Here’s Every Upcoming Action Movie With a Female Lead

Photo: Graham Bartholomew/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc./Peter Mountain/Paramount Pictures/Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox

From Annihilation to Red Sparrow to Tomb Raider, there’s about to be a flood of action heroines at the multiplex, meaning we’ll get the chance to watch women do a lot of cool, death-defying stuff onscreen. But how will we sate our unremitting appetite for badass ladies post-March? Vulture has mapped out all of the female-lead action films either in development, in production, or in the can and on their way to a theater near you. Get ready for a slew of assassins looking for vengeance, a few precocious kids solving mysteries, a sampling of superheroes, and hopefully more high-quality wigs than we’re capable of counting.

In Development

The Aeronauts

Status: In preproduction, but with stars and a director in place with Amazon.

Description: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star as a researcher and pilot team that goes on a science mission in a hot-air balloon. They ascend higher than anyone ever has, and have to fight for survival in the thinning atmosphere. (Of course a Jones/Redmayne action-thriller would be set in a hot-air balloon in the mid-1800s.)

Bad Monkeys

Status: The movie was announced two years ago and is still classified as in development, but no fresh news has been provided for a while.

Description: Margot Robbie is set to star in and produce Monkeys through her company, Lucky Chap. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff; Robbie would play Jane Charlotte, a woman arrested for murder who gets sent to a psych ward after saying that she fights for a group called the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons. She proceeds to go mad — or is she the only sane one? Kind of sounds like an alternate origin story for Harley Quinn.


Status: Very early development. It was announced last summer, but no star is attached yet.

Description: Lionsgate won the rights to this script, and John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk is signed on to develop it. The story focuses on a young woman who’s raised to be an assassin, and who’s eventually tasked with tracking down and killing her own family.

Black Widow stand-alone movie

Status: Screenwriter attached.

Description: It was announced earlier this year that Kevin Feige and Marvel had hired a writer for a Black Widow stand-alone screenplay. Scarlett Johansson would obviously star, and reportedly met with studio heads to talk about goals for a solo movie.

Cash Truck

Status: There hasn’t been much movement since this movie was announced at Cannes last year.

Description: Sandra Bullock committed to star in this action-thriller, based on the French movie Le Convoyeur. Bullock would play a down-on-her-luck woman who starts work at an armored car company, and eventually starts pursuing her own mysterious agenda on the job.

Enola Holmes

Status: This one is in early stages, since it was just announced at the start of the year, but Millie Bobby Brown is set to star in and produce.

Description: Brown plays the titular heroine in this adaptation of Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes Mysteries novel series. Enola is the baby sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, and wouldn’t you know it, a crack sleuth in her own right.


Status: Production is scheduled to start in August, with stars and a director in place.

Description: Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, and Sasha Lane star in the next film from Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), which follows a group of cops who hunt down and kill nocturnal subterranean monsters.

Gotham City Sirens

Status: There is a long and confusing slate of Harley Quinn–related projects in the hopper with Warner Bros. and this is one of them. Margot Robbie would star and David Ayer is attached to direct, but no more news has been announced yet.

Description: The movie would theoretically star Robbie’s Harley Quinn alongside Catwoman and Poison Ivy, i.e., it would follow bad girls doing bad-girl things.


Status: This one is in preproduction, but has a star and a director attached.

Description: The lead role has changed hands on this movie three times, going from Zoe Saldana to Olivia Munn and now Milla Jovovich. It’s about a black-ops assassin who starts to doubt her training when she’s given a dubious assignment; producers say it’s like both Lucy and the Bourne franchise.

Kitty Pryde stand-alone movie

Status: Deadpool director Tim Miller is reportedly developing a stand-alone Kitty Pryde movie with Brian Michael Bendis writing a script.

Description: No story details yet, but Kitty was previously played fleetingly by Ellen Page in the X-Men franchise. The character attended Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and can phase shift at an atomic level, meaning she can run through solid surfaces, among many other skills.


