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Greatest Modern Science Fiction Characters: Five Roles That Live on Through the Big Screen

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 03:05 PM

Nothing excites the imagination like exploring new worlds through the eyes of a favorite science fiction hero or villain. Modern science fiction characters offer a human element in larger-than-life settings. They explore what it means to be human through fantastic adventures as they travel through time or battle dangerous aliens.

These five iconic science fiction characters rank among the greatest because of what they represent from the human condition:

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Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker

At the heart of the first six “Star Wars” movies is the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. He becomes a Jedi knight, only to eventually turn into the twisted and evil Darth Vader. Anakin slaughters the remaining Jedi and countless others before being turned good again by his son Luke. His journey reflects the universal battle between good and evil waged inside each person. That's one reason why Darth Vader ranks 3rd among the American Film Institute's list of Top 50 movie villains. 

Han Solo

Flawed heroes are popular because they are a reflection of the audience itself. Han Solo is perfect as a flawed hero in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. He evolves from reckless smuggler into a heroic leader who helps bring down the Galactic Empire. A cool persona and sarcastic wit – even in the face of extreme danger – made Solo one of the most popular characters of all time. He ranks 14th on the American Film Institute's list of Top 50 movie heroes.

Spock

What does it mean to be human? “Star Trek” explores that question repeatedly through Spock. He is half-human and half-Vulcan and feels continual conflict between logic and emotion. Spock seeks to live by logic like a true Vulcan, but at the same time, he seeks to understand human emotion and how it influences thought and decision by humans from Earth.

John Connor

Can we change the future through our present actions? That's ultimately the question asked by “The Terminator” and its sequels. John Connor leads a future human resistance against robots and winds up the target of assassination attempts from time-traveling cyborgs. How much of the future is shaped by action versus fate is a philosophical dilemma faced by Connor and others who try to change the future.

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Ellen Ripley

Survival can carry a difficult cost to bear, a lesson Ellen Ripley learned in the “Alien” franchise. Ripley's battles with menacing xenomorph aliens are bittersweet as she repeatedly witnesses carnage and death among friends and crew mates. Her character shows the physical, mental, and emotional toll on a survivor amid horrific circumstances – a situation that rings true to real-life survivors. In addition, Ripley isn’t the arm candy kind of female character that sometimes populates movies, according to the AMC blog. “Ripley, on the other hand, is pushy, aggressive, rude, injured, suffering from post-traumatic syndrome, not wearing makeup, tired, smart, maternal, angry, empathetic, and determined to save others, even at great cost to herself,” the blog said. “All without being a spinny killbot.” 

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Nothing excites the imagination like exploring new worlds through the eyes of a favorite science fiction hero or villain. Modern science fiction characters offer a human element in larger-than-life settings and explore what it means to be human.
modern, science fiction, movies, characters, films
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2015-05-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 03:05 PM
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