Characters are rarely relevant in horror movies, but science fiction movies, especially if they’re combined with horror, tend to put more effort into their character development. Sci-fi horror movies come in all shapes and sizes, as do the characters from these movies.
In this article, we are going to bring you a list of the five best black female characters that appear in science fiction and horror movies. We’re not going to focus solely on protagonists and leads, which is why this list is going to be a relatively diverse one in terms of its characters.
1. Nyota Uhura
Star Trek is absolutely one of the main pillars of modern science fiction, and although it cannot be considered a horror work, there have been some pretty twisted and fear-inducing plots over the years. Nyota Uhura, better known as Lieutenant Uhura, was a truly important character in the original series, where she was played by Nichelle Nichols.
Uhura’s legacy is not just relevant in-universe but also in real life. She was one of the first black characters that had a non-menial role in American television and one of the first female black characters to be a relevant cast member in a mainstream television series.
The character was later portrayed by Zoe Saldana in the reboot film series, where she also played a crucial and important role. Lieutenant Uhura is certainly a relevant character and there is absolutely no doubt that she deserved a spot on this list as one of the most important black female characters, not just in the history of science fiction, but in the history of television in general.
2. Michonne Hawthorne
The Walking Dead is probably one of the best examples of blending science fiction and horror you’ll find. It started off as a comic book, only to become one of the biggest and most popular franchises of our era, with the television series being its biggest asset.
The franchise has given us a lot of great characters, but the one that best meets the criteria of our list is Michonne Hawthorne, played by Danai Gurira in the television series. Michonne is a truly badass character in every way, and a character that has certainly marked the show since her introduction as the main character in season three.
Her historical importance might not be that big, as she appeared in a period of television history when black female characters became more common, but her narrative importance is truly enormous, as is she herself, chiefly because she has such great development and because a lot of effort was put into her evolution within the series. Danai Gurira also did an excellent job interpreting her, and that is why the character landed on our list.
3. Martha Jones
The world of Doctor Who is one of the most beloved science fiction franchises ever. Created by BBC’s producers, Doctor Who is one of the biggest science fiction series ever and has been around for more than half a century. A plethora of different characters have appeared throughout the series and while the Doctors are certainly the most famous among them, the secondary characters have also gained some fame.
One of them, relevant to our list, is Martha Jones, who appeared in both Doctor Who and Torchwood. A med student, Martha Jones becomes the time travelling companion of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) after an incident in the hospital; for the duration of the series, she was the Tenth Doctor’s second companion, succeeding Rose Tyler and preceding Donna Noble.
The character of Martha Jones was portrayed by British actress Freema Agyeman, a television alumni who has also appeared in a lot of other popular television series. Agyeman has done a great job interpreting Martha and is definitely one of the reasons we included the character on this list.
4. Adelaide Wilson / Red
Jordan Peele’s hit movie Get Out earned him an Oscar, but it was Us that cemented his reputation as one of the most innovative filmmakers of the modern area. His take on the horror genre, which combines realism, fantasy and science fiction with horror that borders on the supernatural and Lovecraftian, has given us some truly brilliant works and Us is certainly on the list.
Lupita Nyong’o blessed us with her double interpretation of both Adelaide Wilson, the film’s traumatized protagonist, and her “other”, Red, the film’s apparent antagonist. Both of these interpretations have been Oscar-worthy and Nyong’o has once more demonstrated why she is such a great actress and why she is capable of playing practically any role she is given.
The two characters are great in their own rights, especially the somewhat neurotic and ultimately completely chaotic interplay between Adelaide and Red, which made the film a true marvel to watch. This is certainly among the most memorable interpretations in recent years in general, and since it satisfies our criteria, we decided to list it here.
5. Amanda Waller
DC Comics’ unlikely antiheroine, Amanda Waller, finally appeared on the big screen in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad and reappeared in James Gunn’s standalone sequel, The Suicide Squad. Although Batman’s stories could be better described as fantasy, rather than science fiction, they have more than enough science fiction elements and horror elements, especially the Suicide Squad stories, that Amanda Waller certainly meets the main criteria of this list.
The character of Amanda Waller is badass in every sense of the world. She is a powerful black female character in a world run by white men in positions of power, which makes her role even more important. She has a reputation of being ruthless and even the toughest among DC’s heroes and villains usually don’t cross her.
In both movies, she was masterfully interpreted by Oscar-winner Viola Davis, who gave the role a lot of depth and made it her own. It is really difficult to imagine anyone else in the role right now, and thanks to Viola – the character found her place on our list.