If you felt iffy about that Avengers: Endgame girl power scene, that’s valid! Though it was undeniably special to see some of the best female Marvel characters head into battle together, the all-girl lineup was also a reminder that women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe rarely get to work together in the same way their male counterparts do. (One big exception? The Dora Milaje.)
Of course, that isn’t to say there’s a dearth of amazing Marvel women worth celebrating. There are actually way more than could ever fit on one list. And even more women will be introduced soon: Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ironheart are just a few female heroes getting their own Disney+ projects in Phase 4. In the meantime, here are some of the best female Marvel characters so far — pulled from the comics, movies, Disney+ series, and the (former) Netflix shows made canon thanks to the events of Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
35. Sharon Carter
Peggy Carter’s grand-niece, Sharon, may be entering her evil girlboss era after the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — but can you blame her? After long proving herself to be one of the most loyal (and capable) allies to the Avengers, she was basically abandoned by the group until recently. In the Marvel Comics, Sharon (aka Agent 13) is one of Steve Rogers’ closest companions.
34. Cassie Lang
Though Hope and Scott have been partners up to now, you can bet that Cassie Lang will be making the super-insect duo a trio come Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Cassie has always supported Scott’s superhero antics — “I want to help people. Like my dad,” she tells Hope in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Now five years older, thanks to the Blip, it looks like Cassie is getting ready to do just that. In the comics, she joins the Young Avengers as Stature, a hero with shrinking and growing abilities.
33. Darcy Lewis
As you’ve probably noticed, many Marvel women characters (and Marvel characters in general) are changed in translation from comics to screen. But every once in a while, there’s not even comic book source material to pull from. Such is the case with Darcy Lewis, a character created specifically for 2011’s Thor. Since being introduced as Jane Foster’s hilariously dry-humored student assistant, WandaVision saw Darcy take on a life of her own.
32. Xu Xialing
One of the most recent Marvel women characters to join the MCU, Xu Xialing isn’t quite ready to fall in with the Avengers like her brother, Shang-Chi. She’s the new leader of the Ten Rings after all, and she’s busy training her new group of female fighters — hopefully for better missions than Wenwu, but who knows.
31. Pepper Potts
Whether Gwyneth Paltrow knows it or not, she plays one of the longest-running female characters in the MCU. Far from just being a major source of support for Tony Stark, her work with the Avengers — in the Rescue suit or not — has helped the team several times, not the least of which was the final showdown against Thanos. Though Tony may be gone, Pepper could theoretically return to the MCU in a mentor role to Riri Williams’ Ironheart.
30. Jean Grey (Phoenix)
Before there was Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel, there was Marvel Girl — better known as Jean Grey or Phoenix, whose powers of telepathy, telekinesis, and astral projection (to name a few) make her one of the most formidable Marvel mutants. With rumors pointing to more mutants getting involved in the MCU via Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, there’s reason to believe that the Phoenix will rise yet again.
29. Jane Foster
Though Jane hasn’t been given the chance to flex her full potential quite yet, that will literally change in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder (the biceps in this movie are mighty impressive). The renowned astrophysicist is one of the few Marvel characters to wield Mjölnir, meaning she’s worthy in a way we might not fully understand just yet.
28. Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl)
No, really! Though MCU audiences haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Squirrel Girl (aka Doreen Green), the hero does befriend Ms. Marvel in the comics. Look out for rodent Easter eggs in the upcoming MCU series!
Doreen’s squirrel-like genetics give her superhuman speed and agility, which are just a couple of her powers. When she’s not hanging out with her squirrel friends or fighting alongside the Avengers, she teaches coding to high schoolers like Kamala Khan. Hey, if we can accept Ant-Man...
From relationship woes to the big, ethical dilemma of what to do about the Emergence, the Eternals were dealing with a lot while Makkari was pretty much just hanging out and waiting to go home. Relatable! But don’t mistake Makkari’s cool, laidback vibe for not being a team player. As her beach fight with Ikaris proved, she’s an extremely powerful Eternal who is endlessly loyal to her makeshift family (even if she’s not quite as loyal to Arishem, the worst dad ever).
Whether she’s outfitting a mission with stylish (and very high-tech) tactical gear or providing some much-needed little sister energy to her royal family, Shuri is a major part of what makes Wakanda thrive. Though she hasn’t known the Avengers too long, she’s already shaping up to be one of their top allies, too.
25. Maria Hill
Where would the Avengers be without Maria Hill? Probably dead! Well, they’d at least die much sooner. The deputy S.H.I.E.L.D. director-turned-defector helped Natasha, Steve Rogers, and co. through some of their trickiest missions — from the Battle of New York to taking down Project Insight.
