Where [[TheHero the most powerful member]] is the NaiveNewcomer. In some series, the protagonist starts his adventure by joining a group that's already been in business for a while before the events of the story. This is often to help the audience to relate to the hero more, as like in a WelcomeEpisode, we're meeting the main ensemble with him. Because the ensemble are already close to each other, but not the protagonist, expect him or her to receive a ChillyReception.

For when the rookie doesn't become TheLeader or the most powerful team member, but still earns their place among the team/cast through a display of might and mettle, see NewcomerSavesTheDay. Compare EnsignNewbie. Contrast TeamPrimaDonna.


[[folder:Trope Namer]]
* There have been several ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' series where the Red Ranger is last one of the FiveManBand to join up.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'': Borderline example, as none of the Rangers had superhero experience and few of them each other beforehand. That said, Leo wasn't the one who initially retrieved the sword from the stone; Mike was. Damon knew Alpha and worked the Astro Megaship. Maya had ancient knowledge of the Quasar Sabres and had a connection to the Galactabeasts. Kai, Kendrix and Mike were already stationed on Terra Venture and had experience in the military forces and in science, whereas Leo was an illegal stowaway who had no such experience to rival the others.
** ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'': Wes didn't even appear until the second part of the two-part season premiere (and didn't officially join the team until the episode after that); the rest of the team were trained TimePolice. The only reason they bothered involving him was because they needed a DNA match for the previous Red Ranger. Played with in that while Wes leads the charge in the field, Jen the Pink Ranger is the official leader and the one who directs the team's activities.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'', Taylor, Alyssa, Max and Danny were actively fighting monsters for a year, six months, six months, and two months respectively before Cole even joined up. And Cole's a RaisedByNatives orphan who made his way from South America to Turtle Cove by boat. He's not just new to superheroics, he's new to ''modern civilization''. The only reason he's leader is because his patron Wild Zord outranks the others, and Taylor spends a lot of time bitter about it.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'', [[TheLancer Sky]], [[CloudCuckoolander Bridge]] and [[SpoiledSweet Syd]] had been going through training for a good while before [[JustLikeRobinHood Jack and Z]] were drafted into the Ranger program as the Red and Yellow Rangers. Justified since Sky, who would otherwise have been first in line for leadership, failed a SecretTestOfCharacter and the guy assigning morphers realized he'd go on an ego trip if he ''did'' become leader. It takes him quite a while to get over it. [[spoiler:In the epilogue, after Jack retires because he prefers charity work, Sky [[PassingTheTorch becomes the new Red Ranger]].]]
** In ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'', while the entire team was new to magic and superheroics, Nick was TheDrifter passing through Briarwood, while the other four were already a tight group of friends. Nick was also the last one to activate his powers.
** ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'' had it deconstructed with Casey assigned to be one of the Order of the Claw's guardians, even though he was just a "cub" with years less training than Theo and Lily, and thus, constantly worries about [[CantCatchUp not catching up]].
** ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'' mirrored ''Mystic Force'' in having Troy as the new kid in town, recruited for superhero duty alongside two best-friend pairs who were already acquainted. He does initially mention that he has reservations about being picked to be team leader right off the bat, but he quickly proves himself and it doesn't come up again after the premiere.
** Inverted in ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'': Red Space Ranger Andros was the experienced one, having been operating in outer space for some time, and the other four (who had already established themselves as TrueCompanions in the prior series ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'') joined ''him''.
** Also inverted in ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaSteel''. Brody had received some ninja training from his father before he was abducted by aliens years ago, while the rest of the team has no experience with either.
** Averted in Season 2 of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'', when the original Red Ranger (and Yellow and Black Rangers) were [[PutOnABus sent to a peace conference]], and three teenage martial arts experts joined the team in their place. Rocky was a Rookie, and the Red Ranger, but doesn't count for the trope because the leadership role was passed to established Ranger Tommy instead of the newcomer.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' also has had its fair share as well.
** ''Series/GoseiSentaiDairanger'': Ryou was the last to be recruited. Rin was simply the last to ''arrive'', but she'd had prior training.
** ''Series/ChourikiSentaiOhranger'' inverts this; Goro had his powers before the show began, while the others got theirs in the second episode. He is also a captain to their lieutenants.
