Illya Kuryakin

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Character
Name: Illya Kuryakin
Occupation:
Title/Rank:
Location:
Status: alive
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Fandom: Man from U.N.C.L.E.
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Illya Kuryakin is Napoleon Solo's partner.

This page is about the character in the original television series. For the the Napoleon in the 2015 movie, see Illya Kuryakin (2015 film).

Some Brief Canon Facts About Illya

Illya Kuryakin is a KGB agent in times of the Cold War, not much of his childhood is revealed in the TV Show, but the 2015 movie portraits him as a a short-tempered and violent person with psychotic moments.

According to Solo, Illya's father, a top government official, who was caught stealing from Stalin's party funds, was imprisoned in a Gulag camp. Kuryakin being the youngest and best at KGB "within three years," was a way to deal with his family's shame.

Fanon or Canon?

Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin is fanon.

Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin/Gaby Teller is fanon.

Gaby Teller/Illya Kuryakin is fanon in the original television series, but canon in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015 film).

The Istambul Affair its existence is canon, but details of this mission are fanon.

The Fanon Illya

Pairings

Napoleon/Illya is the dominant pairing.

Gaby/Illya and Napoleon/Illya/Gaby.

The Appeal of Illya

From a slash fan in 2016:

Always the darling of the show in his day, Illya’s appeal doesn’t seem to have dampened with the fans in the last few decades. I fell for him hard on my own first watch, to the point where I skipped a lot of episodes where he didn’t appear (if anything, the rarity of his scenes in the early series only adds to their appeal). He’s a thoroughly likable character, combining the best parts of the snarky sidekick and mysterious outsider all in one – just alien enough to be intriguing.

Though fanfic often (and not unreasonably) extrapolates his having had to deal with his share of anti-Russian sentiment while working in the US, and the new movie re-imagines him as a man driven by conflicted loyalties, the original Illya has a quiet confidence a thousand miles deep, and plainly feels he has nothing to prove to anyone. A card-carrying cynic, Illya has bone-dry wit, a disarmingly cute smile, and an occasional tendency to get over-involved in his undercover roles in charmingly ridiculous ways (Illya may gripe about some of his roles, but when he commits, he commits). He can play several instruments, speak a number of languages, and apparently convincingly reproduce any accent (except, apparently, that of a native English speaker). He rarely expresses strong opinions on food or drink, but never misses a good chance to stop for a meal. He’s not much for tact and charm – even his rare upper-class roles come out on the irascible side – but otherwise, it may be shorter to list the things he can’t do (though ‘avoid an obvious opportunity to get himself captured and tied up’ would have to be top of the list). The show goes back and forth a lot on his feelings on women, varying from 'perfectly susceptible to a pretty face, just less of a horndog than Napoleon’ to almost comically blank disinterest. His “How did I get into this? Oh, right, Napoleon,”-face is quite the thing of beauty. [1]

Some Original Series Illya-Centric Fiction

Some Illya-Centric Vids

Some Illya Art

References

  1. from a much longer essay by rallamajoop at The Characters: Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, Archived version (February 22, 2016)