* So many characters in ''StarWars'' that it would be impossible to list them all. For example, watch the cantina scene from the original film; ''every last patron'' has at least a name and a bit of backstory. Some actually get their own story in the anthology book ''Literature/TalesFromTheMosEisleyCantina''; several who hadn't been named ended up on the Star Wars Databank, where fans were allowed to come up with their own backstories and names, then vote on which ones were the best. After that, though, [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse they tend to never come up again]] - the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse is infamous for this and a few characters do recur, but honestly, most characters in the EU were either named and had a line or two or are entirely original creations who were never on screen. Even fan favorites like Boba Fett and Wedge Antilles, moving on to their own novels and appearing again and again, were minor non-mains who still had lines and plot significance.
** Remember that nameless red droid with a bad motivator from Episode 4? This trope was mocked in the non-canon comic ''Skippy the Jedi Droid'', where he was a Force-Sensitive droid who used to work for Jabba. He self-destructed on purpose because he could see the future and knew that R2 needed to go with Luke, or even Skippy's ParodySue skills couldn't stop [[RealityEnsues Reality from Ensuing]] badly.
** Ask any hardcore ''StarWars'' fan about the silver protocol droid Threepio meets in Cloud City just before he gets blasted. Go ahead. We'll wait.
*** [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/E-3PO E-3PO]].
** A good example of the difference ascension makes: This is a normal [[http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/thumb/4/4f/RoyalGuard_EpII.jpg/180px-RoyalGuard_EpII.jpg Imperial Guard]]. And here's [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Image:Kirkanos1modified.jpg Kir Kanos]], who wasn't in the films but has a comics plotline of his own, in what could be a case of the ''job'' producing an Ascended Extra.
** Every character that ever appeared in the films has at least a name. Watch ''Film/ANewHope''. Red 6 (the fat guy in Luke's wing when they attacked the Death Star)? [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jek_Tono_Porkins Jek Porkins.]] The Stormtrooper who found 3P0's ankle ring? [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Davin_Felth Davin Felth.]] Remember the [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Endor_strike_team#Known_members Endor strike team?]]
** Several characters from ''Literature/DeathStar''. The guy manning the Death Star's main weapon, who appears once and says "Stand by"? There's a whole story about him.
** Wulff Yularen, originally an unnamed background officer on the Death Star in ''Film/ANewHope'' was given one in the collectible card game and then generally forgotten. Come 2008 and he's probably the largest Republic non-Jedi, non-clone military figure in ''StarWarsTheCloneWars'' for the first two seasons.
** Want to know about the extras in Jabba's palace in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''? There's ''Literature/TalesFromJabbasPalace''. Want to know about the bounty hunters in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''? Read ''Literature/TalesOfTheBountyHunters'' (though Boba Fett's story took a fair amount of {{retcon}}ning to make the story match up with ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'').
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** In the novels, Arwen appears only briefly in the main narrative with the majority of her and Aragorn's story relegated to a chapter in the appendix. In Peter Jackson's version, she is featured prominently in all three films and replaces several minor characters, like Glorfindel who aids Aragorn and the Hobbits as they flee the Ringwraiths. Not only does Arwen replace Glorfindel, she's given the additional task of personally carrying Frodo upon her horse, and her CrowningMomentOfAwesome -- "If you want him, come and claim him!" -- is a unique addition to the film. In the novel, Glorfindel places Frodo on his horse and then stays behind with Aragorn and the Hobbits to do what he can to slow the Ringwraiths' pursuit, at which point the narrative focus shifts entirely to Frodo.
** Bret [=McKenzie=]'s bit part as an elf at the Council of Elrond was expanded into a speaking role in the third film purely because of an Internet meme that had sprung up about the character from fans.
* In ''Film/TheHobbit'', several characters go through varying levels of this. Azog, The Pale Orc, who had been briefly mentioned [[PosthumousCharacter (and had never appeared)]] in the books became the main villain of (at least) the first movie. Radagast, the Brown Wizard, was also promoted from a bare mention to a major, plot-important character, though to a lesser degree than Azog.
* ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' introduced The Space Jockey, which was an ominous creature that appeared to be the pilot of the Derelict. It had been killed and fossilized before the events of [[Film/{{Alien}} the first film]], and it was at the centre of much speculation among the fandom, as well as many non-canon stories in the EU, for over 30 years before its identity was revealed in ''Film/{{Prometheus}}''.
* Deborah Myers in ''[[Film/{{Halloween2007}} Rob Zombie's Halloween]]'' is a very literal example, since the character actually ''was'' an extra in the [[Film/{{Halloween1978}} original John Carpenter film]], appearing in only one scene toward the beginning standing beside her son after he kills his sister, and had no dialogue. In Rob Zombie's reimagening, she was played by the director's wife, was written to be a stripper, and was the secondary character in the whole first act of the film before [[spoiler:she kills herself]]. She also appears in [[Film/{{Halloween II|2009}} Zombie's sequel]] in various dream sequences with a white horse, which many viewers took as Zombie's excuse to once again cast his wife in the film.
