-> ''"The glee club’s been ignoring Tina all year long. Actually, she kinda got ignored last year too. Actually, Tina’s sorta been ignored the whole time and she’s been in the New Directions since, like, forever. "''
-->-- The '''''Series/{{Glee}}''''' narrator on Tina.

This is a character who is ''supposed'' to be a main character, but for whatever reason does not get developed nearly as much as his counterparts. He's on all the advertisements, he gets a witty one-liner in the trailer, but when the release date comes, he almost fades into the background. Basically, he was DemotedToExtra before the story even came out.

This character is introduced at some pivotal point (usually the beginning) and then is generally ignored for the rest of the story. Maybe he's seen for all of five minutes in a three-hour movie, or maybe he just lurks in the background while his friends do all the important stuff. Whatever the case, to qualify for this trope, a character must have been introduced in a way that implied he was going to be important, but is left out of most of the story.

If the wasted character is in a series, the author may realize his mistake and give him some development in later episodes/books/etc. Alternatively, he can just [[PutOnABus put him on a bus]] or [[KilledOffForReal kill him off for real]] to avoid having to deal with another character.

Also may occur if an actor is in the opening credits but is seen in very little of the movie. Also could appear only in the cold opening and by the time their name appears in the opening credits they are not seen in the rest of the movie. This tends to be used with big named actors, and often in DVD re-releases of movies they appeared in before the big breakout role that made them stars. Might overlap with OneSceneWonder. Also could be known as an Opening Credits Cameo.

May be a victim of the SpotlightStealingSquad, and expect him to become an EnsembleDarkhorse. Another possibility is that the extra is a DecoyProtagonist.

Compare TheArtifact, who starts out prominent and then fades. An advertised extra is advertised as prominent, but never actually achieves that status. Also compare FakeGuestStar, where an actor is credited as a guest star but appears to be part of the main cast. Contrast SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer, where a prominent character appears in little to no advertising.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' has this problem, with the main characters often obtaining monsters that end up receiving less screen time than the ''guest stars''.
* Kouchuu from ''VisualNovel/KoihimeMusou'' is treated as a main character in both promotional art and anime opening, but in the first season she only appears for one episode before joining the FinalBattle (everyone else gets at least 4-5 eps of hanging with the heroine) and for the next seasons she has to StayInTheKitchen while everyone else has adventures (except Bachou on season 2, and her got ADayInTheLimelight to compensate).
* The Kämpfer mobile suit in ''MobileSuitGundam0080WarInThePocket''. Heavily merchandised, looks {{badass}}, and loaded with weapons. It wreaks havoc across the colony for a few minutes, then gets torn to shreds in less than a minute by the Gundam Alex.
** Most likely the point of it's non-use; it was crashed early on, and in repairs up until the finale. ''0080'' wasn't about the Gundam battles itself, but knew that the build up for the final clash would make it more memorable.
* Descartes Shaman in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]: [[TheMovie Awakening Of The Trailblazer]]'', who appeared on plenty of promotional material but ends up being a rather minor character.
* ''Anime/HidanNoAria'' gives us [[EmotionlessGirl Reki]], who is put on par with [[{{Tsundere}} Aria]], [[{{Miko}} Shirayuki]] and [[BeAWhoreToGetYourMan Riko]] in promotional artwork but ended up getting a few tiny (albeit important) appearances while all the others got AnArc and/or plenty of screentime. In the novels, however, she's more prominent, and even get two novels dedicated for her.
* Tigerstar in the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' manga ''Tigerstar and Sasha'', is this for the second and third books. In the first book, he was the love interest. However, in the second book (on which he is the only one on the cover), he shows up, asks the hero a question, and is never seen again! In book three, he only appears in dream sequences. It's like the writers didn't know what to do with him, so they hid him in a cupboard and hoped no one would find him.
* Subverted by Yuina in ''Anime/HanasakuIroha'', as she was treated as part of the main cast but barely appeared... until episode 13-14, which were focused on her, and afterwards she started hanging around the main girls all the time.
* Cammy in ''Anime/StreetFighterIITheAnimatedMovie'' appears in every piece of promotional material and tie-in for the Japanese release, to the point that it almost seems as if she's one of the main characters (along with Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li), despite having a screentime of less than five minutes. Cammy's only significant scene involves her assassinating a British politician while under M. Bison's brainwashing.
* Chalia Bull in the original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' was played up as the AcePilot from Jupiter who'd be able to completely change the war. He was a [[PsychicPowers Newtype]], a great pilot, and not only that, he was piloting a new Prototype Mobile Armor with remote weapons. Thing is, he only had a few minutes of screen time...in one episode...[[spoiler: And he died...]]
* The cover of the ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' film, ''Fusion Reborn'' was this. It featured many villains both from the DBZ series as well as the other DBZ films, despite that none of them play any major role in the film apart from a tiny cameo appearance.
* Erina Nakiri of ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'' is billed as the female heroine. However, her appearance in the manga is rare, and usually not in a significant, plot-related way, which indirectly ascends another female character Megumi Tadokoro into a {{Deuteragonist}} with the eponymous Soma Yukihira by the time the Autumn Election begins.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Art]]
* Icarus in Creator/PieterBruegelTheElder's [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Bruegel%2C_Pieter_de_Oude_-_De_val_van_icarus_-_hi_res.jpg Landscape with the Fall of Icarus]] is almost hidden. You can only see his leg sticking out of the water in the bottom right corner of the image. None of the other people in the painting seem to notice Icarus falling into the water; in fact, the shepherd seems to be actively focused on something else.
** See also W. H. Auden's 1938 poem about the Bruegel painting, [[http://english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/auden.html "Musée des Beaux Arts"]], which addresses this issue directly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Jack-Jack doesn't feature nearly as much in the action film ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' as you'd be inclined to think by the promotional material. In fact, he doesn't even wear his full Incredible outfit until literally the last fifteen seconds of the film.
* ''WesternAnimation/IceAge''
** Taken to an extreme by having the advertisements center around the squirrel, then releasing a movie where the squirrel was only occasionally seen outside of the scene from the advertisement. The three main characters weren't even in some of the ads. Scrat is widely considered [[EnsembleDarkhorse the best character of the series]], [[WackyWaysideTribe even if he's hardly part of the main plot]].
** Rappers Music/{{Drake}} and Music/NickiMinaj in ''Continental Drift''. Their combined screen time is about five minutes and yet Fox saw it was enough to put their names on the poster. Meanwhile, actual actors like Creator/PeterDinklage, Nick Frost, AzizAnsari and Rebel Wilson have far more screen time than those two but barely appeared in the marketing.
* Lizzy from ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' is featured prominently on the poster (which aside from her only includes the main characters), despite the fact that she is in no way essential to the plot, has maybe one full minute of screen time, and anywhere from two to five lines. The present-day version of Dr. Krunklehorn is also featured on the poster alongside many characters who appear in the future, which is odd because she ends up being [[spoiler: Lewis' adopted mother.]]
