[[quoteright:140:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/140px-Joker_black_02_svg_329.png]]

->''"Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not."''
--> -- '''Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord'''

The Wild Card is so used to swinging between teams that they have no default 'good' or 'evil' CharacterAlignment or even a 'home team'. This trope, on the other hand, truly isn't interested in consistently remaining with either side, and will very often simply want both to leave him alone. He can be the sort of person who will stay out of things entirely, until someone else (usually the hero or a sympathetic character) asks him for help.

Because the Wild Card doesn't care whose toes they stamp on, even if they're supposed to be their team. Come to think of it... the Hero probably only got them on the team (if they even manage to do that) because the Wild Card [[IOweYouMyLife owes him big time]]. The Wild Card can really shake up a team - the more suspicious characters will quite rightly not trust him.

Wild Cards often share a few of these traits:

* BystanderSyndrome - "As long as that rampaging evil beast doesn't get in my way, it's not my problem. But if it does... well, the good guys just got a new ally."
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor - "It's all about being on the team currently closest to my personal goal."
* TheUnfettered - "There's a job to be done, and it doesn't matter whose feet I step on, or who gets in my way, I'm going to do it."
* Personal Goals - "I'm after something else, and I can achieve it without needing to be a good guy. Or a bad guy."
* Self-Preservation: DirtyCoward[=/=]LovableCoward - "I'm not in it for my reputation. Or yours. If push comes to shove, I'm going to save my own hide."
* ManipulativeBastard - "Sure, I'm on a team right now. That's because that team has the AppliedPhlebotinum, PlotCoupon, MacGuffin, or other doohickey I need. As soon as they let me get my hands on it, I'll be selling it to the highest bidder. Even if it's the team I just stole it from."
* TheChessmaster - "Why shouldn't I manipulate both teams at once if it'll help me get what I want?!"
* A Distraction - "I'm not really evil enough to be the real BigBad. I may have distracted the good guys from what's important and endangered the world, but that wasn't my intention. On another day I might divert the BigBad's attention away from [[TheHero the heroes]]."
* BecomingTheMask - "Although it doesn't necessarily last forever, my unsteady moral compass often gets in the way of what I'm trying to do, especially when I'm trying to stick it to the good guys."
* RedemptionEqualsDeath - "My redemption is never to turn 'good' (what does that mean to someone like me, anyway?) But as soon as I become steady, reliable, and predictable, I'm usually gone."
* ItAmusedMe - "I don't care whose side I'm on, as long as I get to have fun!"

Sometimes Wild Cards fall in love. Love is the bane of the Wild Card, because no longer does the world revolve around one amazing and easy to understand person - there's somebody else. Oh my god, WhatIsThisFeeling?! Knowing how erratic the Wild Card can be, it could be somebody from either team - or both. With [[MoralityPet somebody to care about]], the Wild Card may well [[LoveRedeems become more reliable]] for a team. Or if there's multiple people to care about, they may become ''less'' reliable. There are also some Wild Cards who became so ''because'' they fell in love with someone.

Wild Cards are very rarely {{Big Bad}}s, though; they aren't really ''dedicated'' enough to evil - or to ''anything'' - to be ''that'' evil. However much they may enjoy doing what they do, most Wild Cards have either some form of morality, or high survival instincts, and are likely to turn on their evil employer because they were betrayed, don't want to be blown up with the planet, or even just because they just don't like being ''that'' evil. Wild Cards are more likely to be a BigBad's poor choice of BastardUnderstudy, or even the Good Team's TokenEvilTeammate.

While the average Wild Card sees their 'friends' as a handy BulletproofHumanShield, they have just enough conscience to feel bad about abandoning them when the fight turns ugly. No Wild Card switches teams because they ''care'' about their friends - they switch teams because it means a better life for them.

On rare occasions, a Wild Card may unexpectedly pull a sudden act of HeroicSacrifice, though it'll likely be because they guessed that if they didn't sacrifice themselves, they'd probably die anyway - along with everybody else.

Wild Cards are just ''that'' unreliable.

Not to be confused with the ''WildCards'' [[WildCards book series]].

See also: TrueNeutral, EnigmaticMinion, LovableTraitor, DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent, TheStarscream, OpportunisticBastard, HeelFaceRevolvingDoor and ChronicBackstabbingDisorder. Compare[=/=]contrast NominalHero.

Particularly wild Wild Cards tend to fall under [[ItAmusedMe For the Lulz]].

