How would Frodo get to Mount Doom without Sam? (He wouldn’t.)
Where would Dr. Frankenstein be without Igor to cackle at his side? (If we’re being honest, probably the same place–Igor’s not in the book, after all.)
Who would we hate in Batman without Robin to shout “Holy” everything? (We get it, Robin, but you’re kind of a superhero. Surprising things happen to you. Like every day.)
OK, so maybe some sidekicks are best left out of the equation. But a great many of them rise above their humble origins to steal scenes and leave us wanting to know more. Who pays them? Where were they trained? And what do they do when the hero is off carrying most of the plot?
If you ask me, it’s time for these particular scene-stealing sidekicks to fight for a solo moment in the spotlight.
as portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the Marvel cinematic universe. Before anyone comes to yell at me about the comics.
Sidekick to Steve Rogers/Captain America (in the MCU. IN THE MCU.)
One of the reasons the Captain America films work as well as they do is because of the killer ensemble casts, especially in Winter Soldier and Civil War. Rumor has it the Black Widow’s finally getting her own solo film—so can I put a word in for the charming Sam Wilson, too? Let’s be real: Cap wouldn’t get a whole lot accomplished without Falcon swooping in to save his butt all the time. But though I’d love to see Falcon front and center, Anthony Mackie has other ideas—according to this 2016 interview, he’d miss his superhero crew too much to take on a solo Falcon film . Awwww. But I still want it.
as portrayed by Deborah Ann Woll in Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix series)
Sidekick to Matt Murdoch’s Daredevil, I guess, if you want to look at it that way.
Uh, speaking of Marvel shows that rely on an ensemble cast? I’d love to see Karen break free of Matt and into her own world of investigative journalism or P.I. work. Matt Murdoch is OK, I guess, if you tilt your head a little, but it’s Karen and Foggy who carry the show on the hero side.
Karen’s got intriguing backstory, with miles of interest left to unspool as far as I’m concerned. I know Daredevil’s cancelled (for now, though my spidey senses are tingling that it’s gonna resurface once Disney starts their streaming service to end all streaming services) but I’d be all in for a Karen-centric thriller series.
…who’s only ever portrayed by Liza Weil, as far as I know.
Sidekick to Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls.
I’m not sure how well Paris Geller fits on this list among superhero sidekicks and quirky robots—or how she’d feel about being referred to as a “sidekick”—but I absolutely love her. I love how you often hear her voice off-screen before you see her. I love how she commands her friends, teachers, and probably world leaders, with the same irritated gusto. Paris is already living her own story, which is part of what makes her so great; every time she steps into a scene, she’s coming from her own drama. She’s opinionated, she’s cranky, and she’s surprisingly vulnerable. She’s a good balance for Rory, who frequently plays straight-woman to her antics, but she doesn’t act out of a desire to get in Rory’s way. It’s just the nature of…well, Paris. I’d watch a show centered around her. In a second.
Sidekick to…Jyn Erso, I guess? Cassian Andor? Hmm. Anyway, he’s from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (OK, OK, so we’re firmly in secondary character territory now, but I really wanted to talk about him.)
Is it too much to ask for a prequel story TO a prequel story, in which we learn the origins of K-2SO? Because I sense there’s a fascinating drama here, and I’d very much like to know more. In fact, I’d like to know more about basically every droid who ever made an appearance in Star Wars. Think about the dossier of quirky metal heads who show up in the feature films. Consider the challenges of owning and maintaining enough droids to keep a galaxy running smoothly.
No wonder the Empire keeps losing. Not that I’m rooting for them, but seriously, if you can’t manage your programmable clerical and security staff, good luck handling clones.
What was I saying? Oh, right. If someone would offer me all these answers and more, in the form of a bittersweet glimpse into K-2SO’s background, I’d be very much obliged.
Sidekick to Dr. Claw, Inspector Gadget
I have so many questions about Dr. Claw’s trusty pet. What are his motives? Was he a rescue, or a pet-store impulse buy? What does he use to sharpen his claws? And how did he cuddle his way into the faceless archvillain’s heart? I’m not usually one for origin stories, but if M.A.D. Cat gets his own feature flick, I’ll be there before Claw can say “I’ll get you next time, Gadget!”
There are sidekicks galore in my short story collection, Spells and Spaceships: Stories, which you can snag here for free (smooth segue, eh?). The first story, “Flyby Scenario,” features Isabelle Chagny, who’s a kinda sorta sidekick to the heroine in my forthcoming sci fi novella, Parting Shadows (Toccata System 1). The collection also includes a superhero story with a sidekick named Ella, and a fantasy story that…doesn’t have a sidekick, but it’s in there and I think it’s pretty good.