* Every single cameo by a video game character in ''Disney/WreckItRalph''. The way that Disney marketed the film, it seems like they tried to make the cameos the stars and push the actual main characters to the background (but at least they have the honesty of putting at least one of the four protagonists along with the cameos in the posters.) Like many animated films, there were even character-themed posters that a cameo character had all to themselves. These characters rarely appeared outside of the opening scene, and some of them didn't even have lines.
* Bobby from ''WesternAnimation/AGoofyMovie'' had a big enough role that it made sense for him to be advertised--or it would have if the trailers didn't play him up to the detriment of three secondary characters with bigger roles than his, including [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer completely ousting one of them]]. From viewing the trailer and looking at the cover art you would probably think Bobby was a main character on par with or barely beneath Goofy and Max. He actually has six scenes worth of screentime, one of which is spent doing nothing interesting or important and not being acknowledged, five of which are in the first act, and he completely disappears without even a mention for the entire second act and most of the third. He also has only one contribution to the plot.
* Creator/BradPitt and Creator/MattDamon in ''[[WesternAnimation/HappyFeet Happy Feet 2]]''. The trailers gave their characters WolverinePublicity but their scenes total 10 minutes at most and their characters (a pair of krill wanting to leave their pack) add nothing to the plot.
* Michelangelo and Donatello in ''WesternAnimation/{{TMNT}}''. All the posters, promotional material, and merchandise featured all four turtles evenly, but in the actual film they barely do anything and only appear in about a third of it in total.
* Master Thundering Rhino in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''. He was advertised on the official website and other promotional material, but only got about two minutes of screentime before being KilledOffForReal. To a lesser extent, Masters Ox and Croc apply as well. The DVD special ''Secrets of the Masters'' makes up for this, as Ox, Croc, and Rhino are the main characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/FoodFight!'' had a ''very'' bad example of this, which is possibly due to troubled production. The movie was supposed to be used to promote several supermarket food brands, and as such, the cover had Mrs. Buttersworth, Twinkie the Kid, the Vlasic stork, Charlie the Tuna, etc. However, each of these characters were basically extras, only appearing in one or two scenes.
* Averted with regards to Franchise/{{Batman}} appearance in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie''. Unlike all of the other licensed characters in the movie, he's actually a pretty major character.
* Many ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' ads show minor characters Bruce and Crush, who have very small roles in the movie.
* If you've never seen ''Disney/ChickenLittle'', you'd think Morkubine Porcupine was a major character. He featured heavily in TV spots and on the website, and appears on the DVD cover (in place of Abby Mallard, who was a main character) yet has 3 lines of dialogue in the whole film ("Yo", "no", "whoa").
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Advertisements for the classic movie musical ''Film/SinginInTheRain'' listed the names of all its stars, which was common at the time. However along with the people you would expect (Kelly, O’Conner, Reynolds, Hagen, Mitchell) they had Cyd Charisse. She was in the movie for less then 3 minutes as Kelly’s dance partner during a BigLippedAlligatorMoment (which was inside another BigLippedAlligatorMoment). The strange thing is that Charisse was not a star yet it probably would not have made a difference whether people saw the movie or not. You could chalk it up to fanservice.
* Watching the first bit of ''Franchise/{{Scream}}'', it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that Creator/DrewBarrymore is our main character. But, alas, [[spoiler:she's offed after one scene.]]
* The DirectToVideo action film ''Film/WrongSideOfTown'' actually starred Wrestling/RobVanDam. However you would not know that by looking at the DVD cover where Wrestling/{{Batista}} is featured front and center. He plays a minor supporting character that was only in three scenes. RVD was billed second and is in the background alongside third billed JaRule who was an even better example of this trope. The rapper plays a gang leader who is shot by Batista literally three minutes after being introduced. Fourth billed R&B singer Omarion has a similar role to Ja Rule. Strangely other actors that have bigger roles in this movie [[note]] (Edrick Browne, Lara Grice, Jerry Katz, Ava Santana, and Louis Herthum)[[/note]] are not mentioned at all. According to [[WebVideo/BadMovieBeatdown some people]] this was because Batista was the best actor in it.
* Liam Hemsworth as Gale in ''Film/TheHungerGames'' did appear in quite a bit of promotional material like posters and did a fair amount of press, but wasn't in much of the movie since Gale isn't a participant in the Hunger Games. Though Hemsworth isn't a big name he's an up and comer that studio wanted to promote. Also, Gale becomes a more prominent character as the series goes on. Sort of. This is actually a complaint about ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' in general - it treats Peeta/Katniss/Gale like a big triangle, but Gale barely appears in the first two books of the trilogy at all, thus making who Katniss will end up with fairly obvious.
* Kaya Scodelario as teenage Eve in ''Film/{{Moon}}'' receives top billing despite having only a minute or two of screen time. To a lesser Dominique [=McElligott=] who plays Tess is only seen in a handful of flashbacks and videos. Justified as the only actors who have any significant screen time are Creator/SamRockwell and the voice of Creator/KevinSpacey.
* Creator/ChristopherWalken appears only once in [[OneSceneWonder one of the most memorable scenes]] in ''Film/PulpFiction'' and receives top billing.
* ''Film/AustinPowersTheSpyWhoShaggedMe'': Elizabeth Hurley appears in the cold opening but is [[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome killed off]] before we see her name in the opening credits.
* Jeanette from ''Film/AlvinAndTheChipmunks: [[PunnyName The Squeakquel]]'': The boys and her sisters all get ample screen time, whereas Jeanette seems to fall by the wayside. Older fans know her from the 1980s cartoon as a genius, but this never really comes out. She's never seen without her sisters, and she gets about 5 minutes of screentime that isn't singing. Fortunately, she gets significantly more screen time in the third movie.
** Dave as well actually has much more of a minor role than the film let on, as he's hospitalized for nearly all of it. The main human in the movie is actually a relative of his played by Zachary Levi.
* A somewhat debatable example with Venom in ''Film/SpiderMan3''. Eddie Brock was around for most of the movie, but Venom is seen for all of 15 minutes. However, he did a ''lot'' in 15 minutes, including finally doing what no other villain in the movies could do; [[spoiler: kill one of Peter's loved ones, Harry Osborn.]]
* Most of the criticisms toward ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'' comes from a feeling that the Basterds are this trope. Though this is more of a [[TitleConfusion misunderstood title]]. Inglorious means unknown, or disgraceful bastards being plural. i.e. [[spoiler: The Nazi, The girl, The black guy, ''AND'' Brad Pitt's crew are all inglorious bastards]]. The European posters made this a bit clearer. Many of them consisted of a shot of one of the cast members with tagline *actor's name* is a Basterd. The marketing strategy was not done in the US because besides Brad Pitt the cast was relatively unknown.
