No question about it. Marvel, as a whole, has some of the most beautiful, smart, kickass female characters around.
We looked through all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and TV shows and came up with a combination of trained fighters, assassins, super spies, scientists, cops, nurses, CEOs, private investigators, assistants and more. Some of them have superhuman powers, some of them rely on their intellect, and some of them are just civilians who have the requisite badassery.
Many of these women depicted in the comics have a certain sexuality, whether it be their superhero costumes or sensual style, but when translated into the MCU, these women become more than just a drawing – and that’s one of the things MCU has done the best. Casting for these hot women has been nothing short of brilliant, not only in selecting beautiful actresses, but in recognizing diversity and thinking outside the comic book frame.
Check out our rankings of some of the 20 hottest women in the MCU.
20. CLAIRE TEMPLE
Claire Temple, aka Night Nurse, is one of the many tough, independent women who dominate the MCU. She doesn’t have to have any powers – or even be a love interest – to be cool. She just is, and that has a lot to do with the gorgeous Rosario Dawson, who plays the character on the hit Netflix series Daredevil. Dawson certainly understands Claire’s appeal, once describing her as someone you definitely want around in a dire situation.
As a nurse at the Metro-General Hospital, she tends to a badly beaten Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox), and while the two clearly are attracted to each other, they decide it might be in Claire’s best interest if they refrain from a relationship. She ends up helping out others, too, like Jessica Jones – and Luke Cage (Mike Colter), whom she might end up having a romance with. Claire is also seen taking lessons from martial arts expert Colleen Wing, so we can’t wait to see how Claire evolves in the next Marvel Netflix show, The Defenders.
19. DARCY LEWIS
The quirky Darcy Lewis is definitely someone you want in your corner if you’re in a fight with otherworldly beings. You know, just so she can throw in those great one liners to break up all that tension. Actress Kat Dennings excels at bringing the character to life – and adds her own snarky sexiness to it.
Darcy was created specifically for the MCU (she’s not in the comics) as Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Jane Foster’s assistant, a political science student who has an affinity for computers and noticing things her colleagues seem to miss. Darcy’s always there to support Jane when she laments the fact Thor doesn’t spend enough time with her. Darcy even gets her own love interest with intern Ian Boothby in the thunder god’s sequel, The Dark World.
It’s doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Darcy in the cosmic third installment, Thor: Ragnarok (in theaters November 3), but we probably have not seen the last of her.
18. HOPE VAN DYNE
As yet another sharp, powerful woman who can rock the heck out of a business suit, Ant-Man‘s Hope van Dyne is certainly one you don’t want to mess with. Portrayed by the lovely Evangeline Lilly, Hope can be “a little cranky,” as Lilly described her to L.A. Times, but the actress added, “It appealed to me the idea of playing a character that might rub people the wrong way and might be a little bit hard to swallow.” Playing hard to get is always sexy.
Hope also knows how to handle the men in her life. From her estranged father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), to her power-mad, nutburger boss Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll), to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), she’s always a step ahead. She certainly resents Scott a little for getting to don the Ant-Man suit, but she definitely thinks he’s totally cute.
Good news is, Hope is going to be the Wasp, following in her late mother Janet’s footsteps, and she’ll definitely wear that Wasp suit well in the future Ant-Man and Avengers sequels.
17. MARIA HILL
If we’re talking about tough and sexy, these next two highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on our list totally fit the bill. First, we’ve got no-nonsense Agent Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders. As director Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) right-hand woman, she’s smart, resourceful, and she tends to show up right when she’s needed. Just ask any of The Avengers.
Her loyalty and dedication also make her stand out. Smulders said she thinks of Hill as “a woman in a man’s world,” but knows she can question Fury’s orders when she feels they are too risky, which inevitably they can be. Ultimately, Hill knows what it takes to get the job done, and there’s something inherently alluring about that. She’s rumored to be appearing in the next Avengers movie, Avengers: Infinity Wars, and we look forward to seeing Agent Hill again in the near future.
16. MELINDA MAY
Then there’s Agent Melinda May. It’s hinted that Hill and May may have been friends and most likely came up in the ranks together, which makes complete sense since the pragmatic May, played by Ming-Na Wen, is also all about the job in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
May’s appeal could be her quiet but fierce demeanor, or maybe the way she’s able and willing to take down any foe with her mad fighting skills. Plus, no one looks better as a badass in a black leather pantsuit than her – or in lingerie, for that matter. The actress talked to Comic Vine about that one fight scene she had to do in her silky underwear. “That was definitely a big…gulp moment for me. But then after a while, I became so comfortable in it. ‘This is just a dress.’” Nice.
