alien, and in 1986, Sigourney Weaver reprised the iconic role to battle the aliens on planet LV-426.
In 1984, Helen Slater took on the role of Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin who battled the villain Selena (played by Faye Dunaway) to defend Argo City.
April O'Neil just got a 2014 makeover! A far cry from the yellow jumpsuit the right hand woman of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wore back in the '80s, Megan Fox's real-life take on the character complemented her Sai weapons with a more-modern ensemble.
Before Alicia Silverstone reprised the role in the late '90s, Yvonne Craig played Gotham's toughest-and most-stylish-heroine.
Played by Jane Fonda, Barbarella's catlike reflexes and voluminous '60s-era blowout went on to inspire the design of the comic book heroines in the years that followed. Also of note: Her trademark bodysuits served as a muse for Jean-Paul Gaultier's costumes in The Fifth Element.
Portrayed by the stunning Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar in early versions, Catwoman-a.k.a. Selina Kyle-is one of the most iconic villainesses in the Batman universe who dons her best feline-inspired apparel to carry out major heists. In what we consider the Romeo and Juliet storyline of the comic book world, she later becomes romantically involved with Batman, and in some versions, the two marry and have a daughter.
Still glamorous as ever, Selina Kyle later got a few modern-day updates by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992, Halle Berry in 2004, and most recently by Anne Hathaway in 2012.
In addition to being the communications officer on the USS Enterprise, Lieutenant Uhura's influence extended far into the real world. Nichelle Nichols, who played the character during its original run, later volunteered with NASA to encourage both women and ethnic minorities to join the service, and succeeded in recruiting Dr. Sally Ride, Colonel Guion Buford, Dr. Judith Resnik, and many more astronauts. In 2009, Zoe Saldana took on the iconic role originated by Nichols when Star Trek got a big-screen reboot.
In the year 2033, the Earth was in the midst of an 11-year drought caused by a comet hitting the planet. The Water & Power group holds the water supply in reserve and uses it to control the world's population, so Tank Girl (Lori Petty) makes it her mission to steal the H2O and give it back to the community. Water & Power catches on and attacks Tank Girl's headquarters, capturing her and killing her boyfriend. She teams up with Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and the duo sneaks into Water & Power headquarters, where they engage in a battle and eventually release the once-rationed water.
Agent Dana Scully
The truth is out there! Gillian Anderson played FBI Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files, where she worked alongside Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) to investigate unsolved extraterrestrial cases.
Gina Torres played Serenity's first mate on the series Firefly, and fought bravely in the Unification War. Aside from Sargent Malcolm Reynolds, she was the only survivor of their platoon, and ended up joining a renegade group called the Dust Devils to fight against the Peacekeepers of the Alliance. She then joined the crew of the Serenity, and we admire her for her loyalty, ability to think logically and keep her cool in the midst of a battle, not to mention, how well she works a mean leather ensemble.
Uma Thurman strikes again! Though 1997's Batman & Robin wasn't the biggest success, Thurman's role as doctor-turned-villainess Pamela Isley goes down in our book as one of the most iconic nemises in Gotham history.
Silk Spectre II
For Malin Akerman's character in Watchmen, crime fighting runs in the family. Silk Spectre II is the daughter of Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre who was part of the Minutemen superhero group. She followed in her mother's footsteps, and doesn't shy away from making her feminist and humanitarian opinions known.
Though Elektra (Jennifer Garner) was killed at the end of Daredevil, the ninja assassin is brought back to life by Stick, a martial arts master who trains her in the Kimagure technique. The discipline gives those who practice it the ability to see into the future and bring people back from the dead, though Elektra leaves training to become a contract killer as she has a hard time controlling her anger.
Portrayed by Linda Hamilton in the Terminator saga, Sarah is saved from the Terminator from a soldier named Kyle at the age of 19, but after he is killed during a mission, she is left alone with an unborn son. Years later, she becomes a warrior, and is broken out of prison by her now teenage son, who helps Connor and the Terminator delay the impending war with the machines. In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, she and her son John use a time machine to travel to 2007, and attempt to find a way to prevent Skynet from being formed.
When her younger sister Prim was chosen as District 12's tribute in the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to compete in her place. She and fellow tribute Peeta Mellark ended up winning thanks to their quick thinking, and Katniss' expertise with a bow and arrow. After taking part in the Quarter Quell alongside previous Hunger Games victors, Katniss forms alliances with the tributes, and ends up becoming the symbolic leader of the rebellion against the Capitol.
The brightest witch of her year, Hermione Granger (played by Emma Watson) was the brains behind Harry Potter's mission to defeat Voldemort, all while maintaining perfect grades at Hogwarts.
Angelina Jolie took the archaeologist, who moonlights as a tomb raider, from the Playstation to the big screen in 2001, veering slightly from her backstory in the game. As the title Tomb Raider suggests, Croft is notorious for breaking into ancient tombs and taking ancient artifacts, and is extremely skilled in the art of combat.