(Editor’s Note: This is an old ManWithPez.com article that is still attracting a bit of attention, mostly from people coming here after it was featured on Whedonesque. I’ll see if I can get anyone over there to link here as opposed to the old link that just leads to a 404 screen over on this site. Hey…it worked for the Mythbusters and Alcohol list, it might work again.)
Throughout fiction (and some nonfiction), there are accounts of a promised or chosen one that will either show up to solve all the problems, or enter and cause all the problems. I like them either way. I noticed something while researching this, and it’s interesting. In most of the “chosen ones” that I was able to find, they either weren’t the actual ones people were looking for, or they accomplished their prophecies through unexpected means.
I can hear it now. People swelling up in anger because their choice wasn’t on the list. Well, if it makes you feel any better, there’ll probably be at least one other chosen one list. We’re talking about fiction here…silly, fluffy fiction. So, there’s no need to get angry over this. Also, there’s many, many more chosen ones, as I’ve discovered in my research, so, if the one you like isn’t represented here, they’ll probably show up on another list later on. Sweet…Okay, let’s do it.
10. Homer Simpson – In The Simpsons episode “Homer the Great“, Homer discovers the existence of a secret society called The Stonecutters. True, it’s a thinly veiled stab at Masons, but pretty funny for all that. Homer is grandfathered in by virtue of Abe Simpson already being a member (turns out Abe is a member of a lot of things around Springfield), and becomes low ranking member #908. After he…well, he just was himself, and destroyed the “Sacred Parchment” of the group, they strip him of his member robes, discovering on his ample ass a mark designating him as “The Chosen One” who will lead The Stonecutters to glory. Does he do it? Have you forgotten who we’re talking about? Then again, how much glory could they possibly have gained? All they do is sit around drinking, and singing about the betterment of Steve Guttenberg.
9. Chandler Jarrell – In the film The Golden Child, Eddie Murphy is “The Chosen One” tasked with saving a young boy with mystical abilities (to include…no kidding…resurrection) from the powers of evil (more specifically Sardo Numspa) that seek to destroy him and wreak havoc on the countryside for the next thousand years. Now, as you’re watching the movie, there’s no doubt that Chandler will succeed. When we’re introduced to him, he’s already known for finding lost children. The trick here is watching Chandler turn from doubter to believer as he’s a practical man thrust into an unbelievable situation. Also, he tries to use the Chosen One status to make time with the ladies. If that’s not a inducement to be chosen, I don’t know what is.
8. Hellboy – From the time he shows up, you know the cute little demon that will one day grow up to be Hellboy is destined for special things. Is it the things he wants? Hell no! He was raised to perform good and try to keep evil from overtaking the world. Then again, his real name is Anung Un Rama or Beast of the Apocalypse. His right arm appears to be made of stone, and is very important to his prophecy. Among the demon set, it’s called The Right Hand of Doom, and is actually a key to keep a very nasty old dragon call Odgru Jahad on the ”other side” where he belongs. The movie saw it being used for this purpose. In the comic, it was questioned whether or not he wanted to keep the arm, but since it appears it can do what is necessary to unleash evil without being attached to him, he decides that it’s safer with him, so he can possibly prevent it being used for nefarious purposes.
6. Ashley Williams – Way, way back in Arthurian times, there was a legend of a “strange one” that would show up and destroy the Deadites (or demon possessed dead). He would bring weird weapons and quest for the unholy book, the Necronmicon Ex Mortis. When Ash is being read this from the back of said same book in present times, he doesn’t even recognize that he’s the chosen one, even though the drawing of the chosen one in the book has a chainsaw for a hand! Things get off to a bumpy start(the first lines of Army of Darkness is “My name is Ash, and I am a slave”), but soon, no one can argue that clearly, he was sent here to kick ass. And, that’s what he does. Of course, he manages to unwittingly create an army of the undead in the process, but that doesn’t mean he won’t stick around to solve all the problems. That’s the problem with Ash…he seems able to help others, but not himself in any meaningful way. Actually, he kind of seems too stupid to help himself, but as you’ll find out, that’s just not the case.