** ''Series/SeijuuSentaiGingaman'': Ryouma wasn't the first choice as Gingared, and only received his powers from the actual first choice, his brother Hyuga, when the latter [[spoiler:presumably]] died.
** ''Series/MiraiSentaiTimeranger'': Tatsuya met the team completely by accident, and they recruited him solely because the first use of the Chrono Changers required five people.
** ''Series/HyakujuuSentaiGaoranger'': Kakeru was the last of his team recruited and made [=GaoRed=] because [=GaoLion=] chose him.
%%** ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'': Ban was a newcomer in the Earth branch SPD.
** ''Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger'': Kai is passed over in becoming a Magiranger at first over his older siblings because their mother didn't believe him to have enough courage to be the Red Magician.
** ''Series/JukenSentaiGekiranger'': Jan was picked up months after Retsu and Ran began training with Master Shafu.
** ''Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters'': Hiromu joins the team later because his sister wouldn't let him train with the others; though he does train on his own.
** ''Series/ZyudenSentaiKyoryuger'': Daigo was the last to tame his Zyudenryu partner, yet he's the one who manages to make the Kyoryugers work as a team by getting through to them.
** ''Series/ResshaSentaiToQger'': The five [=ToQGers=] were already friends and were drawn into the conflict at the same time, but Right was the last to get his changer since he was separated from the others at first. Downplayed since the time difference amounts to something like five minutes; and a few episodes later the team decides that they don't need a formal leader anyway.
** ''Series/UchuSentaiKyuranger'': Downplayed; of the five Kyurangers introduced in Episode One, [[TheHero Lucky]] was the last to get his Kyutama, but [[CanineCompanion Garu]] was the last to activate his. The episode ends with four Kyurangers left to be recruited.
** ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' deconstructs this trope, but not with Takeru. [[spoiler: As it turns out, he's just the BodyDouble to the REAL 18th head of the Shiba Clan, Kaoru, who enters late into the conflict and formally takes over. This was expected from the very beginning, so Takeru doesn't fight for the position, but now loses purpose in life, as well as the vassals he had come to call his friends. The morale of the vassals themselves suffer hard, primarily with the loss of Takeru and [[SixthRanger Genta]] [[note]] She didn't kick him out of the team for not being an actual vassal, but her {{Jerkass}} retainer badmouthed him and Takeru, rubbing the whole issue in, making him storm off to find Takeru.[[/note]]. It doesn't take long for Kaoru to realize all of this and see that she was naive to think she could just slip into Takeru's role without problem. Since it was Takeru, not her who showed up to meet the vassals at the very start, their teamwork and strength were built around ''him''. After getting Genta back into the team, and earning his forgiveness and respect, Kaoru later reinstates Takeru as leader, even legally adopting him to make it official, despite the fact that he's older than her.]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'':
** Davis of ''Anime/{{Digimon Adventure 02}}''. He was pretty much thrust into the leader role from the beginning despite the fact that Kari and T.K. [[Anime/DigimonAdventure had already done most of this before]], whereas Davis hadn't. Tai even symbolically gives Davis [[GogglesDoNothing his old goggles]] in a PassingTheTorch moment as part of this.
*** In fairness, Davis was the only one to get a Digi-Egg in the first episode, making this more of an inversion of the trope. Kari and T.K. remained [[SoLastSeason unable to do anything significant]] until the third episode.
*** Another issue is that despite [[InNameOnly being told]] Davis is the leader, until the finale he never once gave the rest of the team orders. [[NoRespectGuy That they listened to, at least.]] [[ButtMonkey They even leave him behind on pretty important missions without him knowing.]]
** Takato of ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' was the last to get his partner, the last to have it evolve, and the last to learn how to fight, let alone win a fight on its own. However, he seeks to learn as much as he can from Henry and Rika, and they make for a fairly balanced PowerTrio. Also, he's the first one to reach Ultimate (Mega in the dub).
** Marcus of ''Anime/DigimonSavers'' was hired by DATS specifically because of this - within less than a day of meeting Agumon, he had already manged to activate his D.N.A. and evolve him, taking down a rampaging Cockatrimon where seasoned agent Yoshi was [[ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything pretty much useless]]. Upon witnessing this, Sampson remarked that he absolutely needed someone like Marcus ''because'' of his ability to do that so quickly. After some consternation with Thomas, Marcus eventually becomes the de-facto leader of their DATS field team PowerTrio.