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Ryuk from ''Manga/DeathNote'' makes it clear early on that he's not on anyone's side; he only goes along with Light for as long as it makes things interesting for him. [[spoiler:This is proven when in the manga, after Light runs out of plans and ideas and turns to Ryuk to save him, Ryuk kills him.]]
** Mello could also count; all he does is only done so that he can prove himself to be the best.
* Impmon from ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' ranges from an arrogant and selfish loner, to helpful and fun-loving (if a bit begrudgingly), to a depressed wreck, to TheAtoner.
* Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', especially in the Namek Saga.
* Seto Kaiba from ''Anime/YuGiOh'' cared for very little, [[BigBrotherInstinct aside from his brother Mokuba]].
* Wang Liu Mei from ''{{Gundam 00}}'', who would aid/manipulate anybody and everybody to achieve her vision for the future of the world (which was in a nutshell a change in its nature, and exactly that specific). The Ptolemaios faction of Celestial Being, to a certain extent; their NecessarilyEvil nature make the intentions and targets of their interventions hard to second-guess, along with their tendencies to be flit between ruthlessness and diplomacy (depending on the circumstances).
* Hisoka from ''HunterXHunter'', who's sole desire to [[BloodKnight fight strong opponents]] causes this. He wants to fight and kill Gon and Killua, but not until they get stronger, which means he'll occasionally even lend them a hand. He's also a member of the [[CarnivalOfKillers Phantom Troupe]] [[spoiler: or at least he's pretending to be one]], but only because he wants to get the leader alone and fight him, which means he actually feeds information about the group to Kirapika during the Yorknew arc to help this along [[spoiler: but when Kurapika seals Chrollo's nen abilities and [[BroughtDownToNormal brings him back down to normal]], he starts working towards getting him back up to full power again.]].
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Evangeline doesn't care about Negi's welfare and will occasionally help the villains if she feels it will be entertaining. Eva also seemed to treat the entire Battle of Mahora arc as a massive [[TrainingFromHell training exercise]] for Negi. If she had wanted to influence the outcome, she could have probably [[LittleMissBadass won the battle for either side singlehandedly]].
** Evangeline's partner Chachamaru, being a robot, will show loyalty to whoever she's programmed to, including the people she otherwise acts friendly around.
** Tatsumiya Mana and Asakura Kasumi side with [[spoiler:Chao Lingshen]] because they believe in her goal while having helped Negi several times previously (well, Kasumi switches sides when she learns of [[BalefulPolymorph the consequences for Negi]]).
** And now there is [[SmugSnake Kurt Godel]], who is said ([[ImplausibleFencingPowers with reason!]]) to be extremely dangerous and fits the trope to a T. He appears to be on a different side of the conflict every time he appears in a new chapter. The guy is Infuriating Awesome.
** There is also [[PsychoLesbian Tsuki]][[AxeCrazy yomi]], who will betray her side and remain hostile to the other side at the drop of a hat if it looks like [[BloodKnight fun]]. Unlike most others of her sort, you can't even point her at your enemies and let her loose- but she ''will'' make you ''think'' you can, right up to the point where the slices your limbs off.
* Sagara Sousuke from ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic'' was apparently originally this, before [[DefrostingIceQueen becoming attached to his friends at Mithril and Kaname]]. It's implied that the reason he joined Mithril as a Wild Card was because Kalinin was part of Mithril, and he decided to join him there. Sousuke especially fits this trope in the section of Wild Cards that fall in love. He originally had no conflicting emotions, since his world and goals only revolved around getting the job done. However, it's made clear that falling in love with Kaname is his bane, making him much weaker. [[StalkerWithACrush Gauron]] is less than pleased with this change...
** Ironically, Gauron turns out to be a more evil version of this. He never has any sort of attachment to any of the organisations he's part of, not even of a financial nature. He kills and betrays (or not) only according to his whims, and can not be threatened, bribed or convinced out of it by nothing and no one. Not even when [[spoiler: offered the very real possibility of getting the past/future of his choice, and he ''knows'' it's possible.]] And in the end, he [[spoiler: betrays Amalgam to Sousuke, because apparently he really did feel... erm, something disturbingly close to actual affection for the kid.]]
* Hibari and Mukuro from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn''. Apparently, after 10 years, however, they both seem to be more loyal to Tsuna (even possibly admiring and respecting his strength). Of course, neither would [[AloofAlly ever admit it]]. Their present time selves ''definitely'' fit this trope very well, though.
** Don't forget Xanxus. Or the whole of the Varia. They will fight under the name of Vongola.
* [[PsychoForHire Ladd Russo]] in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}''. He mostly just wants whatever to satisfy his sadism, regardless of who he's teaming with.
* Xellos from ''{{Slayers}}''.
* Greed[[spoiler:/Ling]] from ''Manga/FullMetalAlchemist'' ([[IJustWantToHaveFriends mostly in the beginning]]).
* Raphael from ''AngelSanctuary'', much to everyone else's frustration.
* Nijima, self-proclaimed 'friend' of Kenichi in ''KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' - though calling him a Wild Card implies that he has a good side. He doesn't; all he's really interested in is gathering information, spreading rumours and [[PowerLevels ranking]] everyone in school. Oh, and [[DirtyCoward running away]]. Even Kenichi gets tired of his shit.
* Nico Robin from ''OnePiece'' used to be one, jumping from crew to crew to find the Poneglyphs until she got in with the Straw Hats.
** Also Trafalgar Law. He's extremely powerful but backstabs people quite frequently. [[spoiler: It's still unclear whether or not he'll betray Luffy at some point as well, now that they are in an alliance...]]
** [=CP9=]. Now that the World Government has dismissed their [[PsychoForHire Psychos for Hire]] and turned them into outlaws, the only thing known for sure about their goals is that they don't plan on being apprehended...though it's pretty obvious that Spandam, at least, hasn't seen the last of them.
** On the subject of those no longer employed by the World Government, we have Kuzan (former alias: Admiral Aokiji), though it may be a subversion; now that [[MoralSociopathy Moral Sociopath]] Sakazuki (former alias: Admiral Akainu) is Fleet Admiral, and it's clear [[GrayAndGreyMorality just how corrupted the world is, government and pirates]], it seems that Kuzan is only looking out for his friends. His first appearance since the Time Skip proves this, when he [[spoiler:shows up [[BigDamnHeroes just in time to keep]] [[AxCrazy Doflamingo]] from killing Smoker.]]
** The Straw Hats are seen as a whole crew of Wild Cards by the world at large. There are certain unspoken rules that pirates are expected to follow. The Straw Hats do not follow them. When Zoro almost attacks a World Noble (Who can summon an Admiral down on whomever they feel like), a bystander notes, "I heard the Straw Hats were crazy, but..."
* Sora from ''Anime/DotHackSign'' is probably one of the best examples in Anime, checking the entire list from above. Since the setting of the story is an MMORPG, Sora's goal is strictly to have fun, at anyone's expense. He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation as the plot progresses [[spoiler:probably because he's a child in the real world]], and continues to [[FaceHeelRevolvingDoor flip back and forth]] between sides. Even though it's a game, Sora strives to survive at all costs; he only helps either side if there's an immediate tangible benefit to him, and isn't above playing both sides at once, although [[spoiler:this ultimately costs him badly when he pulls one BackStab too many, fulfilling the RedemptionEqualsDeath aspect.]] The effects this have on him as a person are eventually examined [[spoiler:through Haseo, a later character played by Sora's player after he's grown up somewhat, in .Hack//GU.]]
* Izaya Orihara from ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}''. There's nothing he loves more than stirring up conflict between people and watching the human drama unfold. He's probably helped out ''and'' back stabbed every significant character in the series just ForTheLulz... except for [[ArchEnemy Shizuo]].
* ''Manga/YumekuiMerry'': [[spoiler: Treesea in the anime.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Uchiha Sasuke is well known for staying on one side only as long as it benefits him, then moving on. The sides bounce from good (Konoha) to evil (Orochimaru and Tobi) to basically neutral (Hebi), then back to evil (Orochimaru again) for a short while, then back to good ([[spoiler: the zombie Hokages]]). Considering that Sasuke has been getting progressively less moral, it's easy to characterize him as a bad guy, but when it comes down to it, he's killed more major bad guys than all the good guys put together.
** That doesn't really count for much in this series since some of the bad guys have their own agendas, and in some cases, [[EvilVsEvil seek to eliminate other villains which interfere in their schemes]]...which Sasuke is doing.
* While she's not quite a typical Wild Card, the direction the ''{{Berserk}}'' storyline is going is pretty much dependant on what Casca's going to do after she regains her sanity in the coming chapters. There's a strong possibility she's going to [[CameBackWrong Come Back Wrong]], but no-one is quite sure how yet.
* ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' gives us [[MagnificentBastard Mephisto]] [[TheChessMaster Pheles]]. Just [[MoodSwinger Mephisto]] [[EccentricMentor Pheles]]. No one knows what his goal is in all of this...aside from [[ForTheLulz amusement]]. He's still [[BewareTheSillyOnes dangerous]] though.
* Ymir from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', due to playing her cards ''very'' close to her chest. While most can agree she's devoted to [[HairOfGoldHeartOfGold Krista]], her true motivations and alliagences are a mystery to everyone. [[spoiler: As an unfilitated Titan Shifter, it seems she's got loyalty to all of two people: Krista and herself. Her HeelFaceRevolvingDoor and unwillingness to share what she knows leaves everyone but Krista justifiably suspicious of her]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* {{Wolverine}} in many of his comic portrayals proves to be something of a AntiHero Wild Card - while usually on the side of [[ComicBook/{{X-Men}} the good guys]], he's violent, dangerous, unreliable and extremely intelligent. While he may not swing fully from Villain to Hero and back again, like many Wild Cards enjoy doing, his comic incarnation especially has a high number of team affiliations, and he has frequently worked on his own.
** This was far more explicit in the [[UltimateXMen Ultimate Universe]]. Wolverine started off as a cold-blooded assassin working for Magneto. Then he did a HeelFaceTurn in order to [[HeroesWantRedheads sleep with Jean Grey]]. Then when she dumped him, he responded by trying to murder her new boyfriend, Cyclops (by dropping him off a cliff. He broke a bunch of bones and spent a month lying in a pit eating bugs). Then he was given one last chance to rejoin the team (after having the crap blasted out of him by Cyclops), and has stayed good since. [[spoiler:Except that then his time-traveling future self turned up and apparently murdered Xavier.]]
** Mystique is similar; there's some contention of whether she belongs here or in HeelFaceRevolvingDoor, i.e., whether she's actually changing sides as the plot demands or just allying herself with whoever's convenient. Not that most of them are under any illusions.
** Emma Frost she is any ally of the X men but occasionally sides with the villains depending on what she can get out of it.
* Nyna Calixte/[[spoiler:Morrigan Corde]] from ''StarWarsLegacy'' has helped and hindered just about every major faction in the comic at least once. She clearly has an agenda she's pushing towards, but whatever it is remains completely unknown (and is the subject of much discussion on Star Wars fan forums), and as such it's difficult for fans and nigh impossible for characters to predict her next move.
* {{Deadpool}}. He usually has no rational reason to do ''anything''. And being both liked ''and'' loathed by people in both sides of the hero/villain community (sometimes even liked and hated ''by the same person'') certainly qualifies him.
* Catman, at least, liked to believe the ''ComicBook/SecretSix'' were this, choosing neither to join the JusticeLeague or the [[LegionOfDoom Society of Supervillains]], but plow their own furrow down the middle. Really, they were [[EvenEvilHasStandards villains with standards]]. Well, some of them had standards.
* In ''ComicBook/SecretWars'', [[RealityWarper the Beyonder]] transports a group of superheroes and a group of supervillains to "Battleworld" and expects the two groups to battle each other to aid his study of what it is to be human. It doesn't precisely work out: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Magneto]] is grouped with heroes, despite still being a villain at the time, due to his AntiVillain nature. The other heroes obviously aren't thrilled and he goes off to do his own thing before finally signing on with them. [[PsychopathicManchild The Lizard]] is too savage to understand the concept of "sides" and ends up most loyal to the Wasp for having treated him when he was injured, and [[PhysicalGod Galactus]] just ignores all the other combatants and spends the entire series working out a way to take on the Beyonder himself.
* ''{{Lobo}}'' the Main Man has fought against and along side with several DC heroes and villains. Most of the time he does it because he's a bounty hunter, and he gets paid for what he does, or he felt like doing it.
* Jason Todd (aka The Red Hood) from is a definite example. While Commissioner Gordon normally relies on Batman to do the dirty things he won't, Jason will do the dirty things Batman won't. He will kill criminals, initiate crime wars, recruit gangsters (only to betray them at the right moment), resort to torture to get information (or just because he feels like it), and so on and so forth. It is all part of his vendetta against crime and vision of a better world. Or something like that. While he does truly think he's doing some good for Gotham, his actions sometimes cause innocents to be casualties. He (tries) to kill whoever gets in his way, even his former mentor and foster parent (Batman) along with his "siblings" (the other Robins). Sometimes it isn't even just about them being in his way but him just feeling competitive. It is hard to classify him as hero or villain, but it's clear he is not someone to be messed with.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* In ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', Fujiwara. He's almost as bad as the aforementioned [[MahouSenseiNegima Godel.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' fanfic ''FanFic/NewKidOnTheBlock'', Wally is one of these. As long as he doesn't get caught, he'll do things that help and hurt both sides.
* [[BenTen Ben Tennyson]] is seen as this in ''FateStayNightUltimateMaster'' by everyone else in the [[FateStayNight Holy Grail War]]; his only interest is in preventing casualties or lost of innocent lives, including the other Masters. As such, he will team up with anybody just to protect other Masters, but will just as easily turn against them if they cross that line. Rin even refers to Ben as such.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Iago from Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' is about as reliable morality-wise as a chocolate teapot. He spends much of ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'' stealing treasures from his 'friends', manipulating people's good natures, and abandoning fights that turn ugly. However he doesn't like his friends getting hurt, and has had some surprisingly brave moments. Jafar makes note of it in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'':
-->'''Jafar:''' "Iago... you betrayed me and allied yourself with my enemies! Then you turned on them as soon at it was in your best interests. That's what I love about you. You're so perfectly... predictable. A villain through and through!"
** And his conscience moment...
--->'''Iago:''' "Hey, I did my good deed! I don't owe you a thing! You hear me?!" ''(beat)'' "Not a thing..."
** This is mirrored in his role in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts1'', ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts2'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Captain Renault in ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' looks like TheQuisling at first, but he proves himself just as willing to bend the truth and turn a blind eye to the law for the good guys' sake.
* Creator/ClintEastwood also did this in ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'', the first of his [[Film/DollarsTrilogy "Man With No Name" trilogy]].
* Dr. Elsa Schneider in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''. While she starts off as an ally to Indiana, we find out that she's really a Nazi agent. However, towards the second half of the movie, she shows lots of mixed behavior that suggests she's not truly "evil" nor believes in the Nazi cause. She even helps Indiana by dispatching Donovan in the grail chamber (even if it was to further her selfish motive to get the grail). In the end, her character was just too morally ambiguous for a popular film, and the writers use a DeathByMaterialism to seal her fate.
* The stranger in ''Film/LastManStanding'' not only hires himself out as a mercenary to both sides, but does so in the expectation that his presence will swing the gang violence into gang war, in which he can make more of a profit. Then he guns down both gangs.
* Captain Jack Sparrow in ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''.
-->'''Elizabeth:''' Whose side is Jack on?
-->'''Will:''' At the moment?
** Arguably, ''all'' the pirates. By the third film, everyone's allegiance is best described as being on "their own side."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''ForgottenRealms'', Jarlaxle is a MagnificentBastard Wild Card. One excellent example of his playing both sides ''and'' the middle is when he captured a young woman, made a half-hearted attempt at seducing her, and set things up so his own ally would "betray" him and free her, so they could go rescue her would-be boyfriend and the ally's rival, who was being held by Jarlaxle's employer. Ta-daaa.
* Sethra Lavode from the ''{{Dragaera}}'' books might qualify as a LawfulNeutral Wild Card, given that she is loyal above all to TheEmpire but not necessarily the current emperor or empress on the throne. She is also rather a {{Chessmaster}} along with being eons old and ultra-powerful, and it's noted in the ''Khaavren'' series how some villages view her as the EvilOverlord to be defeated in their fairy tales, while she is considered a "fairy godmother" /PhysicalGod the next village over. In the ''Taltos'' series, her actions are more unambiguously good, and she experiences BecomingTheMask [[spoiler: in her kindly and likeable persona as ClassyCatBurglar Kiera]], which was initially just a scheme to monitor organized crime in the Empire.
