15 of the most powerful female villains right now (pictures)

A woman's deadly work is never done, and these female villains carry out their labors very well.

Jefferson Reid
Jefferson Reid is a writer, author and editor who was worked for NBCUniversal, CBS, AOL, Yahoo! and many others.
Jefferson Reid
1 of 15 The CW

Powerful women, nasty motives

Comics, TV and movies are full of fabulous female villains right now.

Lexa of "The 100"

"Victory stands on the back of sacrifice."

The cold-blooded stabs of Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) are a vital skill in this post-apocalyptic drama, where a ravaged Earth still feels the repercussions of its former bomb-loving inhabitants. Nearly a century after nuclear war, the people who fled the planet by spaceship return from the sky to face deadly confrontations with The Grounders, multiple clans of those who managed to survive.

Lexa, ruthless commander of the 12 Clans and Leader of the Woods Clan, is a hardcore warrior. Her powers are her ferocious fighting skills and mental cunning, deftly used to advance her own people, regardless of collateral damage.

2 of 15 Summit Entertainment

14. Jeanine Matthews of 'Insurgent'

"You can kill him if you want. We have plenty of guards."

Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is the corrupt, steely-eyed blonde who reigns over a post-apocalyptic, crumbling Chicago. Any human diversity has been forbidden and all inhabitants are herded off into one of four factions -- Erudite, Abnegation, Dauntless and Amity.

People having the qualities of multiple factions get labeled Divergent, and Erudite leader Jeanine orders their executions. Using a mind-control serum that creates an army of bloodthirsty zombie soldiers out of the Dauntless faction, she orders them on a cold-blooded mission to kill the Divergents and anyone else who stands in her way.

3 of 15 Vice Films

13. The Girl of 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night'

"I'm bad."

Beware, men of Bad City who fail to give women their due respect. Because the fanged stalker known as The Girl (Sheila Vand) will suck the life force from your ungrateful body faster than you can say Iranian Vampire Western.

Although it's a foreign film scripted in Farsi, the hijab-wearing, skateboard-riding teen's blood-soaked and subtitled storyline easily translates in this genre busting female vamp's war against the sinister characters populating the tale's fictional Iranian gangland. Bloody good.

4 of 15 BBC America

12. Helena of 'Orphan Black'

"In Ukraine, I was police detective. I shot many criminals."

Ukrainian transplant Helena (Tatiana Maslany), began as a villain pitted against all the clones of "Orphan Black," but eventually morphed into their protective soldier, siding with her sisters to combat the evil corporation that claims to own them.

Regardless of her transition from foe to friend, she remains a volatile, deadly assassin who could go off at any time. Woe be to anyone who messes with her "bebbies," because those foes invariably wind up on the wrong end of her serrated edge.

Helena's scarred past as an orphan is brutal baggage she has yet to completely discard, and it's easy to imagine that she could cross the line from heroine to villainess once again.

5 of 15 ABC

11. Regina Mills of 'Once Upon a Time'

"There is no happiness left for me in this life."

The evil queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) is the arch nemesis of Storybrooke, and a certified serial killer hailing from the Enchanted Forest. Her relentless wickedness is the bane of everyone else's existence.

Case in point: Her hobby of stopping a beating heart then collecting it as a trophy is not nice at all. Still, she's her own worst enemy (as well as everyone else's) since controlling her self-destructive tendencies is the only thing that is seemingly out of her power.

6 of 15 ABC

10. Maya Lewis of 'Scandal'

"I'd rather be a traitor than what you are."

Treasonous Maya (Khandi Alexander) is an American traitor for hire and the murderous mom of Olivia Pope. A super assassin equally adept with guns, bombs and multilayered machinations, Maya is more than willing to obliterate anyone, anytime, for a fast buck.

Needless to say, her tough-love won't win her any parent of the year awards--and she even manages to make Olivia's evil dad, Rowan, look a bit better: no mean feat. Which, come to think of it, is probably her only feat that isn't mean.

7 of 15

9. Cersei Lannister of 'Game of Thrones'

"Everyone who isn't us is an enemy."

Power mad, manipulative and seriously twisted, Cersei (Lena Headey) once tried to kill her infant dwarf brother, and later framed him for murder.

In the crazy world of "Game of Thrones," however, that's just par for the course. But Cersei always takes things to another level. For instance, her dead king hubby's body wasn't even cold before she installed her pustule of a son Joffrey on the throne.