** Tagiru of ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime''. He'd been on the Xros Heart basketball team for a while, but he had no idea that the other two members were part of a different kind of team. He doesn't really act as the leader of the team [[spoiler:until the CrisisCrossover finale where Taiki is wounded and the responsibility of joining the other five legendary heroes (including the aforementioned Davis, Marcus and Takato) in combating Quartzmon is up to him.]]
%%* [[spoiler: Kyrie]] in ''Anime/SandsOfDestruction'', though you don't know that until the last episode.
%%* Matsumoto from ''Manga/SpecialDutyCombatUnitShinesman''. He's also the only one to think of red as a good sentai color in the first place.
* Joe Shimamura, the titular ''Manga/{{Cyborg 009}}''. As the ninth prototype, he's the most recently converted member of the team; while the other eight have all had time to adjust and adapt to what's been done to them, he's literally thrown into the midst of their escape attempt with no idea what's going on and has to be brought to speed on the fly. He also happens to be the most powerful, as the organization learned as they worked. [[spoiler: And the later cyborgs just keep getting stronger with each new model...]]
* This can also apply to Ash in the original season of ''{{Anime/Pokemon}}''. He is a beginning trainer just starting his journey when he gathers together his first group of friends, who, incidentally, are experienced Gym Leaders.
* Amu Hinamori of ''Manga/ShugoChara'' is an interesting case: She's the last to join the Guardians, but the first to reach full power.
%%* Koji Kabuto in ''[[Anime/ShinMazinger Shin Mazinger Z]]'' is basically this.
* Deconstructed with ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''[='=]s Shinji Ikari. He's the last of the pilots to be recruited and, without any prior experience, performs the allegedly nigh impossible feat of activating one of the titular mechas upon the first try (With even an ArtificialHuman created specifically for piloting taking over 7 months), quickly catches up to his the most experienced fighter in the group and eventually trumps her. By episode 19, he's a good enough fighter to effortlessly ravage a monster that neither Asuka nor Rei had any chance against, only failing to defeat it because he ran out of power before he could deliver the killing blow. Regardless, his lack of military training left him completely unprepared for [[WarIsHell the psychological consequences of actual life and death battles]], and for all his talent, he has the worst possible personality for the job, being a timid, delicate young boy who breaks out in a panic at the slightest provocation. By the time the show is over, he's a complete nervous wreck waiting to be relieved of his misery. Episode 12 puts it like this:
--> '''Random NERV Techie''': These readings are incredible! It's like he was born to pilot [=EVAs=].
--> '''Misato''': [[BlessedWithSuck ...Except that he hates it.]]
* ''Franchise/OnePiece'': Despite being the captain, Luffy is one of the youngest and most childish members of the crew, often requiring other members to mention even the simple basics of pirating. His main strengths lie in his charisma and strength to compensate.
* ''Anime/PrettyCure'' has three different instances of this trope:
** In ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'', the Rookie is Tsubomi (pink) while the Veteran is Yuri (purple). Naturally enough, Tsubomi find it difficult to earn Yuri's respect. It doesn't help that Tsubomi is, by WordOfGod, the ''weakest'' pink cure in the history of Precure. [[spoiler:And then there is Cure Flower, who was the previous generation's Pretty Cure]].
** In ''Anime/DokidokiPrecure'', the Rookie is Mana (pink) while the Veteran is [=MakoPi=] (purple). ([[{{Expy}} How very original...]]) It goes the other way from the above example: Mana is quickly proven to be one of the very best pink cure in the history of Precure, enough to surpass [=MakoPi=] in several ways. [[spoiler:Mana's meteor rookie status is even more reinforced by TheReveal of Jonathan Klondike and Cure Ace sometimes later.]]
*** The thing that separates the two, though, is circumstances: Yuri isn't an active Precure at the start of ''Heartcatch'' [[spoiler:due to the fact that she lost everything due to her over-self confidence in doing things by herself]], while [=MakoPi=] is trying to be TheAtoner for [[MyGreatestFailure Her Greatest Failure]]. Yuri just doesn't give anyone the time of day until she finally gets back in the saddle while [=MakoPi=] does when she finds out Mana has ''massive balls of steel'', which doesn't take long.
