Of the many great science-fiction films of the past few years, a surprisingly large number of them have focused on women or featured female-centric storylines. There’s been thought-provoking dramas like Gravity, Arrival, Ex Machina, Under the Skin, and Annihilation; action-heavy pieces like Mad Max: Fury Road, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant; fun romps like Colossal and the Cloverfield movies, and even family fare like A Wrinkle in Time. Clearly, female-led sci-fi is having a moment. But looking forward to the summer, it’s frustrating to see that the momentum seems to have halted a bit. The sci-fi movies out in summer 2018 are nearly all male-led stories, sadly putting the breaks on an exciting, much-needed trend.
Sure, there are a few sci-fi movies with women coming out, but hardly any where they’re featured as leads. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has what seems to be a key role in May’s Solo, the Star Wars universe prequel story that focuses on the beloved smuggler. June’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, meanwhile, sees Bryce Dallas Howard returning to her role as an executive who can run in high heels more expertly than anyone has ever done, but Chris Pratt is its real star. And Annihilation and Thor Ragnarok Tessa Thompson has a supporting role in the sci-fi comedy Sorry to Bother You, hitting in July.
The lack of true, female-led sci-fi films hitting this summer is a serious bummer, and all we can do is hope that more science-fiction flicks with women in the forefront (not to mention behind the camera) are greenlit soon. Well, there’s one other thing we can all do: support the few female-led sci-fi, fantasy, or horror movies that are coming out in the next few months.
Though Hereditary is definitely more of a horror film, anything with supernatural elements and unexplained phenomena features an air of sci-fi, be it through paranormal elements or psychic mental powers. This movie stars Toni Colette as Annie, whose reclusive mother has recently passed away but whose presences is definitely still felt by her living relatives, especially granddaughter Charlie. The movie will be the horror flick that everyone will be talking about during the rest of 2018.
The Incredibles is a family ensemble piece, of course, and much of the focus of the first film was on Mr. Incredible himself. But Disney/Pixar’s superhero sequel follows the matriarch, Elastigirl, AKA Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), stepping forward as the hero. With Mr. Incredible at home taking care of the kids, Elastigirl returns to her superheroine roots and heads out to do what she does best.
This Marvel universe sequel is another movie stemming from a male-led original film, but much like The Incredibles, the main female character of the first movie is stepping forward into a much more major role this summer. Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne played sidekick to her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) for most of her life, and then had to play second bug to Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man. But now the Wasp will get her own suit, her own powers, and her own superbug status. “You’ve never seen a superhero origin story with less blunders,” Lilly told USA Today. “She knows what she’s doing and she’s been grooming herself for this moment her whole life. The satisfaction in watching her finally get to live it out is really fun.”
Direct by Jennifer Yuh Nelson of the Kung Fu Panda franchise, The Darkest Minds is based on Alexandra Bracken’s YA novel of the same name. When a group of teenagers spontaneously develops powerful abilities, they’re declared a threat and detained by the government. With shades of X-Men and Heroes, The Darkest Minds stars The Hunger Games‘ Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie.
These films don’t make up for the overall dearth of female-led sci-fi right now, but they deserve to be celebrated all the same.