Three Movies With the Wrong Main Character

Black Panther wearing his suit.

Of all the characters in a story, how do creators choose which one is the main one? This question comes up often in writing workshops. Sometimes writers switch around which character is in focus in order to determine who should be framed as the main character. When deciding, I find it helpful to ask, “Who has the most at stake? Who is propelling the action? It’s their story.” However, some creators fail to place focus on that character. What happens when they pick the wrong main character? Let’s look.

Spoiler Notice: The Phantom Menace, Captain America: Civil War, and Guardians of the Galaxy

1. The Phantom Menace

Padme giving the glowy ball of piece to Boss Nass.

Trick question: Who is the main character of the Phantom Menace? Take a moment and think of your answer. Did you say Anakin? Or Qui-Gon? Obi-Wan, maybe? All reasonable choices. But, according to the advice above, none of them should be the main character. Who should?

Padme Amidala. She is the character who has the most at stake in the story and whose actions drive the plot.

This is the plot of the Phantom Menace:

  • Padme Amidala’s planet, Naboo, is being blockaded by the Trade Federation. They are pressuring her to sign a treaty. She refuses, instead asking the Jedi Council for help.
  • The agents sent by the Jedi Council fail to alleviate the situation. So Padme teams up with those Jedi, escapes from the planet, and sets course for Coruscant to talk to the Galactic Senate directly.
  • Padme’s ship is damaged in the attempt, and they can only make it as far as Tatooine. Disguised as one of her own handmaidens, she accompanies a Jedi master into town in search of parts to repair her ship.
  • She meets a boy who is a genius with mechanics, and he offers to enter a pod-racing competition to get the money for the parts she needs. Reluctantly, she agrees to the deal.
  • The plan works, and she gets the ship repaired and sets off. She arrives at Coruscant and pleads her case personally in front of the Senate.
  • The Senate is not moved, so she puts in a vote of no confidence in the High Chancellor. Then she gathers her allies, flies back to her planet, and sneaks through the blockade.
  • Back on her home planet, she makes an alliance with a neighboring species and convinces them to lend her military aid. She comes up with an attack plan and personally leads a group to reclaim her capital.
  • She surrounds the leaders of the Trade Federation and strong arms the viceroy of the Trade Federation into changing the treaty to suit her terms rather than his. By the end, she has restored freedom to her planet.

All of those events happen in the movie. However, the filmmakers show no understanding that Padme has the most at stake. Her role is sidelined by the cinematic choices. Instead, the movie frames itself around other characters. Because the filmmakers decided not to tell the story from her perspective, the film feels disjointed.

Phantom Menace begins with the focus on Qui-Gon—the camera shows us what happens to him, follows where he goes, and tells most of the story from his perspective. However, external events most often compel Qui-Gon’s actions. He is ordered to go to Naboo, he is attacked by the Trade Federation and has to escape to the planet, he is followed by an annoying Gungan, he follows the queen’s orders to get the ship fixed, he watches the pod race, he witnesses the drama at the Senate, and he follows the queen’s battle plan. He does not have the most at stake in the plot. Sure, he could die at many times, but that’s part of his job. Nothing about the overarching plot is personal for him, except for his decision to take on Anakin as a Padawan. This is a subplot—it has little to do with the climax or overarching story goals.

Once the characters reach Tatooine, the narrative focuses on Anakin. Yet most of the plot is not driven by his actions. He doesn’t even appear until halfway through the film. Even after his arrival, we see many events where he is not present. After he leaves Tatooine, his movements are controlled by the adults around him. Even his fight at the end of the film starts because he is ordered to get into the cockpit of a plane and accidentally sets off the autopilot while trying to defend himself from attacking droids. His discovery by the Jedi, freedom from slavery, and introduction to the Jedi Order are subplots upstaging an overarching plot that’s utterly unconnected to him.

