No. 1 sci-fi woman of all time? Ripley, believe it or not

June 08, 2009 | 7:38 p.m.

I’m a big fan of lists, so is Jevon Phillips, a star contributor here at Hero Complex. Here’s his take on a recent tally of the women of sci-fi….or is that sigh-fi? — G.B.


As usual, there’s a lot to dispute about anyone having a top so-and-so list, but‘s 25 women who shook up sci-fi isn’t too startling. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Star Trek” are the only franchises with multiple entries on the list (and rightfully so). Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley of “Alien” fame was named First Lady of Sci-Fi.

Of course, there were parameters, which the site laid out like so:

We’ve limited ourselves to TV and film – SF and fantasy literature probably warrants a further list all of its own – and in those instances where multiple actresses have portrayed a character, we’ve written who we believe gave the most definitive performance in brackets. No doubt there are many characters you feel we’ve left off.

Yeah, yeah — and the site does include a more in-depth examination of each choice. There will be debate over ones who didn’t make it. I really like River Tam on “Firefly” — but it was short-lived — and the women of “Cleopatra 2525” and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in “The Matrix” and … well, let’s stop there.  And there may be some on the list who deserve to be higher. Wonder Woman and Xena, 22 and 23? Hey, I like Leeloo and Claire bear, but not over those two icons.

Again, it can be debated (Lois Lane! “Bionic Woman!”) until we’re all breathless, but give the site credit for taking on the task. Here’s their final list. Let the comments flow.

The 25 Women Who Shook Sci-Fi:

1) Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver, “Alien” series)

2) Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)

3) Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff, “Battlestar Galactica”)

4) Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson, “The X-Files”)


5) Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, “Terminator,” “T2”)

6) Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, “Star Wars” series)

7) Rose Tyler (Billie Piper, “Doctor Who”)

8) Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping, “Stargate SG-1”)

9) Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols, “Star Trek”)

10) Leeloo (Milla Jovovich, “The Fifth Element”)

11) Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere, “Heroes”)


12) Storm (Halle Berry, “X-Men”)

13) Pris (Daryl Hannah, “Blade Runner”)

14) Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer, “Batman Returns”)

15) Barbarella (Jane Fonda, “Barbarella”)

16) Sarah-Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen, “The Sarah-Jane Adventures” / “Doctor Who”)

17) Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox, “Transformers”)

18) Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian, “Babylon 5”)


19) Number Six (Tricia Helfer, “Battlestar Galactica”)

20) Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew, “Star Trek: Voyager”)

21) Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)

22) Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter, “Wonder Woman”)

23) Xena (Lucy Lawless, Xena: “Warrior Princess”)

24) Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner, “Alias”)

25) Marina (Stingray)

— Jevon Phillips

Photo credits: “Aliens” – 20th Century Fox. “Star Wars” – Lucasfilm Ltd. “X-Men” – 20th Century Fox.  “Xena Warrior Princess” – Reuters.


Wonder Woman by Alex Ross

Beyonce wants to lasso the role of Wonder Woman

Princess Leia strikes back at ‘Star Wars’ and George Lucas

A Whedon-less Buffyverse continues

Starbuck speaks! Katee Sackhoff on the final days of ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Lights, shining on Wonder Woman

Dan Akyroyd says Sigourney Weaver ready for “Ghosbusters 3”


14 Responses to No. 1 sci-fi woman of all time? Ripley, believe it or not

  1. Warth says:

    Bridget Regan (Kahlan the Confessor) from "Legend of the Seeker" deserves a spot on this list. Supposedly the sidekick, she can out-fight, out-think and out-act the dude who's the central character in this TV sword and sorcery series. And, when the writers give her a chance, she can do comedy.

  2. Sophie says:

    What the hell? Princess Leia should be ahead of "Starbuck" in the new Battlestar Galactica series, which was beyond lame.

  3. Lee V says:

    There are some fantastic sci fi women on this list, no question, but how can Aeryn Sun of Farscape possibly not have made the list at all? For me, she's near the top! Over the course of four seasons and a miniseries, this "ignorant soldier" grew to be far more than she ever thought she could be — or wanted! What a remarkable woman — strong, sexy, and definitely the person I'd want watching my back!

  4. BBow says:

    "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is horror. "X-men" and "Batman returns" are comic books.
    If we're talking horror, you left out the all of the witches who have ever appeared in movies – from "The Craft" to "The Wizard of Oz". They deserve their own list!
    As for Sci-Fi; Charlize Theron in "Aeon Flux"! Kate Beckinsale in the first two "Underworld" movies!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love the idea of this list. The order is SO ridiculous…but at least they got #1 right. I would argue for Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew, "Star Trek: Voyager") to move up 7 or 8 notches.
    Also, Lori (Sharon Stone, "Total Recall") was pretty bad ass as a killer in that sci-fi flick.
    Like you said, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss, "The Matrix series") should DEFINITELY be on this list. Her role is WAY MORE interesting/integral to the story than Megan Fox's role in the "Transformers" film (can't speak for the upcoming sequel); so, yeah, they totally frakked up that one.

  6. Slvrbk says:

    A useless list without Jeri Ryan (7 of 9 from Star Trek: Voyager).

  7. josef says:

    OK, I confess that I didn't watch it after the first season, but… Alias was a sci-fi/fantasy show? Does that put all of the James Bond movies in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy? Whatevuh.
    JoAnna Cameron as Isis from the 70's TV show should be in the top 10. From wikipedia: "Secrets of Isis was the first weekly American live-action television series starring a female superhero." She certainly shook up my adolescent sci-fi world.

  8. pg says:

    Dr. Who also has multiple entries on the list (Rose Tyler and Sarah-Jane Smith).

  9. Lee V says:

    Most of the characters on this list are wonderful, but how could Aeryn Sun from Farscape not make the list at all? In four seasons and a miniseries, the "ignorant soldier" grew to be far more than she could have imagined. Tough, sexy, strong and loyal, and one half of the most fantastic love story I've seen in sci fi, I'd put Aeryn Sun WAY up at the top!

  10. Rob McMillin says:

    7 of 9? Hot chicks in tight clothing are groundbreaking, how?

  11. AmbroseKalifornia says:

    Princess Leia is NUMBER SIX? This list is a joke.

  12. Mitleid says:

    Did the definition of the term "Science Fiction" change over time? Since when do vampires and Conan-inspired fantasy qualify as Sci Fi?

  13. Angela Soto says:

    Xena should be in the number one….She is the best female heroine ever¡¡¡¡ Xena forever

  14. rampartbase says:

    Sarah Jane Smith should be higher up. To put Rose Tyler ahead of Sarah Jane is a crime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

E-mail It