Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Movie Sidekicks Who Don't Get Enough Credit

The history of cinema is packed with heroes. Superheroes, action heroes, fairy tale heroes, heroes who survive, heroes with brains, heroes with guns, heroes with swords, and heroes with words. We talk a lot about heroes and the impact they have on the stories they populate, but many of these heroes wouldn't be half as impactful if they weren't accompanied by equally important sidekicks. The sidekick is a time-honored tradition in adventure storytelling of all kinds, providing the hero with someone to talk to, someone to seek help from, and someone to react against. Without sidekicks, our heroes wouldn't be nearly as heroic. 

Not all sidekicks are created equal, though. In fact, some sidekicks fall into the realm of the overlooked. Maybe the film they're in focuses squarely on the lead protagonist. Maybe another sidekick shines a little brighter. Maybe people just aren't paying enough attention. Whatever the case, these sidekicks deserve more credit.

Luna Lovegood

The Harry Potter novels, and by extension the Harry Potter films, are all centered on the point of view of the titular boy wizard. That means as Harry's point of view shifts, all manner of characters can be potential sidekicks, and numerous characters fill that role over the course of the story. Some of them (Ron and Hermione) get credit early on, while others (Neville Longbottom, for example) take a while to develop their sidekick credentials. 

If there's one character who's clearly served as an essential Harry Potter sidekick once or twice and yet still doesn't seem to get full credit for it, though, it's Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). Luna is immediately tagged as the weird friend, the one who talks funny and has strange interests and doesn't necessarily see the world as it is. As the story goes on, though, she proves fiercely loyal to Harry, always believes in him when other people think he's gone mad, and serves as a valuable ally in the final struggle against Voldemort.

Doc Holliday

Tombstone is one of the most entertaining Westerns of its era, full of memorable moments, beautiful cinematography, and instant classic performances. Even in the midst of a great ensemble cast, though, Val Kilmer repeatedly steals the show as Doc Holliday, the drunken gunfighter and gambler who just happens to find his old friend Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) in Tombstone and decides to stick with him through thick and thin.

So great is Doc's devotion to his friend — stemming from the fact that he, by his own admission, doesn't have many friends — that he's willing to ride with him into a battle that will mean almost certain death, even as he himself is already dying from tuberculosis. Doc is a great sidekick, but his particular brand of loyal support is often overshadowed by the other action movies of the era. His last triumphant battle, complete with the memorable "I'm your huckleberry" line and his final show of loyalty to Wyatt, is the stuff of movie legend.

Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine

Nearly all of the major heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have developed some version of a sidekick at this point. Captain America has Falcon, Thor has (or had) the Warriors Three, Ant-Man has Luis, and Doctor Strange has Wong. Rhodey (Don Cheadle) is the original MCU sidekick, though, having shown up first in Iron Man and finally gotten a suit of his own in Iron Man 2

As War Machine, he's fought around the world in his own right and assisted the Avengers in some of their most important missions, all the while remaining loyal to his friend Tony Stark, even in Tony's darkest moments. Rhodey is exactly the kind of friend you want to have your back when you're becoming a superhero, and exactly the kind of friend you'd want to turn into a superhero with you. He's overshadowed by flashier characters like Falcon, but he's a steadfast and vital part of the story of the Avengers.


Yes, Young Frankenstein is a parody, and it's a great parody, but its status as a send-up of popular horror films from the 1930s also means that we sometimes sell its better storytelling instincts a little short. Igor (Marty Feldman), Dr. Frankenstein's hunch-backed assistant, is a great example of this. 

Igor (don't forget — it's pronounced Eye-gor) is hired help. He's only there because he was told to be there, and he's almost immediately sucked into a world of reanimated corpses, angry mobs, and the madness of his boss. Through it all, he doesn't complain, doesn't run, doesn't even shrink from his master's tantrums. In fact, he always does his best to bring an air of fun to the whole thing, even when things are at their darkest. Igor is loyal to a fault, and while that makes him a questionable human being, it makes him a very good sidekick.


The X-Men films aren't necessarily the kind of stories that lend themselves well to branding any particular character as a sidekick. They're movies about a team, but different story twists and turns do create a sidekick dynamic occasionally. One such dynamic can be found in X2: X-Men United, when Nightcrawler is rescued and invited into the X-Mansion. This version of Nightcrawler, played by Alan Cumming, spends much of the film developing a relationship to Storm, and takes a humble approach to the team-up that does more or less place him in the sidekick position over the course of the film. 

Cumming is a scene stealer throughout, but remains mostly relegated to the sidelines of the story. Watching it now, you can see the potential his character had to be so much more in subsequent installments that never arrived. He saves Rogue, he adds tremendous power and compassion to the team, and you can see some of that mischievous sense of adventure that so defines the comics version of the character just starting to peek through. 

Frankenstein's Monster

The Monster Squad is a fascinating film for a number of reasons. It's a monster rally movie that invents its own mythology rather than build upon existing films, and yet it owes an inescapable debt to the monster movies that came before. It's an inescapably 1980s story, yet it borrows heavily from the movies of the 1930s and 1940s. And it brings every major monster together into one film, while spinning one of them off in a less predictable but entirely in-character direction from the rest. 