** In ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'', out of the main cast of four, Megumi (pink) is the last to receive her powers, as the others already had theirs before the first episode. However, it is worth noting that Hime (blue) initially was too scared to fight properly, [[spoiler: Yuuko's (yellow) powers are best suited for support, and Iona (purple) is a loner who refuses to do anything with Hime]]. Interestingly enough, with a news program covering all the Precure that are stationed across the globe, it is implicated that Megumi is the final girl in-series to become a Precure ''period''.
* The second ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'' series, ''Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode,'' features a protagonist called Berii who replaces the original leader of the Mew Mew girls. Berii has the DNA from two different animal species, unlike the other girls who only have one species per person. She's made the leader of the team as soon as she joins them, even though any other member would have had more experience. For that reason, she's [[{{Understatement}} not universally loved]] by the Mew Mew fandom.
* ''Anime/ShowByRock'': Cyan serves as this for not only Plasmagica, but for everyone else under the Banded Rocking Records label as well. According to Dagger, despite being a newcomer to Midi City and only staying there for a comparatively short time, her Melodisian crystal evolves at a seemingly alarming rate, [[spoiler: which is why he wants to steal her away from Plasmagica and put her on the most powerful band in Midi City's history.]]
* ''Anime/JewelpetTwinkle'': Akari Sakura, TheHeroine, is the last person to enroll at the magic school; the rest of her classmates have been there for a while already. Nonetheless, at the end of the show, it's her who has become the most powerful and who wins the highest honors.
* ''Manga/UchiNoMusumeNiTeODasuNa'': Clara is the newest member of N.U.D.E.[[note]]acronym for: "Next Ultimate Defense Exports"[[/note]], having been with them for about a year by the time the series starts. She's the new "Eighth Wonder" and strives to live up to the original's legacy; not knowing the original was her mother. In fact, she's the only one in the organization who doesn't. Still, despite her naivety and relative inexperience, she's the strongest superheroine they have; making her their best chance [[NebulousEvilOrganization against Blowjob.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
%%* The early issues of the ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' comic book show in an origin story that Princess Sally had been leading a band of Freedom Fighters for a while before she and Sonic first met. Then again, Sally remains the team leader who gives Sonic his marching orders.
%%** The Genesis Arc (and most likely the post-CosmicRetcon) seems to go back to this.
* While ComicBook/CaptainAmerica is the most famous leader of ''ComicBook/TheAvengers,'' it's often a surprise to both readers and occasionally other characters that he wasn't a founding member in the core Marvel timeline (he actually didn't join until issue #4). The reader confusion is helped by his being a founding member in most other timelines, such as ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'' or in the various animated series. Justified since he honed his skills in WWII and is the most natural leader, despite being a relative newcomer.
** Officially, since the [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Hulk]] has trouble playing nice with others 3/4 of the time, the other founders once mentioned that they transferred the official 'Founder' status that the Hulk would normally have to Rogers.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Too many to list. [[TropesAreTools Often but not always]] a sign of favoritism or MarySue.

* [[Franchise/StarWars Luke Skywalker]] joining the rebellion in ''Film/ANewHope''.
** It should be noted, though, that 90% of his story (that we see) takes place away from the group. He doesn't join the ranks until the end of ANH.
* In ''Film/{{Wanted}}'', Wesley (Creator/JamesMcAvoy) learns that his late father belonged to a secret assassin organization. He joins the organization and trains to be a professional killer himself, partially to avenge his father's death.
* Neo is this trope in ''Film/TheMatrix''
* Part of the entire point of ''Film/CrimsonTide''. Lt. Commander Hunter is replacing the USS Alabama's XO, who has appendicitis. Naturally, most of the crew (except for Weps) doesn't really have any sense of loyalty toward him.
* The Reboot ''Film/StarTrek'' has Kirk acting in this role.
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' has Po the Dragon Warrior, having proven himself, fights with the Furious Five and for all his remaining naivety, he has proven an asset to the team.

* d'Artagnan and ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers''.
