Movie heroes are typically your straight up good guy kind. They’re good guys through and through, that’s how they should be right? Take Superman, Spiderman or the Fantastic Four for example. Good guys (and girl) from beginning to end. BUT… wouldn’t it be a little more exciting if the good guys didn’t fit our expected hero template? What if our sci-fi hero was originally a criminal, an assassin or even a douche bag? That’d definitely spice up the plot by quite a bit.
Here’s a list of the 18 Most Unlikely Sci-Fi Heroes that have graced our movie screens and reminded us that there’s more than one source of hero stock.
1. Riddick – Pitch Black
Pitch Black is an adrenaline packed film about a group of travellers that gets stranded on a strange planet after their ship crashes. Incidentally, the ship is carrying a dangerous criminal called Richard Riddick, played by Vin Diesel. The survivors are forced to scavenge and explore the strange planet while keeping a tight leash on Riddick.
After observing the surface of the for a bit, the group concludes that the whole planet is deserted. Little do they know that a race of nocturnal creatures sleeps underneath them. Riddick and the other passengers must find a way to get off the planet before an eclipse happens which could potentially last for weeks, months or even years.
The alien creatures in this movie are nocturnal and use sound waves to see. Riddick becomes the criminal-turned-hero when his amazing agility, strength, resolve and eyesight becomes essential in the group’s plan to escape.
2. Kai – LEXX
In a battle between mankind and an insect race, the fate of humanity rests in the hands of Kai. He is the last survivor of the Brunnen-G and is prophesized to be the destroyer of the insect civilization. The plot of the series revolves around Kai and his other crew members Stanely Tweedle and Zev Bellringer as they look for a new home together. Stanely is the the Captain of Lexx, their organic space ship, while Zev or Xev is a loveslave.
3. Jake Sully – Avatar
Jake Sully is a paraplegic marine that gets invited to participate in a scientific exploration/experiment. He gets picked because his brother is killed in a robbery and someone with the same genetic qualities is needed. Jake joins the mission to explore Pandora, a new world where everything is green and gigantic. The exploration is undertaken by using organic suites that resemble the natives of the planet.Jake befriends a beautiful local called Neytiri and he learns all about the planet from her.
He later on discovers that the actual purpose of the exploration is to find and mine precious minerals scattered in the forest. He is given the task of gathering intel on the natives in exchange for an operation that will fix legs. Jake however changes sides and fights for the natives after he bonds with the local tribe and falls in love with Neytiri. He becomes instrumental in an epic battle that will determine the fate of the planet.
4. The Cast of Galaxy Quest TV Show – Galaxy Quest
As the actors of a once popular science fiction show called “Galaxy Quest” go on with their daily not-so “celebrity lives”, an alien race known as Thermians pick them up and take them into space. There hosts seem to think that their show is real and now places their hopes of salvation on the cast/crew of Galaxy quest. The whole existence of the Thermians has been shaped to revolve around the show and the actors must now live out their characters as they fight against their host’s nemesis, General Sarris.
5. Han Solo – Star Wars
Han Solo is the pilot of a modified space ship that is contracted by Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi to carry them to Alderaan. His sidekick and co-pilot is Chewbacca a furry alien that belongs to the race of Wokiees.
Han was initially a member of the imperial navy who turns into a smuggler. After being hired by Luke and Obi-Wan, he helps them save princes Leia from the empire. After getting paid, he leaves the group and tells them that he wont participate in their rebellion.
He has a change of heart later on and shows up during the attack on the Death Star. After Luke successfully fires an almost impossible shot that destroys the Death Star, Han is invited to become a captain of the rebel alliance.
6. Wikus van der Merwe – District 9
Earth’s first encounter with aliens doesn’t turn out to be as spectacular as most anticipated it to be. The huge alien population, nicknamed “prawns”, become refugees and are closed of by the military in an area called district 9. Here they are exploited and ill-treated by humans.
Our unlikely hero is Wikus, played by Sharlto Copely, an operative of MNU, a private organization hired to relocate the aliens. After a strange “infection” he is hunted down by human military as he slowly transforms into a Prawn. He teams up with with an alien called Christopher Johnson as they attempt to recover a canister that will reactivate the alien ship and reverse the mutation.
7. Alice – Resident Evil
A team is sent into “The Hive,” an underground facility where all the staff and residents have become flesh eating zombies. A virus outbreak caused all the mayhem and in order to prevent the zombies from reaching the surface, the computer shut down the facility.
As the team progresses, they meet Alice a victim who has forgotten everything that happened because of the nerve gas released by the computer. Alice slowly regains her memories as the elite team moves downwards to regain control of the facility.
In later sequels of this movie, Alice becomes a lone fighter that battles the organization that caused the outbreak, the Umbrella Corporation. She will also discover more about herself and a new power the is developing within her.
8. Logan – Logan’s Run
In the year 2274, humanity is forced to live inside a dome because of a holocaust that destroyed the surface of the earth. The city is run by computers and to “control” the population of the sealed city, it’s residents must die when they reach the age of 30.
Occasionally there are people who try to escape death and run from the system. They are called runners and are hunted down by the Sandmen, the enforcers of the law. Logan our hero is a sandman himself who is sent on a mission to find the runner’s haven “Sanctuary.” While trying to fulfill his mission he discovers that there is life beyond the city and he returns to destroy the system he once served.
