Picking out a list of badass women in scifi is hard! There are so many of them. I’ve tried not to pick women with superpowers for the most part. Instead, I’ve picked women that have inspired me. Women who can take care of themselves. Don’t need to rely on a man. Women who think, and are resourceful. Fully-rounded characters. Again, there are so many more that should be on this list. Dana Sully, Aeryn Sun, to name a few. And not just on TV either, characters such as Honor Harrington are easily worthy. But here it is anyway, my list of Most Badass women in scifi.
What can I say, Trinity kicks ass. From the very first moment that we meet the character as she takes out six policemen we know Trinity means business. Once a brilliant hacker who manages to escape the Matrix, Trinity becomes proficient in firearms and hand to hand combat, and, yes kungfu, in order to fight the machines and save humanity. My only wish was that she wasn’t presented as so much of a love interest for Neo.
She was second in command of Babylon 5 throughout the first four seasons. She’s career military. Despite suffering tremendous personal tragedy (she lost her brother and mother early on, and her father died in the first season) she overcame it all. She’s also not a bad Starfury pilot. She’s loyal, has a dry sense of humour, oh yes, and she never once hooked up with her commanding officer. If you’re looking for a well-rounded character in science fiction, look no further than Ivanova.
I’ve generally tried not to include superheroes on this list, but I had to include Buffy. Let’s face it, the girl died. Twice. Not to mention that she seems to have lasted far longer than most slayers. Buffy is probably one of the most relatable characters on this list: average teenage girl that happens to spend her nights fighting monsters. In the last season of Buffy, she leads an army into the mouth of hell. That’s gotta be worthy of this list. Official badass moment: In seven seasons, this is a tough one, but one shining moment was in Becoming Part 2 when she faces down Angelus. He has her cornered and says “ That’s everything. No weapons… no friends… no hope. Take all that away, and what’s left? She takes his sword between both of her hands and replies “me,” before getting back on her feet and eventually defeating him.
Princess Leia has got to be one of the original badasses. This isn’t a woman who dies from a broken heart. No. She’s a fighter. She’s fast talking and doesn’t always need to be rescued. In fact, she ends up trying to do a bit of rescuing of her own (albeit a failed attempt) when she dresses up as a bounty hunter and infiltrates Jabba’s palace to rescue Han. Despite the botched rescue attempt, I would say her crowning badass moment comes when she chokes the life out of Jabba the Hutt with the very chain he was using to keep her as a slave.
Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Originally the whole idea of having a female Starbuck was hugely controversial. I admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of her. Like Dirk Benedict’s character, she smoked cigars and gambled, but she was also entirely different. She was mouthy, had a chip on her shoulder, and she occasionally punched superior officers. Luckily the character quickly came into her own proving to be both resourceful and a master tactician. She was also flawed, particularly when it came to her personal relationships. It’s such a shame then that despite such crazy moments of glory like her return to Caprica to recover the Arrow of Apollo, that she should wrap up her storyline in such a way, I mean, an angel? Really??
Katniss didn’t need the Hunger Games to be badass. She was already a badass just being a young girl from the Seam, sneaking under the fence to illegally hunt in the woods with her bow and arrows, and keeping her mother and sister fed after the death of her father. Entering the Hunger Games only proves to make her that much more badass. Katniss doesn’t survive to become victor because of her skills as a fighter either. She’s smart. She knows when to work the cameras and she immediately understands the subtle messages her mentor Haymitch is trying to send. But the most badass Katniss moment comes early on when she volunteers to go to the Hunger Games in place of her little sister.
Sarah Connor provides the most significant transition from ordinary young woman to badass warrior. She manages to kill one Terminator and in the years in-between the first and second movie, shacks up with any guy that can teach her weapons and combat tactics so she can train her son. Talk about warrior mother. But my favourite moment happens early on in Terminator 2 when she’s locked up in the state penitentiary. We see her for the first time, as Dr. Silberman walks by and she greets him with “Good morning Doctor Silberman. How’s the knee?” We then find out that she had only earlier stabbed him in the knee with his pen.
Ripley began life as an ordinary woman working a job, ready to wrap up a long mission and get back for her daughter’s birthday. That is until she ended up going toe to toe with a xenomorph, and becoming the sole survivor of the Nostromo. Director James Cameron ramped up the badass even more in Aliens when a reluctant Ripley heads back to LV426 accompanied by a squad of marines. Guess who survives that battle! Official badass moment: Across four movies there are plenty to choose from, but my favourite has to be on-board the Sulacco when she ends up in a smackdown with the alien queen.
Okay, I know a lot of people think that River would be the obvious badass choice, but I don’t buy it. River was manipulated by the government. Yes, she can take out a ship full of reavers, but she has super powers. Zoe, does not, and it takes nothing away from her. She’s Mal’s right hand person. When the Cap’n is looking for backup, he doesn’t go to Jayne, he goes to Zoe. She is loyal, trustworthy, a warrior in every sense. She stays calm when things go wrong, and she always comes prepared. Oh yes, and extra points for being one of the few women on television that can have a stable relationship. So many badass moments come to mind with this character, but possibly my favourite has to be when she goes to Niska with payment for the Captain and Wash. Niska says it’s not enough for two and begins to tell her she needs to choose. Decisively she points to Wash and says “Him. I’m sorry, you were going to ask me to choose, right?”