6 Sidekicks Who Should Have Been The Leader
Sidekicks get a raw deal: always sidelined, ever-forgotten, and many of them are even replaceable. Seriously, Batman goes through Robins like rolls of toilet paper. They are often left out of the main events of the story, or expected to silently carry their burden while the lead takes all the credit. Which is a shame, really, because for every Watson who humbly plays beer-bitch to the much superior Holmes, there are other sidekicks who should clearly be the ones doing the keg stand. For instance ...
Silent Bob (Jay And Silent Bob)
Jay may do all of the talking -- and I mean a lot of talking -- but that's about it. Apart from the occasional quip, Jay is a drug-dealing public nuisance, wandering aimlessly through life. So it's strange that Silent Bob, who is obviously intelligent and emotionally mature (and who can deport demons back to hell, apparently has Jedi powers, and knows what an apostle is), tags along like he deserves to be in the background.
Although I've read some fanfics that suggest he likes the view.
In all of Kevin Smith's Jersey films (apart from Jersey Girl which, well, don't get me started), it is Silent Bob who comes in with timely advice or resolves the sometimes-corpse-fucking conflict that the main character is going through. Let's have a rundown:
Clerks: He shows Dante that he is actually in love with his current girlfriend, and should not go chasing the one that got away. Mallrats: He plays the tape that gets Brody's main love rival out of the picture and into a jail cell for pedophilia. Chasing Amy: He explains to Holden McNeil that he shouldn't try to meet the sexual standards of his previously-experimental girlfriend, and should be happy with what he has now. Dogma: He kills Azrael with Cardinal Glick's driver, allowing the apostle, the muse, the last scion, and yes, Jay, to save the Universe.
Huh, he really does look at a surprising amount of shirtless dudes.
The only exception is Clerks 2. When asked what Dante and Randall should do about their predicament (Dante has found out he's about to father a child with his boss on the eve of leaving New Jersey forever with his girlfriend) he says, "I got nothin'." Oh. Well that just shits all over my theory.
Just kidding! Kevin Smith has admitted that in the original script, it was Silent Bob who suggested Dante and Randall reopen the Quick Stop as their own. He changed it at the suggestion of producer Scott Mosier, who rightly pointed out that it's always Silent Bob who solves this shit! Thanks for fucking up a streak, Scott.
Seriously, how is Silent Bob the sidekick here? He must have had some unimaginably dark childhood trauma which left him incapable of verbal communication, except with the people he has known the longest and feels most comfortable with. Yet he follows Jay to Shermer, Illinois (which doesn't exist) to try to get a supporting role in the documentary films he thought John Hughes used to make. He's dragged into stealing a laboratory's worth of animals to try to get Jay laid. He allows himself to be put into a slapstick comic book (and movie adaptation), even though he doesn't like the finished products. All this, despite the fact that he always wanted to be a dancer in Vegas.
Get Silent Bob some therapy, and he'll bitch-slap Jay and take the lead. I hereby propose a name change to "Silent Bob and Jay" (hey, if Paul McCartney can change it to McCartney-Lennon, I can have this).
Samwise Gamgee (Frodo And Sam)
Okay, come on now. Is there anyone who doubts who is the braver and better of the two? I'll answer it with one word: Shelob. Frodo has two Elvish weapons (the sword Sting and some kind of Holy Hand Grenade, both of which the giant spider is scared of), and what happens? He gets caught in a web, loses both his weapons, and barely makes it out of the cave alive, only to be stabbed, drugged, and shrink-wrapped for dinner.
Sam goes into that cave with nothing but a backpack and some lembas bread, and he ends up heavily wounding one of Tolkien's scariest creations. Not to mention the number of orcs in the tower that he takes out with a frying pan, or the fact that he will bum-rush a ranger with nothing but his fists and threaten to 'ave 'im (because h's are optional in 'obbiton).
Frodo would have either fallen over his own disgusting hairy feet or exposed himself as the Ringbearer, both of which he does multiple times throughout the trilogy, usually at the same time. He may show resilience against the corrupting power of the ring (though not enough), but so does Sam. Sam carries it as though it's a normal ring, whereas Frodo, Boromir, Aragorn, and even Gandalf freak out when offered it. In Lothlorien, Lady Galadriel says, "There is still hope while the company is true." Who does she look at while she says that? I'll give you a clue: It's not Frodo. I'll give you another clue: It's totally Sam.
