In my previous post “Jazz and Fairy Tales,” I discussed how there’s a current trend to taking well known tales and tweaking them into something unique. Similar to this trend is the idea of telling the story from the villain’s perspective. Gregory Maguire writes from the Wicked Witch of the West’s point of view in Wicked. Marissa Meyer gives Snow White’s evil queen her own story in a world of humans and androids in the novel Fairest. John Gardner’s Grendel gives Beowulf’s monster a voice. Even the TV series “Once Upon A Time” shows the backstories of villains such as Rumplestiltskin and Captain Hook.
But what about the sidekicks?
Most of the time, the sidekick plays the role of comic relief in the story as well as giving the protagonist a loyal friend who helps and follows them to the very end. Disney’s films are full of such sidekicks, such as the mice Jaq and Gus in “Cinderella” and Dory from “Finding Nemo.” Sometimes the roles are reversed, in which the main character is goofy with a more serious sidekick. For example, Sancho Panza is more rational than Don Quixote, though he does have his own humor as well.
What would the story be like from the perspective of a sidekick? Would the hero still be seen as a good person through their eyes? What’s going on through Horatio’s mind as Hamlet goes about avenging his father’s murder? What if the sidekick uses humor to cover their anxiety and self-consciousness? What if the sidekick only goes on the epic quest to gain some appreciation from the cool hero only to be ditched at the end? Would the sidekick then become the villain like Syndrome in “The Incredible”?
There’s a lot of twists that can be done with this train of thought. I hope to see some in the future. Or maybe I’ll write such a story myself someday.