In recent years, it’s become an easy-to-spot trend in Hollywood film and TV productions as well as at comic book publishers. They are taking male characters and replacing them with female characters.
Now, sometimes they directly inherit the male character’s name and title, but there are also plenty of cases where the female character does not do this, but instead just takes on the leading role from the male character.
We are going to do our best to list out every time this has happened. This will be an on-going list and is not exhaustive at this moment.
1. Rey Skywalker
After Disney purchased Lucasfilm, they rebooted the Star Wars universe with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film that copies almost beat for beat the original Star Wars film. While Disney didn’t call it a reboot, it’s clear that this is exactly what it is.
Not only did they reboot Star Wars with The Force Awakens, but they introduced a character named Rey who would go on to replace legendary Jedi hero Luke Skywalker. In fact, in the final movie of the trilogy of this new Star Wars rebooted universe, Disney has Rey take the Skywalker name despite being a Palpatine.
2. Riri Williams
Riri Williams was first introduced in Invincible Iron Man #7 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato. In her first appearance she’s clearly seen working on her own Iron Man-like suit.
When the next volume of Invincible Iron Man dropped, Riri Williams would take on the mantle of Iron Man in Invincible Iron Man #1.
3. Grace Harper
In Terminator: Dark Fate, Grace Harper replaced Kyle Reese from the first Terminator film as well as the T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day in the role of guardian and protector.
Harper is sent back in time to protect Dani Ramos similar to how Reese was sent back in time to protect John Connor and his mom Sarah Connor from the T-800. It’s also similar to how the T-800 is sent back in time to protect John Connor from the T-1000.
4. The Ghostbusters
In 2016, Sony Pictures replaced all of the The Ghostbusters with female versions of the characters played by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones.
The original Ghostbusters were all men played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson.
In Kevin Smith’s recently released Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Teela replaces He-Man as the main protagonist after He-Man is killed off.
Smith explained the replacement, “How we do it in episode one is he gives his f***ing life. He sacrifices his life. Now, you know, I’ve been accused of lying for saying that He-Man does no stepping aside. If He-Man giving his life for the entire universe is stepping aside then Tony Stark stepped aside, Jesus Christ stepped aside.”
“It’s a messianic moment and if you follow classic literature, the heroes arc, it’s where the hero has to go eventually. You have to sacrifice your life for some greater cause,” Smith stated.
After He-Man is dead, Teela takes his place.
Amazon Studios gender-swapped Stormfront in the second season of their television adaptation of The Boys. The new gender-swapped version of the character was played by Aya Cash.
In the original The Boys comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, Stormfront is a male superhero created by Nazi Germany. The character led the superhero team known as Payback.
7. The Equalizer
The Equalizer was a 2014 film directed by Antoine Fuqua that starred Denzel Washington as Robert McCall who decides to take on a number of Russian gangsters.
Both Fuqua and Washington would return for The Equalizer 2 in 2018.
However, before it became a film starring Denzel Washington it was a TV series starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall that aired on CBS beginning in 1985.
Both McCall and Washington’s character would get gender-swapped in a CBS series starring Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall beginning in 2021.
Starbuck was gender swapped in Ronald D. Moore’s 2004 Battlestar Galactica. The character was played by Katee Sackhoff and was renamed Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace.
In the original 1978 version created by Glen A. Larson, Starbuck was played by Dirk Benedict and Starbuck was not a call sign. Rather his name was Lieutenant Starbuck.
9. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel or the Kree Mar-Vell was originally created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan and first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 back in 1967. In his first appearance the character is clearly called Captain Marvel.
Now, Marvel Comics has introduced a number of characters using the title of Captain Marvel including Monica Rambeau, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell, the Skrull Khn’nr, Noh-Var, and Carol Danvers.
Danvers is the current Captain Marvel taking on Mar-Vell’s title and role in Avenging Spider-Man #9.
10. The Ancient One
Marvel Studios gender swapped The Ancient One in their Doctor Strange film by casting Tilda Swinton to play the character.
The Ancient One was originally a man. He appeared first appeared in Strange Tales #110 and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
In the pages of Daredevil #25 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Marcio Menyz, Elektra Nachios becomes Daredevil after failing to persuade Matt Murdock to join her in her battle against the Hand.
Murdock tells her that if she really wants to start working for the light that she must prove it. And she sets out to prove herself by becoming Daredevil.
12. Cruz Ramirez
In Cars 3, Lightning McQueen is replaced by the female vehicle Cruz Ramirez.
Ramirez is originally introduced as McQueen’s new trainer, but as the film progresses, McQueen eventually decides to let Cruz be his replacement and he becomes her crew chief.
The replacement becomes official when McQueen makes a pitstop during the Florida 500, and Cruz returns to the track in his place.
Not only does Cruz replace McQueen, but she’s also able to pull off a move that only McQueen’s mentor Doc Hudson was able to pull off.
13. Dani Ramos
In Terminator: Dark Fate, the film begins by killing off the Terminator franchise’s hero, John Connor.
With John Connor dead, Terminator: Dark Fate introduces Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes, to fulfill his role. In fact, in the movie after Judgment Day she becomes the leader of the Resistance against the film’s antagonist, Legion.
Eventually, she discovers that a Terminator had been sent back in time to kill her younger self. In order to prevent her younger self from dying, her friend Grace volunteers to travel back in time to protect her younger self.
Then like John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dani is protected by Grace and flees from the advanced Rev-9 Terminator.
14. Doctor Who
The BBC gender swapped Doctor Who with the introduction of the The Thirteenth Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker beginning with the 2018 episode “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”
All previous incarnations of the Doctor were males beginning with William Hartnell back in 1963.
Other actors to play the character include: Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi.
Wildcat, created by Irwin Hasen and Bill Finger, first appeared in Sensation Comics #1 back in 1942.
In that first story, Wildcat is revealed to be the alter-ego of Ted Grant, an elite athlete who excelled in everything from gymnastics to football to track and field. However, he was an unrivaled boxer.
The character’s role and name would be taken on by Yolanda Montez, who was first introduced as a reporter from Rock Stars Magazine in Infinity Inc. #12.
Montez, the goddaughter of Grant, assumed his role and identity after Grant was crippled saving a child. She specifically became Wildcat in Crisis on Infinite Earths #6.
This version of Wildcat is also seen in the live-action Stargirl show that airs on The CW. The character is played by Yvette Monreal.
If you have suggestions to include in this list, please let us know.