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Superhero sidekicks that deserve their own spinoff

Behind every billionaire who fights crime and every alien who defends humanity, there's a sidekick they'd be dead without. Seriously, there are swaths of unsung heroes playing backup or support while someone more flashy gets all the praise. In fact, one could argue these sidekicks are more deserving of our admiration for throwing themselves into the fray since they almost never have the same super-powered toolkit as their counterparts.

Fortunately, times are changing. Now that superhero movies and TV shows are popping up everywhere, it seems that every great character is getting their time in the spotlight. So what better way to rectify decades of injustice than by giving the sidekicks of the world their own shot at top billing? It's time for the side characters to get their due, and to help push this movement forward, we've assembled a list of some of the superhero sidekicks we think deserve their own spinoffs.

Okoye needs her own adventure

When it comes to sidekicks pulling more than their fair share of the weight, look no further than Okoye. Played by Danai Gurira, Okoye is the general of the Dora Milaje, and she remained loyal to T'Challa when Killmonger overthrew him and took the throne of Wakanda. And when Thanos snapped half of Earth's population from existence, she not only continued to command her army but also worked alongside the Avengers for international peace. And when it came time to throw down with some aliens, she took out Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight (on separate occasions), as well as a whole mess of the alien equivalent of red shirts.

Plus, not only is she a skilled fighter, but she's demonstrated an aptitude for clandestine intelligence work. In just a handful of movies, she's become a pretty beloved member of the Avengers roster, and she's proven several times that she's the equal of Black Widow, Captain America, and the like. Wouldn't it be something to see a big-screen or TV spinoff in which we watch her command the Wakandan forces and battle some lower-level villains all her own?

Now that the actress who plays her has left her full-time gig at The Walking Dead, maybe it's time someone took a bold chance and offered Gurira a chance at top-billing and a story worthy of her already larger than life character.

Barbara Gordon definitely deserves her own spinoff

First off, please forget Alicia Silverstone's character and pretty much everything that happened in the 1997 movie Batman & Robin. Good, we can move on.

Although many have worn the cowl, the most recognizable Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, the niece of Commissioner Gordon. She frequently works with Batman, and she's considered one of his closest sidekicks. Her relation to the commissioner of the Gotham P.D. gives her a grounded insight into the struggle between vigilante and police justice. Meanwhile, behind the mask, she's a capable and unstoppable force, even when she's paralyzed.

As any true Bat-fan knows, Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker and left paralyzed (which really emphasizes how dangerous it is to be a sidekick). However, what makes Gordon's Batgirl appealing isn't the tragedy that befell her but the way she bounced back. In the comics, she went on to become Oracle, a world-class super-hacker with a heavier hand in vigilante justice than Batgirl ever had.

So, the minds at the ever-expanding DC universe should ask themselves, do viewers want to see another Batman and Robin story, or do they want to let the Titans TV series do its thing and introduce Barbara Gordon? Well, it's possible the call has already been heard. Joss Whedon was previously attached to a standalone Batgirl movie. However, he scrapped it when he couldn't find a story. However, like the Caped Crusader himself, a new Batgirl project is still lurking in the shadows out there somewhere, waiting for its moment to strike.

A spinoff series with the Warriors Three would be incredibly fun

When Thor came on the scene in 2011, he was accompanied by Lady Sif, who demonstrated her own spinoff appeal with a handful of appearances on the Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Loki, who's immense audience appeal earned him his very own Disney+ spinoff series.

In addition to those two, there was a cadre of fellow Thor cohorts known as the Warriors Three. The group consisted of Volstagg, a Viking-like warrior whose appetite is the only thing bigger than his ax; Fandral, a charming adventurer whose quick tongue is matched by his agile swordsmanship; and Hogun, the honorable and brave warrior who defended the people of Asgard with the coolest mace in the Nine Realms.

Not too much else is known about the Warriors Three other than they spent most of their lives going on adventures with Thor and battling some of the worst villains that Asgard had to offer. But they seem so interesting that it would be pretty cool to see them sally for on their own. One can't help but picture a Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure consisting of these three very different men facing a threat that Thor simply can't be around to combat. After all, Thor often goes on his quests, meaning there were countless opportunities for the Warriors Three to be out and about.