* In ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'', one of the two viewpoint characters is Fatale, a rookie {{cyborg}} superhero who is asked to join the most famous superteam in the world. Much is made of the fact that she's so new on the scene that many people can't pronounce her name right (and the villain keeps forgetting it entirely).
* Vin from ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'' was a new recruit to Kelsier's thieving crew; the other members were all much more experienced and familiar with each other.
* Boamund in ''Literature/{{Grailblazers}}'' is appointed leader of the Order of the Grail Knights after awakening from a magical sleep. The other Knights have been in business for nearly '''1500 years'''.
* Literature/HarryPotter is this in the earliest installments of the series, as he's initially the most inexperienced Wizard among his circle of friends, despite being the ''de facto'' leader due to his natural bravado and his reputation as "The Boy Who Lived". The Pureblood Ron Weasley grew up around Magic all his life, and has a detailed knowledge of the Wizarding World despite his lack of formal training, while the Muggle-born Hermione Granger spends several months successfully practicing Magic on her own before she even gets to Hogwarts. Because he was raised by his Wizard-hating Aunt and Uncle, Harry remains almost completely clueless about Magic until he actually starts his classes.
* Lance-Constable Carrot of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch in ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' fits the "most powerful member" aspect, being a very muscular new recruit to a fairly unfit Watch, who comes with his own CoolSword. And it only takes him [[Discworld/MenAtArms two books]] to become Captain Carrot, and outrank everyone except Commander Vimes.

* "Most powerful" is up for debate, but with Cameron Mitchell becoming the leader of [[Series/StargateSG1 SG1]] for seasons nine and ten, he definitely fits. However, thanks to a liberal dose of RememberTheNewGuy and the personalities of the original characters, he is accepted into the group immediately.
* Any MedicalDrama where the protagonist is introduced as a new medical intern or resident.
* Kenji Narukami, from ''Series/MadanSenkiRyukendo'', is the second person to become a super-powered Madan warrior and join SHOT, an organization created to destroy demons. However, he is far less experienced and professional than his colleague, Fudou Juushirou, but still gets all the fancy power-ups and most of the spotlight.
* ''Series/DennouKeisatsuCybercop'': Takeda joins ZAC team on the first episode, after [[TimeTravel time-travelling from the future]] alongside his very powerful Bit Suit, Jupiter.
* In ''OrphanBlack'', {{Hustler}} Sarah Manning quickly becomes the ''de facto'' leader of the protagonist clones who are fighting for survival against myriad conspiracies. Uptight soccer-mom Alison and biology student Cosima have been aware of and involved in their situation for far longer, but Sarah's introduction massively changes the status quo, and her street-smarts and ruthlessness soon put her unofficially in charge of the group.

* NHL player Sidney Crosby was touted as the next Wayne Gretzky prior to joining the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005. At the time, the Penguins were pretty much an entire team of mooks on ice so Crosby was instantly thrust into the role of their main goal-scorer. To further drive him into this, he was named [[TheLancer Alternate Captain]] in his rookie season and Captain the following season, becoming the youngest one in NHL history at the time. This lead to [[Series/HockeyNightInCanada Don Cherry]] famously stating "[[EnsignNewbie An 18-year-old kid]] says he's going to give us ideas. What, from the Quebec League, he's going to give them ideas? Come on. That's ridiculous." Then he lead them to a Stanley Cup, and then he helped lead Canada to an Olympic gold medal.
* Due to the nature of the quarterback position in UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball, rookie quarterbacks who end up as starters become this. As the entire offense flows through this position, the quarterback becomes the de facto leader out on the field, even if more experienced players exist at other positions as well as the more experienced but less talented (or physically declining due to age) backup quarterback. It's considered ideal to let the rookie quarterback spend a couple of years as a backup to make the transition from college to the pros, but teams rarely have enough salary cap space to keep an established star as the starting QB ''and'' pay an expected future superstar to sit on the bench and as a result rookie starting quarterbacks are becoming more common. The results of a rookie starting QB are usually mixed, at best, but a few prime examples from [[UsefulNotes/NationalFootballLeague NFL]] history stand out:
** 1983 - Dan Marino starts 10 games for the Miami Dolphins, setting numerous rookie passing records in the process. He went 9-1 as a starter, earning the Dolphins a spot in the playoffs.
