LIVE: Ladies Take the Lead for SDCC's Annual Women Who Kick Ass Panel

Batwoman EW header

On Saturday, Entertainment Weekly’s annual Women Who Kick Ass panel at Comic-Con International hit the Hall H stage with another group of fearless women in Hollywood. The lineup included actors Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), Freema Agyeman (New Amsterdam, Doctor Who), Betty Gilpin (The Hunt, GLOW), Ruby Rose (Batwoman) and Cobie Smulders (Stumptown).

Jeri Ryan was announced as a surprise add-on guest for the panel, while Ruby Rose did not end up being present at the panel.

Jeri Ryan couldn't say much about Picard other than they're on the sixth episode of shooting, and fans are going to love it.

About women who were role models to them, Cobie said, "When I was little, my older sister was a role model for me. She played soccer and basketball and went on to play for the Dutch national team.... and as I got older on How I Met Your Mother we had a director Pam Fryman" who was a role model for her as she directed many episodes of the show.

Freema talked about her mother who had a different kind of strength -- as long as she had passion or drive her mother would support her 100%. Betty Gilpin also talked about her mother who was an actor, and Betty grew up watching her "always as her fullest clowniest self" and that really stayed with her later when people tried to tell her she was only good if she were a Barbie. Betty was also inspired by Alison Brie, who she called "brave, vocal, calm and a boss."

Jeri Ryan called her mom a ballbuster "but an incredibly loving mother and independent woman."

About female directors in film and television and a difference between them and male directors, Shohreh said there isn't really a difference for her as she looks as them more like her parents.

Cobie said it's such a personal relationship, and "having Pam direct as many episodes as she did was such a blessing... so I think it's really about the type of relationship you can form with the director, and hopefully with the course of multiple episodes, you can work together in a special way."

Betty Gilpin talked about how there's a perception that there's only one type of woman that's allowed to be on top -- "it's just as if we've only been using the color blue, and it's time we used the other colors."

As for the key to getting to the place of being able to do what you want, Shohreh said, "Make your voice heard and keep on doing what you think is right. Freema talked about people telling her to straighten her hair or change her name and how she did the opposite and is now seeing "more facets and faces of true life of society being represented in mainstream television."

Cobie discussed how it's nice that she's not being coupled with someone on her show, and she's moving around in her own world and being her own boss.

About the tired strong female character trope and having more conversations about important things they want to happen for women and women of color, Jeri said, "I'm a mom so firest and foremost for me before I ever take a job it's what's the effect on my kids.' And it was one thing when it was just my son, but when I had my daughter, it became a lot more urgent in my mind that the characters I play were a positive representation about what a woman can be -- not that every woman is the same, not that there shouldn't be weaker characters --  but for me, what I wanted to portray on screen, I want, and not just for my daughter, all of these girls that are growing up now, to see every possibility. I want them to know that everything is a possibility... and they need to see this represented because if they don't see it represented, they don't see it as a reality. Doors are open in real life, but they're not open all the way... so conversations need to be had."

"When I choose a role, it's a two-part thing. I like to challenge myself and try to take on different roles just so I can grow as a performer and the second part is how you can give back to the world." For Cobie, it's exciting to invoke change for others. Fighting people is seen as strong in society like in Marvel movies, but so are women who just have to put one foot in front of the other to survive.

About genre stuff, Cobie said, "there has never been a stronger reception bu the fans... it's truly a wonderful thing to come and talk and see the costumes and art you've drawn... it's truly inspiring.... and the Marvel stuff has been so cool because you get to have this relationship."

"I'm in the world of Star Trek, that is the most loyal passionate fanbase, God bless you guys," said Jeri.  "Personally from Seven of Nine, I heard from so many people on the Autism spectrum... that was so meaningful to me when these fans reached out" to thank her for showing themselves on screen.

About cosplay, Jeri Ryan would want to cosplay as a random Ravenclaw student, and she yelled out "Ravenclaw." Freema talked about how her family loved Star Trek and her sister cosplayed as a Bajoran and how it felt like a community even all the way back then. Cobie gets impressed by homemade costumes and thinks Poison Iby would be fun to cosplay or Xena. Betty often gets mistaken for Jodie Comer on Killing Eve, so she would just cosplay as her. Shohreh said she would cosplay Jeri, the queen of Star Trek.

Betty is in a new movie called The Hunt and the official trailer comes out July 29th and "it's about 12 strangers who wake up in a clearing with gags in their mouths and have no idea how they got there, and it becomes quickly apparent that they're being hunted."

Jeri's been told early 2020 for the premiere of Star Trek: Picard.

Adapting the novel series of the same name by James S.A. Corey, The Expanse stars Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Frankie Adams. GLOW Season 1 and Season 2 are currently on Netflix. Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the series stars Allison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Mar Maron, Chris Lowell and Kia Stevens. Season 3 arrives on August 9. The Arrowverse returns this fall on the CW with the Batwoman premiere kicking things off Sunday, October 6. Stumptown will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 25 on ABC.

The Avengers Make a Triumphant Final Stand in the Far-Off Future!

More in CBR Exclusives