The main hero or villain may get the top billing in a show, but sometimes, it’s their ever loyal and trusty sidekick who actually steals the limelight and the audiences hearts. While their bosses may be the brains behind the operation, these sidekicks are the ones who do most of the heavy lifting.
Many of these sidekicks went on to have comics, movies, and television series of their own. But some are also quite happy to remain behind the scenes while their heroes take the credit for saving the world yet again (or trying to destroy it). At the end of the day, however, whether they are on the side of good or evil, we know that these sidekicks have the training and the muscle to beat their main characters in a mano-a-mano fist fight. Check out our 15 favorite sidekicks who are stronger and more powerful than their heroes.
15. Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn was, hands down, one of the best things about Suicide Squad. The Joker’s on-again-off-again partner-in-crime may have turned into a superstar villain in her own right, but many think that she would most likely rather stay with her Puddin’ – when he’s not trying to throw her out of a plane or strap her to a rocket, that is.
While the Joker surrounds himself with henchmen, it is generally unknown if he had any training in hand-to-hand combat himself. Harley Quinn, on the other hand, trained to be a gymnast in her youth and uses her Olympic-level skill and acrobatics when she fights.
During one of her breaks from the Joker, she was also injected with a toxin antidote by Poison Ivy to make her immune from many diseases and chemicals, which also gave her more strength and stamina – explaining how she survives accidents that would be fatal to others.
Bane has been on the big screen as a sidekick in two very different takes on the Batman franchise. In Batman And Robin (1997), he was Poison Ivy’s thug who did most of her heavy lifting and fighting, while her main weapon of choice was her venom-laced kiss.
In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bane was seemingly the main villain of the film. He said his plan was to destroy Gotham along with the remnants of the League of Shadows. But it is later on revealed that he was second to Talia al Ghul, daughter of the League’s late leader, Ra’s al Ghul. He helped her escape from the inescapable prison he was born in and then became her protector after she returned the favor.
On the other side of the galaxy, a very unlikely duo wreaks havoc: Rocket Racoon, a fast-talking mercenary and his sidekick, Groot, a sentient plant-like being. Before they teamed up with the other Guardians of the Galaxy, they were some of the universe’s most wanted criminals.
As the only one who seems to understand Groot’s language which, to everyone else, just sounds like he’s repeating the words, “I am Groot,” over and over again, the pair formed a touching bond and friendship. Rocket’s abilities as a genetically engineered raccoon make him faster, smarter, and better with a laser gun than the average raccoon. But when it comes to heavy-hitting, Groot must step in to lend a hand, or a branch. It’s certainly handy to have a friend who can change size to grow taller than a prison watch tower, form a tight ball to envelope and protect his allies when free falling from space, and even regrow from just a single surviving twig.
12. The Wasp
Back on Earth, Hope van Dyne was not happy to be placed on the sidelines as her father, Hank Pym, trained a known cat-burglar to don the suit with his top-secret shrinking technology in Ant-Man. In the movie, it was clear that she was far more qualified for the job, with her background in martial arts training and her mastery of her father’s technology. She could even use it speak to six and eight-legged creatures.
She was kept out of the suit by her father who did not want to lose her like he lost her mother, who turned out to be his partner on many mini-scaled missions, The Wasp. With his wife lost somewhere in the quantum world, he did not want to risk losing his daughter in the same way.
But hopefully, we will finally see Hope wearing the suit she so rightfully deserves since by the end of the film, she is given her own suit with updated technology so she can take over the wings of her mother in the upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Another over-qualified sidekick to rule all sidekicks must be Kato from the Green Hornet series, which ran in the 1960s. Bruce Lee was a scene stealer and the series was was even marketed as The Kato Show in Hong Kong. A coloring book inspired by the television series even relegated the main hero in a secondary role with the title, “Kato’s Revenge Featuring the Green Hornet.”
Kato is Britt Reid’s trusted valet who also puts on a green mask to accompany him as his chauffer when he goes on crime-fighting missions as the Green Hornet. He is a martial arts master but also has hidden green darts in his sleeve that he uses for long-range attacks.
Although there are a few different versions of the Green Hornet’s origin story, most agree that Kato and Reid’s friendship goes back a long way and they were together as Reid began his journey and transformation to become the Green Hornet.
A different kind of Cato is also stronger and much smarter than his main hero. Cato Fong is the manservant of the bumbling Jacques Clouseau from The Pink Panther movie series. Although he is loyal to the french Inspector, he is also trained to keep his boss alert and on his toes by attacking him at random, and often inappropriate moments.
Clouseau even tries to avoid Cato by wearing disguises even whenever he returns home, which Cato always sees through.
This Cato is also skilled in martial arts and his drawn-out bouts with Clouseau often end with the latter’s home or hotel room in shambles. But all is well at the end of the love-hate relationship when Clouseau gets a phone call and they return to being civil towards one another again.
9. Knives Chau
She’s not a sidekick in the truest sense of the word, but Scott Pilgrim’s 17-year old Chinese-Canadian ex-girlfriend often helped him out in his battles.
Armed with her, what else, knives and her obsession with Scott, Knives was initially hell-bent on getting revenge on both Scott and Ramona. But, as seen in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Scott must enlist her help by entering 2-player mode to defeat Gideon, the final of Ramona’s evil exes. They had a lot of practice working as a team since most of their dates consisted of them playing Dance Dance Revolution together.
At the end of the graphic novels, Knives says goodbye to Scott after they defeat Gideon, telling him, “You’ll always be my The Clash At Demonhead.”