** The [[PlanetOfHats House]] she is associated with, the Dzur, is also something of a Wild Card group, as Sethra notes in the book ''Dzur'' how that group likes fighting for its own sake and will choose the right side when everyone else is against it.
* Along the same lines as Talleyrand, both Fernand and Vilefort from ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'' might count, being excellent judges of when to change their politics and thus rise through society at a time when most people suffer because of having Napoleonic or Royalist politics at the wrong time.
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'' features the ironically-named spy Fidelias, who starts the events of the first book when he turns traitor in an attempt to replace the aging First Lord with a new ruling noble, Aquitaine. He believes that what he is doing is no different than the many acts he has previously performed as a loyal spy, acting to preserve the long-term stability of Alera. [[spoiler: In the later books, he turns again upon realizing that TheHero is the heir to the throne and would make a far better ruler than Aquitaine.]]
* Sadi, Chief Eunich of the Nyssian Royal Court in the ''{{Belgariad}}'' really shows hints of this in the sequel series, the ''Mallorean''. He shanghais the heroes to escape from some rivals' plots (Of course, his part in the prophecies didn't help matters either), manages to trick the leader of the Dagashi (ninja-like assassins) to the point that even said leader is impressed with his cleverness, and then near the end, represents his government (despite at that time having no legal standing whatsoever) in a set of very lucrative accords, and uses his standing in the accords to buy himself back into his queen's good graces.
-->'''Durnik:''' Did we kill anybody?
-->'''Sadi:''' Two. (off their expressions) It's a little hard to ''un''-poison a knife...
* In ''ASongOfIceAndFire'', we have Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish and Lord Varys, both of whom have switched sides at least three times (Lannister to [[spoiler:Tyrell to himself]] in Littlefinger's case, Targaryen to Baratheon to Lannister to [[spoiler:Targaryen]] for Varys) depending on who happens to be able to help them out. Varys [[LampshadeHanging actually mentions]] more than once that his big talent in life is sucking up to whoever is in power. Both come from very humble backgrounds for the circles they operate in (the littlest of Lordlings for Littlefinger, foreign eunuch for Varys) but through raw talent became Councilors and major players in the realm, and both are aware of how they have to secure themselves at all costs. Particularly Varys, who despite decades as a major player has ''no title or wealth whatsoever of his own''.
* [[TricksterMentor Vergere]] from the ''NewJediOrder'' series. ''What'' she was doing was pretty clear (training Jacen Solo to be an uber-Force user) but the ''why'' was so ambiguous that even the editors can't seem to decide. At first the official position was that she wanted peace but wasn't allied with any faction in particular, then that she was a loyal (albeit unorthodox) Jedi of the Old Republic, and now she's apparently supposed to be a Sith acolyte. Thing is, the original Vergere was just such a messed-up enigma that the authors seem to dust her off whenever they need someone to act as the linchpin of the ongoing plot, giving a sort of weird meta-status as the Wild Card.
** Talon Karrde as well, although at least he's honourable enough not to sell anyone out if he can help it. He even lampshades it at one point, telling a Republic officer that he's in it for the money, not the ideology. The reason he sides mostly with the good-guys? He reckons they're going to win in the end.
* The Marquis de Carabas from ''{{Neverwhere}}''. He's your man right up until there's more in it for him not to be.
* Walter Baranov the AntiHero / VillainProtagonist of the mystery novel ''The False Inspector Dew'' qualifies as one of these in terms of his actions, particularly because the novel never conveys his mental state to the reader, making his true nature ambiguous. Walter had planned on killing his nagging wife on board a ship, but when she doesn't show and another corpse turns up, he has to impersonate a famous detective on account of using that detective's name as a pseudonym, and solves the murder. The ending implies that he will very soon be trying ThePerfectCrime again, this time successfully.
* Padan Fain/Mordeth from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' is the embodiment of this trope. He is sort of possessed by an EvilChancellor (Mordeth) who became [[HeWhoFightsMonsters pure evil to ward his city from an other evil]] two millenia ago. But, as it turns out, he (Padan Fain) was working for the main villain before that, and now his only goal is to screw with both teams by killing the hero and making sure no one else does before him. Note that unlike many Wild Cards, Fain ''is'' unabashedly evil- it's just that his goals put him at odds in various ways with almost every major faction in the series.
* Diana from ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' is a CardCarryingVillain, but she hasn't done anything truly, overtly evil, at least not relative to some of the people [[TheSociopath she hangs out with.]] She acts as the [[BigBad Caine's]] chief assistant and seems to genuinely care for him, but helps the heroes from time to time so Caine's TheDragon, who has a sadistic fixation on her, will have someone else to target. [[spoiler: And, although she has an apparant HeelFaceTurn in ''Plague'', it seems to mostly be because she can no longer control the BigBad.]]
* ''{{Everworld}}'' plays this in several ways--[[TokenEvilTeammate Senna]] is dragged into Everworld to help [[GodOfEvil Loki]] escape, but she has [[AGodAmI her own ideas]] on how things should play out. To this end she drags several acquaintances through the portal with her, knowing that ''they'' will also be wild cards that she can control better than her enemies can. That being said, they become savvier as the series goes on, and pretty soon they're messing up her plans as well.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' has recently been bringing this trope out with [[spoiler:Tony Almeida]], who seems to have turned double agent in an attempt to get revenge on the man who killed [[spoiler:his wife.]] This means he has no qualms about acting against his country's best interests in order to gain the BigBad's trust.
** Jack also played with it, "going rogue" as a result of the fact that the country wasn't exactly happy with him in the first place, but he still always had the country's best interests in mind and was merely playing the bad guys. Then again, when half the bad guys in the show are corrupt politicians, often going against the authorities ''is'' being the good guy.
* A rare LawfulNeutral Wild Card comes about in the personage of Jack Bristow from ''Series/{{Alias}}''. He's a Wild Card, despite being almost rigidly LawfulNeutral, because he has not one but ''two'' goals, which he values ''almost'' equally. The first is, as an intelligence agent of the United States, to secure and defend America's military, diplomatic, and industrial interests abroad. The second, and more important, is as a father: to keep his daughter--also an intelligence agent--safe. Because of the dangerous nature of his daughter's missions, these two goals come into conflict more often than might be thought.
* Gaius Baltar from the reimagined ''[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Battlestar Galactica]]''. His final line in the PilotEpisode is, in fact, "[[EstablishingCharacterMoment I'm on nobody's side]]." So there you go. He certainly does his best to muck up Admiral Adama's command while recruiting groupies wherever he goes; first he tries to seize power politically, but when that plan goes bust, he embraces the mantle of the 'martyr', founding a sect of monotheists (a novelty in the Twelve Colonies, which are devoutly ''poly''theistic) and [[PassionPlay running afoul of some Romans]], i.e. President Roslin. However, he never quite embraces the Cylons despite prodding from various incarnations of Six. The finale reveals that a [[MysteriousWays higher power]] was manipulating Baltar's greed for their own purposes.
* Despite being nominally a [[{{Heel}} villain]] or [[{{Face}} hero]] at various times, Spike from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' functions as a Wild Card for most of season 4 and early season 5 as he makes his gradual HeelFaceTurn. During that changeover period he provides backup or information to the main cast when he's paid for it but also betrays them to Adam at the drop of a hat when it appears to suit his purpose.
** [[ManipulativeBastard Then immediately rescues them so that they'll decide not to stake him]].
** And [[TheAce The Immortal]] from ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has been described as being not on the side of good or evil, instead fighting for himself.
* Cole Turner in ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' switched sides so often, it could give you a headache trying to keep up. Over the course of the three seasons that he was part of the regular cast, he went from being the BigBad's [[TheDragon Dragon]] to the sisters' TokenEvilTeammate to a human under the sisters' protection to becoming the new BigBad (replacing the one he had originally worked for) to not caring about anything but trying to win Phoebe back by any means necessary.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': the Master in all his incarnations drifts inscrutably between sides, when he isn't a side unto himself.