Nor does Anakin have the most at stake. He wants to win the pod race, but if he didn’t compete, nothing would change for him. So long as he survives the race, his life remains the same whether he wins or loses, at least as far as he knows. The stakes are higher for Padme. If he loses, Padme will be stranded, her people left without a leader, and her only plan to save her people will have failed. At the climactic final battle, assuming he survives, Anakin’s life will remain the same whether or not he destroys the Trade Federation ship. He risks his life, but so does everyone else—he has no more to lose than they do. In contrast, the destruction of the ship will materially change Padme’s life and help accomplish the overarching story goal: the liberation of her planet.

This is a Star Wars story. George Lucas wanted to focus on the Jedi in general and Anakin Skywalker in particular. But the plot doesn’t justify that focus as it stands. So why was it told that way? If framing the story as Padme’s rather than Anakin’s could have made a better movie, why didn’t the filmmakers do it?

Could it be because Padme is a woman? We are only now beginning to break down the popular misconception that female protagonists aren’t relatable for male audiences and therefore don’t sell movie tickets. Think of the backlash to Rey, who is basically a co-protagonist with Poe and Finn in the new Star Wars trilogy. Outside of the Star Wars universe, consider the vitriolic reaction to the new Ghostbusters and to Wonder Woman. Obviously we can’t know what the filmmakers were or weren’t thinking, but given the culture we live in and the sexism embedded in the movie industry, we can extrapolate from overarching trends.

If the filmmakers had been more open to the idea of a female main character, they might have realized that their story already had one. By framing the film accordingly, they could have provided a cleaner and more focused end product.

2. Captain America: Civil War

Black Panther, Iron Man, and Vision from Civil War.

Who is the main character of Civil War? Steve Rogers, obviously. Why? Because this is a Captain America movie. But who has the most at stake in the plot? This one is murkier, mainly since they tried to cram so much into one film. Still, I would argue that the character who has the most at stake, whose choices compel a logical chain of causality, and who experiences the fullest character arc is Black Panther.

This is the plot of Civil War:

  • Reeling from the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the world is recovering from massive devastation, collateral damage, and civilian casualties caused by superheroes. So the king of Wakanda and his son, T’Challa, go to an international conference to try to put some control on these super beings.
  • A terrorist attacks the meeting, killing T’Challa’s father. All evidence suggests the killer is the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes. So T’Challa assumes the mantle of his country’s national superhero, Black Panther. He hunts his father’s killer in a classic revenge quest.
  • Along the way, he teams up with Iron Man and various governments. He butts heads with Captain America, who is protecting this criminal.
  • Due to T’Challa’s single-minded pursuit of this suspect, he accidentally creates a schism within the Avengers. By the time evidence emerges that the Winter Soldier wasn’t to blame, it is too late. Still, now he has another suspect to chase down, and he does so.
  • T’Challa finds and corners his father’s killer. However, once he stops and listens, he realizes that this man was reacting out of grief and revenge, just like he was. He shows mercy and delivers the killer to civilian justice. This ends his arc in a way that is clear, logical, and thematically consistent.

Yes, a lot more happens in Captain America: Civil War. But it muddies the plot. Unlike in Phantom Menace, the filmmakers shoehorned in a bunch of storylines to try to make Steve and Tony have a stake in the plot, but none of those are as consistent as T’Challa’s.

Steve feels bad about the collateral damage caused by superheroes, but then he forgets about it. He wants to protect Bucky and keeps his friend from the authorities. But when he has the chance to give Tony proof of Bucky’s innocence, Steve instead starts a pointless fight among the Avengers. At the end, he ignores the whole reason for this trip—finding the real terrorist who killed the king of Wakanda—and gets into another fight with Tony, one-on-one this time. Then, instead of proving his friend’s innocence, reconciling with the other Avengers, or confronting the collateral damage issue, he runs away with Bucky and his half of the Avengers.