Status: The project was announced with Margot Robbie attached to star in and produce the movie, based on a spec script, but no director has been hired.

Description: Maid Marian rises to power after Robin Hood dies, and she leads her people in a war that will decide the fate of the kingdom.

Painkiller Jane

Status: The movie was announced last fall, and while there is no director attached, a screenwriter has been signed on to adapt it from the comic of the same name. Jessica Chastain is set to star and produce.

Description: Chastain would play Jane Vasko, a New York cop recruited by the FBI to infiltrate and take down a drug- and human-trafficking ring. After almost dying, she develops regenerative abilities and becomes an almost indestructible vigilante. It’s like Luke Cage and Daredevil and Jessica Jones all rolled into one!


Status: Possibly stuck in development, since it was announced in 2015 and there haven’t been any updates since. But it hasn’t been declared dead yet.

Description: The movie’s announcement made waves, since it was based on an original concept from Stan Lee and billed as the first Chinese female superhero for the big screen. Li Bingbing (whom Americans will see later this year in The Meg) was attached to star, but no plot details were given at the time.

Silver & Black

Status: There are screenwriters attached, and Gina Prince-Bythewood will reportedly direct.

Description: A Sony-produced superhero film based on the characters Silver Sable, a mercenary who hunts war criminals, and Black Cat, a burglar turned hero.

Star Wars Episode IX

Status: Definitely happening and definitely no one is spilling secrets.

Description: Star Wars remains an ensemble-powered saga, but this trilogy has always been about Rey’s journey.

Untitled Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna movie

Status: A really good pseudo-idea that was born on Tumblr and has been picked up by Netflix.

Description: If this thing really comes to pass, it will star Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna in a heist movie directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Issa Rae. Or it will die as the best vaporware ever.

Untitled Harley Quinn and Joker movie

Status: Warner Bros. is in the Margot Robbie business big time. This project was announced last fall, but is still in the earliest stages of development, though it reportedly has a writer-director pair attached.

Description: Margot Robbie and Jared Leto getting up to all kinds of Harley and Joker high jinks and aggressively loving up on each other.

Untitled Harley Quinn stand-alone movie

Status: Margot Robbie announced this one herself in an interview, and has reportedly been developing it for two years already. No talk of a director or screenwriter, but hey, Robbie seems pretty set on it.

Description: Robbie says this Harley movie would put her with a girl gang, but that it’s “totally separate” from other Harley movies that have already been announced, so it’s not Gotham City Sirens. Warner Bros. did say before Suicide Squad even hit theaters, though, that they’d like to do a Harley-centric spinoff that paired her with an ensemble of other female DC characters. So maybe Robbie’s Harley movie is the same as that one?

Wonder Woman 2

Status: Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are both set up to reprise their star and director roles from the blockbuster first Wonder Woman.

Description: The timeline will reportedly move into the ’80s for the Wonder sequel, with the Cold War and USSR factoring in. Jenkins has also teased another love story.

In Production


Status: The film was in production earlier this year. It’s expected to debut in 2018, but does not yet have a release date.

Description: Jennifer Garner stars in this action-thriller that’s been described as John Wick, but with a lady. It focuses on a woman (Garner) who devotes herself to becoming a killing machine so she can avenge the drive-by shooting deaths of her husband and daughter. Naturally, it’s directed by Pierre Morel, of Taken fame.


Status: Currently filming, and will hit theaters on December 21.

Description: This Transformers spinoff gives us a look at Bumblebee’s life in the 1980s, and it stars Hailee Steinfeld as his faithful owner.


Status: Currently in production, and expected to be released later this year.

Description: A Luc Besson thriller joint that stars Sasha Luss as his latest exceptional female, Anna. She’s probably going to beat a lot of people up.

Captain Marvel

Status: Currently filming, and will hit theaters March 6 of next year.

