On any given night, you can watch a bad space opera on Syfy and check out a random hot chick walking around in some costumer’s idea of a “futuristic” outfit. Usually that means low-slung leather pants, funky sidearm (gun or knife), bared midriff and a too-tight top that comes loose five minutes into the movie. Or you can watch even lamer straight-to-video versions of the same thing on Netflix.
But what about those truly sexy sci-fi chicks we all remember years later? You know which ones we mean. We’re talking about the ones who had a little something extra to flaunt. The ones who had style and substance. The ones who made you want to follow them straight into that horde of alien bugs or robots waiting to massacre your team on some crap hole of a space station.
Now we’re not talking about some of the most famous ladies the genre’s ever produced. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley (the Alien movies) might be the all-time bad-ass leading lady of sci-fi but she was just a little too butch to be considered sexy. Linda Hamilton in Terminator Two was awesomely buff but maybe just a little too scary for our tastes. Milla Jovovich was definitely hot and dangerous in all of those Resident Evil movies but, really, those were horror, not classic sci-fi.
We also decided this would be a list of actresses from the movies only so all of you Lt. Uhura and Agent Scully fans can sit back down now. No worries, though, because below we have the top ten sexy sci-fi chicks you’ve been waiting to hear about.
10 Milla Jovovich - Leeloo Dallas (The Fifth Element)
Being the perfect human being, a divine incarnation of love is no easy task for any actress to take on. Fortunately, Milla Jovovich was up to the task in the off-the-wall, slightly batty, mostly campy Fifth Element. Her portrayal of Leeloo Dallas is note perfect; of course Leeloo would have no idea of her own sexuality - she is born to save the universe, after all. But she’s also supposed to be an omnipotent love symbol and at that she succeeds. The skimpy athletic tape outfit she wears doesn’t hurt either. We would gladly trade in all our multi-passes and devour chicken for some time spent with Leeloo.
9 Sanaa Lathan - Alexa Woods (AVP: Alien vs. Predator)
We know Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the chick who made the success of the Aliens franchise happen. But the inspired idea to combine H.R. Giger’s creepy Aliens with the awesomely hard-core Predator hunters led to another inspired choice. Sanaa Lathan is so hot as expedition leader Alexa Woods that we’re surprised she hasn’t made a career out of low budget Sci-fi films rather than working on, like, actual, real TV shows. There’s just something so sexy about a woman who can out-think you in a crisis. Even if that means said woman ends up with a homemade spear and a Predator partner hunting down alien babies below the Arctic ice-shelf. The fact that she spends a lot of the movie covered up in a snowsuit kinda makes her hotter, honestly. Maybe it’s that bad-ass “body count” scar on her cheek the Predator gives her using a dead alien’s acidic claw, but we would follow Alexa Woods into the frozen wasteland anytime.
8 Denise Richards - Lt. Carmen Ibanez (Starship Troopers)
As we watch young Carmen Ibanez’s journey from callow high school recruit to battle-hardened veteran officer, we are struck by her enduring sacrifice to the federation and… Not! What we are struck by in Denise Richards’ performance in this film are the two projectiles attached to the front of her chest. That and her oh-so-innocent appearing smile. Richards strikes just the right balance between sultriness and innocence. The much reviled (but also much loved) Starship Troopers is totally saved by her appearance in it, in our opinion. It’s just really, really too bad that her character didn’t appear in the infamous coed shower scene. Oh well, there’s always Wild Things on Netflix.
7 Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia (The Star Wars Series)
How could we even do this list and not mention Princess Leia, who is everything you would want in a sexy sci-fi heroine. If you want a certain coolness and reserve (and a well-coiffed head of hair), she’s your lady. But she can also handle a blaster, if you know what we mean. Do we even have to talk about her slave-girl turn in the gold-metal bikini in Return of the Jedi? Well, of course we do! It’s perhaps the seminal sexy kitsch moment in sci-fi history. We doubt there’s a guy out there who wouldn’t have minded trading places with Jabba. Minus the lizardy stomach rolls and green skin, of course.
