Originally published at: https://geektherapy.org/unexpected-heroes/
#308: What starts as a conversation about The Suicide Squad quickly derails into a larger conversation about what makes heroes unexpected, and why we don’t see many older heroes.
Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about, my name is Josué Cardona. I’m joined by Link Keller
Link Keller 0:20
Josué Cardona 0:22
and Lara Taylor.
Lara Taylor 0:23
Josué Cardona 0:24
Lara it’s your turn you’re up.
Lara Taylor 0:28
Our pre show shenanigans made me forget what I’m talking about today. Um, but not really. Uh, so Nina and I were watching the Suicide Squad.
Josué Cardona 0:40
just Suicide Squad or the ?
Lara Taylor 0:42
The Suicide Squad. Okay, the Suicide Squad, the new one
Link Keller 0:46
Lara Taylor 0:47
So this is a wonderful topic that we’re going to talk about, but um big spoilers for how The Suicide Squad ends. So, um, yeah, you might not want to listen if you haven’t watched it yet. Um, so we’re watching the Suicide Squad. And there’s a whole thing about unexpected heroes like we got some badasses is right. The Rats!
Josué Cardona 1:14
Lara Taylor 1:16
We do. I mean, Harley is pretty badass.
Josué Cardona 1:19
Lara Taylor 1:20
Harley is pretty badass. And so is Bloodsport? Yeah. But, and then there’s some others that are not so badass. But the most badass of them all is not just the one controlling the rats. What is it ratcatcher 2. But, but But Sebastian and the rest of the rats are the true heroes of this movie. I loved it so much that it was like a simple little animal that was the hero of the movie. And when Josué, when you and I were talking about this, like a week ago or so I had forgotten exactly what the ratcatcher says to ratcatcher 2. But saying something along the lines of like, they’re the lowliest of creatures, but they still have purpose. And I think that that’s something that I can get behind. Like, maybe I’m not the greatest X y&z I don’t know, I’m not the greatest speaker right now, apparently. But I have purpose and I can come up with a good topic. Um, and I thought it made me think of other examples in media of unexpected heroes, but I think it was just cool to know like, the rats are gonna save us in the future. That’s all.
Josué Cardona 2:47
Yeah, the the line from the father was, it surprised me when my father after watching the movie said that, that part stuck with him?
Lara Taylor 2:57
yeah cuz your dad is the like, I only want to watch the action parts.
Josué Cardona 3:02
Link Keller 3:04
of which there were several great ones.
Lara Taylor 3:06
Absolutely. Even including the rats.
Josué Cardona 3:10
I thought it was a very fun movie. And so which is what surprised me that he would give to that. Oh, yeah. No, I enjoyed it. You know, what part I really liked. He talks about, he talks about that, quote,
Link Keller 3:21
Papa Taika Waititi?
Lara Taylor 3:26
He’s, he’s our father.
Josué Cardona 3:28
Yeah. And he was telling me in Spanish, and he’s, you know, and he’s like, saying the part in Spanish and he’s, he was, I think, really, really resonated with him. And I was, I was, so I was very happy to hear that you want us to talk about, you know, that, that idea? Because I wonder how many people it does resonate with, it’s a good reminder. Sometimes you you may feel hopeless or worthless or undervalued, or, you know, through comparing yourself to other people. And yeah, and and you may think, oh, like, I’m not like other people, or I’m not capable of this or that, but that that doesn’t. that’s not helpful
Lara Taylor 4:10
or other people. Like even if you’re thinking about that about yourself, but like other people’s opinion of you like this whole thing with the rats like they are the lowliest of creatures, right? But they’re also not. I think it made me think of Rocket Raccoon and how people treat him and he is my favorite of the Guardians of the Galaxy. And just like, everyone treats him like just trash and like a Rodent and a trash panda. And he’s the best and he’s a badass with his giant gun, destroying everything. And his dirty mouth.
Josué Cardona 4:24
I wonder how many people have told them that he’s no good and survived? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, thats a good point, the the idea of them being the lowliest creatures is the Oh society says, or like, like, it’s, this is this is, this is your position in the world as as it has been established, this is what you were born into. And not letting that define you
Lara Taylor 5:23
that doesn’t mean you don’t have purpose and you don’t have meaning and you don’t have value of your own.
Josué Cardona 5:30
Or that you can’t save the day it
Lara Taylor 5:31
or that you can’t save the day and save us from a giant starfish.
Josué Cardona 5:36
Lara Taylor 5:38
Or Thanos. Or, you know, another idea. Another concept I thought of was the the T Rex at the end of Jurassic Park. How like, there’s all these humans and like, Oh, we got to escape. Nope, the T rex is the hero and saves everybody from getting eaten by velociraptors. And that doesn’t mean that no one thinks that T rex is the lowliest of the but no one expected the T Rex to save the humans. So
Josué Cardona 6:07
T Rex has had a lot. We’re much more respected in the 90s, though, than they are than they are today.
Lara Taylor 6:13
Yeah, you’re right. You’re right.
Josué Cardona 6:18
Yeah, yeah, I don’t I don’t know. I don’t know what the T Rex. I get where you’re going. But
Lara Taylor 6:26
it’s a little different. But it’s still like, you can also be an unexpected hero for yourself, for others, whatever. There’s like that cheesy quote. That’s like, what is it to? To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you might be the world, kind of thing. Rats. You are the rat.
