Great Origin Stories from Movies & TV
The first film and book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, introduced the world to the boy wizard who always felt that he was a little bit different, and brought him to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In turn, Harry himself found out about his own origin story, and the night that his parents died at the hands of the evil Voldemort, and that he and that evil wizard were inextricably entwined -- though exactly how would not be revealed until the final book! ”
When Joss Whedon introduced the character of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to American TV audiences, few people could have predicted how deeply Buffy Summers would resonate with her fans -- even now, after nearly a decade of being off the air. The name alone still keeps a significant number of people from watching it. Their loss.
What makes her an extraordinary character is the way Whedon and his team of writers blended heartbreaking pathos with a unique wit and word-play into every step of her adventures. And after Buffy, the characterization of the helpless girl in horror movies began to ring increasingly false. Yes, slasher flicks will always have young women recklessly stumbling into dark basements. But now we know that some of them can pack a serious punch. ”
It took over 20 years until the very beginnings of the Star Wars worlds were unveiled with Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace. The results were decidedly mixed; while fans lined up for blocks to await the first Star Wars film since 1983, they were let down by some wooden acting by excellent performers like Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman, who were themselves upstaged with CGI creatures that muddied the action. As one of the most reviled of these new characters might comment, "How wude!" ”
Mal Reynolds, an unsung war hero and captain of Serenity, takes on odd jobs and works diligently to remain beyond the grasp of the authoritarian centralized government, the Alliance. But even his crew is unusual by TV and standard pop culture storytelling standards. It includes a preacher, Shepherd Book; the Tams, a doctor and his sister being hunted by government forces; a lunkheaded merc named Jayne; Mal's steely right hand woman Zoe, who was also his best buddy in the war; a throughout girly mechanic named Kaylee; Wash, a geeky pilot; and Inara, a "companion," the future's version of a courtesan. Each of them has an interesting backstory, only some of which was revealed during the show's only season. They were all so well realized in those episodes, however, that fans are happy to fill in the blanks.
In some cases, they no longer have to. "Firefly" lives on in comic books which, among other things, illustrate the pasts of the most auxiliary members of the crew (such as Shepherd Book). And if you explore the Internet, you'll even find a full boat of hip-hop songs devoted to Mal Reynolds and his crew. ”
A top-billed Marlon Brando played big daddy Jor-El, Gene Hackman got a second career wind as the evil Lex Luthor, and Margot Kidder set the template for feisty heroines as the fearless Lois Lane. However, it was the late Reeve who anchored the action and drama with his superlative superhero and geeky alter ego Clark Kent. ”
But the beating heart of "Xena: Warrior Princess" was the heroine’s relationship with her best friend, the shepherdess-turned-bard Gabrielle. As the series progressed, Xena taught Gabrielle how to defend herself, eventually making her quite a force to be reckoned with on her own. Gabrielle, meanwhile, made sure Xena never lost her morality. And their bond felt real in the best and worst ways: Xena and Gabrielle turned away from each other, even betrayed one another, over the course of the series. In the end, their friendship was stronger than every obstacle -- including death. ”
In what's arguably one of the best sequels ever made, Coppola dove into both the present time of the Corleone family and its past, contrasting the machinations of new mafia head Michael (Al Pacino) with the origins of Don Vito, born in Sicily and then an immigrant to America, where he established himself as one of the most powerful mafia men in 1920s New York. A young Robert De Niro portrayed the young Don Vito, and won an Oscar for his Italian-language performance; Brando and De Niro became the only two actors to ever win separate Oscars for playing the same character. ”
Mixing elements of fairy tale magic, dramatic historical events and old fashioned sci-fi weirdness, the longest-running science fiction television show in the world continues to delight audiences. In its latest incarnation, which features the youngest Doctor in the history of the franchise (played by relative newcomer Matt Smith), The Doctor is an odd hero who demonstrates a childlike fascination with the universe as well as a crusader's desire to do the right thing. He also possesses a fiery temper, which makes itself apparent whenever intergalactic bullies attempt to force their will on weaker beings.
What fans cannot count on, however, is The Doctor's face. As a Time Lord, he regenerates whenever his body is near death... and one can never tell what he's going to look like next. There have been 11 very different Doctors so far. And while we really like this one (and the one before him, immortalized by David Tennant) we remain as curious to see what face he'll wear next as we are to know where, and when, he plans to take us. ”
It was there that we met the young crew who would go on to helm numerous adventures out in space, the final frontier. In going back to the origin story, however, writer-director J.J. Abrams played fast and loose with timelines, creating a parallel universe where the planet Vulcan was destroyed, and the elder Spock (Leonard Nimoy) met his younger self (Zachary Quinto). A new film is in the works now -- maybe one that will help put Vulcan back on the (literal) map! ”
Not bad for a show that was inspired by a late-70s version considered by many to be a Star Wars rip-off. (Particularly 20th Century Fox, who launched a lawsuit against Universal Studios for that very reason.) ”
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender proved to be able younger versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and the film threw in an extra origin story with the appearance of Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who would grow into the silky, sinister, sexy (and very blue) Mystique. ”
George R.R. Martin has spun five very long books delineating the grueling, bloody struggle for power among the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. On television, though, this "Game" has only just begun, and fans are eagerly awaiting the next installment of the legend, due to return in the spring of 2012. ”