Top 10 Amazing Female SciFi Characters in Film and TV
Science Fiction has been around since long before I was born. It began with stories from the likes of Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft. Eventually, SciFi made its way onto the silver screen, much to the delight of its fans. However, the minds over in Hollywood haven’t always been kind to ladies of SciFi. Many times they were regulated to damsels in need of saving or after thoughts meant to help out the leading male hero. But eventually things changed. Today, we’ve had more than a few truly memorable characters that have appeared in movies and TV. These are females who not only can stand toe-to-toe with the toughest of men, but ones who you also can’t help but admire. With that in mind, today we are going to look at our Top Ten Amazing Female SciFi Characters in Film and TV. I’m sure we will eventually expand on this list, but for now, let dive into our ten favorite.
Top 10 Amazing Female SciFi Characters in Film and TV
10. Princess Leia Organa – Star Wars Series
Played by Carrie Fisher
Princess Leia has been an icon in SciFi for decades. She’s a political leader, a good shot with a blaster, and also adept at subterfuge, shown when she infiltrated Jabba’s palace to rescue Han Solo. I liked seeing the evolution of her character through the original Star Wars Trilogy. True, she does get captured in Han’s rescue attempt, but she gets the ultimate revenge as she strangles Jabba the Hutt to death with his own slave chain.
9. Daenerys Targaryen – A Game of Thrones
Played by Emilia Clarke
It’s hard not to love the transformation we see in Daenerys Targaryen over the seasons in Game of Thrones. An exile from her kingdom, she’s sold to a Dothraki warlord to be his bride. Eventually, she realizes she can be in control of her own destiny and takes her place as the Khaleesi of the warband. However she really comes into her one once she brings the three dragons into the world. Watching her tear through the free cities on a conquest against slavery is just awesome. My favorite moment is when she buys all the Unsullied (slave soldiers) in Astapor, and then turns them on their masters to frees the city. While things don’t always go right for her, when she’s on her game, she can be a force.
8. Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones
Played by Krysten Ritter
Jessica Jones is not exactly a hero you are going to want your child to idolized. She clearly has issues and is not exactly adept at dealing with the baggage. However, over the course of the first season of her show, we begin to see what makes her tick, and can’t help but get behind her as she takes on the responsibility of stopping Killgrave. Super strong, fiercely independent, Jessica Jones clearly cares about the people around her, even if they are all equally flawed.
7. Captain Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace – Battlestar Galactica
Played by Katee Sackhoff
Starbuck is definitely a polarizing character. Some people were against her from the start due to the characters gender transformation (Starbuck was a man in the original BSG series), but there is no denying that she is a compelling character. She is probably one of the toughest characters in the entire show. From being one of their best viper pilots, to boxing with other crew members, Starbuck isn’t afraid to throw down with anybody. Hell, she even manages to steal and fly a Cylon raider after her own ship crashes. She’s not perfect, constantly getting into fights with other crew members and even her own XO, but you gotta respect someone that tough. Battlestar Galactica just wouldn’t be the same without her.
6. Dana Scully – The X-Files
Played by Gillian Anderson
You couldn’t have this list with out Dana Scully. A staple in scifi for years, Dr. Scully was one half of the X-Files team that graced our TVs for the better part of a decade. In the show, the FBI partnered her up with Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and her analytical and rational nature helped keep that ufo conspiracy theorist from going off the rails. A yin to his yang, I don’t think there could have been a show without both of them and the dynamic they brought. The interesting thing about Scully is how grounded she was. She didn’t have extraordinary abilities, but was a working woman who was exceptionally good at her job.
5. Sarah Conner – Terminator & Terminator 2
Played by Linda Hamilton
Sarah Conner starts off The Terminator as an unsuspecting waitress, kind of drifting through life. But everything changes when Kyle Reese comes back from the future to protect her from the the Terminator. While in that timeline, he also ends up getting her pregnant. And along comes John Conner, future leader of the resistance. In Terminator 2, Sarah Conner really comes into her own. She knows what John represents to the future of the human race and she does everything to protect him. She’s honed her body to peak physical condition (we see her in the psych hospital working out like she’s in prison). She’s stockpiled weapons and clearly knows how to use them. In the span of two movies, Sarah Conner has transformed from meek waitress to one of the most badass women in Cinema. Woe unto those that threaten her son.
4. Zoë Washburne – Firefly and Serenity
Played by Gina Torres
While Zoe may not be the lead character in Firefly (or even the captain), but she is probably one of the most respected characters on the ship. With her quiet intensity, it’s clear that she’s a woman who means business. We are treated to bits and pieces of her history with the captain, especially their time together during the war. It’s there that we being to understand where some of Zoe’s intensity comes from. On Serenity, I enjoyed the role revisals of her marriage with Wash. She is clearly the alpha in the relationship, but his charming goofiness creates a nice balance to Zoe’s ferocity and intensity. Yet it’s still clear that the care for each other immensely. When it comes to battle though, there is no one the caption trusts more (or want’s by his side) than Zoe. She definitely knows how to handler herself…and then some.
3. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games Series
Played by Jennifer Lawrence
Katniss Everdeen is equally good at drawing our admiration, but also our pity. We love her because she does everything she can to take care of her mother and sister in a horrible dystopian world. She breaks the rules, fights for what is right, and makes her own luck. When she volunteers for the Hunger Games to protect her sister who was drafted, it’s impossible not to love her even more. In the arena, she’s both smart and tough as nails as she not only beats the other combatants, but also outsmarts them. Even when she’s struggling against the odds for survival, we get to see the other side of her, as she forms a bond with the smaller girl Rue. The girl on fire, Katniss becomes the figure head that sparks the rebellion. Many other books and movies have tried to replicate the awesomeness that is Katniss Everdeen, but so far few have succeeded.
2. Rey – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Play By Daisy Ridley
Before 2015, I would have hard hard time believing that we were going to have a more important female in the Star Wars universe than Princess Leia. For decades she had been a staple of this SciFi behemoth. Yet in The Force Awakens, Rey rockets onto the scene and impresses us from her first moments on screen. Seen repelling through a crashed Star Destroyer to scavenge for parts, it doesn’t take long for Rey to being to show off her abilities. From her fighting off two attackers on Jakku, to escaping from the torture room on Star Killer base, to eventually facing Kylo Ren himself, Rey showed us that a massive blockbuster can center around a female lead and still be wildly successful. Rey also has a mystery that surrounds her, from her tragic past of being abandoned on Jakku, to how she is able to use the powers of the Force. I, along with many Star Wars fans, cannot get enough of this hero.
1. Ellen Ripley – Alien Series
Played by Sigourney Weaver
Its hard to find a more bad ass woman in SciFi than Ellen Ripley. She is tough as nails, and even outlasting a squad of battle-hardened marines when the you-know-what hit the fan. In the first Alien movie, she was a bit timid, but by the time we got to Aliens, she had taken that traumatic experience and built herself up from it. When everything goes to hell in Aliens, she no only exposes the evil corporation’s plans to use her and Newt as alien smugglers, but she is willing to suit and and fight the Xenomporhps herself. When she gears up and goes back into the colony to save Newt, you really see how determined this woman can be. And the scene where she fights the Alien Queen while driving a Power Loader is not to be missed (and also delivers an truly memorable line). When it comes to a text book example of an amazing woman in SciFi, look no further than Ellen Ripley.
SciFi was started with Mary Shelly, about 30 years before Verne’s first publication & 100 years before Lovecraft. Credit where it’s due.