Here at Autostraddle, we’ve covered fictional kickass heroines, hot sci fi women, fictional female crime fighters and action movie heroines that tickle our queer ladyboners. I’m here today to highlight the kickass women of color in sci-fi – women who sometimes get the short end of the stick in terms of screen time and storylines, but who nevertheless kick some major booty (often without displaying their own).
Played by Grace Park in the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
SPOILERS! You have been warned.
Number Eight is a humanoid cylon and one of the main characters in Battlestar Galactica. If you haven’t seen the show, I’m here to tell you that, yes, Grace Park plays ALL of those characters – because they’re all the same… but different. Basically, there are a bunch of Eight Cylon models, two of whom (Sharon “Boomer” Valerii and Sharon “Athena” Agathon) are important recurring characters.
Both Sharons are pilots on the Battlestar Galactica, though their allegiance shifts from the Colonial Fleet to the Cylons and back over the course of the show. Regardless of their moral compass(es), Number Eights are tough fighters and more-than-capable pilots. The Cylons are designed to groupthink, but two Eight models break away and become independent with their own unique personalities.
Though both Sharons have relationships with men, the dynamic is of the futuristic-gender-blind-society kind. Also, Cylons are presented as genderless – though not sexless – and we know that some Cylons develop feelings for their own sex (I’m lookin’ at you, Gina/Six).
Louanne “Kat” Katraine
Played by Luciana Carro in the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
Kat first appears as a rookie Viper pilot in the Colonial Fleet, but eventually climbs her way up to be named CAG (Commander of the Air Group) on Galactica. At first, she seems to exist primarily to get on Starbuck’s nerves, but we end up liking her more and more as her character arc is more fleshed out. She is feisty, rebellious and just a little bit cocky. SPOILER: In the end, she dies a big damn hero.
Note: The character Kat is portrayed as Latina (though, to be fair, the race designations in the alternate Galactica world are not the same as ours), but the actress is Canadian, of Italian descent. I point this out because there is a long, racist history of non-white characters on American TV and film being played by white actors.
Played by Gina Torres in Firefly (RIP).
Zoe already made our fictional kickass heroines list, but she’s so awesome that her name bears repeating. As first mate to Captain Malcom Reynolds, Zoe is loyal and steadfast. Though she does heed Mal’s leadership, she challenges and questions him when necessary.
She’s also wife to Wash, Serenity’s pilot, and a veteran of the Unification War. And can I just say that it’s pretty rad to see a relationship like Zoe and Wash’s? Truly gender-equal heterosexual relationships are already rare on TV and Zoe and Wash present a great take on hetero spousal dynamics. Plus (as suggested by the title of this list) she kicks ass. Like, a lot of it.
Played by Morena Baccarin in Firefly (RIP).
Discussions of badass women in sci-fi usually features Zoe (and for good reason) but Inara often gets skipped over, possibly because she’s way more conventionally feminine. Like Kat, the actress who plays Inara is of Italian decent (though born in Brazil), but Inara is written as a character of ambiguous ethnicity. So… she’s on the list, ok?
Inara is a Companion, which translates to a classy call girl in the Firefly ‘verse. She’s fierce, independent, gorgeous and knows how to handle swords AND guns. Plus it’s great to see a character who is both feminine and badass.
And while she’s the main love interest for Captain Mal Reynolds, we know she takes both male and female clients. Though she normally avoids physical altercations, Inara is often the one who challenges Mal’s crazy plans and stands up to the rest of the crew. Not to mention, she sometime gets involved in crime too, just to mix things up.
Dr. Allison Blake
Played by Salli Richardson-Whitfield in Eureka.
She’s a medical doctor, a Department of Defense agent and a super intelligent scientist. In later seasons of the show, she’s head honcho of Global Dynamics and later the Medical Director at GD. She’s also a caring mother. What else? Power suits. ‘Nough said.
Again, a lover of men, but even though she gets married (or nearly married) multiple times over the course of the show, she never lets herself or her life be defined by her relationships.
Played by Erica Cerra in Eureka.
Beginning as the sheriff’s deputy and eventually becoming head of security at Global Dynamics, Lupo is a former soldier (U.S. Army Ranger or Special Forces…unclear due to continuity issues in the show). She’s the best marksman (marksperson?) in town, extremely capable at any physical challenge and super smart to boot.
And she also loves her weapons. Oooh, baby, I’d support her right to bear arms any day.
Note: Again, Erica Cerra is Canadian, of Italian descent, playing a Latina character on American TV. See a pattern?