6 Evil Henchmen Who Sucked at Their Job

Henchmen are an essential part of every plot to take over the world. Unfortunately, even the best henchmen let us down. Is it something inherent in the henchman archetype? Or is it just that we expect too much from grown men in form-fitting body armor? Honestly, we don't know. But we do know that it hurts every time, and nowhere more so than in the six cases below.

#6. Imperial Stormtroopers

Who Are They?

Soldiers of the Galactic Empire, as featured in the Star Wars franchise.

Why Were They Feared?

Stormtroopers started out strong. The way they stormed that Rebel blockade runner in Star Wars was pretty sweet. And the way they overran that Rebel base in The Empire Strikes Back was the epitome of cool (OK, so they let most of the rebels escape from Cloud City, but the rebels had inside help from known scoundrel Lando Calrissian, so we could let it slide). By that point, it seemed like Stormtroopers could do no wrong. But then something happened, something... awful.

Pictured: something awful.

What Went Wrong?

After convincing us that they were the baddest asses in henchmen history, Stormtroopers suddenly went all France on us. Somehow, a frigging army of Stormtroopers was outwitted, outmaneuvered and just plain outfought by a bunch of overgrown merkins whose most advanced weaponry was flint-tipped arrows. But that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that these weren't just any Stormtroopers. No, these were, in the Emperor's own words, his best troops, for fuck's sake.

Who were his worst troops.

Of course, no one wanted the Stormtroopers to win. Yes, we loved them the way only impressionable adolescents can love something, but we knew they were evil, and we wanted them to get their comeuppance in the end. But not like this. Losing as ignominiously as they did on Endor didn't just diminish the villains, it also diminished the heroic men and women who defeated them.

A Typical Stormtrooper's Last Thought:

"I can't see a thing in this helmet!"

#5. Cylon Centurions

Who Are They?

Robotic soldiers of the genocidal Cylon Empire, as seen in the original Battlestar Galactica and its spin-off, Galactica 1980.

Why Were They Feared?

Battlestar Galactica had its share of problems, including a monkey playing a dog, epic re-use of special effects footage and subversive Mormon overtones. The clear highlight of the whole enterprise was the Cylons, especially the Centurions, the cycloptic rank and file of the mighty Cylon Empire. And yet, the Centurions had their own share of problems. They were slow, they were clumsy, they were terrible shots, they were even worse pilots (and that's with three of them piloting each Cylon Raider) and, for some inexplicable reason, they were armed with swords. Swords, for fuck's sake.

"I'm not steering until he apologizes."
"You know we're crashing, right?"

But Centurions did have one thing going for them: they were unapologetically robotic. Up until then, most film and TV robots were little more than human surrogates, with personalities or character traits to which actual humans could relate, but there was nothing human about Centurions, no hint of humanity in that monotone voice. They were programmed to kill humans, and so they killed humans and that was that. And so what if they were slow and plodding? In a human, being slow and plodding makes you boring. But in a robot, being slow and plodding makes you a relentless mechanical menace. Plus, they were real shiny.

What Went Wrong?

But then, in the very last episode, Centurions went soft on us. In that episode, Starbuck and a Raider full of Centurions both crash land on a desolate planet. Bored, Starbuck rebuilds one of the Centurions for company. At first, the Centurion tries to kill Starbuck (yay!), but then Starbuck gives it a name (Cy, of course) and teaches it to play cards, whereupon its cold mechanical heart thaws and man and robot become the best of friends! Later, when more Centurions arrive, Cy sacrifices itself to save the life of Starbuck's son (don't ask), thereby ending its days as just another robotic Uncle Tom.

A Typical Centurion's Last Thought

"A sword? Seriously, a sword?! How did robot technology beat out weapon technology in the race to the finish line?"

#4. SPECTRE Henchmen

Who Are They?

Agents of the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion (SPECTRE), an international crime syndicate, as seen in the early James Bond films.

Why Were They Feared?

SPECTRE henchmen are different: they don't wear masks or armor or colorful thematic costumes. Instead, their menace comes from their characterization, as with Dr. No (Dr. No), an evil genius with bionic hands; Red Grant (From Russia With Love), an Aryan superman whose only weakness is wine appreciation; and Emilio Largo (Thunderball), a swarthy dude with an eyepatch and an honest-to-goodness shark pool in his backyard. Admittedly, Bond killed them all in the end, but Bond was the epitome of 60s cool, so it wasn't so bad.

If he was any cooler, just looking at him would make your scrotum shrivel.

What Went Wrong?

But then the unthinkable happened: Sean Connery quit, and the producers hired George Lazenby to take his place. And in his one and only outing as Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Lazenby thoroughly demolished the Bond mystique. First, he chucked Bond's swinging über-bachelor lifestyle in order to settle down and get married; later, on the hunt for his wife's killer (*spoiler alert*), he slipped into a sporran and went undercover as a genealogist, of all things; and, finally, he caught up with his foe just in time for what one Wikipedia editor implausibly describes as "...a furious bobsled chase down Piz Gloria." Now, there's dignity in being killed by a suave super-spy, but there's no dignity whatsoever in being killed by this guy:

The producers tried to undo the damage--they even rehired Sean Connery to reprise the role--but it was too late, SPECTRE's once-sterling reputation was ruined. Clearly, no henchman worth his salt wanted anything to do with SPECTRE anymore.

A Typical SPECTRE Henchman's Last Thought

"Red wine with fish? What the Hell was I thinking? Dammit, I deserve to die."

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