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Geeky Parent Guide: Great Dads in Geekdom

There are amazing parental figures in the fictional world, and as we recently celebrated Father’s Day, it seems fitting to highlight a few geeky dads. There are plenty of them out there, but some don’t always follow the traditional sense of being a father. Sometimes, a person helps raise a youngling, lets his child learn by making choices, or takes care of those under his command even when uncertain or uncomfortable with that role.

If you happen to spot a character where you’re unfamiliar with the show and would like to avoid any spoilers, please consider this your spoiler warning.

Grogu chair

Din Djarin (a.k.a. Mando, a.k.a. the Mandalorian)

Children: Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda)

The Mandalorian is the quintessential father-son show. One could probably add a lighthearted, cheesy, ’80s-style intro where we see hijinks from Din (played by Pedro Pascal) and Grogu. It would be hilarious and probably similar to the scenarios we see play out as Mando takes care of “the child.”

From playing with his food (before eating frogs), or using part of Din’s ship as a toy, there are moments where we see a child wanting to play and Mando having to parent in those moments. We all remember Grogu spinning around the chair in season 3, right? All of these funny moments are just a part of the bond shared between them. Both have saved each other from death, and they’ve come to rely on each other – and it’s undeniable how much they care for one another.

Grogu literally chose to be with Din rather than train to be a Jedi. Bo-Katan even talked about Mando as a father before he formally adopted him at the end of season 3. I will pull a quote I used a while ago which helps me paint the best parenting picture I can imagine anywhere, let alone in a galaxy far, far away:

“…[getting] to watch space dad, a.k.a. Mando, sitting on a porch with his feet kicked up as he watches over his son, a.k.a. Grogu, as he plays. Come on – how is that not a perfect scene?”

Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Children: Violet and Tiago Rodriguez

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion was a great show. Yes, I might still be bummed it was cancelled. Juan Carlos (played by Juan Alfonso) is a great father in this Disney show where his daughter, unbeknownst to him, is a superhero. Yes, the show focuses on Violet adjusting to her new superhero role, but Juan Carlos has an expanded role at providing advice and always seems to be a “calming presence when it comes to difficult situations.”

It’s incredibly powerful to see a father figure deal with situations in such a way that relays a positive message, while also highlighting how important communication is to a healthy relationship. If Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion were to continue onto a second season, I can imagine his substantial role as a positive force in Violet’s life would grow.

Kanan Ezra

Kanan Jarrus

Children: Jacen Syndulla (and Ezra Bridger)

It’s not every day that a father gets to be a hero. Not in the traditional sense of being a good parent, but actually do what’s needed for the greater good or to protect those they love. In this case, Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.) never met his biological son Jacen, but he did bestow a positive influence as a surrogate father-figure to Ezra.

Yes, he sacrificed himself to save his Ghost family during season 4 of Rebels, but he provided such a thoughtful path to others around him. Even when he lost his sight after a battle with Maul, he was able to eventually find a way to move forward and let those around him know that life doesn’t have to stand still.

Possibly his greatest achievement wass how he let Ezra make decisions, like when he trusted Maul, but always standing by his Padawan. Despite it going horribly wrong, Kanan didn’t let a catastrophic injury sway his feelings towards Ezra or place blame on him. He found a way to show support, while also asking for Ezra’s help. At some point, parents have to let their kids make tough decisions, but, in the end, they have to know they’re always welcome and have a safe space to return to.

Walter Peter 1

Walter Bishop

Children: Peter Bishop

I don’t think I could ever make a list like this and leave off Walter Bishop (played by John Noble), an incredibly brilliant mind and, quite possibly, as equally flawed. Although I would not dare ruin any spoiler plot points from Fringe, it’s safe to say his role as a father is instrumental in who this person is as a character. His desire to spend time with his son, the love he has for Peter, it is immeasurable.

His arrogant, unrelenting nature to find solutions to a problem may have been a driving force early in his life. But after spending 17 years in a mental institute, his fractured mind tempered that ego (a little), while the love for his son did not change at all. The bond Walter and Peter form that stems from the beginning of season 1 through season 5 manifests into this wonderful relationship where not even time and space can break it.

Also, Walter can be incredibly silly in a way that makes a person feel safe to be themselves. Maybe his style or way of doing things might appear embarrassing early on for Peter, or he’s simply being rude, but he eventually comes to recognize these many moments as delightful quirks that makes Walter unique. Walter is also not afraid to admit when he’s scared, angry, or when a mistake has happened. Walter Bishop is an excellent character for many reasons, but this brilliantly flawed father is a great reason to watch Fringe.

Picard InnerLight

Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Children: Crew of U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D (and Meribor and Batai)

How can I not mention my beloved Captain? Such an iconic character who stands for so many things, even when it means excelling at being a guardian to those aboard his ship.

“Captain Jean-Luc Picard. I wish I could say you’ve been like a father to me, but I’ve never had one, so I don’t know what it feels like, but if there was someone in this universe I could choose to be like, someone who I would want to make proud of me, it’s you.” – Tasha Yar, Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Skin of Evil

Captain Picard (played by Sir Patrick Stewart) is such an important figure in my life. His strength came from his thoughtfulness, knowing right from wrong, leading by example, and understanding his limitations. There’s a certain strength within him that seems unshakeable, while he sometimes confides in those closest to him about any unease he might feel. This vision of a great leader, uncomfortable around children, still does his best to care and protect those little ones on his ship.

His discomfort does not dismiss his duties as a Captain – or from being a very compassionate human being. Captain Picard was the father of Star Trek: The Next Generation, while also being a valued friend to many. In all of those moments, they blended together in “The Inner Light” to see what he would’ve been like as a father. The season 5 episode transports Picard to an ancient civilization where he lives out a life, becoming a part of the community, a husband, and a father.

This episode highlights Picard’s desire to help others, to watch his children grow, and the pain of living on a planet that will soon cease to sustain life – meaning that his kids will not live full lives. What greater pain could there be? Perhaps, seeing this life he had flash before his eyes equals that heartache, leaving a life long-lived far away, and realizing it was all taken away – and what’s worse, it never truly existed.

That incredible pain would equal the pain he would feel if he lost those on the Enterprise; what he did feel after the Borg turned him against the Federation. But, he endured, and the solace I found in his experiences on this fictional show will always be something I can never fully describe.

Phil FoodMoment

Phil Rosenthal

Children: Ben and Lilly

Not every geek dad needs to live within fictional worlds. Phil Rosenthal is well known as the creator, writer, and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, which saw the show and its cast win many Emmy Awards during its nine-season run with over 200 episodes. He later became a wonderful food traveler in “the James Beard Award-winning PBS documentary series, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.”

In that show, and now the highly beloved Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix, Rosenthal depicts what it means to be adventurous, scared, inviting, humble, and what we can learn when we sit down with someone and enjoy a meal. He shares his unquenchable thirst for good eats with those he encounters, while learning about different cultures and highlighting how those differences can show us how similar we can be.

Phil Rosenthal is a champion for meeting new people and connecting with them, which also makes it especially important to recognize those opportunities as a parent with my own kiddos. I want to know how they feel, if they like or don’t like something, but, more importantly, I want them to feel comfortable enough to share these things with me. Watching Somebody Feed Phil breathes that sense of hope and enthusiasm for traveling with our kids, while looking forward to regular dinners around the table.

Are there any great dads you would highlight? Share them with us in the comments or head over to Facebook and Twitter to share with us there. If you want to also take a look at amazing moms in fiction, check out “Amazing Maternal Figures in the Marvel and Star Wars Universes.”

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.

S.T. Lakata, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor



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