All too often, the “sidekick” in a story is simply there as set dressing, or as a sounding board for the main character, or worst still, as mere victims and plot devices. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to have a character that enriches the story they are in ways that make them essential. We’re talking about those “secondary” characters that actually bring something awesome to the table. Below are all the love interests, mentors, team mates, and supporting characters that make some of our favorite stories great!
Here’s our criteria:
1. Be a supporting character in a story.
2. Bring something amazing to the table, both in the fiction and in our real world.
Here’s our first round of challenges…
Chewbacca from Star Wars
Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight
Chewy is everyone’s favorite big furry co-pilot that showed kids that “bug-eyed aliens” could still be characters we care about, while Harvey Dent proved Two-Face can be more than just a villain with a colorful backstory – he can be the heart of a city in need of a hero.
Dick Grayson (aka Robin) from Batman
Ellie from The Last of Us
Oh man, the battle of the kid-sidekick gets off to an early start! Robin is an icon and more than a match for evildoers once he takes on the cape and cowl, while Ellie is our legacy when we’ve come down to the last of us.
Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy
Asami from Legend of Korra
Without uttering a word (okay, maybe a few words) Groot became the heart-and-soul of a summer blockbuster, while Asami has grown with the audience of her hit animated television show.
Alfred Pennyworth from Batman
Erkel from Family Matters
Erkel took over the show when he went from guest character to star, and Alfred is the father-figure to one of the world’s most tortured orphans.
Penny from Inspector Gadget
Carol Cleveland from Monty Python
Let’s face it, Uncle Gadget would be a pile of scrap metal if it weren’t for Penny’s quick thinking, but as the only recurring female cast member, Carol Cleveland was basically the Seventh Python in one of the most influential comedy troupes of all time!
Hermoine Granger from The Harry Potter Series
Bishop from Aliens
Hermoine is back from last year’s win for our “Women In Fiction” March Madness, and she’s fighting the one of the precious few good androids in literature.
Pinky from Pinky and the Brain
Lois Lane from Superman
Pinky might actually just be a sidekick in name only, as the second banana in a classic comedy duo, while Lois is the quintessential “superhero love interest” that proves time and again that she’s so much more.
Dr. John Watson from Sherlock Holmes
Rick Jones from The Hulk
Elementary, Dr. Watson would advise a cold shower and iodine tablets for young Rick Jones, all the better to deal with accidentally wandering into a Gamma Ray bomb range. Both these contestants are quite adept at supporting heroes that can have somewhat severe temperaments.
Harley Quinn from Batman
Jubilee from X-Men
Harley went from “Joker’s Girlfriend” to one of the most popular modern comic characters, while Asian-American mallrat Jubilee was the first point of view character many of us had when it came to the 90s X-Men cartoon.
Barf from Space Balls
River Song from Doctor Who
River is the Doctor’s love, companion, and foil, and has shown that love has no age/generation. Barf’s tail wagged in an amusing way.
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings
Fonzie from Happy Days
Fonzie went from secondary character to focal point, effectively carrying his television series, but Samwise proved that no one has to carry it alone…
Kato from The Green Hornet
Wembley from Fraggle Rock
I would pay actual damn money to see this fight.
Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who
Goslin Malard from Darkwing Duck
Jack Harkness was a dashing companion to the good Doctor for a time, but eventually learned to be his own (sort of) hero, while Goslin gave her adopted father Darkwing a reason to be a hero in more ways that one.
Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess
Peggy Carter from Captain America
Gabrielle was the moral center to Xena, and helped the warrior princess fight what was worthy of fighting for. Peggy was fighting the good fight before Steve took up the role of hero, and was still fighting while he was out of the game.
Short Round from Indiana Jones
Samwell Tarley from Game of Thrones
Short Round took painful stereotypes and turned them on their head, as he is clearly the hero of Temple of Doom, while Samwell might just be the only good man left in Westeros, coward or not.
