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This Mother’s Day We’re Celebrating Our Favorite Fictional Moms from Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Did your favorite pop culture mom make the list?

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in "Black Panther" (Credit: screengrab/Marvel Entertainment)

Oh moms, where would we be without you? You gave us life, love, support, and plenty of grief over our high school sartorial choices (maybe you were right, those gold corduroy pants have NOT aged well). In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re doing a round up of some of our favorite moms from the geeky world of film, television, and comics. Because while shapeshifters, wizards, and time travelers are swell, we know that moms are the closest thing to real-life superheroines we have.

Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) in Stranger Things

winona ryder

Stranger Things gave us deep nostalgia feels by bringing back our favorite songs, fashions, and pop culture references from the 80’s. But nothing made us happier than the best revival of all: Winona Ryder’s career. When her son Will disappears into the Upside Down, Joyce Byers is relentless in her search, battling demogorgons, evil government scientists, and her own 80’s wallpaper. In the series’ standout sequence, Joyce strings up her Christmas lights under a make-shift alphabet in order to communicate with Will. Creating an inter-dimensional communication device out of household objects? Now that’s some next-level momgenuity (mom ingenuity,it’s a thing now).

Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) in Black Panther

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda

All hail the queen! Angela Bassett brings gravitas, intelligence and warmth to her portrayal of the Queen Mother of Wakanda. Ramonda is proud of her children, King T’Challa aka the Black Panther and her brilliant scientist daughter Shuri. She is a forward thinking monarch, and even seems to support the rise of a female Panther when she urges Nakia to eat the heart-shaped herb after Killmonger’s coup. Would we watch a prequel of a young Ramonda taking the throne? Yes, yes we would.

Alisa Jones (Janet McTeer) in Jessica Jones

Alisa Jones

Not everyone gets the mother they want. Moms are people too, beset by complications, and are not immune to stress, trauma, addiction, and abuse. In season two of Jessica Jones, Jessica is reunited with her long lost mother, but everything has changed. Having spent over a decade as the subject of illegal medical experiments, Alisa is unrecognizable and packing genetically enhanced super strength like her daughter. Alisa desperately wants to reconnect with her daughter, but is saddled with violent rage issues, resentment, and a haywire moral compass. The season is a powerful metaphor for loving someone with a mental illness, and Janet McTeer gives Alisa the perfect balance of tragic menace and motherly love.

Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) in Wonder Woman

Where does Wonder Woman get it from? Her mother, of course. The Queen of the Amazons is fierce, intelligent, and very protective of her only daughter Diana. Hippolyta is not only a just and fair ruler of the Amazons, she is also a highly skilled warrior. And like the best leaders, she is adaptable and able to evolve her thinking. After discovering Diana secretly training with Antiope, Hippolyta reprimands Diana but allows her to continue to train. All the qualities that Wonder Woman possesses that make her a role model are a direct result of Hippolyta and the influence of the Amazons. That is one tough mother.

Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) in the Harry Potter films

The matriarch of the Weasley clan is warm, loving, and fiercely protective of her family. But what really hits us in the feels is her unconditional love of Harry, who she quickly takes in as one of her own. In addition to caring for her large family, Molly is also a badass witch who is not to be trifled with, as Bellatrix Lestrange learns. Besides, only a mom could accomplish the greatest wizarding feat of all: feeding and clothing seven kids on a government job budget. Molly Weasley, we salute you.

Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Time and time again, it is Buffy’s connection to her friends and family that proves to be her greatest strength. Her relationship with her mother Joyce is perhaps her greatest anchor to the real world. Joyce is a loving but frazzled single mom who spends the first few seasons of the series oblivious to her daughter’s double life. When Buffy finally comes out as the slayer, Joyce responds negatively, saying “have you tried not being the slayer?” The exchange was a powerful metaphor for coming out, especially in back in the 90’s when queer characters were few and far between. Joyce eventually gets over herself and supports her daughter in her calling. Her death in season five gives us one of the most devastating episodes of the entire series, and I still can’t watch “The Body” without crying my eyes out. Also, we have nothing but respect for the woman who banged Giles on the hood of a car. Well played, Joyce.

Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) in Star Trek: The Next Generation

The chief medical officer of both the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E, Commander Crusher is a talented and capable member of the crew. She is also a single mother to Wesley, and juggles her duties to the job and to her family with grace and intelligence. Beverly keeps her cool under pressure, and maintains some sizzling will they-won’t they chemistry with Captain Picard. Just keep her away from those candles.

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the Terminator Series

It should be noted that Sarah Connor never asked for any of this. She never signed up for saving the world, for giving birth to the chosen one who could defeat Skynet and the machines. She was just a young waitress when the original Terminator came back in time to hunt her, and had a brief dalliance with her protector Kyle Reese before she was left to fend for herself. In the time between the first film and its sequel, Sarah transforms into a legit superhero: she develops espionage skills, firearms knowledge, and becomes ripped AF in an effort to protect her son John and raise him to be the hero she knows he must be. When the world called her insane and locked her in an asylum, Sarah never wavered in her commitment to the mission. Linda Hamilton’s performance in this iconic role invented the modern female action hero, portraying strength and agency at a time when women were almost exclusively damsels in distress. Sure, the plotline of the franchise may be the saving of John Connor, but we all know that the real hero of the story is Sarah.

Who makes your list of favorite genre mamas? Let us know in the comments, and Happy Mother’s Day!

(image: Marvel)

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