Description: Marvel’s first female-lead superhero movie stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, an extremely powerful figure in the comics canon. We don’t know much — except that it’s set in the 1990s, and that, based on behind-the-scenes photos snapped of Larson, she’ll be rocking a Rachel hairdo.

Rhythm Section

Status: On a filming hiatus until June, with a theatrical release scheduled for February 22 of next year.

Description: Blake Lively will seek vengeance and wear many wigs as assassin Stephanie Patrick in this action-thriller based on the spy-novel series by Mark Burnell. It’s the third feature from director and cinematographer Reed Morano.

Postproduction and Coming Soon


Status: In theaters February 23.

Description: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Jennifer Jason Leigh play a team of scientists and researchers who explore a mysterious (and deadly) environmental phenomenon in this trippy sci-fi thriller from writer-director Alex Garland.

Red Sparrow

Status: In theaters March 2.

Description: Jennifer Lawrence plays an ultra-adaptable and ultra-deadly Russian ballerina turned assassin, with Joel Edgerton playing opposite as her CIA agent trying to earn her trust.

Hurricane Heist

Status: In theaters March 9.

Description: Maggie Grace stars in this pure shot of absurdity about a heist on a U.S. Treasury location that takes place during a category-five hurricane.

A Wrinkle in Time

Status: In theaters March 9.

Description: Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the classic novel, and it stars Storm Reid as young Meg Murry, who journeys through space and time to find her dad. Plus new music from Sade!

Tomb Raider

Status: In theaters March 16.

Description: Alicia Vikander stars as the popular video-game character in this franchise reboot. This time, Lara Croft is out to solve the disappearance of her father, and she spends a ton of time leaping great distances and getting soaked by violently rushing water.

Breaking In

Status: In theaters May 11.

Description: Gabrielle Union stars in this home-invasion movie where the home invaders are going to end up wishing that they’d targeted a different location with a different mother protecting her kids.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Status: In theaters July 6.

Description: Granted, this isn’t called just The Wasp, but it’s obvious Evangeline Lilly and Michelle Pfeiffer are the true stars of this next Marvel entry.

The Darkest Minds

Status: Designated as being in postproduction, and has a theatrical release date of August 3.

Description: Amandla Stenberg stars in this sci-fi thriller, wherein a disease has wiped out all but 2 percent of American kids, and the survivors have developed superpowers and have been placed in internment camps. Stenberg breaks out and joins a bunch of teens on the run from the government.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Status: Designated as being in postproduction, and has a theatrical release date of November 2.

Description: Sophie Turner stars as young Jean Grey in this origin story of her evil alternate persona the Dark Phoenix, with previous X-Men franchise anchors Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy reprising their mutant roles.


Status: In theaters November 16.

Description: Brace yourself for this screen adaptation of a British mini-series from 1983, in which four widowed women plan to finish a heist job their dead husbands failed to complete. It stars Elizabeth Debicki, Viola Davis, Carrie Coon, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Jacki Weaver, and that doesn’t include any of the men, like André Holland, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal and — do we even need to go on? Oh yeah, and it’s directed by Steve McQueen.

Alita: Battle Angel

Status: In theaters December 21.

Description: Robert Rodriguez directs this adaptation of the popular manga of the same name, which stars Rosa Salazar as Alita, a cyborg with no memory of herself before being destroyed and put back together. She must solve the secrets of her past while she also changes the world. It also stars Mahershala Ali, which is a win for us all.

The New Mutants

Status: In theaters February 22, 2019.

Description: The next X-Men franchise entry after Dark Phoenix is a haunted-house thriller about a bunch of young mutants who need to escape a derelict medical facility. Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams topline as Magik and Wolfsbane, respectively.


Status: Categorized as in postproduction, but with no release date.

Description: Noomi Rapace plays an elite bodyguard forced to go on the run with her charge, a billionaire heiress, after a kidnapping attempt.

A Guide to Every Upcoming Action Movie With a Female Lead