24. Peggy Carter
Of course, it’s not that surprising that Maria is such a strong part of the team — her S.H.I.E.L.D. forebears include founder Peggy Carter, who helped Steve fight Hydra all the way back in World War II.
23. Maya Lopez (Echo)
The MCU has no shortage of morally gray heroes (hi, Bucky!) — and just like the Winter Soldier before her, Maya Lopez is breaking free from her very sketchy employer to use her talents for good. Or at least, not that bad. While Echo’s upcoming Disney+ series will provide a closer look at what the skilled fighter gets up to, the Marvel Comics give us a few clues. Here, she befriends both Matt Murdock and the Avengers, going on to fight with the group on an international level.
22. Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk)
A hero with all the benefits of super strength and a vocabulary way more varied than “Hulk, smash”? Marvel-ous. Bruce Banner’s cousin, Jennifer Walters, inherited his condition after an emergency blood transfusion — but in the comics, she gets to retain her brains and brawn while Hulking it up.
21. Susan Storm (Invisible Woman)
Marvel’s first female superhero co-founded the Fantastic Four and has a classic set of powers, including force fields and invisibility that extends from her body to other objects, too. As Olivia Truffaut-Wong wrote for Bustle, the latest onscreen iteration of Sue Storm was a high point of the much-criticized 2015 Fantastic Four film, but here’s hoping the Phase 4 version expands her character even more.
Gamora’s fellow Guardian of the Galaxy Mantis is among the MCU’s most underrated heroes — or threats if you’re on the wrong end of her telepathy skills. But as it turns out, the powers to pacify enemies with sleep and feel her friends’ deepest emotions are just the beginning. In the comics, Mantis is a trained martial artist whose moniker stems from her unique ability to take down male rivals.
19. Riri Williams (Ironheart)
Some might say it took a while for Tony Stark to find his heart in the MCU — but in the Marvel Comics, his protégé Riri Williams is guided by hers from Day 1. The teen genius takes on her superhero mantle after her best friend and stepfather were killed in a shooting.
18. Jessica Jones
Unlike most of her fellow Marvel women characters, the bulk of Jessica Jones’ story sort of happens in reverse. She’s not a normal girl-turned-superhero, but a superhero-turned-PI trying to live a low-key life while reckoning with a traumatic past. All the while, her streetwear and sardonic vibes make her one of the MCU’s coolest characters. Equipped with super strength after a childhood accident, Jessica eventually falls in with the Avengers in the Marvel Comics.
17. Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel)
Kamala Khan may be a relatively recent addition to the Marvel Comics (and, soon, to the MCU), but she’s already challenging the superhero status quo in a major way. As she says in the Ms. Marvel trailer, “It’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who get to save the world” — a belief she turns on its head by embracing her “embiggen” powers and new alter ego, Ms. Marvel.
16. Yelena Belova
From her film debut to Hawkeye, Yelena has proven herself to be a worthy recipient of the Black Widow mantle — plus, she’s already being set up as a player on the Young Avengers (or Thunderbolts, depending on who you ask). Either way, her friendship with Kate Bishop is one of the most delightful MCU developments in recent memory.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who loves Wakanda more than Okoye loves Wakanda (and that’s saying something). Just like in the Marvel Comics, Okoye is a skilled fighter for the Dora Milaje. As she proved in that Black Panther face-off with W’Kabi, she holds her country above all else — even her (ostensibly ex-) boyfriend. In Endgame, Okoye was a key part of the surviving Avengers’ operation, proving that she’s down to connect Wakanda to the rest of the world.
14. Gwen Stacy
Only two Spider-Man films center Gwen Stacy as Peter Parker’s true love. But even in that short amount of time, Gwen made a major impact on fans — not just as Peter’s girlfriend, but as a passionate scientist, too. And as we saw in Into the Spider-Verse, another universe’s Gwen Stacy goes on to become a capable web-slinger in her own right.
We’ve watched Valkyrie grow from being a solitary Sakaar scrapper with a few bad habits to being Thor’s new best friend and newly minted King of Asgard — but there’s still so much to know about the Asgardian fave. (Like, for example, what’s her real name?) In the Marvel Comics, Valkyrie isn’t just a super skilled fighter but also has the ability to see death before it happens. Creepy... but very useful.
12. Karen Page
From Matt Murdock to Frank Castle, Karen has a soft spot for the people who take Hell’s Kitchen crime into their own hands. Of course, she has her own way to deal with the whole justice thing, which is using her investigative journalism skills to expose bad guys and exonerate good ones. Karen’s reporting (official and otherwise) gets her into some pretty dangerous situations. So if sheer bravery were a superpower, she wouldn’t just be one of the best female Marvel characters — she’d be one of the most powerful, too.
