Super girls! A look back at the BEST female superheroes from Wonder Woman to Catwoman – as The Marvels starring Brie Larson opens – and have YOUR say on who comes out on top
There have been some pretty impressive female superheroes over the decades.
Who could forget Yvonne Craig in her shiny purple bat suit and cute bat ears as Bat Girl opposite Adam West’s Batman on TV in the 1960s?
Then there was Lynda Carter‘s brunette bombshell Wonder Woman – aka as Diana Prince – on her celebrated TV series, which ran from 1975 to 1979.
Decades later, Gal Gadot started carrying the golden lasso in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice then, she starred in two stand-alone Wonder Woman films.
Over the years, new faces have stepped up to kick ass, such as Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Jennifer Garner as Elektra.
Now Brie Larson is taking center stage as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers in The Marvels, which opened Friday.
Here is a look back at the best female superheroes of all time.
SCROLL DOWN TO VOTE ON YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE SUPERHERO…
The Marvels starring Brie Larson opens on November 10. She is the latest in a long line of fabulous female superheroes
YVONNE CRAIG AS BAT GIRL
Yvonne Craig played Bat Girl in the third season of Batman; she was a breath of fresh air
Nice wheels: She even had her own motorcycle with lace on the front shield
The 1960s Batman TV series was dominated by men. Adam West was the title character and Burt Ward played his trusty sidekick Robin.
Even the bad guys were men: Cesar Romero starred as The Joker with Frank Gorshin as Riddler.
Julie Newmar as Catwoman was a sensation.
But the big role model for teens was Yvonne Craig, who stepped on the set as Bat Girl in the third season; she was a breath of fresh air.
Les Daniels, in Batman: The Complete History (2004), wrote that Yvonne was cast because ABC wanted to ‘attract new audience members, especially idealistic young girls and less high-minded older men.’
According to Craig: ‘I used to think the reason they hired me was because they knew I could ride my own motorcycle… I realized they hired me because I had a cartoon voice.’
Craig has also stated: ‘I meet young women who say Batgirl was their role model… They say it’s because it was the first time they ever felt girls could do the same things guys could do, and sometimes better. I think that’s lovely.’
She was not the only star to play Bat Girl: In the film Batman & Robin, Alicia Silverstone played a variation of the character: Barbara Wilson, Alfred Pennyworth’s niece.
LYNDA CARTER AS WONDER WOMAN
Wonder-ful: Lounge singer turned actress Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman in the live action series than ran from 1975 to 1979
Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman in the live action series than ran from 1975 to 1979.
She was more than just a superhero: this Wonder Woman was a brunette bombshell with toned arms, long legs and a tiny waistline that lit up her red-white-and-blue strapless leotard.
With a gold headband, red earrings and red-and-white kitten heel boots she was an instant hit.
When not in her sexy outfit, she wore office suits, prescription glasses and wore her hair in a bun to play her alter ego, Diana Prince.
The Diana Prince/Wonder Woman character is also called the Amazing Amazon, the Spirit of Truth, Themyscira’s Champion, and the Goddess of Love and War.
Wonder Woman was an instant hit with readers and became the most prominent DC comic book female superhero.
The Wonder Woman series lasted for three seasons, which aired on ABC and later on CBS from 1975 to 1979.
After the show ended, Carter told UsWeekly, ‘I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men’s bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me.’
In 1985, DC Comics named Carter as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for her work on the Wonder Woman series.
GAL GADOT AS WONDER WOMAN
Israeli beauty queen Gal Gadot was selected as Wonder Woman when a film version was being launched
Israeli beauty queen Gal Gadot was selected as Wonder Woman when a film version was being launched.
But first she portrayed Wonder Woman in the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opposite Ben Affleck.
Gadot’s performance as the sexy superhero, which was the character’s first appearance in film, was singled out as one of the best parts of the film.
In 2017, Gadot starred in a solo film for her character, Wonder Woman, opposite Chris Pine.
She reprised the role in the ensemble film Justice League, which was released in November 2017.
In 2020 she once again played Wonder Woman in the sequel titled 1984. Pine returned and Pedro Pascal was cast as the villain.
It is not known if there will be a third solo WW movie starring Gal.
In 2023, Gadot made uncredited cameo appearances as Wonder Woman in Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash.
Gadot, fellow Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and U.N. Under-Secretary-General Cristina Gallach appeared at the United Nations in 2016 on the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Wonder Woman.
The character became the United Nations’ Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.
The gesture was intended to raise awareness for gender equality.
