Side characters are essential to stories–they flesh out the background for the main character, give them someone to interact with, and oftentimes make excellent sacrifices! (If you need proof, watch any Star Trek episode where a random crewmember beams down to a hostile planet with the rest of the bridge crew!)
But sometimes side characters affect the readers (or viewers for movies/TV) SO much that there is a clamor to know more about them than what the writer originally intended. (Even my third book, REVENGE, is based off of a side character from my second book, IDENTITY.)
And I don’t mean sidekicks or anyone that gets massive amounts of screentime/ dialogue/ pages. I mean those random back-in-the-shadow characters that you know just enough about to be interested, but shouldn’t be important to the story.
I personally think Boba Fett is the best example of this. I mean, this character was first introduced in Episode V, fully masked, as a bounty hunter (among several others) to catch Han Solo. He barely speaks, you never see his face, and, though he continues on to Episode VI, is still hardly in the movie at all.
So what gives?
How did this character become such a HUGE draw for audiences? And why would he–and not so many others–develop such a cult following? Are there other side characters out there that deserve recognition? That should have their own spinoffs, action figures, and followings?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS- Don’t forget, 2 weeks left to purchase any of my songs (http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ReneeKole) and have the proceeds go towards printing costs of my next comic book, HOLLOW’S PRISM: “Aftermath” due this fall!
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His armor and helmet is cool looking, and his lack of back story makes him mysterious (ignore the prequels). There’s not much more to Boba Fett’s coolness. He’s one of the few things whose looks are all there is – and it is awesome.
It seems like mystery might be a key ingredient to his following. Give them a taste so they want more! Lol!
Interesting topic! I like it when a side character resonates so well with the audience that their role broadens. (It’s also a huge win for the actor – said the LA girl. ;)) You’re so right about spin offs being a great move if they take center stage.
Thanks, August! I always wonder if the writer KNOWS that their side character could spinoff on its own, or if it’s a complete surprise.
I guess I’d have to go with a detective from the John Sandford series “Prey” novels, about an off beat investigator in Minneapolis named Lucas Davenport. In the series, (23 in all) another detective named Virgil Flowers makes brief appearance from time to time, and everyone in the various police agencies just shake their heads and mutter “That fu…ing Flowers”. I always wanted to know more about him, and Sandford 7 novels based on Flowers’ character – now I just have to read them. Don’t think he’s quite the cult figure that Boba is, but then, who is?
I know the “Prey” novels are pretty popular. I’m not surprised they already made books about one of the side characters– Flowers. I’d love to hear what you think about the Flowers books if you read them!
i know one side charácter that i don’t want to see more of, and that’s jar jar binks, or however it’s spelled. i think jabba the hut is an interesting charácter. i’d like to know more about his backstory, how he came to be so evil, and his journey to power. i thought this was a great post. i hope i’m not showing too much ignorance here — maybe jabba already has his own (non) action figure and stuff. whatever, i still think he’s interesting.
Yeah, Jar Jar Binks didn’t go over too well with most people. He never really bothered me that much, to be honest.
Jabba the Hut is a GREAT side character! There are some books out there already about how he came to power, etc. Hmmm… I know your birthday is coming up soon. Maybe I’ll send you that book. 🙂