First Impressions: The Best Character Intros from Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies

Illustration for article titled First Impressions: The Best Character Intros from Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies

The most memorable characters in science fiction and fantasy are often the people who made a huge impression the very first time we meet them. Who can possibly forget the first time you saw the face of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, or heard the voice of HAL for the first time? A great character intro leaves a lasting impression on your mind.


Here are the absolute greatest character introductions from science fiction and fantasy movies.

Dr. Peter Venkman - Ghostbusters
Bill Murray is the only person we know who can pull off the torture-flirt — as the hero of Ghostbusters, Venkman. This introduction is not only hilarious, but it also sets the tone after for the film right after the truly terrifying librarian ghost. Has there been a movie as funny and as frightening since the original Ghostbusters?

Jessica Rabbit - Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Kathleen Turner voices the character and the singing is done by Amy Irving. The perfect pairing. Deny it all you want, but this was the first time you even considered shtupping a cartoon.

The Joker- The Dark Knight

The perfect slow burn revealing this villain's incredible intelligence and twisted reasoning. There were audible gasps in the theater, the first time Heath Ledger removes his clown mask. And even we still get chills watching the end of the Gotham bank robbery.

Jack Sparrow - Pirates of the Caribbean

A whole heap of charm on top of a mountain of eyeliner — you can't help but immediately start rooting for Jack Sparrow the second you see him sink his boat into the harbor.

The Terminator - The Terminator

The killing machine from the future has no time for your sass, Bill Paxton. Naked time traveling is one way to guarantee a memorable entrance.

Darth Vader - Star Wars (A New Hope)

The fog, the salute, the music and the breathing together combine to create a great entrance for the world's most feared villain.

Willy Wonka - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The kids might be singing the "Candyman" song in the beginning of Mel Stuart's Wonka, but the second Gene Wilder steps on his candy carpet, you know shit is about to change for these spoiled children. So creepy — but we would still follow him into a dark factory, if he promised us sweeties any day.

Alex - A Clockwork Orange

The most intense introduction of them all. The music, the look, the eyelashes...and milk? You really don't know what to think staring into Malcolm McDowell's eyes, but you know you're uncomfortable. Which is exactly how you should feel.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter - Rocky Horror Picture Show

Wearing the hell out of a pair of white sparkle heels and garters, Tim Curry steals the entire zany musical in one gorgeous song. There is no better way to meet such a "Sweet Transvestite."

Batman - Batman

You can have your Christian Bale whooping-cough voice, we'll take Michael Keaton whispering "I'm Batman" any day.

Hit Girl - Kick-Ass

Watching Nic Cage pump bullets into his daughter's chest is only made more delightfully horrific by Chloë Grace Moretz's squeals and delivery. Love that the first time we meet this family of vigilante is through bullets and hot fudge sundaes.

Indiana Jones - Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Spending most of the first few minutes in the dark, foiling poachers and backstabbers. It's not until Indy gets out his whip that we get to see that smug, scruffy son of a bitch. Then he proceeds to go on a gladiator-style adventure through traps, darts and narrowly escaping a giant boulder thus sparking a massive increase in Archaeology Majors across the country.

Santanico Pandemonium - From Dusk Till Dawn

Best use of tequila on film?

Castor Troy - Face Off

We dare you to find a character introduction and more insane than that of Castor Troy in John Woo's Face/Off. First Nic Cage shoots a child, then he dresses up as a priest, plants a bomb, sings "Hallelujah," gropes a choir girl's ass, and lands this line on the population of our Earth, "You know I could eat a peach for hours." Thank you and goodnight, all other characters in history!

Xenomorph - Alien
There is no scene in the long franchise of Alien that can ever live up to the chestburster. It is the the defining part of this horror series. No monster or person has ever topped this entrance — except for maybe in Spaceballs.

Blade - Blade

A lot of folks were worried that the Blade movie would be a bit cheesy. But when Wesley Snipes strolled into a vampire blood orgy and started cutting up a bunch of clubbing fangers, our hesitations were silenced. At least until Blade 3.

HAL 9000 - 2001: A Space Odyssey
No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake, they are incapable of error. Chilling.

The Devil - Constantine

HOLY CRAP, I can not believe I forgot Peter Stormare's Satan. The entire movie lead up to this scene, and it is a doozy. Thank you for reminding me commenters, this is one of the best.



I thought The Frighteners was a wonderful blend of funny/scary. It seems light-hearted at first but then shit gets real. It's a truly excellent movie, and I highly recommend it.

ETA: On the subject of Ghostbusters-esque scary/funny movies, that is.