** 1999 - Shaun King becomes the first "true" (straight out of college) rookie QB in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to a playoff victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [[note]]Pat Hayden won a playoff game for the Los Angeles Rams in 1976 during his rookie year in the NFL, but had played a professional season previously in the World Football League.[[/note]]
** 2004 - Ben Roethlisberger leads the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 15-1 record and breaks many of the records previously set by Dan Marino in the process.
** 2012 - A record five rookie quarterbacks begin the seasons as starters for their teams (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Russell Wilson for the Colts, Redskins, Dolphins, Browns, and Seahawks respectively). Numerous records were broken by these quarterbacks with Luck, Griffin, and Wilson all leading their teams to surprise playoff appearances.

* As ''VideoGame/TheWonderful101'' is in part a love letter to ''Sentai''/''Power Rangers'' series, the main protagonist Wonder Red follows this tradition, having only been an agent for a year--yet easily the most efficient of all the Wonderful One-Double-Oh. Another reason he's put in charge is because the enemy attack is focused on his assigned {{Protectorate}} of Blossom City.
* Used in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers of Time/Darkness/Sky'': TheHero and their Partner join the Wigglytuff Guild as its newest members, allowing for introductions and for the player to be taught all about Treasure Town and the ins and outs of exploring mystery dungeons.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekBridgeCommander'' provides a couple of interesting cases for this, depending on who you view as the "Main character". Commander Larsen says in her first Log entry that while the player controlled character spent many years as a first officer, he'd only been on [[CoolStarship The USS Dauntless]] for four months. Larsen herself is the newest member of the Dauntless' crew, and she is often considered TheHero of the game's FiveManBand.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' combines this with a hefty dose of EnsignNewbie. The player character is given command of a starship at the rank of ''Ensign''. The game attempts to justify this by saying that the player is the only officer left, and by the end of the tutorial, you're at least promoted to Lieutenant (not much better).
** The circumstances for this vary between each faction. The Federation player gets it due to circumstances (pre-Season 8, it was because of a Borg invasion, post-Season 8 [[spoiler:it's because you're forced to kill the Klingons and your captain after the captain gets kidnapped by said Klingons)]]... if you play the tutorial. If you don't, they just say that you did ''so well'' on your Starfleet Academy tests that they're bumping you up that high. The Klingons use, natch, KlingonPromotion, while the Romulans pretty much force you to gather a crew and use a very old starship.
* It's not so jarring when Squall is made the leader of the team right after graduation. His teammates, Zell and Selphie, are also new graduates. Quistis has more experience, though, but she joins the team later after Squall has already been established as the leader. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' nevertheless contains a ''major'' instance of this: [[spoiler: Squall is named ''leader of Balamb Garden'', despite still being a fairly new graduate, around the middle of the game.]] This is mostly [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by the fact that Headmaster Cid [[spoiler:is working off of Edea's foreknowledge of Squall's role in defeating Ultimecia]]. The fact that he's extremely competent helps too.
* Both ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' involve the respective protagonists joining a pre-existing clan. That said, both clans start out with one significant character each and a bunch of generics before the heroes join.
* Cloud Strife from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is given this position ''after'' the group get out of Midgar and most of the original AVALANCHE members are dead. It's more realistic than most cases, though; at this point of the game, only two of the five group members were a part of the original AVALANCHE, the new group doesn't have much continuity with the old one, Cloud is a battle hardened military veteran, and Barret Wallace is a domestic terrorist who got 3/5 of his crew wiped out.
** Later on, when [[spoiler: Cloud is out of commission]], Cid Highwind, the last member to join, is nominated by Barret to lead the group, because despite his seniority, Barret admits that he really isn't leadership material, and Cid is an experienced veteran of Shinra's space program. Well, that, and the fact that the [[CoolAirship Highwind]] belongs to him.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'' suddenly promotes Ike to leader of the Greil Mercenaries, despite almost everyone else having more experience than him. Justified in the fact that Greil was his father, and Ike was going to eventually inherit the group if Greil hadn't perished. This actually is a sore point for two characters who leave the squad as a result. Later event prove this was a good idea.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Blazing Sword]]'' has Lyn, who never knew she was royalty and is suddenly Lord Caelin when her Grandfather dies a few years after she finds out (her parents having died years earlier). Justified in that, well, that's kind of how royalty works. Also, the player character, technically, being trusted to guide pretty much an army when he/she has zero experience in the matter.
