As has been a tradition at the big room Hall H at Comic Con, again this year Entertainment Weekly staged their annual Women Who Kick Ass panel. This year’s installment was moderated by Sarah Rodman and featured Shoreh Aghdashloo, Cobie Smulders (whom Marvel fans will be very familiar with given her numerous appearances playing Agent Hill across their properties), Freema Agyeman, Betty Gilpin and Jeri Ryan (Ryan apparently replacing previously scheduled participant Ruby Rose). Cobie Smulders has a new show coming up in the Fall on ABC. Jeri Ryan was just announced this very morning to be a cast member on the new Star Trek show featuring Patrick Stewart, entitled Star Trek: Picard. Betty Gilpin is a current cast member on Netflix’s GLOW. Freema Agyeman was previously a cast member of Doctor Who. And lastly, Shohreh Aghdashloo is a current cast member of The Expanse which will be returning for its fourth season in December.
The panel focused on a bevy of topics concerning actresses portraying strong women in both the modern world and the current state of the entertainment industry. Regarding the need for equality, Agyeman indicated that a pure bent trying to make everything equal wasn’t quite the perfect formulation of changes. “I think there’s also something to be said for acknowledging difference,” she said. “If we’re saying, ‘Everyone is equal,’ we’re not celebrating the differences.”
Ryan spoke about how choosing roles in regards to the example it sets for her children. “I’m a mom,” she began contemplating deeply. “First and foremost for me when I’ve taken any job is what’s the effect it’s going to have on my kids. It was one thing when it was just my son. When it was my daughter, it became a lot more urgent that the characters I play were a positive representation of what a woman can be.” She added at the end regarding her daughter and girls everywhere, “I want them to know everything can be a possibility for them.”
Smulders was insightful in terms of how it’s best to portray strength. “When you get to portray someone who has an addiction and on the paper that is weak,” she said. “Every day is about putting one foot in front of the other. That’s another kind of strength.” Gilpin contrasted that indicating that perhaps can bring strength to a female character is channeling inner fire and anger. “The thing that can conjoin us all is releasing the inner kraken,” she concluded.
Aghdashloo went into a more philosophical direction concerning her work’s impact. She explained about a moment following finishing shooting a season of the expanse. “I was ever so tired,” she began. “I got a note about the movie Run Sweetheart, Run produced by the Blumhouse. At first, I told my agent I’m really tired and I don’t feel like working. Then I read it and I felt obligated regardless of feeling tired. So it’s satisfying when we do something that is meaningful. I for one am so grateful to Amazon that now the show is being shown to the world. All the girls in the world will think, if she can do it, there is hope.”