Science fiction lost one of the pioneers of the kick-ass woman when Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday. Sure there were plenty of tough women before Princess Leia was introduced to the world in 1977 in Star Wars, but no one did it better. She was feisty, headstrong, and even though she fit the bill of every young girl’s fantasy of being a princess, she was much more than a princess. She was a role model for a generation. In honor of Carrie Fisher, and her prototypical character Princess Leia, we take a look at the kick-ass women of science fiction.
Trinity in the Matrix: Canadian Carrie-Anne Moss showed the world that men weren’t the only ones who could kick ass. First appearing in 1999’s the Matrix, Trinity showed true grit and toughness as she fought alongside the men of the franchise. She refused to take no for an answer, and fought against the evil machines as well as, if not better, than most of the men in the series.
Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: When a science fiction series is based around a female character that is forced to enter a competition where the lone survivor is the winner, you know that woman needs to be tough if she’s going to win. There was no one tougher than Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss in the series, and you never get the feeling that she can’t compete against the men. In fact in most cases you feel sorry for the men she’s fighting.
Buffy Summers in Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Joss Whedon loves strong female characters, and there really is no stronger female character he’s ever created than Buffy. Sure Kristy Swanson played the character tough in the original 1992 movie, but it was Sarah Michelle Gellar who gave her life starting in the 1997 TV series. She was brave, unwavering, and never gave up hope, and took on plenty of evil characters much larger than herself.
Black Widow in The Avengers: There are plenty of female superheros who could be on this list, but really it’s Scarlett Johansson who stands out for the moment. First appearing in 2010’s Iron Man 2, the Black Widow really started shining in 2012’s The Avengers. A lot of superhero movies have men fight men, and women fight women, but in Black Widow’s case she takes on all comers without any hesitation.
Sarah Conner in Terminator 2: In the first Terminator film Linda Hamilton played the typical woman in distress who had to be saved by the men of the movie, but in the second film she was the one doing the ass-kicking. The petite actress bulked up for the sequel, and showed the world she could kick ass just as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger could.
Ellen Ripley in Alien: The Alien franchise is not just about the aliens. It’s about the evolution of Ellen Ripley who went from a crew mate of a scavenging ship to sole-survivor of an alien attack. And she did it more than once. In the second film she outlasted a crew of marines sent in to exterminate the aliens. Ok, so maybe one of the marines appeared to survive, but by the start of the third film it was revealed he’d died.