5. Harry Potter – At the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we find out that there’s two people Voldemort could have gone after the night he killed Harry’s parents. Neville Longbottom also fit the bill in the very ambiguous prophecy presented to Dumbledore during a job interview. And, for a time, it appears that Neville might actually be the one meant to kill Voldemort. But, that wouldn’t make for high drama with a title character, would it? Granted, Neville plays his part in the proceedings, but Harry Potter is the one meant to kill the Dark Lord. Something over which Albus Dumbledore frets for some time. By the time we get to the end of things, there’s no question…Harry has been provided with all the knowledge and tools necessary to do the job. The trick is…can he do it before the much more powerful Voldemort whacks him first? The answer will probably surprise you.
4. Neo/Thomas A. Anderson – The Matrix, for all it’s reality warping strangeness, provides us with a Chosen One to rival our number one on the list. It’s too bad that in the course of things, he never seems to live up to his true potential. If The Matrix is meant to be reality, and The One can bend it to his will…why does he even bother beating the shit out of Agents? I guess it’s fun, but…come on. You can rewrite reality…how was this even stretched into a trilogy? Anyways, beyond The Matrix, we find out that Tom…sorry, Neo is special because he was picked to perform a very important duty. Also, it turns out that Neo, even outside The Matrix, is a significant being in his own right. I know everyone who ever felt boring or average latched on to this movie, and with good reason. How would you like to wake up one day and discover suddenly that there’s NOTHING you can’t do.
3. Buffy Summers – Sunnydale, California is sitting on the mouth of hell. Luckily for the town, The Slayer is in residence. Buffy The Vampire Slayer relates the story of a young girl with superhuman powers, relegated to her for reasons unknown. What we do know is that in every generation, a young woman is chosen to fight the demons, vampires, and other forces of evil. To assist her in these matters, a shadowy council of Watchers provides her with a mentor. Buffy’s friends and colleagues also help her in her goal. Granted, Buffy goes (SPOILER IN LINK!) down in history as one of the best Slayers (as we find out later), she doesn’t keep exclusive company, as before the show is over, there are Slayers everywhere. The best parts of the show, for me, however, is that being the Chosen One doesn’t mean you don’t have a curfew, or that your mother will get you a car. Buffy’s status as The Slayer conflicts mightily with her need to have an ordinary life, but it’s her attempts to stay normal that, most likely, keep her alive much longer than most of the Chosen girls.
2. Anakin Skywalker – In Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Tollbooth, or whatever the hell that movie’s called, we learn that there is a Jedi prophecy of a being who will bring balance to The Force. Well…say hello to balance on the end of a lightsaber. Anakin Skywalker isn’t just Force adept…He’s made of The Force, literally (or whatever disgusting parasites Lucas decided were the cause of the whole mess). He also seems to be made of rage and jealousy. How could the Jedi not look around at the hundreds of their number…realize that there were two Sith running around, and not wonder what “Bring balance” means? Oh, and Anakin will be bringing balance is a most mathematical way. By the next movie, you can see that his training progress is a bit stunted, but the dangerous center of Anakin is almost always at the surface. There’s no escaping what’s going to happen, and by the time he becomes Darth Vader, he’s earned all the bad will that’s coming his way in later movies.
1. Paul Atreides – In Dune, the Benihana witches have a prophecy concerning the Quisinart. Sorry…the Bene Gesserit have a prophecy concerning the Kwisatz Haderach, or the culmination of their centuries long breeding program to produce the perfect being. In the novel Dune, they think they’ve found it with Paul Atreides. Not so fast. What’s the good of producing such a poweful being if you can’t control him? That’s the crux of the story. After Paul has been transported to Arrakis with his family so that they can control the production of the spice melange, Paul begins to recognize his own worth. He can do miraculous things…he can see the future (kinda), he can survive things that no man should be able to…hell, he can even make it rain on a desert planet that has no water on it. Now, I’m not going to spoil things here, but I can tell you this…not everything is as it appears in this book. You would do well to read at least the core Dune books. But, for the time being, Paul Muad’dib is my choice for favorite chosen one.
There they are. My favorite chosen ones. The great thing about this list is that there are so many chosen ones that I can do another, maybe two more lists comfortably. So, if you didn’t see someone you like here, they may turn up later on. Have faith…maybe a chosen one will rescue you. Unless it’s one of those ones that destroys everything. In that case…Run.