Back for another year, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019 held its annual Entertainment Weekly WOMEN WHO KICK ASS panel. Moderator Sarah Rodman, former editor of the Los Angeles Times, led the panelists in poignant discussion regarding women’s experience working in film and television. Panelists included: Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse, Star Trek: Beyond), Cobie Smulders (Avengers: End Game, How I Met Your Mother), Betty Gilpin (Glow, Isn’t It Romantic), Freema Agyeman (New Amsterdam, Doctor Who) and Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Voyager). Absent from the panel was Ruby Rose who is starring in CW’s Batwoman; however, she was replaced by Jeri Ryan who had a lot to say on the topic of women in film.
In the hour-long panel, a wide array of topics were covered; from female role models to thought processes involved in role selection, to issues related to representation, equality, and diversity. All the panelists spoke about the importance of role models both in familial, work, or academic environment that played a role in supporting their success. The panelists agreed that seeing strong women represented in the media is important. However, some panelists expressed how weak, complicated, and complex women also have a place in media. They argue that there is a benefit of creating both strong and fragile female characters to capture all dimensions of women’s experience. In regard to diversity, Freema Agyeman acknowledged that “there is something to be said for acknowledging differences and celebrating differences.” At one point in the discussion, Rodman asked, “What is the key to getting to the place where you can do what you want [as an actress]?” Shohreh Aghdashloo confidentially and simply replied, “put your foot down and say what you want” which was met with applause and cheers from the audience.
Overall, the panel was a celebration of women in film and television with limited announcements. All panelists shared their gratitude for the fiercely loyal sci-fi fan base and spoke of how it affects them to work on meaningful projects. Of note, Jeri Ryan gave a shout out to Star Trek fans and expressed how inspiring it is to hear from individuals that were touched by her character, Seven of Nine. She looks forward to the return of Star Trek: Picard in “early 2020”. Shohreh Aghdashloo expressed her excitement that The Expanse was resurrected by Amazon for a second season. Betty Gilpin made a splash with her hilarious commentary throughout the panel and announced the trailer for Blumhouse’s The Hunt which will be released in theateres September 27, 2019. Cobie Smulders shared that she will be on ABC’s new action-drama-edy, Stumptown, where she will play a badass private investigator. Lastly, Freeman Agyeman hints that there “could be a big twist” following the crash last season on New Amsterdam. We look forward to seeing these women kick ass in their upcoming projects.