We have seen countless awesome super-heroines take charge on the battlefield, from the Black Widow to The Invisible Woman, and every time there is a stellar actress in the driver seat of these character’s core personas. Here are 29 Marvel women superheroes – some of them you know and love, and some you may not know. In addition to their on-screen personas, sit back as we pull down the curtain and show you what their real-life counterparts are up to.
Kate Mara as The Invisible Woman
Who here knows about the Fantastic Four? Well, it doesn’t matter either way, because we only want to talk about one of them. And it’s not Johnny Storm, nor is it “The Thing”. It’s Sue Storm, or The Invisible Woman, played by Kate Mara in the movie adaptation of the Marvel Comic. While the only female of the team, Storm is by no means the weakest. In addition to her ability to render herself invisible at will, she also has the power to emanate strong force fields of energy.
Kate Mara in real life
Kate is a young rising star in Hollywood, appearing on screen in places such as TV hit drama series House of Cards, as well as biographical thriller film 127 Hours. She also starred alongside Matt Damon in the thriller film The Martian. As far as her dating life goes, she was actually just recently married to Jamie Bell, her co-star on Fantastic Four who acts as “The Thing”. Mara lives in Los Angeles and is also a vegan.
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde
Ellen Page plays the role of Kitty Pryde in the X-Men films. She first makes an appearance in X3: The Last Stand, and once again in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Her powers include the ability to run through walls, floors, and ceilings, and she utilizes these abilities to great effect. In The Last Stand, they are in the midst of a fight against the rebel mutants led by Magneto, and she becomes a big part of the X-Men team, guided by Professor X and led by Wolverine.
Ellen Page in real life
If you were into watching movies around the year of 2007, there is a good chance you knew who Ellen Page was before you saw her on X-Men. That’s because she starred in the hit indie film, Juno, about a young girl in high school who becomes pregnant. She has also appeared on screen elsewhere, such as in the drama The Tracey Fragments, which won her the award for Vancouver Film Critics Best Actress. She also played a big role in the hit sci-fi thriller Inception.
Anna Paquin as Rogue
Like Kitty Pryde, Rogue is also a young mutant who is part of Professor Xavier’s school for mutants and later joins the X-Men squad in their battle against the rebels in X3: The Last Stand. But that is not the only thing they have in common – they each have a subsequent intimate relationship with Bobby the Iceman, a fellow student at the school. Rogue’s relationship with him is strained, due to her superpower – her involuntary ability to suck various types of energy out of anything she touches.
Anna Paquin in real life
Hailing from New Zealand, Anna Paquin has made her rounds in many Hollywood sets. If you don’t know her as Rogue from X-Men, there is a good chance you know her as a “band-aid” in the hit film Almost Famous, directed by Cameron Crowe. Or perhaps you’re more of “show about vampires” kind of person, in which case you perhaps know Paquin from the hit TV series True Blood. Wherever you’ve seen her on screen, you have without a doubt been taken in by her tender, yet subtly tenacious disposition.
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Gamora is a character that first appears in the film Guardians of the Galaxy. She has many superpowers, including super strength, superhuman agility, and the ability to heal extremely fast. She is a very well-trained fighter and is able to combat most of the best combatants in the galaxy. So whatever you do, don’t get thrown off by the green skin – you don’t want to fight her. Her character is played by none other than Zoe Saldana, the successful Hollywood actress.
Zoe Saldana in real life
Zoe Saldana doesn’t seem to know how to not make a strong impression on people in every movie she appears in. One classic example of this was her appearance in the record-shattering and revolutionary animated 3D film Avatar, created by James Cameron. Yes, she was a blue creature in Avatar and a green creature in Guardians of the Galaxy. If a Lord of the Rings offshoot film is ever done, they better cast her as an elf.
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel
The beauty of the Marvel universe is that even if you aren’t in comics, even if there are countless superheroes you’ve never heard of if they’re important enough – there is a good chance a movie will be made about them. Take Captain Marvel for example – if you don’t know who she is – by all means check out the trailer for her upcoming Captain Marvel film, where her character will be portrayed by none other than Brie Larson.
Brie Larson in real life
Which brings us to… Brie Larson. She is one of those actresses you simply fall in love with, not in that, “Oh, she’s really beautiful type of way”, but more like a, “Oh, she’s really beautiful and I bet I’d enjoy playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with her” type of way. Yeah, she’s that cool. You’ve seen her as Amy Schumer’s sister on the Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck, and you’ve seen her as Jonah Hill’s love interest in the movie 21 Jump Street.
Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif
So far, there hasn’t been mention of any of the strong women personas in Thor – but it is time to change that. Lady Sif, played by Jaimie Alexander, is an Asgardian warrior, and she is also Thor’s lover, who she also constantly accompanies into battle. Alexander commented on her joy of playing the character Sif in the Thor films, saying, “I genuinely love the character Sif. Each time I get to play her, there’s this growth in the character and we find out more of who she is.”
Jaimie Alexander in real life
When she isn’t cracking skulls alongside the wielder of the mighty hammer, Jaimie Alexander has also starred on screen in other places, such as her portrayal of Jessi on American TV series Kyle XY. Other than that, you may also recognize her in the NBC drama series Blindspot. As far as her personal life, in 2012 she dated actor Peter Facinelli, whom she met while filming Loosies. It turns out they hit it off, getting engaged in 2015. Unfortunately, it was not to last, and they called it off in 2016.
Chloe Bennet as Quake
Chloe Bennet plays the role of Quake, whose real name is actually Daisy Johnson. She is the daughter of villain Mister Hyde – but unlike her father – she is a superhero. She is a secret agent for the SHIELD organization, where she helps out in the intelligence department, but her contributions extend to cooler places than that. For instance, her superpower is the ability to cause earthquakes. Earthquakes! Marvel – do us a favor, and keep this lady out of California!
Chloe Bennet in real life
The actress who portrays Quake in the TV action series Agents of SHIELD, Chloe Bennet, is also supposed to play her again in the 2018 film, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. But Chloe Bennet is a versatile talent, and while she is best known for her portrayal of Quake, she has also appeared in other films, such as the 2014 short film Nostradamus, as well as doing the voice for Chase in the 2015 animated film, Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.
Jennifer Garner as Elektra
Oh, Elektra… How you love to return, in more ways than one. Elektra is a Marvel superhero, but there are times where she is a villain as well. When it comes to on-screen film, she is a hero in the 2003 film Daredevil, where she is played by Jennifer Garner, and again in the 2005 film Elektra, where she’s still played by Garner – but the Elektra character recently resurfaced as a brainwashed villain in the Netflix series Defenders, and is not played by Garner.
Jennifer Garner in real life
Out of all of the people on this list, Jennifer Garner is among the most well known and successful. Yes, Jennifer Garner has appeared in countless classic films, and there is a very high chance you’ve seen her in more films than one. Maybe you didn’t see her in that strange movie, Ghost of Girlfriends Past, with Matthew McConaughey – and we wouldn’t blame you. But a lot of people adore her from her performance in the comedy 13 Going On 30.
Halle Berry as Storm
Okay, when it comes to heroes with not only supernatural talents but also with strong leadership skills – this X-Woman is about as good as they come. She is best known as Storm, and for good reason – she is pretty darn good as conjuring up storms. She also emerges as a strong leader in the X-Men films. Portrayed by Halle Berry, probably one of her best lines is: “Do you know what happens to a toad who gets struck by lightning? Same thing that happens to everything else.” Savage!
Halle Berry in real life
But indeed, the way we see storm would not be the way it is if it wasn’t for Halle Berry’s stellar performance. She is quite an incredible actress and has a pretty awesome resume to show for it. For instance, in 2002, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the amazing performance in the Monster’s Ball, the romantic drama. If that’s not impressive enough, she is the only African American to have won this award.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, or the Wasp
Evangeline Lilly stars as Hope Van Dyne, also known as the Wasp, alongside Paul Rudd in the superhero film the Ant-man. Actually, she doesn’t turn into the “Wasp” until the 2018 film Ant-man and the Wasp. Here is an example where there is a difference between the movies and the comics – the comics have the Wasp as a super-villain, whereas in the movies, she teams up with Ant-man and they have quite the heroic mentality – and all that good stuff you love to write home about.
Evangeline Lilly in real life
But honestly, it’s all about Evangeline. This Canadian former model first came out onto the acting scene in 2004 when she starred as Kate Austen in the hit sci-fi TV series, Lost. Her appearance on Lost led her to tons of other gigs, such as The Hurt Locker. She even appeared as an elf in The Hobbit, and when that happened – that’s when The Hobbit changed from being super cool, to like – really really super cool.
Jennifer Lawrence as Young Mystique
Isn’t it amazing how fast our favorite color can change to blue? To recap, in the older X-Men films, an “older” Mystique was played by Rebecca Romijn, and once they started releasing the origin story films, “young” Mystique was being played by good ol’ Jennifer Lawrence. But hey, we’re not complaining, if you catch our drift. J-Law does an astounding job of portraying the silky smooth, acrobatic, ninja-like, shape-shifting warrior – and she even volunteered as tribute.