And don’t get us started on how cute she is with Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), as it looks like their friendship is turning into something more. We’ve seen May pretend to be seductive for the job – and even have a fling with one of her colleagues – but a May in love? That’ll be fun to watch.
15. JANE FOSTER
Moving on from the ass-kickers to the sexy nerdy types, these next two ladies on our MCU hot list are some of the most alluring scientists around. First up is Thor‘s Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists and foremost authorities on Asgard. That’s how Portman likes it. The actress told The Telegraph, “Jane’s got a mission. She’s looking for something for herself, gravitational anomalies, scientific exploration,” and hopes the character inspires other girls to pursue science as well.
Oh, and she’s also Thor’s main squeeze. It’s pretty obvious from the start why she would attract the Asgardian god. Her braininess to his brawn just make for the perfect couple. Of course, the long distance thing takes a toll on the relationship, but when Jane makes it to Asgard, she finally gets to see the mysteries of the Nine Realms – and look amazing in Asgardian garb. Rumor has it that Portman’s Foster is done with the MCU, but we won’t rule out the possibility that she might pop up again until Nat does.
14. JEMMA SIMMONS
Ah, sweet Jemma Simmons, who really is the most intelligent, level-headed member of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Played to perfection by Elizabeth Henstridge, Simmons is a genius biochemist and when we first meet her, she’s wide-eyed, inquisitive, and ready for her missions on Phil Coulson’s team. As time has gone on, however, Simmons has become wiser and more jaded (with all the crap she’s been through). Still, she’s never lost that captivating nerdiness we all love.
This shines through even more so in her romance with Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), her other brainy, gadget-obsessed half. Henstridge explained to BuzzyMag.com that she enjoys the happiness Fitz brings to Simmons. “I’m so soppy, I love it… [Simmons and Fitz] can always look at each other and feel safe, and feel okay, even in the most dangerous situations.” Aww. Of course, now that Simmons has seen a darker, more evil side to Fitz in the Framework – and Fitz’s guilt over it — let’s see if their love can survive again in the real world.
13. SCARLET WITCH
The dark and mysterious Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff, makes the list because not only is she sultry, but she also can be downright frightening with her telekinetic, telepathic, and energy manipulating abilities. We admit this just adds to the allure, especially when actress Elizabeth Olsen waves those magic hands around.
But for Scarlet Witch’s first appearance in the MCU, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, they did change things up a little from the comics. In the comic-books, Scarlet Witch wears a pretty skintight costume, which is basically a one-piece red bathing suit with a matching cape. The original comics costume was not “a confident look,” said Olsen, so she was assured by director Joss Whedon that her big screen outfit would be more functional. Hence, Wanda wears the black leather pants and long red-leather coat. Definitely a better choice.
12. COLLEEN WING
Nothing like a beautiful woman who can kick a guy in the throat and flip him onto the ground. Iron Fist‘s Colleen Wing, portrayed by British actress Jessica Henwick, is a fiercely independent martial arts expert, who runs a mojo and teaches her students (like Claire Temple) how to be disciplined and fight like they mean it. She isn’t very glamorous, but she excludes sensuality nonetheless.
Henwick told Bustle that she likes the idea that Colleen lives in a world where “people can fly, stop trains from moving” and have powers from a “radioactive animal bite,” but she can “still help people who don’t have powers.”
She also ends up having a thing with Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones), after he finally wins over her trust, allowing her to open up to her emotions and realize her potential. But what we’re really looking forward to is Colleen teaming up with Misty Knight (more on her later), possibly as soon as The Defenders hits Netflix.
11. PEGGY CARTER
As one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D, Peggy Carter is also the original strong, independent woman in the MCU. Played by the elegant Hayley Atwell, Peggy’s classy appearance and cool and collected demeanor makes her a perfect secret agent. Even though she looked fabulous in the 1940s clothes, Atwell admitted that her threads weren’t all that comfortable. “I had to walk in pencil skirts and high heels all the time,” but she said the tailored suits helped her find the character.
