Sunday is Father’s Day and everyone is celebrating how much they love buying their dads socks and ties, and telling each other ironic dad jokes. But in the topsy-turvy worlds of comic books, science fiction and fantasy, fathers are often dramatically worse than the ones we have in real life. Here are 10 dads you’re lucky weren’t yours.
10. George McFly
I know what you’re thinking. George McFly is a great father and the entire plots of all the Back to the Future films hinge on this fact. But, in the original timeline – the one at the start of the first movie before Marty changes history – George McFly kind of sucks. He lets Biff boss him around to the point of getting his only vehicle in an un-drivable condition. George also seems to be unaware (or doesn’t care) that his family is falling apart and his wife Loraine pretty much hates him. If Marty hadn’t gone back to 1955 and given George more confidence, then we’re certainly dealing with a timeline where Marty resents his father for never standing up to anyone.
9. James Potter
When Harry Potter takes a trip into the memory-vault of the pensieve and experiences flashbacks belonging to Snape, he discovers that his father was a huge asshole. Nothing in any of the Potter novels leads us to believe James Potter was a super-nice adult either. Certainly, James Potter wasn’t part of the evil Death Eaters, but just not-being-a-murderer doesn’t automatically make you good. It’s inferred that in-between the time of being a bully, and Harry’s birth, James Potter mellowed out a bit. But he wasn’t exactly sweet. More like a bro-wizard than anything, if James Potter had been around for Harry’s upbringing, Harry Potter probably would have arrogant to the point of dangerous megalomania.
8. Han Solo
We don’t know exactly what happened between Ben Solo and his dad prior to the events of The Force Awakens, but it’s safe to say it wasnt all Ben, or his teacher, Luke Skywalker’s, fault. We already know what kind of guy Han Solo was in the original Star Wars movies, so it’s safe to say he frequently wasn’t around when Ben was younger.
In fact, it seems like Han was probably the kind of father who would leave to go smuggle stuff with Chewie and then totally miss Ben’s birthday. This didn’t warrant Han getting stabbed with a knock-off lightsaber, but if Han was your dad, it’s possible that Ben Solo speaks the truth when he tells Rey, “you would have been disappointed.”
7. Whoever Frodo’s Dad Is
Remember how Frodo’s uncle is Bilbo Baggins, the titular character of the novel The Hobbit? When it’s time for Frodo to have his own adventure in The Lord of the Rings, he hangs out with this uncle at an awesome birthday party. Where the hell are Frodo’s parents? Well, apparently, they both drowned.
Here’s the deal: Frodo’s dad’s name was Drogo Baggins, and though supposedly a “respectable Hobbit,” he was maybe pushed into a river by his wife, and then possibly pulled her in after him. What kind of guy gets pushed into a river by his wife? What kind of person would then force her to drown with him? And you thought Sauron was the Dark Lord.
His mutant power may be the ability to control metal, but Magneto is also a well-known deadbeat dad. Sure, the version of Magneto we recently met in X-Men: Apocalypse was trying to do the right thing with his new family, but that doesn’t change the fact he went MIA on Quicksilver. Also, because Magneto is absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he become a default deadbeat dad to that version of Quicksilver and, of course, Scarlet Witch.
5. The Doctor
When the Doctor ran away from his home planet of Gallifrey he took his granddaughter with him. What? Where the hell are the Doctor’s kids? He’s apparently had a few.
When he destroyed his home planet on purpose to stop the Time War, were his kids down there? If he killed all the Time Lords, that means he killed his family, too, right? Oh, and when there’s genetic insta-daughter grown in “The Doctor’s Daughter,” he doesn’t really act very fatherly. Would you let your daughter jump through laser-beams and seduce prison guards with sexual innuendos? Come on! The Doctor might be awesome, but he’s a pretty terrible dad.
4. Brandon Routh in Superman Returns
All versions of Superman have daddy issues insofar as usually, Supe loses two dads instead of one. In most movie versions of Superman, his father on Krytpon is dead (because Krytpon blew up) but, also, his father on Earth is dead, too. (Though Pa Kent often survives in the comics.)
In Bryan Singer’s wildly unpopular film Superman Returns, Superman is a father, and an absentee one at that! Not only did Superman abandon Earth for totally inexplicable reasons, he also knocked up Lois. Superman’s son in this film is named Jason White, and though he demonstrates some superpowers, his lame dad got rebooted before anything else cool could happen in a potential sequel.
3. All Versions of Dr. Frankenstein
If the only way you can bring life into the world is by reanimating dead people, you should probably just adopt. If Dr. Frankenstein had adopted, everyone would be fine. No drowned children. No villagers with torches. No crazy chases through icescapes. Just, a happy foster child who now lives with a mad scientist. Wait. Would that be better?
2. Darth Vader
Easy. You know why this guy is awful. He kills children for almost no reason, he’s essentially an SS Officer doing the dirty work of a Space-Hitler, he cut off his own son’s hand, and the list goes on. But, Darth Vader also, in his youth, thought it was cool to roll around with weird alien water buffaloes and pretend like he was dead to freak out his girlfriend. No one likes this guy.
1. Captain James T. Kirk
Is Captain Kirk a worse father than Darth Vader? Yes. First of all, Captain Kirk knows he has a son, and straight-up doesn’t really want to get in touch. He never talks about his kid or his baby’s mama until confronted with both, basically on accident, during The Wrath of Khan.
Sure, Carol Marcus supposedly told him to stay away, but this seems a little one-sided. Not to mention, Kirk’s son – David Marcus – dies in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and though Kirk gets upset for like three minutes, he continues with his insane plan to bring his best friend back from the dead. To be clear: bringing people back from the dead is on the table for James T. Kirk, all the time. Spock dies? Let’s freak out and bring him back from the dead, no matter what. My own son dies? Yeah, I guess it’s time to move on. Happy Fathers Day, James T. Kirk!