Sam does the majority of the heavy lifting -- literally. He's patient and understanding, can cook a great slap-up meal (though admittedly, his potato fetish is weird), and trim the verge even at night. He quite rightly sees Gollum for what he is: a split-personality villain. But when he overhears Gollum's plan to kill them both and take the ring and justifiably tries to cave the precious's head in with a rock, Frodo sides with his would-be murderer.
Here's Sam calculating how many times he should have curb-stomped this Larry-King's-testicle-looking motherfucker by now.
He may be called a "stupid fat hobbit," but he knows his master's every need, and is so committed to his promise to Gandalf to look after Frodo that the only way he could have a functioning marriage in the end was to have Frodo sent off to the Gray Havens. Because Sam is a whole person, whereas Frodo is just a big pair of eyes and a pair of clumsy feet that needs constant looking after.
If Sam had stumbled into Bilbo's house and found the ring instead, the quest would have gone much more smoothly. At least Sam can defend himself. Frodo trips over and drops his weapons all the goddamn time. In Moria, he just stands there and shits his pants when the cave troll comes a-calling. In the Prancing Pony, he drops the ring, accidentally putting it on and alerting the Ringwraiths to his location. On Weathertop, he stumbles over a pebble and drops Sting. And of course, the aforementioned Shelob's lair clusterfuck.
Not to mention the serious endgame choke.
When he found out Smeagol's treachery, and Frodo's complete disinterest in it, Sam should have caved both their heads in with that rock and got on with destroying the ring. A heart of gold and some kickass fighting skills? He'd have showed up to Sauron's eye and dick-thrusted that shit closed while screaming, "Fat Hobbit? More like eat my fat knobit!" Or something like that -- Sam would be much better at puns and catchphrases than me.
Chewbacca (Han And Chewie)
Chewie is huge, strong, amazing with machines, and though we don't really know what he's saying, everyone in the films seem to, and they seem to agree with pretty much everything he grunts. Chewbacca may not have the looks or the charm of his scruffy-looking, nerf-herding partner, but he'd have him in a fight, easy.
Not only that, but he is the superior of the two in other ways. He keeps the Millennium Falcon running (just about) and can put C-3PO back together (something Vader would have no doubt been proud of). He can fly casual, without looking like he's trying to fly casual, as well as follow a bunch of other meaningless orders from the puny human in the captain's seat who has been exposed as an idiot.
Remind me which one got caught and frozen like a chump?
He is less likely to take stupid risks, showing fear when he bloody well should (unlike Han, when there's a platoon of stormtroopers heading their way on the Death Star). He remembers important information that appears to have slipped Han's mind -- for example, that he'd upset Lando Calrissian the last time they'd met, before landing unannounced in Cloud City. And he can chuck a stormtrooper right up there with the best of them.
For the captain of a spaceship, Han actually sucks at all things technological. When he tries to fix the Falcon in Empire, he tells Chewie to start her up, and everything short circuits. On Endor, at the end of Jedi, there's a battle going on in which Jim Henson puppets are dying everywhere, and he manages to make the bunker they're trying to infiltrate more secure. His solution for nearly every problem is either to hit something really hard or shoot it.
And then make a douchey pose to pretend everything's okay.
Han is headstrong, reckless, and totally inept at loads of stuff. When trying to lure one of the stormtroopers away from their speeder bikes, he stupidly steps on a branch, alerting them all to the rebels' presence. When told that his tauntaun will freeze to death if he takes it outside to find Luke, he doesn't even hear what the guy is telling him.
It makes you wonder why Chewie is with Han in the first place. It's never explained in the films. I know there's some E.U. stuff about a Life Debt (Han having saved Chewie's life, or whatever), but all of the main characters save each other's asses multiple times during the original trilogy. Let's consider that debt paid, so Chewie can go back to Endor and be the giantest ewok of them all.
"I am their John Holmes."