Frankenstein's Monster (Tom Noonan) behaves exactly like the creature in the past films has — childlike, curious, capable of intense and confused rage — but he's also placed in a situation that allows him to become an invaluable part of a team not of monsters, but of children. The result is both compelling and adorable, and makes him a fantastic movie ally that we tend to forget when talking about the great sidekicks.

Merry and Pippin

The cast of The Lord of the Rings is full of hero/sidekick pairings of all kinds. At various points, Legolas is a sidekick to Aragorn, and so is Gimli, and so is Boromir. Frodo is a sidekick to Gandalf (and vice versa) while Wormtongue is a sidekick to Saruman, who himself is in some ways a sidekick to Sauron. In the middle of it all is Samwise Gamgee, perhaps the ultimate sidekick — the one to rule them all, if you will. 

Because Sam's star shines so bright in terms of pure sidekick brilliance as he devotes himself to helping Frodo, we sometimes forget that Merry and Pippin (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) are also great sidekicks — or at least they become that way by the time the trilogy is over. They both serve Frodo and Sam as best they can, then find a way to convince the ents to march to war and take Isengard, then split up in the final battle to serve as sidekicks to Gandalf (Pippin) and Eowyn (Merry). They're in Sam's shadow for a reason, but they're also more than just comic relief.

Wedge Antilles

When Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced that they'd be making a new Star Wars sequel trilogy, fans everywhere started dreaming about which of their favorite characters might return. For a certain subset of those fans, Wedge Antilles (Denis Lawson) was always near the top of the list. Wedge is rarely seen outside of his cockpit for most of the original Star Wars trilogy. He doesn't have a lot of lines, he doesn't have any real life outside of fighting in space battles, and we barely even get to see him without a helmet on. 

When Wedge is doing what he does best, though, he's better than just about anyone, serving as de facto sidekick to Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian across the three films. Wedge is a brilliant pilot partially responsible for the destruction of two different Death Stars, and it's a shame he's not around anymore. He's the unsung sidekick of the Star Wars galaxy.


Between 1963 and 1999, Desmond Llewelyn played Q in 17 filims in the James Bond franchise, and almost all of those appearances followed the same formula. Bond would meet up with Q (either in the office or in some secret location), Q would unveil a bunch of stunningly cool gadgets, and Bond would mock him while Q begged to be taken just a little bit seriously. The dynamic certainly works, and it's one of the reasons Q became such a popular character, but it's also one of the reasons he remains an underrated presence within the franchise in terms of the sheer amount he was able to accomplish. 

Over the course of his time with Bond, the man invented (among other things) a remote controlled car, a portable breathing device, a pen that dispensed acid, a car that turned into a submarine, and a portable jet. He saved Bond's life countless times, and was only ever mocked for his trouble. Again, the dynamic works, but Q deserves more credit for how much he did. Here's hoping Ben Whishaw's version of the character gets a little more respect.


Indiana Jones has a number of sidekicks over the course of his four adventures on the big screen, from Short Round in Temple of Doom to Mutt in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to his own father in The Last Crusade. Each has their role to play, and each is tied to Indy in a different way. When you have people like Shia LaBeouf and Sean Connery playing the secondary star in your movies, though, the people who are a little further back in the cast can get overlooked, even if they're also screen legends. 

John Rhys-Davies is flawless as Sallah, Indy's man in the field who hooks him up with information, lodging, and more over the course of his adventures. On the surface, Sallah seems like he's mostly there for comic relief — "Asps. Very dangerous... you go first" remains a perfect line reading — but he saves Indy's life in Raiders and continues to be an indispensable ally even beyond that. Indiana Jones is always grumbling about the people who get dragged into his adventures, but he should be grateful to have Sallah around at all.

The Cloak of Levitation

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) supposedly has a sidekick in his Marvel Cinematic Universe films already, and that sidekick is Wong (Benedict Wong). Yes, Wong is a very important part of the equation, but he's not the only ally in Strange's adventures, and we don't mean other members of the Avengers. By the end of Doctor Strange, the master of the mystic arts is also wearing the Cloak of Levitation, a seemingly sentient piece of fabric able to listen to instructions, sense danger, and adapt to various situations. 

Wong helps, but he also ditches everyone in the first act of Avengers: Infinity War. The cloak, meanwhile, saves Strange from Ebony Maw all on its own, helps in the struggle to get the Gauntlet off of Thanos (which nearly succeeds), and sticks with its master right up until the end of the film. We can only hope the cloak will return, and remain just as loyal and dependable.


The world of Disney animation is absolutely packed with sidekicks, and almost all of them have a devoted army of fans. People argue over whether Sebastian or Flounder is the better character in The Little Mermaid, but pretty much everyone agrees they both belong. Olaf from Frozen is one of the most popular sidekicks in recent memory, but Sven the reindeer also gets love. Even the grumpy sentient clock Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast has his admirers. 

So, when talking about Disney sidekicks, where do you find ones who don't get enough credit? By looking for entire films which don't get enough credit, and that definitely includes The Great Mouse Detective. Made in the years before the Disney Renaissance kicked off with The Little Mermaid, it's a Sherlock Holmes story starring a cast of mice. Those mice receive invaluable assistance from Toby, a lovable basset hound who proves intensely useful to Basil of Baker Street and his friends as they go about solving the case. If you didn't watch this film when you were a kid and wish you could ride a giant dog around, you were doing it wrong.