Meanwhile, Tony feels bad about the collateral damage too. He tries to make up for his past mistakes by advocating for the Sokovia Accords. Then, he forgets about that while trying to chase down Bucky, who he thinks is a terrorist. Then he fights Steve and half of the Avengers because he wrongly thinks they’re protecting a terrorist. When Tony realizes he was wrong about Bucky, he chases after Steve to help. Then, in a bizarre twist, Tony learns Bucky killed his father while under mind control. He reacts by attacking Steve and Bucky, completely ignoring the terrorist they came to find.

The filmmakers could have broken this into multiple movies, but instead they tried to wrap up the Winter Soldier plotline from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while starting the Civil War plotline, while introducing Black Panther. This is a problem that can happen with franchises. Ideally, a movie should stand on its own, and if Civil War had been told with Black Panther as the main character, it could have. As it is? You need to see it in context, knowing where these characters have been and where they’re going. You are so distracted by the excitement of seeing your favorite characters that you don’t notice the plot doesn’t make sense.

This lack of plot focus also leads to a lack of thematic focus. The way the movie is presented, the audience comes out with no clear message. Is this a story about collateral damage? Yes, for the first ten minutes, but then the subject is abandoned. Is it about government control versus autonomy? Yes, for the middle half; the climactic fight has nothing to do with that. Is it about protecting an old friend versus turning him over to the law? For a while. Is it about forgiveness versus grudges? For the last ten minutes. Then what is it about?

The film’s plotline had all the makings of an origin movie for Black Panther.* Why didn’t the filmmakers choose to make Civil War the first Black Panther movie and then make the actual first Black Panther movie be the second one? We can’t be sure, but clearly the creators wanted to focus on Captain America, Iron Man, and the Avengers, even though this wasn’t an Iron Man or an Avengers movie. Steve and Tony have something in common with Qui-gon and Anakin: they’re all white men.

Yes, we have a Black Panther movie now, but he was upstaged in his first movie appearance, and the studio took their sweet time waiting to produce his film relative to the number of white-superhero-led movies. Judging by the backlash against Finn in Star Wars, race is still an issue in the pop culture of the United States. We are still fighting the false “common wisdom” that movies with POC protagonists don’t sell as many tickets as those with white ones. If the filmmakers weren’t held back consciously or unconsciously by biased assumptions, they might have realized that they’d written a movie about T’Challa and framed it accordingly. Instead, they sidelined him in a film where he drives the plot.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

Gamora, Starlord, Drax, and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Hear me out on this one. I know it is arguably the best movie on this list, and perhaps the neatest storytelling-wise of the three. But it is still part of a larger cultural trend. Who is the main character? Star-Lord, obviously. Who else? Who has more at stake in this story than he does?

How about Gamora?

Let’s look at the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • Gamora and her sister are raised by Thanos, an abusive tyrant who is trying to murder half the galaxy. He sends Gamora to retrieve an object that will help him do that: an infinity stone.
  • She sees her chance to finally thwart his plans by keeping the infinity stone from him. But, on the way to retrieving said item, it is snatched by a space pirate.
  • While trying to get it back, she and a bunch of others are arrested and put in prison. She teams up with them to stage a jailbreak and escape.
  • Gamora convinces the others to help her stop her father. They plan to sell the infinity stone to a third party, preventing Thanos from getting his hands on it.
  • Their plan goes wrong, and an ascended pawn of her father, Ronan, gets the stone. This new villain tries to take over a planet, just like Thanos was going to do.
  • Gamora and her new friends team up, risking everything to stop him.

This movie flows more smoothly than the other two because the filmmakers focus closely on Star-Lord rather than jaggedly shifting the focus between characters. The other guardians are framed as secondary characters, and their arcs are depicted as subplots.

Despite the clear effort to focus on Star-Lord, he isn’t the best main character for this movie. Why does Star-Lord want the stone? It’s just another job to him. What happens if he doesn’t get it? Nothing major—he loses one client and goes on with his life as usual. At many points, he could turn and walk away. The fact that he stays makes him heroic, but the same can be said of the others. Drax and Rocket have the same arc as Star-Lord, growing from self-serving or revenge-driven loners to heroic team members. Sure, Drax wants revenge for his family’s murder, but Ronan’s death is not enough for him—he shifts to blaming Thanos and ends the movie with his major goal unfulfilled. And Groot… is Groot.

