The Nerd Side Of Life

Snake Plissken Never Made it Off the Planet – But Kurt Russell Has!

By B.A. Walsh

According to Movieweb, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell once had plans to follow up Escape from New York (1981) and Escape from L.A.(1996) with a third movie – Escape from Earth – in which Russell’s character Snake Plissken would leave the planet. Sadly, that trilogy was never completed and Snake has remained Earthbound.

The same can’t be said for Kurt Russell, whose long acting career has included a number of sci-fi films. Most recently Russel portrayed a character that didn’t just leave the planet – he WAS a planet, Ego the Living Planet to be precise in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. (2017)

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Other movie roles Kurt Russell has had that might fall into the sci-fi genre include:

  • Steve Stonghold/The Commander in the superhero film Sky High (2005)
  • Todd 3465 in Soldier (1998). Trained from birth to fight, the soldier is dumped on a waste planet when he is deemed obsolete.  He is taken in by a group of outcasts who soon need his particular expertise to survive.
  • Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neill in the movie Stargate (1994), which spawned several TV series: Stargate SG-1 which ran for 10 seasons, Stargate Atlantis which ran for 5 seasons, and Stargate Universe which ran for 2 seasons. There have also been some TV movies and an animated series.
  • Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Okay, that might be more a fantasy than a sci-fi film for its supernatural elements, since Russell’s trucker character tries to help his friend rescue his fiancée from an ancient sorcerer. But I thought it was goofy great fun so I am including it.
  • Macready in The Thing (1982).  Although here his character didn’t leave the Earth but had to deal with a shape-shifting alien intent on murder. Creepy, Creepy, Creepy
  • Dexter Riley in a bunch of silly but fun Disney movies: Strongest Man in the World (1975) – Dexter and his friends discover a chemical that when mixed with cereal temporarily gives someone superhuman strength; Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972) – a spray is invented that makes its wearer invisible; and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) – in which Dexter has knowledge from a computer accidently downloaded into his brain.

Not to mention Russell’s appearance on Lost in Space as Quano in the episode “The Challenge” (1966).

Russell’s long career has also included a number of notable action/adventure and drama films. Which is your favorite Kurt Russel character?

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