8 Movie Heroes You Didn’t Realise Were Actually The Sidekicks

Because saving the world is a lot of work.

Kick Ass Hit Girl
Lionsgate/Universal Pictures

There is a unique and rarely used twist in the action genre, where it turns out the film’s supposed hero and top billed star is really just the sidekick. This can be done for comic purposes, like maybe the lead character isn’t as capable as he likes to think, or perhaps the character starts out as a wimp before turning into a hero by the end. But it can also be for less pure reasons, like maybe the big star doesn’t feel like working too hard so another actor is brought in to do the heavy lifting.

But, for all that reasoning, it’s rarely used because it usually leads to some kind of audience backlash. When people pay to see a Rambo movie, for instance, they should reasonably expect to see Rambo as the lead. So it would be pretty annoying if he only popped up once in awhile to mentor another hero instead. But this trope can be effective when used properly, in that it subverts the audience’s expectations and can make the story unfold in unexpected ways.

Whatever the reasons, here are eight movies where the so-called hero is really just there to help out. Because saving the world can be hard work. 

8. Back To The Future Part III - Marty McFly Is The Sidekick To Doc Brown

Kick Ass Hit Girl
Universal Pictures

While the first two Back To The Future movies focused on Marty McFly and his time travel misadventures, the final movie in the trilogy belongs to Doc Brown. Following the cliffhanger ending of Part II, Marty travels back in time to the Old West to stop Doc being murdered. While they’re trying to figure out a way to return to the present, Doc falls in love with a school teacher and has to decide if he wants to leave after all.

The focus on Doc this time is a refreshing change up for the series. Marty still gets plenty to do, but he’s already been the focus of two movies, and it’s nice that Doc gets a chance to shine. Christopher Lloyd has always been the secret weapon of the series and here he gets to humanise the oddball scientist. Doc's love story subplot is fairly sweet and Part III manages to deepen the friendship between Doc and Marty. 

He also gets to save the day more than once and at the end he gets the girl (and a family), plus a sweet new time machine. 

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