Josué Cardona 6:52
I mean, we’ve talked about this a lot. tons of stories, right. It’s the it’s the underdog. It’s this person who and in and I think in the context that we’ve talked about before is how it’s it is very often a young, white male figure who’s like not cool, or you know, it’s like a nerd. And then like,
Josué Cardona 7:23
Josué Cardona 7:25
Yeah. You know, and think oh, yeah, then, you know, they’re there. They’re the Chosen One somehow and, etc. But a lot of those stories, this is this is kind of where my I often I often get upset when we talk about the hero’s journey. It’s this kind of stuff where it’s like, what stories are you basing that on? Right? Like, like, what exactly is that is that trope is that is that a story that you keep retelling? There’s a video on on that’s like a TEDx talk. Where this guy is, hates the hero’s journey, but he’s talking about it as from the point of view of being a father. You know, he has a daughter, he like, that sucks. It sucks. Because one of the stories that we’re looking at were the stories from my daughter to to feel like she can be the hero of a story. And while some of the elements are relatable, taking people completely out of it. And using examples like rats and Rocket Raccoon, I think are helpful because you can you can see yourself in. In any of these characters. Yeah, but it’s easier if it’s not a person that you can that you can see yourself as a as a potential hero.
Lara Taylor 8:44
Mm hmm. Another example I thought of, that’s even it’s even more different. Is like Lord of the Rings. Everyone that you’re the hero’s journey would have you follow Frodo or Aragorn or whatever, Sam. Yeah, you can see him as the hero but who really saves everything is Gollum.
Link Keller 9:06
Sam is the real hero.
Lara Taylor 9:10
Sam is the real hero. But when you think about it, Gollum is the one who causes the ring to be destroyed. He’s the real hero.
Josué Cardona 9:21
Is he an unexpected Hero?
Lara Taylor 9:23
Yeah, no one expected Gollum to like, I would expect Sam to be like, No, we’re throwing the ring in there. But no. Gollum is the one that did it. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 9:35
So what are you thinking? So are you are you thinking of this idea of unexpected heroes as in from like, a third person perspective of seeing like, oh, anybody? Anybody, can do it
Lara Taylor 9:47
anybody can be a hero. Anyone can have purpose anyone? Even like?
Link Keller 9:49
[whispers] glorious purpose
Lara Taylor 9:55
Yes, even loki, but I’m not necessarily talking about anti heroes right. In this situation like, Gollum is not someone who reluctantly Well, I guess he was in the movie. But like, at that point, we kind of forgotten about him. And he’s swings in. He’s not trying to save the day. He’s literally trying to steal a ring and keep it for himself. But I don’t know. So it’s a different situation
Link Keller 10:26
that’s a accidental hero.
Lara Taylor 10:27
That’s an accidental hero.
Josué Cardona 10:28
Link Keller 10:28
unexpected hero requires there to be some sort of Yeah, outside group that has expectations placed upon these characters. And that’s what the Suicide Squad really fulfills, is like, they’re supposed to be the people that everybody rejected. They’re, they’re, you know, they’re unacceptable to normal society. And the only time that we have any expectations of them doing good is if it is literally the only way that they can, like survive is like, you know, to threaten them. with Violence.
Josué Cardona 11:04
Right, right. To be to be clear, the hero is is ratcatcher 2, right? It’s not the actual rats, it’s, it’s a member of
Lara Taylor 11:12
the rat, Sebastian,
Josué Cardona 11:15
the rat, just to be
Lara Taylor 11:16
i connected with him more than anyone else in this movie.
Josué Cardona 11:19
Just to be clear, if anybody hasn’t watched the movie, the rats are controlled by somebody. There’s no I don’t, I don’t think you can be a hero. I don’t think it counts that you’re a hero, if you were under mind control
Lara Taylor 11:31
which also you can say what you could also say is true of the Suicide Squad. Yeah,
Link Keller 11:37
Josué. But that that line of thinking is exactly what the politics of the movie is like, Oh, the US is sending out this squad to go deal with an issue. So it’s not these individuals are doing anything heroic, it is an act of the US government,
Josué Cardona 11:57
uh no the
Link Keller 11:59
they’re not under mind control, but they do have little things in their head that explode. If they don’t do what they’re told, like that is very close to mind control. You don’t see you don’t see how those line up. that was so intentional!
Josué Cardona 12:12
Looks like everything that they did before they save the world. Or mind control
Lara Taylor 12:19
and then they decided screw you we’re gonna go save the world.
Josué Cardona 12:22
Right? And none of the things that they did before we’re good. We’re heroic. Everything was terrible. Once they once once they decided to be heroes, right, which was which they decided to do. King Shark I guess is just like, following his friends around but but everybody else they decided to do a to be heroic and break out of that. And within them right, like right at the beginning when when Lara when you said some badass characters like, are they? right like you have an expectation of who would be the one and even until the end? Right? You’re like, oh, Harley’s got this, right. Like Harley is the one who’s going to finish this
Lara Taylor 13:03
and two of the most heroic or the polka-dot man and ratcatcher are the ones that kind of saved it
Link Keller 13:10
I really liked polka dot man.
Josué Cardona 13:12
I can’t. i’m not Sure.
Link Keller 13:15
I was a little bitter, a little bitter. It was very funny. And it was very comic book shit, which is honestly that I that was greatly enjoyed this movie. Maybe not quite as much as birds of prey. But it felt very similar in that like, if DC finally figured out like, oh shit, comic books are supposed to be fun. Who would have thought? So this movie was actually legitimately very fun. And the polka-dot man was a big part of that.