9. John Murdoch – Dark City
John Murdoch doesn’t know who he is or why the police are after him. He wakes up in a strange hotel with no memories of his past life. As if his situation wasn’t bad enough, he also discovers that a group of strange and powerful men called the “strangers” is after him. The strangers hold mysterious powers and have controlled the city from behind the scenes.
John sets out to uncover the mysteries of his city. Why is it always dark? why can no one leave? And what are these powers that he has manifested that interests the strangers so much?
10. Neo – The Matrix
Thomas A. Anderson is a simple man with a simple desk job by day. By night he lives a totally different life as a famous hacker called Neo. When he receives from a message from an even more infamous hacker Morpheus, his whole life changes.
Morpheus offers Neo the chance to discover truth about the world he thought he knew. Neo chooses to learn the truth and he wakes up to discover that he has lived inside the “Matrix,” a computer generated reality, all his life. The real world has been devastated by a war between humans and machines, and mankind is losing.
Neo returns to the Matrix as part of Morpheus’ group and as the prophesized savior of human kind. He confronts the system and its agents in a battle to save the world, both virtual and real.
11. Terminator – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
After Sarah Connor survives the first assassination attempt, Skynet sends another terminator ten years later to kill her son. The new cyborg assassin is deadlier and more advanced than his predecessor and will stop at nothing to kill John Connor, the future leader of the rebellion against the machines. To keep his past self safe, the an older version of the terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is sent back by the future John. Terminator must battle against fellow Terminator to determine the fate of mankind.
12. Hellboy – Hellboy
Hellboy was summoned into this world by the evil monk Grigori Rasputin. When Rasputin died Hellboy was raised by Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm and later on became a member of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and goes on to handle cases that are “extra ordinary.”
When Rasputin is resurrected, Hellboy and his partner Abe Sapien must team up with a new member, John Mayers, in order to stop him. They also get together with Liz, the love of his life and a girl with pyro-telekinetic powers.
13. Korben Dallas – The 5th Element
Korben Dallas is a taxi driver who is also a former soldier. While going through his normal daily rounds, Leeloo literally crashes into his life/taxi and gets him involved in the fulfilment of a prophecy to save the world. Leeloo is the 5th element and is instrumental in the salvation of the world.
14. Ellen Ripley – Alien
Ellen Ripley is a an officer working on the USCSS Nostromo, a towing ship carrying ore to earth. Ripley and her crew were supposed to be in hyper sleep but they are awakened 10 months ahead of schedule when their ship picks up a strange signal from another one. A couple of the crew board the mysterious ship and are attacked by an alien parasite.
The infected crew were allowed back to the ship despite Ripley’s objections and later on they all discover that an alien life form has been growing inside their executive officer Kane. The alien starts attacking the other crew members and Ripley becomes the new commander after the ship captain gets killed. She soon discovers that the company that hired them to tow the ore was secretly using them to observe the alien life form that is killing the crew one by one.
15. Snake Plissken – Escape from New York
In the year 1997, New York city has become a maximum prison colony. It becomes lawless place where even the authorities dare not enter. But when the president of the United States crashes into the city, a criminal must be sent in to get him out.
Snake Plissken is sent to New York to recover the president and a cassette that he is carrying. In order for the authorities to keep him in line, a bomb is attached to his neck which is set to explode in 22 hours if he fails to complete the mission.
In order to save the president, Snake must fight through the hardened criminals in the city and find their leader called the Duke of New York who holds the president hostage.
16. Vincent Freeman – Gattaca
In an age when a person’s future is dictated by his genes, Vincent Freeman is diagnosed to be good for nothing more than menial work. However all he has ever wanted was go out into space and see the stars. In order to pursue his dream he steals the identity of a genetically superior cripple called Jerome. With his new Identity he is selected to be part of a mission for outer space.
Vincent has learned how to continuously fool the genetic tests and comes ever closer to the launch date. Things become chaotic when the director of the mission is killed and Vincent’s eyelash is found at the scene of the crime. He must avoid the police at all cost as they start to close in on him only days from the launch.
17. Sarah Connor – The Terminator & Terminator 2
Sarah Connor is the mother of John Connor the future leader of the humans against the war with the machines. When she was 19 years old, a man from the future came back in time to protect her from a cyborg assassin called the terminator. She was just a simple minded waitress then but the experience has made her into a hardened warrior.
10 years later Sarah is deemed criminally insane and locked up in an institute because she bombed a computer factory. But she gets broken out by her son, John and a new terminator that is now on their side. The cyborg assassin turned protector was sent back by the future John to keep them both safe.
The machine’s central network Skynet, sent new terminator as well. Highly advanced and extremely lethal, the new assassin hunts down the mother and son. He will not stop until his mission is completed or until he is destroyed.
18. J.R MacReady – The Thing
RJ Macready is a pilot for an outpost in Antarctic. He is part of a team but he hardly ever associates with the rest of the people he is working with. He keeps to himself in his room playing chess and drinking whisky.
His introvert attitude changes when the 12 man group discovers an unknown organism that is capable of imitating other life forms. He becomes the leader of the group not because of any altruism but because he needs to survive and he needs the group to stay intact for that to happen. MacReady becomes the most likely person to survive the attack of the organism because he has always mistrusted everyone else.