** It happened with other characters too. Judith Myers was hardly an extra in the original film, but she did only appear in one (important) scene before she's killed by her little brother. This happens a bit later in Zombie's film, where she had several scenes. Her boyfriend is also given an expanded appearance, and [[spoiler: is even killed]]. Paul, Annie's boyfriend, is also given a large appearance in the adaptation. In the original film, he only "appeared" as a voice on the phone (voiced by [[CreatorCameo John Carpenter himself]]). Laurie's parents were also given expanded, more important roles, with her dad appearing in only one scene in the original film, and her mom not appearing at all (though she did turn up in a flashback in the first sequel).
** Tommy Doyle in ''Film/HalloweenTheCurseOfMichaelMyers'', where he was the main character (and played by a then-unknown PaulRudd in his first role). In the original film, he had some screen-time as the kid Laurie was babysitting, but hardly the main character.
** Nurse Marion Chambers was a fairly minor unimportant character in the original film, but had a decent supporting role in the [[Film/{{Halloween II|1981}} first sequel]]. She turned up again 17 years later in ''Film/HalloweenH20TwentyYearsLater'', where she's [[spoiler:killed in the opening scene]].
* The Meganulon (Giant dragonfly-like monsters) from ''Film/{{Rodan}}'' were only minor characters in the film. Later, they would become the major villains in ''Film/GodzillaVsMegaguirus''.
* Scabior in the ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'' Films. He appears very briefly in the books when he and other snatchers capture the trio and take them to Malfoy Manor. After that, he disappears from the plot, though there is speculation that he is killed by Voldemort after the trio escapes with Dean, Luna, Griphook and Olivander. He appears much more in the films peppered about to the point where he even appears in bits of Part 2 that he didn't appear in during that part of the book.
* Captain Billy Cutshaw in ''Film/TheNinthConfiguration''. The film is a StealthSequel to ''TheExorcist'', and Cutshaw was the astronaut who was confronted by possessed Regan [=MacNeil=] and told that he would "die up there." ''Configuration'' opens with Cutshaw suffering a nervous breakdown moments before a space flight, resulting in him being committed to a military-run insane asylum.
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' book ''Literature/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe,'' a fox appears for approximately one page whose main hobbies include hosting dinner parties and [[InnocentBystander Innocently Bystanding]]. In [[Film/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe the movie version]], he gets to show off [[CunningLikeAFox his pedigree]] a bit more, and is upgraded to the SacrificialLion, though he got better. He was also used as a device to make Edmund [[spoiler: [[ButNotTooEvil a bit kinder]] than the book version before his HeelFaceTurn]].
* In ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'', Arthur Slugworth doesn't even appear in person, he is only ''mentioned'', along with a couple of Wonka's other competitors. In the movie ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory'', however, he not only appears in person, [[spoiler:he is secretly a loyal employee of Wonka, used to provide a SecretTestOfCharacter to the contest winners, which only Charlie passes.]]
* ''OceansEleven'': Denny the whale (uber-producer Jerry Weintraub) has a tiny cameo in the first film, causes the second film by unwittingly bragging about the heist to two European master thieves, and makes amends in the last film when he convinces the other big spenders to leave Bank's casino. Also, the mansion seen in the last movie is one of Jerry's BigFancyHouse[=s=].
* Playing with this trope, Guy Fleegman in ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' was just another RedShirt who got killed in the original series. But after going on a real space adventure with the crew gets his own starring role in the new ''Galaxy Quest'' series.
* ''SnowWhiteAndTheThreeStooges'' gave PrinceCharming an actual major role. Unfortunately it was at the expense of the title characters.
* In ''Comicbook/TheCrow'', there's that one little girl whom Eric helps that has a name similar to his dead fiancee's, yeah that one... Well, she gets a name change (Sarah), a big role in [[Film/TheCrow the film]] (the bestest buddy of Shelly and Eric), and her mom's involvement with Funboy is upped. From there, she becomes the love interest in [[Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels the sequel]] and once again is in [[Series/TheCrowStairwayToHeaven the series]].
* Dizzy Flores from ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' combines this with GenderFlip. In the [[Literature/StarshipTroopers novel]] Dizzy is a man, and all you're told about him is that he died. In the [[Film/StarshipTroopers movie adaptation]] he's a she, and she's one of the major characters as well as a love interest for the main character. This was continued in the animated ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles''.
* Both the Worm Guys and Frank the Pug in ''Film/MenInBlack'' were one-off jokes in the first movie, but had expanded roles in the second movie and [[WesternAnimation/MenInBlack the series]].