Josué Cardona 13:43
I wouldn’t put polka dot-man in in the heroic category. though.
Link Keller 13:53
None of them are really heroes in the traditional sense,
Lara Taylor 13:56
except Sebastian. the rat who led the way
Josué Cardona 13:58
Again. even in Even in the framing I
Link Keller 14:01
we can project that on to Sebastian but because we never gets to find out any of Sebastian’s background or motivations. Like we don’t we don’t know how how mind controlling this is, you know,
Josué Cardona 14:13
is it is? I think these are important things to sort out. It’s important things to sort out for the point that you’re trying to make otherwise it doesn’t. It doesn’t it doesn’t hit home. Really, the the point that you’re you’re trying to make I think when you have that full cast at the beginning, you have all these throwaway characters, and most of them die its a Suicide Squad. That shouldn’t be a spoiler. But then of the ones you have remaining, like ratcatcher I mean throughout the whole movie ratcatcher is is like they have the they have the ratcatcher 2 write like the name like everything, the power, the ability, everything about the character
Lara Taylor 14:55
just a copy.
Josué Cardona 14:56
Yeah, it seems but it’s right, and it seems like throw it like there’s no way that this could be The character like that was really unexpected that they were the ones that save the day. And then you know, like, if you think about it throughout the whole movie like they were, were the most important character. Like the right things along
Lara Taylor 15:11
and you were expecting more Bloodsport or Harley to be the ones that are
Josué Cardona 15:16
what traditionally right you would expect something. Something like that. Like they’re set up for for that. But yeah, but she was she was great. She was the
Lara Taylor 15:27
she was a hero.
Josué Cardona 15:28
Lara Taylor 15:29
And the rats.
Josué Cardona 15:31
Yeah. The rats through her
Link Keller 15:35
they ar a team, the ratcatcher team.
Lara Taylor 15:38
Exactly. Obviously, she cares about the rats. Yes, there’s some mind control but she loves them.
Link Keller 15:47
I literally just watched this does she say it’s actually mind control? is that what she calls it?
Lara Taylor 15:53
I don’t think it is, I think it’s just like sent like a sound that attracts them.
Link Keller 15:57
in my heart. It’s just they the little wands thing that she has is just like, a way for her to communicate with them. Right and then like, like a classroom laser pointer. She’s like directing here this direction.
Lara Taylor 16:13
I think I was leaning more that way too. But that’s just
Link Keller 16:17
because I have just preferred it to not be mind controlled because mind control is kinda fucked up
Josué Cardona 16:26
that’s why I want to make the
Lara Taylor 16:28
I don’t think she controls Sebastian though. I think he is
Link Keller 16:31
the I mean, they just run out of their way to give Sebastian his own personality and character so it would undermine that to be like no, that’s just her like puppet mastering cute little rat. rats are great. I love rats. I love to see positive rat representation in in film. It’s very important. They they deserve love.
Lara Taylor 16:56
From the moment of the scene with the dad talking about the rats and their pretend like the lowest creatures and the potential that they have. Till Sebastian came safely out of that star. I was crying during this goofy, action packed movie, I just love him so much. He’s just is it my is it mind control Josué?
Josué Cardona 17:24
Yes. She controls them. And that’s kind of a whole point when Peter Capaldi is like, Oh, I like that technology. I’ve been working on something similar for humans. Like I want to control. I don’t want to communicate with humans. Yeah, that’s pretty pretty.
Lara Taylor 17:40
You know what we can have our interpretation and appreciate the movie in a different way. And that is the whole point. That is the whole point of this. Each person I get Yeah, from things from a story.
Link Keller 17:52
I guess it makes sense that they’re supposed to be pretty villainous
Josué Cardona 17:57
twisting my words against me.
Link Keller 17:59
So it makes sense. I guess.
Lara Taylor 18:01
I did twist your words against you Josué?
Josué Cardona 18:03
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I also I mean, you know, I mean, her being in jail for what was it for stealing? Food was it like that her whole situation was
Lara Taylor 18:18
I don’t Yeah, I don’t remember that piece.
Josué Cardona 18:23
So it wasn’t a huge that’s a whole US prison. Critique. issue. Yeah.
Link Keller 18:34
There’s there’s a lot of questionable stuff. vis-à-vis Governments and policing.
Lara Taylor 18:42
I think that’s the point.
Link Keller 18:46
errr… I really liked the shark guy. I like King Shark. He was very funny.
Josué Cardona 18:53
Mm hm. Yeah. Yeah. He hmmm who? I didn’t… he was very funny. Certainly, I kind of I felt bad for him. And and in some instances, right. Because in in this case, I really don’t want to go into the whole prison manipulation thing.
Lara Taylor 19:18
He just wanted to be friends.
Josué Cardona 19:20
Yeah, but that was actually just the Yeah, but like, his mental capacity is not at the level where he you know, the, the manipulation there is different in a it’s more it’s more fucked up. The way they take advantage of King Shark, but
Link Keller 19:41
but also, he seems like he was having a great time. So really, maybe
Lara Taylor 19:46
until he started to get eaten.
Link Keller 19:49
I mean, that seems unpleasant, but it really didn’t faze him too much.
Josué Cardona 19:56
He was fine. He was fine.
