In any series, there are some characters you just want to see more of. Media producers have been capitalizing off this desire since 1941, when Throckmorton P. Guildersleeve (what a name!), a supporting character from radio comedy show Fibber McGee and Molly got his very own program. In the last 70-odd years of pop-culture, there have been some notable spin-offs and some duds. Now, with fantasy becoming a rising genre in the mainstream, let us consider the following 4 fantasy characters who deserve a spin-off (but will probably never get one):
Faith Lehane, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy already spawned a fairly successful spin-off, Angel in 1999. This is incomprehensible to me, as Buffy’s three-season broody vampire boyfriend is like a mop on wheels with a giant sad face stuck on the end of it. With far more compelling characters in the Buffy repertoire, I never understood why Angel got his own show.
Instead, I wish that Eliza Dushku’s Faith Lehane had gotten a spin-off. Hands down the coolest secondary character in Buffy history, Faith has got it going on. She’s the yin to Buffy’s yang—a harder, edgier slayer with cool slang and a proclivity toward blurring the moral lines, as her devolution in season three proves. She’s clearly wrong-side-of-the-tracks-with-a-past but we never get much of an explanation during her time on Buffy as to why she temporarily strays from the righteous path of slayer.
Faith is compelling as she’s simultaneously worldly and vulnerable, and Dushku does a really nice job conveying both of those qualities, especially during Faith’s darkest moments. The new era of imperfect television protagonists would definitely have room for Faith Lehane.
Faith does a stint on Angel (where perhaps she’s explained a bit more) and I think she’s fairly prominent in Dark Horse Comics’ continuation of the Buffy/Angel universe, but I would love to watch a show entirely about her.
Plus, I always felt that Faith and Buffy had high sexual tension that needed to be resolved. Five by five.
Fred and George Weasley, Harry Potter
In a better world, JK Rowling didn’t callously kill off Fred Weasley in the last battle. But such is the culmination of most fantasy series (perhaps apart from A Song Of Ice And Fire), when writers realize they’ve likely let too many characters slip through the cracks for too long, and unceremoniously kill a bunch at once in the final standoff.
Despite the heavier good-versus-evil thread running through the series, the Harry Potter universe is fairly silly. The banks are run by goblins, pictures move and converse, their favorite sport is the most goofily existential game ever conceived, wizards can send each-other mail specifically for the purposes of yelling at one another—in Harry Potter, Rowling has created a comically strange world.
I’m envisioning a slightly dark comedy centered around Fred, George, their joke shop and inevitable shenanigans. It’s a perfect chance to highlight the absurdity of Rowling’s wizarding world. And who doesn’t like Fred and George Weasley?
Nathan Young, Misfits
Nathan! The cheeky, wise-cracking immortal left Misfits—a show about four petty teen criminals serving a community service sentence in South East London who discover super-powers after a mysterious electrical storm—far too soon. The end of season two, which marked Nathan’s departure, showed a promising clip of Nathan goofing off in Las Vegas, but alas that was the last we saw. He was essentially replaced with Rudy, a less charming Nathan 2.0. Sad.
Nathan tended to be an intensely obnoxious force, often aggravating already tense situations with a hyperactive energy that managed to be irritating and endearing at the same time. More than just the most quotable character of Misfits—“George Michael gets away with this shit but he used to be in Wham!”—Nathan’s constant provocation ultimately forced the people around him to reveal who they really are.
I love most of the characters in Misfits, but I had a true soft spot for Nathan—he’s the most multi-dimensional character of the bunch and a joy to watch. If E4 wanted to take Nathan into Vegas, or any other place, I’d gladly follow.
Smeagol/Gollum, The Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit
Gollum is my favorite character in The Hobbit/LOTR canon. There are a number of reasons I feel this way, but mostly it’s because he seems to be the only character not bogged down in the mildly convoluted politics that Tolkien weaves. Maybe I’m a bad fantasy reader, but sometimes I wish authors would just get to the point and buck the back-story.
Gollum has always compelled me, back to the days when I would watch the animated Hobbit movie once a week. He’s one of the characters most obviously affected by the ring, but what I love most is that he’s driven completely by his obsession for the ring itself, rather than the power it represents or brings. Thus he makes for a fairly unpredictable ally to Frodo and Sam—there are points, especially in the Fellowship, when you can see an unconscious desire in Gollum to be free of the ring’s hold and receive companionship and kindness. But in the end, Gollum’s loyalty to his precious holds strong and destroys him.
How fascinating is all of that?! We get to see a bit of Smeagol’s devolution into Gollum in The Fellowship of the Ring, but his life between when he kills his brother and when Bilbo finds him in the Misty Mountains cavern is fairly blank. I want more!
We’ve already put up with Frodo pouting all over Middle-earth—why not take it one step further and follow a depraved psychopath’s journey?