The Big Three (glossary term)

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See also: The Big 3 Manga, The Big Four, The Golden Trio
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The Big Three is usually shorthand for the three main characters in a movie, television show, book, or other source and is almost always used in a gen, friendship way, not in a slash or threesome context.

It is most prevalent in Star Trek: The Original Series fandom, where it refers to the characters Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Less common is its use in Star Wars to refer to Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo. It may be a term that has fallen out of use.

The phrase is also used in literary science fiction fandom where it is a nickname for the three top science fiction writers of the Golden Age of English-speaking Science Fiction. As of the twenty-first century, the list usually consists of Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. However, fancyclopedia lists other candidates as well: A. E. van Vogt and Ray Bradbury.[1]

Some other Big Threes are:

Examples of Use: Star Trek

  • "In "Noli Mi Tangere" Kate Birkel examines Spock's reaction to McCoy's painful probing of the barriers he places around his humanity. A rather more acerbic view of the "Big Three" not entirely consistent with my own perceptions, it is nonetheless interesting." [1]
  • "Star Trek is science fiction, not interstellar soap opera, and the Big Three are merely characters in a far larger setting of time and space...." [2]
  • "Kirk and Spock must solve the mystery behind a forcefield which has immobilized the Enterprise. A fine look at the Big Three." [3]
  • "... a hard fact that I've just learned: stories that do not include the Big Three don't sell. I've just written a T'Pring story that is looking for a good home because there just isn't a market for the background characters." [4]
  • "M.R.O. Ludwig's illos for this are interesting as they show us the Big Three in turbans and robes. I'm a student of the Middle East and I loved the thought of Spock looking like Lawrence of Arabia." [5]
  • "'Alliance' is in need of work. The characters were a little too out-and-dried, and the Big Three acted like they hardly knew each other, the story substituting action for characterization." [6]

Examples of Use: Star Wars

  • "The ending of the story could have been more positive and conclusive but I should remember this is a continuing series. Still, I did so want a final scene with the Big Three." [7]
  • "The Big Three (Luke, Leia and Han) turn up just in time to get her involved in an unexplained rebel plot, then disappear, leaving her to be captured by Darth Vader." [8]


  1. ^ comments in Universal Translator #11 (1981) about a story in Sublight Reading #2
  2. ^ from an issue of The Halkan Council
  3. ^ from a story summary in Orion Archives: 2266-2270 The First Mission
  4. ^ from a letter in Treklink #8 in 1986
  5. ^ comments in Datazine #33 (1984) about Footprints in the Sand by Joan Marie Verba
  6. ^ from comments in Jundland Wastes #3 (1981) about a story in Millennium
  7. ^ comments in From Star Wars to Jedi: The Fanzine Way (1985) about Maggie Nowakowska's COUNTERPOINT: THE BATTLE FOR RYNAN
  8. ^ comments by a fan in Jundland Wastes about "Tarleen Vahylon by C.A Bucar" in Galactic Flight #4