* In ''Film/XMen''
** ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'':\\\
Angel is featured heavily in all the promotional material, as part of the whole "the original X-Men team in the comics finally together in film". He only has two or three scenes: he refuses the cure and runs (flies?) away; he very briefly shows up at the X-Mansion for the sole purpose of allowing them to state categorically that the school is still open; and finally he [[spoiler: saves his father's life]] during the final battle. He does nothing in between.\\\
The same can be said of Colossus -- he has one line (which is about as long as both of his two lines in ''Film/X2XMenUnited'' combined) and he's really only in the film for the FastballSpecial.\\\
It should come as a surprise to nobody who saw the movie that several scenes were deleted from the final cut--not unusual in this movie series, but much more noticeable here. This obviously affected how much screen time several characters got.
** Gambit qualifies for ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''. Like Venom, he has limited screentime, but manages to do a few things (sets/stops a fight between Logan and Sabretooth, takes Logan to the enemy base, saves Logan at a BigDamnHeroes moment).
** Cyclops counts in the second and third movies, where his screentime is ''greatly'' reduced due to James Marsden's other commitments.
** Creator/AnnaPaquin as Rogue has a total of one scene (and a handful of seconds at that) in the theatrical release of ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''. She even got her own ''Empire'' magazine cover despite the fact that most of her scenes were cut from the final film.
* One of the first things revealed in the lead-up to ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'' was that the movie would feature [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 TMNT2003]] versions of [[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles movie villains]] Tokka and Rahzar. The poster for the movie makes them one of its most notable elements, even more than several prominent characters. In the actual movie, they appear for less than a minute, unnamed, as part of a larger group of {{mooks}}.
* Sao Feng from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd''. Like Angel, advertised as a great new addition to the cast. When it came out, roughly 30 minutes of screentime (in a movie that's almost 3 hours long!) and an [[DroppedABridgeOnHim anticlimatic death]] one hour in.
* Droopy was on the cover of and in many of the advertisements for ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTheMovie'', even though he only gets a five second cameo.
* Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger and Creator/BruceWillis in ''Film/TheExpendables''. The two actors were featured on nearly every advertisement for the film but appear in only one scene. The trailers for the sequel suggest that Arnie and Bruce are getting more screen time of the action variety, though they're still not the lead characters from all available information as of the start of 2012. For that matter, both Toll and Hale also have very minor roles despite having equal billing in the film. The only real members of the team to have any major roles are Barney, Lee, and to a lesser extent Yin.
* Happened with the 2009 [=DVD=] release of ''Series/SesameStreet Presents Follow That Bird'' -- the cover features Elmo amongst the pictured characters, but the film was made in 1985, before he became a prominent member of the show's cast. In the film he only has a few seconds of screen time at the beginning and end, with only one line of dialogue (part of the song at the end).
** Music/MichaelJackson appears on the front cover of ''A Special Sesame Street Christmas,'' despite only showing up for less than two minutes and ''not singing.''
* Most advertisements and promotional images for the ''Film/DragonBallZ'' film Lord Slug featured one of his henchmen Zeeun, in the film itself he only shows up for a few minutes and is killed by Slug when he accidentally insults his age before he even has a chance to fight.
* ''Film/ValentinesDay'' has a huge cast made up numerous A-listers. The movie was advertised one of two ways, the first was by advertising all of the stars, regardless of how big their role was or by saying it "starred" Music/TaylorSwift and TaylorLautner despite them having roughly two scenes and their characters were clearly meant to be looked down upon. Even worse was that all the reviews focused almost entirely on Swift, judging her performance despite her being a cameo.
** The SpiritualSuccessor, ''Film/NewYearsEve'' managed to avoid this by only advertising the stars that had major parts (in fact there are several stars who don't appear in the commercials).
* Creator/StevenSeagal received top billing on ''Film/ExecutiveDecision'' despite his character dying before the cast even got on the plane. This was perhaps purposefully invoked as the movie's initial twist was that it had a DecoyProtagonist.
* In a way Film/{{Beetlejuice}} kind of fits this trope, despite being the title character (sort of), and the main focus of all advertisements and promotional material is on screen no more than 17 minutes of the film's 92 minute run time. The film might as well have been called ''The Maitlands'' if it hadn't been for the fact that Beetlejuice stole the movie. Chances are the only scenes you remember are the scenes with him and the "Banana Boat Song" scene.
* Creator/MrT in ''Film/DCCab''. The advertisers were hoping to cash in on his popularity from ''RockyIII'', despite the fact that his character, aside from one memorable monologue in front of the Lincoln Memorial, has about as much screen time as most of the non-essential characters of the company (which, by the way, included Bill Maher and Gary Busey).
* Early ''Film/HalloweenResurrection'' trailers heavily featured Creator/JamieLeeCurtis and made it seem as though she played a big part in the movie. She ended up appearing in one scene at the beginning... [[spoiler:before being killed off]]. She is also positioned at the forefront of the movie [[http://i.imgur.com/kQcnf.jpg poster]].
** It could be argued that she is actually a [[spoiler: DecoyProtagonist since viewers obviously weren't supposed to see her death coming.]]
* Boba Fett in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' - heavily promoted, had his own action figure before the movie even came out, has exactly four lines.
* ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' promoted Shockwave as the new BigBad quite non-subtly. Since you should NeverTrustATrailer, it turned out a RedHerring to hide a shocking PlotTwist and Shockwave only had two lines in the whole movie and pretty little screentime.
* In ''Film/RollBounce'', Nick Cannon and Mike Epps. Each are only in three scenes. Epps' garbageman Byron is pure comic relief alongside his partner Victor, played by Charlie Murphy, who doesn't even make the theatrical poster. More egregious is Cannon, who's skate rental clerk Benard gets ONE semi-dramatic scene, yet somehow pulls second billing on [[http://upcomingdiscs.com/ecs_covers/roll-bounce-widescreen-edition-large.jpg TWO DIFFERENT]] [[http://www.copertinedvd.org/copertine-dvd-file/R/roll_bounce.jpg DVD COVERS.]]
* The marketing from ''Film/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' placed a lot of emphasis on the White Witch, to the point of making her appear as the primary villain of the film. In fact, the character only appears sporadically, and only as an illusion- the ''real'' Witch never shows up at all.
* The cover for ''Film/{{Birdemic}} proclaims'' "Hollywood legend Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock's TheBirds co-stars." She only appears in one scene. ''[[CoversAlwaysLie In archive footage on a TV.]]''
* Roux (Creator/JohnnyDepp) in ''Film/{{Chocolat}}'' was advertised on all the posters, but actually doesn't appear until an hour into the movie and only has a minor role compared to the less advertised characters.
* Creator/JackBlack in ''Film/TropicThunder'' is suppose to be one of three leads. In reality, his character is more of a SatelliteCharacter. It doesn't help that Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. stole the show.
* The title character in ''Film/QueenOfTheDamned'' does not appear until an hour into the movie (unless her statue form counts). The film draws elements not only from its own source novel, but also from ''TheVampireLestat'', and ''he'' is the central character along with love interest Jesse Reeves (whose actress, Marguerite Moreau, [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer never even gets a mention]]). There's also the fact that Akasha's actress, R&B singer Music/{{Aaliyah}}, died six months prior to the film's release, and the movie was heavily promoted as her last "starring" role.
* Take UpToEleven with ''Film/{{Idlewild}}''. In the trailer, you see a shot of comedian Bruce Bruce as a bodyguard leaving a room. Once you see the film, you realize that the trailer showed his entire role.
