Over the past couple of months we polled you, the Fandomania visitors, and assembled a list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters of All Time, based entirely on your votes. The amount of input and feedback we received before, during, and after this project has been staggering. Now that all 100 characters have been revealed, we’ve gotten a lot of requests from people interested in seeing who didn’t quite make the cut, who the Fandomania staff voted for, and what surprised us about the results.
Just Missed the Cut
After tabulating all the results, we found that somewhere around 600 unique fictional characters were submitted in this poll. Since we featured only the top 100, that left quite a few out in the cold. Here’s a rundown of the 20 characters who just missed the cut:
101. Loki (Mythology / Marvel Comics)
102. Booster Gold (DC Comics)
103. Zeus (Mythology)
104. Chandler Bing (Friends)
105. Silver Surfer (Marvel Comics)
106. Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie character)
107. Robin (DC Comics)
108. Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein character)
109. Ford Prefect (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
110. Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind)
111. Darth Revan (Star Wars)
112. Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility)
113. Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
114. Don Draper (Mad Men)
115. Fox Mulder (The X-Files)
116. Thanos (Marvel Comics)
117. Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
118. Gaius Baltar (Battlestar Galactica)
119. John Locke (Lost)
120. C.J. Cregg (The West Wing)
Not Enough Love
On the other end of the spectrum, there were quite a few big-name characters who received a surprisingly small number of votes. These characters are 20 of the low end vote getters, having received only 1 vote each:
- Jaime Sommers (The Bionic Woman)
- Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
- Garfield (Cartoons)
- Silent Bob (Kevin Smith movies)
- Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert character)
- Big Bird (Sesame Street)
- Ianto Jones (Torchwood)
- Viola (Twelfth Night)
- Donald Duck (Disney)
- Thomas Magnum (Magnum PI)
- Scott Pilgrim (Comics)
- Princess Zelda (Legend of Zelda)
- Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal monsters)
- Philip Marlowe (Raymond Chandler character)
- Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)
- Dr. Percival Cox (Scrubs)
- Danny Ocean (Oceans Eleven / Twelve / Thirteen)
- Snake Plissken (Escape from New York / LA)
- Hiro Nakamura (Heroes)
- Rick Deckard (Blade Runner)
Biggest Surprise of All
When I initially had the idea for this poll, I had an idea of which characters would show up in the top 10. I was correct about a number of them, but one character I expected to see at least in the top 20 was Jack Bauer from 24. As it turns out, by some strange twist of fate, Jack Bauer received absolutely no votes at all, out of all the entries we received.
Who I Voted For
As the engineer of this project, I’ve had a lot of people asking me who I submitted as my top 10 characters. Now that the results are in, here’s who I sent in, in order:
1. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – ended up at #3
2. G’kar (Babylon 5) – ended up at #47
3. Roland Deschain (The Dark Tower) – not in top 100
4. Han Solo (Star Wars) – ended up at #15
5. Sydney Bristow (Alias) – not in top 100
6. Al Swearengen (Deadwood) – not in top 100
7. Cthulhu (HP Lovecraft character) – ended up at #36
8. Daredevil (Marvel Comics) – not in top 100
9. Elektra (Marvel Comics) – not in top 100
10. Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie character) – not in top 100
Who Celeste Voted For
1. The Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who) – ended up at #4
2. Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel) – not in top 100
3. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel) – ended up at #85
4. G’kar (Babylon 5) – ended up at #47
5. Raistlin Majere (Dragonlance) – ended up at #95
6. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider) – not in top 100
7. Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings) – ended up at #33
8. Guybrush Threepwood (Monkey Island) – ended up at #93
9. Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy) – not in top 100
10. Hamlet (Hamlet) – ended up at #16
Did your characters make the list? Are there any results that surprised you? Feel free to discuss the project and the results in the comments, and you also can share your own top 10 if you’d like.
Where are our 5th Element votes? I am still shocked!
I will second that. Shocking that Jack Bauer did not get one single vote. Very surprising indeed! I guess he just didn’t make anyone’s top ten. :/
On the podcast, you said you may do another one of these polls in the future. I would suggest doing a top movies of all time. So many to choose from. It would be interesting to see what older films and newer films make the cut. Alternatively, there is always top books and tv shows. In fact, I am a huge reader and think it would interesting to see which books would rank highest.
Keep up the great work! And congrats on the wedding! I just got married in July myself. :)
Ginny: Leeloo was #222, and Zorg was #309. No other Fifth Element characters made the list.
Jenni Lou: Celeste and I talked about the Bauer thing a little more, and we both think it was one of those situations where the people who would have voted for him assumed that he was a shoe in already, so they voted for other people. And thanks for the suggestions for the lists. Those sound like great ideas, and we’ll definitely keep them in mind when we’re ready to start up another big poll event. Thanks for listening!
I suppose it’s not really surprising that so many of the names come from current or very recent American TV shows and comics and JRPGs, given the demographics of the site, but come on – is Superman *really* a greater character than Hamlet? Superman isn’t a character at all, he’s just a collection of attributes. Even TV series before the mid-90s have been ignored (other than Star Trek) – where are Number 6 (from “The Prisoner), John Steed, Agent Cooper, Columbo, MacGyver, and B.A. Baracus? You don’t get much more iconic than them.
The lack of characters from literature is just as strange. Now I say this not to be snobbish, because of course there are great and enduring characters in pulp or popular fiction, but it’s a shame that some of the great characters of past fiction and legend didn’t make it. I’m really surprised that Heathcliff doesn’t appear in the list. Don Quixote is another obvious candidate – the first great comic anti-hero. Also, Hercules and Odysseus managed to make the cut, but not the far more interestingly flawed Achilles – and what about the original superman, Gilgamesh? Two-thirds god and one-third man, Gilgamesh terrorised his own subjects, fought magical ogres and divine beasts, only to become obsessed with his own mortality and desperate to find a way to beat death. Forget Wolverine, that’s the original right there.
Other notables: what about Richard from “Richard III”? Shylock from “The Merchant of Venice”? Similarly, Fagin from “Oliver Twist”? Jeeves from the P.G. Wodehouse books? Long John Silver from “Treasure Island”? Gil-Martin from “The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner” by James Hogg – in my opinion the greatest villain ever written? Alec d’Urberville from “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the ultimate smooth-talking bar steward? All of those are a lot more interesting than *Lois Lane* fergawdsake.
Having said all that, where the hell is Rorschach?
I’m really curious about all the comic book and anime/manga characters that made the list after top 120.