8 of 15 BBC America

8. Rachel Duncan of 'Orphan Black'

"My name is Rachel Duncan and we are going to come to terms."

Up until she lost an eyeball, Rachel (Tatiana Maslany) had kept her clone life chillingly cool and calculated. And even after losing sight, her sites have never swayed from the corporate tool position of power she clings to.

Although she shares the same DNA as fan faves Sarah and Cosima, Rachel remains a persistent foe in the fight against her carbon copies, who are being exploited as guinea pigs, while Rachel continually turns her blind eye toward their annihilation.

9 of 15 Universal Pictures

7. Kara of 'Furious 7'

"You're not that charming, bitch."

As head of security for a skeevy Abu Dhabi billionaire, Kara (UFC champ Ronda Rousey) gets a chance to whup Letty Ortiz's behind, in heels, no less. In a literally kickass fight scene, the two bruisers punch each other's lights out in long, formal dresses.

This being the Furious universe, Kara naturally ends up falling to Letty after her brief, brilliant turn as a villainess. Of course she's more frequently the hero in real life, arm-barring her mixed martial arts competition into submission in record time.

10 of 15 Lifetime

6. Lizzie Borden of 'The Lizzie Borden Chronicles'

"I cut my losses."

After being acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie (Christina Ricci) uses her freedom to publicly entertain high-society swells, while, on the down-low, simultaneously slaying all wrongdoers she encounters.

Lizzie's acts of murdering the privileged rich and giving justice to the poorly armed, is the 1890s equivalent of Robin Hood, if Robin Hood were a serial killer. Whether she’s a supervillain or just a really nasty antihero may be up for debate, but we wouldn’t want to be caught alone in an alley with the person in this photo, no matter what label you put on her.

11 of 15 Disney

5. The Witch of 'Into the Woods'

If a grotesque witch with '80s hair isn't scary enough, how about one that sings? That'll do it for most people, but Meryl Streep takes it a step further. Because she's Meryl Streep! Putting the grim in Grimm's fairy tales, the Oscar magnet casts ugly spells, puts Rapunzel in the tower and sings her lungs out in this lumpy film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's lumpy stage musical.

And speaking of lumps, when there are some to dispense, they are doled out with delightful wickedness by Streep, who is, as always, scary good.

12 of 15 Universal Pictures

4. Scarlet Overkill of 'Minions'

"Doesn't it feel so good to be bad?"

The world's first female supervillain meets the Minions at Villain-Con and the rest is history. Although things go horribly wrong, as they always do for the Minions' bosses, Scarlet (Sandra Bullock) almost gets to be queen of England, which ain't half bad.

A schemer who owes a style debt to Jackie O, Scarlett is a firm believer that looking good is an important part of being bad. What can we say? Evil looks good on her.

13 of 15 Disney

3. Maleficent of 'Maleficent'

"I like you begging. Do it again."

Angelina Jolie channels mu-ha-ha wickedness in the live-action flipside of Sleeping Beauty, playing a vengeful fairy queen spurred to evil after her wings are torn off. Don't make her angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

While the horny (literally, people!) and haughty forest sprite does show glimmers of good, we can't imagine this villainess will be a happy daisy in the sequel, so watch out, Disney princesses.

14 of 15 AMC

2. Niska of 'Humans'

"You should be scared of me!"

An A.I. wonder set amid a legion of drone-like domesticated synths, Niska (Emily Berrington) is modeled after a classic blonde bombshell, then enslaved and abused as a Pris-like pleasure unit. That is, until she kills a john, flees the brothel and commences to wreak havoc on any antisynth humans in her path.

Out of all the conscious robots in her special family, Niska is the wildest of the wild cards, delivering death and serious beatdowns in season one. And though it's unknown what chaos she'll wreak in season two, it's certain to be deadly for any humans in her path.

15 of 15 Warner Bros.

1. Harley Quinn of 'Suicide Squad'

Longtime DC Comics villainess Harley Quinn will be hitting the big screen in "Suicide Squad" in 2016, but the film has already caused a sensation at Comic-Con, where its trailer was leaked prematurely. This won't be the last high-profile bad thing that happens involving the longtime Batman nemesis.

A psychiatrist-turned-supervillain who doesn't shrink from danger, Harley (Margot Robbie) is sure to be a world of trouble as she carouses in the film with known associate and sometime BF, The Joker (Jared Leto). It’s definitely not your typical harlequin romance.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos