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Supporting characters reveal the true nature of the protagonist (hero)

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Supporting character

The responsibility of the supporting characters is to forward the plot of the film and to assist in defining the character of the protagonist. The protagonist's relationship to the supporting characters tells us what he or she is like as a person. A mere battle with the antagonist gives the viewer only one point of view to the protagonist. With the help of an ordinary, weak, helpless or even mean supporting character the protagonist's character can be advanced.

In Finnish films, supporting characters have been aptly played by, for example, Leo Jokela as the detective Kokki in "Inspector Palmu" films.

The supporting characters of a film can be categorized, for example:

  • Opposite: Han Solo of the Star Wars develops as the protagonist, but for different reasons. With an opposite the main character's motives become clearer.
  • Sidekick: Obi-wan-Kenobi of the Star Wars accepts the protagonist's weakness and helps him to achieve his goal.
  • Witness: With a witness the viewers are told something that the protagonist or the antagonist does not know.
  • Shadow or Mirror develops just like the protagonist and achieves his own goals.
  • Five-minute visitor used to lighten up the narration, often after a serious and tragic scene.


Return of the Jedi - The Shooting Script.


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