Register Now!

Eight Supporting Characters Who Are Cooler Than the Leads

In honor of The Green Hornet, we round up the greatest sidekicks of sci-fi and fantasy.

Kato, Green Hornet

By James Brady Ryan

Being a protagonist can be tough. With the burden of an entire story on your shoulders (not to mention that of a world, or race, or humanity), you aren't always gifted with as many appealing quirks as your back-up. And as often as not, the writers are trying so hard to make you a "regular guy" that you don't get the know-how or martial-arts training that your sidekick gets. (Think of Seth Rogen's upcoming Green Hornet, whose sidekick Kato is the one who makes the weapons and knows how to roundhouse kick.) And so while heroes are all well and good — some might even say necessary — these are the sidekicks we'd want saving our bacon.

Han Solo, Star Wars

1) Han Solo, Star Wars

This one should be self-evident, but just to get it on the record: no one wants to be Luke Skywalker when they can be Han Solo. Okay, maybe for the lightsaber. But that's it. Really, is there a better job description than "mercenary with a heart of gold who travels the galaxy with his faithful Wookiee?" Self-assured where Luke is doubtful, gung-ho where Luke is hesitant, ruggedly handsome where Luke is baby-faced, Solo is one of science fiction's favorite gunslingers. And he doesn't even get the luxury of the Force! Luke may have led the final charge against the Empire, but he doesn't have the panache of Solo, and he definitely doesn't get the girl. Because that would be wrong.

Trinity, The Matrix

2) Trinity, The Matrix

Consider this another unfortunate case of the ass-kicking woman who has to babysit the Golden Boy until he's ready to lead the charge. And it was a hard pill to swallow when we found out that Trinity's great contribution to the Oracle's prophecy was that she would fall in love with the person who would actually get stuff done. (Have you seen her in action, Oracle? Have you?) Sure, Neo has some pretty slick moves in The Matrix and its sequels, but those first mind-blowing moments of "bullet time" are all about Trinity, hanging in the air like deadliest praying mantis you've ever seen. And Keanu Reeves' wooden affect didn't help his character stand out much, either.

Bobby Singer, Supernatural

3) Bobby Singer, Supernatural

It's easy — well, easier — to save the world from demons and ghosts when you and your partner are both six feet of pure muscle and haven't yet hit thirty. But what if you work alone, you're in your fifties, and you're in a wheelchair. Somehow, assistant demon hunter Bobby Singer manages to keep himself alive and save others despite all those obstacles. Not to mention that in later seasons, he seems to be the only person who can cut through heroes Sam and Dean Winchester's angsty bickering and focus on the matter at hand. (Daddy issues are boring six years in, guys.) Sam and Dean may be effective, and they may be unbelievably gorgeous, but we bet you'd rather hang out with Bobby for an afternoon.



Never let it be said that WALL-E is not one of the cutest, most heart-warming robots in history — he is. But in terms of cool, he's got nothing on EVE. Sleek, efficient, armed with laser blasters: she's basically an iPod that could kick your ass. She may not see much in WALL-E at first, but she eventually comes around to the trash compactor's charms, saving the robot and potentially the Earth in the process. If EVE were a human, she'd be that popular kid your nerdy high-school self dreamed of dating — and maybe actually could.

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

5) Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

Probably the most out of her element at the start of the books — with two Muggle parents and no Hagrid to guide her along — Hermione Granger doesn't waste time becoming one of Hogwarts' most adept students. And while she has a rough start — Harry and Ron don't like her much at first, and she's out of commission for a lot of the second book — she eventually becomes an indispensable voice of reason, not to mention something of a badass in the final books. Yes, yes: Harry Potter is "the boy who lived" and ultimately saves the wizarding world. But for all his good intentions and bravery, that's his destiny. Most people actually have to work at it, and no one works harder than Hermione.

Leela, Futurama

6) Leela, Futurama

Like any good sci-fi production, Futurama has a resident sexy alien (well, technically, a mutant): Turanga Leela, captain of the Planet Express, on-and-off-again love interest of Phillip J. Fry, and generally the one catching him up to speed and keeping him alive. She may have her faults — bad depth perception, one would assume, given her single eye — but she's no green-skinned Martian girl waiting to be sexed up by some captain. Fry is a loveable doofus with good intentions, but Leela is the one who knows karate and can perform forward rolls in a tank-top.

Walter Bishop, Fringe

7) Walter Bishop, Fringe

Behind every ass-kicking woman, there's usually an older male advisor. (Call it a patriarchy thing. Or a Freudian thing.) These men come in one of three stripes: eccentric, fatherly, or suspect. But Walter Bishop, the man who serves as FBI Agent Olivia Dunham's scientific sherpa on Fringe, is all three. A genius whose theories sound more like '50s sci-fi, Bishop's bouts of instability can be as endearing as they can be frightening. And while Dunham has become increasingly compelling and badass over the series' run, Walter has always remained the show's real treat: absolutely insane, absolutely brilliant, and more often than not the one who solves (and sometimes creates) all the problems. As talented as they all may be in their own ways, the Fringe team would be lost without him.

Agent 355, Y: The Last Man

8) Agent 355, Y: The Last Man

We wonder how long Yorick, the only man left on earth after a plague wipes out every mammal with a Y chromosome, would have lasted without the help of Agent 355, the covert government operative tasked with protecting this suddenly very rare commodity. To illustrate: in the first issue alone, Agent 355 bests two machine-gun-wielding enemies, diffuses a hostage situation, and takes down an armed attacker with a single blow to the face. Yorick... almost gets himself kidnapped by a supermodel driving a garbage truck. Yorick gets to be the center of the action because he's the only guy left on Earth, but Agent 355 is the one with the skills to get him to the end of the story.

More About The Green Hornet

Comments ( 13 )

Kato, played by Taiwanese popstar/ LAMEA SS actor Jay Chou, is a deliberate move by studio executives to dig into the lucrative Chinese market. He is HUGE in continental China, HUGE! Michael Jackson huge. His first two albums were great, however, he is a suckass actor.

JD commented on Jan 11 11 at 4:29 am

Hey, it's good to see Y: The Last Man getting a mention somewhere.

Dan commented on Jan 11 11 at 6:51 am

Good call on Y: The Last Man.

ComicsFan commented on Jan 11 11 at 7:35 am

I've got to put in my vote for Bender over that cyclops. What a sardonic, cruel, lovable bending unit.

Andrew Kim commented on Jan 11 11 at 9:49 am

WTF?? Why use a photo-shopped image of Trinity with the WTC behind her??

Either you're a sick fuck who did this on purpose or you're so lame you don't know any better.

adam commented on Jan 11 11 at 12:06 pm

I'm so glad Hermione is included in this list. She really does save their bacon, again and again. She's definitely a perfect wedding of talent and hard work--she wants it that badly.

In fact, one thing I really like about the Harry Potter books is how much everyone contributes to Voldemort's defeat, and the women are hugely critical in that. Harry survives to defeat Voldemort because all the mothers (even Narcissa) (and Hermione) step up when he needs them. Voldemort's taunt that Harry has other people fight his battles is not really an insult--Voldemort threatens all of them, not just Harry, so why shouldn't they fight? Harry's just the one who's doomed to be the sacrifice.

andrea commented on Jan 11 11 at 12:27 pm

Any list of sidekicks kicking ass more than heroes has to include Wang from big trouble in little China. Seriously, it was half the point of the movie.

bobby pentagonz commented on Jan 11 11 at 12:33 pm

So I was going to be cynical about the over-inclusion of "empowered female characters" after Trinity, Hermoine, Leela and Eve, especially Eve, because come on, she was a bit of a bitch and really not better than Wall-E.

And it's still a suspicious quantity of "smart girls who end up with shmucky guys," at the very least because romantic interest is not the same as sidekick.

But oh, 355. Now that was a hell of a sidekick.

nope commented on Jan 11 11 at 10:47 pm

How about 99? From "Get Smart".

cheetoes commented on Jan 13 11 at 4:30 pm

Hit girl from Kick ass

Paula commented on Jan 13 11 at 5:11 pm

i only agree with Eve. The rest of the list is fake, esp that weird dude from the green hornet.

troll commented on Jan 13 11 at 11:09 pm

Marvin and Trillian from the "Hitchhiker's Guide ...." series were way cooler than Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, etc.

Mostly Harmless commented on Jan 14 11 at 12:09 am

I was so happy to see Jim Beaver cast as Bobby when Deadwood ended. He is easily my favorite on that show despite the spectacular eye candy. And Walter just rocks!

SpecialKR4 commented on Jan 14 11 at 9:30 am

Leave a Comment