11. Ororo Munroe (Storm)
You probably already from the X-Men films that Storm, or Ororo Munroe, is one of the most powerful Marvel characters, equipped with the ability to control the elements. But did you know that in the Marvel Comics, Storm is also tied to a major Avenger? Ororo and T’Challa got married, making her the Queen of Wakanda — and there are theories that Storm may appear during Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Just who (and why) is Gamora? Though our favorite green girl’s evil adopted dad is finally out of the picture, the living, 2014 version of Gamora now has to figure out who she is — or had become by 2019. Yeah, MCU time travel is hard. Though film viewers know Gamora as an Avengers-adjacent fighter, she also spends time with another powerful group in the Marvel Comics called the Graces, a group of cosmic female warriors.
9. Hope Van Dyne (The Wasp)
In 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp became the first MCU movie to feature a female character in its title. But the Wasp was breaking ground for Marvel way earlier than that. In fact, she was part of the inaugural Avengers team back in 1963. Though that Wasp was technically Janet van Dyne, the MCU has instead placed the focus on Hope — a fierce scientist who taught Ant-Man how to fight and saved his life once or twice, too.
8. Claire Temple (Night Nurse)
When Marvel’s New York vigilantes get hurt, they go to Claire Temple for much-needed medical care — and sometimes love. Though there is a Claire Temple in the Marvel Comics, Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight told IGN that Claire’s on-screen persona is more closely based on Night Nurse: a trusted medic to the heroes, who eventually opens up a specialized clinic just for them. Basically, while the Avengers are busy fighting aliens and other Very Big Threats, Claire helps keep the MCU’s more down-to-earth heroes running — and alive. A truly unsung hero!
7. MJ Watson
Marvel itself describes MJ as “the guiding light in Peter Parker's life,” and from Sam Raimi’s Spidey films to the most current trilogy, that’s definitely proven to be true. Ultimately, Zendaya’s MJ became an even more active ally to Spider-Man than in previous films — but in pretty much every iteration, MJ and Peter’s romance is friends-to-lovers goodness.
6. Kate Bishop (Hawkeye)
For starters, Kate Bishop’s fangirling over an Avenger makes her one of the most relatable characters in the Marvel canon, period. But in taking up the Hawkeye mantle, she’s also found a way to turn her trauma into a passion for protecting others — and that makes her an amazing Avenger-in-training, even if she doesn’t have literal superpowers.
5. Monica Rambeau (Spectrum)
Despite joining the MCU in 2019, we’ve already seen Monica Rambeau through a lot — from being Captain Marvel’s wide-eyed, No. 1 fan as a kid to getting directly involved in the superhero business during the events of WandaVision. From the Marvel Comics, we know she plays a pivotal role and sports the Captain Marvel mantle well before Carol Danvers.
Now that Monica’s time in the Hex has given her newfound energy-twisting powers, she’s become Spectrum before our very eyes — which will make her reconnection (or potential showdown) with Captain Marvel in The Marvels even more thrilling.
4. Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel)
Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, is still learning how to play with a team — but already, she’s proven herself to be an essential part of the Avengers lineup. In the comics, she also co-founds another superhero team, the A-Force, comprised entirely of fellow female heroes like Medusa and Singularity, an interdimensional being who’s born when the Multiverse collapses. Is there a better time to introduce that kind of power to the MCU?
3. Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)
Yes, Natasha had killer stealth skills and countless memorable hair moments. But beyond all the Black Widow gravitas, she was just a woman who would do anything for her chosen family. Her decade-plus in the MCU proves how much the superhero genre — and specifically, its treatment of women — has changed over time. “You look back at Iron Man 2, and while it was really fun, the character is so sexualized,” Scarlett Johansson told Bustle in 2019. “Really talked about like she is like a possession or a piece of ass ... It’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and not just be a part of that old story but actually evolve.”
2. Aunt May
Though Uncle Ben is often cited as the catalyst for Peter Parker’s moral compass and “with great power...” philosophy, Aunt May has been just as important a guiding force in every Spidey iteration. (And Marisa Tomei happened to make her extremely cool, too.) So while her fate in No Way Home is still way too painful to talk about, it also speaks to the MCU’s recognition of her power in Peter’s life. It was May who reminded him — even on her deathbed! — that it’s worth helping people. Always. TBH, what’s more heroic?
1. Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch)
She is the moment! Not only is Wanda Maximoff one of Marvel’s most powerful characters, but she’s a relatable fave, too — one who pretty much shifted her way to a happier reality based on the TV shows she loved as a kid. As the Scarlet Witch learns to embrace everything she’s capable of (hey, Doctor Strange 2), she remains one of the franchise’s most exciting heroes to watch.