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Answering What Ifs: 7 Cool Gender Swaps

July 6, 2017
Diego Molano Rodriguez
Riveted Editorial Board
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What if the Harry Potter series had featured a Harriet instead? Or what if Bobby Jones and not Bridget had released their diary for the world to gawk at? These are only some of the questions I agonize over on a daily basis. Gender flipping is at times controversial, but at the very least, is always entertaining. I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorite series, reboots, or retellings of stories that have flipped the genders of protagonists or major characters from their original source material.


1. Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

Life & Death

Have you ever wondered what the Twilight series would look like if the gender of every major character was flipped? Well Stephanie Meyer decided to answer these “What ifs” and created 2015’s Life and Death. Beaufort (or Beau) Swan and Edythe Cullen take the places of Bella and Edward, and small quirks are added to the story – for example, Beau moves to the town of Forks with his mother, Renee Dwyer. This is an enjoyable retread through the first Twilight book for any fans of the series.


2. Ghostbusters

Ghost busters movie

This 2016 reboot of the blockbuster 1984 movie cast the fantastic all-lady quartet of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon as the titular Ghostbusters. Like in the first movie, a group of scientists (and one transit worker), discover the existence of paranormal entities, and they join forces to keep the streets of New York safe from spectral baddies. This group strikes comedy gold, and presents a fresh, fun follow up to the classic movie that so many of us grew up watching.


3. M, James Bond Series

Judi Dench

“M” is the code name for James Bond’s boss, usually a roll relegated to a caricature that is constantly ignored as James Bond tries to save the world. This all changed with the casting of Dame Judi Dench as the first female M. First appearing in 1995’s Goldeneye, she played the role of James Bond’s superior both with far more gravitas and grit than any of her predecessors ever mustered – the first “M” that was truly a match for Bond. Who can forget the moment she called James Bond a “sexist, misogynist, dinosaur – a relic of the cold war.” Chills. Over the course of seven films, she finally gave the series a true foil for Bond, a woman who could go toe-to-toe with pop culture’s most notorious womanizer. This gender flipped part has reversed again, with Ralph Fiennes taking over for Dame Judi Dench in the most recent Bond film. However, it is absolutely not up for debate who the best M of all time was. I recommend everyone watch Skyfall, Dench’s final performance as M and perhaps the finest Bond film ever.


4. Lock and Mori series by Heather W. Petty 

Lock & Mori

Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty have long comprised one of literary history’s most iconic rivalries. The Lock and Mori series places both of these geniuses in a contemporary London setting as they race each other to solve a murder, with the important distinction of a “Ms.” James Moriarty. The completive nature of the two protagonists is further complicated as a romance blossoms between the two. This series is great for any fans of shows like Elementary, the BBC Sherlock, or the classic mystery novels. BONUS: Lock and Mori is available as a featured free read until July 17!


5. Westworld TV Series

West World

The original film (and 1980’s cult hit) follows two men who are being hunted by a robotic gunslinger inside of a malfunctioning robotic Wild West themed park. The 2016 reboot series takes the concept of the Wild West theme park and focuses on Dolores, one of the robotic “hosts” at the park. She begins to develop consciousness, and finds herself in a dangerous cat and mouse game with a brutal park guest obsessed with reaching the deepest levels of the part.  A meditation on gender, violence, storytelling, and what it means to be human, this reboot takes Michael Crichton’s original concept further than I thought possible.


6. Wrecked by Anna Davies

Wrecked

One of the most under represented genres for the gender flip are fairy tales. In this contemporary retelling of The Little Mermaid, our protagonist Miranda lives in Whim Island. When she is saved from a horrific boat accident by a mysterious boy, she can’t stop seeing him in her dreams. She then meets Christian, who she can’t help be feel she’s met before. I think you all see the parallels to the classic story. A timeless romance at its core with a paranormal twist, Wrecked is a fun and exciting addition to the genre.


7. Girl Meets World

Girl-Meets-World

Boy Meets World was one of the most formative shows for children of the 90s. The combination of comedy and the confrontation of series issues make it a popular show even today, with memes and references populating social media on a daily basis. This sequel series continues the story of Corey and Topanga, but centers on their daughter, Riley. Following a similar formula to its predecessor, the show tackles complex issues like online safety and first loves, this time through the eyes of a young girl. More than just a nostalgia trip, this reboot is worth the watch outside of its relation to the original show.


Do you have any favorite gender flipped TV shows, movies, or books? Are there any properties that you wish would reboot with a gender flip? Let us know in the comments below!

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