ByMatt Kranis, writer at
President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis
Matt Kranis

Walt Disney Pictures is bringing another female hero to the big screen. The company's acquired the rights to Tony Cliff's graphic novel Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, with plans to adapt the book as a live-action feature.

The titular Dirk is an "international mistress of swordsmanship" trained in 47 sword-fighting techniques, and who adventured around the world during the 19th century. She's basically a female Indiana Jones with swords, which is pretty awesome. And while we're glad to see the company bring another female character to theaters, there are even more empowering characters and historical figures it could adapt for film. With that in mind, we've rounded up six more female heroes Disney should bring to the silver screen.


Image Credit: Beatriz Martin Vidal/Deviant Art
Image Credit: Beatriz Martin Vidal/Deviant Art

Disney proved with Hercules that it could provide a fun take on Greek mythology, and a return to Ancient Greece could provide it with another great character. Atalanta is one of the few mortal heroines in Greek mythology, known as a master hunter with remarkable athletic prowess. She participated in the legendary hunt for the Calydonian Boar and was the only female to join Jason and the Argonauts on their journey for the Golden Fleece. Disney could craft its own version of the Argonauts story, casting Atalanta in the lead as a strong woman constantly belittled by her crew. But when they need her most, she's there to save the day, proving that women can be just as strong, resilient and powerful as men.

Annie Londonderry

Disney's put true-life stories to film before, and the story of Annie Londonderry would be a unique entry in its catalog. Londonderry, born Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, was the first woman to bicycle around the world. That's right, she rode a bike around the entire world. In 1894, she accepted a challenge to ride around the globe on a bicycle as a test of both endurance and a woman's ability to fend for herself in the world. So she left her husband and three kids in the States for 15 months while she went off and accomplished the journey. By the end, Cohen had completely reinvented herself as Annie Londonderry — adventurer, globetrotter and bike rider.

Calamity Jane

Once again pulling from the pages of American history, Disney could bring Old West legend Calamity Jane to the big screen for a new adventure. The daredevil frontierswoman was known for her crack shot and expert scouting abilities, traveling across the country during the birth of the West. She was also known for her compassion and kindness, helping people wherever she went. Disney could craft a bold take on the Old West with Calamity Jane at the center, creating a female hero during a time when women were hardly respected.

Princess Elisa

Image Credit: Kelley McMorris.
Image Credit: Kelley McMorris.

Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales have provided the basis for some of Disney's best hits, like The Little Mermaid and Frozen, and another one of his stories could be perfectly adapted for a strong female lead. In The Wild Swans, Andersen weaved a tale of an evil witch's attempt to overthrow a kingdom by turning its 11 princes into swans (yeah, it's kind of silly). Her only problem? Princess Elisa, their sister who's invulnerable to the witch's curse. Elisa must find a way to save her brothers from the swan curse and restore order to the kingdom. This one could work within Disney's fairytale wheelhouse while adding another empowering woman to its princess pantheon.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was the first black female self-made millionaire in America, building an empire on her hair and beauty products targeted at African-American women. She started from nothing and sold products door to door before building a network of 40,000 Walker Agents who did the selling for her. Normally, Walker's achievements would be impressive, but they're even more incredible considering she did it all in the early 1900s, a time when both racism and sexism were rampant. A Disney biopic chronicling her accomplishments despite adversity would provide a great look at a strong black entrepreneur often overlooked by history. And if we can have a movie about Jennifer Lawrence inventing a mop, we can have one about Madam C.J. Walker.

Princess Misty Of Beldora

Image Credit: Oni Press.
Image Credit: Oni Press.

If Disney really wanted to try something new, it'd bring a character like Princess Misty of Beldora to the big screen. The main character of the Oni Press comic Another Castle, Misty is a no-nonsense princess from a magical kingdom who yearns for action and adventure. While her fellow princesses would rather pick out ballgowns and perfect their makeup, Misty's on guard to vanquish any trace of evil that enters her kingdom. She's knowledgeable, capable and ready for anything, with all the agency that Disney's early princesses lack. Another Castle flips the standard princess narrative completely on its head, but given Disney's recent moves could be the perfect source for its next adaptation.

What female heroes do you think Disney should bring to the big screen? Let us know in the comments below.


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