Although there’s a clear lack of diversity in films and TV overall, the sci-fi and fantasy genres are particularly bad when it comes to representation. For far too long, women of color have been relegated to background players in fantasy and sci-fi movies and shows, with the genre instead being dominated by white men. There’s been a change led by Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, and Wonder Woman, and the sci-fi world has made room for women of color to take center stage. While that’s absolutely worth celebrating, take the time to also honor these 17 women of color in sci-fi movies and TV shows that paved the way for heroines like Shuri, Meg Murray, and more. Representation matters so much, and the fact that we’re seeing more women of color both in leading and background roles in the sci-fi world could not be more exciting. The genre needs diversity at the forefront, and as the groundbreaking characters below show, women of color have so much to contribute to the sci-fi and fantasy universe. All of the characters listed deserve more attention, for they broke serious ground in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

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