The decision was met with protests. As a result, the project ended.
Other stars who have played a live-action version of Wonder Woman include Cathy Lee Crosby in the 1974 made-for-television film, Carter in her 70s series and Adrianna Palicki in a 2011 an unaired television pilot.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER AS CATWOMAN
Michelle Pfeiffer starred as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, in director Tim Burton’s 1992 film titled Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer starred as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, in director Tim Burton’s 1992 film titled Batman Returns.
Her costars were Michael Keaton as Batman and Danny DeVito as The Penguin.
This version of Selina Kyle is depicted as a long-suffering secretary of corrupt tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken).
After Selina accidentally discovers Shreck’s plot to build a power plant that would steal Gotham’s electricity, Shreck attempts to murder her by pushing her out the window of his top floor skyscraper office.
Selina is knocked unconscious. She is then revived by a group of alley cats. When she returns home, she becomes Catwoman.
Her costume, which was a cut up and stitched back together black raincoat, has become a favorite Halloween costume for decades.
In the sequel, Batman Forever, Catwoman is briefly mentioned by Dr. Chase Meridian in a conversation with Batman.
Pfeiffer’s interpretation of the character is influenced by the graphic novel Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper.
Pfeiffer took kickboxing lessons for the role and trained for months with an expert to expertly use her long black whip.
Pfeiffer received critical acclaim for her performance.
HALLE BERRY AS CATWOMAN
Halle Berry starred as Catwoman is a 2004 stand-alone film loosely based on the DC Comics character Catwoman.
Halle Berry starred as Catwoman is a 2004 stand-alone film loosely based on the DC Comics character Catwoman.
She wore a racy outfit that flashed plenty of flesh, like her toned tummy, which is unlike what Pfeiffer did for her Catwoman.
The film also starred Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, and Sharon Stone in supporting roles.
The film centers on Patience Phillips, a designer who discovers a conspiracy within the cosmetics company she works for that involves a dangerous product that could cause health problems.
After being discovered and murdered by the conspirators, she is revived by Egyptian cats that grant her superhuman cat-like abilities, allowing her to become the crime-fighting superheroine Catwoman.
It was not well received by audiences.
The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations and won in the categories of Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.
But Berry did not regret starring in the film as she said: ‘Everybody around me said, Girl, don’t do it. It’s going to be the death of you. It’s going to end your career. But guess what I did? I followed my intuition and I did a movie called Catwoman and it bombed miserably,’ Berry said.
‘While it failed to most people, it wasn’t a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts and I learned not what to do.’
JENNIFER GARNER AS ELEKTRA
Jennifer Garner in the 2005 film Elektra from director Rob Bowman
Jennifer Garner first played Elektra – based on the Marvel Comics character Elektra Natchios – in Daredevil, a 2003 film starring Ben Affleck, whom she went on to marry, have kids with, and divorce.
She then starred in her stand-alone movie titled Elektra in 2005.
The story follows assassin Elektra, who must protect a man and his daughter from another assassin.
Her costars were Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Terence Stamp.
Elektra was a commercial and critical failure, grossing $57 million against a production budget of around $60M.
Affleck reprised his role as Matt Murdock/Daredevil from Daredevil in a cameo appearance but it was deleted.
Garner reportedly did not want to do the film and only did it because she was legally required due to contractual obligations from Daredevil.
The film was made during Garner’s hiatus from the television show Alias so there was not much time to work on it and the finished product was impacted by that.
Now Jennifer will be returning to the role of Elektra for Deadpool 3.
Ryan Reynolds is reprising his role with Hugh Jackman reprising his character of Wolverine. Shawn Levy is the director.
MELISSA BENOIST AS SUPERGIRL
Melissa Benoist played Supergirl / Kara Zor-El on the CBS / CW superhero series which ran from 2015 until 2021
Melissa Benoist played Supergirl / Kara Zor-El on the CBS / CW superhero series which ran from 2015 until 2021.
She became the first woman to lead a prime time superhero TV series since Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter went off the air in 1979.
The focus of the show was on Kara who was from planet Krypton.
She keeps busy working as a journalist for media mogul Cat Grant in National City. But she is called into action when agency head Hank Henshaw enlists her to help protect the city’s citizens from threats.
But it is challenging balancing her every day life with her superhero life.
The beloved series concluded in 2021, after six seasons and 126 episodes.
In late 2021 she said it would be hard leaving the character.
Melissa shared with Entertainment Weekly: ‘I don’t think it’s really set in. I definitely felt a different kind of closure when we wrapped on set, very bittersweet.