Jennifer Lawrence in real life
If you didn’t quite catch that last reference, it is totally cool. We don’t mean to make you feel bad, we just love making references. Yes, other than her portrayal as Young Mystique, Lawrence is well known for her work in many other films, most notably her role of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy. She also was the second youngest actress ever to receive an Academy Award, for her performance in the hit drama film Silver Linings Playbook, where she starred alongside Bradley Cooper.
Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch
There are many dynamic characters in the Marvel universe, and some are more prominent than others. One particular character who recently emerged from the superhero scene is Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch. She is a sorceress, and her powers include the ability to alter the perception of reality for others. She first appeared on screen in Captain America: Winter Soldier, and would later appear again in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This makes sense, considering she is an Avenger as well.
Elizabeth Olsen in real life
When Olsen isn’t altering the perception of our reality in the Marvel universe, she is doing it in reality as well, by making us think we actually have a chance with her (But hey, some of us can still dream). Olsen’s breakout film was in the indie drama thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, where she received nominations for various awards. Before she made it big in Hollywood, she attended New York University’s Tisch School of Arts.
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, or Phoenix
Jean Grey is a character from the Marvel X-Men comics, and she is arguably one of the strongest mutants in the entire X-Men universe. She is known to have a certain type of split personality. Sometimes she is “Jean Grey”, her tame and controlled self, and sometimes she is “Phoenix”, her wild and very deadly alter-ego. Famke Janssen does an excellent job portraying the Phoenix’s wrath in X3: The Last Stand, when she joins Magneto in his war against the “regular humans”.
Famke Janssen in real life
Famke has appeared in many other films, such as the mystery thriller hit film Taken trilogy, starring Liam Neeson. She also is very well known for appearing in the hit ABC series How to get away with murder. This X-Men actress is not only an actress, but she has also done much work as a director and a screenwriter. The first film she directed was Bringing Up Bobby a drama-comedy that was released in 2011.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
While she is mainly known as Black Widow, her real name is Natasha Romanoff, and she is a very interesting character in the Marvel universe. She is pretty much all over the place, showing up in pretty much all of the Avengers films, and kicking quite a lot of butt when she does. She is played by the talented Scarlett Johansson, and like an actress that is a master of her craft, she makes us incapable of imagining her character being played by literally anyone else.
Scarlett Johannson in real life
Scarlett Johansson, like a handful of other actresses to grace this list, is a holder of quite the plethora of accolades. She has appeared in many, many classic films, such as the spider catastrophe film Eight Legged Freaks, as well as the comedy In Good Company. She was actually one of the world’s highest paid actresses at one point and made quite a few appearances in the Forbes Celebrity 100. If that’s not enough, she even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Cobie Smulders plays the role of the confident Maria Hill in the Marvel Universe, and we first see her in the Avengers films, where she is a high profile commander within the SHIELD organization. She would eventually become leading director in all SHIELD operations, following the death of Nick Fury. Some of the Marvel movies that Smulders appears in as Hill are The Avengers, Age of Ultron, Infinity War, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Cobie Smulders in real life
In real life, Cobie Smulders is a very successful actress – and most of the world knows why. It’s probable that if you saw Smulders for the first time in an Avengers film, you wouldn’t have been the only one. However, you would have most likely been in the minority, because most of the world knows Smulders best for the hit comedy sitcom How I Met Your Mother, where she plays Robin. She is married to American actor Taran Killam, and they have two daughters together.
Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore
The role of Angel Salvadore is an interesting one. Portrayed by the talented Zoe Kravitz, we first see her character appear in the movie X-Men: First Class, as part of a group of young new mutants, recruited by the likes of a young Professor X and Magneto (of course, those weren’t their names at the time). When Magneto and Professor X split ways due to different moral views, Angel must choose who she wants to side with – she ultimately goes with Magneto and his gang.
Zoe Kravitz in real life
In real life, you may recognize Zoe’s last name as being similar to that of the rock star Lenny Kravitz – it’s not a coincidence – she is his daughter. Other than her appearance in the X-Men franchise, Kravitz has also appeared in other films, such as the role she played as Christina in the dystopian young adult hit film Divergent. In addition to her career as an actress, Kravitz, like her father, is also a frontwoman of a band – by the name of Lolawolf.
January Jones as Emma Frost
In the X-Men franchise, we come across many characters. Some are good, and some are bad. And some are simply anywhere and everywhere in between. Emma Frost, played by the beautiful January Jones, is a character with powers similar to that of Professor X in that she is able to read the minds of others. She also as the capability of turns things into frost. In the movie X-Men: First Class, she is a sidekick of Sebastian Shaw, the energy consuming mutant villain played by Kevin Bacon.