Peggy also has a soft spot, particularly when it pertains to Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), and it’s this vulnerability that makes Peggy even more endearing. Of course, Cap totally falls for her, too, because who wouldn’t? If only he wasn’t frozen in time before they could really get things going. Their final scene together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier breaks our hearts, as a 95-year-old Peggy says goodbye to the love of her life, who is still in his 30s. *Sob*
10. DAISY JOHNSON
If Agent May represents the soldier and Simmons the egghead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Daisy Johnson truly embodies the best of both worlds. When we first meet her as Skye, she shows off her savvy computer skills as a hacker-activist trying to expose S.H.I.E.L.D. Later, when she realizes how cool it is to be an agent, she quickly learns all the fight moves from May. THEN, she transforms into an Inhuman known as Quake, so yeah, Daisy – and Chloe Bennet playing her – is our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. hottie.
By the way, the hit ABC series also has displayed a great diversity with their female characters, something Bennet, who is Asian-American, is really proud of. “Our showrunner is an Asian-American woman, and our two lead females are Asian-American women,” Bennet explained to Teen Vogue. “90% of stunts and the ass-kicking and the saving on the show are from the women. I don’t think it’s talked about enough! We’ve quietly been breaking new ground.”
9. AUNT MAY
It feels a little weird putting Aunt May on this list, because up to this point in the MCU, she’s been played as an older woman (no offense to Rosemary Harris and Sally Field). Let’s face it, the iconic Spider-Man character has mostly been depicted in the comics as silver-haired and grandmotherly — not all that sexy, to be honest. That all changed, however, with the newly released Spider-Man: Homecoming, who introduces Marisa Tomei as a younger Aunt May, and thus, she earns a hot spot in the top 10.
Some iterations of the comics and Spider-Man TV shows have had a younger version of Aunt May, so this casting choice isn’t coming completely out of left field. Tomei said she’s glad she didn’t really know about Aunt May being typically elderly before she took the role or she would have been “horrified”. (But one has to ask: Was she living under a rock?) Regardless, the actress plays the part brilliantly, almost like a big sister to the 15-year-old Peter Parker, and simply fitting in with the whole younger vibe of the movie. And she even snags one of the film’s biggest laughs in the closing seconds of Spidey’s first solo MCU adventure.
8. PEPPER POTTS
We just love Pepper Potts. Her sleek style, strong personality, and savvy business sense put her in the same category as Peggy Carter and Hope van Dyne, but it’s the way she deftly handles Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that most impresses us, and frankly makes her that much more appealing. She’s the only one who can truly go toe to toe with the oftentimes irritating Tony and put him in his place.
Gwyneth Paltrow knocks the performance out of the park, as she also brings a vulnerability to Pepper. There’s a wounded quality to her character, as she knows in her heart that Tony is always going to love himself just a little bit more than he loves her.
We haven’t seen much of Pepper in the last few MCU movies. In Captain America: Civil War, Tony says they are taking a break from their relationship (no wonder he acts like a jerk in that movie — Pepper’s not around to ground him), but SPOILER ALERT! she makes a brief appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming. One wonders if they are ever going to give Paltrow her own Rescue movie, Pepper’s Iron-Man suited alter ego in the comics – or at least an introduction.
7. TRISH WALKER
Trish Walker could have been just another throwaway sidekick character, but Jessica Jones’ adoptive sister and BFF became much more than that. Played by Rachael Taylor, Trish is very ambitious and headstrong, a gal who reinvented herself after a difficult childhood with an abusive stage mom. She’s also gorgeous, has killer fight moves, and she can pour on the sexuality when it is warranted (just ask Will Simpson).
Trish also wishes Jessica would use her superpowers to fight crime, because if she had them, she’d totally use them. But wait, what about Hellcat, Trish’s alter ego (based on the comics’ Patsy Walker storyline)? As Taylor said to CBR, “I mean, it’s already a privilege to play a history that has so much lineage within the Marvel Universe. And to take it that one step further is something that, yeah, I’d love to get my teeth stuck into whatever happens to the character.” We do, too. Here’s hoping Hellcat appears in Jessica Jones‘ second season.
6. LADY SIF
This Asgardian warrior really gives our No. 1 choice (see below) a run for her money in the badassery department. Lady Sif has been swinging her double-bladed sword in battles alongside her pal Thor and the Warriors Three for many moons, and the sultry Jaimie Alexander, who plays Sif, rocks the armor almost as hard as the god of thunder himself.