No one has more at stake than Gamora. She is giving up everything in her old life to finally rebel against her father. Her last mission from him led to a potentially catastrophic mess, and now a planet’s worth of lives are at stake. To even begin redeeming herself, she has to prevent that destruction, even if it means fighting her sister. And, guess what? Against all odds, she succeeds.

Given that Gamora’s arc drove the movie’s plot, why might the filmmakers have been reluctant to cast Gamora as the lead? Why choose Star-Lord? What does Star-Lord have in common with the previous leads mentioned above? If you said “white male,” you get the “stating the obvious” prize. And, oh, look, the actor playing Gamora is both a woman AND black, so, two for one bonus on the conventional fake wisdom asking, “Who will watch a movie with a black female superhero lead?”*

Again, who knows what the filmmakers were thinking. All we have to go on is the product. A product that, once again, spotlights a white male character even though doing otherwise would have made more narrative sense.

As these three movies show, not only have movie companies created films focusing on white male leads, but also they have done so even when their plots hinge on characters who don’t fit that mold. Movie makers need to recognize which character has the most at stake and find the courage to focus on them even when they are not white males. Main characters from marginalized groups can be engaging and vivid for everyone. Spotlighting those characters would not only improve the final movie product but also might combat racism and sexism in popular culture and in society.

P.S. Our bills are paid by our wonderful patrons. Could you chip in?



  1. SunlessNick

    He shows mercy and delivers the killer to civilian justice.

    It’s more complicated and interesting than mercy. “The living are not done with you.” implies an understanding that there is a lot of blood on Zemo’s hands, and he deserves to answer for all of it, not just the blood T’Challa specifically cares about. Stil, that observation only strengthens your point.

    I’ve long thought that the Civil War would have been better off without the Accords – the only function they serve is to get a bunch of world leaders in one place so Bucky can be framed for attacking them – but any summit would have done for that. After the attack, it all becomes what to do about Bucky – and the sides would have broken down in exactly the same way had that been the initial crisis point. (If the MCU needed Accords, they could have been a result of the Dresden fight – where it’s not just collateral damage, but damage entirely due to the Avengers fighting each other.

    No one has more at stake than Gamora. She is giving up everything in her old life to finally rebel against her father.

    Not to mention that the secondary villain is her sister who is *also* rebelling against her old life and their father, just without (yet) taking the extra step of turning away from what her father made her into.

    In fairness to the filmmakers, as well as being white and male, Quill is also the only human character, which is a big impetus to make him the main one. However, the usual reason for making the human the lead doesn’t apply – he’s not a newcomer to the galactic setting – he’s fully immersed in it, his experiences as alien as any of the aliens.

  2. JXMcKie

    Certainly agree with The Phantom Menace, though due to the whole SW saga´s focus on the Skywalker line, Anakin had to be the protagonist, but you are right : he is not really fit for the role in the first moive. For reasons of sales of merchandise (oh, shame on me for saying so) Lucas furthermore choose to let Anakin be a 10 old boy. Anakin has only little real empowerment and little at stake in the plot. Amidala would indeed had been a better main character and focal point for the story.
    I do not however agree, that a main character in a story, does necessarily have to be relatable or likeable person, though admittedly the story will be more readily accepted by the reader, if the protagonist is relatable, but it is not a must. I have read some damn good stories, with a highly unpleasant or even semi-psychopathic main character, and no…said main character was neither relatable nor sympathetic to me, but it was still good stories. So it might even in some cases be that, the “wrong” main character in a story, is exactly the wrong character because they ARE relatable or sympathetic, or just generally too much like “your average reader” nice guy/girl. Sometimes a “right” character for a story might actually be a rather unpleasant person, but still the best for the “main part”, though depending also on the general “mood” of the story.

