Comic book movies continue to rake in big bucks at the box office, with more leading ladies drawing audiences to fill seats at the theater.
They're not stopping with leading roles either.
Twenty-nine-year-old Margot Robbie isn't just portraying pigtailed villainess Harley Quinn, she also played a role in producing her joint standalone film “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” which is set to release next year.
Natalie Portman shocked Marvel fans in July during San Diego Comic Con with the reveal that she’ll be taking over Thor’s un-liftable hammer in the franchise’s fourth installment, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which has a release date for 2021. The Oscar-winning actress had previously said she was “done” with the superhero series in a 2016 interview with Vanity Fair.
After years of waiting and a few ambitious Change.org petitions, Scarlett Johansson will be gracing the silver screen in 2020 with her own solo “Black Widow” film. Even “Charlie’s Angels” is getting another reboot starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska and Elizabeth Banks (who also directed, wrote and produced the action comedy).
Other highly anticipated films that are in the works with super-powered female leads include “Gotham City Sirens,” “Batgirl,” “Supergirl,” “Silver and Black” and numerous other potential spinoffs, according to entertainment reports from Polygon and Time.
Although, Hollywood appears to be officially committed to the advancement of women into hero and villain roles, we can’t forget the top earning movies that paved the way. Here's a look at the rise of leading ladies from comic book blockbuster films:
The 1984 adaption of “Supergirl” starred actress Helen Slater as Kara Zor-El, Superman’s powerful Kryptonian cousin, and follows the heroine’s adventure on earth. Despite never getting a sequel, Slater has guest appearances in The CW’s “Supergirl” television series as Eliza Danvers (Kara’s adoptive mother) and has voiced various characters in the DC Comics universe.
In 2005, Jennifer Garner became a sai-wielding martial arts assassin when she starred in “Elektra.” Movie-goers got to watch Garner go toe-to-toe with supernatural enemies while protecting a father-daughter duo from a dark syndicate.
Nearly everyone remembers Halle Berry and the iconically shredded leatherette ensemble she wore in the 2004 adaption of “Catwoman.” However, with Batman absent, it was up to this masked villainess to become the hero in her own standalone story.
4. Dark Phoenix
Sophie Turner ditched “Game of Thrones” for a bit to take on the persona of Marvel’s favorite telekinetic mutant, Jean Gray. In this version, Gray is exposed to an ancient dark power and its consuming corruption – which ultimately force the X-Men into action.
3. Ant-Man and The Wasp
Evangeline Lilly shares the spotlight with Paul Rudd while they team up as the self-titled “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” This zany pair don their insect-inspired super suits and work together to fight off evil and discover their pasts.
2. Wonder Woman
“Wonder Woman” was critically acclaimed and the highest grossing film with a female lead and director until 2019. Gal Gadot starred as the Amazonian warrior princess that journeys from her homeland to stop World War I.
The movie was such a hit, it got a near instant greenlight for two sequels. The second installment, “Wonder Woman 1984,” is set to release on June 5, 2020. For the third movie, director Patty Jenkins told The Hollywood Reporter, “It's definitely a contemporary story. That's all I can say.”
1. Captain Marvel
The highest grossing comic book movie thus far is “Captain Marvel.” The 2019 flick starred Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who turns into a galactic superhero and the universe’s greatest hope. Audiences get to join Danvers while she discovers her past and fights off bad forces in the meantime.
A “Captain Marvel” sequel was confirmed at San Diego Comic Con, according to movie news site Screen Rant. However, Larson told Variety earlier this month that she’s not sure when filming will start. In her own words, “I don’t really know what job I’m going to do next, which is very exciting. I don’t even know what my life’s gonna be!”