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The Best Side Characters in Movies

From chaotic and ecstatic characters to supportive and heroic ones, these are the best side characters from films who may just overshadow the main protagonist. | Jacob Batalon as Ned and Tom Holland as Peter Parker from Spiderman: Homecoming

From Wise and Nobel Leaders to Outright Dumb and Chaotic Misfits

More often than not, movies tend to hone in on one central character to carry along the plot. They are, of course, known as the main character or the protagonist of the film. However, sometimes, these characters hog the spotlight, making it easy to forget the ones on the sidelines. Supporting characters, also referred to as side characters, are important, too, and sometimes viewers may find them more likable. In other cases, they might even outshine the protagonist. Some fans may recall the sarcastic and headstrong Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars or the highly relatable Metro Man from Megamind

From complete polar opposites that challenge the protagonist’s beliefs to the witty and comedic ones who offer a breather from the conflict, these supporting characters are the ones who most often complement the protagonist’s personality. With that said, here are the top ten side characters from movies. 

10. Ned – ‘Spider-Man’ Home Trilogy 

Possibly one of the weakest aspects of superhero films is that they tend to overuse common tropes. As a result, the writing comes off as lazy, and the plot appears too convenient. A prime example of this is in the Spider-Man films when the best friend later becomes the main villain. In Sam Raimi’s universe, this is exactly what happens to Harry Osborn’s character, which convolutes the plot of the third film since there are too many villains to keep track of. In Garfield’s adaptation, the second film borrows this premise yet again with Harry’s character. And as one may have guessed, the same flaw of having too many villains occurred. But in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the web-slinger, the writers mixed up the formula and just made Spider-Man’s best friend…his best friend. Yep, that’s seriously it. The previous two adaptations only focused on Spidey navigating his inner and outer conflicts on his own while clashing with the other side characters. But Ned feels fresh because he has only ever shown support for Peter throughout each of the films. Sure, one could argue each of Peter’s girlfriends has taken on this mantel as well, but this is the first time that a Spidey film had both his best friend and girlfriend fully support him in a positive light. 

9. Kronk – ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ 

Sometimes, the best characters are the funniest ones. In The Emperor’s New Groove, there is a whole list of characters who have very colorful and oddball personalities. There’s Kuzco, the emperor, who starts as an arrogant and narrow-minded protagonist. He later learns to become selfless through his strange experience of being turned into a llama. Yamcha is a great foil to Kuzco, often acting as his conscience to make better moral decisions. Yzma is seen as the main conflict that creates higher stakes for Kuzco’s survival and his morality. 

But the real star of the show will have to be none other than Kronk. Starring as this film’s “dumb” and “clumsy” character, Kronk serves as the role as the comic relief. His obliviousness to the events that are happening around him and his people-pleasing personality quickly make him steal the spotlight. It is rather ironic for him to be serving the villain, given his cartoonish and lighthearted personality, but that only makes him more hilarious and lovable. Many fans would more than likely agree that if it weren’t for Kronk, the film probably wouldn’t even be as good as it is. 

8. Ken – ‘Barbie’ 

Every good villain pushes the protagonist to their absolute extreme limit. Some are serious and frightening, like Megatron from Transformers. Others are chaotic and energetic, like Cruella de Vil in Cruella. But who would’ve thought there could be one who is childish and comedic? In Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, Ken is just that. Surprisingly, not only is he the goofy side character, but also he is the film’s main villain. At first glance, he seems like the typical “funny” comic relief who goes around town doing random things like learning about patriarchy and trying to apply for a job at beach. 

But later, he quickly does a 180 and starts to enact his revenge on Barbie. Arguably, he turns out to be the film’s most relatable character as he struggles to fit in among his peers and places all of his identity on his feelings for Barbie. Not only that, but he feels overshadowed by her, never getting recognized by others around him. These events lead to him turning against Barbie, which is such an interesting twist for a character who seems goofy and not meant to be taken seriously. With a comical personality and interpersonal struggles, Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Ken is easily on par with that of Margot Robbie’s Barbie. 

7. Master Oogway – ‘Kung Fu Panda’ 

Kung Fu Panda is a film series that still holds up fairly well even to this day. With famous actors Jack Black, Seth Rogan, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan, viewers are surely in for a wild ride. Jack Black does a phenomenal job voicing the panda, presenting a believable performance of a character striving to master the art of kung fu while adding touches of comedy. Other characters like Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Viper, Mantis, and Master Shifu all act as great supporting characters that do not hog the screen and allow for enough room for Po to realize the harsh realities of becoming a kung fu master. 