January Jones in real life
January Jones as appeared in films all over Hollywood, and we’d be very surprised if you haven’t seen her in anything else other than X-Men. For instance, if you’re a fan of the teen comedy American Pie franchise, she plays the role of Cadence, Michelle’s bridesmaid in American Wedding. Or perhaps you’re more a fan of classic TV dramas – she plays Betty Draper in Mad Men. Whichever character she portrays – she always leaves us wanting more.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
And then, of course, you have the silky smooth Pepper Potts. There is something to be said about the significant others of superheroes. They are the ones that must deal with the primadonna natures of their ever-so-eccentric partners. And they are usually in charge of the gears than we realize. Take Pepper Potts for example – she started out as the assistant of Tony Stark (Ironman) and ended up his girlfriend, and the CEO of Stark Industries. She was never afraid to tell Stark when he was making a dumb decision.
Gwyneth Paltrow in real life
In real life, Gwyneth Paltrow is quite the Hollywood star. She has shown up pretty much anywhere you can think of, from the role of Rosemary in the romantic comedy Shallow Hal to the role of Margot in the classic comedy-drama The Royal Tenenbaums. She was also the longtime husband of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, to whom she was married to for 13 years until they split in 2016. Paltrow is also an active food writer.
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson
Ahh, Spider-Man – and of course, it is crucial to say which version we are referring to. Let’s start with Tobey Maguire Spiderman – might as well go chronologically – where Kirsten Dunst plays the role of Mary Jane Watson. As mentioned before, the girlfriends of our favorite superheroes always seem to have a strong intuition for their partner. Peter Parker is almost impossible for Mary Jane to figure out, and he constantly disappoints her, and yet – she seems to always know that he has a good reason.
Kirsten Dunst in real life
The role of Mary Jane Watson gets pulled off quite well by Dunst, and she is quite the stunner in the process. She has also been a very successful actress in other films, and she started really young. When she was a mere 13 years old, she starred in the hit children fantasy film Jumanji alongside the late Robin Williams. As she got older, she began to appear in other hits, such as the dramatic thriller Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Ok, so we covered the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, now let’s move on to the Andrew Garfield one (by no means a 2.0 situation). In this universe, the significant other of Peter Parker is actually not Mary Jane Watson, but his earlier comic book girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, who is played by the lovable Emma Stone. Like Watson, she has a strong intuition that Peter is always more than he says he is – unlike Watson she and Peter actually have something in common – they are both scientists.
Emma Stone in real life
So, Marvel just pulls out all of the stops with these actresses, huh? They have no interest in finding any newbies, but rather they enjoy finding the best of the bunch. But hey, we’re not complaining – Emma Stone is awesome. She first came onto the scene in her role of Jules in the young adult cult comedy hit Superbad. She then started expanding her roles, from the dystopian comedy Zombieland, to her appearance in the hit classic Crazy, Stupid, Love, to her appearance in the musical La, La, Land.
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
It’s time to return back to the world of Thor. When it comes to Marvel, there are usually interesting disparities between the comics and the movies. The case of Thor is no different. For instance, in the Thor comics, Jane Foster is a character that would ultimately become worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer, and in effect actually becoming Thor herself. In the movie, not so much – in the movie, she is the scientist who helps Thor out – with science, and with becoming his girlfriend.
Natalie Portman in real life
When it comes to classic notable powerhouse actresses that appear in the Marvel universe, the list pretty much goes on and on. In this case, it’s Natalie Portman – another one that has her name splattered all across modern hit films, such as the comedic drama hit film Garden State, or her depiction of Padme in the fantasy classic Star Wars. The list goes on and on. She is married to Benjamin Millepied and has two children with him.
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
In the Captain America installment of the Marvel universe, Captain America is involved in a romantic relationship with Peggy Carter, a military official who is by no means a damsel in distress. But don’t get too excited, friends, because their relationship story is relatively a sad one. Our Captain America ends up crashing on a jet plane, and while we know that he doesn’t actually die… the preservation of his body for 70 years keeps him alive, but in effect kills whatever relationship he may have had with Miss Carter.
Hayley Atwell in real life
When Atwell first appeared on screen as Miss Carter in the Marvel universe, she wasn’t immediately as well known as her contemporary Marvel women such as Portman or Paltrow – but that would change very soon. Her impact in the Marvel series has made this British talent a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. For instance, she has since appeared in the hit Jimi Hendrix biopic about his life, portraying the role of his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham.
