Imagine this. You’re shackled to the wall in an underground alien torture chamber on an unexplored planet, light years from home. Or maybe your spaceship is being pulled into a moon-sized space station filled with storm troopers. Or you’ve got a supercomputer that needs hacked, stat. Obviously this is no time for Sam Gamgee to come to your rescue (heartwarming, loyal, and hairy-footed though he may be). You need someone with skills, someone who will risk everything to scoop you out of harm’s way, make a solid plan, and do it all again the next time you get yourself in trouble. Maybe they’re a little snarky, or a little sarcastic, or covered entirely in fur or actually a malfunctioning robot built out of trash, but when you need a best friend you can rely on, these sci-fi sidekicks won’t let you down.
Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Which Willow do you like best? The nerdy high school wallflower? The smart girl who dated a werewolf? Maybe the one who fell in love with a witch and became a serious, sexy practitioner of magic? Or the coolest villain ever - Dark Willow? Except for the that last instance where she, you know, turned evil and almost destroyed the world, Willow always had Buffy’s back and understood her no matter what she needed. When you’ve got real-life stuff to slay, you probably wouldn’t mind having a strong, confident girl like Willow at your side to help you face your demons and do what you gotta do.
Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Of course Groot has a long history going back to Marvel’s 1960 Tales to Astonish, but my favorite iteration of the sentient tree bounty hunter is in the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy. Notably, this is the only time I have ever, EVER liked Vin Diesel, who performs Groot’s voice (I guess they figured he could handle three words, since all he ever says is “I am Groot”). He’s well-meaning, has a heart of gold, and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his friends (though he did come back as Baby Groot, which was absolutely adorable). That scene where he gives a flower to a little girl is just precious. Although what I love most about him is his soft, caring side, his strength and power would make him a valuable best friend no matter the scope of your problems.
Chewbacca (Star Wars)
It’s kind of unfair putting Chewbacca on a list of the best sidekicks ever, because that’s kind of like putting chocolate cake on a list of vanilla, butterscotch, and fruity desserts. Chocolate always wins, and so does Chewbacca (who, if you didn’t know, was inspired by George Lucas’ own dog). Clearly he is a force to be reckoned with on his own - I mean it’s not like he really NEEDS Han Solo - but they’re loyal to each other and stick together no matter what, capable of understanding each other perfectly even though they’re not technically speaking the same language. Chewie’s willing to risk his life to save carbon-frozen Han from Jabba’s palace - and it’s there that he gives Han that enormous, loving, no-doubt-slightly uncomfortable hug. I’d love to get one of those when I’m feeling down. Some call Chewbacca the famous smuggler-scoundrel’s conscience, because he seems to be questioning Han’s plan to take off with the treasure they scored for rescuing Princess Leia instead of staying to help the rebels. I’ve never paid close enough attention to that moment in the film before. Guess I’ll have to watch it again! Darn.
Ok, so maybe you wouldn’t want to be best friends with Gabrielle when we first meet her as an annoying farm-girl, but by the time the sixth season ends, she is the ultimate BFF. Able with a sword? Check. An awesome fighter with sais? Check. Capable of using an Amazonian fighting staff? Check (she can even block arrows with it). Hand to hand combat skills? She’s got ‘em in spades. But beyond her skills at fighting off the bad guys, the Battling Bard of Potidaea was the most loyal friend anyone could ask for. She’s self-assured, confident, and kind. With any luck, she’d teach you to be just as incredible.
Spock (Star Trek)
There are very few sidekicks as memorable as Spock. The mind meld! The death grip! The Vulcan nerve pinch! Spock had it all. I know that for me (and maybe for you too) that logical brain of his could be pretty helpful when I feel like flying off the handle and panicking about everything, or making spontaneous decisions that will get me in trouble later. Admittedly you’re going to have to deal with seeing a lot of that one raised eyebrow when you’ve screwed everything up and he shows up to save you, but you can always rely on him to be there for you when you need it. He thinks of the perfect solution for every problem and then implements it flawlessly. Now that one incredible best friend to have on your side.
Trinity (The Matrix)
Ever heard the phrase, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman?” Trinity is basically the epitome of a great woman behind a great man. First, she finds Neo and gets him where he needs to be, which is no small feat. Second, while he’s being trained and molded and schooled and kind of wrapping his head around the whole “there is no spoon” thing, she’s kicking everybody’s trash and making things happen so the whole operation can keep going. Third, she’s a total team player who’s unconcerned with getting credit and 100% about making sure everybody gets out alive (at least whenever possible - this is The Matrix, after all). Serious, deadly, and the first mate on the Nebuchadnezzar, she’s a martial-arts maven that would always have your back in any situation.
GIR (Invader Zim)
I’m only joking a little bit when I say that Gir would be a great best friend. Seriously though, what do you look for in a best friend? How about someone who can cook? What about someone friendly and upbeat? What about someone with a great sense of humor? What about a fabulous dancer? Do all those things not describe an ideal best friend?? So maybe your real-life best friends don’t have to disguise themselves in zip-up dog suits when they go out in public, and maybe they aren’t cybernetic death machines, but in some ways, they’re probably a lot like the lovable Gir. Unlike his selfish and arrogant master, Invader Zim, Gir is happy to jump right in and enjoy any new situation he encounters; he’s like your daredevil friend that gets you to try sushi and skydiving. Like the other sidekicks on this list, he’s also loyal to a fault - an essential quality for anyone you’re going to call your BFF.