Skip To Content

    10 Fantasy And Sci-Fi Archetypes You See All Over The Place

    Hey... all this sounds familiar.

    1. The Brave Hero

    Lucasfilm

    At the center of every great adventure is the pivotal character — the hero. Think Luke Skywalker from Star Wars or Neo from The Matrix. Heroes almost always have an innate strength, yet they need to master that strength through trials and tribulations so they can go on to defeat the bad guys! You'd be surprised how many heroes from other fantasy or sci-fi stories fit this trope to a tee!

    2. The Sidekick

    DC Entertainment

    The first person who comes to mind when people hear "sidekick" is Batman's faithful companion, Robin. He's the perfect sidekick — serving as a valiant hero but never taking the focus too far from Batman. You might also recognize Davos as Stannis's sidekick from Game of Thrones or Spock as Kirk's from Star Trek.

    3. The Paragon

    343 Industries

    The paragon is an unwavering good force in the form of an incorruptible hero. In GOT, Ned Stark is an example of this archetype. Master Chief from Halo is another well-known example (although they could also arguably fit the hero role).

    4. The Grand Villain

    Gearbox Software

    Some bad guys aren't just bad. Some are so evil that they want to take over the world and wouldn't hesitate to have a great time while doing it. Think Handsome Jack from the Borderlands franchise or Thanos in The Avengers. Grand villains exist for the purpose of giving our heroes the chance to rise to the occasion and dash their dastardly plans but only when it seems like all is lost!

    5. The Henchman

    DC Entertainment

    Henchmen are kind of like sidekicks but for villains. They're there to help the grand villain but never steal the spotlight. Harley Quinn is the Joker's henchman and Boba Fett is Darth Vader's. Henchmen often serve as minor obstacles for the heroes to overcome before facing the grand villain. In some stories, the henchmen (or even sidekicks for that matter) are so lovable, they go on to complete their own journeys in spin-offs!

    6. The Rogue Villain

    Marvel Studios

    The villains who dance to their own beat are often the most fun to watch. These are the bad guys who don't care what the grand villains are doing unless they can get something out of it. Loki from The Avengers is one of the best examples of this, but there are countless others!

    7. The Mentor

    New Line Cinema

    Mentors are everywhere in fiction, and thank goodness they are! From Gandalf to Dumbledore, mentors are the ones helping heroes along their difficult journey. And they don't even have to have long beards! Think Obi-Wan from Star Wars or The Avenger's Iron Man. Interestingly enough, they all seem to become absent when their respective heroes need them the most. Why's that? Mentors are often too powerful for the obstacles that these fledging heroes face, so they're written out of the story so that our heroes can rise to the occasion and then, one day, go on to become mentors themselves!

    8. The Companion

    Warner Bros.

    Companions are frequently animals or sometimes even people tied to the hero in some way. Harry Potter's owl, Hedwig, is the perfect example of a companion. While they're usually in the story to emotionally support the hero or for comic relief, that doesn't mean we love them any less! In fact, many fans fall in love with companions just like the heroes do!

    9. The Fallen Hero

    New Line Cinema

    Fallen heroes often serve as a warning to the hero of what they could become if they are to fail their mission or give into temptation. Gollum in TLOTR was a warning to Frodo of what could become of his fate if he were to let the ring control him. In Star Wars, Darth Vader showed Luke that anyone could fall to the dark side. Without these foreboding characters, our heroes might not make the right choices that will lead to their ultimate victory!

    10. The Traitor

    Bethesda Game Studios

    These treacherous characters can make a big impact because they earn not only the hero's trust but ours as well! It's not until their indiscretions are revealed that we see their true, devious natures. Lando Calrissian from Star Wars and Mercer Frey from Skyrim are two examples of traitors, but there are many more. You just don't see them until it's too late!

    Like Mark Twain said, "There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn, and they make new and curious combinations."

    NBC

    And he's right! When you go back and reread/replay/rewatch some of your favorite fantasy or sci-fi stories, you'll be shocked to see these archetypes pop up time and time again!