** He's ''always'' a side unto himself, and never works for anyone, just tricks people into doing his bidding.
** Though he does get a [[spoiler: doozy of a HeroicSacrifice / HeelFaceRevolvingDoor]] in "The End of Time".
** Similarly, Sabbath from the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' tends to do a lot of becoming mortal enemies with everyone he allies himself with and shifting his goals because of it. He started off engaged in mildly TeethClenchedTeamwork with the Doctor, and, ''well''. That didn't last. He carries on getting into EnemyMine situations with the Doctor, bookended by attempts on the Doctor's life, until he decides he's actually "more than a little fond of" the Doctor.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'''s Jayne Cobb appears to be this type of character, but when his one attempted betrayal is weighed against all the instances where he unhesitatingly stands by the crew against overwhelming odds he suddenly looks far less neutral. This may be because the one time he tried to betray the crew, Mal [[spoiler: damn near threw him out the airlock.]]
** Saffron (a.k.a [=YoSaffBridge=]), in her two appearances. ''There's'' a girl who truly can't be trusted.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' has quite a few of these:
** The first is September, and the rest of the mysterious [[MysteriousWatcher Observers]]. All they do is watch and observe... So there's one (or twelve) wild card(s).
** William Bell's true allegiances are never really clear. On one occassion, he's fighting against Walternate and helping Olivia, on the other, he's the very man who [[spoiler:created the shapeshifters]]. He's also behind some of the show's more...''morally questionable'' acts.
** Next, we have Sam Weiss. On one hand, he's very friendly, helps rehabilitate Olivia and makes a new friend in the process. On the other hand, Walternate is somehow aware of his existance and doesn't trust him, he appears to be the author behind the century-old book ''The First People'', and knows exactly who Peter Bishop is and what his connection to the Wake Sink Device is. [[spoiler:Eventually, we learn that he was just an ordinary guy all along who happened to have generations of knowledge bestowed upon him]].
** The show's biggest wild card is arguably '''The Man In The X T-Shirt'''. [[spoiler:Olivia has absolutely no memories of the man despite the fact that he was in her mind. Even more creepy is that he ''wasn't'' a normal "mental projection". Because Olivia regressed and hid because of her fears deep in her subconciousness, all of her memories of everyone she knew turned malevolent, seeking to harm her as well as anything that "doesn't belong" (i.e, Peter, Water and Bell). This man, on the other hand, ''wasn't'' a malevolent entity - he simply sought to escape the zeppelin he was trapped in. And finally, after [[ItGotBetter Olivia returned better than ever]], this man's image simply appeared in her mind, and she nonchalantly stated that "he's the man who's gonna kill her."]] WordOfGod says that he's somehow connected to [[MysteriousWatcher September]], and [[DiabolicalMastermind David Robert Jones]].
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Sylar's intentions change to suit whatever his situation at the moment calls for; he'll assist either the good guys or the bad guys if he thinks he has something to gain from it. However, he also dislikes being lied to, and every attempt to control him through lying and manipulation has ended horribly with a bloodbath and Sylar defecting to the other side by default.
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'': When Mac is fitting all of the bar into a FiveManBand structure, he designates Charlie as "the wild card" and for good reason. In that episode alone, he tries to proposition their loan officer, switches the bar to run on a ''gasoline engine'', tries to sell some more gasoline to a random woman using a Texas accent (and sounding like a gigolo), and pushes ''four large garbage cans of gas out of the car'' and jumps out. When asked about any of it, he just says "Wild Card!"
-->'''Mac:''' Why aren't the brakes working?
-->'''Charlie:''' BECAUSE I CUT THE BRAKES! WILD CARD, [[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch BITCHES!]] YEEEHAW! * jumps out of car*
** Frank also serves as a Wild Card, with less insanity and more selfishness. He doesn't have ''any'' loyalty, he just does whatever he thinks will net him the most money/enjoyment.
* Benjamin Linus of ''Series/{{Lost}}'', even though his early appearances set him up as the BigBad. Even up to the finale, the audience isn't quite sure what he's going to do or who he's going to side with.
* Krenshaw from ''Series/{{Monk}}'' is probably the closest to being a Wild Card that could be given in the series. A notable example is in the episode where he attempted to vote for the destruction of a parking garage solely to spite Monk, who attempted to defend it from its destruction.
* Eli David of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' seems to be this as well. He seems to put country above ''everything'' including family, to the degree of being an [[AbusiveParents Abusive Parent]] because of this. At the same time, he is not a completely unsympathetic character. Still no one knows what he will do.
** From the same show, Trent Kort, because ''nobody'' knows his reasons, which side he's on, or even his ''actual name.'' You don't get much wilder than that.
* Piggy of ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' was able to align himself with all three fractions in the series (The Heroes, the Villains, and The Villain Traitors) all for want of money. This isn't a guy who sided with whoever paid the most, this is a guy who just wanted pay.
* Todd the Wraith from ''Series/StargateAtlantis'':
-->'''Sheppard:''' ''Here's my problem. Every time we get involved with you, I feel like I'm walking around with a live grenade in my pocket, just waiting for it all to go wrong - for that one thing you forgot to mention.''
* Garak of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. He actually skirts the edges of having no allegiance, because he is steadfastly loyal to Cardassia. However, he is not necessarily loyal to its current government, and he is on the side of the protagonists in later seasons because he believes the current government does not have the best interests of Cardassia in mind. Only rarely, however, is he actually opposed to the protagonists. It is not uncommon for him to be confrontational though (Particularly, his methods do not always sit well with Starfleet ethics).
** Although we didn't find out his true loyalties until later seasons. Even then he displayed his ''MagnificentBastard'' abilities by keeping people guessing if he was ''really'' on their side.
* Lana Lang on ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', more or less because the writers weren't sure to do with her. Lana's first Heel Turn came about as the resulting of being possessed by her ancestor, a malevolent witch. Later seasons had her marrying Lex Luthor (who was demoted to "cuckolded husband" almost immediately), embezzling all of his money, and setting up her own CapeBusters syndicate. She eventually became [[KarmaHoudini a super-powered secret agent]] and left the show to pursue adventures of her own
* In season three of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', Bela pulls a lot of scams that endanger the Winchester's lives but will occasionally help them (usually out of self preservation).
** In any given episode, Crowley , Meg and Ruby might be working alongside or against the boys, and are ready to betray them at a moment's notice. Demons are tricksy like that.
** The angels aren't much better. Gabriel, Balthazar, Anna and even good old Cas frequently switch between helping or hindering the Winchesters.
* ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' has had many, but the practice started with Rob Cesternino in ''The Amazon'' and resulted in the ''Pearl Islands'' season that followed being an all-wild card situation after Rupert's elimination. Special mention to Sandra, who won employing a self-proclaimed strategy of "as long as it ain't me."
* ''Series/VeronicaMars'': the title character's on-again, off-again [[FemmeFatale Homme Fatal]] boyfriend Logan Echolls helps the investigations as often as he messes with them - all for his own shady reasons, of course. His own girlfriend believes him capable of murder, so there's that, too.
* Alex Krycek from ''Series/TheXFiles''.
** Even Mulder's informants can be seen as this, as they simultaneously offer Mulder information, withold it, and feed him incorrect information.
* Max from ''WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'', the youngest sibling of the trio. He constantly switches sides, from [[InsufferableGenius Justin's side]] to [[ManipulativeBastard Alex's side]] and back.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Multiple Media]]
* Vezon from ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' would work for whoever had the best chance of killing him at the given moment, however he was mostly out to follow his own twisted yet never quite defined plans. After he gained the power to travel between dimensions, this mostly stopped being a problem for him, although even so, he was once seen doing errands for another, highly powerful character.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The business calls these folks "Tweeners" (as in, be''tween'' {{Heel}} and {{Face}}). Essentially, it's when the [[{{Heel}} bad guys]] [[RootingForTheEmpire get heroes' welcomes.]] (Keep in mind, the ''inversions'' of this - babyfaces who get booed out of the building, or supposed big things who get no reaction at all - do not qualify as Tweeners; that's called XPacHeat.) Examples of Tweeners include:
** Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin. Never trust a rattlesnake.
** Wrestling/ChrisJericho makes a career out of doing this.
** Wrestling/{{WWE}} wrestler Wrestling/TripleH seems to settle into this role whenever he attempts a HeelFaceTurn. Mostly because, even as a face, he's kind of a prick--but a ''smart'', ''funny'' prick.
** During his TNA days, Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage settled into this role after the dissolution of Christian's Coalition, and his major storyline was about him trying to rebuild his burned bridges with the {{face}}s on the roster, in order to combat his allies who had now joined the Angle Alliance. The fact that he was still pretty much a cocky asshole {{heel}} in characterization really hurt his efforts.
** Wrestling/RicFlair, whose exceptional skill at both grappling and cutting promos, and his ability to carry even the most pathetic "wrestlers" to four-star affairs while remaining the Dirtiest Player In The Game throughout, made him almost impossible to boo even as he started to push sixty.
** Even at his most face-ish, the late Wrestling/EddieGuerrero would lie, cheat, and steal to get his way. It was ''on his shirt''. As he once said while teaming with his nephew Chavo, "Hey, we may lie, cheat, and steal -- but at least we're honest about it."
** [[Wrestling/JakeRoberts Jake "The Snake" Roberts]] was an evil version of the Wild Card. He could be a good guy for as long as he needed to.
** Wrestling/ShawnMichaels. [[DiabolusExMachina Montreal Screwjob]] aside, whether he's a heel or a face, even if he's just playing a commissioner, he's cheered out of the building.
** [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] kinda fits this example too. Whether he's a Face or a Heel, he will attack anybody just because he simply doesn't like him (examples: [[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon Vince [=McMahon=]]] and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Also, even when he's supposed to be a heel post-1999, fans will still cheer him on such as his fight with Wrestling/{{Goldberg}}. His charisma and obvious desire to entertain the fans even as a heel makes it really REALLY hard for fans to legitimately hate his character.
** Wrestling/RandyOrton. Even after turning Face again, he still feuds and fights with Wrestling/JohnCena and Triple H.
*** His assaults on both John Cena's father and the [=McMahon=] family should have made him the biggest heel in the company. Instead, fans tended to cheer him more.
** Wrestling/TheUndertaker and Wrestling/{{Kane}} also fit this example, as they will attack anybody they feel is a threat to them, not caring whether they are a Face or a Heel.
** Wrestling/JohnCena, despite turning Face in late 2003, still used Heel tactics to win some of his matches such as the one at Wrestlemania XX when he used the steel chain to defeat Big Show.
** Wrestling/KurtAngle will often be cheered regardless of his status as a face or heel due to his incredible in-ring ability. In fact, he once cut a promo proving exactly this: After saying that he is not a fan of "the black people" and wanting to make Jesus Christ tap out, he said people ''still'' wouldn't boo him because they knew he was the best in the world. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ydZDLLtp8Y&t=0m32s The crowd promptly cheered.]]
** Wrestling/MickieJames has never actually been booed in WWE. Fans loved her crazed psycho lesbian stalker gimmick so much she was cheered over the also very popular Wrestling/TrishStratus at ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} 22'' and continued to be cheered through her heel run so she turned face and has remained so throughout her entire career.
** Wrestling/BethPhoenix slipped into this role when she was moved to Smackdown (she had been a heel on Raw) where she was immediately shown to be out for herself and a bit of a three way feud started between her, Mickie and Michelle [=McCool=] with Beth's allegiance constantly in question. Eventually she made a HeelFaceTurn. Curiously when she turned back Heel she was still getting a large amount of cheers from the crowd, due to her character having a sympathetic point of view - wanting to make the division about talent instead of looks.
** Similar to Beth, [[Wrestling/KiaStevens Kharma]] debuted as a Monster Heel but she only attacked heel divas at first, before then going for Face divas too. Her farewell promo blurred the lines even further.
* During the summer of 2011, the WWE pulled off the rarely-successful main event tweener feud with Wrestling/JohnCena vs. Wrestling/CMPunk. John Cena is nominally the face, does face things, and is certainly beloved by younger demographics, but has long had a poor reputation with the older fans who, while no longer giving him XPacHeat, think of his BoringInvincibleHero Hogan-like dominance as a clear symptom of WWE's static nature and an on-screen product that was getting old. CM Punk's current persona is the straight-edge The Guy Who Says What Older Fans Are Thinking. Officially, that makes him a heel, but understandably, it doesn't lead to him getting booed, and his AntiHero antics are hilariously entertaining to boot. Throw in some excellent matches between the two of them, and the result was arenas split 50-50 with support.
* Wrestling/CMPunk in general: since he settled into his "Straight Edge Messiah" gimmick across multiple organizations, typically the only difference between whether he's a face or a heel is how condescendingly he talks to the audience when trying to "help" them, or whether he: picks a fight then runs away; or picks a fight, kicks the guy in the face, ''then'' runs away. He's also pulled more than one FaceHeelTurn by being the most beloved guy in the company for weeks or months, executing a grandiose betrayal, and calling everyone out for [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder trusting him again]], once outright stating "[[LampshadeHanging I'm still a snake, you idiots!]]"
* Wrestling/AJStyles' 2013 FaceHeelTurn has him saying he's sick and tired of doing the right thing and instead he'll do his own thing. During the Wrestling/{{TNA}} roster's war with Aces & Eights, Styles refuses to join either side and instead viciously attacks both sides.
* Being a WildCard was explicitly a major part of Mexican legend Dos Caras's gimmick; hence the name Dos Caras, which translates to "Two Faces".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'': Revolver Ocelot is perhaps the greatest example of a Wild Card in the history of fiction. [[spoiler:He at first seems to be aligned with Liquid Snake in 2005, and then it turns out he's working for Solidus, who was the one that had Ocelot convince Liquid to instigate the entire Shadow Moses Incident in the first place. In 2007, he partners with Sergei Gurlukovich, and then almost immediately betrays him while still working for Solidus...until eventually betraying ''him'' in 2009, revealing that he's actually working for the Patriots. However, if we go back to 1964, he appears to be working for the GRU, but is secretly operating as a spy for both the KGB and the CIA. Then, in 1970, when the CIA and Pentagon were bickering over the Philosopher's Legacy, he took the opportunity to join Zero. Then when he started thinking about leaving ''HIM'', Zero lured him back with battle data on the "Perfect Soldier Project," and the concept of genomes. By staying with Zero, Ocelot ends up being one of the ''founders'' of the Patriots, along with Zero, Para-Medic, Sigint, EVA and Big Boss[[note]]one of Ocelot's requirements for joining was that Big Boss must join too[[/note]]. He would continue to act as a Patriot spy in the KGB, and left Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. ''Theeeeeen'', fast-forward to 2014: once Ocelot is possessed by Liquid's ghost, and Snake apparently beats “Liquid Ocelot” so hard that he knocks it out of him, Ocelot dies from a new stream of FOXDIE. After this, we find out from Big Boss (who is still alive thanks to Ocelot, EVA and nanomachines) that Ocelot wasn't working for ''anyone'', and that he was actually coordinating a huge scheme in order to destroy the Patriots[[note]]part of which was ''intentionally'' adapting Liquid's persona[[/note]] probably since the early 70s, [[FanBoy all in admiration of Big Boss]] (the man who put "Revolver" in his name).]] Oh, Ocelot, you MagnificentBastard.
* Ada from "Franchise/ResidentEvil" is definitely this character. She's basically a free agent who works for people only when convenient and always to further her own ends. Somewhat subverted by the fact that she seems to have feelings for Leon and helps him out whenever she can.
** In "ResidentEvil6", you see that while she works on her own, she does actually care about people to a certain degree and doesn't what sociopaths taking over/destroying the world.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', Zelos mentions several times that he's only helping Lloyd to be on the "winning team". [[spoiler:He's actually helping all three factions in the game- the party, the Renegades and the Angels- so that he can side with whatever faction seems to be on top at the end. Still he will always side with you, as long as you don't reject everyone at a certain event]].
* Delita from ''FinalFantasyTactics'' is the ultimate ChessMaster; he manipulates absolutely everybody, and is more often on nobody's side than on any particular side.
** Ramza is himself a Wild Card in the Lion War, though for the opposite reason as Delita. Almost every faction wants him dead, and the main plot of the third chapter is, from his perspective, one long BlastOut. Delita is just happy to give him fuel and let him clear up the GambitPileup for him.
* Boomerang from the first ''[[VideoGame/WildArms1 Wild ARMs]]'', though technically on the side of the bad guys, is only interested in fighting and hence couldn't care less about his own side. At least once in the game he protects your party from them.
* Shadow the mercenary from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is a slightly less teetering Wild Card; he indeed seems to care little for the overarching plot, and will randomly leave your party in the first half of the game. He also works for the bad guys in one area of the game, but since you're ''also'' working with them at that point, the issue never really comes up.
* Scorpion from ''MortalKombat'' frequently switches sides, though in fairness this is frequently the result of being duped or enslaved by the higher-ups. It's especially apparent during the third game, where his single-minded pursuit of his hated rival Sub-Zero causes him to attack good and evil characters alike, and in the ninth game where he said he would only ''defeat'' Sub-Zero in battle, but ended up killing him anyway when Quan-Chi reminded him of what Subby supposedly did to his clan, wife and child.
