16 standout fantasy characters of 2016
Escapism this year took shape in many fantastical outlets, via film, TV and online serials.
In those science fiction, fantasy or horror ventures, certain heroic and villainous characters stood out. Some of those breakout, standout or memorable figures of 2016, in no particular order:
- Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, “Suicide Squad”) —Crazy, carefree and unpredictable, Harley was delightful with or without her loony beau, the Joker (Jared Leto), and wreaked havoc with her team of expendable supervillains.
- Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “The Walking Dead”)—Brutal but oddly charismatic, Negan proved to be the biggest threat and executioner in this particular zombie apocalypse.
- Maeve (Thandie Newton, “Westworld”)—The unfolding story of Maeve, an android recalling a “past life” and resisting her programming, is easily the show’s most compelling character.
- Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey, “Game of Thrones”) —A young but decisive ruler, Lyanna Mormont supported Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) war against vicious foes, and was instrumental in his ascension as king.
- Sang-Hwa (Ma Dong-Seok, “Train to Busan”)—The burly expectant father in the zombie-infested train was intriguing, sympathetic and, most of all, painfully noble.
- Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, “X-Men: Apocalypse”) —The teen Jean was still a powerful telepath and telekinetic, a misfit among mutant misfits in the shared origin story.
- Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”) The psychic weapon dubbed Eleven was a girl who wished to be accepted by her befuddled and amazed new friends.
- Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)—The blind but thoroughly optimistic Force devotee fought the Empire’s forces—with martial arts and unwavering faith.
- Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh, “Supergirl”)—Supergirl’s adoptive sister Alex has always been supportive, and a competent combatant. The lesbian character recently exhibited her courage and honesty by pursuing a relationship with a cop, Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima).
- Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”)—He’s a wacky, irreverent and indestructible assassin, but the so-called “Merc With a Mouth” is also fiercely loyal to the love of his life.
- The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton, “Doctor Strange”)— Controversial “whitewashing” issue aside, the wise sorceress was an enigmatic and vital presence in the film, thanks mostly to the ethereal actress’ portrayal.
- Moana (voiced by Auli’l Cravalho, “Moana”)—Raised by a gender-blind community, the feisty Moana selflessly set off on a prohibited voyage that ultimately restored order and assured her people a bright future.
- Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) —Mechanic Robbie Reyes was resurrected and transformed into the skull-faced, violent vigilante.
The character’s move from film to television was a success, and fit snugly into the show’s arcs.
- Darth Vader (Spencer Wilding, voiced by James Earl Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)—A terrifying figure unlike in most depictions, the younger, post-”Revenge of the Sith” Vader was merciless, fast-moving and overwhelming.
- Spider-Man (Tom Holland, “Captain America: Civil War”)—This young web-slinger’s debut in the superhero-crammed film was exciting, exhilarating and worth the years-long wait.
- Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)—Speaking of scene-stealers, the sword-wielding Diana Prince was a sight to behold, a majestic presence in a polarizing film. She’ll be back with her own movie in June.
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