* The trailer for ''Film/TheNextThreeDays'' plays up Liam Neeson's role in the movie, but he's in it for a grand total of about five minutes and doesn't show up again.
* Even though you probably didn't get a good look at his face in the split second it's on the screen (Creator/JoshHolloway, aka [[Series/{{Lost}} Sawyer]], by the way), you probably associate the trailers for ''Film/MissionImpossibleGhostProtocol'' with a man jumping off a rooftop, spinning around and firing several shots in freefall. This is taken from a scene fairly early on in the movie, and while the character is pretty plot important and does survive the fall, [[KilledOffForReal he doesn't live for long afterwards.]]
* A really weird backwards (though possibly deliberate) version happened with ''Film/AngelHeart''. For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, it really does look like Robert De Niro's character is such. He's always billed as a "special appearance" even though the posters and DVD cover prominently shows him in front of the leads, making it appear that the film is just overbilling an actor who in actuality only has one scene. In the actual movie, while he doesn't have as much screentime as the lead, De Niro does make multiple appearances [[spoiler: and his character turns out to be {{Satan}} himself, suddenly making the cover in which he is prominently displayed make a disturbing amount of sense]].
* ''Film/MenInBlack III'' has Lily, the FanserviceWithASmile girlfriend of villain Boris played by Nicole Scherzinger. She only appears to free Boris in the opening sequence and is unceremoniously dumped by him as he lets her be [[ThrownOutTheAirlock sucked into vacuum]]. In a sense, there's also Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K. Agent K does have a significant role in the movie...but it's the ''[[TimeShiftedActor young]]'' Agent K, played by Josh Brolin, whereas Jones is only in the beginning and end.
* Maria Hill was featured on many of the posters of ''Film/TheAvengers'' alongside the team and Nick Fury. Ultimately she gets one action scene to herself in the first ten minutes, and after that is mostly a bystander. As she has at least three deleted scenes, it's safe to say that much of her material was cut for time.
* Robert De Niro's role in "Great Expectations" is pretty small but he's advertised as one of the four leads. A better choice for 4th lead might have been a then-unknown Chris Cooper
* The advertising for the second [[Film/ThePrincessDiaries Princess Diaries]] movie would have you believe Princess Asana, played by Creator/RavenSymone, was a main character. [[CaptainObvious She wasn't]].
* Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} advertised ''Series/DrakeAndJosh Go Hollywood'' with "Don't Miss Creator/MirandaCosgrove in the Drake & Josh movie". Miranda's character isn't a protagonist in the movie.
* Severine in ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', who has more screentime than Eve [[spoiler: (who will become recurring as Ms. Moneypenny) and is killed off shortly after we meet The BigBad Silva which is barely into the second act]]
* The beginning of ''Celeste and Jesse Forever'' imply the film is going to be evenly split between Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samburg) but after ten minutes they stop hanging out together and the story sticks with Celeste; Jesse remains in the film on and off and he is important to the plot but he's definitely a supporting character in Celeste's story and gets far less screentime overall.
* Gary Oldman in ''Film/{{Lawless}}'', who was heavily featured in the promotional material and received third billing. In the actual film, Oldman appears in only a few scenes and is billed no less than tenth in the ending credits.
* Every original release poster and trailer of ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'' prominently features Jose Ferrer (Oscar winner for ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'') as the Turkish Bey, who appeared for two scenes totaling less than five minutes in length. Avoided through various re-releases, as Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif have long since eclipsed Ferrer's fame.
* Cobra Commander, Flint, Duke, General Joesph Colton and Jinx in ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation''.
* Luchino Visconti's ''The Damned'' gives Florinda Bolkan a featured [[AndStarring and]] credit in the opening credits. Bolkan's role amounts to a two minute, wordless cameo as Martin's escort in the wedding scene.
* Creator/MichelleRodriguez in ''[[Film/TheFastAndTheFurious Fast & Furious]]''. Her role in the sixth film made up for it.
* The ''Film/{{Wings}}'' poster gives fourth billing to Gary Cooper. His character, Cadet White only appears for three minutes at most [[spoiler: before he dies performing stunts]].
* Creator/HelenaBonhamCarter is in ''Film/TheLoneRanger'' for about 10 minutes tops (in a 150 minute film). The marketing made her out to be the lead female.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' gives posters to all the [[AMechByAnyOtherName Jaegers]]. The [[{{Irony}} Japanese one]], Coyote Tango, is barely in the movie, only appearing in a flashback.
* Rowan Atkinson was one of the actors featured on the posters for ''Series/LoveActually'' and yet he only appeared in two short scenes and none of the threads in the movie featured him as a major character.
* Rick Genest, aka "Zombie Boy", was featured prominently in [[http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/35100000/47-Ronin-Promotional-Poster-47-ronin-35151214-1579-2500.jpg posters]] for ''Film/FortySevenRonin''. He appears in one scene in the film that lasts about three minutes.
* In ''Film/{{Juno}}'', Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) was heavily emphasized in the promotional material and trailers. In actuality, he's a supporting character and goes OutOfFocus in the second half of the film.
* ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'' was a somewhat infamous case of this, since the marketing campaign for the movie focused almost entirely on the fact that it was going to feature a team-up between Captains Kirk and Picard, the protagonists of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' and ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. The poster of the movie only showed [[FloatingHeadSyndrome Kirk's and Picard's faces next to each other]], and the movie's TagLine was ''"Two Captains, One Destiny"''. In truth? Kirk gets trapped in a NegativeSpaceWedgie in the very first scene of the movie, and he isn't seen again until he's freed right before the climactic action scene, during which [[spoiler: [[DroppedABridgeOnHim he unwittingly names a rather infamous trope]]]].
* Despite being hyped up as a major supervillain in trailers and posters, Alexei "The Rhino" Sytsevich has around five minutes of screen-time in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', and we only see him as the Rhino for around ''two'' minutes. Alexei appears in exactly two scenes: the ActionPrologue of the movie, and the final scene--where [[spoiler: the credits roll just as Spider-Man swings in to fight him]].
* ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'': Trailers heavily featured Bryan Cranston of ''Series/BreakingBad'' fame. His character is important in the beginning of the film, but [[spoiler:[[DecoyProtagonist dies at about the end of the first act]].]]
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' has this for the titular character of all people (the Winter Soldier, not Cap). He only appears in maybe 30 minutes total, and despite the fact that he does play an important role [[spoiler: it's mainly as a weapon for the HYDRA agents that have been planted in SHIELD.]] The film focuses much more on that aspect rather than the Winter Soldier's character.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Characters on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' are invariably either some of the most dynamic and developed characters on TV, or completely wasted. Daniel Faraday, an important character in season 4, [[spoiler:disappears]] for most of season 5, and [[spoiler:[[BackForTheDead dies immediately upon re-appearing]]]]. Caesar was hinted as being mysteriously integral to the plot before Season 5 but [[spoiler: he dies less then halfway through the season. Then he gets replaced by the equally mysterious "Bram" in a sense, who dies in the first episode of Season 6]].
