Have you ever noticed what ties all of cinema's iconic characters together? It's a streak of wild independence, usually born out of missing one or more of their parents. Most people attribute this syndrome to Disney princesses (who inevitably lack mothers), but it's true of just about every hero, antihero, and villain.
With the recent release of Jeff, Who Lives At Home we wondered what would happen to other characters if they remained living at home? Well, wonder no longer. Read on.
1. Anakin Skywalker
As we know now from the prequels, Darth Vader became the masked man he is onscreen largely because he had major mommy issues. If Qui-Jon Ginn, Obi-Wan and Amidala had never landed on Tatooine, little Anakin would have lived out his days grubbing it out in slavery, presumably until he raised enough money to buy his and his mother's freedom. He and his mom would have gotten a little house together, and he would have scraped together a living repairing machines and pod-racing. No girl could have ever competed with Mama Skywalker, let alone met with her approval, so he would have stayed single (or married extremely late), slightly reckless, and full of grand dreams for the future. Maybe someday they would come true, and maybe they wouldn't, but hey, at least he wouldn't have become a genocidal maniac, more machine than man.
2. Jeff "the Dude" Lebowski
If The Dude lived at home, his life wouldn't be radically different than what it is in the film, except that he'd be doing it all in the basement, and be better fed. His mom would occasionally come downstairs to demand to know what that smell was, badger him about getting a job and a girlfriend (though he doesn't appear to lack for money), complain about his friends, and make him do chores around the house, and if he wasn't careful, she'd throw out his beloved sweater.
3. Ellen Ripley
Forget tracking down Aliens, poor Ripley would have been subject to constant berating. "Ellen? When are you going to give up these silly ideas of traveling around in space with the corporation? Why can't you just meet a nice man – a nice Colonial Marine maybe? – and settle down and give me some grandchildren? You know men don't like a career woman, especially if she's aiming to outrank them. Ellen! I'm not getting any younger."
4. Indiana Jones
We know quite a bit about Indy's lonely childhood thanks to Last Crusade and the awkward conversations between him and his father, Henry Jones Sr. One can only imagine if Indy had stayed living at home. His dad would have always been on his case for his careless handling of antiquities and grave-robber tendencies, and would chatter at him in dead languages. The house would be a dusty clutter of papers, folders, books, and manuscripts that no one was allowed to touch because both Jones men knew "exactly where it was." The real awkwardness would come if any of Indy's girlfriends stopped by. We all know what happened when they both met Elsa Schneider.
If the situation was reversed, and Indy had his mother instead, she would relentlessly tidy his academic mess (causing outcries when he couldn't find his student papers) and complain about the fast women he ran around with. If he happened to spend a night at home, she'd cook him a solid meal ("You're too thin, Henry!") and invite that nice girl from down the street over for dinner, and excuse herself early. She would also throw out that grubby old fedora and that awful old jacket ("Oh, it smelled terrible, Henry!") and knit him a nice, cozy sweater with love in every stitch to wear instead. At night, they would listen to the wireless, and shake their heads over the ugly tidings from Europe. "Oh Henry," she'd say, "This Adolf Hitler! What's the world coming to? I hope you can stay out of that mess, for your mother's sake."
Blondie from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly appears to be a total loner with no friends, no family, or no home to call his own. But what if it was all a ruse? I'd like to think that Confederate gold was for his dear old mom and dad (and perhaps a younger sibling or two) who were struggling to get by on a hard bitten Nebraska farmstead. Every once and awhile, they'd spot his lean and sunburned figure in the distance and race out to meet him. While he was home ("Oh, I hope you stay for awhile, son!") he'd repair the roof, build fences, help plow fields, play with his siblings, and feed the livestock. Once the gold wore thin, he'd don his serape and ride off one morning for parts unknown.
6. Beatrix Kiddo
Long before she attempts to Kill Bill, her parents are charmed by her interest in Japanese culture. They happily fund her first trip to Japan as a graduation present. They're bemused by her collection of samurai swords, but brag about her growing expertise in martial arts in all their Christmas letters. But then she starts hanging out with this skeevy older guy named Bill, staying out all hours of the night, and disappearing for days on end. "It's time to have a talk with Beatrix," says her dad. "That Bill probably has her hooked on drugs." "And she's growing so thin," adds her mom. "I'm worried it's all the sushi and Pocki. A girl can't live on that."
7. Daniel Plainview
Did you see We Need to Talk About Kevin? Well, Daniel's continued residence is a little something like that. Dinner conversation is cold and stilted, and dear Daniel, from There Will Be Blood, just doesn't seem to care about anyone or anything no matter how hard his parents try. Not that his parents try excessively hard, or anything. This is the 19th century, a time of emotional reserve, and the Plainviews believe that hard work and frugality are more important than demonstrations of affection. Truth be told, Daniel's occasional angry and bombastic outbursts are a little excessive, especially when he turns them on the farm hands. Really, Daniel, the neighbors are starting to talk...
8. Charles Foster Kane
Kane's fixation with his childhood – "Rosebud" – has gone down into pop culture legend. We believe it was because he was taken from his poor parents, and raised by Walter Parks Thatcher. But what if Kane was just a big manchild despite his circumstances? I like to imagine him forever living in that Colorado boarding house, wearing knickerbockers and a sailor hat, asking why his dinner didn't come with the usual piece of stick candy, and then running out to sled downhill on Rosebud.