-->'''[[WebVideo/TwoBestFriendsPlay Pat]]''': Scorpion's not evil, he's just ''insane'' with the spirit of vengeance!
* [[spoiler:Roy and Meilin]] in ''{{Terranigma}}''.
* King Bulbin from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess''. Though he only stays on the evil side for the course of the game, his only text in the game states that this the type of guy he is after you beat him for the last time. [[TropeNamer He fights for the]] [[IFightForTheStrongestSide stronger side]].
* ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' works with whomever takes his fancy at that particular moment. In his game, you can switch his allegiance at any time.
* The player characters in the ''{{Mercenaries}}'' series are [[PrivateMilitaryContractors private contractors]]. They have an overarching goal (The substantial bounty on General Song's head in the original, payback on Ramon Solano in the sequel), but are willing to play any side of the conflict, as long as it gets them closer to that goal. For instance, in the original, they ''had'' to work with the Allied Nations, since they were the ones giving out the Ace missions, but in order to get intel leading to the Aces, the players had to do missions for the Chinese Army, South Koreans, and Russian Mafia. Since the Chinese and South Koreans were hostile to one another, and the Mafia was at cross purposes with pretty much everyone, that meant the players had to fight for, and against, pretty much every faction at one point or another in order to maximize profits.
* The upcoming ''Going Rogue'' expansion for ''CityOfHeroes'' is giving players this ability: heroes can change into villains, villains can change into heroes, or they can stay somewhere in between as rogues or vigilantes.
* Vile from ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' really doesn't care whose side he's on, as long as it's not X or Zero's. The remake of the first game, ''[[VideoGameRemake Maverick Hunter X]]'', even has a [[AnotherSideAnotherStory non-canon bonus mode]] where you play as him and fight Sigma's other minions just because they piss him off (and [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou he wants to kill X himself]]). In his opening stage, he even explicitly identifies himself as such.
-->'''Vile:''' Incite rebellion. Split up the Hunters' forces. That's the way to get to X... But Sigma, I may be the wild card you hadn't counted on!
** Dynamo shows up as a TrueNeutral mercenary for BigBad Sigma. In X5 he wipes out an entire space colony, loads it with a computer virus, then initiates a ColonyDrop. He's quite [[AffablyEvil jovial though]] as he stalls for time by fighting X and Zero. When he shows up in X6, he has no relation to the crisis at hand and is merely hunting for Nightmare Soul for his own profit (note that X and Zero are also collecting Nightmare Soul.) When defeated, he has no hard feelings and merely departs. It seems he just wants to get his job done.
* ''BaldursGate'' has a few, but Haer'Dalis from ''Baldur's Gate II'' is a shining example of the trope. He's a tiefling (demonkin) from a wholly different plane of existence who joins the party to do some sightseeing, seduction, and provocation.
** Jan Jansen from the same game is also an example, although he's much more down-to-earth than Haer'Dalis.
* Vergil in ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry''. He serves the most powerful -- though of course his main intention is to ''become'' the most powerful.
* Kreia in ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II''. Ostensibly she's the main character's ally and adviser but only because that puts her in the best position to manipulate others without herself being manipulated.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', this is a potential [[TakeAThirdOption option]] for The Courier to take towards the end. The line of quests is even known as "Wild Card". Indeed, working with ''all'' the factions and stringing them along for as long as possible before upending all their plans and seizing power without warning is the encouraged way to get that ending.
** In the promotional deck of cards that came with special editions of the game, the Courier and [[MeaningfulName Benny]] (who's lack of success makes him more a SpannerInTheWorks in the grand scheme) are depicted as the Jokers.
* Illidan Stormrage from ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}''.
* Zevran in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is originally sent to kill the [[PlayerCharacter Grey Warden]], then surrenders to their command. Because this fantasy is [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism far too cynical]] to believe DefeatEqualsFriendship, his motivations and loyalty aren't convincing. He can do a genuine turn, but if his RelationshipValues are neglected, he remains the Wild card.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', he appears as a HeroOfAnotherStory with enough GenreSavvy not to meddle in yours. He still appears to be the Wild card in his own story.
** Hawke is treated as this by every faction in the game. This ultimately leads to them getting blamed for causing [[spoiler: the Mage-Templar War]], when they actually had very little influence on the underlying problems that sparked the conflict and were merely the RightManInTheWrongPlace.
** The player character of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' will lead what is nominally a Chantry organization, but have no pre-determined allegiance in practice. You can thus pick and choose your allies as you see fit.
* Rogue CIA agent Steven Heck of ''AlphaProtocol'' has no real loyalties to anyone save for himself due to the fact that he's completely insane. He is however an ally of Michael Thorton provided that he stays on Heck's good side.
* [[Characters/KingdomHeartsOrganizationXIII Axel]][=/=]Lea from the ''KingdomHearts'' series is this trope all-over (in ''ChainOfMemories'' especially, where he was quite the aforementioned "Getting The Job Done" type), until ''KingdomHearts3D'' where his character development had him graduate from AntiVillain to [[HeelFaceTurn outright-good-guys territory.]]
* Dark Pit from ''KidIcarusUprising''. He's apparently a reflection of the part of Pit that doesn't like being a loyal pet to the Goddess of Light. This means he's even ''more'' pissed off about the fact that he was created just to be a servant of the Goddess of Darkness.
* The Monquistans from {{Pirate101}} act like this because they are easily insulted . The most famous of them is Mr. Gandry who had served in three different navies before he became a pirate.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' has arguably a few, but from the point of view of most organisations and unaligned people Shepard seems like this. He has a clear goal that is essentially a good one (prevent the Reapers from destroying all advanced organic life) but most people either don't know about the Reapers at all or don't believe they're real. Even those few who do believe the Reapers are real and a threat to all civilisation (such as the Illusive Man) can be badly disappointed at how Shepard treats the problem.
** In the first game, Shepard is mostly a diplomatic investment for the Alliance and a tool for incarcerating a rogue Spectre for the Council. S/he's in a position where it's impossible to please both and for them Shepard turns out to be something of a liability until right at the end of the game.
** In the second game the player ''can'' have Shepard be very cooperative for the Cerberus, but actually because of how the game mechanics work, Shepard remains a wild card for them as well. And of course, because s/he's technically working for Cerberus, the Council and the Alliance don't really know where Shepard stands.
---> '''Illusive Man''': You're making a habit of costing me more than just time and money, Shepard.
** In the third game Shepard is reinstated in the Alliance Military, but that doesn't mean that s/he does everything they tell her to or in the way they hoped s/he would. However, by the time there's no intergalactic politics to meddle in in the game and most of the organisations more or less admit that WeAREStrugglingTogether. Shepard is more of the BigGood at this point, being the symbol of hope and unity as well as the Reapers' feared enemy. So you could argue that most other factions that don't get their shit together and side with him/her are the Wild Cards. There are, of course, still plenty of occasions to piss people off and blur the line between friend and foe.
* Kyrie in ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'', who thanks to a mixture of [[WellIntentionedExtremist Personal Goals]] and being a ManipulativeBitch, switches sides at several points in the game whenever it will help her [[spoiler:save her home planet]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Archer in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. He pulls off a HeroicSacrifice in Fate, goes through ChronicBackstabbingDisorder in UBW and then does his job as a Counter Guardian in Heavens Feel. In all cases he's immensely powerful and knowledgeable and to a large extent drives the plot, mostly in the latter two routes. He has his own goals, but he's not ''quite'' willing to destroy the world to fulfill them.
** Rider as well in HF. Her goal is to keep Sakura safe and obey her. So throughout HF she's busy switching sides to ensure Sakura's survival and after she becomes unsure of what is the best option, she disappears despite presumably being on the good guy side at the moment. [[spoiler:Sakura/Rider combo ends up causing more bad ends than pretty much every other character, beating out Caster and Ilya by a narrow margin. But she saves Shirou's at the end and even gets to live in the True End.]]
* Lambdadelta in ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' for differing reasons throughout the story. First is because she doesn't want an outright winner between Beatrice and Battler, later she acts in a fair manner because it's more interesting and, when pressed, is even capable of saying in [[LanguageOfTruth red]] that she is completely neutral. While she's helping everyone out in order to amuse herself, you just need to remember the part about 'in order to amuse herself.'
