Inside Out stands out among the Pixar stable for a number of reasons, and one of those is its emphasis on female characters. The two main characters, Joy and Sadness, are both female. So is Riley, the 12-year-old kid in whose mind the whole film takes place. That’s quite a welcome change of pace from Pixar, which didn’t get its first female lead until 2012’s Brave — its 13th film.
But that’s not to say Pixar didn’t have great female characters before that. Though they’re typically relegated to supporting roles, sharp women and interesting girls have always been part of the Pixar canon. To celebrate the studio’s new girl-driven film, here’s a look back at some of their most memorable ladies.
15. Kevin (Up)
Kevin inadvertently sets the second half of Up in motion, and it’s no wonder everyone wants a piece of her. With her bright and colorful feathers, Kevin might be the prettiest character Pixar has ever created. With her mischievous and playful personality, she’s definitely one of the most adorable. And let’s not forget she’s actually a great mom — everything she does, she does for her chicks.
14. Dot (A Bug’s Life)
Even though A Bug’s Life isn’t one of the more revered films in Pixar’s library, this little sister of royalty makes her mark. Dot is a feisty little ant who isn’t afraid to tumble with the boys, and she never stops trying to fly with her tiny little wings. She’s determined, adorable, and it’s impossible not to laugh when she stands up to the creepy leashed grasshopper and smacks him until he runs away.
13. Boo (Monsters Inc.)
As far as toddlers go, Boo’s pretty damn brave. While other kids her age are cowering in fear of monsters, Boo’s alternately terrifying them and winning them over. The only monster that actually frightens her is Randall — and she’s eventually able to give him what he deserves, beating him silly with a baseball bat when he threatens her precious “Kitty.” While we never get to see what becomes of Boo as she ages, we’d put our money on this bold soul having a fascinating life.
12. Dean Hardscrabble (Monsters University)
What scares the Scarers? For the students of Monsters University, it’s Dean Hardscrabble, and it’s not hard to see why. This elegant, almost regal figure is a legendary Scarer in her own right, and she runs the program with a firm hand. She refuses to tolerate mediocrity or bad behavior, but she’s fair enough to offer second chances when they’re deserved. In her very first appearance, she tells the awestruck students that “scariness is the true measure of a monster.” By her own logic, she’s one of the greatest monsters in all the land.
11. EVE (WALL-E)
It takes EVE a little while to warm up. In fact, she’s downright hostile when she encounters WALL-E for the first time. In time, though, she’s able to show her true colors as a curious and friendly robot. And with some guidance from WALL-E, she discovers she can even be loving and heroic. Ultimately, she’s able to return the favor by bringing WALL-E back to his true self when he loses his personality. Who would have guessed two robots would be at the heart of one of Pixar’s most romantic tales?