Are fictional characters ... alive? Now, you might think that's an incredibly dumb question that a sad, pathetic loon with only a casual relationship with reality would ask (hey, how about you say that to my face, hypothetical person whom I've just made up?!). But consider this: if the people in movies, TV shows, and video games aren't real, how come you're about to feel so sorry for the following fictional characters who almost had to go through some of the most horrifying experiences you could ever imagine ...
#5. Inara Serra (Firefly): Gruesome Gang Rape
Being a Joss Whedon fan is like suffering from bipolar disorder. One second you're worshipping him for making Firefly -- a beautiful sci-fi western about space smugglers -- and the next you want to make the wombat-faced sonofabitch wear his intestines like a scarf for killing off your favorite characters on the show.
I love you! Eat shit!
But, in the end, I suppose that's just a testament to how well the characters are written. You can't help but become obsessively attached to them. Hell, I still want to know how the lives of the Firefly crew would have turned out. Like, would Nathan Fillion's Malcolm Reynolds ever get with Morena Baccarin's Inara Serra, the hooker with a heart of gold? True, he does tease her mercilessly about being "a whore," but there is so much sexual tension between the two that you could totally see them banging hard enough to disprove the tagline of the first Alien movie.
Preferably with as many close-ups as possible.
Then again, maybe their relationship would never have become physical, especially if Whedon had gone ahead with his plan to have Inara raped by space cannibals.
One of the main villains in Firefly is a "race" of insane, bloodthirsty humans called Reavers whose hobbies include sexual assault, feasting on human flesh, and making scarves out of their victims' intestines, though not always in that order. And, according to the show's executive producer, Whedon once considered doing an episode where this outer-space version of the Sawyer family kidnaps Inara and violently lives up to the first third of their reputation.
But before being taken by the Reavers, the ever-ready space escort injects herself with a drug that will kill anyone who comes into sexual contact with her, allowing the character to ultimately survive her horrific experience, at least physically. Or, to put it in a more accurate/horrible way: Inara was supposed to kill a ship full of crazed-out rapists with her vagina.
Because Whedon is a feminist, dammit!
#4. Jor-El (Superman: Flyby): Self-Disembowelment
Superman is one of the most enduring symbols of hope and inspiration, but have you ever wondered where does he get his inspiration from? The Kents, his adoptive Earth parents, are the ones who give Clark his moral center, but it's only thanks to the holographic recordings of Jor-El, Sup's biological dad, that he realizes his destiny as Earth's own mixture of E.T., Moses, and Jesus (Je.T.ses ...?).
"So, I don't want to see any bullshit ties or anything like that next Father's Day.
I'm thinking cash or 50-yard-line tickets."
Essentially, Jor-El is Superman's Superman, which is why you've never seen a movie where the climax consists of Jor-El committing brutal suicide with a piece of rock. Well, in 2002, J.J. Abrams tried to change that. Twelve years ago, the man who would go on to direct the Star Trek reboot and Star Wars: Episode VII wrote a draft for a horrible movie, working title: Superman: Flyby, in which Krypton never explodes. Instead, Superman is sent to Earth to protect him from a civil war led by Jor-El's brother, Kata-Zor, who eventually imprisons Jor-El and later attacks Earth, where his son Ty-Zor "kills" Superman, because apparently "Zorhead" is a very common insult on Krypton.
Now, usually death is like a mild case of stage fright for Superman: all it takes is a little pep talk for him to get over it, and the same thing was meant to happen in Flyby, with Jor-El delivering the anti-death speech that brings his son back to life. The problem was that, at the time, he was rotting in Kryptonian jail, leaving him with only one logical choice. Obviously he'd have to get in touch with the dying Clark in Kryptonian Heaven after slicing open his stomach with a rock he sharpened on the floor of his prison.
"Just ... try to do it with a lot of hope and inspiration."
Moreover, Abrams didn't want this to happen off-camera. No, he envisioned long close-ups on Jor-El's pained face and the lake of blood pooling under him as he carves a picture of a middle finger aimed at Superman fans into his guts. Because, you see, it couldn't have been, say, Lois Lane's voice that brings Superman back to life due to ... that is ...
RealCG Animation Studio/iStock/Getty Images
"Bam! Lens flare in your face!"
However, this completely unnecessary death of one of the most inspiring characters in cinema history isn't the main reason why you should be happy this script never went to film. That honor belongs to a sequence early on in the movie where the Kents are changing baby Clark's diapers and are horrified to discover that Kryptonian poop is way smellier than human poop.
You thought that I was kidding, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!
#3. The Doctor (Doctor Who): PTSD Acid Trips
When I first heard about Doctor Who and what it's all about, it spoke to me on a deeply spiritual level as a lifelong lazy bastard. The show tells the story of a time-traveling alien who had been played by eight different actors so far when I started watching it, but get this: unlike James Bond, it all makes sense because the guy can magically regenerate into a whole new body, each time with a totally different personality. I found the idea so beautiful in its simplicity and efficiency that I spent the next few days looking like a low-budget human unicorn due to the brain erection it gave me.
Five minutes later, I got a call to audition for the show.
But even the BBC must have felt that this plot point was a little too much like cheating, which is probably why to make up for it they planned to make the regeneration the most horrifying thing ever.
The modern Doctor's regeneration is a pretty straightforward thing: the character's body explodes with light like an ejaculating star that hasn't gotten laid in years, and ... that's it, really. Occasionally there is some talk of post-regeneration trauma, but no indication is ever made on the show that the Doctor has just taken LSD during a PTSD episode -- yet that was actually the original inspiration for the process. Seriously: an internal memo from 1966 reveals that the BBC wanted the Doctor's regeneration to involve him reliving the most "unendurable" moments of his life and freak out as if he was in the middle of a bad acid trip.
Because Mr. Reaper doesn't like it when you continue to make an asshole out of him.
So forget a glorious, phoenix-like rebirth in a cascade of warm, bright light. Imagine every incarnation of the Doctor in the fetal position on the floor as his mind is flooded with nightmares until he breaks to the point that he has to be replaced with a new model.
Now, some might argue that it's possible the character does go through something like this every time he changes, and we just never see it. But, come on, is this really the face of a mental wreck with a mind eaten away by trauma and brain-bending psychedelic episodes?
I withdraw the question ...