Goofy Side Characters Who Are Low-Key Geniuses

Over 100 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Goofy Side Characters Who Are Low-Key Geniuses
Voting Rules
Vote up the silly sidekicks who had more going on than they get credit for.

There are few tropes as widespread across cinema as silly side characters who are actually smart. Whether they're a huge goof with one secret savant-like skill or have just been putting on a guise to hide their big brains, these characters are a film constant that spreads across all genres. From Luna Lovegood dropping her act to advise Harry in a young adult fantasy world, all the way to Silent Bob finally speaking to a lovesick Dante in a grungy R-rated comedy, these silly sages can't be escaped. 

It's about time these characters go head-to-head to finally decide who the smartest sidekick characters actually are. 

  • Samwise Gamgee
    Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema

    Samwise Gamgee is a silly, modest being, even by the standards of hobbits. He only gets caught up in the journey in the first place because while gardening for Frodo, he accidentally falls into view. Gandalf decides that he will make a great companion for Frodo and sends him along with his friend. 

    While Sam stumbled into the journey, he is a huge part of its success. When Frodo is believed to be deceased for a time, Samwise takes up the journey on his own and tasks himself with destroying the ring. Sam is one of two beings to ever willingly give up the ring. The other is Bilbo, and not even he surrendered it as easily as Samwise.

    76 votes
  • 2
    48 VOTES
    Photo: The Emperor's New Groove / Buena Vista Pictures

    Referring to Kronk as a "genius" in the traditional sense doesn't make a lot of sense, but as the old saying goes, "You can't judge a fish by how well it can climb a tree." Kronk may not be able to understand simple commands or tasks (or possess the mental capacity to remember which lever to pull). Still, he's an incredible chef and is almost superhuman in his athletic abilities.

    In truth, Yzma is trying to make Kronk into something he isn't. In the straight-to-DVD sequel, audiences are finally able to see Kronk do something he excels at, as he now works as the head chef of Mudka's Meat Hut. In the cartoon series, by the final episode, Kuzco finally realizes Kronk's genius and appoints him as his new advisor with Yzma as his helper.  

    48 votes
  • 3
    81 VOTES
    Luna Lovegood
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Luna Lovegood is the very personification of the word "quirky." She's absent-minded to the extreme, but at the same time, has a warmth and charm that she brings with her. She has a relatively small role in the Harry Potter franchise, yet she carries with her a cult following. An important aspect of this character is that while she seems ditzy, she was sorted into Ravenclaw - not Hufflepuff, as one might have expected. 

    While she seems silly in the early part of the franchise, she eventually comes to be a leader in Dumbledore's Army, the in-school rebellion that is working to prepare for the coming wizard war. Not exactly what the audience initially expects from Lovegood, but she's full of surprises. She's incredibly wise and unfazed by the silly actions of the students around her, even when they are hiding her possessions from her. As she explains to Harry, things often have a way of coming back to us, even if they aren't how you expect them to. 

    Luna has one of her most insightful moments at a time when Harry is at his lowest. Harry feels like no one believes him in regards to Voldemort's return, and Luna assures Harry that she believes him and that she suspects others do, as well, but Voldemort wants Harry to feel alone as part of his scheme. 

    81 votes
  • 4
    41 VOTES

    Luis's overly specific flashback stories are one of the comedic high points of the MCU, but the character himself is much more than a joke. While a character who was imprisoned for swiping smoothie machines doesn't exactly seem like a genius, Luis is the brains behind nabbing the Ant-Man suit and is later integral in breaking into one of the highest-security tech companies in the world, Pym Technologies. 

    Luis later starts a company with Scott known as X-Con Industries, and he displays how much he has grown by how seriously he takes his new company (a lot more seriously than Scott, for that matter). Luis is hilarious, but that doesn't mean he should be counted out. 

    41 votes
  • 5
    43 VOTES
    Photo: The Wizard of Oz / Loew's, Inc

    Scarecrow reigns supreme as the prototypical silly sidekick who turns out to be a genius. When Dorothy first meets Scarecrow, he is dangling around (as scarecrows typically do) and laments the fact that he has a head full of straw instead of a brain. He agrees to accompany Dorothy on her mission in the hopes that the wizard in the Emerald City will be able to grant him a brain. 

    While he doesn't think he's smart, Scarecrow is the one who comes up with a plan to rescue Dorothy in the movie. At the end of the film, the "wizard" tells Scarecrow that he's had a brain the whole time. After Scarecrow is given a diploma, he's instantly able to recite math formulas. As it turns out, what Scarecrow really lacked was confidence. 

    43 votes
  • 6
    26 VOTES

    Duckie Dale

    Duckie Dale
    Photo: Pretty In Pink / Paramount Pictures

    Pretty in Pink follows two young lovers, Andie and Blaine, from different sides of the tracks. Throughout their tumultuous relationship, Duckie, Andie's best friend, is waiting on the sidelines, hoping to swoop in for his chance with Andie. 

    While Duckie never ends up with Andie, he does get a chance to prove himself in the film. While Blaine is allowing his friends to get in the way of his relationship with Andie, Duckie steps in and fights Steff, the cool older guy who is bullying Andie. In the end, Duckie is smart enough to put his feelings for Andie aside and realize that she and Blaine are good together. 

    26 votes