Link Keller 19:59
he was fine, He’s having a great time
Josué Cardona 20:01
now. No, it was it was a fun movie. So did you do you have any other examples of this idea of stories that maybe resonated with you because again, I think unexpected can just be over time it can be different. It can be different versions of that where just like .
Lara Taylor 20:19
Oh, all of the ones I just gave her different different versions of an unexpected hero, right?
Josué Cardona 20:26
Lara Taylor 20:30
I don’t know Do you all have any examples of unexpected hero
Josué Cardona 20:40
I said there’s that it’s funny when a story is written specifically like I’m thinking of, you know, this Tolkien YA novels right? Where you have a you know, the character that’s going to it’s not unexpected if the story revolves around them right around that one person right? Um, but the idea Yeah, but the idea is still there right where it’s like this person is unlike the person that you would expect to be the hero but they are still the hero of the story or become the hero over time. i’m trying to think like Shazam is one that comes to mind that’s one of the things that I like about the story. I think that definitely falls into you know, he’s the main character right but but definitely like he’s a kid right? Like he shouldn’t
Lara Taylor 21:41
even there you can look at Freddy as another and like you don’t expect him to in the first shazam movie don’t expect him to end up being one of the like was the shazam family or whatever
Josué Cardona 21:57
Yeah. I’m trying to think I can’t remember this happens doesn’t happen very often but when like the main character dies way before the thing is done, you know, and someone else carries on till the end. I can’t really
Link Keller 22:17
Josué Cardona 22:18
Gurren Lagann this happens in Gurren Lagann.
Link Keller 22:20
Yeah. Kamina rest in peace. He gets got and he is his mantle is passed on to sweet baby simon. Who spends the back half of that anime coping with dealing with that that death and the unexpected leadership role he is placed within Yeah, not really an unexpected hero though, because he’s definitely the main character. So
Josué Cardona 22:55
did you but Oh, from the beginning is
Link Keller 22:57
it is unexpected that Kamina dies.
Josué Cardona 23:00
Got it? Got it. Got
Link Keller 23:01
it. Especially I think it’s like four or five episodes. And it’s it’s like a big like, oh, gut punch rocks everybody’s world.
Link Keller 23:12
Link Keller 23:13
But that Simon becomes a hero. That was that was always his journey. That keeps he’s our main character you the opening scene is him doing a small heroic act as the beginning of there it is. There’s the little hero He’s growing and he’s about ready to blossom.
Josué Cardona 23:39
Yeah, I think this is I’m trying to come up. I’m trying to think of some that are that stand out. Because I mean, like, which anime doesn’t have like an unexpected hero? In right there. They’re almost all um, I mean, that’s the that’s the fun part. Right? Like you have not all but you know, let them have the this person that you’re like, oh, no, that’s which is the kid or this person? How can they possibly save the world? A lot of the isekai so isekai is a type of a genre an anime where people leap from our world into another world. And then whoever that is just, they’re gonna be the hero. I mean, that’s just that’s just the premise of the show. And sometimes they’re just like, they’re just an asshole. Sometimes there’s somebody who doesn’t believe in themselves, you know, that could be a number of different things. And they end up being the hero one way or another. it’s that underdog kind of story. And when you said that about I was thinking of Game of Thrones at the end of the first season or the on the first book, right? When When? When Ned dies, and but there isn’t. That doesn’t. I think he’s the only one that you thought like a protagonist. After that. You’re like, I don’t know what to who or what would be You have a hero.
Lara Taylor 25:02
It’s a good point.
Link Keller 25:04
I mean, that was like Game of Thrones big thing.
Josué Cardona 25:07
Lara Taylor 25:07
Is that there was no one protag
Link Keller 25:09
took their one character that was the most even still wasn’t like full, like, idealized hero, but he was the closest to that of all the characters we had.
Lara Taylor 25:20
he had the most morals of anybody
Link Keller 25:21
that gets you killed here the most in this lands, that’s, that’s a deadly thing.
Josué Cardona 25:27
The disbelief of that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 25:36
Yeah, I think about a lot and Game of Thrones did that a few times like Jon Snow people were all about him and then dies but he doesn’t. Right. So
Josué Cardona 25:55
and then that doesn’t count.
Lara Taylor 25:56
Yeah. Yeah. I know.
Josué Cardona 26:00
Yeah, yeah, no, but um, I think the the popularity of this like it’s an we just see it all the time. I mean, I love that there’s so many I love it when there’s like a little kid who is like the hero Right? Or in some way. I was thinking about this There isn’t. There are rarely any, like old people who end up being a hero in a story. Can you think of any?
Lara Taylor 26:27
Um, Obi Wan Kenobi?
Josué Cardona 26:31
Obi Wan Kenobi.
Lara Taylor 26:34
Obi Wan. I’m thinking about in a new hope when like, he basically is the reason they’re able to escape. But he’s also a Jedi. So that’s kind of not the underdog.
Josué Cardona 26:51
Yeah, well, I mean, yeah. I just wonder, I wonder if when people saw Star Wars originally, that there was an expectation that Obi Wan was the hero and then then you were like, surprised when he died? I don’t think I know, you pretty much. Assume that’s how the structure you assume that the guy on the poster with you know, his like shirt open and like the lights on his head was gonna be the hero of
Link Keller 27:16
the hero’s journey, like Obi Wan Kenobi is the mentor and the mentor. The mentor has to die is like part of that journey. So it’s like, if you’re using that, like, the minute they introduced like Obi Wan Kenobi, old mentor type, they’re like, Oh, that dude’s dead that dude’s gonna get got. I know it’s comin.
