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The Strongest Female Characters Written by Joss Whedon

Since Age of Ultron opened in theaters, Joss Whedon has been taking it from all sides about his portrayal of Black Widow as a relationship hungry superwoman who just wants a man to put a ring on it and put a baby inside her. We don’t have any way of knowing whether this was a miscalculation by Whedon, or a mishandling of the property by the marketing people at Marvel, but we do know that Whedon has been an OG feminist writer since 1997 when the first season of Buffy premiered. Being such big Whedonites we knew we had to do something, but countless op-eds have already been penned, and an infinite amount of tweets have been tweeted (so much so that Whedon supposedly quit twitter over the kerfuffle). The only thing left to do is assemble a list of the strongest female characters created by Joss Whedon.

It seems like yesterday that every nerd was sweating bacon grease in excitement over the release of Age of Ultron. But now, thanks to the fervor over the treatment of Black Widow, we can’t even remember the end credits stinger! Despite his misstep, he’s still one of the few filmmakers in Hollywood who tries to write positive female characters. After being such big fans of King Geek Whedon for so long, it was a drag to see him drop the ball on Natasha Romanoff, but instead of moaning like a bunch of babies we decided to celebrate his contributions to the world of science fiction and fantasy with a list of his strongest female characters.
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  • Photo: Buffy the Vampire Slayer / 20th Television

    It would be too easy to say that Faith is the "Anti-Buffy," although we're sure someone lazier than us has said that about her. While Buffy is the audience analog, a girl thrown in the deep end before she's ready, Faith is a classic example of a female warrior from the onset. Like Wonder Woman, she's strong, focused, and doesn't necessarily require a team to do her job.

    • Appears In: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse
    • Powers & Abilities: Healing factor, Superhuman strength
    Strong character?

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  • Photo: Buffy the Vampire Slayer / 20th Television

    If anyone needed proof of Joss Whedon's super positive feminist leanings, look no further than Buffy Summers. It can be debated endlessly whether she jumpstarted the '90s girl power movement or if Buffy the Vampire Slayer just had the kismet that comes with great timing, but the landscape of pop culture wouldn't be what it is today without the whip smart, funny, and tough with a capital TUFF Buffy Summers. 

    It's rare that such a subversive character has the ability to penetrate the mainstream in the way that Buffy did. But in her seven short years on broadcast television, Buffy inspired millions of men and women to pick up a metaphorical stake and dust the big bad in their life. 
    • Appears In: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse
    • Powers & Abilities: Healing factor, Superhuman strength, Prophetic dreaming
    Strong character?

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  • Photo: Dollhouse / Fox

    Dollhouse is remembered as a smudge on the otherwise spotless resume for Whedon, but despite its missteps, the series tried to say something about the meaning of identity and individuality while also offering a hero meant to subvert corporate saturation. Echo begins as a tabula rasa who spends a bulk of the season taking on personalities of the week which begin to mold her into a uniquely new being. 

    Even after Echo becomes a fully formed hero by the end of the first season, she still has to deal with the moral grey areas that come when one is trying to destroy a global conglomerate from the inside out. 
    • Appears In: Dollhouse, Dollhouse Universe
    Strong character?
  • Photo: Firefly / Fox

    Born vesselside and handy with a blaster, you don't want to mess with Wash's wife; although, you might actually want to refer to him as "Zoë's husband." A loyal first mate and a tough, deadly fighter, Zoe is the only member of Mal's crew to regularly call him "sir," and she may be the only member aboard his ship that he completely trusts. 

    Despite living a dangerous lifestyle, she managed to have a happy marriage until the Alliance showed up and cocked the whole thing up. 
    • Appears In: Firefly, Serenity, Firefly media franchise
    Strong character?

    #98 of 99 The Funniest Characters Currently on TV#102 of 900 The Greatest Female TV Characters of All Time#438 of 1,300 The Greatest TV Characters Of All Time