Created By: Twentydragon on June 23, 2012 Last Edited By: Twentydragon on June 30, 2012

Opening Titles Extra

A character in the opening titles has a very minor role.

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This trope has been found: Advertised Extra. All examples unique to this page have been migrated. Thank you, to all who contributed!

Shows do not always proceed as the writers intended, sometimes due to Executive Meddling, sometimes due to creative choices. When this happens, characters that were slated to have prominent roles in the series, whose actors were therefore billed in the credits, can end up playing minor roles, making them an Opening Titles Extra.

There are two criteria for being an Opening Titles Extra:
  • The actor/character must be credited in the opening titles as if they were part of the main cast.
  • The character must play a very minor part and/or not appear as often as the "guest stars".

An Opening Titles Extra may be Corrected to Extra in later seasons' intro sequences.

Note: If numerous characters are shown but no one is credited, this trope does not apply.

Contrast Fake Guest Star, where an actor listed as a guest star actually has a very major part.

EXAMPLES:

Anime
  • Haruhi Suzumiya has every speaking character show up in the first season credits, including a classmate who appears in only one episode.

Live-Action TV
  • Happens a lot in Degrassi since season 9, mostly due to the plot focusing on some characters more than others.
  • Lois and Clark: Tracy Scoggins as Kat Grant, a society page reporter in the first season. Given little to do, dropped after the first season.
  • Tim Meadows on Saturday Night Live had one of the longest tenures but rarely was onstage. It even became a Running Gag in the Backstage Sketches. "Are you still on the show?"
  • Soap: Billy, the Tates' youngest, often appears only in crowd scenes. Because the credits are in alphabetical order, Jimmy Baio is usually the first person credited; also when the closing credits are Edited for Syndication he's often the only person credited before they fade to black.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko is in the opening credits but he appears in fewer than half the episodes, and several times when he does appear it's only as a minor character.
  • Simon Reynolds as Daniel Dickinson in the first season of Warehouse 13. A particularly egregious case in that several of the "guest stars" appeared quite a lot more than he did in that span.

Western Animation
  • Parodied and exaggerated in Futurama's Bender's Big Score, where the credits show "introducing Zylex", who only appears in the background, in line for soup, in one scene.
  • The Japanese dub of Transformers Animated featured Autobots like Ironhide and Arcee fairly prominently, when they only appeared in a handful of episodes.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • June 23, 2012
    MetaFour
    Police Squad parodied this. The opening credits prominently listed "Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln!" but Lincoln never actually appeared in the show itself. And then each episode's special guest star would die during the opening credits and never be seen again.
  • June 23, 2012
    Twentydragon
    @MetaFour: Could you please explain that a little more? Is every episode's intro sequence different?
  • June 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The first two James Bond films feature a woman Bond is sleeping with, whom he leaves in order to report in to MI 6. Dropped thereafter.
  • June 24, 2012
    JakesBrain
    @Twentydragon: Every time the opening credits got around to Special Guest Star: (INSERT NAME HERE), there would be a different shot edited in of that week's Insert Name Here being bumped off -- e.g. The first or second episode ran the title "Special Guest Star LORNE GREENE" over a shot of Lorne Greene being dumped out of a car in front of a hospital with a knife in his chest. The character was in fact completely random and irrelevant, and you never saw Lorne Greene again.

    The whole point of being a special guest star on Police Squad was to be a five-second sight gag in the opening credits.
  • June 24, 2012
    Twentydragon
    @JakesBrain: Ah, thanks for the explanation. Yeah, it really doesn't count if they're credited as a guest star. It has to be a constant thing, including the many episodes in which they don't appear.
  • June 25, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Parodied and exaggerated in Futurama's "Bender's Big Score", where the credits show "introducing Zylex", who only appears in the background, on line for soup, in one scene.
  • June 25, 2012
    naruhinaluver15
    Happens a lot in Degrassi since season 9. Mostly due to the plot focusing on some characters more than others.
  • June 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko is in the opening credits but he appears in fewer than half the episodes, and several times when he does appear it's as a minor character.
    • Lois And Clark: Tracy Scoggins as Kat Grant, a society page reporter in the first season. Given little to do, dropped after the first season.
    • This was the fate of Tim Meadows on Saturday Night Live. He had one of the longest tenures but rarely was onstage. It even became a Running Gag in the Backstage Sketches. "Are you still on the show?"
  • June 27, 2012
    Twentydragon
    Thanks for the examples, NimmerStill, Naruhinaluver15, and Randomsurfer!
  • June 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Soap: Billy, the Tate's youngest. Often appears only in crowd scenes. Because the credits are in alphabetical order, Jimmy Baio is practically always the first person credited; also when the closing credits are Edited For Syndication he's often the only person credited since they fade to black after a couple of seconds.
  • June 28, 2012
    SAMAS
    • The Japanese dub of Transformers Animated featured Autobots like Ironhide and Arcee fairly prominently, when they only appeared in a handful of episodes.
  • June 28, 2012
    Rognik
    This can happen a lot in anime, especially when the opening credits has every character show up during it. As an example, Haruhi Suzumiya has every speaking character show up in the first season credits, including a classmate that only shows up in one episode.
  • June 30, 2012
    Koveras
    Simoun OP contains a long shot of Neviril and Amuria kissing, even though Amuria dies by the end of the first episode and is rarely seen again in flashbacks.
  • June 30, 2012
    Twentydragon
    @Koveras: Is Amuria credited as a main character throughout the series?
  • June 30, 2012
    sgamer82
    Contrast Fake Guest Star, where an actor listed as a guest star actually has a very major part.
  • June 30, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ Not really, no. She is mostly just there as part of Neviril's Back Story.
  • June 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Please describe the difference between this and Advertised Extra.
  • June 30, 2012
    Twentydragon
    Looks like there really is none. I'll check for unique examples here and move them there. Thanks, Randomsurfer! I never would have guessed that name for this trope.
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