But in the first film, there is one character who many fans find favorable. Master Oogway is the leader of the kung fu group, and it is even implied that he was the first one in town to master the martial arts. While his character’s screen time is brief, he does have important scenes where he leaves drops of wisdom for Master Shifu and Po. While many of these lines are meant to sound wise, some fans have found one of them funny enough to make memes out of. The line in question is when Oogway speaks to Shifu by the peach tree and says, “There are no accidents.” A line like this can be highly applicable to many situations, including in a joking matter. 

6. Perrito – ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ 

Every hero is most often complemented by a trusty sidekick. In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Puss goes on his heroic adventure and receives a sidekick, but he’s not quite what most people would expect. Growing up as an orphaned dog, Perrito seems to be oblivious to social cues, as his only goal is to appeal to others and cheer them up. This often makes him come off as a goofy and energetic character to laugh at. Not only that, but it is also quite clear that Puss does not want him around at first. However, Perrito does not seem to catch on and instead believes they are best friends. This makes for a rather hilarious character dynamic as Perrito’s goofy side clashes with Puss’ serious and arrogant personality.

From chaotic and ecstatic characters to supportive and heroic ones, these are the best side characters from films who may just overshadow the main protagonist. | Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots and Harvey Guillen as Perrito from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish | Picture Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation
Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots and Harvey Guillén as Perrito from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish | Picture Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

However, later on in the film, Perrito becomes more than just the typical comic relief. When Puss runs off into the forest to escape death, Perrito runs after him and comforts Puss. He knows that all Puss needs at that moment is a friend and does not push him to have a difficult conversation if Puss does not want to. When Puss does open up to him about how he is afraid of only having one life, Perrito honkers down on the harsh reality that everyone only has one life and that it is precious and must be valued. This interaction is what makes Perrito such a good side character as it opens Puss’ eyes a bit to reality and to consider the reckless decisions he’s made for once. 

5. Mr. Gibbs – ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ Series 

There are many elements from The Pirates of the Caribbean movies that make it such a great film series. The highly detailed set pieces, suspenseful action sequences, captivating score, mythological elements, top-notch costume design, and cleverly written characters make these movies just endless amounts of fun. The casting is also done well, including iconic characters like Elizabeth Swan, William Turner, Commodore Norrington, and Captain Barbossa. And, of course, who could forget the quick-witted Captain Jack Sparrow? While initially a side character from the first film, the pirate quickly became the face of the series due to his hilarious quips, cartoonish reactions, and clever ploys. 

Because of how much fans have admired and praised the character, it is pretty much essential that Sparrow makes a recurring appearance in every film. Believe it or not, there is one other character who has also stuck by his side in every film. Joshamee Gibss (or Mr. Gibbs) is a character who once served the British Navy until he was marked for treason. This is seen with his ripped jacket sleeves, and since then, he has turned to a life of piracy with Captain Sparrow. The two are thick as thieves and share a bond on screen like no other. In all films, Gibbs has shown loyalty to his captain, never once challenging him or showing disrespect. Unfortunately, in Dead Men Tell No Tales, their friendship becomes a bit rocky, but even then, Gibbs comes back to help Jack, showing the true strength of their friendship. 

4.  Samwise Gamgee – ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Series

The Lord of the Rings is a series that includes quite a substantial cast. With so many characters involved, it can be difficult to pick any one of them as a favorite. Aragorn,  Legolas, Elrond, Gandalf, and Lady Galadriel are widely loved for their remarkable combat skills. Gimli is always a fun character who cracks jokes and has a rather comical personality. Merry and Pippin have great character arcs where they go from village troublemakers to respectable and selfless heroes. And Eowyn and Frodo are honored for their courage and bravery.

But out of the four main hobbits, Samwise Gamgee is arguably the best one. He is very loyal to Frodo, always sticking by his side, and is respectful enough to call him “Mr. Frodo.” Not only that, but he does his best to ensure that his friend is safe, protecting him against threats like Orcs, Gollum, and Shelob. Even when Gollum manipulates Frodo to turn against him, and Frodo realizes it was a mistake and is ridden with guilt, Sam returns and forgives him. And best of all, he continues to push Frodo forward to fulfill his mission, even when the ring becomes more burdensome over time. In the final act of the third film, he even carries Frodo because he knows it isn’t his duty to carry the ring. All of these traits just go to show that Frodo is quite lucky to have Sam as a friend, and it is even arguable that he is the true protagonist of the series. 

