Dads don’t just come in the biological sort; there are those without kids of their own who still love and nurture all the same.

Dads are real life superheroes who teach us priceless life lessons, occasionally save our lives from world’s harm (and mum’s wrath) and are generally the rocks in our lives whom we can count on through the funny and not so funny.

But dads don’t just come in the biological sort; there are those without kids of their own who still love and nurture all the same. Those deserve double the recognition because they stepped up to the call even when it’s not their jobs, like these guys:

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars

Obi-Wan was a father figure to two generations of Skywalkers so we thought it was apt to start the list with him. He trained both Anakin and Anakin’s son, Luke, in the ways of the Force with equal amounts tough love. Sure he left Skywalker Sr to burn on a lava planet but we would have too with his constant whining from some serious mummy issues and early pointers of allegiance to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan does make up for it by sticking around with Luke after and pointing him in the direction of Yoda, giving Luke an extra grandfather figure on top of just a dad.

Alfred Pennyworth, Batman

Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth is many things to Bruce Wayne – butler, valet, ally, confidant – but it all stems from the same place: he sees the orphaned boy as a son of his own. His experience as once an intelligence agent makes him incredibly handy to have around a covert undercover agenda like the one the Dark Knight runs. Plus he can whip up breakfast after stitching up your latest set of wounds.

Mr Miyagi, Karate Kid

Back in feudal Japan, karate or any form of martial arts was taught only by father to son. This speaks volume of the willingness of Mr Keisuke Miyagi in teaching Daniel – who so happens to be fatherless – the art after seeing him bullied by the boys in school. More than that, Mr Miyagi presses on the importance of the gentleness of karate, showing Daniel that violence is not the answer to everything.

Ben Parker, Spiderman

Selflessly taking in your late brother’s son as your own is in itself enough to make any man a hero in the father figure department but Ben Parker goes beyond that – he continually tries to raise a good man out of the boy. For the most part, he is successful, even if it takes his own tragic death for young Peter to grasp the most important lesson he’s constantly trying to impart – you know, the one about great power and great responsibility.

Sirius Black, Harry Potter

As Harry’s Godfather, Sirius sometimes comes across as a little reckless, even if it’s because he sees too much of his best friend in the boy but it’s hard to hold that against him when he’s able to watch over Harry even while locked up in Azkaban. We’ll forgive his misdemeanours because he’s also been the only one who gave him straight dope on James and Lily and he did give up his life for  his Godson. Lucky for Harry, he still had Dumbledore watching out for him after the incident with the cloak in the Ministry of Magic, although not for long after.

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

He was a good friend to Bilbo Baggins but when it came to Frodo, Gandalf was clearly more protective, more paternal in every sense of the word, expressing concern many times on the dangers that laid ahead of the hobbit and his gang of friends in their quest to destroy the ring. So protective was he that he gave up his life in the process; we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t know he would be resurrected stronger and more powerful.

Will, About a Boy

Proof that even the most unwitting have it in them to be fathers, Will, initially your typical playboy who sleeps around and ignores any form of real relationship, finds himself taking Marcus under his wing. His methods may be unconventional – telling a child to fight back his bullies is never a good idea – but they come from a good heart that’s in the right place. In the midst of saving the boy from bullies and his mother from depression and attempted suicide, Will finds the duo saving him from perennial loneliness in return.

Logan, Logan

Even more unsettling than the imagery of an aging, sick and dying Wolverine is perhaps a Wolverine who’s a dad but the circumstance under which Logan finds himself a father in the latest franchise is not one of his doing. He finds in his hands Laura, one genetically altered girl who sprouts claws like his, harvested from his own genetic makeup, making him the closest thing to her father. He then sets out on a mission to keep her and her friends of little mutants safe. She calls him Daddy towards the end, right before he dies, sealing the theory that biology makes a father not.

Professor Charles Xavier, X-Men

If you’re impressed by Wolverine’s fatherly instincts, wind back a little and see where he learnt it from. Professor X is much more than just a tutor to his younger mutant charges; like a father, he wants nothing more than to see each of them succeed. He built a school out of his childhood home to provide them with a safe haven and invests everything he has into helping them grow and control their powers, even if it meant losing his most cherished ones in the process.

Frankie Dunn, Million Dollar Baby

Gruff, hardened old boxing trainer estranged from his own daughter warms up to determined, young and promising boxer and helps her climb her way to boxing fame – sounds like a heartwarming inspirational movie, yes? Wrong. Clint Eastwood’s Frankie Dunn insists on stretching our heartstrings from pride and paternal love to anger, devastation and finally grief when he has to administer a fatal adrenaline shot to end the suffering of said protege whom he sees as a substitute for his own daughter when she is left quadriplegic and an amputee. He built her up only to have to put her to sleep. Our hearts are still recovering.

Ken Carter, Coach Carter

He insisted that his players attend all of their classes, sit at the front row of all of them, wear shirts and ties on game days, address players and coaches alike as ‘Sir’ and maintain a GPA of 2.3 in their academic subjects in his brand of disciplined basketball – sounds like all the requirements a dad would make in disciplining his kids. Oh did we mention he was strict with the punishments too, like legit not letting them play despite their winning streak because they broke their end of the contract?

 Yondu Udonta, Guardians of the Galaxy

As unpleasant as he is made out to be with his womanising, thieving, kidnapping and murdering ways as the leader of The Ravagers, Yondu turns out to be quite the unlikely hero who in actual fact, was on the lookout for Peter Quill when he ‘kidnapped’ him all those years ago from his father, Ego. His soft spot for the boy even turns his own crew to mutiny against him before he eventually – spoilers ahead – sacrifices himself to keep Peter alive.

Frank Adler, Gifted

Frank Adler has to protect his mathematical prodigy niece Mary not from outside forces of evil or intruder harm; he has to keep her safe from something worse – a family member who wants to use her for her own gain – her own grandmother. After seeing his sister, another promising mathematician, commit suicide in the pressures from trying to solve the Navier-Stokes problem (one of the unsolved Millennium Prize Problems), he is adamant that Mary not go down that path and live a normal childhood as his late sister would have wanted.