This week huge news reverberated through the geek universe with the official announcement of a Han Solo spinoff movie focusing on his younger years. Han is easily the coolest character in the whole Star Wars universe (“I know” might be the most gangsta line ever in movie history) and to see a solo (pun intended) movie of him just seems like a really great idea. This got me thinking on what other characters I think would be great candidates for their own spinoffs. I wanted to include both TV and Movies in this list because I think both mediums have had their share of characters over the years that would definitely merit their own show or movies. After much thought, here is my list of the Top 10 characters that deserve a spinoff show or movie. As with all my lists, these are according to me and my tastes. I am also including the “premise” I would base their show or movie on to make this work. I always love when readers chime in and tell me I am crazy or agree or add their own suggestions, so have at it in the comments section! Without further ado – my Top 10:
10. Ari Gold (Entourage) – Yes – this show wasn’t very good the last season, and the movie got terrible reviews and did poorly at the box office. But think back on the great years of the show (and they were great) – Ari was the real reason we all came back week after week. Technically a supporting role on the show, he stole basically every scene he was in. We loved that he was an asshole, and we loved that he had ZERO filter on whatever came out of his mouth. Jeremy Piven has always been really underrated as a comic actor (PCU anyone?) and I truly believe I would tune in for a show about Ari. My premise: We meet Ari as a young, struggling agent working his way up with ruthless Hollywood ladder. Each week’s episode would be his journey, his marriage and the clients he takes on long before he ever met Vince and his crew.
9. Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) – Sean Penn before he became a pretentious DB. This movie was a certified classic and one that had a lot of really good characters, but make no mistake about it, Spicoli is the star of the movie to anyone watching. His California perpetually stoned surfer dude technically is only in 5 – 7 scenes, but each one of those scenes are the ones that everyone remembers most (except maybe the masturbation scene with Phoebe Cates and Judge Reinhold – I never hear “Moving in Stereo” by The Cars and think of anything else since). This dude was straight up hilarious and is definitely deserving of his own movie. My premise: A prequel to “Fast Times” (his senior year of High School) that focuses on Jeff starting out as a normal suburban teenager, only to be introduced to weed an surfing and the transformation that follows. We see him chilling with his bros, getting high and messing with teachers and fellow students alike. Think a movie like “Super Bad” but 80s but a far funnier (and more interesting) main character.
8. Mr. Burns (The Simpsons) – The Simpsons is one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Yes – we love Homer, Bart, et al – but for me Mr. Burns is the character that really has always stood out from the supporting characters on the show (and there are too many to count over the years). Voiced perfectly by Harry Shearer, Montgomery Burns is the very funny personification of evil corporate greed. With his lackey, Smithers, he has done everything from order the death of the Rolling Stones to defeating the Germans – all with his trademark “Excellent” catch phrase. I always want more Mr. Burns whenever I watch the Simpsons – so this seemed like a logical choice to give him his own show. My premise: Mr. Burns sells the Nuclear Power Plant and runs for Mayor of Springfield (Sorry Quimby) and wins. With Smithers at his side, every week we see him ruthlessly (and hilariously) run Springfield in typical Burns fashion. This could obviously include lots of “guest appearances” by regular Simpsons characters, as well as introduce some new ones.
7. Silvio Dante (The Sopranos) – This again was an all time show in my opinion. Tony was without a doubt the best part of the show, but I always was drawn more to Christopher and Silvio as the other best parts of the show not Tony. While we got to see young Christopher’s rise through the New Jersey mafia ranks, we never really got to learn much more about Silvio other than what we saw on the show. He was a ruthless murderer but also really funny too (his Pacino Godfather III impression is amazing) and I think would make a great main character on a spinoff show. Look – we all love Mafia shows or movies, and with the grounded realism of The Sopranos thrown in this could be really interesting to watch. My premise: We see the rise of Silvio in the mob – from a young up and comer on the streets of NJ, to his courtship with the NY family, to his meeting Tony, to his buying and operating the Bada Bing. Sound cool? I thought so too.
6. Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Breaking Bad) – I am an unabashedly huge Breaking Bad fan – just an awesome TV show. Yes – Walter White rules, Jesse Pinkman was great – but for me one of the coolest characters on the show was Gus. Cold, methodical and merciless – he was just a bad-ass character. His personal tics of always dressing sharp, his calm delivery and his brilliant mind made him the only real antagonist Walter ever faced up against that was as smart (or even smarter) than him. We got a brief glimpse of his back-story with the whole Mexican Cartel subplot, but I want more. My Premise: We get more Gus back-story. His rise as a meth dealer, his dealing with the Mexican cartels, his relationship with Mike and of course – his buying and running Los Pollos Hermanos as a front for his dealing.
5. Hit Girl – (Kick-Ass) – I loved this movie. The second one was good too, but the first one was just a really great take on the whole superhero/masked avenger genre. Kick-Ass was cool and funny, but Hit Girl brought the goods – and then some. Every scene she was not in made me wish she was. Funny, bad-ass and with the mouth of a drunken sailor, she was the total package. She definitely deserves more and we as fans need more! My Premise: We see more of her back-story with her father (heck, bring Nicholas Cage back too!) and how they trained and became lethal killers of criminals. The movie would focus on her training, her multiple run-ins with thugs who underestimate her and scene after scene of the unique carnage and cursing only she can deliver.
4. Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid) – As someone reading this blog I assume you have read some of my other stuff too, so by this point you know I think this movie is one of, if not THE, best movie of all time. I have written how much I love Johnny Lawrence as the prototypical 80s villain, but Miyagi is the soul of this movie and rightfully so. I still tear up to this day at the final shot of Miyagi smiling proudly at Daniel after the tournament. Yes I just admitted that very publicly. I always wanted to know more about him and his back-story – how he became awesome at Karate, how he learned “balance” and how he ended up in America as a building custodian in California. Here’s our chance. My Premise: a movie about young man Miyagi. His learning Karate in Okinawa, his time in the war, his rift with Soto (villain in Karate Kid II) and his journey to America as a result. Please someone make this movie.
3. Eddard “Ned” Stark (Game of Thrones) – Back in season one when he still had his head, he was THE guy on Game of Thrones. There really are no true “heroes” or “good guys” on this show, but if there ever was one he was it. Honorable and trustworthy, but equally quick to kill if the situation demanded it. I have not read the books (but plan to) but I keep thinking about how much I would love to know his back-story – how he grew up, the war (Robert’s Rebelion) and the whole thing with Jon Snow’s true parentage. Sean Bean always dies in the movies (memes abound) and I guess even TV shows too now. My Premise: We see the rise of Young Eddard Stark – his parents, his family, his training, his dealings with King’s Landing, his relationship with Robert Baratheon, the Jon Snow parentage thing – all of it. Do this HBO – I beg you.
2. Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties) – Confession – this was my show in the 80s growing up. Yes – Cosby Show, Cheers, and many others were more popular, but for my money this was the show that did it for me. The premise initially was supposed to be about how two ex-hippy parents raise their kids, but once the character of Alex Keaton came on screen, it was his show and everyone else became secondary characters. Michael J. Fox is so beloved today with his work with Parkinsons charities and on the strength of his performance as Marty McFly, but people forget he played an absolute little shit on this show – and was awesome at it. A young republican in the Ronald Reagan era with a hippy set of parents – great conflict and fun scenarios and scenes abounded. My Premise: Alex goes to college. Colleges are typically where everyone gets their “Liberal” on, experiments with drugs and sex, etc. Put Alex in this setting and every week you have TV gold – as he would be the anti-college guy every step of the way.
1.The Joker – No matter which actor over the years you think played the Joker the best (I am actually torn between Ledger and Nicholson – no clear winner in my book) you always loved to hate this character. The best villain in all of comic history (and it isn’t even close) he embodies everything we are scared of yet seems to be having fun being pure evil. This character steals every movie or comic he appears in, whether they play him for laughs (TV) or for scares (movies). The Joker is the ultimate foe for Batman – and the only one that can make even the Dark Knight question himself. My Premise: The rise of the Joker. I know “Gotham” is going to be touching on this in the upcoming season, but I would do this as a movie. I want his whole back-story – starting as a kid. I want him first meeting Bruce Wayne. I want to see him do awful things. I want this movie and I wanted it yesterday.
This blog was, without a doubt, some of the most fun I have had writing since I started the #thereisnospoonfriday series. It is really cool to play out these premises in my head. I hope someone is listening in Hollywood as I would pay lots of money to see all of these. Who did I miss? Who would you like to see get their spinoff? Until next week – there is no spoon.