Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The Mercutio Complex
Why awesome secondary characters have to die.
Now I'm sure there are studies for this sort of thing in scholarly journals and maybe even classes on it, but I've never seen them or taken them, so here is my rambling theory and B.S. explanation.
From a young age I have enjoyed, gravitated towards, and enjoyed, the supporting characters.
As far back as grade school I can recall other kids emulating the main characters from movies, comic books, cartoons and video games. Me, however. I liked the friend better. I might blame Star Wars as the source of this. Han Solo being the cool dude who only got tortured and frozen in carbonite, compared to Luke who had to watch his entire assault force die (minus Wedge) then blow up a DeathStar, face his father (a bad mofo Sith Lord) alone after (stupidly) not completing his jedi training and getting his hand cut off, not to mention getting raped by a Wampa (the cave yeti thing) on Hoth . . . you know the rest.
I started to emulate the "other" heroes, even begin to create my own, in the same time lines but with their own stories. (Somewhere I have like 3 SW fan fics of a force sensitive rogue fleet commander as part of a special forces unit of the Rebel Alliance. Maybe I should dig those out?)
These other dudes that hang out with the main character have a sweet gig. Until I was exposed to further media. In the Matrix, you get this whole crew of badasses, then "oops" one dude is a D-bag and they all drop, never to return for an entire 4 part saga (I include Animatrix, which was badass.) Even in comedies, Old School, they kill Blue. Even more recently, in a certain Disney movie, one of the characters passes. Lord Of The Rings, they "kill" Gandalf and then Boromir. In Dune, they pop most of the house Atreides. In Gurren Laggan one of the main characters meets an untimely end, I cried. (Has my g33k cred been cemented yet?)
The Obvious answer is that these secondary leads, these "other heroes" are necessary to build a sense of family and give comrades to the Main. Then, when these well fleshed out pillars of awesome tumble, we feel the emotional tug, which pulls us farther into the world of the story, and it also gives the Lead another hook to fight on and appear more epic. Martyrs FTW!
My brain clicked around just now and thought "Man, there should be a movie where just bad ass supporting characters get together and accomplish great feats." But then I realized these are ensemble films OR all of the members have their shit together, there is no conflict and everyone succeeds at what they're doing. Great, but not much fun to watch. Hrrmm .. . maybe not. I will have to think about that one more. For some reason the "Ocean's" movies come to mind. Another story that I liked that was a "main character is a supporting Character" were the "Shadow's of The Empire" book and Game for the N64, Dash Rendarr was abad mofo, and I STILL beleive he made it out of the Skyhook.