Josué Cardona 27:38
Yep. And that Marks the end of the first act,
Lara Taylor 27:42
and Josué that is why you don’t see any old people as the hero. Because we kill mentors,
Link Keller 27:49
our line, everyone here doesn’t like to use old people as heroes very often in general, because we have a lot of ageism problems.
Josué Cardona 27:59
Link Keller 28:00
But also because we tend to foist old people into that role of being the mentor the the knowledgeable person who represents the old way.
Josué Cardona 28:10
Link Keller 28:11
and serves to just push the main character who is almost always a young person forward on their journey.
Josué Cardona 28:19
Well, that sucks. When I’m 70. I would like to
Link Keller 28:21
Yeah, it does suck!
Josué Cardona 28:21
be able to see a story that I can see. Oh,
Link Keller 28:24
yeah ageism is bullshit.
Josué Cardona 28:26
If you’ve ever seen the fan art of old link
Link Keller 28:31
no but that sounds awesome.
Josué Cardona 28:32
There’s this fan art of like, a version of The Legend of Zelda where link is an old man like he doesn’t get called into action until he’s way way older. And I don’t know something about that, that I love. Just looking good. I know. I know. Yeah. So I don’t know. Yeah, I want to be old and be able to be motivated by a story where someone like me was able to save the day, because maybe because of like, obviously because of the wisdom and I can like, Get out of here young whippersnappers, like me that I got this
Lara Taylor 29:09
Josué Cardona 29:11
But he’s not
Lara Taylor 29:12
he’s not he’s so reluctant.
Josué Cardona 29:13
Yeah, up is the only one that I thought of, but he’s like, also he’s not. He’s a hero of it’s like, he fights for himself. Yeah, like he’s trying to survive, you know, mostly to live the way he wants to know there isn’t like this big. I guess you could get around it with something like, I don’t know, like, the Highlanders were like they’re technically really really old, but they just don’t they’re hundreds of years old. So technically, they’re older. Yeah, I can’t even Yeah, other than the like, I love it when like and Dragon Ball Master Roshi you it hops into a tournament and and takes the shirt off and it’s like, bigger than then then Goku. Like there’s something. Something cool about that. But he’s still that mentor. role. He just he’s able to step out of it every now and then. Yeah, yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Yeah. But he’s not. Yeah. Damn. Yeah, no, there really aren’t any sort of. You got old people as the bad guy. We can’t really have old people is like the hero story.
Link Keller 30:31
Do you hear it? Do you hear it?
Josué Cardona 30:37
Which I mean, right. So so how many how long ago? We could have. You know, we were having the same conversations. It was like, oh, brown people were all the bad guys and you couldn’t have them as heroes. Now, that’s different.
Lara Taylor 30:52
Come on, marvel, give us an octogenarian hero.
Josué Cardona 30:56
Is that like, Is there even one in any medium?
Lara Taylor 30:58
No, I don’t think so.
Josué Cardona 31:01
At least in video games, I can make a character look older. Like I actually do that. That’s that’s actually the only version of this that I can think of. My monster hunter character my I’ll age my characters as as as old as they’ll let me so I’ll put wrinkles. I’ll make them like white hair. There’s something about being a badass, old man with white hair. That appeals to me.
Lara Taylor 31:24
Josué, you’ve read Old Man Logan, right? Is he older than Logan in Logan?
Josué Cardona 31:30
Technically he is. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Logan and Logan is kind of old. It’s still Hugh Jackman. And just like with gray hair, but I’m old man. Logan is pretty old. They’re all old in that world. mmm? All those those stories are so sad.
Lara Taylor 31:48
And then you get Batman Beyond and it’s just I love how my unexpected heroes turned into ageism in media, but I kind of like it. Um, but Batman Beyond? You get Bruce Wayne is old, but he’s the mentor.
Josué Cardona 32:03
He’s the mentor. Yeah, he’s not the hero. There’s no,
Lara Taylor 32:07
I was thinking like Black Widow. Alexi is like he but he’s not that old.
Josué Cardona 32:14
No, no. I’m in super and super. What’s the called Justice League? Justice League beyond
Lara Taylor 32:22
Josué Cardona 32:24
Superman is older. But he’s Superman. Like, it’s not like, old? Hmm, there is some stuff there. But it’s still, the story is about how Superman is older. It’s not like how Superman is is a is an old hero. Right? Like even even the stories that talk about or that showcase heroes when they’re older. They’re dealing with their back hurts. And you know, they’re more frail than they used to be. And, you know, they’re thinking about how, you know, little time they have left and there, there really isn’t a story that I can think of, I’m sure there’s somewhere something, right. It’s like, in all these stories with the young kids and the young people and the unexpected heroes, it’s it’s in Suicide Squad, right like ratcatcher 2 had the only ability that ended up working, right? It’s like, nobody else had an ability they could make this work
Lara Taylor 33:22
super strength, uh
Josué Cardona 33:22
That didn’t work. All the guns in the world didn’t work like you just like, oh, this particular monster is able to swarm people like, we need something that can do something similar like, right, it’s that idea that you’re the chosen one, or you’re the only one who can do it within this story. You’re special because of a particular reason. And I can’t think of one. But you would think that older people would have that advantage very often. Because of a number of things like even just the fact that they have information that other people don’t have or if someone is just like better at a thing. Like, what’s the what’s the story? The Netflix show about the Queen’s gambit? The girl who plays chess, right? It’s a it’s a story of this chess prodigy from when she’s a little girl how she’s better than the old man. Well, what about the old man who’s like been world woman who’s been playing forever is just like so good that you can’t you can’t get near them. Because they have more practice than anyone else in the world. It’s almost like in our stories, we don’t we don’t value that we don’t recognize that we recognize the idea
Josué Cardona 33:24
or we do, but to pass it on to the next generation. And that’s it. That’s the only value
Josué Cardona 34:40
I saw. Oh, what is it? I think Link I think I sent you this Tiktok where it was someone playing Pokemon right? And then it was just pointing out all this all the obvious things it was like oh, you know have three Pokemon that you can choose each of you choose one and then the guy goes and he picks one and then he puts the other one that you can’t do that. He’s like, why not just gonna sit there Why can’t i take it?