* In ''Film/SpiderMan3'', Elizabeth Banks and Ted Raimi receive billing after their smaller roles in the previous films led to slightly bigger ones in the third.
* Every doll besides 9 and 5 in the film ''WesternAnimation/{{Nine}}''. In the original short film, the remaining seven dolls ''did'' appear, but only for a few seconds at the end of the film. The feature film takes all of them and gives them larger roles and actual personalities (as well as complete character make-overs).
* Creator/MichealJaiWhite, who played a small part as an unnamed soldier in the first ''Film/UniversalSoldier'', later played the BigBad in ''Film/UniversalSoldierTheReturn''.
* The ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'' has several:
** Agent PhilCoulson is one of the most triumphant examples ever. He started out as a minor comic relief character in the first ''Film/IronMan1'' movie. His popularity led to his role becoming recurring in ''Film/IronMan2'' and ''Film/{{Thor}}''. Then he became the main character of two of the Film/MarvelOneShots short films. Then he got a role in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ultimate Spider-Man}}'' animated series and became a CanonImmigrant to the main 616 universe in the comics. Then he got a much bigger role in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', even appearing on some versions of the poster. And now [[spoiler: he's BackFromTheDead and is starring in [[Series/AgentsOfSHIELD his own series]].]] All within five years since his first appearance.
** "Happy" Hogan, Tony Stark's bodyguard in ''Film/IronMan'' played by director Jon Favreau, has considerably more lines in the second movie; in addition, he gets to beat down a guard, ram [[BigBad Ivan]] with his car, and has Comicbook/BlackWidow (aka ScarlettJohansson) put him in a headlock with her legs.
** ''Film/IronMan2'': [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0970642/ Jack White]] was originally hired as the food stylist who prepared and served the salmon carpaccio to Vanko in the aircraft hangar, but he ended up appearing in several scenes as [[TheDanza Jack]], Hammer's assistant.
** In the comics, ComicBook/PeggyCarter is, at best, an important footnote to Steve and his primary love interest, Sharon Carter. In the films, though, she's become one of the most prominent supporting characters, even after ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' seemingly concluded any more adventures in the 40s. The first issue of the 2011 ''Captain America'' series even uses her death from old age as a jumping-off point specifically because she'd now be familiar to audiences. It's worth noting that the filmmakers have tried to use Peggy in every single (Earth-bound) MCU vehicle after ''The First Avenger''. Creator/JossWhedon wrote a scene for her in ''The Avengers'', and she has cameos in ''The Winter Soldier'', ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', ''Age of Ultron'', and ''Ant-Man'', plus, she took center stage in the [[Film/MarvelOneShots Marvel one-shot "Agent Carter"]], which was such a huge hit that it [[SpinOff spun off]] into [[Series/AgentCarter her own regular TV series]].
** In Creator/WarrenEllis' ''Extremis'' story, Aldrich Killian only appeared in two pages before committing suicide. In ''Film/IronMan3'' he's the [[spoiler: ManBehindTheMan and the true BigBad of the film]]. He's also [[AdaptationalAttractiveness much sexier]] to boot.
** In the comics, the Iron Legion were an extremely minor group that only appeared in two issues back in the 90's. In the [[MarvelCinematicUniverse MCU]], they have pivotal roles in both ''Film/IronMan3'' and ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''.
** Hope Van Dyne is an extremely minor character from the comics, and only appeared in the ''ComicBook/MarvelComics2'' continuity. In ''Film/AntMan'', she's promoted to major character status and is effectively the film's female lead.
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'':
*** Hawkeye, the Avenger that got the least amount of screentime in the previous movie, gets a considerably larger role in the sequel. [[spoiler:His family is even briefly shown]].
*** J.A.R.V.I.S. in a sense, he ascends from an A.I. created for the MCU. To becoming tied to the origin of [[spoiler:the Vision]].
*** Dr. Helen Cho. In the comics, she's an extremely minor PosthumousCharacter, and is only notable for being the mother of Amadeus Cho. Here, she's a fairly important character and is significantly more fleshed out.
*** [[spoiler:Laura Barton. She was a very minor character in ''Comicbook/TheUltimates'' who only appeared in two issues, and is most notable for [[StuffedIntoTheFridge dying to advance]] {{Hawkeye}}'s storyline. She is not only alive in the movie, but has a fairly sizable role and gets some great lines]].
* Mark Hoffman appears briefly in one scene, and has two lines, in ''Film/SawIII''. He becomes [[FromNobodyToNightmare considerably more important]] in later sequels.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'', the Furious Five were little more than window-dressing. In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'', they have a much more active role, particularly Tigress.
* Martin Clunes plays a supporting character in ''Saving Grace'', Dr. Martin Bamford. The character was expanded into two prequel tv films explaining his background. Sometime after that, the character was given a {{retool}}, and became the main character on the series ''Series/DocMartin''.