However, as fans know, the Warriors Three met a chilling end at the hands of Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. So, either the MCU will have to find a way to quickly cure death, or any story involving the trio would have to be a prequel of some sort.

Heimdall should go from sidekick status to leading man

Played by Idris Elba in three Thor movies and two Avengers movies, Heimdall ended up being a significantly consequential character in the MCU while also remaining one of its most low-key players.

Heimdall was blessed with an advanced sight, well beyond that of any other Asgardian that's been introduced as of yet. Because of his advances senses, he was tasked with guarding the Bifrost and making sure nothing unsavory made its way into the Asgardian realm. Sure, he screwed up three times, providing the fodder for some awesome movies, but his appeal didn't take a single hit despite those setbacks.

Whether he's attempting to take on Loki by himself or ruining a Dark Elf destroyer with nothing but some daggers, Heimdall is definitely the kind of guy one would want around in a pinch. He further proved he had standalone spinoff appeal in Thor: Ragnarok when he stole the sword that controlled the Bifrost and used it to beat the snot out of all of Hela's forces so that he could hide Asgardians from danger.

Unfortunately, he met a tragic end at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War, sacrificing himself so that the Hulk could warn Earth about the Mad Titan's advance. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a slew of good stories to be told about how he got his position as Asgard's most badass doorman. If there's one thing the Thor movies taught fans, it's that you can never have enough interesting Asgardians around.

Colleen Wing is way cooler than Iron Fist

As most fans of the Marvel and Netflix Defenders series will be happy to tell you, there aren't a lot of redeeming qualities to the two seasons of Iron Fist. However, one diamond in the rough is Colleen Wing. She's first introduced in season one as a member of the Hand who betrays her upbringing once she sees that Danny Rand is fighting on the side of the angels. She's an expert martial artist and a quintessential street-level hero. To put it bluntly, she's just a generally awesome character that viewers should've been following from the get-go.

Not only does she assist in killing one of the five fingers of the Hand, but she even inherits the power of the Iron Fist once Danny proves that he, to put it frankly, kinda stinks at wielding it. Colleen is basically set up for her own spinoff or even to take over the Iron Fist franchise in season three had it ever crystallized. So maybe it's time to dust off the character and show the world what an incredibly capable lady with friends in mystically high places can do?

If you need more proof that this character has potential, look no further than her brief comic book romance with none other than Scott Summers — Cyclops himself. Need a reason beyond who she dated? Fine, Tony Stark called upon her and Misty Knight when the time came to battle Captain America in the Civil War storyline. The point is, she's not inconsequential and is perhaps the best sidekick in the MCU.

War Machine could help move the MCU forward

James "Rhodey" Rhodes holds the distinction of being the first sidekick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Introduced in Iron Man as Tony Stark's loyal friend, Rhodes first donned the War Machine armor by stealing it from Stark, only to mend fences with his buddy and become a full-fledged Avenger. He helped defeat Ultron and Thanos, and for a brief period of time, he briefly adopted the moniker of Iron Patriot before everyone pretty much unanimously agreed that was lame. 

Unlike most of the other sidekicks on this list, his antics are by no means street-level nonsense. Even before donning the armor, Rhodes was a high-ranking officer in the United States Air Force and liaison between the military and Stark industries. In many ways, he's more influential and involved in world events than Stark himself.

Of course, the thing that makes superheroes cool is not their relationship to a government bureaucracy. However, if Civil War taught us anything, it's that those regulatory conversations can often blossom into massive superhero-level conflicts. Fans are already sold on Don Cheadle's portrayal of Rhodes (sorry, Terrence Howard), so a spinoff isn't out of the question. After fighting alongside the Avengers in Endgame and being the only person besides Pepper Potts to have a Stark suit on hand, perhaps a standalone story where he presides at the head of an international incident is exactly what the franchise needs.

After all, with Tony gone, War Machine might just be the single best tie-in to the old guard.

Casey Jones could take the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a crazy direction

Casey Jones is an often forgotten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character, and that's too bad because he's a gritty, dark, and violent sidekick who feels tonally different from the totally radical teens. For those unfamiliar with Jones beyond the portrayals of Stephen Amell and Elias Koteas in the movies, his story is actually pretty gnarly. When he was a child, his father owned an auto repair shop that was raided by a gang. The thugs murdered his dad and took his mom and sister hostage. Casey, however, refused to stay down and even managed to injure the gang's leader.