** The player character role is repeated in the New Mystery remake and in Awakening. But as a man at arms or tactician (respectively) rather than the main lord this may make him the [[BadSnowClone Rookie]] [[RedOniBlueOni Blue]] [[NumberTwo Ranger]] instead, or [[{{Metaphorgotten}} Green maybe...]]
* When the PlayerCharacter of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' is named official field leader of SEES, he (or she, in the PSP UpdatedRerelease) isn't ''quite'' the newest member, but might as well be thanks to being a NewTransferStudent on top of being new to SEES and the concepts of Personas and the Dark Hour.
** After Akihiko heals up, he opts to let things stand, partially because he wants to focus on training against the shadows, and partially because he admits to having very little experience in fighting as a group. The matter isn't even brought up by the time Mitsuru joins the front lines, as the MC has been leading the team for several months, and doing a darn good job at it. Mitsuru still acts at the ''strategic'' leader, but follows orders in the combat team.
* [[VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars Ryusei]] [[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration Date]] is the last member to join the original [=SRX=] Team. He's pretty much the ''de facto'' leader of the group, mostly because [[LeaderFormsTheHead his machine is the head]] of their team's robot.
** Kyosuke Nanbu is this to the ATX Team. Excellen, Sanger, and Bullet is already a member before Kyosuke joined the team. In the end, not only he ended up s the ''de facto'' leader of the team, he is the acting commander of the player army.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgment'' has the main character Touya Shun who is a relative newcomer to the team, and to mecha combat in general.
* Zero joining LaResistance in ''VideoGame/MegaManZero''. The other members look up him as a field leader (Ciel, the actual leader, is more of a pacifist) because he's a legendary hero.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' features the [[PlayerCharacter Rookie]], who is also the HeroicMime. It's zig-zagged a bit, since he's still a veteran who's actually both higher-ranked and more experienced than the squad's demolition expert; [=ODSTs=] don't allow actual rookies to join their number.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}''[='s=] ''Spartan Ops'' cutscenes, Gabriel Thorne is this to the rest of Fireteam Majestic, being its youngest and least experienced member. Nonetheless, he more than holds his own, with ''ComicBook/HaloEscalation'' revealing that [[spoiler:he eventually gets promoted to team leader]]. Similar to the Rookie's case though, Thorne was already a decorated veteran, since the Spartan-[=IVs=] draw their recruits primarily from the best of the UNSC's other branches.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series loves doing this with the PlayerCharacter in each of the games' various guilds and factions. In each of the games, it is possible for the player to catapult his or herself from total newcomer to head of the faction within just a few in-game weeks. This is especially jarring with some of the political factions where some [=NPCs=] have spent years getting to their respective positions, only to have the PC leap past them in terms of rank.
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' takes this even further as the PlayerCharacter is something of a PhysicalGod, being able to warp reality by shouting at it.
* Seth, the main character in ''VideoGame/AtlantisTheLostTales'', is the newest recruit of the Queen's Companions and the hero of the story.
* The PlayerCharacter and protagonist of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is recruited into the [[ImpartialPurposeDrivenFaction Grey Warden order]] in the prologue and soon rises to be the informal leader of (the remains of) the organization in Ferelden, after all senior order members perish in battle. The PC's leadership is finally formalized in the ''[[VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening Awakening]]'' expansion, where they are appointed the Warden-Commander of Ferelden, despite barely being a member of the order for a couple years. It's fairly believable in ''Origins'' since there's only ''one'' other Warden in Ferelden, and while he's technically the senior Warden, he hasn't been a Warden that long either. More importantly, he's not the kind of person who likes giving orders and prefers to be a follower.
* Kyuu in ''VideoGame/RakenzarnTales'' is eventually nominated brigade leader despite not being the strongest (at first) or even being native to Rakenzarn. This is due to his being able to take command of the situation, being smart and savvy enough to handle the situations he's thrown into and make sound decisions.
