20 legendary Black science fiction actors who rocked the genre

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Gina Torres

Some of the actors here are probably best defined as dabblers in the science fiction genre. There’s nothing wrong with that, since we can’t really blame actors for taking paying roles or exploring the possibilities of their careers.

Gina Torres, however, has really found her bread and butter within the world of sci-fi. If you’re a fan of major science fiction films like the Matrix series, or of some smaller, but no less interesting television shows like Firefly, you’ve seen Torres.

One of her first science fiction roles came on the relatively short-running and definitely strange Cleopatra 2525. The series follows Cleo, an exotic dancer who falls into a coma during surgery and wakes up in the year 2525, over 500 years after her own time. She falls in with a group of resistance fighters led by Hel (Torres), a pretty cool character trapped in an admittedly cheesy show.

Torres also appears in the fan favorite Firefly series, another short-lived show that has since become a cult classic. This time around, Torres appears as Zoe Washburne, a former resistance fighter who now serves as the first mate of a “firefly class” ship named Serenity.

While everyone else around her is at least occasionally oddball and freewheeling, Zoe is one of the most competent people there (and at least a little scary). Her harsh edges are softened somewhat by her marriage to the ultra-goofy ship’s pilot, Hoban “Wash” Washburne.

Finally, you can also find Torres in a supporting role in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. She plays Cas, a resident of Zion, a human refuge from the menacing Machines. Torres, by the way, is the real-life wife of Laurence Fishburne, who played Morpheus in the same series.