Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
I been a little sketchy over the path few months with content, so I am breaking this into two parts so I can get it out sooner.
When you are writing a character a lot of little bits and tropes come together to create the finished product. Writers carefully chose quirks and traits to show the audience the characters personality. This can include things like dialect, clothing choices, vehicles and acquaintances. A heroes’ story and personality can also be brought out by his choice of weapons.
Here are some examples of a fictitious characters and how their personal weapons become part of who we see them as.
Han Solo & The DL 44. Han Solo’s signature gun is as intertwined in to his character as his, first mate, his ship or his Corillian Blood Stripe. When you think “Han Solo…” quite often the line that comes next is “…. Shot first.” His heavy blaster’s appearance is based on the Mauser Broomhandle C-96. It was cheaper for the prop team on the original Star Wars to modify real world guns that build new weapons form scratch. Solo’s gun (minus some sci fi FX’s) was used by Frank Sinatra in the movie Naked Runner.
Fan’s of Star Wars EU will know that the DL-44, is a heavy blaster, that carries a punch big enough to blast through stormtrooper Armor. In the Movie Solo we see Becket give this gun to Han. We see that he removes’ a stock and a long barrel, converting it from a rifle to a pistol. This is also symbolic of Han going from a solider to a smuggler. In the scene outside the Falcon, Lando throws Han his gun but also brandishes his own. Though they both use the same make of gun, we can see that Lando’s is a shiny silver color and Han’s is a dark scuffed black. This shows how flashy the gambler is and that the smuggler is just concerned about having the tool that will get the job done, and not how pretty it looks.
Napoleon Solo & X-38 or The Uncle Special. Going form one Solo to another, the agents of U.N.C.L.E.. were given pistols that could be converted into a sniper carbine. The fact that this gun was not included in the new Man from UNCLE movie was by far my biggest complaint about the film. Like the DL-44 this weapon was based on a real world German pistol the Walther P-38. When a Mauser pistol, the crew originally planned to use didn’t seem to cut the mustard, the producer barrowed it from the set of Combat!
The P-38 was created to replace the Lugar in the German arsenal during WWII. At the time it was mechanically the most advanced mass-produced handgun. Just the perfect weapon for a spy agency. The TV version could be changed into a sniper carbine with a silencer, by adding a few props. Again, perfect for a show that was trying to catch the “James Bond Vibe” of the 60’s.
Though this pistol to rifle conversion was not something just made up for a TV show by adding a stock, a scope, a extended barrel (and for Agent Solo a silencer) you had two guns instead on one. Perfect for the spy who needs a gun that can be broken down and could be easily concealed, the ammunition would be under powered compared to some rifle rounds, but the stock and longer barrel would increase the range over a normal pistol. In many cases the stock would be hallow and the pistol itself could be carried in it. The pistol-rifle hybrids were common historic lay, but fell in to disuse and in many places made illegal with the gun laws that came in after the Kennedy assassination.
Ellen Ripley & The Colonial Marines 41MA Pulse Rifle MK 2. Back in 1986 when the movie Aliens came out this is what futurist and weaponsmiths thought the gun of tomorrow would look like. Bullpuped (the magazine enters behind the trigger), caseless ammo, under barrel, grenade launcher, and with a digital ammo counter. It was a realistic possibility at the time the movie came out that this would be the type of gun we take in to space. It might have been if real life weapons like the H&K G-11, or CAW had paned out. Gun designs however seem to be going in a different path, so this weapon is both a relic of the past and of a possible future.
But after one semi-tantalizing lesson, Ripley slaps on a flame thrower with duct tape and the weapons becomes her. The Marines were told they couldn’t use their weapons after Grossman’s order, but Ripley has no restrictions. Her new hybrid weapon is much like her born out of necessity for survival. The Marines trust in their weapons caused them to underestimate the xenomorphs (except for Cpl. Hicks who brought an extra old-style shotgun just in case) Ripley been here before she knows the limitations of the tools and that’s why she is more effective with the weapon than the grunts..
Captain Jack Harkness & The Webley Mk IV Jack Harkness is the dashing companion of The Doctor in Doctor Who and the leader of the spin off investigative team Torchwood. He is supposed to be a World War Two era American pilot who fought against the Nazis in England. Even when he is seen in the 21st century he has WWII esthetic with his suspenders, coat with epilates and his British military revolver. The rest of his team pick up what ever compact automatic is available for that weeks episode, yet Jack’s primary handgun is always his Webley.
The problem with that is that an American flyer form World War Two wouldn’t use a Webley, which is a British gun, he’d use a M1911 .45. Then why does he use the English revolver? It not like Torchwood or the production crew doesn’t have access to the M1911, at different times agents Ianto, Owen and Glen use them. Well Webley shows us not only that Jack did live in England during the war and has a nostalgia for that time, but he isn’t really an American pilot, he was a time agent form a future off world colony. His choice of gun shows un what time period the characters heart is in, but still gives us a subtle reminder that Captain Jack isn’t quite what he says he is.
Sam’s & The Colt 1911 .45 1998’s Ronin is a masterpiece of a spy story. It tells the story of ex-military and intelligence agents hired to steal a satchel with unknown contents. Ex-CIA agent Sam is one of Robert De Niro’s best rolls. He is released form the CIA, during the down sizing at the end of the Cod War. His preferred handgun is The Colt M 1911, a weapon that has been in service with the US for over a 100 year. When another operative mocks him for using an old fashioned gun, Sam’s reply is that it served his country well enough, over the decades. The .45 is symbolic that Sam is old school, he doesn’t need fancy new gadgets just something proven. It is also a clue like his gun he is still loyal to the US, he is only acting like a free agent because he is trying to penetrate the team.