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Captain My Captain: 8 Other Random Non-American Captains Geeks Love

Captain My Captain: 8 Other Random Non-American Captains Geeks Love

Helga Esteb / Splash News

Today, the shield-flinging stand-up all-around nice guy Steve Rogers returns to the big screen in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Solider. And though Chris Evan’s portrayal of the nicest superhero (save for maybe Superman) has captured the hearts of millions both in and out of real life, he’s not the only popular geeky icon with “Captain” hanging around his name. Pop culture sure does love throwing this word with another name to make a hero (or villain!) even cooler than they seemed without it. More than just a rank “Captain” lets us all know the obvious: these people mean business.

Here are 8 other Captains—other than America—that we love.

8. Sky Captain (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)

Released in 2004, this intentionally anachronistic film featured an alternate-universe 1939 in which airships frequently dock with the Empire State Building and giant robots (straight from the pages of Golden-Age Superman comics) rampage Manhattan. With literally no introduction, Sky Captain simply declares he’s “on his way.” With a plane that turns into a submarine and a whole fleet of pals in the Flying Legion, Sky Captain is one sepia-toned superhero who sort of got shafted out of a sequel.

7. Captain Planet (Captain Planet and the Planeteers)

Perhaps more recently remembered in the satirical live-action version played by Don Cheadle featured on Funny or Die, Captain Planet began his life as the hero of a 90’s cartoon primarily preoccupied with eco-justice. Fighting evils of environmental concerns, Captain Planet only could exist when the various Planeteers combined their “powers” to summon him. Why they didn’t always just call him right away was never clear, and really did beg the question as to where he was before being summoned.

6. Captain Cold (DC Comics)

This guy’s name real name is Leonard Snart and is the only Captain on this list who is actually a bad guy. Captains don’t have to be good! Though kind of a knock-off of Mr. Freeze (why not Captain Freeze, eh?) this master of all things frozen was a sworn-enemy of the Flash. Like the various super villains living in Gotham City, one wonders why Captain Cold didn’t relocate to somewhere other than Central City, home of the Flash. Then again, the Flash could probably catch him fairly easily…

5. Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics & DC Comics)

Depending on how you look at it, Captain Marvel is either a character originating in 1967 in Marvel Comics OR a character from DC Comics who first showed up in 1939 (or 1940, depending on what you count as a “official”). The DC Captain Marvel is better known as Shazam who activates his powers by uttering the word—wait for it—SHAZAM! The Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics has gone by many names, but most recently in 2012, former Ms. Marvel—Carol Danvers—started calling herself Captain. This allowed a brand new Ms. Marvel to show up VERY recently in the form of Kamala Khan who is the current Ms. Marvel.

4. Captain Thrace, Captain Adama, Et. Al. (Battlestar Galactica)

On the rebooted version of Battlestar Galactica the “CAG” or Commander of the Airgroup frequently gets the rank of Captain. This starts with Lee Adama being Captain Adama, but then he gets promoted to “Commander” (a higher rank than Captain in BSG) But then Lee becomes a Major, and Starback, AKA Kara Thrace stops being Lt. Thrace and becomes Captain Thrace. Even when Kara isn’t flying her Viper fighter, several crew members of Galactica can’t help but still call her “Cap.”

3. Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who, Torchwood)

One of two Captain Jacks on this list, the immortal Captain Jack Harkness first showed up in the Doctor Who universe back in 2005 with the episode “The Empty Child.” First a time agent, then a con-man, and later a leader of Torchwood 3, Captain Jack has taken on several guises. Where does his rank come from? Well, it’s all revealed in a Torchwood episode with the dubious title “Captain Jack Harkness.”

2. Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean movies)

Perhaps the best scene in any of the Pirates movies occurs in the first one. When facing imminent execution and listening to a list of charges being read against him, Jack Sparrow feels it necessary to continuously insert “Captain” before his name as they law berates him. Did Jack really do any sort of formal training to earn this rank? Did his literary ancestor, Captain Hook?

1. Captain Kirk (Star Trek)

We could list a lot of the Star Trek Captains here (and there are a lot!) but James T. Kirk seems the most relevant, if only because it seems like he’s always destined to be “Captain.” In the classic films, Kirk gets promoted to Admiral in Star Trek II, only to get busted back down to Captain by Star Trek IV. (Kirk stole and blew up the Enterprise, which is about all it takes to get de-Admiraled.) In the new films, James Kirk doesn’t start the first Star Trek movie as anything other than Cadet Kirk, but within like 45 minutes, he’s totally the Captain. Of all the people on this list, this seems to be more part of a character’s actual name than anyone!

Which of your favorite Captains were left off? How pumped are you for the new Captain America?

Tags: movies, marvel, captain america, marvel entertainment, captain america: the winter soldier

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About the Author
Ryan Britt

Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths, forthcoming from Plume (Penguin) Books on 11.24.15. He's written for The New York Times, Electric Literature, The Awl, VICE Motherboard, Clarkesworld Magazine, and is a consulting editor for Story Magazine. He lives in New York City.

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