We have all had some form of mentoring in our life. Whether it was a teacher at school, a parent/guardian/older sibling at home, or an awesome boss at work. For some of us Nerds, we have had other influences effect us through pop culture. Here is a short list of some top mentors and their pupils from nerd culture over the years in movies, TV, comics, and books.
#5) Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-San
Sorry to disappoint anyone born after 2000, but Jaden Smith is not the Karate Kid, and Jackie Chan is not the real Mr. Miyagi, though both did well in the recent reboot. Old person spoiler alert! Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1984 for this role, the original Mr. Miyagi was fantastically played by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. For those that might not know, The Karate Kid is a story about a troubled teen with anger issues, Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio). Through Mr. Miyagi's guidance and famous quotes like "Wax on, wax off," Daniel learns to channel his strength and energy through the ancient Japanese art form that is Karate... and waxing cars of course!
#4) Professor X and the X-Men
Out of the many teachers/leaders for superhero squads, Professor Charles Xavier really fits the "mentor" role the best. Professor X not only mentored the core group of X-Men that we all know an love, but in both the comic books and movies, he opened a school specifically to help mutant children learn to wield their powers responsibly. X-Men was an interesting entry into the comic scene in 1963, because they added a twist on how we saw our "cape-crusaders." Before them, every other superhero was either an alien from another world, or the result of a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong. X-Men basically introduced the concept that through genetic mutation, superheros/villains were now born, like everyone else.
#3) The Oracle and Neo
Neo : "But if you already know, how can I make a choice?"
The Oracle: "Because you didn't come here to make the choice, you've already made it. You're here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you'd have figured that out by now."
The first Matrix movie, released in 1999, blew audiences minds with its ground-breaking visual effects and deep, philosophical story. The main character of the series is Mr. Anderson, aka Neo, played by Keanu Reeves. In the movie, humans have lost the Earth to machines and now most of them unknowingly live in a virtually simulated world (the Matrix), when in reality they are in a mechanical prison built by their captures. Neo is an anomaly or glitch in the system that can break the rules and limitations of the Matrix and his goal is to try and wake people up from this false world, all the while trying to save the last human city of Zion. To do this, he needs a lot of help and advice. Though he has lots of people teach him on his path to discovering he is the One, none more shine brighter than the Oracle. The Oracle in the movie is considered the "Mother" of the Matrix, and is basically omnipotent. Neo constantly seeks her out in the series for advice on how to proceed in the battle against the machines and what the meaning of life is after his "awakening." The part of the Oracle was played by actress Gloria Foster in both the first and second films, but tragically, she passed away during the series. The role was reprized by Mary Alice in the third film.
#2) Master Splinter and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Who knew we could all grow to love a giant rat and some mutated reptiles! TMNT has been a nerd classic since it stepped onto the scene in a comic book in 1984. Soon to follow was a cartoon series, a movie franchise, and a merchandising frenzy. The story of TMNT is that 4 young turtles and an older rat get transformed into human-sized, crime fighting machines via Ooze, a genetically enhancing substance that accidentally seeped into the sewer. These masked vigilantes try to live in secret in said sewers, training in Ninjitsu by their sensie, Master Splinter. Splinter has his hands full as these turtles have a maturity level of teenagers; goofing off, exploring and wandering off when they shouldn't, and of course, uncontrollable urges for greasy pizza! Whenever the Turtles run into a problem they can't solve, Master Splinter always has a solution, or at least a way advice to help them find the answer. Though portrayed as old with a walking cane, Splinter is a master Ninja with the speed and skills to match.
#1) Yoda and Luke Skywalker
Star Wars as a franchise most certainly speaks for itself in popularity. It is probably the most followed movie series in history if you consider how many fan-projects, books, cartoons, video games, and everything else that has come from it. One of the major concepts of the movies is the there are these people called Jedi, that can use this almost spiritual power called the Force. Now as most know, the first 3 movies were actually #'s 4, 5, &6 in the series. Originally, the Force was something that anybody could wield if the had enough mental clarity and constitution. This is one factor that helped millions of Star Wars fans identify with the movie. However, many of these same fans felt betrayed when entries # 1, 2, & 3 came out and messed up the whole theology some say. In these entries, the mysticism was tried to explained scientifically as some people have things called Metacholrians, and some people, actually most people don't. SCREW YOU LUCAS! Why did you have to make it an elitist thing! ...*Cough* ... *Gathers composure* ... Ahem... as I was saying:
Young Jedi are called Padawans, and they were trained by older and wiser mentors, none more prominent then Yoda. After Luke Skywalker cruises the galaxy a bit as a freedom fighter, he crash lands on Degoba, where he meets Yoda and starts his intensive Jedi training. Yoda we later find out was the head of the Jedi Order in the later movies. That more or less makes him the most knowledgeable person of the Force in the universe. Though Luke has some minor training from Obi-Wan Kenobi, training with Yoda seems to be one of the turning points for Luke on knowing his power and path in life. Though portrayed as old and mostly famous for his quirky yet insightful way of talking, Yoda is not afraid to wield his lightsaber as shown in second installment, The Clone Wars. Every Sci-Fi Nerd both young and old has to give credit to Yoda!
These are just some of my favorite Nerd Mentors throughout the years, but I most certainly couldn't list them all. So please leave a comment below and let us know who are some your most favorite Mentors in Nerd Culture!
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