Link Keller 35:01
I’m not gonna leave this bulbasaur on the table. Are you kidding me?
Josué Cardona 35:04
Yeah, yeah. And you know that that’s what I’m thinking now you’re right it’s like we set up the person with all of the knowledge and all of the skill, but we don’t let them do it. We need to they need to pass it on. They couldn’t Why couldn’t they do it? Why can’t they be the one to do the thing
Lara Taylor 35:20
to the save the world?
Josué Cardona 35:22
Usually we yeah, we kill them off right in the story. Like they just die at the beginning.
Link Keller 35:26
It’s not a great example but sort of plays with this idea that we’re talking about. John Wick is supposed to be retired out of the game. He is, of the assassin world He is old.
Josué Cardona 35:41
Link Keller 35:42
And then he totally fucking kicks ass and that’s very cool. But he’s
Josué Cardona 35:47
I’ll allow it I like it.
Link Keller 35:48
Keanu Reeves Old is not is not that old you know?
Josué Cardona 35:53
But but but I think it works. Again not super old but it’s that idea of like retires work that this is or not here. It’s like oh, but you mess with him.
Link Keller 36:02
He’s coming in information already and skills and yeah, like we’re not seeing that part of the journey of the growing into yourself and gaining the skill set that you need to be you are or whatever is like no skipping that we already got that check. We’re ready to go chh-chh [cocking gun noise].
Josué Cardona 36:22
Also, I mean, technically he is in his 50s which isn’t super young. Right? So I mean,
Link Keller 36:28
yeah, like I said, it’s like it fits but I don’t think Keanu Reeves old counts as like, old, you know, hard. It’s hard. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 36:36
I’m like Boba Fett in Mandalorian maybe, maybe, because he’s gonna have his own show. The book of Boba Fett or whatever.
Josué Cardona 36:49
Boba’s, Boba’s kind of old.
Lara Taylor 36:52
He is kinda old. And he’s seen some shit.
Josué Cardona 36:55
Lara Taylor 36:56
but he’s and he’s also not the expected hero of anything. But yeah.
Josué Cardona 37:06
This is hard. This is this is this is bumming me out this is not the first time I thought about it either. But it is it is bumming me out.
Lara Taylor 37:20
I’m sure there are more examples of of heroes that like I’m thinking like, my first thought was like, Regina on once upon a time, she’s the evil witch and then she becomes but that’s more along the lines of like an anti hero kind of thing. But there’s probably some smaller characters on the show that have like, made a huge difference in saving the group on Once Upon a Time.
Josué Cardona 37:50
I think this is the whole point about the hero’s journey thing, right? It’s like It’s like Is it fun to have a story where the person who you’re not rooting for you know, or like Do you want an unexpected hero is kind of the point
Lara Taylor 38:05
it worked for the Suicide Squad
Josué Cardona 38:09
Yeah, yeah. Okay, I can’t I can’t think of I can I can only think of other groups that are not represented I can think of other like,
Lara Taylor 38:22
like actual heroes that are you didn’t expect them to be the hero. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 38:27
yeah. Yeah. Okay, I’m thinking it’s so weird because like once you send the movies in it’s hard to see it this way. But like the original Terminator is kind of I think I think kind of fits in that’s right where you don’t expect like Sarah Connor really? You don’t expect her to be the hero and the first movie? She really isn’t.
Link Keller 38:53
Josué Cardona 38:54
but she becomes the hero
Link Keller 38:57
yeah she does hah
Josué Cardona 39:01
so I mean, I I remember I remember seeing I think I saw them underwater. There’s
Link Keller 39:08
there’s an example is the the newer Tomb Raider movie where Sarah Connor is is older. She’s still fucking badass.
Josué Cardona 39:18
Did you just say the new Tomb Raider movie?
Link Keller 39:20
Did I say Tomb Raider Terminator. Okay. Terminator. tombinator?
Lara Taylor 39:24
Terminator. I was confused, as well, but then I was like, oh, yeah, maybe maybe I just heard wrong.
Josué Cardona 39:32
i haven’t watched that new one? Yeah, right. Yeah.
Link Keller 39:35
raid this tomb with me if you want to live.