He was almost beaten to death for his bravery. The ensuing traumatic brain injuries and knowing that he'd lost his family caused him to be violent and, well, let's just say "off" later in life. Inspired by a world of vigilantes around him, Jones donned a hockey mask and armed himself with whatever sports equipment he could find and took to the streets to knock around some bad guys.

One would have to be a fool not to recognize that the above origin story stands head-and-shoulders above some of the lamer superhero origins that have already been given their own big-screen release. Admittedly, it's a tough sell to pitch a project set in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe that doesn't include the Turtles themselves. However, the idea of taking the franchise into a gritty, street-level, dark and somewhat insane direction should intrigue any superhero fan worth his or her salt.

Harley Keener is a sidekick who could replace Iron Man

There's a reason that most people who saw Iron Man 3 immediately thought of Harley Keener when they read the words "superhero sidekick spinoff." A passing of the torch was telegraphed in that movie about a subtly as a train wreck. Keener's inclusion at Tony Stark's funeral in Avengers: Endgame didn't do much to diminish that either.

However, just because it was shoved down viewers' throats doesn't necessarily make it a bad idea.

For those unfamiliar, Harley Keener was introduced at Tony Stark's lowest point. After his Malibu home was destroyed, Stark chased a lead to Tennessee where he promptly broke into the young tech genius' garage. Keener showcased his bravery by confronting the would-be intruder with a potato gun of his own design. From there, he learned some key lessons about bullies from Stark and eventually helped him defeat his enemies with a rousing pep talk.

Say what you want about adding family-friendly child fodder to superhero movies, the kid had good banter, a brave soul, and a brain well-beyond his actual age. Add a few more years and a few billion dollars, and you've got Tony Stark. After all, the death of Stark left a big hole in the MCU that Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and others are going to try and fill in the coming years. However, perhaps the franchise should make good on its not-so-subtle promise and upgrade Keener to the new Iron Man. If Stark can leave an instructional holographic video message for his daughter, why not the kid who helped save his life?

Valkyrie should go from sidekick to warrior-king

Tessa Thompson's portrayal of Valkyrie completely stole the show in Thor: Ragnarok, so it's not at all surprising that she became a key player in the ongoing story of Asgard in Avengers: Endgame.

For those unfamiliar, the character — whose real name is Brunnhilde — got her superhero moniker by being part of an elite group of warriors of Asgard called, you guessed it, "the Valkyries." After they were defeated by Hela, our hero sought to drink herself into a stupor on the gladiatorial planet of Sakaar. When Thor found his way to the planet, she renewed her allegiance to Asgard once she learned of an opportunity to get revenge on the goddess of death. She would go on to fight with the Avengers against Thanos before the god of thunder himself appointed her the king of New Asgard on Earth.

Basically, you can look backwards in the character's history and find rich spinoff fodder in her work with the elite Valkyries. You can also look ahead and base a story around a capable warrior and reluctant leader facing down an imminent threat for the good of her people. In the comic books, her god-like abilities often pitted her against mystic enemies like the ones that Doctor Strange would find himself facing off against. So there's virtually no shortage of directions that one could take the character, especially if Thompson's charisma and toughness make their way to the project as well.

Give Abe Sapien his own psychic spinoff

Fans may remember Abe Sapien as the amphibious man from the Ron Perlman-led Hellboy movies. Played by Doug Jones of The Shape of Water fame, Sapien got a pretty fair shake in those films as a through-and-through sidekick. However, when it comes to spinoff potential, we think this fishy hero could have quite the adventure by taking a look at his backstory..

See, in the films, Sapien is an amphibious humanoid with powers that allow him to be physically superior in the water. Plus, he also has psychic abilities. But precious little else is known about Sapien's backstory other than that he came to work alongside Hellboy and the others after he was discovered in a secret chamber in a hospital, with only a strange inscription referencing the date of Abraham Lincoln's death. 

However, if Hellboy: The Golden Army taught fans anything, it should be that the universe is boundless. What better way to further explore it than by following Abe on a mission to uncover the secrets of his own past? The character was already deemed good enough to have his own comic book spinoff in 1998, but perhaps it's time to dust of Ol' Abe for a project all his own. Who wouldn't want to watch the super genius use his psychic and aquatic capabilities to dive into his origins?