This is more common than you think, oddly enough. If we say "main characters" are constituted by their accreditation not singularly with the generic credits (e.g. In a show's Title Sequence
), that is. Being main characters, and therefore vitally important, you'd expect them to be required to spend time together. There are a few reasons why this doesn't actually happen
1. Two Lines, No Waiting:
There are two equally important, separate, stories going on that mirror each other in order to give more angles on the moral/point of the story.
2. Composite Piece:
There are too many characters for them all to directly cross paths, usually because of time constraints and inventive/realistic ways to do so.
3. The Friends Who Never Hang:
The writers believe they wouldn't work well together, though they may occasionally hang with their gang.
4. Two Aliases, One Character:
When two characters are never seen together because, really, they're the same one.
5. Doing Something Different:
Still part of the main/only plot, but spends a lot of time progressing the story in a different location with different people.
6. Trapped by Mountain Lions:
Exists in solidarity, going off on their own adventures because they can't be written into anyone else's.
7. Based on an Advice Book:
An advice book often outlines the different situations, so the creators will obviously need to demonstrate them all. May also be a Composite Piece or Two Lines, No Waiting
8. Four Lines, All Waiting:
When there are multiple stories going on, all as main plots with equal focus, and each with their own Cast Herd
, commonly seen on soaps
This character is somewhere else, so we're going to make you call them every time you need them for the purpose of highlighting your vulnerability or because they were Put on a Bus
. Or, in film, their actor was rarely available. Will appear in a Split-Screen Phone Call
, or the more modern video call
10. He Who Must Not Be Seen:
Whether they be The Voice
, a member of the Omniscient Council of Vagueness
, the Emperor
, they're never in a scene with anyone else and aren't actually seen.
11. Loads and Loads of Characters:
There are so many characters that, though they'd often all easily interact given another creator, with this creator it means they simply can't all meet each other.
Causes Ships That Pass In The Night
Of course, if it's caused by Development Hell
, expect an In-Universe Hand Wave
or barely plausible excuse like "X and Y don't get along".
Compare Missed Him by That Much
, when the two characters who want to meet each other somehow fail each time; compare/contrast Talking to Himself
, where one person plays enough characters that they may end up alone in scenes playing a good portion of the main cast, so technically not alone.
Anime and Manga
- In Legend of Galactic Heroes the two main leads, Reinhard von Lohengramm of the Galactic Empire and Yang-Wen Li of the Free Planets Alliance, meet face-to-face only once in the entire series (which is 110 episodes long, not counting gaidens) in a short meeting in the mid-point of the series, and before and after that they only indirectly communicated with each other through official messages as commanders of their respective forces.
- The first time Loki and Jane of the Marvel Cinematic Universe share a scene is in Thor: The Dark World, and the first thing she does is whack him about the face.
- What to Expect When You're Expecting and Pitch Perfect
- Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks were in both films, but did not share any scenes.
- In What to Expect When You're Expecting, Rebel Wilson's scenes are all with Banks whilst in Pitch Perfect they're all with Kendrick (i.e. never in a scene without them, and so doesn't have a scene with the other in each film).
- New York, I Love You had the characters stay in their pairs and never interact: Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are both in it, but don't reunite.
- Love Actually
- Mostly averted when they all arrive at either Juliet's wedding, Heathrow Airport, or the every-primary-school-in-London Nativity play due to the One Degree of Separation between them all.
- Colin spends most of his scenes in Wisconsin and Jamie on the Continent.
- He's Just Not That Into You has Scarlett Johansson talk to literally two of the rest of the cast.
- Would You Rather
- Dr Barden has a storyline all of his own. Starring exactly him staking out the manor. He does make appearances in Iris' (the main) plot, but only shares scenes with her and Lambrick.
- Raleigh is only ever in scenes with Iris, but everyone talks about him and he is the main cause of plot development.
- In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan while Kirk and Khan do communicate by subspace radio, they are never physically in the same place. Khan only interacts directly with Chekov of the entire Enterprise crew.
- This influenced Caddyshack, though not in the finished film. Partway through filming, the makers realized that their two funniest actors—Bill Murray and Chevy Chase—didn't have any scenes together. They felt this was too good an opportunity to waste, so they threw together a scene with their characters meeting at night, smoking, and talking about nothing in particular.
- In The Fifth Element, the protagonist (Bruce Willis' character) and villain (Gary Oldman) somehow never share a scene together.
- In Robert Altman's Pret-a-Porter, the characters played by Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins get locked in their hotel room and never interact with the rest of the Loads and Loads of Characters.
- Played with in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
- The audience is made to think that Stacey will only interact with everyone else by text or phone call, then she arrives at the park to lecture Scott and we think that's her contribution, then she meets a majority of the starting cast at the first Battle of the Bands. Her boyfriend sticks around afterwards, though, and gets to meet a lot more of the characters.
- We never actually see Gideon with any of the other exes, nor (besides the twins) any of the rest of the League together.
- In Hot Fuzz the police never interact with the citizens, except for Nick and Danny.
- Common in A Song of Ice and Fire and consequently on it's TV adaptation, Game of Thrones, due to the huge cast and many different locations.
- In The Lord of the Rings, as well as the film:
- Frodo and Sam don't interact with any main characters outside of Gollum and the main Fellowship (seven characters) until Return Of The King.
- Gollum interacts with Frodo, Sam, and Faramir, and, in the back story, with Gandalf, Aragorn, and (presumably) Legolas. Other than that none of the major characters gets to meet him. Incidentally, he never meets any of the dwarves from The Hobbit, either.
- Frodo and Sam never get to meet Denethor or Theoden.
- While Boromir and Faramir obviously know each other, they don't actually meet during the story — except for one dream-like encounter after Boromir's death.
- Denethor and Aragorn are never seen together, since the former commits suicide before the latter's arrival at Minas Tirith. They did know each other years earlier, since Aragorn served under Denethor's father Ecthelion.
- In Breaking Bad, Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Marie (Betsy Brandt) were both regulars for the entire run of the series, and they only shared one scene together. Paul never shared a scene with R.J. Mitte, who played Walter Jr.
- After Season 1 of Dani's Castle, Dani moves out of the castle and to Hollywood. She's still in every episode having a video chat with, usually, Kate, meaning she's never shared a scene with the four new main characters that replaced her.
- Doctor Who:
- In Blink, the Doctor leaves a video message for Sally.
- In Monsters and Aliens the Doctor is only seen at the very end, missing most of L.I.N.D.A. (as a result, they die).
- In Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, the two main characters, Heathcliff and Riff Raff, are never seen together. Heathcliff interacts with Riff Raff's gang, so they live in the same universe, but never with Riff Raff himself.