Donna Noble from Doctor Who
John Diggle from Arrow
Donna Noble wasn’t the Doctor’s love interest, she was his damn partner, and Diggle is the Arrow’s right-hand man, bodyguard, and friend.
Hit Girl from Kick Ass
Mickey from Rocky
Less a sidekick and more the actual hero, Hit Girl knows what it takes to survive in the real world. Mickey is Rocky’s mentor, guide, and perhaps one of the only people that has faith in him and what he can do.
Fezzik from The Princess Bride
Kitty Pride from X-Men
Fezzik wasn’t just amusing muscle, he was a real man with real feelings and honor – while Kitty went from X-Men kid to a leader and hero in her own right.
Gandalf from The Hobbit
Amy Pond from Doctor Who
Gandalf is no mere sidekick… except he totally is! He helps the hobbits who are the real heroes of the story. Meanwhile, Amy is the essential companion to the Eleventh Doctor, helping shape him and all the generations to come…
Ahchoo from Men in Tights
Bullock from Gotham
Bullock has had a shady past in the Batman line of comics, but we get a window into who he really is in the new television show, Gotham! Robin Hood’s Merry Men were the original sidekick team, and among them clearly Ahchoo is the best – right?
Luigi from Nintendo Games
Kate Bishop from Hawkeye
Luigi went from second-banana to his own star, while Kate Bishop would like everyone to know that she’s isn’t Kid Hawkeye or Lady Hawkeye or Hawkeyegirl – she’s HAWKEYE, damn it. Clint is probably better suited as her sidekick.
Willow from Buffy
Paul Heyman from WWE
Cute, magical, and possessing a devilish side… all these attributes probably describes Paul Heyman. This legendary WWE manager is up against Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars
Rose Tyler from Doctor Who
Doctor Who became a whole new show when it was relaunched in 2005, and the first and most important character was Rose. Obi-Wan was a mentor to two generations of Skywalkers, and showed us all the true power of the Force.
Felcity Smoak from Arrow
Batou from Ghost in the Shell
Felcity Smoak breaks all the stereotypes with her brainy and talented hero on Arrow, while Batou fights for humanity from deep within the Machine.
War Machine from Iron Man
Speedy from Green Arrow
Don’t tell Rhodey he’s a sidekick, but he does support Tony Stark in his insane attempt at redemption and learns to become a hero in his own right. Speedy has showed us that it’s the struggles that make a character who he is.
Jane from Firefly
Jimmy Olsen from Superman
Jane isn’t a good guy, but he helps when it helps himself. Jimmy is the superest super-hero’s best friend.
Tonto from The Lone Ranger
Dobby from The Harry Potter Series
Tonto is a complicated character with a complicated past, and he’s up against a Harry Potter character in the first round. Yikes.
Sancho Panza from Don Quixote
Bucky Barnes from Captain America
Sancho Panza is the last sane man in an insane world, and Bucky went from laughable to horrible once he lost his mind.
Arthur from The Tick
Bronn from Game of Thrones
Sidekick is a job description on a CPA could strive for, and while Bronn’s support is bought with hard-earned gold, it’s invaluable to stay alive in Westeros.
Garth Algar from Wayne’s World
Gonzo from The Muppets
In any other context, Garth would be a deranged tertiary character and one-line joke, whereas Gonzo went from sideline muppet to one of the stars of the show!
Tails from Sonic
Mona Lisa Vito from My Cousin Vinny
Tails is the best friend and on-screen sidekick to one of the most popular video game characters of all time, while Mona Lisa shows that it is okay for even the best of us to ask for help.
Phil Coulson from MCU
Wedge Antilles from Star Wars
Coulson went from a walk on gag role to a starring place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, uniting the Avengers when little else could, while Wedge Antilles was allowed to go to the Academy to fight the Empire and we don’t see why Luke has to stay behind to work the damn moisture vaporators.