The dynamic women of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have saved the day so, so many times...
By Sabina Ibarra
What better time than now to celebrate the most essential women of Marvel? Here are eight of our favorite world-saving superheroines, along with when they (sometimes single-handedly) saved their respective corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ... on both the big and small screens.
1. Pepper Potts
In "Iron Man" Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) is the one who hacks into Obadiah Stane's (Jeff Bridges) computer to steal data proving that he'd been supplying terrorists with Stark Industries weaponry without Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) knowledge. This act made her an indispensable member of Tony's team, and moved her from Tony's assistant to CEO of Stark Industries. And that's not all...
Pepper's biggest moment came in "Iron Man 3." Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) injects her with the Extremis serum in an attempt to get Tony to comply with his evil plot, but it kinda backfires. In the final battle, Pepper comes out on top, killing Killian using the very powers that the Extremis virus gave her.
2. Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Since "Iron Man 2," we've been watching Scarlett Johansson bring to life one of Marvel's top assassins... and totally kill it in every scene she's in (pun intended). While we love her action sequences, like when she took out a bunch of bad guys while tied to a chair in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," it's the MCU-changing moment in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" that solidified her as a heroine who can do more than simply kick ass. In the movie's final act, she forces Alexander Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database so she can expose him and everyone in Hydra for infiltrating the organization. She leaks all the classified information to the public to bring Hydra down, knowing it would reveal publicly all the red in her ledger.
3. Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
We're introduced to Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) as a villain who works with Tony's evil creation, Ultron, in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" but later changes sides when she realizes that the sentient robot is planning to destroy humanity, unleashing her full potential against him. Teaming up with the Avengers, she uses her telepathic powers to motivate the people of Sokovia to flee the area. After she loses her brother to the devastation they themselves had caused, she's left to ultimately destroy Ultron -- tearing him apart using her newly amplified powers.
Zoe Saldana plays the galaxy's most dangerous assassin in "Guardians of the Galaxy." She betrays the evil Ronan in order to stop him from giving Thanos, the MCU's big(gest?) bad, an orb that holds a powerful-yet-volatile Infinity Stone. She and her fellow anti-heroes (Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax the Destroyer) are the only ones who can save the gem from falling into the VERY wrong hands. She's the first of the Guardians to grab Star-Lord after he catches the falling Infinity Stone, absorbing the unlimited destructive power of the Stone and inspiring the other Guardians to follow suit. If not for her, we wouldn't be getting "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."
5. Agent Peggy Carter
After making a great impression as Steve Rogers's secret agent counterpart in "Captain America: The First Avenger," audiences wanted more of Hayley Atwell's Agent Peggy Carter. Her greatest achievement to date happened in the Marvel One-Shot "Agent Carter," featured on the Blu-ray release of "Iron Man 3", which proved her character could do as much saving-the-day as any man in her time. In the short film, Carter dissatisfaction with her office job at he Strategic Scientific Reserve pushes her to take matters into her own hands, going after the Zodiac, an artifact that no other agent has been able to acquire. She succeeds in her mission, despite her misogynistic boss, and gets named the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Howard Stark. The popularity of the Marvel One-Shot short film prompted a series order for "Agent Carter" on ABC.
6. Daisy Johnson / Quake
On "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Phil Coulson's (Clark Gregg) newest recruit Daisy (Chloe Bennett) starts out a savvy hacker (formerly known as Skye) who aids the team in dealing with the aftermath of a new superhero-inhabited world. After Terrigen Crystals expose Inhuman genetics that give people superpowers, Daisy discovers that she has the ability to generate seismic energy and becomes Quake. When the world begins to fear everyone with strange abilities, Chloe spearheads an initiative to help protect the Inhumans and find their places in the world.
7. Karen Page
In "Marvel's Daredevil," Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) starts off as a secretary framed for the death of a coworker after she uncovers that the company she worked for was laundering money. After an attempt on her life, she finds safety with her lawyers, Nelson (Elden Henson) and Murdock (Charlie Cox), who get her out of jail. She then becomes their secretary and begins her own investigation to expose the criminal activities of the company that wanted her dead. Throughout Season One of the Netflix series, she teams up with journalist Ben Ulrich, uncovers the truth about the corrupt Wilson Fisk owning the company, and discovers his true identity as crime boss Kingpin. Ultimately, it's her detective work that leads to Fisk's eventual arrest.
8. Jessica Jones
In "Marvel's Jessica Jones," Krysten Ritter brings audiences a whole new kind of unlikely heroine: the titular Jessica Jones. The whiskey drinking former superhero turned private investigator starts off as someone trying to make a quick buck rather than help people, until Kilgrave (David Tennant), a villain/former captor with the power to make anyone do anything, returns and begins to torture everyone around her. Realizing it's a plot to get her to come back to him, Jessica finds herself invested in doing the right thing: stopping him. Confronting her abuser and overcoming her fear of being controlled again, she does everything in her power to take him down and protect those he's tried to harm along the way. Armed with her super strength and the help of her friends (some super, some not-so-much), she brings Killgrave to justice in Season One's epic finale.