* From the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' franchise:
** Travis Mayweather on ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]''. He was the pilot (when Captain Archer was also a pilot, and perfectly able to take over for Travis when needed) and had previous extensive experience in space (which was less and less of an issue as the show progressed).
*** To a lesser extent, Hoshi Sato from Enterprise also qualifies. She was the linguist and communications officer. Most of her work is not particularly interesting, so while she does get some scenes doing her actual job, she's more often treated as an office intern doing whatever odd jobs need doing. That the show suffers from severe TheMainCharactersDoEverything, this means she'll do things she is grossly unqualified for, such as manning the transporter (which 200 years later in TheNextGeneration was manned at all times by specialist staff.)
** Harry Kim on ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]]'' applies as well, with the exception of a few episodes that were specifically about him, he usually gets the obligatory one line.
** Jake Sisko in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Despite being credited as a main character for the show's entire run, the Son of the Emissary appeared in less than half of the show's episodes. Not as strong a case as Mayweather and Kim, as Jake was a well-developed character who saw a lot of development during the series. That his actor was a teenager for much of the show provides a reason for his relatively small number of appearances, since he was simply unable to shoot as much as the adults.
*** Jake was also never intended to be a full cast member either: his purpose, when the show was created, was to provide fodder for Sisko, as the original idea for the show was "a father tries to raise his son on the frontier."
* After not being included in the first two seasons of the show, the appearance of Tuck in the BBC's ''Series/RobinHood'' was loudly heralded amongst the advertisers for season three, and interviews with the actor David Harewood mentioned a "dark back-story" for the character. Tuck gets one character-centric episode (which is just pointless filler), and is then a tag-along member of the gang from then on.
* From ''Series/{{Glee}}'':
** Tina much of the time; is usually lucky to get two lines an episode, and in the whole first season she had exactly one song to herself.
** There is also Terri, Jessalyn Gilsig her actress is credited as a regular for the first 2 seasons but stops appearing regularly after the first 13 episodes only having a few scattered appearances afterwards. In season 2 she only appeared in roughly 6 episodes.
* In the late 80s and early 90s, a series of ''Series/SesameStreet'' videos based on the Israeli co-production Rechov Sumsum called ''Shalom Sesame'', focusing on being a travelogue for Israel. Many of the video boxes for the individual shows released in the 90s show American ''Sesame'' Muppets front and center despite the fact that the Muppet on the box only appears in one partially dubbed segment in the show. An example is the Chanukah episode; the video box shows The Count and Elmo - they only appear near the very end during a dubbed "Do De Rubber Duck," where Elmo doesn't even have a line
* Sheena Easton, who plays Queen Anne, has spot in the opening credits of ''Series/YoungBlades'' despite appearing for about a minute each in two of the first five episodes -- and one of those is just to explain that she's gone on vacation and a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute will take her place. She gets a larger role in the next few episodes, but still doesn't appear at all in 6 out of 13 of them.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** An extreme example is "Mission to the Unknown" - William Hartnell is credited despite not appearing in the episode at all.
** Hitler, in the episode "Let's Kill Hitler." Despite being the title character and featured in the trailers, he has about five minutes of screen time before he is punched out by [[MemeticBadass Rory]] and stuffed in the cupboard, where he is forgotten for the rest of the episode.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', Robert Rusler, who appears as Warren Keffer in 6 out of 22 episodes in Season 2 but is in the main credits for the entire season. A case of ExecutiveMeddling, since the network wanted J. Michael Straczynski to introduce a "hotshot ''Film/TopGun'' kind of pilot." The commentaries reveal that JMS ''hates'' this kind of character, and as soon as the network stopped giving him notes, he [[spoiler: offed the character as soon as he possibly could.]]
* Misha Collins is credited as a main cast member for all the season five and six episodes of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' he appears in, including the ones where, in his own words, he "turns up, gives a piece of sage advice and disappears."
* Grey Damon as Hastings Ruckle in Season 5 of ''Series/FridayNightLights''. Although billed as a main cast member, he gets fewer scenes than, for example, Dallas Tinker, who is listed as a guest star.
* ''Series/{{Soap}}'': all cast members are credited only in episodes where they actually appear. But since (a) the cast list in the closing credits is done alphabetically, (b) Jimmy '''B'''aio as Billy Tate rarely has anything to do even in episodes where he appears, and (c) CreditsPushback, he's sometimes the ''only'' cast member credited even if all he did was stand around in a family crowd scene or something. Even when the credits aren't truncated he's still always listed first in episodes he appears in.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}''.
** Johnathan Schneider's character was killed off 12 episodes in the 5th season and only appeared in two episodes afterwards in that season but continued to be credited as a main cast member for the entire season. Another example is Erica Durance who played Lois Lane. In the first season she appeared in she was only ever billed as a Special Guest Star for the 13 episodes she appeared in. She is also the only character to appear on posters and the DVD box other than Clark himself. When she got a PromotionToOpeningTitles the following season she still only appeared in 13 of the 22 episodes, and it wasn't until around the penultimate season that she finally appeared in the majority of a season.
** [[spoiler:{{Darkseid}}]] has the worst case. [[spoiler:In a poster of season nine he is the only character depicted other than Clark. ''He does not appear at all.'' Partially why season nine is universally disliked.]]
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'': Tracy Scoggins as Kat Grant, a society page reporter in the first season. Given little to do, dropped after the first season.
* Due to having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, this is common on ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration''; in a given season, some characters will have lengthy story lines, while other become almost completely OutOfFocus, sometimes appearing in just a few episodes. Characters this has happened to include Toby, who, though prominent in the first few seasons, quickly became TheArtifact as the cast expanded, and Leia, who had two centric B-plots after she was introduced, then promptly disappeared.
* ''Series/PoliceSquad'' had this as a CreditsGag. The opening prominently credits "Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln!" who never appears in the show itself. And then the "Special Guest Star" who is killed in the credits and never appears in the show or is even part of the plot.
* In the early seasons of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', Dan Butler, who played Bulldog Briscoe. The character was ''very'' cut off from the "real" main cast of Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Roz and Martin, was a fairly two-dimensional coworker at KACL who only ever appeared as comic relief or a foil for Frasier or Roz, and had neither any specific importance to the show that would justify billing him along with the main cast, nor any deep connection to the rest of the billed characters. He was eventually dropped from the opening titles, appearing as a guest star in the end credits in the episodes he appeared instead. It's pretty jarring to see the character squeezed into promotional images and covers along with the five "real" leads, when Eddie the dog was more of a main character than he was.
* In ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' Creator/KatieMcGrath who plays Morgana has been in the main credits since day one, but numerous episodes (especially early on) feature Morgana doing very little beyond looking beautiful in the background. Sometimes this even extends to periods of the show when her character is playing a vitally important role (such as early Series 4) but still often results in very limited screentime.