8. Hit Girl
Underage sidekicks who kick ass was the norm for many superheroes. But one of the best sidekicks to come out of the pages of a comic book, one who did not even go through puberty yet, is Hit Girl from Kick-Ass.
Trained by her own father, Big Daddy, to be an unstoppable killing machine, Hit Girl is ruthless with any weapon she gets her hands on. She accompanied Big Daddy on his missions and just like her old man, was remorseless and unflinching in the face of so much death and blood. Even when he is murdered, she doesn’t flinch, telling Kick Ass, “Finish the job, mourn later.”
In Kick-Ass 2, Hit Girl helps Kick-Ass become a better hero by putting him through a grueling training regimen. Even though she outclasses him in skill and experience, she steps aside to disappear since she is wanted for murder, so that he can take the lead to fight for the citizens of New York.
The crew of the Star Ship Enterprise were traveling through the far reaches of space for reasons exploration. However, the ship and its crew often came face to face with hostile aliens and technology.
Spock, on the other hand, though he was more known for his superior intellect and logic, also had some muscle hiding under that Star Fleet uniform. As a half Vulcan, Spock was born stronger than the average human. It was established in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Take Me Out To The Holosuite” that Vulcans are three times stronger than humans and also have faster reflexes.
Second fiddle to the most recognized cowboy in television was Tonto, the Native American who rescued the Lone Ranger after his brother and other rangers were ambushed and killed by Butch Cavendish. He was played in the television series by Jay Silverheels, who was from the Mohawk tribe in Ontario, Canada.
While the Lone Ranger was no masked hero to mess around with in the Wild West, his loyal friend was more than just a politically incorrect mascot.
Among the two, he arguably has the more compelling backstory as the son of a Chief who turned his back on his own people. Also, he single-handedly nursed the Lone Ranger back to life and joined him on his quest for justice when all odds were against them.
According to many, including Johnny Depp who portrayed Tonto in the 2013 film, Tonto was more than just a sidekick, but an equal to the Lone Ranger.
5. Samwise Gamgee
The epitome of loyalty and friendship in a sidekick has got to be Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of The Rings. This little Hobbit had no grand plans for riches, fame, or glory when he joined the Fellowship of the Ring. He merely wanted to accompany his best friend on his journey to make sure he came back home safely.
Throughout the entire walk across Middle Earth, Sam rarely left Frodo Baggins’s side and tried to make sure they had enough provisions to make it to Mordor and back. Even though, as Frodo had to point out to him when they were are their most desperate, that they were likely not going to see the Shire again.
But Sam kept pushing forward with Mr. Frodo. And when Frodo himself thought that he could not walk any further, Sam stepped up and acknowledged that although he could not handle the burden of carrying the One Ring, he could certainly carry his friend.
Another gentle soul who had to carry his friend was Hodor from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Hodor was charged with watching over Brandon Stark after he was pushed from the tower by Jaime Lannister and was paralyzed and could no longer walk on his own. Though Bran was physically incapacitated, Hodor became his legs and more for him.
Hodor carried Bran all the way to the other side of the Wall, where Bran could meet the Three-Eyed Raven and learn to master his warging powers. Aside from Hodor carrying Bran everywhere, Bran also used his powers to warg into Hodor whenever they were in danger. It was a process that was uncomfortable for Hodor but he continued to care for the prince of Winterfell and his friends as they kept going further up North.
When Finding Nemo came out in theatres in 2003, the story of a father would cross an entire ocean to find his missing son stole our hearts. But a little blue tang fish with a bit of a memory problem also stole the show. Voiced by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Dory’s eternally upbeat attitude helped the worry-wart clown fish Marlin reunite with son, Nemo. If it wasn’t for her companionship, who knows if Marlin would have found a way to “just keep swimming” in the face of all the obstacles they had to overcome as they made their way from the Great Barrier Reef all the way to 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.
In Finding Dory, she once again shows both Marlin and Nemo how her unique brand of thinking outside the tank can get you wherever you need to go. She even manages to find a few sidekicks of her own, each with their own special quirks and strengths.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a pair of smugglers faced space pirates, an imperial army, bounty hunters, and the Hutts. Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookie were legendary both before and after the corrupt Galactic Republic was taken down.
Although Han Solo was usually the man in charge of the Millenium Falcon, his trusty companion was more than just a “walking carpet.” Chewbacca was a skilled marksman and pilot himself. And, as he demonstrated in Star Wars: A New Hope, when he put back together C3P-0, he was a proficient engineer as well.
Han Solo was quick to warn anyone not to get on Chewy’s bad side, since Wookies were known to “pull people’s arms out of their sockets.”
In the expanded Star Wars universe, many Wookies from the planet Kashyyk were enslaved by the Empire because of their natural strength. They were made to work in spice mines and on dangerous construction projects like the Death Star.
1. Wang Chi
Jack Burton, played by Kurt Russel in John Carpenter’s cult classic, Big Trouble in Little China, would like to think that he’s the hero of this 1980s action gem. But fans know that it’s really his sidekick, Wang Chi, played by Dennis Dun, who was the real star of the show.
Burton is a long-haul trucker who really is only friendly with Wang because he owes him money from a gambling debt. He ends up tagging along when Wang goes to pick up his fiancee from the airport, but before the love birds are reunited, she is kidnapped by a gang with guns and knives a-blazing. The two must rescue her from the Chinese mob, ancient Chinese sorcerers, and shrimp monsters, among other things.
Burton is confused for most of the movie, even knocking himself unconscious when some debris falls on his head after he shoots a round into the ceiling. While he can be best described as a liability, Wang, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is focused, well-trained in fighting, and is on a mission to save his green-eyed girlfriend.