The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the precaution, “social distancing,” becoming a necessary way of life for many across the world. Done to minimize the spread of the virus, people have been encouraged to stay inside and maintain distance of at least six feet from others. While some have gotten used to staying inside and connecting with each other via the internet; others have gone stir crazy. With that in mind, here are five fictional characters who would be the masters of social distancing. To meet the criteria for the list, these characters had to have spent a great deal of time in isolation, whether self-imposed or otherwise.
Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
If you were told at an early age that you were the latest incarnation of a being destined to bring balance to the world, you’d definitely need some space to wrap your head around it. Such was the fate of Aang, the main character of Avatar: The Last Airbender. After being told that he was the Avatar, Aang panicked and absconded on his flying bison Appa. However, a storm threatened to kill them both and Aang triggered his Avatar State, freezing himself and Appa in an iceberg. Considering it was a thousand years before anyone discovered him, he clearly took social distancing to the extreme.
Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
“Exile on a distant planet” seems to be the Jedi way of practicing social distancing. Obi-Wan Kenobi became a hermit on Tatooine. Yoda retreated to the swamps of Dagobah. And Luke Skywalker, grappling with the weight of his legacy, retreated to the site of the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To. To further complete the “social hermit” status, Luke completely cut himself off from the Force and only came out of his hut for important things like gathering food and training Rey in the ways of the Force.
Rogue (X-Men, Marvel Comics)
Many folks have called Rogue the “Social Distancing Champion” and it’s not hard to see why. The X-Men’s resident Southern Belle has been unable to touch anyone due to the fact that her mutant power literally leeches the life off of anyone who makes skin to skin contact with her. The upside: if the person who makes contact with her has superpowers, she gains those superpowers. The downside: if she holds on too long, their psyche becomes absorbed into hers. Not to mention the fact that her on-again/off-again relationship with Gambit has mountains of sexual frustration.
Rapunzel had been practicing social distancing ever since she was a child. Abducted by the manipulative Mother Gothel, she spent the better part of eighteen years in a massive tower, never venturing out due to Gothel’s lies about the outside world being dangerous. The extent of this isolation is made evident by Rapunzel’s opening song, “When Will My Life Begin?” As Rapunzel sings about wanting to find a life outside her tower, she performs a multitude of tasks including cleaning up her room, cooking, painting, and reading; activities those practicing social distance have grown to embrace.
Ellen Ripley (Alien)
No one takes quarantine more seriously than Ellen Ripley, and for good reason. During the Nostromo’s return to Earth, one of its crew members is infected with a Xenomorph. Ripley, very wisely, refuses to let him back on the ship, citing quarantine regulations. “If we break quarantine, we could all die.” Her words prove prophetic once the Xenomorph emerges, grows to full size, and starts picking off the Nostromo crew one by one. Ripley eventually launches the Xenomorph into space and cooks it alive with her escape shuttle’s thrusters, giving new meaning to the words “social distance.”
The social distancing precautions are in full-swing means that much like these characters, we all will have to get used to a period of solitude. Are there any other fictional characters that you feel would be social distance champions?
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.