* In season 5 of ''Series/TwentyFour'', Carlos Bernard was promoted back to the main cast as Tony Almedia after spending the previous season as a recurring character and appeared heavily in promotional materials. He then spent most of it off screen in a coma and then halfway was seemingly killed off for the remainder of the season. He was in a quarter of that season's episodes in total, compared to the rest of the cast who all appeared in at least half of the season if not more. In season 6 Regina King joined the main cast as Sandra Palmer, even getting the AndStarring credit for that year, yet she was only in a handful of episodes. In fact, she actually is notable for having the least amount of appearances total out of every actor or actress to ever be a main cast member on the show.
* Tim Meadows on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had one of the longest tenures but rarely was onstage. It even became a RunningGag in the backstage sketches. "Are you still on the show?"
* Simon Reynolds as Daniel Dickinson in the first season of ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}''. A particularly {{egregious}} case in that ''several'' of the "guest stars" appeared quite a lot more than he did in that span. A case can also be made for Leena (Genelle Williams) who was 'credits only' in four of the twelve first season episodes, and, generally, until her key role in the final story arc, merely puttering doing something intuitive, and not really essential to the 'A' or often even 'B' storyline. Of the thirty-eight episodes of the first three seasons, she was only in the credits for twelve, despite technically being main cast.
* In ''Series/VeronicaMars'', Teddy Dunn's character Duncan Kane was written out midway through the second season, but continued to get credited in the show's opening for that year. [[spoiler: This notably did help hide his surprise return in the season finale where the paid an assassin to kill Aaron Echolls.]]
* The rules governing who will and who will not receive billing in the opening credits for ''Series/GameOfThrones'' seem increasingly arbitrary. Episode count and even amount of face time you receive per episode is apparently not a factor in whether or not you are billed in the opening credits as a regular or in the closing credits as a guest star. It is not uncommon for regular-billed actors to receive less screen time or appear in fewer episodes than non-regulars. Several of the actors billed as regulars are little more than semi-frequent guest stars, to wit:
** In the first season, Conleth Hill appears in 6 episodes as Varys, but is billed as a guest star. He gets opening credits billing in every subsequent season, despite his appearances becoming less frequent. For that matter, Aiden Gillan's appearances have decreased each season, but he was credited as a regular from his first appearance onward.
** Rory [=McCann=]'s main role in seasons 1 and 2 is to stand around looking threatening, while uttering maybe one or two lines per episode. He is billed as a regular for both. He gets more screen time and character development beginning in the third season, though, and his development really took off in the fourth.
** James Cosmo appears in five episodes in the first season, three in the second and four in the third. Guess which season only credits him as a guest star?
** Nearly all the Dragonstone crew, actors Stephen Dillane, Liam Cunningham and Carice van Houten, seem to appear very infrequently compared to nearly all the others. Ms. van Houten appeared only four times in the second season, while Cunningham appeared in 6. While van Houten's appearances increased in the third season's, Cunningham's decreased. They hardly appeared at all in the fourth season. They have all been billed as regulars from their first appearance.
** Hannah Murray (Gilly) was added to the opening credits in Season Four, despite appearing in only three episodes; only half the amount of appearances she had in Season Three.
* Dustin Brooks from ''Series/{{Zoey 101}}''. Through he is credited as a main character for all 65 episodes of Zoey 101, he only appears in 25 episodes and rarely contributes to the plot in a major way.
* Suzie in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', sort of. She was listed in the opening credits of the first episode, and released beside the rest of the cast as a major character. Suzie was a member of Torchwood at the start of the first episode, and quite important to the first episode. [[spoiler:She's the villain of the episode, and ends up dying by the end of it.]]
* One of Creator/JimCarrey's first roles was in the 1981 television special ''Introducing... Janet'', where he gets second billing and his character doesn't appear until after at least 15 minutes. That special was released on video in 1995, shortly after he'd become a big star, and the packaging makes it look like he is the star of the special, being the main focus of all video covers, the only actor whose name appears on the cover (despite getting second billing), the video description talks about him more than the main character Janet, and when released on video the special was retitled ''Rubberface''.
* Jenna in the second season of ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', really doesn't do anything of note despite being a main character. Also Tyler in the first season, who's sole purpose seemed to be getting in fights with people.
* ''TheWire'' didn't have much rhyme or reason to its opening credits. Early on they seemed pretty judicious about who got opening credits billing, even crediting people who had storylines centered around them as guest stars, but in the final season they moved a number of former guest stars into the opening credits, such as Neal Huff, Gbenga Akkinagbe, and Michael Kostroff, despite their characters not really doing anything more than they had in previous seasons. Also, Tristan Wilds and Jermaine Crawford received PromotionToOpeningTitles despite having less to do than the previous season.
* Gregory Itzin was a series regular on the short-lived ''Series/MobCity'', but only appeared in four of the show's six episodes, and only had a speaking part in three of them.
* Various promotional images for ''Series/MuppetsTonight'' prominently feature Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal, as if they are main characters, but due to Frank Oz's directing career, their pressence on the show (especially Fozzie's) wasn't as big as it was on ''Series/TheMuppetShow''. Various promotional images for ''Series/TheJimHensonHour'' prominently feature Zondra and Ubu, who only appeared in two episodes.
* The advertisements for the ''Series/ICarly'' episode "iFind Spencer Friends" hyped up Creator/EmmaStone as a guest star. When the actual episode aired however, we find out that she only appeared near the end of the episode, has about 30 seconds of screentime, and plays absolutely no role to the main plot.
* Similar to the ''Smallville'' and ''Veronica Mars'' examples, in season 3 of ''Series/OnceUponATime'' Michael Raymond-James' character Neal Cassidy [[spoiler: aka Balefire]] was written out of the series midway through the season, but was still credited as a regular for the rest of it, even though he only made a few brief appearances in flashbacks for the remainder of the season.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* This happens all the time in music, when Artist B gets a credit on the charts for singing backup on Artist A's song. For instance:
** Music/TimMcGraw got credit for singing a far-from-prominent backing vocal on then-labelmate Jo Dee Messina's "Bring On the Rain". Even more, he already had a single out at the time ("The Cowboy in Me", which actually succeeded "Bring On the Rain" at #1).
** It happened again with Tim on his 2014 single "Meanwhile Back at Mama's". Music/FaithHill can ''barely'' be heard doing backing vocals, yet she still gets a full credit.
** Music/GeorgeJones got chart credit for Shooter Jennings' "4th of July" even though his only contribution to the song was singing a few bars of "[[SignatureSong He Stopped Loving Her Today]]" at the end — a part that was cut out of the radio edit!
** In a similar vein, The Wailers sing a chorus at the end of Music/KennyChesney's "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven", and still received chart credit despite their part being cut from the radio edit. Strangely, said credit did not show up until the song's second week at #1.
** Kenny also {{Inverted|Trope}} this twice:
*** First, Music/GeorgeStrait did not get duet credit on "Shiftwork" until it was halfway up the charts, as Kenny's label had to get permission from George's.