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Most of the main characters in ''{{Darken}}'' to a greater or lesser extent, but especially Jill.
* Bun-bun from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' is one of these through and through. He tends to fall on the good guys' side more often than not lately, though that's largely because the other characters have gotten better at making sure it's in Bun-bun's best interest to keep them alive.
--> '''Bun-bun''': Deal, but I reserve the right to mug the target and/or switch sides at any time.
--> '''Riff''': I know, I know, "your usual disclaimer."
* Wanda Firebaugh, the dread Croakamancer of ''{{Erfworld}}'', who's seemingly working for Stanley the Tool, but is involved with Jillian Zamussels who is on the other side, and is really working for herself. [[spoiler: In large part, this is because she appears to see herself as a servant of fate, and will do whatever's needed to see that fate realised.]]
* [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20100810.html Galatea]] in ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob.'' Poor mixed-up kid.
* Played around with in Vriska from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. On the one hand, she was responsible for setting a CycleOfRevenge into place and keeping it going. On the other hand, she also agreed to end it, and showed some signs of genuine remorse. On the other hand, when she entered the veil she set in motion the events that lead to [[spoiler: Jack Noir being prototyped by Bec, which [[UnwinnableByMistake doomed the kids' session.]]]] On the other hand, she claimed she was only doing it to make John stronger, and that she intended to try to face [[spoiler: Bec Noir]] herself. On the [[RuleOfThree other hand]], she then proceeded to [[spoiler: kill Tavros]] for pretty much no reason. On the other hand, she seems genuinely regretful of that, and has been talking more and more to John lately, who seems to be steering her down the right path. All in all Vriska's Wild Card days seem mostly over, though it's not out of the question she'll revert back to her old ways...
** Later in the story, it's stated that the Bard class is considered a Wild Card class as its role is to have a major influence in how the game progresses in either a positive or potentially devastating way. In the case of [[spoiler:Gamzee, he was at least partially responsible for the Trolls' victory against the Black King by delivering the single most powerful blow of the entire battle, and later in the story he winds up working for the BigBad of the story Lord English/Caliborn.]]
* ''Webcomic/ZombieRanch'' gives us Rosa Amarilla, whose loyalties so far are proving to be... fluid. She's even portrayed as the Joker card in what appears to be a poker hand on the [[http://www.zombieranchcomic.com/episode/episode-five/ cover of issue five]].
* In the world of ''{{Webcomic/Drowtales}}'' where practically everyone is part of a massive GambitPileup against everyone else, a few characters stand out by being this position, mostly notably Kiel'ndia Vel'Vlozress, whose [[WrongContextMagic unique type of magic]] actually allow [[NoFourthWall the readers themselves]] to communicate with her and give her the potential to seriously disrupt some of the larger plans. More minor cases are the Balvhakara and Jie'yen clans, who act in this capacity in the Nuqrah'sharian Civil War and derail the plans of the would-be usurper when they refuse to support her coup. Two members of these clans also wind up part of the main plot and have so far served in a similar capacity for Snadhya'rune.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Maxie Dasai from ''SurvivalOfTheFittest'' version three who, whilst not stabbing anybody in the back or outright betraying them, was prone to walking out on groups or partners that she felt wouldn't benefit her. She wasn't exactly cowardly or villainous per se, but Maxie was definitely not somebody to be relied on.
* She-Beast, daughter of the supervillain Dr. Diabolik in the WhateleyUniverse, looks to be in it for whatever she can get out of the deal. Usually hangs with the other Bad Seeds (children of supervillains), but seems to have a thing for Phase, who's pretty close to LawfulGood.
** She-Beast has a dirty secret, though. [[spoiler: She, in fact, wants to be a super-hero, or something close. She's pretty sure her mom IS a super-hero, in fact. Since her dad is Doctor Doom...Nobody trusts her, so she gives off a TrueNeutral impression.]]
* In ''Roleplay/{{DC Nation}}'''s Olympics plot, Terra was one of these. Both Hades and Troia tried to recruit her because she was too damn dangerous NOT to. True to form, however, she took the divinity potion Hades offered her, and betrayed him as soon as he pissed her off. She is now a minor deity of Strife and Chaos (and a pain in the ass for the Titans' shapeshifters), a position that suits her perfectly.
* ''NewYorkMagician'': Raymond. [[spoiler:Cthulhu]]. Michel's grandmother. Michel himself (as seen by everyone else). Baba Yaga- is it possible to have a whole cast of wild cards?
* YWC aka (Youtube Wrestling Community)as everyone switches sides as soon as the person they sided with previously upsets them, the wrestling vloggers also switch sides just as much.
* Ylana Skyfire, a mercenary in ''{{Neopets}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* FemmeFatale Blackarachnia from ''{{Transformers}}: WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' starts out as an example of an evil Wild Card. First of all, she was Starscream's BastardUnderstudy in the episode ''Possession''. After learning the ways of treachery from him though, she displayed genuine Wild Card traits by using her new skills on him before the episode ended. Later on she fell in love with Silverbolt, an action which changed her to a more moral person, although it didn't keep her from shooting him in the leg. Later versions of Blackarachnia (''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', for example) were less unreliable and more faithful to the Maximals.
-->'''Silverbolt:''' "You shot me!"
-->'''Blackarachnia:''' "He was going to blow your head off!"
* The second ''[[TMNT2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' animated series has two of these. The second, Torbin Zixx, is a mercenary who will betray everyone twice in order to complete a job. The first and more important one, however, is Foot Clan member Karai, whose sense of honor clashes with her devotion to her father in a way that makes her impossible to predict.
* Red X in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
-->''In his first episode:''
-->'''Red X:''' Not everyone likes to play the big villain, kid. I'm a thief. I'm not threatening your precious city. Just looking out for number one.
--->While ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome preventing the other villains from getting Robin's case]]''[[note]]Which ''he himself'' had originally been trying to steal[[/note]] ''after Robin saves his life:''
-->'''Gizmo:''' Whose side are you on, Barf Brain?!
-->'''Red X:''' [[PreAssKickingOneLiner MINE]]!
* Heloise on ''{{Jimmy Two-Shoes}}''. She both works for [[{{Satan}} Lucius]], yet often goes against him to help [[MoralityPet Jimmy]].
* Bigmouth in ''TheSmurfs'' can play either friend or villain of the Smurfs, depending on what will get him more food.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Reboot}}'' has Mouse the agent for hire/turned goody when her employer disregards her own safety during a job.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has Varrick, a businessman who initially allies with Team Avatar against Unalaq because his blockade on the Southern Water Tribes is hurting his shipping business and even backs a war with the Northern Water Tribe. Later on, he seeks to prolong the war for the sake of [[WarForFunAndProfit profit]] and is willing to use his friends to his ends by [[spoiler:bankrupting Asami's corporation so that he can buy her out and framing Mako for a crime when he learns of the former]].
* Boxter Hamdon from ''WesternAnimation/SheZow'' would on occasion support the Episode's villian because he dosen't like when [=SheZow=] steals his thunder.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The page quote comes from Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, a French diplomat who embodied this trope a couple of hundred years ago. He started out under the Gallic Church and King Louis XVI, switched sides to the anti-Church, anti-Royalist Republic, ditched them to help Napoleon seize power, converted ''back'' just as Napoleon had allied with Russia, convened the Senate that legally dismissed Napoleon, and finally threw his support to the Citizen King Louis-Philippe. All this time he remained powerful and influential, and even managed to stay out of prison. TheOtherWiki says he was known as "The Prince of Diplomats" but Napoleon himself came up with the perhaps equally fitting (if less flattering) label "shit in a silk stocking".
** When he acclaimed brie as the "king of cheeses", it was said that it was the only king he had not betrayed.
* Alcibiades. He switched sides five times during the Peloponnesian War, always for who was willing to give him the power and glory to match his military ability.
* This is the constitutional position of the monarchy in Britain, last used to pick a new Prime Minister in 1963.
* In countries which suffer from a hung parliament after an election, independents and [[TakeAThirdOption third parties]] usually become this.
* Dennis Rodman in Phil Jackson's Chicago Bulls.
[[/folder]]

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