What amazing battles! We had some very close votes, some runaway victories and plenty of surprises in round 1. Now you all have one week (through December 21) to vote for round 2. As a community, we will try to assess who the best female character in sci-fi and fantasy is. There’s plenty of wonderful contenders. Beyond even these 16 we had people decry the lack of characters from Farscape, Star Trek, Wonder Woman and many more. We’re right there with you! Our argument is there are TONS of amazing characters that are super popular and Hollywood shouldn’t be gun-shy about greenlighting films with strong female leads. But who is the best? The deepest, most well-rounded character? That’s something no one person can assess, so now it’s up to you. Read on for the round 2 matchups!
Match 1: Ellen Ripley and Hermione Granger
We weren’t super-surprised to see Ripley beat out Michonne. They are both tough but Ripley’s motherly qualities in Aliens seem to shine through over Michonne’s (only presented occassionally as backstory). Ripley has stepped up as a leader and dealt with ethical quandaries of survival of herself versus the survival of others on an increasing scale. But can a character from four movies that ended almost 20 years ago defeat one from twice as many films who is more fresh in people’s minds?
Honestly, we were a bit surprised to see Hermione defeat Buffy. But maybe we shouldn’t be. Obviously the character resonates on a very deep level with millions of people. Tons of kids grew up alongside Hermione in the Harry Potter books and movies. That creates a deep empathy for a character who is already brave, smart and kind. She’s the kind of friend we’d want to be and love to have. This will be a very interesting match up.
Match 2: Arya Stark and Agent Scully
Arya’s youth and inexperience were clearly not a detriment in her match against Captain Janeway. Is her ruthlessness the appeal? Her versatility to adapting to all sorts of new situations? Her ability to somehow retain a spark of humanity when the world she lives in continues to deal her a vicious hand? Hard to say, but one thing is for sure: Arya Stark from Game of Thrones is a beloved character.
It probably made sense that Scully beat Olivia Dunham. They are both skeptical FBI agents but Scully was the template that allowed Olivia to exist. Sure, Olivia went through a far different journey and we got to witness many different permutations of the character thanks to alternate dimensions and multiple timelines, but we got to follow Scully on a journey from skeptic to believer and it felt real. Plus, she went up against weird crap for 9 seasons and 2 movies. That beats 5 seasons. Scully from X-Files beat Fringe, but can she beat Game of Thrones?
Match 3: Xena and Storm
Xena is admittedly a lot more campy than Hunger Games but there must be something about her journey from villain to hero that resonates with people. Because she handily beat Katniss from the popular books and films. Is she iconic enough and well-rounded enough to take down Storm? That’s the question.
Storm’s continued evolution in style and role in the X-Men comics must have helped her upend Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. Storm grew up a pickpocket but became a leader on the X-Men, for a time without any super powers at all. She’s become queen of the African nation of Wakanda and continues to battle prejudice as a stalwart defender of Professor X’s dream of integration and peaceful co-existence of mutant and human.
Match 4: Sarah Connor and Princess Leia
Honestly, Sarah Connor beat Ellie from The Last of Us pretty handily. Is it the fact that she’s better known? Possibly. But she’s also had the advantage of appearing as a main character in two excellent Terminator films and the fantastic tv show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The tv show really helped round out a character that had gone from average waitress to bad-ass doomsday prepper. Sarah can be ruthless because she knows the stakes of protecting humanity but she really exists as the ultimate mom, too. Protective and nurturing, but in a much different way than any of us are likely to have experienced.
Princess Leia had arguably the toughest round 1 battle, going against Doctor Who‘s all-time most popular companion. But she pulled out a strong victory. It just goes to show, we love a beauty who can kick as much ass as the men. I hope we get to see her pilot a starship or swing a lightsaber in the next Star Wars movie. Leia is very, very cool.