*** An even more bizarre inversion is his guest vocal on RebaMcEntire's "Every Other Weekend". A few stations had been playing the song before it was a single, so it was just listed as "Reba [=McEntire=] with Kenny Chesney" on the charts. Once it was released as a single, Reba's label couldn't get permission to keep Kenny on, so the radio edit had Skip Ewing (who co-wrote it) singing Kenny's part. However, due to Kenny's much bigger name recognition, most stations just played the Reba/Kenny version. As a result, it was credited to "Reba [=McEntire=] with Kenny Chesney or Skip Ewing" for one week, then to ''just'' Reba for the rest of its run.
** As with "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven", David Nail's "Let It Rain" did not give credit to the barely-audible backing vocalist Sarah Buxton until it was just shy of #1.
** After Music/BrooksAndDunn split up, both Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks began solo careers. Kix's first solo single, "New to This Town", credits [[Music/{{Eagles}} Joe Walsh]], whose only contribution is a very short guitar solo.
** Music/ClintBlack also gave credit to his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, simply for singing backup vocals on "When I Said I Do" and "Easy for Me to Say".
** Inverted with Ty Herndon's "It Must Be Love". Drew Womack and Doug Virden, then of the band Sons of the Desert, sing a very prominent {{Call And Response|Song}} on the chorus, but received zero chart credit. On the other hand, Sons of the Desert ''did'' get chart credit on the country and Hot 100 charts for their counterpoint on Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance", even though the pop remix omitted them.
** Accordionist Flaco Jiménez got a credit on The Mavericks' "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" entirely for, you guessed it, playing accordion.
** Another strange inversion: Roger [=McGuinn=] and Chris Hillman of Music/TheByrds recorded Music/BobDylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (which the Byrds themselves had previously recorded in 1968) on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1989 album ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two''. Even though the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band features prominently on this version, it was credited to just [=McGuinn=] and Hillman.
** Music/BradPaisley's "When I Get Where I'm Going" credits Music/DollyParton, even though (as with "Bring On the Rain", above) she only sings barely audible background vocals that you may not even notice the first few listens.
** Also similarly, {{Music/Alison Krauss|AndUnionStation}} and Billy Dean got credit for backing Music/KennyRogers on "Buy Me a Rose". Dean can be heard echoing the line "rest of your life" on the final chorus, but he and Krauss are otherwise rather unobtrusive.
** Yet again with Krauss. She and Music/VinceGill can barely be heard singing backup on Mark Chesnutt's "It's Not Over", but they still got chart credit.
** Sara Evans got full chart credit for singing backing vocals on The Warren Brothers' "That's the Beat of a Heart". To her credit, she sings one line by herself near the end.
** Similarly, John Rich sings backing vocals on Gretchen Wilson's "Come to Bed", and sings just one line on the bridge by himself, but still got full chart credit.
** On Music/BlakeShelton's 2014 single "My Eyes", barely-discernible backing vocalist Gwen Sebastian (a contestant on ''Series/TheVoice'', where Shelton is a judge) gets full chart credit.
** Another inversion: in late 1999, Music/HankWilliamsJr rewrote his SignatureSong "A Country Boy Can Survive" with updated lyrics about the MillenniumBug. The "[=Y2K=] Version" had Chad Brock on lead vocals, with guest appearances from Hank Jr., Music/GeorgeJones, and John Anderson. However, Anderson did not get chart credit, while Hank Jr. and George Jones did.
** Music/TrishaYearwood's 2014 single "[=PrizeFighter=]" has backing vocals from Music/KellyClarkson, who gets full credit despite being only in the background.
* Music/PixieLott gets a "feature" credit on the SelenaGomez song "We Own The Night" but she really only sings backing vocals. Even so, the backing vocals are almost buried in the mix.
* WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows references this in his review of "We Are Young" by Music/{{Fun}} and Music/JanelleMonae. He says that Monáe's part was so inobtrusive that he never even realized she was singing on it, then mocks the concept by claiming the video is now a crossover with [[WebVideo/YouCanPlayThis JewWario]], who appears on-screen for two seconds to say "hi".
* Music/ColbieCaillat on Music/TaylorSwift's "Breathe". It's supposed to be a duet, Colbie's voice is so drowned out, it sounds like just Taylor sing. On a flipside, Taylor is this on JohnMayer's "Half of My Heart" (who incidentally is an advertised on Music/FallOutBoy's cover of Music/MichaelJackson's "Beat It", where he only plays the guitar solo.)
* Numerous songs that feature [[Music/TheB52s Fred Schneider]] as a guest just feature him making the occasional shout, rather than singing or rapping anything.
* Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! did not record very much with Wham!, but was always listed as a member. His contributions included the occasional guitar playing and co-write, but most of their work was down to George Michael and session musicians. Ridgeley was mainly listed as a band member for his sex appeal. This is why George Michael has gone seamlessly from Wham! to his solo career, but Ridgeley has floundered.
* KeithUrban is credited on TimMcgraw-TaylorSwift collaboration "Highway Don't Care" but he really only plays the guitar.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* Trillian in ''Radio/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' radio series doesn't have much character development, supposedly because the actress' performance didn't give Creator/DouglasAdams much to work with, and because her purpose was to have someone who Arthur could talk to about Earth, but Ford served that purpose just as well. Her character is much more developed in the later books (and in the movie).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Phillipe Loren in ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' was advertised as the game's BigBad [[spoiler: He's killed at the end of the first act]]
* Maria from ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII GTA III]]''.
* In ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'', [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI Shantotto]] and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII Gabranth]] were secret characters with no real effect on the storyline, only showing up in flashbacks. In the prequel, they're much easier to unlock, appear on the cover and are shown standing side-by-side with the other characters in the opening FMV...but they still have no role in the main story.
* Your avatar in ''VideoGame/WhiteKnightChronicles''. [[NeverTrustATrailer Despite the trailers]] and the back of the box, Leonard is the main character of the game, and the character that you put all the effort into creating will be quickly relegated to standing in the background of cutscenes, nodding dumbly along with whatever Leo is saying, with no one bothering to even interact with him or her most of the time -- if your avatar even appears in the cutscene to begin with. You're not even required to have yourself in the party, whereas the game forces Leo in at various story points.
* The only unlockable characters in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'' not getting the SecretCharacter treatment are Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog and [[Franchise/MetalGear Solid Snake]], since they're the only two {{guest fighter}}s in the game and as such they're openly featured on the Super Smash Bros DOJO website, their own announcement videos (which in the game are available ''from the start'') and '''on the back of the cover.''' This is not a coincidence: Nintendo has actually been GenreSavvy enough to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] a certain trope.
** Marth and Ness also appear in the opening movie, despite also being secret characters. Also in Melee, Ganondorf's arm, Pichu and Jigglypuff are shown in the opening, although the latter two are in a crowd shot featuring [[CastHerd nearly half of the other Pokemon from the first two generations,]] so even if Jigglypuff steals the screen, at least Pichu's a little innocuous to someone not looking for it.
** In the original, Luigi appears as a 1 Player mode enemy as well as in the How To Play video, so being able to unlock him was hardly a surprise.
** Played straight with Sonic in the Subspace Emissary, where he only shows up right before the final boss fight. [[spoiler: Although he does manage to weaken Tabuu's OneHitKill attack in the process.]]
