It’s a sad fact that male super-heroes get a lot more on-screen time than female ones. The MCU may be great in many ways but it still gives short scenes to Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and others. Their TV shows are a bit better with Jessica Jones and the female characters of Runaways. DC isn’t much better. True, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow give female characters their due but it still focuses on guys more. That could be changing thanks to the success of Wonder Woman and the upcoming Captain Marvel that is getting attention. Thus, there is a lot more potential for some super heroines to get more screen time.
But that doesn’t make up for how some female characters were wasted a lot in movies and TV. The actresses were great in the roles, they had some good appeal and should have been used far more. It’s more galling for the characters who are meant to be big deals in the comics but are treated as afterthoughts on screen. For every female heroine who has great potential, another was basically wasted on screen. Here are 12 Female Superheroes That Should Have Gotten More Screen Time (And 12 That Should Come Next).
24 MORE SCREEN TIME: HELEN OF TROY
Even by the standards of Legends of Tomorrow, this was a crazy turn. In season 3, a “glitch” in time drops Helen of Troy off in 1930s Hollywood. It’s not long before Helen is soon pursued as a movie star and, if it’s not stopped, she’ll set off a literal war between Hollywood studios. The team intends to drop her back to face her historical fate. Instead, Zari takes her 2000 years in the past to an island called… Themyscira.
When we meet her again in the season finale, Helen is now a hardened Amazon warrior who aids the team. The idea of this beauty turned into a wild warrior is brilliant and she deserved more attention. Hopefully, the Legends run into her again as this was a great spin on a historical character.
23 COME NEXT: ARTEMIS
A common bit in the 1990s was a hero suddenly replaced by a new version. Wonder Woman wasn’t immune to this either as her mother, Queen Hippolyta suddenly announced a new contest for the mantle. It was won by Artemis, a feisty warrior from a more militant tribe of Amazons. She thus went about as Wonder Woman for a time. Diana soon discovered that Hippolyta had learned of a prophecy that “Wonder Woman” would die in battle and thus ensured Diana lost so as not to meet this fate.
Indeed, Artemis did fall in combat with a demon. However, the character was so popular that she was brought back to life. A great warrior, she’d be an awesome addition to a Wonder Woman sequel.
22 MORE SCREEN TIME: KATANA
It’s well known how Suicide Squad suffered majorly from scores of reshoots and behind the scenes drama. A major victim was the character of Katana. She was imposing with her cool mask and the idea her sword carries the souls of her victims was top notch. The movie was supposed to showcase her fighting skills and the grief of her murdered husband driving her on. However, all we got was a few brief fights and not much else.
The character also showed up on the second season of Arrow but likewise not as much to do. She’s a very compelling character who deserved far more time on screen to beef her role up. Hopefully, she gets a better shot in the future.
21 COME NEXT: SONGBIRD
For years, Screaming Mimi was a C-level crook in the Marvel Universe. She used her sonic scream to injure people but beyond that, she was nothing too special. When the Avengers appeared to “die,” Baron Zemo came up with the brilliant idea of having the Masters of Evil pose as the heroic Thunderbolts to gain public trust. Mimi was remade into Songbird, her powers now enhanced so she could fly and create solid constructs with her voice.
Like the rest of the T-Bolt, Songbird realized she loved being a hero more than a crook and turned on Zemo. She’s since continued to do good work as a heroine. Even if the MCU doesn’t do the full Thunderbolts arc, Songbird would be a good secondary character to have.
20 MORE SCREEN TIME: MERA
Hopefully, the upcoming Aquaman movie corrects this. Most will agree that Jason Momoa was the best part of Justice League as a rough Aquaman whose sardonic attitude won fans over. A brief scene takes place in Atlantis as Arthur meets Mera (Amber Heard) who can control water. It was meant to be longer but some of the scenes got cut.
Heard's cameo was barely seen as anything Oscar-worthy considering the short screen time, but there was just enough to keep fans interested. She’s supposed to get much more time in the upcoming solo film.
19 COME NEXT: HAWKEYE (KATE BISHOP)
Jeremy Renner has been hinting that he might be leaving the role of Hawkeye. Thus, it would be terrific to have the mantle taken up by Kate Bishop. When Clint was believed to be dead, Kate joined with the Young Avengers and took up his name. Even after Clint came back, he was so impressed by her skills that he mentored Kate while also letting her borrow the name.
An expert archer, Kate also has a sassy attitude to win fans over. She also fights her dark past (her rich father was a major criminal) and proves herself as worthy of the mantle. A female Hawkeye would be an interesting turn to keep the MCU going.
18 MORE SCREEN TIME: ZATANNA
Smallville did a pretty good job integrating a lot of DC characters into the show. A nice highlight was Zatanna, played by Serinda Swan. She looked like she’d stepped right out of the comics page with the tuxedo and top hat. A stage magician, Zatanna has actual magical powers (usually by speaking backward) that she would use to help Clark out.
However, she only popped up in a couple of episodes which was a waste given Swan’s fun charm in the role. If anyone deserved to make more on-screen magic, it’s Zatanna.