Of course, Sif also has a thing for Thor, but she pushes those feelings way down, especially when he comes back from Earth with a girlfriend. Sure, she’s jealous of his love for Jane Foster, but she’ll still back him no matter what, even if it means treason. “I genuinely love the character Sif,” the actress once told Variety. “Each time I get to play her, there’s this growth in the character and we find out more of who she is.” It remains to be seen just how much more of Sif we’ll learn about in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
5. MISTY KNIGHT
As a seasoned NYPD detective, Mercedes “Misty” Knight cracks our top 5 thanks to her sexy-cool personality. As played by Simone Missick in Luke Cage, she has an innate ability to use her “Misty Vision” to analyze crime scenes and protect Harlem. At this point, the Netflix series has veered from the comics in not giving Misty a bionic arm, which she gets in the Marvel pages after losing it in a bombing attack. She is eventually given a new mechanical limb by Tony Stark, using his technology. Let’s see if the show changes its mind.
Misty is yet another MCU character having to operate in a male-dominated world, but Missick is thrilled to bring Misty’s legacy to life onscreen. The actress told People, “This is the first black superhero show on TV, and I play the first black female superhero in the history of Marvel Comics and on television.” Respect – and like we mentioned earlier, we’ve just got to get Misty and Colleen Wing together. The hotness would be overwhelming.
4. JESSICA JONES
Just like the bad boys, the bad girl persona is hard to resist, and Krysten Ritter‘s performance as Jessica Jones has it in spades. Even in her all black, tough girl attire and heavy dose of black eyeliner, Jessica’s (and Ritter’s) beauty is undeniable, but seriously, her disdain clouds it. Granted, Jessica has a lot to be mad at in the world. She lost her entire family in a car crash, but also gained superhuman strength, which ended up being a cross to bear when her mind is taken over by the villainous Kilgrave.
Now, haunted by her devious past, Jessica works as a private investigator, just keeping her head down until her adoptive sister Trish Walker urges her to use her superpowers for good. It doesn’t always work out, but when Jessica joins The Defenders, she may finally be in her element. At the very least, she could get hot and heavy with Luke Cage again.
There are no two ways about it, Elektra is just hot AF. Portrayed by Élodie Yung in the Netflix show Daredevil, she also knows how to mess with a guy’s head. Elektra, born Elektra Natchios, has been toying with Matt Murdock’s emotions for quite awhile, since they first met when they were in college. Sure, she still loves him, but she has other agendas, namely being a world-class assassin proficient in martial arts and the use of the sai.
Yung understood the role and wanted to make sure her Elektra wasn’t a “caricature version.” She told Vanity Fair, “The writers wanted her to be a sociopath… She has no guilt and no remorse and she kills. But she also has this bond and this love for Matthew when they were younger. And that was important to me to keep in mind.”
We also just want to give a quick shout-out to Jennifer Garner, who first appeared onscreen as the character in 2005. She’s not exactly in the MCU, but those red-leather outfits Garner wore were pretty freaking amazing.
In this case, it is easy being green, and also damn sexy. Hailed as the “deadliest woman in the galaxy,” Gamora strikes a formidable pose as a former lethal assassin who joins the Guardians of the Galaxy once she realizes just far her adoptive father, Thanos, will go to achieve his goals. She’s incredibly resilient, merciless, and pretty much scares the hell out of you with one look. We love it.
Zoe Saldana‘s stoic but kickass portrayal of Gamora also succinctly captures her disconnect with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his jokes, taking everything he says quite literally. But as Saldana explained, “I think she still is having a hard time channeling her emotions and talking about her feelings.” If and when Quill, aka Star-Lord, does finally break through with Gamora, we’ll be right there with him. It’ll certainly make for an interesting odd couple – unless Gamora somehow bonds with The Hulk over their skin color.
1. BLACK WIDOW
Honestly, could there be any other choice for hottest woman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Scarlett Johansson‘s take on the super spy Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, hands down takes the prize for most alluring asskicker. The character is also just as mysterious as she is deadly, with a complicated and torturous past that continues to haunt her – and that all just makes her even more attractive.
It does seem a little odd that out of all the Avengers, she falls for Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), but maybe that’s because he never wants to be that other green guy. He just wants to live quietly as a brilliant scientist, a simple life which seems appealing to Black Widow, who’s only ever known chaos and war.
Will Banner and Romanoff be reunited in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity Wars? Short answer: yes. But apparently, it’s not necessarily a happy reunion. In a recent interview on Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio (via CBR), Johansson admitted, “My character has this ongoing relationship with Mark Ruffalo’s character. I had such devastation that day. I don’t know why. I was so devastated… this is something that should feel so solid and suddenly doesn’t.” Well, those who thought that relationship was too forced should be thrilled.
Obviously, there are many other women in the MCU who could have made this list. Did your favorite Marvel hottie make the cut? Let us know in the comments!
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