The Evolution of Miss Scarlet

Miss Scarlet rolls first in the game. She’s never not been a femme fatale. In the movie, Lesley Ann Warren plays her as a sardonic madam running a popular escort service in Washington, D.C. (the weapon Mr. Boddy gives her is the candlestick, of course). In other game, book and TV iterations, Miss Scarlet’s been a cold-hearted spy, a gold-digging relative of Mrs. Peacock, a drunken movie star, an aspiring actress, a vain dilettante and a hot adopted teenager seeking attention.

I asked Google why Miss Scarlet (often, but not during the years when I played Clue, spelled Miss Scarlett) rolls first. A message board gave me a joking answer: “She goes first because the other suspect want her in front of them. The other women don’t trust her, and the men want to watch her backside.”

Along with Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum (who rolls last in the game, as he would), Miss Scarlet has never deviated from her essential stock role. (Mrs. White and Mr. Green have proven to be relatively malleable over time, morphing respectively from cook to young maid to spinster and vicar to playboy to mobster). Miss Scarlet, notably a Miss, and always portrayed as eligible if not breathlessly willing, has also inhabited a narrower age spectrum than all the other characters. Still, she’s changed a lot over time, switching hair colors and ethnicities (for two decades, she was Asian) and modes of sexuality for each new edition. Here, take a look, with some other cards in there as a bonus: