Sidekicks. What can you say about them that hasn’t already been said? When they work well, they’re great. When they don’t, they are super annoying and can ruin an otherwise awesome movie. And when it comes to films, the science fiction and fantasy genres seem particularly bad at creating good sidekicks. The sci-fi/fantasy realm is littered with poorly conceived sidekicks that have drawn the anger of fans and been sour spots in movies that could have otherwise been decent. Few film franchises seem immune to the bad sidekick syndrome. Even the most successful sci-fi/fantasy brands have at least one bad sidekick in their closet – a character that everyone wishes had never existed. Here are the 10 worst sidekicks from sci-fi and fantasy movies or TV series.
10. Twiki – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Man, was this little robot ever annoying. Designed to look like a small child and voiced by noted cartoon voice master Mel Blanc (the original voice of Bugs Bunny), this sidekick to actor Gil Gerard’s Buck Rogers served no real purpose other than to please small children who were in love with R2D2 from the original Star Wars: A New Hope. The only thing Twiki did on the show was carry around Dr. Theopolis, a sentient computer in the shape of a disk about 9 inches wide with an illuminated face that often advised Buck on what to do in tricky situations. Twiki had no weapons, couldn’t fight, and was usually in the way anytime the poop hit the fan and Buck had to swing into action. In some scenes, Buck even pets Twiki on the head as if he were a dog. Lame!
9. Abe Sapien – Hellboy
Speaking of sidekicks who can’t fight, how about Abe Sapien from Hellboy? The problem with Abe Sapien is that he suffers from the biggest flaw a sidekick can have: he’s a know-it-all! Characters who are know-it-all’s are irritating under the best of circumstances, but they should never be in a position where they upstage the main hero. In Hellboy, Abe Sapien is meant to be a direct contrast to Hellboy himself. Not just mentally, but physically and personality-wise. We get it. But what is meant to come off as Abe being highly intelligent and perceptive just becomes annoying after a while – especially given how much fun it is watching Hellboy crush enemies and make sarcastic remarks. Plus, other than running his mouth all the time and making observations that are, often times, pretty obvious, Abe Sapient doesn’t do much. He seems happy to leave the rough stuff to Hellboy. Probably just as well.
8. Short Round – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Even this character’s name is stupid. And yet, Short Round’s name is the least annoying thing about this small Asian kid who tags along with Indiana Jones in the 1984 sequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. When not screaming in broken English, the character of Short Round spends most of the movie getting into trouble and screaming for Dr. Jones to rescue him. It’s super irritating. And, as is the case with many sidekicks, completely unnecessary. There’s no need for Short Round to be in the movie. If the character were taken out of Temple of Doom, how would it affect the film? What would really change? You could still make the entire movie the same way without Short Round in it and nothing significant would need to change. Except, of course, that the movie would be better.
7. Samwise Gamgee – The Lord of the Rings
We know, there’s a whole legion of fans out there who love the character Samwise Gamgee and get teary eyed when they watch Return of the King. But hold on a second. Let’s really take a look at Samwise (Sean Astin). Yes, Sam is loyal and has a good heart. And sure, he never ran off with the ring when he had the chance. But look a little deeper and listen closely to the dialogue and you’ll find that good old Sam is super annoying. A real pain in the butt. The main reason is that he’s so damn sappy and such a sycophant to his beloved master Frodo. His constant declarations of love for “Mr. Frodo” are enough to make you puke. Plus, it never seems to make sense that Frodo is Sam’s master, as Astin is (and looks) a lot older than Frodo actor Elijah Wood. Samwise Gamgee is particularly groveling in Return of the King – just when you need him to be strong and finally show some fight. It just doesn’t work for us.
6. Morpheus – The Matrix
Another character we know has an ardent fan base, but while Morpheus is supposed to come off as wise and spiritual, his constant spouting off about the “real world” and how Neo can use his powers comes off as cheesy and obnoxious. Morpheus is like the Jedi Master who hoped you weren’t assigned to (Why couldn’t I get Yoda?) Plus the staccato delivery of actor Laurence Fishburne, who plays Morpheus, makes his dissertations and insights all the more laughable. Go back and watch The Matrix now and we guarantee you’ll notice Morpheus – for all the wrong reasons. Sure, he has a sweet fight scene on top of a moving truck in The Matrix Reloaded, and he looks kind of cool wielding a samurai sword. But really, this character is basically a blowhard. He’s like the sci-fi version of Colonel Trautman from First Blood – but with mirror sunglasses. We’ll take Trinity as a worthy Matrix sidekick, any day.
5. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter
You know the sidekick who is always there to point out what the hero is doing wrong, state the obvious danger they are in, but then follows along blindly after voicing their objections to just about everything going on in the movie? Well, that is Hermione Granger in a nut shell. And it’s super annoying! A lot of times, a sidekick like Hermione is meant to be the “conscience” in the movie and also to explain what’s going on to the audience. But if not done well, this type of character can get boring fast. After all, what good is having an encyclopedic knowledge of every damn thing in the wizarding world, if all you’re going to do is whine and point out all the mistakes the main character is making? Harry Potter deserved better… and actually got better in his other sidekick Ron Weasley, who was a much better counter punch to the boy wizard than Hermione ever was.
4. Donkey – Shrek
Eddie Murphy has rarely been more annoying than as the voice of Donkey, the sidekick to everyone’s favorite green ogre in the Shrek films. It’s the voice. A shrill, ghetto sounding voice that seems completely out of place in the medieval setting of the movies and against the fairytale themes in the movies. The fast delivery also grates on the nerves after about 10 seconds. And, like a lot of the sidekicks on this list, Donkey serves no real purpose other than to seemingly get into trouble so that Shrek can bail him out. We can’t help but think: what would Shrek be doing if this annoying Donkey weren’t constantly needing his help? While the Shrek movies get a lot of love from people, the character of Donkey should be put down so we can be put out of our misery.
3. Batgirl – Batman and Robin
To be decent about it, the 1997 movie Batman and Robin is categorically the worst entry in the Batman film cannon (if you’ve forgotten, it’s the movie where there are nipples on the batsuit). But among the many irritating things in the film (and there are many), one of the biggest aggravations is the performance of Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. First of all, we’re not a big fan of the Batgirl character anyway. Tolerating Robin is more than enough for us. But in this movie, Batgirl is like a litany of bad sidekick clichés – from the shrill voice to getting herself in trouble, to scrapping with the other characters and being a know-it-all. It’s like the producers of the movie had a checklist of annoying things sidekicks are supposed to do and tried to cram them all into one character. Plus, in a movie already full of characters both good and bad, it is completely unnecessary to shoehorn Batgirl into the mix too. Boooooo!
2. HAL 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
The sentient onboard computer that malfunctions and causes havoc in the classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyseey, HAL 9000 (voiced by a little known Canadian actor Douglas Rain) is a pain for many reasons that have nothing to do with the fact it tries to kill the entire crew aboard the ship it’s controlling. As only a voice, HAL 9000 needs to be memorable. But that voice goes too far and ends up becoming cringe-worthy in the end. Plus, HAL never shuts up. The more he malfunctions, the more he talks. It’s really frustrating. And, like other characters on this list, the delivery of his words is super irritating. The slow, drawn out delivery is both weird and enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Not to mention, the fact that he seems to start every sentence with the word “Dave.” As in “Dave, what are you doing?” and “Dave, I only want to help.” Enough already!
1. Jar Jar Binks – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Is anyone surprised that this sidekick is at number one? We didn’t think so. In the history of cinema there has never been a character as reviled and despised as Jar Jar Binks. Talk about annoying. Jar Jar could run clinics on how to make bad movies even worse. From his weird looks to the terrible Pigeon English that he speaks, to his shrill screams and odd running style, this character is flat out, hands down, the worst of the worst. The absolute worst. Fans of Star Wars, not to mention movie critics and people with a brain everywhere, were so incensed by this character that they complained in droves to George Lucas, prompting him to wisely reduce or eliminate Jar Jar Binks role in the next two prequel films. Still, the damage was done. Many people point to the creation of Jar Jar Binks as the moment where George Lucas’ credibility began to slide and Star Wars fans everywhere turned on him. Lucas and the Star Wars franchise took years to recover, until it was purchased by Disney and finally moved away from the Dark Side with critically successful films like The Force Awakens and Rogue One.