The Fourth of July weekend is coming up, and while we commemorate America’s Revolutionary War, Fandomania is taking a look at ten other memorable but fictional revolutions.
10. Marvel: Dark Reign
SHIELD was the supreme governmental agency in the Marvel Universe for many, many years. Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) took over the organization as Director in the wake of the Marvel Civil War. Following the alien Skrulls’ failed attempt to invade Earth, Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) successfully pulled off a mostly peaceful coup that replaced SHIELD with his own organization HAMMER, sent Tony Stark on the lam, and installed a new cabal of shadow leaders including Dr. Doom and Loki to run the world.
9. Animal Farm
George Orwell’s classic novel mirrors the events of pre-World War II Stalinism with the tale of a determined group of farm animals attempting to overthrow their human oppressors in order to take over the farm themselves.
8. Harry Potter
Revolutions abound in J. K. Rowling’s series about the adventures of a boy wizard. The first significant rebellion is in the Hogwarts students’ formation of Dumbledore’s Army, lead by Harry Potter in protestation of Dolores Umbridge’s tyrannical rule as Headmaster. Later, in the final volume of the series, a more brutal revolt takes place as Voldemort leads his Death Eaters to overthrow the Ministry of Magic, effectively supplanting the magical ruling body with villainy.
The musical Wicked differs from the original novel in many areas, one of which being the omission of the Wizard’s rise to power. In the novel we learn that he deposed the Ozma Regent and tricked and cajoled his way into leadership of the Oz government, something we definitely wouldn’t have seen in the Judy Garland movie.
6. Half-Life 2
Set in the dystopian City 17, Half-Life 2 depicts a society oppressed by an organization called the Combine. Scientist Gordon Freeman joins and eventually leads a guerrilla revolt to topple the regime and to face the head of the Combine, Dr. Wallace Breen.
In the late 20th century, Skynet becomes sentient and launches nuclear attacks against its human creators, eventually leading to the rise of the Terminators and the fall of humanity. The war that follows has the humans deposed by machines as they fight a desperate battle to reclaim their world.
4. Red Faction
The Red Faction universe depicts Mars as a planet in turmoil, originally settled by Earth but now governed by an oppressive corporate government. All the games in the series play from the side of revolutionaries, fighting to free their people and establish their own set of laws and governing body.
3. Battlestar Galactica
The reimagined Battlestar Galactica series is rife with political upheaval as the government changes hands and shifts in and out of martial law on a nearly weekly basis. The biggest revolution came not from the humans, though, but from the robotic Cylons when they cast off their subservient chains and rebelled against their makers.
2. Babylon 5
Babylon 5 is a very political series, full of intrigue and betrayal at the highest levels of government. As the story unfolds it eventually becomes a story of rebellion as a lone space station builds an army to overthrow the corrupt Earth government. At the same time, humans on Mars are revolting in a conflict that very closely resembles the one depicted in the Red Faction games mentioned above.
1. Star Wars
How could we have a list of fictional rebellions without topping it with Star Wars? From Palpatine’s manipulative and underhanded coup to form the Empire in the prequels to the Rebel Alliance’s reclamation of the galaxy in the classic trilogy, it’s hard to find a fictional series more rooted in the spirit of revolution.
Honorable Mention: The Matrix
Sure, The Matrix and its two sequels are all about the humans revolting against the machines, but there’s a very good reason that the series didn’t make it into the top ten: The Matrix is a fantastic movie, but Revolutions and Reloaded are horrendously bad. Still, it warrants a mention, as long as we try to forget everything that happens after Keanu starts flying.