Casting: it's a huge part of the movie-making process and it can frequently contribute to a film's success or failure. But with more and more attention being paid to casting in films these days — be it the accuracy of an adaptation or whether a particular actor is right for the job — it feels like which actors are chosen to star could make or break a movie more than ever before. So when it comes to envisioning some alternate film history, like imagining iconic male movie characters as women, it can not only change our perception of the film in question, but it also opens up the floor for the argument that there've been plenty of ladies over the years that could've taken the leads in some of your favorite movies.
All throughout film history, men have gotten the chance to lead action movies, dramas, comedies, horror films, superhero flicks... the list goes on and on. Sure, women show up. They can be part of the team or they play love interests, but rarely has there been room in some of the most iconic films to date for meaningful female characters to come through.
So what if a woman had been cast as Luke Skywalker? Or what about a lady as James Bond? Can you even imagine how cool it would have been to see a female Terminator way back in the 1980s? It would have been a serious game-changer. So, in that spirit of imagining what could have been, here are some iconic male movie characters that could have totally been played by women.
1. The Terminator, Terminator
The Terminator is technically a genderless killing machine, so instead of waiting multiple films to see a female Terminator, we should have just had one from the very beginning.
2. Rocky Balboa, Rocky
Yes, Rocky is super iconic. But a female boxer living in Philadelphia in the 1970s who is fighting her way to boxing glory? Sign me up.
3. John McClane, Die Hard
A female John McClane would have been a true surprise to the dastardly Hans Gruber.
4. Rick Deckard, Blade Runner
As far as I can tell, women can be Blade Runners, too. So why wasn't Rick?
5. Rick Blaine, Casablanca
A gender-swapped Casablanca, with Rick as a woman and Ilse as a man (with names changed, too) would have been just as romantic and meaningful.
6. Grant, Jurassic Park
Yes, Ellie Sattler is the OG of Jurassic Park, but Grant is undoubtedly the hero of the film and considering he set the trend for the gender of Jurassic heroes in future films, it could have been nice to see a female paleontologist save the day.
7. Norman Bates, Psycho
Because who wouldn't love to add another layer of psychological drama onto the already iconic and scary character of Norman Bates?
8. Ethan Hunt, Mission: Impossible
Imagine all of Ethan's iconic Mission: Impossible stunts. Now, imagine a woman doing them just as well and her gender never playing into how she completes those tasks. Amazing, right? Sure, Ethan's worked with women over the years, but a female team leader? That's what we need.
9. Captain Kirk, Star Trek
Captain Kirk is undoubtedly iconic, but there's no reason that the reverence, strong leadership skills, and powerful presence cannot be transposed to a female Kirk. Plus, the egalitarian nature of Star Trek would totally allow for a female captain.
10. Neo, The Matrix
The chosen savior of humanity could have totally been a woman, I'm convinced of it.
11. Luke Skywalker, The Star Wars Series
In a galaxy far, far away, does the gender binary even exist? Are there any rules that Luke had to be male? I think not. In fact, the idea of a female Luke Skywalker teaming up with her twin, Princess Leia, to save the galaxy sounds even more badass.
12. Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A female Ferris Bueller would have been so cool, you guys.
13. Marty McFly, Back To The Future
There's nothing saying that Marty McFly had to be a boy, to be perfectly honest. Furthermore, the story could have worked just as well — and we probably wouldn't have to navigate that creepy romantic subplot Marty has with his mom when he goes back in time.
14. Brennan Huff & Dale Doback, Step Brothers
The rise of the female-led comedy has been in motion for a while, and a casting change like this could have made Step Brothers a blast and a half while adding the film to the female-led comedy canon.
15. James Bond, The James Bond Series
Just because James Bond is a man in the original novels and in the films from the '60s and '70s doesn't mean the casting team couldn't hav made some bolder choices.
16. Tyler Durden, Fight Club
If the Brad Pitt version of Tyler Durden isn't technically real, then who says the character has to be a guy? It would have been a great tweak on this book-to-film adaptation.
17. Mad Max Rockatansky, Mad Max Series
It's one thing for Max Mad: Fury Road to give us some amazing female characters, but this series could have done it a long time ago by making Max a woman. That would have been totally badass.