6 Characters You Didn’t Know Had Wild Origin Stories

Us nerds all have our favorite fictional characters we like to obsess about — one guy/girl/amorphous sentient alien/talking dog of whom we know more than our own parents. But there are some characters who people go bananas for who make a habit of not broadcasting their origin stories for everyone to know and obsess over. Sometimes that’s because the writers were too lazy to figure out said origin stories. And sometimes it’s because those origins are messed up beyond belief. For example …


Chief From Wonder Woman Is A Demigod

You might not have noticed on account of your mind wandering off every time Gal Gadot wasn’t onscreen, but Wonder Woman wasn’t alone on her quest to kill the very concept of war with slow-mo punches. One of the fellows accompanying her was Chief, a Native American smuggler who, as it turns out, is only in the war for the money because the good people back home stole all of his ancestral lands.


By the end of the movie, however, he’s a fully-fledged member of Team Allied Powers, which is sweet, because that means we had two gods on our side.

As it turns out, Chief isn’t some random guy, but a bona fide demigod. When he’s recruited by Steve and introduced to Diana, they briefly converse in Blackfoot, and it’s the only time in the movie that a foreign language isn’t subtitled. And because only a few thousand people speak Blackfoot, the odds of anyone leaning over in the theater to ask someone to translate was rather low.

But that lack of subtitles was intentional, because what was said would have blown the minds of everyone both on and in front of the screen. As Chief and Diana converse, he casually lets it slip that his name is Napi, which so happens to be the name of a demigod worshiped by the Blackfoot. In the tribe’s mythos, Napi is a trickster god and troublemaker who likes nothing more than fucking up people’s shit. By comparison, Chief is a smuggler who peddles arms and goods to both sides of the war, thereby creating his own style of trouble. The actor himself, Eugene Brave Rock (Best. Name. Ever), has come out and admitted that Chief is indeed that trickster god, set out to sow chaos and fight against those who think they can control the world for themselves. Sounds like he’s exactly the god they need, then.


The Walking Dead‘s Michonne Got Her Sword From The Local Psycho Teen, Put Her Zombified Boyfriend On A Leash

You’d think that with all the hours that The Walking Dead has spent dwelling on the minutiae of its constantly rotating cast (and not doing anything remotely fun or interesting), they’d have gotten around to covering Michonne, the katana-wielding badass whose popularity means she could dive naked into a pit of zombies and still make it out unscathed. Where did she get her sword? Who are those zombies that she walks around on leashes like less-aggressive chihuahuas? Was she this homicidal before the apocalypse, brutally slicing co-workers over a printer ink dispute?

What you might not know is that we got the answers to these questions all back in 2012, when Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard produced a comic for Playboy titled “Michonne’s Story.” You’d have thunk that more people would have found out about it. Doesn’t everybody read Playboy for the articles?

That besuited figure running for her life is Michonne. Quite out of character for the walking blender we know and love, but in the pre-walker world, she was a lawyer who wound up fleeing for her life from the newly emerged zombies. While scavenging her apartment complex for supplies, she wound up in the home of a teen who collects swords and maybe killed her dog. It’s a good thing this story wasn’t set in today’s world, where the only thing psycho teens collect are racist memes.

Taking his katanas off the wall, she immediately has a good use for them when she returns home to find her boyfriend Mike and his best friend both zombified. The ensuing fight attracts the attention of every zombie in the local area, which is bad news for a Michonne, who is still figuring out her zombie-killing groove. It’s all looking a bit grim until Michonne realizes something about the walkers: They don’t attack other walkers. Some slight modifications to Mike and Terry later, and she’s found herself a perfect disguise.


The Random Stormtrooper Who Fights Finn Was A Riot Cop (And They Trained Together)

In the aftermath of its release, which feels like a millennium ago at this point, The Force Awakens was criticized for being too structurally similar to the original Star Wars by people who have never heard of basic story structure. But for all of its rehashings, The Force Awakens did two things no other Star Wars movie has ever done before: It gave a C-list character an actual personality, and then refused to immediately make a movie about them.

We’re talking, of course, about the “TRAITOR!” Stormtrooper:

TR-8R, as the fan community cleverly called him, only appeared in one scene, wherein he fights his former brother-in-arms Finn in a battle to the death — his, specifically. And while this Stormtrooper was clearly never intended to be more than a one-note miniboss, his internet popularity soon meant that he was destined for greater things. After a bunch of fan art and third-party merch emerged, he was finally accepted into the official Star Wars canon as FN-2199, aka “Nines.” As detailed in the tie-in novel Before The Awakening, whilst training at Stormtrooper Academy under Captain Phasma, the redheaded Nines became friends with Finn (FN-2187) and two other cadets, and together they got into innumerable fun scrapes while serving their evil overlords.

The guys soon split off into their own specialisms, with Finn moving to infantry and Nines moving to riot control, becoming an expert with the fancy stun baton he duels Finn with. Ignore that voice in your head questioning why an anti-civilian stun baton is designed to withstand lightsaber attacks — this is the First Order, overkill is kinda their thing. While he goes unnamed in the movie proper, after his memeification, he was officially identified as Nines. Ignore how this might be a haphazard way to construct a canon — this is Star Wars, that’s kinda their thing.


Superman’s Nemesis, Doomsday, Was Constantly Murdered As A Baby

There’s a lot of things to hate about Batman v. Superman, but our psychiatrist said that dwelling on this movie is interfering with our medication, so we’ll simply talk about how they screwed up Doomsday’s origin story. Doomsday is the thing that killed Superman, which is a pretty big deal, but the movie turns him into the feeble offspring of a Jacuzzi romance between Lex Luthor and the rotting corpse of General Zod. Complaints aside, we understand why the writers felt the need to change Doomsday’s backstory, because the comic book origins are way too messed up for the big screen.

