Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Carmen Ibanez

Before Ender’s Game came Starship Troopers. And before Petra Arkanian came Lt. Carmen Ibanez, leader of a ragtag military team set to destroy anything that crawls—literally. Women Who Wow Wednesday celebrates this dynamo of aggression following in the footsteps of the film’s motto: “I’m doing my part.”

Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez
Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez

Much like Ender’s Game, earth is on high alert, raising a youth army in the mobile infantry to combat bugs from outer space. There is training. There is testing. Then there is deployment to a far planet where the bugs reside. That’s where the similarities end with the films. Starship Troopers’ armies fight the bugs in brutal episodes of dismemberment. The film’s bright and vibrant colors lend to a retro 60’s feel in the midst of dark comedic scenes.

Setting the tone to the film, a history lesson in high school highlights the class rivalry between two attractive students, Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards) and Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer). In the middle of instructor Jean Rasczak’s (Michael Ironside) speech of how “violence is the supreme authority for which all other authority is derived,” this interchange develops:

Dizzy: My mother always told me that violence doesn’t solve anything.
Jean Rasczak: Really? I wonder what the city founders of Hiroshima would have to say about that.
Carmen: They wouldn’t say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed.
Jean Rasczak: Correct. Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst; people who forget that always die.

Carmen at the Fleet Academy
Carmen at the Fleet Academy

Aside from being quick with her answers, Carmen also has an astounding ability with math, scoring a 97% in her finals fulfilling Fleet Academy’s first requirement. Her dream lies with piloting a half a million-ton starship. But she would need nerves of steel if she wanted to accomplish such a big dream.

Unfortunately, her weakness may be her downfall. She possesses a soft stomach, unable to watch the dissection of a bug in biology class. The dead bug measures two by two and a half feet. Its long green intestines and slippery organs leave her squeamish until she hurls her morning’s breakfast.

Oh well, at least her friends understand and respect her for her strong convictions and her smarts.

Not wanting to spoil the film, Carmen Ibanez becomes an important figure in the fight against the bugs. Her strong will and temperament saves the lives of many and her natural ability to drift out of tight situations makes her a strong influence to those who look to her as an example.


Have you seen Starship Troopers? What did you think of Lt. Carmen Ibanez?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

12 thoughts on “Carmen Ibanez

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie. But Carmen was more of the career driven type and didn’t allow thoughts of earthly love to I interfere with her love of flying…definately career girl is what I thought of her.
    But… I loved Diz too…a women who also went after what she wanted. ”Damn all odds” flavour kind of girl.

  2. I had a feeling Carmen might be your feature after Denise Richards was mentioned in the comments last week. I actually saw Starship Troopers in the cinema on its release back in 1997. Although the satire went over my head, I couldn’t help but be impressed by Carmen, Dizzy and those amazing battle scenes.

  3. One thing Carmen will always have over Dizzy: Carmen makes her decisions out of personal drive to accomplish her own goals; while Diz is guilty of joining the cause solely to win a man’s affections. Diz = motivated by dudes. Carmen = motivated by awesomenesss.

  4. Starship Troopers…one of my campy classic faves…thanks for featuring Carmen today! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a post I am trying to squeeze out of my head…oh, Jack Flacco, you make it look so easy! 😉

  5. I think ‘Carmen Ibanez ‘really showed off her skills as did ‘Dizzy Flores’ character. Both strong women who know how to go after what they want. Visually this film is also still a great sci-fi movie to last a lifetime. One of my favourites.

  6. Great movie! She deserves to be featured in your women who wow series. 🙂
    Did you see ‘Space – Above and Beyond’? (mini series; a possible woman who wows is part of the crew)

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