3. Domino – ‘Deadpool 2’

Deadpool 2 is probably best defined as one of those “superhero” films that does not take itself too seriously. With an anti-hero like Wade Wilson, who is prone to breaking the fourth wall, one can only expect these movies to come fully equipped with chaotic action scenes and a protagonist with a loud mouth. But he’s not the only one who has his own set of quips and sarcastic retorts. Weasel is Wade’s best friend and the chiller one of the two, but he’s not afraid to encourage or call out others when something disturbing happens. Dopinder has a childlike personality and is a fan of Deadpool, who he hilariously influences to act violently and commit crimes. Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus are a dynamic duo who work as Deadpool’s moral conscience and to keep him accountable. 

In the second film, the audience is also introduced to a set of new characters such as Cable, Juggernaut, Fire Fist, and Domino. While all of these characters are great in their own right, Domino seems to be the one who stands out the most. Due to her laid-back attitude and mutant ability of luck, she is probably the most chaotic character in the series by far. Sure, she may not have much screen time, but whenever she graces the screen with her presence, it is sure to be a treat. While action scenes would show many of the characters dying left and right from brutal explosions and flying shrapnel, Domino would float amidst the chaos in the most graceful manner and come out unscathed. 

2. Astrid – ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Trilogy

It’s not often that viewers would get to see an animated movie where the characters realistically mature both physically and emotionally. More often than not, animation films tend to stick with the same character design across each subsequent film. But in How to Train Your Dragon, viewers will notice little details to show the characters aging and developing in their personalities. The first film starts with Hiccup getting mocked and bullied by his peers and doubted by his father. In How to Train Your Dragon 2, his peers warm up to him, and he learns about his mother’s past. However, at the end of the film, he must cope with the tragic death of his father. In The Hidden World, the village looks up to Hiccup as the new leader, and they all eventually have to deal with the harsh reality of letting their dragons go.  

Among the list of side characters, Astrid seems to have the most development, second to Hiccup. At first, she hates him due to his prodigy-like nature with taming dragons. But by the end of the first film, she begins to sympathize with him and even falls in love with him. From then on, as the series progresses, she acts as the perfect balance for Hiccup, often challenging him with deep moral questions and fully supporting him in making tough decisions. In the last film, the two end up getting married and having kids together, which makes for a beautifully crafted story between them. 

1. Frozone – ‘The Incredibles’

It’s not so uncommon for superheroes to take on villains who significantly outclass them in power and skill. Take Shazam, for example, in Fury of the Gods. While his skill set is rather impressive and rivals that of Superman and Wonder Woman, he is only a child with a naive mindset. In The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2, the Parr family is far from perfect. In the first film, they struggled to defeat Syndrome and Omnidroid. It was only until the end that they finally managed to end his terror. In the second film, while they barely manage to fend off the Underminer, they still find themselves caught up in a legal battle concerning their illegal vigilante activities. 

But unlike them, Lucius (Frozone) is much better at the superhero gig. He knows how to pick his battles and avoid getting caught, which adds a bit of mystery to his character. Additionally, as a very laid-back person, he just comes off as the chill uncle (no pun intended) to Dash and Violet. Not only does he look after Bob to help him relive his superhero days, but also his kids in the second film when he senses they are in danger. Last, but most certainly not least, his powers are extremely cool (okay, this one was intended), as he can surf on waves of ice, freeze enemies, and create ice walls and dunes of snow. 

From chaotic and ecstatic characters to supportive and heroic ones, these are the best side characters from films who may just overshadow the main protagonist. | Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible and Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone from The Incredibles | Picture Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios
Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible and Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone from The Incredibles | Picture Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

Barbie (2024) Offical Trailer | Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Marc Agbayani's favorite genres to write are fantasy, science fiction, horror, action,n and mystery. His inspiration for writing stems from his love of various forms of pop culture, such as the film series Star Wars by George Lucas and the video game series The Legend of Zelda by Shigeru Miyamoto. In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, listening to music, going to the gym, and hosting game nights with friends

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Sammie is an undergraduate student at Arcadia University where she is majoring in English and creative writing and minoring in media and communications. Sammie enjoys writing about her favorite movies and tv shows and hopes to have a career in the media industry.