‘I felt all the emotions you could feel in the last two weeks of shooting that show. But I think once the final episode airs, and I know that I really don’t have to go back up to Vancouver to shoot, that’s when it’ll probably set in.’
But she will always be grateful for how Supergirl shaped her: ‘I had to learn how to walk as a superhero because I was certainly not carrying that strength physically because I didn’t believe that I was that strong at that point in time in my life.
‘The more experience I had on the show and the more experience I had in my personal life, that sort of informed my growing more into being comfortable with conveying things like that, like strength and fearlessness and courage and bravery.’
Benoist also played Supergirl in The CW’s Arrowverse crossovers Invasion!
The came Crisis on Earth-X, Elseworlds, and Crisis on Infinite Earths as well as The Flash musical episode Duet.
She reprised her role as Earth-X’s Supergirl double Overgirl in the CW Seed animated series Freedom Fighters: The Ray.
REBECCA ROMIJN AS MYSTIQUE
Rebecca Romijn as Mystique in X-Men 2
Rebecca Romijn was one of the top models when she took the role of Mystique in the film X-Men in 2000.
It was her first major acting role and required her to wear a ton of cobalt blue paint.
She went on to appear in all three of the first films. Later Jennifer Lawrence inherited the part.
In X-Men (2000), an older Mystique abducts anti-mutant senator Robert Kelly so that Magneto can execute his plan of mutating him in order to forcibly turn him into an ally.
The plan is eventually stopped by the X-Men.
In the sequel X2 (2003), Mystique and Magneto join the X-Men in foiling Stryker’s plan to use his own mutant son Jason to trick Professor X to telepathically slaughter the world’s mutant population.
In X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Mystique gets involved when Raven has been captured by the government.
Mystique was originally created as a comic book character by David Cockrum.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON AS BLACK WIDOW
Scarlett Johansson in a scene from Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson played Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in a total of nine films.
Johansson wanted the role so badly she dyed her hair red before meeting with director Jon Favreau in hopes that would help her get the job.
Romanoff was introduced in Iron Man 2 (2010).
Then she was in 2013’s The Avengers, 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2015’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron, 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame and 2019’s Captain Marvel.
And finally in 2021 she was in her stand-alone movie Black Widow.
Romanoff is depicted as an expert spy trained in the Red Room from childhood to be a KGB assassin.
This brought her under S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar, and Clint Barton is sent to kill her but instead spared her life and recruited her into the organization.
When Nick Fury activates the Avengers Initiative, she becomes a founding member.
Romanoff became a fugitive and eventually reunites with her adopted family, including sister Yelena Belova, and they work together to destroy General Dreykov’s Black Widow program.
After Thanos erases half of all life, Romanoff leads the Avengers for five years until sacrificing herself to obtain the Soul Stone.
Johansson said that she chose the role because ‘the Black Widow character resonated with me… [She] is a superhero, but she’s also human. She’s small, but she’s strong… She is dark and has faced death so many times that she has a deep perspective on the value of life… It’s hard not to admire her.’
She stated that she had ‘a bit of a freak-out moment’ when she first saw the cat-suit. ‘A big part of me is like ‘can I move in this? Can I run in it? Can I like throw myself over things with this?’
ZOE SALDANA AS GAMORA
Zoe Saldana as Gamora in a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Zoe Saldana portrays Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
She first appears in the live-action film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
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Next she was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)[ and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
And she portrays an alternate timeline version of Gamora in the live-action film Avengers: Endgame (2019).
She then reprised the role in the 2023 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Gamora is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
Created by writer/artist Jim Starlin, the character first appeared in Strange Tales #180 (June 1975).
Gamora is the adopted daughter of Thanos, and the last of her species. Her powers include superhuman strength and agility and an accelerated healing factor.
She also is an elite combatant and a member of the superhero group known as the Infinity Watch.
In April Zoe told The Hollywood Reporter she was finished playing Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
‘I don’t think this is the end for the Guardians,’ the actress said. ‘It is the end for me, for Gamora.’
She earlier told Entertainment Weekly that her final turn as Gamora was ‘a very sweet departure’.
She added that Gamora ‘has taken a different journey’ than the rest of the team’s characters.
‘Filming started bitter in the beginning ’cause obviously you’re anticipating the end,’ Saldana said at the time.
‘But I’m just so happy that once again I got to work with great people. I had an evolution that I witnessed of myself, but also my director and my cast. I just felt very blessed and grateful.’
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