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Nathan Fillion is a cult hero in the scif-fi world. Here's a list of his most iconic and underrated roles.

Move over, Mal: The forgotten roles of Nathan Fillion

The king of cult fandoms, Nathan Fillion is a force to be reckoned with. His name has been attached to so many different projects spanning decades and growing cult followings that we’re naming him Unofficial King of SDCC. 

On Friday, Fillion appeared on a San Diego Comic-Con panel for his hit ABC show The Rookie. The man, the legend has made several appearances over the years at the convention promoting a variety of projects.

Watching Nathan Fillion, we’re reminded of how magnificent the actor was in the 'Firefly' role of wise-cracking outlaw Mal Reynolds.

We recognize Fillion for helming Firefly, which was tragically cancelled too soon, but he’s done so much more than portray Captain Mal Reynolds. He’s played a gynecologist, an author, two different superheroes, a car, a disembodied head, an alien with a large head, and of course the oldest rookie in the LAPD.

To honor the king of the nerds, who’s been around the world and around the galaxy in entertainment, here’s a collection of Fillion’s roles you may have forgotten about: the ones that didn’t get a big Comic-Con panel and don’t have millions of Tumblr blogs dedicated to them.


The delectable Dr. Jim Pomatter is definitely Fillion’s most scandalous role. The titular character Jenna cheats on her husband with Dr. Pomatter, who is also her OB-GYN helping Jenna with an unexpected pregnancy. The dreamiest part of his entire role are the delicious pies Jim gets to enjoy from Jenna.

Fillion is a triple threat: the musical version of Waitress is expected to close on Broadway in January. It’s a perfect opportunity for him to return to the Broadway stage in one of his greatest roles. 

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon’s indie film taking a modern twist on the Shakespeare play is something special, one of the few modern films to stick to a black-and-white palette. The cast is a collection of former Whedon project actors from Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and The Avengers. The film is even shot in Whedon’s own home.

Fillion takes on the role of Dogberry from the classic play, for whom dogberryisms are named after. Though a minor role, Fillion brings his usual comedic charm and is one of the standouts. Dogberry is based on the comedian in Shakespeare’s theater company, and had Shakespeare known Fillion, he surely would’ve based it on Nathan.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

We won’t pretend this film isn’t a hot garbage fire. But Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters does feature Fillion as a god, so there is some good here. Hermes is more humble than a lot of the gods as he serves as the messenger of Mount Olympus. Yet with Fillion playing him, he’s a bit of a smartass.

We’d love to see a proper adaptation of these books do this series justice some day. Whoever decides to give the fans what they want, make sure you bring back Fillion as Hermes. We’d love not only seeing him in another film, but more of his character in the film.

The Big Bang Theory

Can you truly be king of the nerds without playing yourself on The Big Bang Theory? What makes Fillion’s turn on The Big Bang Theory so funny is his stellar reputation for treating fans well – so it’s the complete opposite of his usual demeanor in this short but hilarious cameo.

Raj and Leonard run into him at a deli and Fillion tries to eat in peace. The nerds finally annoy the poor man to the point where he has to take a photo with them to get them to shut up. Then Raj asks so many questions to verify Fillion is the real deal that Fillion’s smile fades before the photo is taken. At least the actor knows how we feel trying to watch these guys.

Gravity Falls

Man was it fun to listen to Fillion play the Disney version of a rich a**hole. In Gravity Falls, the Northwests are the richest family in town, with a very snotty attitude towards the Pines family. Preston isn’t that great of a dad, considering he has a bell to silence his daughter Pacifica anytime she speaks out. 

Preston does get his comeuppance, as Bill Cipher scrambles his face and turns him into part of his throne. But Fillion going from the man with all the power to a guy begging for his life from a magic Dorito is hilarious. Gravity Falls is right up Fillion’s alley for weird sci-fi nonsense.

Santa Clarita Diet

Fillion’s turn as Gary the disembodied zombie head in Santa Clarita Diet is so good, we wrote a whole piece about it. Enjoy.

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  • Not even an honorable mention for Captain Hellman? I mean, he created the four fleets, How have people forgotten this role?!

    February 4, 2021

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