Remember Pitch Black, in which interstellar castaways battled their way off a dark planet filled with photophobic monsters? Well, while Vin Diesel's Riddick may have been the character who went on to lead the franchise, a re-watch reveals something else: The real star of the story was actually someone else entirely.
After reading this list of movie sidekicks that stole the show from the hero, a discussion began about movies that pulled off an even trickier task: they made the audience forget just who the hero was.
An excellent example, explained commenter EtruscanRaider, was Pitch Black. Riddick wasn't the hero, at least not at first. It was actually pilot Carolyn Fry.
If you re-watch Pitch Black some time, its apparent that the hero is actually Carolyn Fry. Its her journey from cowardly docking pilot the commanding captain that forms the primary story arc. Riddick's presence is as a wild card until he becomes a supporter of Fry. However nobody remembers Fry or her character development because Riddick was so memorable that it launched an entire series.
I have to disagree. Her character is there to drive Riddick to be more of a hero. She changes over the course of the film to keep one step ahead of his character development and thus keep challenging him.
I could be wrong when it comes to you in particular but I think that way of thinking is too influenced by later films in which Riddick is the hero. Remember in Pitch Black that Riddick, after a brief opening monologue, doesn't have a spoken line for the entire first third of the movie. The critical arc is that of Fry assuming responsibility and in particular when confronted with both the shinny, fake authority of Johns and especially the final temptation to save herself that Riddick offers her.
. . .
Fry's arc may not be a drastic a change as going from dedicated sociopath to human being, but its the one the audience spends the most amount of time with.
Its telling that we spend time inside Fry's head as she reimagines past events and not Riddick's. She's also the character who has final say on all of the group's decisions and is the only one to interact with every other crash survivor.
I consider Riddick to be a bit of sidekick because after their initial confrontation Riddick is Fry's strongest proponent. He leads her to confront Johns about his addiction and lack of legal authority and he comes to her defense when Johns threatens her.