• Total Nerd

14 Redshirts In Action Movies Who Help The Heroes And Then Quickly Die

List RulesVote up the side characters you knew were doomed all along.

Minor movie character deaths can be so much more affecting than audiences expect, especially if the characters go out helping the heroes save the day. Redshirts, those side characters who are marked for death before the first act is even finished, tend to be get bounced out of a movie with neither pomp nor circumstance, but in some cases, even the demises of these foot soldiers can be important.

You can slice action films into as many subgenres as you want, but they all have one thing in common: redshirts. If there's some kind of skirmish in whatever movie you're watching, you can guarantee that some character with one or two lines is going to bite the big one at a climactic moment.

None of the redshirts here are major characters, even if they're played by well-known actors (hello, Hudson and Agent Coulson), but they all make an impact with their deaths that audiences are still talking about to this day.

  • This J.J. Abrams-helmed reboot of the series that birthed the concept of the redshirt has one of the most fun crew member deaths of the 2010s. After the Enterprise runs into Nero and his big ol' future ship, Kirk and Sulu are sent on a mission to disable the Romulan's space drill. They're accompanied by a hyped-up crew member named Olson who, yeah, is outfitted fully in red.

    Rather than subvert the trope, Abrams sends Olson crashing toward the drill like a missile. Olson waits until the last minute to open his chute and ends up getting sucked into the laser shooting out of the drill. Ouch. Even though the audience doesn't really know Olson, he helps the crew coalesce in a very important way. His passing allows Kirk and Sulu to become legit heroes, and because he was the chief engineer, his absence frees up a role for Scotty.

    Never had a chance?
  • Porkins is about as close to the redshirt trope as you can get without changing the film's title and making him a crew member of the Enterprise. This minor character's backstory has been explored in depth thanks to the Star Wars Extended Universe, but when he was knocked off by TIE fighters in A New Hope, it was out of nowhere.

    Audiences are introduced to Porkins during the Battle of Yavin when Luke Skywalker leads the Rebels to destroy the Death Star. This space battle sees X-wing pilots getting taken out right and left, but it's Porkins who gets caught in TIE fighter crossfire while trying to give Luke a clear shot at the Death Star's ventilation shaft. Even though he eats it in unceremonious fashion, his actions help take down the ultimate weapon.

    Never had a chance?
  • In a film filled with redshirts, Hudson stands out above the rest. He's not the bravest space marine stranded on LV-426, but he's the one everyone in the audience can identify with. Aside from being the guy in the horror/action/science-fiction movie who says what everyone's thinking, he's also so close to leaving the service that you want him to escape so he can just go home and get some R&R.

    As far as redshirts go, Hudson holds out for longer than you'd think. He survives the first wave of Xenomorphs, only to be dragged through a grate in the floor by one of the bugs he's been hunting. The creatures cut the power to the base before dragging him through a grate in the floor in one big, brutal flash as he stands his ground against the bugs he's been so afraid of. Hudson may be kind of annoying, but after spending an hour and a half with him, it's hard to see him go. When you think about it, that's really the best thing you can say about a redshirt.

    Never had a chance?
  • Neo may be the One, but Mouse is the character in The Matrix that everyone can identify with. He may be fighting against the machines that have trapped humans in a prison of their own making, but he's also fascinated with the possibilities offered by the technology of the Matrix itself. In some of his earliest conversations with Neo aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, he's open about his belief that humans are meant to explore everything possible, including the world inside the simulation.

    After Cypher betrays Neo and the rest of his crew, Mouse is the first person to feel the wrath of the agents. In the middle of a routine trip into the Matrix to see the Oracle, the gang gets ambushed by a SWAT team and all of their exits are cut off. Mouse does his best to hold off their pursuers while wielding twin double-barreled shotguns, but it's no use. It's a heartbreaking end for such a sweet side character.

    Never had a chance?