Claire Bennet

Claire Bennet is a fictional character in the NBC psychological thriller superhero drama series Heroes. She is portrayed by Hayden Panettiere and first appeared on television in the pilot episode of the series, "Genesis", on September 25, 2006. She is a high school cheerleader with the power of rapid cellular regeneration. Claire appears in more episodes than any other character (72, plus a 73rd through stock footage). In Heroes Reborn, she dies while giving birth to Malina and Tommy.

Claire Bennet
Heroes character
First appearance"Genesis"
Last appearance"Brave New World"
Portrayed byHayden Panettiere
In-universe information
Alias"The Cheerleader"
"Claire Bear"
ChildrenTommy Clark
Malina Bennet
RelativesNathan Petrelli (father)
Meredith Gordon (mother)
Lyle Bennet (adoptive brother)
Noah Bennet (adoptive father)
Peter Petrelli (paternal uncle)
Angela Petrelli (paternal grandmother)
AbilityRapid cellular regeneration

Thanks to her power, she has an incredibly high pain tolerance; Claire states in "The Butterfly Effect" that, when injured, she feels pain just as severe as anyone else who was injured in such a way, but her power quickly deadens pain. When asked about this, series writers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite would only comment that she "feels pain, but not the way most of us do."[1] Claire, describing her response to pain to West, says "I feel pain; I just get over it quickly."[2] Between her tolerance for pain and seemingly unlimited healing potential, Hayden Panettiere compares her character to the X-Men character Wolverine, although she is "less hairy and without claws."[3] Since having her brain examined by Sylar, Claire has stated that she no longer feels physical pain of any kind.[citation needed]


Marc Hirschfeld, executive vice president of casting for NBC Universal Television stated, "When they were trying to decide who the cheerleader should be, I literally picked up the phone and said to the producers, 'You've got to meet Hayden Panettiere.'"[4]

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Emma Stone revealed that she had auditioned for the role of Claire Bennet. She said it was her rock bottom Hollywood moment; She overheard "You are our pick ... On a scale of 1 to 10 you’re an 11" and then she realised the role had gone to Hayden Panettiere.[5]

Reception and analysisEdit

Panettiere received very positive reviews for her work on the show all throughout the series run, constantly being referred to as a "breakout star". Claire is also arguably one of the most popular characters on the show. UGO Networks listed Claire as one of their best heroes of all time.[6]

Professor of audiovisual arts Olvido Andújar Molina saw the character of Claire Bennet as a metaphor for the United States of America, as her role as a cheerleader functioned as one of the basic American cultural archetypes. Claire Bennet's special ability was regeneration from any kind of accident, which in this reading symbolizes that the idea of the United States being invincible in the long term. Andújar Molina expands the idea to the character of Nathan Petrelli: As he is discovered as Claire's biological father, he represents the father figure and protector of the country as a whole. Andújar Molina thought that this identification of the characters, together with their presentation as heroes trying to save the world, contributed to their positive reception by and identification with the audience.[7]

Sarah Godfrey and Hannah Hamad saw in the character a resurgence of the trope of the helpless girl in postfeminist, post-9/11 television: "Notwithstanding Claire Bennet's physical indestructibility, she remains contained by a narrative position that necessitates protection from a range of male characters."[8]


  1. ^ "Behind the Eclipse: Episode 7". Comic Book Resources. November 7, 2006. Retrieved December 4, 2006.
  2. ^ "Kindred". Heroes. Season 2. Episode 3. October 8, 2007.
  3. ^ Douglas, Edward (August 7, 2006). "Exclusive: Heroes' Hayden Panettiere". SuperHeroHype. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  4. ^ How the 'Heroes' cheerleader got the part Archived October 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Emma Stone: Hollywood Is Her Oyster". Vanity Fair. June 21, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  6. ^ UGO Team (January 21, 2010). "Best Heroes of All Time". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Andújar Molina, Olvido (2013). ""Salva a la animadora, salva el mundo": una lectura propagandística de la serie Heroes". Frame: revista de cine de la Biblioteca de la Facultad de Comunicación. 9: 153–171.
  8. ^ Godfrey, Sarah; Hamad, Hannah (2014). "Save the Cheerleader, Save the Males: Resurgent Protective Paternalism in Popular Film and Television after 9/11". In Ross, Karen (ed.). The Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Media. Wiley Blackwell. p. 166-167, 170. ISBN 978-1-4443-3854-6.

External linksEdit