Josué Cardona 39:38
I know what this is. It’s like with Keanu Reeves. It’s like you can have Arnold Schwarzenegger old is still like, oh, you know, like, there’s a I guess the Expendables count. I mean, I don’t know why I didn’t bring this up before. That’s the whole idea of these movies. Is that Is that so let’s just sit alone is old and he’s like, No, we need it. We need a whole bunch of old guys who are who can still kick ass alongside some young people and have a big adventure. So that’s that’s an action version of that. Yeah but the newest the newest the latest Terminator what was that one called? this was Genesis is Genesis the last one I want to be clear because you know who knows how many more terminators will have and then Genesis. No Genesis was the was the Chris Christian Bale one. Dark fate is a is the last one. So Right. So dark fate. That was that was cool to have like it for me was unexpected to have this old Terminator. So it does play with that idea. I guess that’s it, right? I guess. Probably Keanu Reeves will keep making movies as he gets older where he’s always like, I guess he’ll help do that just the same way that um these all these action stars like they they’re gonna have to create those stories themselves as they get older.
Link Keller 41:11
I’m interested to see if we’ll get more stories about older heroes or if we’ll just keep killing them off to pass on the mantle ala Iron Man.
Josué Cardona 41:26
So So I was thinking, throughout this conversation, I was like,
Link Keller 41:31
you either die or you grow old enough to become evil.
Josué Cardona 41:35
So So all of these action stars making stories where they’re still the action hero and they’re older, they have to do it themselves because nobody, nobody else is gonna let them do it. Right. But in rom coms, it’s the same thing, right? Like these old actors are, are in these old rom coms where they’re still having relationships, right, that these romantic encounters and these romantic stories, it’s the same actors just doing it as they’re older and coming up with these new stories where they add those elements to it, but it’s very much made by them, which I think just, you know, goes into the eventual, you know, where we always get back to Media Matters, representation matters and, and it’s who’s making the stuff right. And it’s, it’s, if we want to see old people making movies, we need to we need the people that when you people don’t make it to old age and still want to make movies so they can make movies starring old people for old people. Yeah, I guess I guess I’m more hopeful. Because that, as we keep talking about it, we do have more examples. And yeah, I didn’t expect to go into this direction
Lara Taylor 42:42
Josué Cardona 42:44
talking about more about this than than the other than the original. But when
Lara Taylor 42:47
you think about it, like the whole premise was what like, the way society values old people is not great. And so they still have purpose. Mm, they still
Josué Cardona 42:59
this is true, they are the considered the most expendable people
Link Keller 43:06
you heard it here, old people are rats.
Josué Cardona 43:11
The lowliest among us
Lara Taylor 43:12
I love rats.
Link Keller 43:14
and We love old people. We love them.
Josué Cardona 43:18
Lara Taylor 43:20
Even rats and raccoons and T rexes,
Josué Cardona 43:24
even, I mean, I guess you don’t usually have stories where the hero uses money to be the hero. Usually you have the villain who uses money to be the hero, right? But like, you do see that often
Link Keller 43:39
Josué Cardona 43:41
but batman doesn’t need money to
Lara Taylor 43:43
he uses money to
Link Keller 43:44
WHAT batman doesn’t need money!!!!
Lara Taylor 43:46
he needs money to build shit so that he can beat the shit out of bad guys.
Josué Cardona 43:51
Could he could he
Link Keller 43:52
this dude affords 100 Batmobiles a year and you’re saying he doesn’t use money? Come on! come on!
Josué Cardona 44:01
Yeah, yeah, he doesn’t he doesn’t use the money. He goes out and beats up on people himself. He should be building robots. That go punch people in the face.
Lara Taylor 44:13
Link Keller 44:13
he uses money to buy those reinforced punching gloves so that he can bring the clobber down. on those poor people.
Josué Cardona 44:23
Like you can have villains, right that are that are like just using money to like, do bad stuff. But then the hero is never. Like, there’s never the rich hero who’s just like, I’m just gonna throw money at this and fix this problem. You would assume like, like, maybe some older people would have more money than the younger people. Because there’s a certain this doesn’t sound like a great fun story to watch. I agree. But you know, this is probably why they don’t exist. I’m just saying, you know, at the very least, like an older person has like more security and maybe more money than you know than a bunch of Young people do and they could use that to do something
Lara Taylor 45:05
like Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond where he throws money at a younger guy to go be Batman.
Josué Cardona 45:13
But again, that’s still it’s still that mentoring
Lara Taylor 45:16
Josué Cardona 45:16
Lara Taylor 45:17
rather than just like here. I’m gonna fund
Link Keller 45:19
rich mentor. That’s a mentor. Plus, that’s an upgraded mentor right there.
Josué Cardona 45:25
Right? There’s no, I mean, huh?
Link Keller 45:32
Yeah, I’m gonna take the stances because if you if you’re super rich, you’re probably not very good. That’s the stance I’m gonna take.
Josué Cardona 45:44
Link Keller 45:45
to be clear, When I say very rich. I mean, like, very rich.
Josué Cardona 45:49
Yeah, like Tony Stark. Bruce wayne.
Link Keller 45:50
not like, you own three houses rich?
Josué Cardona 45:53
Link Keller 45:54
that’s not really same ballpark.
Lara Taylor 45:56
I don’t I don’t think Tony Stark is on the level of some of our ultra rich here. He’s got money. But
Josué Cardona 46:03
Tony Stark is pretty filthy rich in the in the MCU. Like he owns like,
Lara Taylor 46:09
now I want to know how many billions he has exactly?
