/Answers: Our Favorite Female Badasses in the Movies

Ethan Anderton: Leia Organa

Yes, I know I went with Han Solo last week for my favorite (space) pirate, but I’m a die hard Star Wars fan. So how can I not pick Princess Leia as one of the most badass females to grace the big screen?

The very first thing we see Leia Organa do in Star Wars: A New Hope is defy the Galactic Empire by sending a secret message to Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her aid the Rebellion against the the most tyrannical force in the galaxy. When she’s captured by Stormtroopers, she’s not intimidated by Darth Vader – she’s just annoyed with him. She stands her ground in front of one of the most feared men in the galaxy, because she’s a badass.

Her defiance and confidence in the face of danger continues when she meets Grand Moff Tarkin, choosing to insult him several times rather than cower in fear when he threatens her. The only time the Empire gets the better of Leia is when they lie and destroy her home planet of Alderaan, which is just a dick move anyway.

Throughout the rest of the trilogy, Leia continues to stand in the way of the Empire as a key figure in the Rebel Alliance, giving orders on the Battle of Hoth, staying behind as the base crumbles around her on the snowy planet, leading a strike team on the forest moon of Endor, saving the skin of Han Solo (after doing it in A New Hope as well), hijacking a speeder bike and more. Princess Leia is easily one of the most tough, uncompromising, incredible women in cinema’s history.

Ben Pearson: Marion Havenwood

Raiders of the Lost Ark is arguably the peak of the action adventure genre, and Marion Ravenwood has been my favorite action heroine for as long as I can remember. We’re introduced to her character in a terrific scene in which she proves she can drink anyone under the table, a moment I consider to be one of the best intros in modern film history. Karen Allen’s often-overlooked performance sells a deep backstory between Marion and the whip-wielding hero of this story – one that’s not a good look for Indy at all.

When they meet again in Raiders, Indy finds someone who’s not going to give him exactly what he wants: the rest of the world may see him as a heroic adventurer, but Marion isn’t afraid to call him on his shit. She gives him a right hook to the jaw within 30 seconds of seeing him, and the sarcastic way she says, “See you tomorrow, Indiana Jones” is perfect. She’s knowingly mocking his name directly to his face. Yes, there are moments in the film in which Marion is reduced to a glorified damsel in distress, and let’s not even dwell on how Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hangs her out to dry. But overall, Marion Ravenwood proves again and again that she’s capable, headstrong, passionate, ferocious, and every bit Indy’s equal.

rey closeup lightsaber battle force awakens

Peter Sciretta: Rey

If I were to pick my favorite badass female character in movies it would have been Princess Leia from the Star Wars movies or Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but my /Film colleagues beat me to it! I guess that’s what I get for hiring writers with great opinions. While there are a lot of badass women in movies, but if you ask me, there aren’t a lot of great ones. Many of the strong female characters are archetypes lacking interesting internal conflict. I think Hollywood is finally developing badass female roles, and a list like this will change dramatically five years down the line. Or so I hope.

So Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens is my choice for this week’s question. The character is strong, independent, but not without flaws. She doesn’t know who she is or why her parents left her on Jakku, but that doesn’t stop her from eeking out a living as a scavenger in the desert wasteland. She has the strength and intellect to defend herself from the scum and villainy in Niima Outpost. When adventure calls, she is forced to leave not just the only home she knows, but her dream of being reunited with her parents. It’s on this adventure that Rey becomes challenged by Kylo Ren, which ignites the Force hidden within her. The Force Awakens has my favorite lightsaber battle of the entire Star Wars series to date, not because it’s flashy or fun (Phantom Menace probably wins out in that department) but because the fight is so based in the internal struggle of these characters.

My favorite moment is when Rey takes a moment to gather her strength and calm as Kylo Ren’s unwieldy saber is crossed with hers. Rey is not a badass because she has Force powers, she is a badass because she is able to overcome her internal struggles and rise above them. And in the moment, when she could have dealt Kylo Ren a decisive blow, she hesitated. Not because she was afraid, but because she was angry. She could feel the dark side within her, calling out to deal that final blow. And she resisted.

Wonder Woman

What do you think of our picks? Who is your favorite female badass in the movies? Talk about it in the comments below or email your personal answer (a paragraph or more) to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com with the subject title “Favorite Female Badass.” Our favorite responses will be featured on the site in a future post!

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