DC Comics

DC Comics
“Like, your dick is going to be huge, dude.”


As documented in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey #2, Doomsday came into this world through genetic engineering. But instead of showing Doombaby to the rest of Stone Age Krypton, his alien scientist “parents” started performing vicious experiments on him — like blowing him into the vast emptiness of space to get ripped apart by monsters …


… over and over again …

After having his life cut incredibly short, whatever was left of Baby Doomsday was collected, and its genetic material harvested and used to create another infant — who was then PTOOM-ed into the killtastic badlands to die again and again and again and again, in the hope that he’d become immune to everything in the Universe. It’s like a measles party, if you change measles with rabid murder beasts and hipster parents with dumb space scientists.

After going through the eugenics version of Groundhog Day a few thousand times, Doomsday grows stronger and stronger and more resilient, until eventually he kills everything on the planet. Of course, this includes the scientists who created him, because it’s possible that he might have some issues with how they brought him up. He then escapes on a rocket, crashes on another planet, and lays waste to it. He’s then defeated and then fired deliberately at Earth — because fuck humans, that’s why.

The irony, of course, is that we never needed a Doomsday origin story. In his first appearance, he’s nothing but a criminally insane alien locked in a vault that’s buried underground. That’s a perfectly fine origin for him, we didn’t need anything else. But we guess there are only so many times that you can write about Superman being a total dick before that shit gets old.


Firefly‘s Shepherd Book Was a Deep-Cover Agent Who Got Burned

As a result of Fox canceling its run after only 14 episodes, Firefly didn’t get the chance to explore the unending mysteries around its cast. What happened to the blue-gloved men? Why was Wash so into dinosaurs? Does Jane ever steam-clean his bunk? But the biggest mystery left unanswered had to be: Who the fuck is Shepherd Derrial Book?

The good shepherd is first introduced as a simple man of the cloth, kind and wise, but it’s constantly hinted that he has badass fighting skills and a fearsome reputation. And while fans couldn’t stop speculating, his official backstory was only revealed in a graphic novel released several years later.

Dark Horse Comics
Shepherd Book’s separate book.

As it turns out, it’s a good thing they never got the chance to air his origin story — that is, unless you like depressing spy antics, murder, and zero chance of quips.

Book started out as a low-level street thug called Henry Evans. Evans was eventually recruited by the Independents because he heard there was a possibility of distributing major ass-kickings. As it turned out, however, he was perfect for another mission: spying. The Rebel All- uh, Independents needed someone to infiltrate the Empir- uh, Alliance and feed them information. For that, he needed a new identity, so the future moral compass of our favorite show went and brutally murdered an innocent civilian in a back alley — someone named Derrial Book.

His record clear, the new Book signed up with the Alliance and rose to the rank of interrogator, specializing in distributing beatings to captured members of the Independents. He then earned a commission as commanding officer of an operation to smash the Independents once and all. As he’d be a quite shitty spy if this was allowed to happen, the Alliance forces were ambushed and wiped out, leading to the deaths of 4,000 troops.


In the aftermath, Evans/Book was hung out to dry by the Alliance top brass. His identity compromised, he was also useless to the Independents. Having nowhere to turn, the former soldier wound up homeless and wandering the streets (a concept with which we should be familiar). He miraculously found the light and signed up to become a shepherd, graduating God school and winding up aboard Serenity, where he served an important role as “guy who constantly complains about the violence going on whilst secretly getting off on it all.”


Every Man Professor McGonagall Loved Wound Up Dying Horribly

By the end of the Harry Potter books, the magical world is looking a little grim, with everyone counting their dead/missing. Fortunately, plenty of beloved characters have survived, and seeing as there aren’t any more books, they will presumably each have an entire happily ever after to look forward to. Except for Professor McGonagall, who it turns out already has a lifetime of deep emotional torment to deal with.

Like a sniper picking off people who thought they were safe, J.K. Rowling has penned a few more character stories on her website, Pottermore, since the grand finale. One of them was for Minerva McGonagall, who doesn’t come out of her biography smelling like roses. After graduating from Hogwarts, McGonagall returned home to do what every young adult does after college: travel the world and halfheartedly mail out some resumes. But this plan is promptly flipped upside-down when she falls in love with a local farm boy, Dougal McGregor, and eventually winds up happily engaged to him. Well, we say “happily,” but her relationship leaves her torn between telling her fiance she’s a witch, which is forbidden, and keeping this grave secret from him — which she knows was the very thing that destroyed her parents’ marriage. Fun times.

She decides to solve the problem by breaking it off without as much as a “Dear John” owl. Dougal spends years trying to win her back, including writing her a ton of letters which she keeps but never responds to. He eventually moves on and starts a new family and is finally happy again, whereupon he and his wife and children are slaughtered by Death Eaters.

Naturally, McGonagall spends the next several years brooding and blaming herself for his death. It’s only the love of a new beau that snaps her out of her depression funk — that of Elphinstone Urquart, her old boss at the Ministry of Magic. They marry and take up residence in an adorable cottage in Hogsmeade, where they stay for three years … until he’s murdered by a plant.

This plant:

Overcome by sadness and with nothing else to live for except her job as a teacher, McGonagall grabs her shit and moves into a dingy one-bedroom study at Hogwarts, where she intends to stay until she dies of loneliness or cat-related illnesses.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you can just go right ahead and subscribe to. It’s really good, honest.

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