I'm sure it's for those reasons that John is also a name given to a hilariously astonishing number of fictional characters (There was even a John Doe TV series, but I'm not sure that counts). What I find especially interesting is that John is so often used as a first name for the lead character, when the fact its such a common name would imply that the author couldn't think of anything more interesting. Though I suppose that also works in the name's favor, since you could also argue that a John will be instantly more familiar with the audience than, say, an Anthony or Rodney.
A couple of weeks ago, brumeier and I spent a good half-hour coming up with as many fictional Johns as we could. We eventually branched into Jack as well, because Jack used to be a nickname for John.
Here, with a very few more recent additions, were what we came up with off the top of our heads:
(All the links go to Wikipedia, because that was easiest and there are a hell of a lot of links.)
John Sheppard (Stargate: Atlantis)
John Kennex (Almost Human)
John Diggle (Arrow)
John Garrett (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Dunne (Magnificent Seven)
John Connor (Terminator Franchise)
John Chricton (Farscape)
Johann Schmidt (Captain America Franchise)
John Constantine (Hellblazer Comic)
John Carter (John Carter of Mars Franchise)
John Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire Series/Game of Thrones)
John Winchester (Supernatural)
John Locke (Lost)
John Watson (Sherlock Holmes)
Little John (Robin Hood)
Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider Franchise)
Johnny Storm (Fantastic Four Franchise)
Johnny Mnemonic (Johnny Mnemonic)
Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise)
Jack Harkness (Torchwood)
Jack O'Neill (Stargate: SG-1)
Jack Carter (Eureka)
Jack (Jack the Giant Slayer/Killer and many, many other versions)
Jaq-Jaq (Disney's Cinderella)
Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China)
Jack Shephard (Lost)
Jack Power (Power Pack Comic)
Crazy, right? And that's just off the top of our heads. I'm sure you guys know even more Johns and Jacks we haven't thought of, and that's not including the countless Johns and Jacks who appear in fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
I also find it hilarious how SyFy named two characters Jack and two characters John in four different series, and that Lost had a John and a Jack (and a James!). I also love how Jack's last name was 'Shephard', likely for the same reason as John Sheppard on SGA. They roll trippingly off the tongue, do those J names.
So, did we miss any Johns or Jacks, O Best-Beloveds? Any other names that you see on fictional characters all the time? (James seems pretty popular too, as does Peter and Steve.) Any non-American ones? I'd love to hear 'em.