6 Jane Fonda - Barbarella (Barbarella)
Speaking of campy Sci-fi kitsch, no one did it better than Jane Fonda in the original Swinging Sixties unwitting cult classic Barbarella. Playing the title character, Fonda prances around in very little while nominally searching for a missing scientist who invented a death ray. Or something. The plot really, really doesn’t matter in this one. What matters is that Barbarella spends most of her time being rescued and then offering sex as a thank you. The fact that the movie was based on a French comic book and was a joint French-Italian production lends it a very open, overtly sexual tone that mainstream Hollywood in the 60s couldn’t quite compete with. Not that we’re complaining mind you. Not at all. Barbarella remains the gold standard for silly outer space sex romps to this day.
5 Carrie Anne-Moss - Trinity (The Matrix Series)
Maybe it was the skin-tight leather suit. Maybe it was the sunglasses and short hair. Or maybe it was the fact that her character was one of the few humans to knowingly break free of The Matrix and commit herself to an outlaw life in the resistance, rescuing humanity from its own ignorance… Nah, it was the leather suit and sunglasses, alright. Carrie Anne-Moss’s Trinity is one kick-ass Sci-fi heroine however you look at her. She might be a hacker supreme and worthy fighter, but it’s the completely gratuitous sex scenes with Neo in the second and third installments of the franchise that prove she belongs on our list of sexy Sci-fi chicks. It’s not like we didn’t already know that Trinity and Neo were together but confirmation is always a good thing, right?
4 Zoe Saldana - Neytiri (Avatar)
Who says a blue-skinned CGI alien cat-chick can’t be sexy? Certainly not us. Not Jake Gyllenhaal. And definitely not the millions of theater-goers who made Avatar the top-grossing movie of all time (although there’s a certain Sci-fi “Force” currently in theaters that might change that). Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri is passionate, open and deeply committed to her love life. And let’s not forget blue. Very, very blue. What more could you ask for? Bonus footage on the 2010 re-release and DVD/Blu-Ray releases showed her engaging in some “alien foreplay.” You asked for it, you got, fanboys.
3 Natasha Henstridge - Sil (The Species Series)
The outlier on our list, Natasha Henstridge’s Sil is one super-hot alien. If you can get past her propensity to gorge herself on man-flesh, that is. After all, she actually “tongues” her first victim to death. The Species’ movies won’t win any awards for great storytelling (or production values, or acting or “greater” meaning or, well… you get the point) and they’re not anywhere as well known as the other movies on our list. Which begs the point; why were three of them made? Well, we don’t know about the last one but it’s pretty freakin’ obvious why the first two were. Because Natasha Henstridge is H-O-T. There’s a reason so many dudes spend all their time chasing her around and we don’t think it’s really because they want to save the human race. Nah, they just want to catch the hottest thing to ever combine human and questionable alien DNA. The absolute best part of this movie, of course, is that Sil’s only goal is to mate with a human male. We would be all onboard for that, if we didn’t end up quite literally drained and dead afterward.
2 Megan Fox - Mikaela Barnes (The Transformers Series)
It’s too bad that Megan Fox decided to forgo her role as Mikaela Barnes in the third Transformers movie. Maybe more for her career’s sake than our sake, but still. Her kind of outlaw, kind of hometown-girl bit was incredibly sexy in the first two movies. It also gave hope to all of us nerds everywhere, as dorky Shia LaBeouf’s character got to be with her. The apocryphal story that director Michael Bay had her come to his house and wash his Ferrari as part of her “audition" certainly doesn’t hurt the simmering sense of sexiness surrounding her character.
1 Summer Glau - River Tam (Serenity)
Nothing says Sci-fi sexy better than full on crazy, right? Well, at least it works for Summer Glau’s River Tam character in the cult classic Serenity (based on the even more culty TV series Firefly). Joss Whedon may have gone on to slightly bigger and better things but this cool little flick showcases River Tam’s awesome martial arts skills (and attendant flowing hair) in ways that might even outdo Black Widow. Of course, River Tam can also slow down time, among other tricks her “enhanced” brain conjures, which just gives us a better chance to see her sexiness in kick-ass action. Who cares that she’s nuttier than a Reaver wannabe at ComCon. We’d fight against the hordes with her any old day.