Yet through it all, Chewie has to put up with insults, being called "walking carpet," or "fuzzball". And most insultingly of all, he gets snubbed at the medal ceremony at the end of A New Hope! Why? Wasn't he the one piloting the damn ship that sent Vader flopping out into space?
If George Lucas has any sanity left in him at all, the next time he completely redoes and ruins one of those classic films, he at least needs to make Chewie the one who tells Han to lock in the auxiliary power. Auxiliary power is a scrub's job, and Chewie's no scrub. He gets all the love from me.
Mr. Spock (Kirk And Spock)
Let's get the obvious out of the way right off the bat: Spock has the Vulcan Nerve Pinch (and maybe the Vulcan Death Grip), a vastly superior intellect, and is not ruled by his emotions. Kirk, on the other hand, is at any given moment fondling some nubile femalien, is almost completely governed by how he feels in the moment, and takes Prime Directives as optional if the situation suits him (i.e. if it looks like it'll get him laid).
Imagine the U.S.S. Enterprise run by Spock. I'm talking the original here, not the J.J. Abrams version; we must never speak of the J.J. Abrams version, lest it wake the beast anew. What would happen when they came across an alien species? Well, there'd be a much lower risk of bi-species bastards being born between episodes. Or wait, why am I speculating? Spock actually gets to captain the Enterprise for the first part of Wrath Of Khan, and he does just fine before Admiral Kirk rocks up and drops his dick-shaped ego down onto the controls, nearly capsizing the fucker. He assumes command, even though he has no idea how the renovated ship works.
"She said she didn't like it, but deep down, I know she did."
If Spock were given a proper shot at actually captaining the Enterprise instead of just taking over for some bullshit training exercises, he would conduct himself with aplomb and represent the very finest of what Starfleet has to offer. Not to mention the fact that they could finally stop recruiting redshirts to replace the ones who die when Kirk beams onto a planet's surface to get his freak on.
When there is a radiation leak on the Enterprise towards the end of Wrath Of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself for the rest of the crew without a second thought, because it is logical. He simultaneously proves the Kobayashi Maru correct and Kirk wrong: There is such a thing as a no-win situation. In your face, Kirk.
"Point ... proven ..."
Compare Spock's dramatic, emotional death in Khan with Kirk's in Generations. Killed by a bridge? Seriously? Even Dr. Soran thought that was shit. Which just shows that if the filmmakers didn't give enough of a crap to take out Kirk in any meaningful way, then by comparison, he couldn't have been as important a character as Spock. That duo, if executed the way it should have been, sets up Spock as a cold, calculating, logical captain who does things by the book, while using his sidekick, Kirk, as the morality support system who teaches his superior how to put the emotional well-being of his crew above the unfeeling letter of the law.
And then he'd whisk himself away to go fuck a six-boobed green woman.
Hermione (Harry, Ron And Hermione)
Harry gets all the credit (and his name on all the titles), but apart from Defense Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch, Hermione is superior to Harry in every way.
She's more intelligent, more patient, more logical, more reasonable, and more helpful. She has an intuitive understanding of what motivates people, and can see further than what is simply useful to her right now, taking politics, history, and familial obligation into account. While Harry (and Ron, for that matter) is more interested in watching Quidditch or trying to get into Cho Chang's pants.
"Sure, you two go ahead and enjoy your nonsensical little sport. I'll just be here
memorizing every piece of useful information you'll ever need."
She's also more human than either of the boys, who seem genuinely confused when they neglect to tell a girl she looks nice, or say something blunt and thick and upset her. Hermione manages to work through her frustration and try to explain how humans actually like to be treated, but they only start to get any good at empathy when they read a book on how to compliment girls. They basically put their faith in the magic world's version of Cosmo.
I've actually lost track of how many times Harry almost gets them killed simply because he has no idea what's going on (OK, he grew up in a cupboard under the stairs, but still). By saying "Voldemort" out loud instead of "He Who Must Not Be Named," he leads the Death Eaters right to their location, and by using his signature spell Expelliarmus when he and his doppelgangers are fleeing Privet Drive, he tells them which Harry is the real one. Hermione wouldn't have made either of those mistakes. Because she's not an unfixable idiot.
