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10 Female Characters That Kicked Serious Ass This Year

Over the past 12 months, women have taken over both big and small screens to portray some of the most unforgettable characters we’ve seen in a very long time. From the women of Game of Thrones (we could never pick just one) to the announcement that Brie Larson would play the first female Captain Marvel (coming at you in 2019), it’s been an excellent year for women in the sci-fi, superhero, and action hero entertainment.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re sharing 10 of our favourites.


1. Wonder Woman


Not only did Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman front the first female-led standalone superhero movie to come out of the massive DC/Marvel movie industrial complex, she drove the movie all the way to the top of the box office standings, coming in third among the highest-earning films of 2017. (She was also the only good thing about Justice League.)


2. Shuri


Letitia Wright kicked ass AND got all the laughs in her roles as tech genius kid sister/Princess of Wakanda/formidable warrior in Black Panther. On top of all that, she’s become our new style icon.


3. Sarah Manning (and her sisters)


We said goodbye to the Clone Club this year as the Leda sestras of Orphan Black turned out for one final season of dismantling clone conspiracies and doling out justice to the puppet masters that had been controlling their lives (and killing them off when they became inconvenient). We’ll miss the groundbreaking show and its unforgettable women (especially Helena) but we can’t wait to see what Tatiana Maslany signs up for next.


4. Michael Burnham


From L’Rell to Mirror Universe Phillipa Georgiou, Star Trek: Discovery gave us plenty of awesome female characters to root for and against in its first season. The standout was, of course, Michael Burnham who’s journey from star pupil to mutineer to redeemed hero kept us tuning in every week (especially when the truth was revealed about both Lorca and Tyler and the weekly question became ‘What will Burnham do?’). She never ceased to surprise and impress us.


5. Rey


It’s hard enough to find your place in the world but in The Last Jedi Rey has an entire universe at her feet, with a path that’s divided between the dark side and the light. She’s young, female, and neither of her potential mentors truly believes she’s as strong as she needs to be. Luke dismisses her while Kylo Ren tries to manipulate her. Big mistake—on both accounts.


6. Lorraine Broughton

Atomic Blonde was like John Wick with a better soundtrack and a higher IQ. Playing the Cold War spy, Broughton, Charlize Theron decimated an entire legion of hitmen sent to take her out, retreating only for long enough to tend to her bruises with ice baths and Stolichnaya.


7. Ruth


You can only push a nice girl so far is the lesson to take away from the Sundance hit I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore. Melanie Lynsky’s Ruth might seem like a pushover, but steal her grandmother’s silver and she will… accidentally join a murder-y gang to get revenge? But all while managing to remain a good person!


8. Bill


The Doctor’s kickass companion won us over instantly by being fearless, funny, and bloody brilliant (in both the British and the North American sense). She also made her mark as the first LGBTQ+ companion in Who history. Honourable mention goes to Missy for outsmarting her previous incarnation, the Master, and sacrificing herself for the ultimate good.


9. Lenny


Sometimes it’s good to be really (really) bad. Legion brought us our favourite villain of the year in Aubrey Plaza’s manic and maniacally evil bad girl/demon/psychiatric disorder. The show lost its complicated plot partway through the season but Plaza remained its strongest, funniest, and scariest presence.


10. Offred


The Handmaid’s Tale hero never let the bastards get her down, even when the bastard was another formidable woman. Elisabeth Moss’ Offred used everything she had to subvert Gilead’s brutally misogynistic system—the invention of another badass female: Canadian author Margaret Atwood.