17 COME NEXT: DEATH
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is hailed as one of the greatest comics ever published. He showed off a lot of great storylines and some terrific turns involving mythology. The most interesting take was Death. Rather than the classic Grim Reaper, Death was shown as a Goth-styled young woman with a lovely sense of humor. She’s upbeat as she collects the recently passed and offers some interesting takes on how important life is.
A great mini-series showed how one day a year, Death takes on human form to walk the Earth. They have been talking about making a Sandman movie for years, but this might be a more interesting take.
16 MORE SCREEN TIME: NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
“That is the coolest name ever!” Deadpool declared when he heard this. Many fans had to agree. A fantastic scene-stealer, the character actually was little known in the comics. However, Brianna Hildebrand made her a standout in the first Deadpool movie. Her ultra-sardonic manner and sass offset her truly amazing explosive powers. She also provided a nice foil for Deadpool’s humor.
The character returned in the sequel, now dating an ultra-perky fellow student. She worked well with the action but a lot of fans wish she’d gotten even more time to show off her wicked attitude.
15 COME NEXT: SPIDER-WOMAN
There have been a few versions of a female Spider-Man around the Marvel universe. However, the first remains the best. Jessica Drew was experimented on by her scientist father to give her spider-like abilities, including a bio-blast. She’s been through a lot from losing her powers to being impersonated by a Skrull and even becoming a mother. However, her cool costume adds appeal to make her popular.
Right now, the character is a private eye/bounty hunter and often getting into light-hearted adventures. She’s a good friend to Carol Danvers so while it may be tricky, working her into the MCU would be a great way to fire up the Spider brand.
14 MORE SCREEN TIME: BLINK
This character had been in just one story in 1994. However, she popped back up in an alternate reality tale to become a major fan favorite. This led to her joining the Exiles, a team of X-Men from alternate realities who travel through the multiverse. With her power to open up portals and her very cool appearance, the character continues to show up and ride her popularity wavy.
X-Men Days of Future Past had her on screen, showing her great teleporting abilities off. However, her role was brief. She had no dialogue at all and only served to add to the big battle at the end. She has shown up on The Gifted TV show but she deserved more time on the big screen.
13 COME NEXT: SPIDER-GWEN
In a big 2014 storyline, Spider-Man found himself working with the Spider Champions of various alternate realities. One of these was a world where, instead of Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider. The character was meant to be brief but her awesome costume won fans over and soon landed her own series. It shows Gwen trying to handle the hero life (her cop father hunting her) and crosses into the main Marvel Universe at times.
The character will be showing up in the upcoming Into the Spider-Verse animated movie. However, a live-action version would be interesting as well (just imagine Emma Stone in the part) and bring this major sensation to terrific life.
12 MORE SCREEN TIME: SIF
In the comics, Lady Sif is a major Thor character who was actually engaged to him at one point. The movie pushed her as a great warrior and Jamie Alexander looked terrific in the part. But aside from a pair of fight scenes, she didn’t have that much to actually do and her relationship with Thor was pushed aside for Jane Foster. Likewise, the sequel also gave her just one big scene and then had her in the background.
Sif did show off nicely on Agents of SHIELD but was absent from Ragnarok (due to Alexander filming her TV series Blindspot). Given her history in the comics and Alexander’s great turn, it’s a shame Sif didn’t get nearly the time to show her warrior skills off.
11 COME NEXT: AMERICA CHAVEZ
Introduced in 2011, America Chavez has become a major popular face among Marvel fans. She hails from a parallel world and possesses incredible super-strength. She’s been shown to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk and Captain Marvel to prove her power. Chavez can also access alternate realities and travel to them, letting her get views of how history can change.
The character is known for her sass and humor and how she takes no smack talk from anyone. She would be a great figure for either movies or her own TV show and wins over fans of various types to bring some nice diversity to the MCU.
10 MORE SCREEN TIME: MISS MARTIAN
On Supergirl, J’onn J’onzz thought he was the last surviving Green Martian. Then, at an alien bar, he realized something was up with Megan (Sharon Neal). She revealed herself as M’Gann M’orzz, another Martian. She claimed she’d escaped with aid from a White Martian. As it turned out, she was the White Martian who had turned on the rest of her evil race. J’onn didn’t take that discovery very well but did change his tune when M’Gann saved his life.
Neal was good in the role but almost as soon as she showed up, her character left to return to Mars and try and organize a rebellion. She showed up to help Supergirl against an invasion and later aiding J’onn find his lost father. But given her great potential of an evil creature atoning for her past, the character deserved a lot more screen time.
9 COME NEXT: DONNA TROY
Her origins are complex, to say the least. She’s been everything from a construct of a magic mirror to a lost goddess. She’s gone through several identities and more than a few turns to evil. She’s even been dead more than once. But Donna Troy still has a great appeal with fans and is a long-time DC character. The first Wonder Girl has much of the same powers as Wonder Woman and spent a long time working with the Titans. She even briefly took over as Wonder Woman when Diana was out of action.