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
For those of you who are well versed in Marvel comics, you may have heard of Jessica Jones well before her character was given her own Netflix original show. But we’ll give you a background either way. Portrayed by the lovely Krysten Ritter, Jones is a hard-edged, gritty super detective. She is considered a superhero, and yet she has no superpowers or special devices of any kind to help her fight – but this just makes her all the more intriguing and impressive.
Krysten Ritter in real life
Ritter seems to have an affinity for roles of characters that clearly came from a rough neck of the woods. For instance, she played Jesse’s girlfriend Jane on Breaking Bad, who overdosed on heroin. She was also the star of the hit TV comedy series Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23, where she played Chloe, a girl who you’d probably want to steer clear from in real life. That being said, she’s actually quite nice – just ask her boyfriend of four years, guitarist Adam Granduciel.
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter
We discussed earlier the character of Peggy Carter, the love interest of Captain America. 70 years later, Captain America has been frozen all this time and he is still young, alive, and ready to mingle – and who better to seek out his heart than Peggy’s great niece, Sharon Carter. Played by Emily VanCamp, Sharon, like her great-aunt, is also SHIELD agent who isn’t afraid to get into battle when the action calls for it – when she isn’t kissing superheroes such as Captain America.
Emily VanCamp in real life
Other than her appearance in the Captain America films, VanCamp is perhaps best known for her role as Amy Abbott on the WB drama series Everwood. She also acted in Brothers and Sisters and Revenge, both ABC dramas, the latter where she met her current fiance, Josh Bowman. Indeed, when it comes to her love life, she has actually been dating Bowman since 2011, and we are so happy for them that they plan on getting married!
Olivia Munn as Psylocke
In the X-Men series, we have already acknowledged that the amount of superheroes that exist in that universe is simply off the charts. In the X-Men: Apocalypse movie, we are introduced to a character named Psylocke, one of the “four horsemen” of the mutant villain Apocalypse, and her superpower is that she is telekinetic, and has the ability to generate psionic weapons. Considering that Psylocke is a master of the sword, naturally, the weapons she chooses to generate are swords – and they are magnificent.
Olivia Munn in real life
The portrayer of Psylocke is none other than Olivia Munn, a name you undoubtedly have heard before. Unlike all of the other actresses we spoke of, she started off her professional career in journalism, and you may have actually seen her on The Daily Show, or Attack of the Show (both news shows). Eventually, she would get into Hollywood acting, where she would appear on the hit TV series The Newsroom (clearly she couldn’t stay too far away from journalism), as well as the hit comedy film, Magic Mike.
Jessica Chastain as Veranke
This may seem mysterious, but we like it that way. Veranke will appear in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, an exciting upcoming film that has not yet been released. The intelligent and very talented Jessica Chastain will be playing the role of this villain Veranke, a Skrull Queen who Marvel Comic fanatics will already know about. It is said that her role in the upcoming film will be to manipulate Jean Grey, the Dark Phoenix, to her advantage – sounds awfully sinister.
Jessica Chastain in real life
In whatever role Chastain plays, whether it’s an astronaut in the hit thriller film The Martian, or whether it’s a woman getting arrested in the middle of the night in the crime film Molly’s Game, or whether it’s an insecure woman in Jackson, Mississippi in the drama film The Help – the consensus is that she always looks attractive – but not just because of her looks. She simply exudes this demeanor of confidence and ingenuity that can’t be replicated – it’s simply the Chastain Effect.
Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker
Trish Walker is a character that overlaps into many Marvel storylines, but perhaps her most prominent appearance is in the Jessica Jones Netflix original series, where she is portrayed by Rachael Taylor. Walker has a background of having a tumultuous upbringing, and as she gets older somehow manages to piece her life together, growing into an earnest and sophisticated talk show host. She is also a long time friend of Jessica Jones and is very supportive of her as she runs off doing her superhero thing.
Rachael Taylor in real life
Though the accent doesn’t show it in Jessica Jones, Miss Taylor is actually Australian, and she has enjoyed various successful appearances in other films and TV shows as well, such as her recurring role as Dr. Lucy Fields on the hit medical drama series, Grey’s Anatomy. In the film department, she portrayed the role of Maggie Madsen in the Michael Bay-directed sci-fi thriller film Transformers, starring alongside Shia Labeouf. Taylor has also done work as a model in addition to acting.
Karen Gillan as Nebula
If you’ve watched the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy, then you most likely remember Nebula, an alien supervillain who is also part-cyborg. If you didn’t see the movie, take a look at this picture – would you ever trifle with her? We didn’t think so. By the way, her sister is the previously mentioned Gamora, who is constantly providing Nebula with opportunities to redeem her evil ways. The actress who plays Nebula is Karen Gillan, and no, she is not bald in real life – nor is she a cyborg.