  3. Silver

    Oh, so that’s why I disliked Civil War so much

    • Laura Ess

      Um, I had already assumed that Padme Amidala WAS the main character of “The Phantom Menace”, because she has THE MOST screen time and THE MOST TO LOSE. That decreases over the next two films until she becomes a secondary character with horrible dialog, only there so that she can die while giving birth the Luke and Leia.

      • Laura Ess

        OOPS. Somehow the previous comment got posted as a reply, when it was supposed to be a new comment!

        The best thing about Civil War was Black Panther and Spider Man. There just wasn’t the high number of characters as where was in the comics, and one fight at an airport seemed horribly minimal.

  4. Tizzy

    Totally agree, especially about Civil War. I enjoyed it but it was confusing and definitely didn’t seem like a Captain America movie, more like an Avengers one. It would have been a great origin movie for Black Panther. Oh well, I’m glad the character is popular now, just like Rey in Star Wars. Perhaps their success will pave the way for more female and POC protagonists in the future.

  5. Mike

    Excellent article.

    The problem with the Phantom Menace is that the filmmakers wanted to tell Darth Vader’s origin story, but created a plot that had absolutely nothing to do with that, and then shoehorned young Anakin into a story that should have been Padme’s. In fact, if all they really wanted was to tell Anakin’s story, then this movie is completely unnecessary. He won’t make any progress in his downfall arc to become Darth Vader if he’s just a kid. While it is possible to show how childhood hardships make a villain, that was a lot darker than Lucas was willing to go. So, we end up with this snoozefest of a movie.

    I know we’re talking about movies in this article, but I felt a similar effect with Sarene in Elantris. Perhaps not in the sense that she has more at stake, but in the sense that she’s much better developed, and her motivation makes the most sense. Raoden is simply too blank to stand out against a character with similar stakes and a much stronger personality.

    Nowhere this is better noted than in her romantic plot with Raoden: she loves him because, after a lifetime of feeling alien, being mocked and rejected, Raoden is the first one to love her exactly for who she is. He loves her because… well, because. Sure, the book does show how he admires her traits, but there’s nothing to imply that she fulfills any emotional need he might have.

    Then Sarene is damseled and is basically useless in the climactic fight, but that’s another issue.

  6. Chaos Mechanica

    I love this list. I would like more like this, please.

    Gamora’s arc is arguably also the strongest in Guardians 2 and Infinity War. Her scenes with Nebula have been the most poignant, especially in Guardians 2 where every deep moment was punctuated with a cheap laugh. It was as if the creators didn’t trust the audience to be able to deal with deep emotion. But her scenes were the only ones that weren’t immediately cheapened with the cosmic equivalent of a fart joke and the very negative bullying–sorry, I mean “jokes”–Drax made at Mantis’ expense.

  7. GeniusLemur

    All three examples of misplaced focus here take the focus from someone who’s not a white man and place it on a white man (or men). Can anyone come up with an example where the focus should have been on a white man and was instead on someone not a white man? I’ll wait, it’ll probably be a while.

  8. Joe

    I’m not disagreeing with your main points, but I’m unnerved to the point of offence by the claim “[Anakin] wants to win the pod race, but if he didn’t compete, nothing would change for him. So long as he survives the race, his life remains the same whether he wins or loses, at least as far as he knows.”

    Firstly, the same argument can be used to argue against the “revolution” plot, the “escape from prison” plot, the “rags to riches” plot and a lot of other stories that involve trying to change ones circumstances, but that’s just a disagreement on storytelling. It’s not the important thing.

    The important thing is, he’s a slave. He’s racing to get out of slavery. If he wins, he goes free, if he loses he doesn’t. The idea that we should have no investment in a child trying to leave a life of slavery because “if he fails, the worst that can happen is he stays a slave” is a horrific viewpoint.

    Slavery isn’t a past evil. There are literally millions of people who are in that situation, or situations close enough that the distinction is irrelevant, right now. Promoting minority representation is a worthy cause, but doing it by casually dismissing one of the modern world’s greatest evils isn’t a step forward.

    • Laura Ess

      I think the think that struck me about Anakin’s plight was Qui-Gon’s pragmatic indifference to Shmi Skywalker. Yes, he’s being pragmatic about getting Anakin and not Shmi, but only because of his interest in a Jedi prophecy. Ideally after the mission they could have gone back and bought her (with non-Federation $$$) out of slavery.

      Now of course Qui-Gon is dead after the mission, but Obi-Wan and Padme are still alive and aware of her status. Perhaps Obi-Wan didn’t want to rescue her, because it would have effectively interfered with Anakin’s training. But Padme could have organised something, bringing Shmi to Naboo, away from Coruscent and Anakin. But she didn’t either.

      Clearly most of the characters in the film were aware of slavery and most ACCEPTED IT as “the way things are”. Being a Jedi didn’t change that. I’m sure there’s some rationale behind that, but it’s clear that most Droids are slaves as well, and no one thinks twice about retraining bolts, in or out of the Republic. Now a galaxy I’d want to live in.

      • Cay Reet

        Since the Jedi separate the children from the families, anyway, that might explain Qui-Gon’s indifference to Shmi’s plight.

      • Leon

        It probably has alot to do with the style of slavery.
        Americans seem to only think of industrial scale slavary which was only a thing during a narrow slice of history.
        In most cases throughout history, slavery simply meant that instead of paying tax to the state, you paied dividends to a citizen or a lord who paid the state. This was really no differant than what we have now. We think we have freedom, but that all depends on money. A slave in antiquity with the ability to make money would undountedly be given the freedom to make more.

        • Laura Ess

          In ancient Rome, you could be enslaved via conquest by the State, by pirates, as a result of debt, and you could self yourself or one of your family for money. The degree of slavery varied depending upon how you were sold and what you were sold as. Working in a tin mine would bring an early death. Working for a household could mean anything between doing the cleaning up, to sexual servicing of one of the family. But the bulk of the the slaves worked as laborers, either on the great corporate estates, or for businesses big and small.

          In general if your owner allowed, a slave could earn their own money and buy their way out of slavery. That was known as manumission and the ex-slave then became a free-man and a client of their ex-owner, who then became their patron. Clients would do favours for their patrons, and patrons would help their clients in various ways such as sending business their way or connecting them to other clients.

          It’s obvious why such as system of manumission existed – slaves worked better to get their freedom, especially is that freedom promised a way of making a living at the end of it. Most people just accepted slavery as a fact of life. That changed mostly after Christianity became the official State religion. There were still slaves, but it was more like medieval slavery, and most slaves were of a different religion.

          In STAR WARS, we don’t see enough of the society to see exactly what sort of slavery is practised, and it may be that all different kinds exist throughout the galaxy. But certainly it’s thought as a fact of life on Tattooine – Anakin is born into it – and Watto isn’t a a particularly oppressive owner (he seems rather sad to have sold Shmi). Rather he runs a small business and Ani and his mother are the help, just like say, for example, a Roman fast food vendor in the Subura might have had a couple of slaves to wait on tables and fetch and carry. But it’s quite likely that by THE FORCE AWAKENS that slavery still exists across the galaxy.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      To clarify, the article is not saying that being a slave isn’t a big deal, but pointing out that the possibility of freedom is going on without Anakin’s knowledge, so from his POV very little is at stake. Sorry that wasn’t more clear.

  9. Richard

    Here’s another take on what “Phantom Menace” could have been:

  10. greg

    The throughline for the entire prequel trilogy should have been Vader’s turn to the Dark Side and the fall of the Jedi and the Old Republic – which is why Phantom Menace is a wasted movie. We didn’t need to start Vader’s arc from his childhood.

    If they had BEGUN the trilogy with Anakin as a Jedi apprentice fighting in the Clone Wars, we would have a whole extra movie worth of time to develop his arc.