The character’s complicated past might be a bit much to use. However, she would be great for a Wonder Woman sequel as Diana’s younger sister. In fact, she could easily headline her own solo TV show or even used in the Arrowverse to give it a little more “wonder.”
8 MORE SCREEN TIME: ARROWVERSE HUNTRESS
The first season of Arrow had the show still finding its footing. An early plotline had Oliver meeting Helena Bertinelli, the daughter of a mob boss. Helena was out for payback after finding out her father had her fiancée murdered. Oliver decided to train her and they were soon together as a couple. However, Olive realized Helena was going way too far and they split up.
Jessica DeGouw looked terrific in the role and brought a nice intensity to her scenes. However, the character only popped up in a couple more episodes and hasn’t been seen since the second season. That seems like a waste given her potential and it would be fun to pick back up and see how Helena has changed. If nothing else, having more of the Huntress would spark Arrow up a lot for fans.
7 COME NEXT: WITCHBLADE
Here’s a character screaming out for a comeback. Sara Pezzini was a New York cop who discovered the Witchblade. An ancient gauntlet used by women over the centuries (including Joan of Arc), it granted Sara enhanced strength and armor while firing off energy blasts.
There was a brief 1999 TV show but the character has slews of potential for movies or TV. Mixing a crime procedural with a supernatural heroine would be a great move. Sara herself is a fun character who constantly fights for justice. She has a strange life but she makes the best of it.
6 MORE SCREEN TIME: STARGIRL
This long-popular character is known for her spunky attitude and her very cool Cosmic Rod weapon. She first showed up on screen on Smallville. Courtney Whitmore is a teenager whose stepfather was a former hero. She takes up his mantle and joins the Justice Society, showing some great charm in the role. There was a lot of potential and the costume was dead-on but she only made a few appearances.
On Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl is part of the WWII JSA but her time on screen is short. An intriguing plot has her sent back in time where she not only forms Camelot but becomes their Merlin. In both cases, the character had slews of potential.
5 COME NEXT: SQUIRREL GIRL
Created by none other than Steve Ditko, this character was a long-time joke, known just for having the “strength of a squirrel”. However, she found new life with the idea that she was secretly a powerhouse who could take down anyone from Doctor Doom to Galactus. She currently has a beloved book packed with fourth-wall breaking humor.
Fans have been pushing for the character to show up in the MCU for years. A popular fan choice is Anna Kendrick for the part. Sure, she may be goofy but the MCU could use a dose of pure silliness and Squirrel Girl provides that in spades.
4 MORE SCREEN TIME: PSYLOCKE
It takes a lot to stand out on the X-Men but Betsy Braddock manages it. The British telepath had her mind placed into the body of a ninja-trained Asian assassin. She’s known for her very alluring look, purple hair and unique costume. X-Men Apocalypse had her played by genre favorite Olivia Munn who had the look down perfectly. Having her joining with the bad guy had potential as well.
However, her actual on-screen time was limited. Sure, she got the cool “psychic sword” and some fight scenes but given Munn’s talents and all her potential, she was shoved aside too much. The character is due to pop back up in Dark Phoenix and she will hopefully get more time.
3 COME NEXT: MS MARVEL
Right now, fans are highly anticipating Captain Marvel. But there’s also a major push for another Marvel to hit the big screen. Kamala Khan was a teenager when she was exposed to mists that gave her Inhuman abilities. In her case, she can shapeshift, meaning she can grow from an inch tall to twenty stories and make her fists giant. A big fan of Carol Danvers, she takes up the name of Ms. Marvel to defend her home, New Jersey.
Fans adore the character for her look, her attitude and the realities of being a Muslim teenager in modern America. There’s been more of a push for her to show up, if not on the big screen, then on TV (she’d be a natural for a Freeform series). Thus, fans are hoping Kamala follows Carol to the screen soon.
2 MORE SCREEN TIME: STORM
In the mid-1990s, when X-Men was first being developed, Angela Bassett was cast as Storm. However, she left the project as she wasn’t happy about the rewritten script pushing Storm to the sidelines. Some fans can’t blame her as in the comics, the woman is a major powerhouse. She’s led the team several times, had her own solo book and was even Queen of Wakanda. We ended up getting Halle Berry.
It wasn’t much better in the sequels. Storm was treated almost as an afterthought despite how powerful she is. Even a younger version in Apocalypse didn’t get nearly as much to do as she should have.
1 COME NEXT: SHE-HULK
The differences between Jennifer Walters and her cousin, Bruce Banner, are notable. Unlike Bruce, when Jen becomes She-Hulk, she retains her mind and personality. More importantly is that Jen loves the fact she can change into a six-foot-tall green-skinned powerhouse. Backed by a great sense of humor, Jen is also an expert lawyer and often tackles issues of super-heroes handling lawsuits or other issues.
Finding the right actress can be tricky but a movie version would be terrific to show her power. There’s also how she’d be perfect for a TV show that mixes a legal drama with super-hero action and show off some lower-tier MCU characters. If there’s one Marvel heroine fans truly want in the MCU, She-Hulk tops the list.