Loyal, dedicated, funny, and often the conscience of the protagonist, the Sidekick can be an entertaining and unique character in any story.  Often, they are already part of the main character’s life before their journey begins, but many times, they appear right before the hero is ushered toward their newfound goal.

Sidekicks “tend to accept willingly a secondary, subservient position in the service of the Hero.  But they are frequently big personalities who insist on being heard, and most often function as the Hero’s non-romantic conscience” (Edson 70).  Think of Donkey in Shrek, Abu in Aladdin, or Olaf in Frozen.  These three Sidekicks with big personalities help bring out a different side to the protagonist that we might not see otherwise.  

This special character “challenges motivations, keeps Heroes honest, [and] forces the Hero’s inner conflict to the surface where it can be examined” (Edson 70). These traits make them ideal companions for the protagonist, giving them a shoulder to lean on when things get tough while also giving them advice, whether they want it or not.  

At the same time, they can provide humor to help break the tension, be used as a distraction, and are always willing to help the Hero get what they’re after.  The Lion King’s Timon and Pumbaa fit this description nicely. Leo Getz from the Lethal Weapon franchise also fits into the Sidekick role.

TV is filled with great Sidekicks: Ethel Mertz (I Love Lucy), Smithers, Sideshow Bob, Milhouse (The Simpsons), Kimmy Gibbler (Full House), Watson (Sherlock), Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show), Robin (Batman 1966), Balki (Perfect Strangers), and Barney Rubble (The Flintstones). These are just a small sampling of Sidekicks whose personalities and assistance to the protagonist have made them pop culture icons.

What other Sidekicks can you think of in your favorite movies or TV shows?  What makes them the Sidekick to the Hero?  

As you develop your story, what character in the protagonist’s life qualifies as their Sidekick? 

See you next time! 


Edson, Eric. The Story Solution. Michael Wiese Productions, 2011.

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