Welcome to Part 2 of Theatrefolk’s Superhero Series! In our last post, we talked about creating an original superhero character. Now we’re going to give the superhero a sidekick. Batman has Robin, Harry Potter has Ron and Hermione, Mario has Luigi, Iron Man has War Machine. A great sidekick helps a superhero to shine brighter, but also helps to enhance the story, gives the hero a bit of humanity, and sometimes even saves the day.
Here are some questions to pose to your students to get their ideas flowing about sidekicks (there are a lot of questions here; don’t feel you need to use all of them!):
- What does the term “sidekick” mean? Where did it come from? Have students define the term in their own words first and then look up an “official” definition to compare.
- Alternatively, have students come up with a “wrong answers only” definition of a sidekick, and present it in a comedic fashion to the rest of the class.
- What is the purpose of a sidekick in a superhero story?
- Make a list of famous sidekicks and their traits/abilities/powers.
- This might be a bit more challenging than thinking of heroes, and students will need to think outside the box for this one. For example, Batman has Robin AND Alfred Pennyworth as sidekicks, but they play different roles in Batman’s life.
- What traits should a good sidekick possess?
- What traits do sidekicks have in common with their superhero? What makes them different?
- If a hero has more than one sidekick, is there a hierarchy or pecking order? Is one sidekick more important than the other? Do they fill different roles in the hero’s life? Why does that particular hero have more than one sidekick?
- Are there any superheroes that you can think of that don’t have a sidekick? Why do you think they don’t have one?
- Many superheroes have a love interest. Are love interests also sidekicks?
- Why is a character a sidekick and not the hero?
Using the Super Sidekick Character Profile Worksheet below, have students create their own sidekick character for the superhero they previously created. The worksheet is similar in nature to the superhero worksheet, but has some additional questions about how and why the sidekick joined forces with the superhero, as well as how they might react if the superhero were incapacitated in some way. Would they step up and take a heroic stance, or would they need the superhero to recover and rescue them?
Wow — that’s a lot to think about! It can be challenging to create a good sidekick character because they need to be compelling and fully imagined, but not take away from the hero of the story. Otherwise, the character would no longer be the sidekick; they’d be the hero. If students are finding as they write that their sidekick is more interesting than their hero, it’s certainly not bad or wrong. Have them hold onto those thoughts, because they’ll come in handy for future exercises with their superhero and sidekick characters.
Next on the docket is — dun dun DUN — the bad guys! Crooks, cretins, criminals. Yes, next week we are talking villains. It’s good to be bad!Click here for a free Sidekick Character Profile Worksheet and exit slip.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
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