* Tentomon and Gomamon appear on the PAL boxart for DigimonWorld, alongside the playable Agumon, Biyomon, Gabumon, Palmon and Patamon, who in total make up the original lineup of main characters from the anime, of which this game is not an adaptation. Tentomon is only a common enemy in-game, with only his evolved form, Kabuterimon, available to the player character, so he is at least featured. Gomamon and all of his associated forms are '''entirely absent from the game'''.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'''s marketing campaign heavily advertised the fact that Creator/PatrickStewart would be playing the voice of the series' perennial BigGood, Emperor Uriel Septim VII. In the actual game, he only has a few brief lines of dialogue before he gets killed during the tutorial mission.
** Similarly, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'''s trailer was narrated by Creator/MaxVonSydow, so you'd expect that his character, Esbern, would play a major role. He's actually a fairly minor character who only becomes important in an entirely optional plot branch.
* Promotional art for ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II'' heavily features Jedi Master Atris, portraying her as a kind of light side counterpart to Darth Nihilus. However, while she is important to the game's backstory, her involvement in the actual game is much smaller than it should have been; she was originally supposed to be a party member and, in an alternate ending, [[spoiler:replace [[EvilMentor Kreia]] as the BigBad]], but, like many other features, it was cut short by [[ExecutiveMeddling rushed development]].
* Promotional art and trailers for ''[[Videogame/PokemonRanger Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia]]'' made a great showoff about surfing on an Empoleon's back as one of the main things in the game. How many times it happens? ''Once''. Two or three if you want to go for HundredPercentCompletion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'''s Rena Ryuuguu is featured in all promotional art, crossovers, side-games and is practically synonimous with the entire Franchise/WhenTheyCry franchise. She's only really, truly important for two arcs out of eight.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The revival of ''Theatre/{{Hair}}'' featured actress Allison Case prominently in its advertising. She was on every poster, every TV appearance and most likely to be the one to speak for the cast. Case played Crissy, and while she's in the whole show (like everyone in ''Hair''), her character had one song and maybe two scenes with her as the center.
* Estelle Parsons in ''Nice Work If You Can Get It''. She showed up at the very end of the show and that was it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is rife with this:
** The deal they made out of Music/{{U2}} appearing on the 200th episode and they only had a scene and a bit. Before that was "Lisa's First Word", the episode "starring" Creator/ElizabethTaylor... wherein she spoke one word! (But it was [[spoiler: ''[[TheSilentBob Maggie]]'s'' [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming first word]]]] (only canonical) so it was pretty important.)
*** It doesn't help that after Taylor's death FOX aired a rerun of the episode instead of a new one, infuriating some fans.
** Dennis Leary in "Lost Verizon". He gets 5 minutes of screen time. And is portrayed as ''an utter psychopath''.
** Another that was heavily advertised was Alyson Hannigan; her character has very limited screen time and only has three lines of dialogue.
** Sky's (and FOX's) promotion of "Elementary School Musical" was pretty bad too, emphasising the guest voices of ''Series/{{Glee}}'' regulars Lea Michele, Amber Riley and Cory Monteith while completely ignoring the presence of Music/FlightOfTheConchords, even though Messrs. Clement and [=McKenzie=]'s characters had far more screen time, were essential to the plot, and writing original songs for the episode!
* Both Ironhide and Arcee were actually given this treatment in the Japanese opening for ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. Ironically, according to the [=AllSpark=] Almanac, Ironhide ''was'' intended [[AscendedExtra to become a main character]] in the fourth season before the show was cancelled at three.
** Cliffjumper was one of the main advertising faces of the ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' promos, got a preview comic devoted to him and even a handful of figures when the toyline was released, and generally seemed to be the future main-character of the show. [[spoiler:He dies within the first couple of minutes of the pilot, then becomes a zombie and is killed again, and only gets a Flashback episode halfway through the series. After that, he received several ''other'' toys depicting him as a Terrorcon zombie.]]
* Bunsen and Beaker have their own line in the ExpositoryThemeTune of ''MuppetBabies'', but they only make occasional appearances on the show itself.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' spoofs this trope: in the opening credits for the first film, "Bender's Big Score", the new character [[http://theinfosphere.org/Zylex Zylex]] is announced with great fanfare... only to appear just for a couple of seconds, while begging for food!
* From ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'':
** The Mad Thinker narrates the opening of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oRwpy66NXc this trailer]], but only appears in episodes 5 and 6. The writers even relegated his demise into one of the short stories included in the tie-in comics.
** Comicbook/BlackWidow appears on the cover of the Australian Blu-Ray compiling the first season. In actuality, only six of those episodes feature her, though her subplot strongly ties into the main events.
** The Australian Blu-Ray package for Season 2 has both her and Comicbook/NickFury on the cover, due pretty much only to their prominence in [[Film/TheAvengers the movie]]. Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} and Comicbook/SpiderMan are shown as well, despite only appearing in three and two episodes respectively (one of which was a big CrisisCrossover with Comicbook/TheFalcon, Comicbook/{{Luke Cage|HeroForHire}}, [[Comicbook/ImmortalIronFist Iron Fist]], Comicbook/WarMachine, the Comicbook/FantasticFour, and pretty much every other hero that ever appeared on the show). They're only on the cover because [[WolverinePublicity they're two of Marvel's most popular characters]].
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. In the early episode "[[Recap/SouthParkS1E4BigGayAlsBigGayBoatRide Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride]]", George Clooney was advertised as a guest star on the show. Yet, in the episode itself, he is just Stan's gay dog, Sparky. All he does is bark. Similarly, another episode features Jay Leno providing the meowing sounds of Cartman's cat.
* A ton of celebrities were advertised to appear in the ''WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob|SquarePants}}'' 10th Anniversary special, "Truth or Square" but almost all of them only made cameos, most of them don't even appear in the trimmed-down rerun version, and ''none'' of them appear in the animated segments instead appearing in the live-action Patchy segments. This trope is however, averted with Music/{{Pink}}'s appearance as she got to sing ''Scurvy''.
* Most of the regular cast from ''Series/TazMania'' is acknowledged in the opening, including characters whose appearances were very few and far-between (including Wendell T. Wolf, Buddy Boar, The Kiwi, and The Bushrats). In fact, some of those characters who ended up appearing in many episodes (such as Digeri Dingo and Francis X. Bushlad) weren't in many episodes during the first season.
* Although she gets a lot of screentime, Minka in ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012'' has not had an episode focused on her as of late 2013 and is the only major character with this distinction. She has received a B-plot in two episodes, however, but in both cases, Minka is incessantly doing one single thing for most of the B-plot, meaning the story makes very little progression. For most of the rest of the series, she just hangs out with the other main characters doing whatever they're doing.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' TV special "Dance Pantsed" heavily promoted special guest star Music/RingoStarr of Music/TheBeatles. He has about three minutes of screen time and he doesn't even sing. And while a song & music video for "I Want To Be A Powerpuff Girl" ''was'' shown during the special's breaks, it wasn't part of the actual story.
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