  11. Ken Hughes

    I would guess that these happen mainly by building a story backward:

    The writers start with the idea of a protagonist going through something that looks like an adventure arc, and then they add other characters AROUND him with all the reasons that actually drive the story. The “hero” is able to encounter them in sequence and hit all the beats about what’s right and wrong and how to fight for them, but he’s simply the agent for winning them their own resolutions.

    (I also think racism and sexism appear in the way that those “isms” usually set in, by assumptions that get locked in. Writers don’t plan to push diverse characters out of the spotlight, but they assume the hero’s a white male, and match “supporting” characters with love-interest or racial traits for specific reasons, and then see those characters’ new diversity as a reason to keep them from occupying more of the story.)

    The core of it could be called the “light touch” theory: that a hero’s more relatable when he doesn’t have so much at stake, and his background’s more generic and easily understood. It makes some sense in a movie that wants a wide audience… but it’s the opposite of general dramatic theory, that says the whole point of a story is to SHOW us what makes the protagonist tick, and so the more involved he is with the storyline the better. Iron Man made us understand Tony; Avatar led us through Sully’s awakening.

    And supporting characters don’t have to outgrow their real purpose. In the first Star Wars the hero’s clearly Luke, even though he doesn’t start with the highest stakes and Mark Hamil wasn’t (at the time) the best actor in the film, because the story follows his journey so closely it becomes mythic. Meanwhile Han gives us more grins per line, but we don’t forget he’s more peripheral and has a smaller arc, at least for now. (Then again, like Phantom Menace, it did have a princess who was even better positioned to be the protagonist!)

  12. Mouse

    I’ve always agreed with Padme being the main character of Phantom Menace, but then of course assumed the Jedi are supposed to be – it’s interesting that someone pointed out Padme has the most screen time? That’s interesting. I also agree that the writers should have made the movie from Anakins perspective, as that is clearly the point of the movie. They should have showed up on his planet without explanation, as we slowly learn why they are there, not having the whole hour of backstory already. But I’m glad they did focus so much on Padme, as she is such an interesting character, even if it did convelude the intention of the movie.

    The second two marvel ones are very interesting. I think Gamora is really like a co-main character with Star Lord, but it again seems to focus on Star-Lord being the main. And my favourite analysis was Black Panther – I’m rethinking Civil War as a Black Panther movie and it really would have worked. They could have still got the other points across too, but really follow his arc. Maybe they thought having such a heavy Avengers presence would have taken away from Black Panthers first movie though? Very interesting analysises. Also, I think it was the death of Iron Man’s mother he was so upset about, the article only seems to mention his father.

  13. Sophie the Jedi Knight

    You know, I wasn’t really sure about Black Panther being the protagonist at first, but dang you make some really good points. It is worth arguing, though, that the Accords are for more than just a scene to get leaders together – they’re the basis of the fight between the Avengers. And raise some interesting moral questions, although those got scrapped about halfway through the movie.

    Civil War should probably have been an Avengers movie – there was way too much in there just for Cap to take the billing. However, with Black Panther – he’s a character we’ve never seen before. In a movie where characters we’re already invested in are doing important things, it really would have been hard to focus this movie solely on him. Like in Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and really most introductory character movies, the characters have their own plot separate from the Avengers before they join forces. It would admittedly be a bit weird for Doctor Strange to have Iron Man in the background doing things. He’s just a character we already know. But you made great points in this article. I loved it.

  14. Anonymous

    Reasons to make star lord the main character
    1. A lighter tone
    2. Chris Pratt
    3. 80s culture
    4. An earthling is easier to relate to

    • Anonymous

      5. Comic accuracy
      6. Less backstory required

  15. Anonymous

    I know this probably isn’t how you meant it, but it seems to me like the female/non-white side characters can’t be too underdeveloped, but if they get fleshed out motivations and backstories, that’s bad too. For GotG, I really don’t think making Gamora the main character would improve the story they were trying to tell, but she wasn’t just the token female character. She was pretty well-written.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy (updated 03/28/20) and our privacy policy for details on how we moderate comments and who receives your information.