"What's that? You need me to help you win your dumb game by setting a goddamn teacher on fire? Alright, sure. Whatever."
Hermione can do spells far above her age level, and far exceeding that of her peers, to the point where Sirius calls her the "greatest witch of her generation." Harry, with the exception of his Patronus (which, let's face it, he gets way more practice at doing, as he has the motivation of not having his soul eaten to push him), is a middling student in every subject.
He only aces Potions in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince because he copies Snape's old textbook, and he even fucks that up. By trying an unknown spell (Sectumsempra, which, if he'd bothered to learn any Latin, he would have known means "sever forever") during a duel, he almost kills Draco Malfoy. Admittedly, that's no great loss to wizarding, but still, these were all things Hermione warned him not to do.
"Hey, remember when Hogwarts decided I was so smart they could trust me
to alter the laws of time and space? Boom." *Wand drop*
Having Hermione as a sidekick is like having Al Pacino as an understudy: a great big waste of talent. Take away the lightning scar on his forehead and all the baggage that comes with it, and Harry Potter would be following her lead. And there's a pretty damn good chance he'd have a whole lot less trouble in his life.
Groot (Rocket And Groot)
Rocket may be the brains of the outfit, deciding what bounty they should collect and creating weapons or escape plans out of randomly available materials like a tiny, hairy McGyver. But Groot is the heart and soul of the Guardians, not just "Rocket's personal houseplant/muscle."
Groot's a selfless hippie with a mean streak wider than the killer rabbit's from Holy Grail. He's not so self-absorbed as to only be thinking about money, the way his counterpart does, and will stop what he's doing to hand a flower to a child. And if need be, he'll sacrifice himself for the greater good. He doesn't just see the big picture; he acts upon that knowledge to preserve it.
Admit it, you teared up. It's cool -- we all did.
Do you really think Rocket would ever even consider that? He'd rather take down as many with him as possible. When Ronan gets his hands on the Infinity Stone, Rocket wants to bail out of that quadrant of the galaxy, innocents be damned ("Why would you want to save the galaxy?"). Groot is with Star-Lord, saying that they should do what they can to help. At least, I think that's what he said ... Hell, even when Rocket agrees to help, he still says, "Fine, but I can't promise when all of this is over, I'm not going to kill every last one of you jerks." Not a team player.
Rocket even mocks Drax for having lost his family, saying, "Aww, boo-hoo. My wife and child are dead." Even knowing how Rocket is, that genuinely shocks the empathetic Groot. Rocket isn't just a dick -- he's a full-on villain.
There's a reason the only friend he ever had was barely capable of communication.
Groot is bulletproof, incapable of feeling fear, the most human of all the characters in Guardians (though the only non-mammal), and, oh yeah, unkillable. Blown up by a spaceship crashing into a planet? Not a problem. Pick up a random branch from the debris, plant it, and he'll be bopping to the Jackson 5 before the end credits roll.
Rocket may take the piss (shut up, I'm British), but in the prison, after Star-Lord stops Drax from killing Gamora and they all make a deal to escape, Groot is ready and waiting to get his just dues. He knows he will be wanted at some point, and there's no way he's doing it for free. "Asleep for the danger, awake for the money, as per frickin' usual," as Rocket puts it. Pretty savvy for someone they all think is "a dumb tree." Then, when they're effecting their escape from the prison, Groot takes the bull by the horns and removes the quarnex battery from the panel high up on the wall, not wasting any time with useless jibba-jabba. Groot is a being of action -- here's the problem, here's the solution, now do it.
He even has a solution if the problem is a lack of mood lighting.
Star-Lord gets it. When he's presenting his plan to them all, he says, "Groot's the only one of you who has a clue." Which, after the end credits roll, I think we'd all agree with. So if my choice for a leader is between a sympathetic bulletproof humanoid tree (who might be the greatest hero of the 21st Century) and a shit-talkin' gun-totin' selfish raccoon? That's easy: I am Groot.
Groot may be the most overpowered sidekick of all time, but some sidekicks do just suck. Take a look at the most useless in in The 5 Worst Comic Book Sidekicks Of All Time, and see some heroes who are even worse in 5 Beloved Superheroes Who Are Actually Really Stupid.
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