Link Keller 46:11
Yeah, just the fact that he’s like, runs a weapons company pretty much puts him in the
Josué Cardona 46:18
Link Keller 46:20
Josué Cardona 46:22
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, there have been at least there are there is a Batman story that I can remember. But he does kind of just actually, Spider Man does this too, at some point where they have enough money where they just start building drones itself to start trying to, to, but then they’re just policing. They’re not. They’re not like helping? I guess there’s no way there’s no way to tell a story where you think we talk about like how, Oh, these people are so rich. They could just you know, solve these problems. That’s never how much of a fantasy is that? That we can’t even we don’t even have stories where that happened? Is there a fanfiction? Where like Bruce Wayne or or, or Tony Stark just just literally like, just use their money to help people.
Lara Taylor 47:16
Maybe it’ll be like a billion
Link Keller 47:21
only only 12 billion. i mean The ending scene of Black Panther slightly touches on that idea in the investing in Oakland As community with your money, but it is not an individual that is all of Wakanda as led by Black Panther is supporting. Building a school, I guess? Not really the same as an individual doing it.
Josué Cardona 47:54
Yeah. Yeah. I wonder, I wonder how much of the new X Men comics such on this. Because basically, they’ve
Link Keller 48:02
that was something I was thinking of earlier, and somebody was speaking and I didn’t want to interrupt and then it disappeared. Professor X is a great example of what we’ve been talking about. Professor X only gets to be a main character when he’s young. When he’s old. He’s always the supporting headmaster, or mentor support role. Occasionally, he’s the problem solver. But mostly he is supportive. That’s when he’s young. He gets to be the main character.
Josué Cardona 48:27
Link Keller 48:29
Josué Cardona 48:31
Link Keller 48:32
Do better X-Men.
Josué Cardona 48:34
I mean, ah, I mean, I’ve always seen it not so much as ageism, but as ableism in Xavier’s case, because it wasn’t that he stopped being a main character once he couldn’t walk. That’s kind of like, like,
Link Keller 48:47
you’re right, i didn’t even,
Josué Cardona 48:48
Yeah. And even he’s not a hero. And while he’s walking, right, it’s more of that than then that he’s older.
Link Keller 48:56
Yeah, that’s a that’s a double whammy there.
Josué Cardona 48:59
Because in terms of power, he’s like, powerful. And his chair flies, right. Like, like he’s that he’s less limited than people who are walking, but we need to sideline him in that in that kind of role. Um, but in the newer, x-men comics, basically, all the mutants just build their own country to do things there. They’re like, Oh, the whole world has treated us incredibly poorly. Right. They’ve oppress us everywhere we’ve been so we’re just going to have our own country and and help our and help each other this way. I might touch on some of this stuff. Well, I think I think um, any closing thoughts on topic.
Lara Taylor 49:47
I have no, I went down a rabbit hole of like looking up how wealthy these different people are. The wealthiest of the heroes is Black Panther who has $90 trillion
Josué Cardona 50:00
Well, I mean, technically
Lara Taylor 50:02
because he’s the He’s the king of Wakanda. And that is all his money. Yeah. But also,
Josué Cardona 50:09
yeah, yeah. Yeah. Also, the monarchy extends out into space as well. There’s like, yes, there’s like space colonies. It’s like, yeah. But you said 80 trillion,
Lara Taylor 50:23
Josué Cardona 50:24
90 trillion, okay
Lara Taylor 50:26
90 trillion. Yeah. Cool.
Josué Cardona 50:30
Cool. Cool. Cool.
Lara Taylor 50:31
Cool. Cool, cool. T’Challa? hook us up
Josué Cardona 50:35
Yeah, yeah. Well, any other closing thoughts? No. Okay.
Lara Taylor 50:45
We love rats and old people.
Link Keller 50:47
We love rats. We love old people. Tell us your unexpected, heroic characters that you like. Or just remember, on the forums, forum at Geek therapy.org.
Josué Cardona 51:05
I saw an unexpected headline this week, which is a Expendables 4 a cast Megan Fox. Like with one. There you go. That’s it. That’s my closing. Yep. Like link said, in the shownotes. Links to let us know what you think. share share your unexpected heroes, all the ones that we did not point out, please,
Lara Taylor 51:30
as soon as soon as we’re done with this, I’m gonna come up with so many more examples.
Josué Cardona 51:34
of course, That’s the way it is. Then Lara, you can go on the forum. Yeah, there you go. Lead by example. for more Geek Therapy visit geek therapy.org. Thank you so much for listening. remember to geek out and do good. We’ll be back next week
Link Keller 51:50
Josué Cardona 51:53
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Characters / Media
- Harley Quinn / The Suicide Squad
- Ratcatcher 2 / The Suicide Squad
- Ratcatcher / The Suicide Squad
- Sebastian the Rat / The Suicide Squad
- Rocket Raccoon / Guardians of the Galaxy
- T-Rex / Jurassic Park
- Neville Longbottom
- Gollum / Lord of the Rings
- Polka-dot man / The Suicide Squad
- King Shark / The Suicide Squad
- Bloodsport / The Suicide Squad
- Freddy / Shazam
- Gurren Lagann
- Game of Thrones
- Obi Wan Kenobi / Star Wars
- Carl / Up
- Master Roshi / Dragon Ball
- Logan / Old Man Logan (Wolverine)
- Batman / Batman Beyond
- Queen’s Gambit
- John Wick
- Boba Fett
- Sarah Connor / The Terminator
- The Expendables
- Black Panther
- Tony Stark / Iron Man
- Professor X / X-Men
Themes / Topics
* Unexpected heroes
* Finding Purpose
* Mentorship roles
* Coming of age/Getting older
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Join the Conversation!
What’s an example of an unexpected heroic character that you like?