* Channing of ''VideoGame/{{Lunarosse}}'' is thrown into this position of the expedition party after he's conscripted into LaResistance, due to his having the most experience thus far. He's not crazy about it, but it helps his growth into TheHero as he becomes capable of making the hard decisions needed.
* In ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', the Trooper starts off as the newest recruit to Havok Squad. After the prologue, all but you and the resident SergeantRock end up defecting to the Empire and General Garza promotes you as the new commander in order to deal with the defectors.

[[folder: Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', both team RWBY and [[{{Deuteragonist}} JNPR]] are led by their least experienced member, Ruby Rose and Jaune Arc, respectively. A bit more justified than most, as both of them showed the most competent leadership skills during the team assignment test by being able to analyze the situation and use their teammates' respective strengths.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Willow of ''Webcomic/{{Earthsong}}'' is very much this, as she is missing all of her memories since that's what happens on Earthsong[[spoiler:, and she's also a completely new being]]. So, minor skills aside, she is as rookie as they come.
* Keti of ''{{Webcomic/Footloose}}'' could be argued as this. Although she's not a hero, per se, and is certainly [[http://footloosecomic.com/footloose/bios.php?page=8 not]] [[http://footloosecomic.com/footloose/pages.php?page=53 the]] [[http://footloosecomic.com/footloose/pages.php?page=54 most]] [[http://footloosecomic.com/footloose/pages.php?page=79 talented]] of the group, she is the protagonist of the story (thanks to the in-universe "Primary Protagonist Syndrome") and her arrival at the dojo places her well behind her friends who have been there training already for a number of years.
* Sydney of ''{{Webcomic/GrrlPower}}'' has an unprecedented suite of super powers available to her due to her powers coming from a set of mysterious orbs she found (or they might have found her), rather than having been born with those powers.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* By extension of D'Artanian, ''WesternAnimation/DogtanianAndTheThreeMuskehounds''.
* It was intended that the ''WesternAnimation/TheodoreTugboat'' episode ''Theodore and The Big Harbour'' be the series pilot. It shows Theodore arriving as a NaiveNewcomer to the Big Harbour and finding out about the [[TheMagnificent V-Word]] system.
* The ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' series had planned a SpinOff series about a team of construction machines. In the PoorlyDisguisedPilot episode Jack, who was to be the main character, is introduced to the rest of the pack machines.
* Aang in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. While he's the youngest ([[HumanPopsicle despite also technically being the oldest]]), he's also seen the most of the world, and is the most powerful, since he's a master airbender compared to Katara's rudimentary waterbending and Sokka's...[[TheTeamNormal boomerang]].
** It carries over to his successor, Korra in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', who has a "bend first, ask questions later" approach to solving problems.
* From ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'', Lion-O had the misfortune of being a [[YoungerThanTheyLook twelve-year-old in a twenty-four-year-old's body]], thanks to [[PlotRelevantAgeUp a malfunctioning cryosleep pod]]. He adapted pretty well, all things considered (the sanity of his teammates placing him in charge before the trials to prove his capability as leader can be questioned, however).
* On ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', Miss Martian joins the Team [[AffirmativeActionGirl after their first adventure]], and at that point had only been on Earth [[NaiveNewcomer for about a month]]. Nevertheless she has [[SuperPowerLottery the most superpowers]] and is eventually revealed to have psychic abilities [[UnskilledButStrong even greater]] than the norm of her species. [[RotatingProtagonist She's not really the protagonist more than anyone else, though]].
** Inverted and deconstructed with Robin. He's the obvious choice for leader, to the point where Aqualad outright says that he's only filling in for Robin until he's old enough. The problem is, working with Batman for so long has left him absolutely horrible at teamwork. [[spoiler: He does become team leader as Nightwing, five years later]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperforceGo'': [[TheHero Chiro]] is actually the team's ''second'' leader, after the original had a FaceHeelTurn long ago. The rest of the team are all veterans by a vaster degree compared to him.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* It is becoming increasingly common in the US and similar countries for major political parties to nominate younger and/or less experienced members to major leadership positions, the [[UsefulNotes/DonaldTrump current]] and [[UsefulNotes/BarrackObama former]] presidents being major examples. This is mostly due to the fact that more junior politicians and outsiders are unlikely to have been involved in any major party scandals and won't be seen as "tainted" by the voting public.