Female Villains Are (And Should Be) Here To Stay
According to The A.V. Club, the original script for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (read our review here) featured a female villain as opposed to Javier Bardem’s menacing Captain Armando Salazar.
While we’re sure Bardem will do a fine job, we were a little perturbed when we learned that the Tell No Tales producers ultimately decided against featuring a central female villain because Johnny Depp (aka Captain Jack Sparrow) already fought against a female villain in 2012’s Dark Shadows (Angelique Bouchard, played by French actor Eva Green).
Even though facing off against two female antagonists in five years is apparently too much for Depp to handle, it’s definitely not too much for us. In fact, we decided to take a look at some cunning and fierce female villains from sci-fi and fantasy movies past, present, and future to shine a light on the fact that Depp missed out on some pretty high levels of badassery.
Elizabeth Banks played this scorned former Green Ranger in this year’s big-screen Power Rangers reboot, and she does so with all of the campy, theatrical flair she can muster. It was a little unnerving to see Banks, who usually plays likeable (if not misguided) characters like The Hunger Games’ Effie Trinket, embody Rita’s unnerving creepiness. But Banks’ top-notch comedic timing was a perfect fit for the Power Rangers remake, which turned out to be equal measures visually impressive action sequences and self-aware absurdity.
Speaking of The Hunger Games, Julianne Moore’s calculating President Coin turned out to be the surprise (if you didn’t read the books) villain of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. While Katniss and Co. were (rightly) worried about the obviously evil President Snow, they overlooked the subtly scheming Coin, which almost lead to their demise.
We won’t give away too many spoilers if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, but we will say that the gold-skinned Ayesha, played by Elizabeth Debicki, might just be one of the most hilariously intense villains we’ve ever seen. Hitting on Star-Lord only to set out to destroy him and the other Guardians just ten minutes later? Laughing at Taserface one second and assembling a group of killer bee-like soldiers the next? Ayesha is unpredictable, passionate, and ruthless–truly a deadly combination.
We didn’t even get to see what Captain Phasma looks like under all her armour until this week, (spoiler alert: she looks like Gwendolyn Christie) but she’s already one of our favourite Star Wars villains regardless. While she stuck with Kylo Ren and the rest of the First Order in The Force Awakens, something tells us that once we see more of her (fingers crossed for The Last Jedi) we’ll quickly learn that Phasma won’t tolerate Kylo’s mood swings for very long.
If there’s one thing Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto talks about more than anything else, it’s the love he has for his “family” of friends and fellow street racers. So it’s pretty impressive that it’s none other than Cipher, portrayed by Charlize Theron, who ends up convincing Dom to turn on said “family” in The Fate of the Furious. At the end of the film, viewers learn that Cipher, a master hacker and cyberterrorist, had actually been manipulating Dom and his crew throughout much of Fast franchise.
By now you probably know that Hela, the Goddess of Death (played by Cate Blanchett) is the main villain of Marvel’s upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. According to Time, Hela is “the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first major female villain,” which is obviously kind of a big deal. She also breaks Thor’s hammer in the Ragnarok trailer, which is also a pretty big deal.
With female villains being prominently featured in films as big as The Force Awakens, The Fate of the Furious, and now Thor: Ragnarok, it seems that viewers, producers, and writers alike are all starting to understand that a well-written villain packs a punch, regardless of whether that villain is male or female. In the words of Cate Blanchett herself, “there’s so much untapped potential villainy in women”–and we can only hope that filmmakers will continue to utilize that potential.