* In the original ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' Ronno is an unnamed stag who fights over Faline with Bambi. In the midquel he's a fleshed out buck and the central antagonist of the movie.
* In ''The Whisperer In Darkness'' by Creator/HPLovecraft, George Akeley, Henry Akeley's son, is a very minor character who is only mentioned a couple of times in his father's letters, is never seen in person, and clearly survives the events of the story, as Wilmarth explicitly keeps in contact with him afterward. In the [[Film/TheWhispererInDarkness movie]] based on it, he is a key liason between Henry and Professor Wilmarth early on. [[spoiler: Unlike the story, he is strongly implied to be [[DeathByAdaptation caught and killed offscreen]] by the Mi-Go when he tries to deliver the Black Stone to Wilmarth.]]
* In the original ''Film/{{Rocky}}'', Little Marie appears in one scene where Rocky walks the 12-year-old home. Three decades later, Marie shows up in the final film ''Rocky Balboa'' as the lead female character and love interest (after Adrian's death).
* Ulla in the original film ''Film/TheProducers'' is nothing but a walking sex joke, barely speaking any English and only showing up to dance occasionally. In the musical, she's made into a fully developed character who speaks English more or less fluently, and becomes Leo's love interest.
* In the third movie in the ''Film/{{Halloweentown}}'' series, ''Halloweentown High'', Ethan (a warlock) was a minor character who was mainly a rival to Marnie but who wasn't important to the story. In ''Return to Halloweentown'', he is a love interest to Marnie. This may be because Lucas Grabeel, who played Ethan, had just been in ''HighSchoolMusical'' and Disney was trying to promote him.
* ''The Greatest Gift'', the short story that inpsired ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', says nothing about Mr. Potter other than the fact he owned a photography studio. The movie turns him into a CorruptCorporateExecutive who owns nearly all of the town and seizes a couple opportunities to ruin the protagonist's life.
* In the ComicBook/{{Tintin}} comic ''The Secret of the Unicorn'', the minor character Ivan Sakharine is a pushy but ultimately harmless model ship collector who is [[RedHerring briefly suspected]] of stealing Tintin's model of the ''Unicorn''. In the film adaptation of the same comic, however, he is the [[BigBad main villain]] [[spoiler: and the descendant of the pirate Red Rackham.]] Ironically, in the comic Sakharine is later attacked by the ''real'' thief, and if a brief cameo appearance in ''Red Rackham's Treasure'' is anything to go by he eventually made his peace with Tintin.
* The Sea Witch in the Creator/HansChristianAndersen fairy tale "Literature/TheLittleMermaid" only appears to trade the unnamed mermaid's voice for legs. In the [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Disney adaptation]], however, she is named Ursula and becomes the main antagonist. The same is true for the evil fairy in "Literature/SleepingBeauty", who was also unnamed in the original story and disappears after [[EvilIsPetty cursing the princess for not being invited to the party]], but in Disney's ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' is a supervillainess named Maleficent who keeps driving the plot through the whole movie.
** Ariel's sisters only appeared at the beginning to sing a song and made only one appearance afterward. The TV series and the prequel '"Ariel's Beginning'' gave them bigger roles and established personalities.
* In the original ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'' novel the Brides only make two appearances and are unimportant side characters. Many of the film adaptions, like ''Film/BramStokersDracula'' or''Film/VanHelsing'' greatly expands their roles, making them Dracula's right hand women and powerful combatants.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' film, Woody and Buzz were the real focus of the film and all the other toys were relatively minor characters. The second film gives much more screen time to Slinky, Rex, Hamm, and Mr. Potato Head. And likewise, Mrs. Potato Head only appeared in the beginning and end of the second film while Barbie was only in one scene roughly past the middle; they both had much bigger roles in the third movie.
* [[{{Disney/Pinocchio}} Jiminy Cricket]] was originally a nameless cricket who, in the original book, got squashed by Pinocchio in one chapter ([[BrickJoke and came back as a ghost much later]]). In the film, he becomes Pinocchio's friend and adviser and has since appeared in countless other Disney projects.
* Q receives this treatment in a couple of the ''Film/JamesBond'' movies. While usually he's just there to give Bond his new devices and then takes off, in ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'' he actually helps Bond when he [[StormingTheCastle raids the villain's hideout at the end]] and travels to Isthmus City to help Bond out in ''Film/LicenceToKill'' after 007 goes rogue to get revenge on Sanchez, even ignoring Bond's request that for his own good he should return to London.
** Also, M in every other Bond film just gave Bond orders and info on the mission. In ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', she was given a backstory and protecting her was the driving force.
* In ''Literature/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'' (both the original book and cartoon), Cindy Lou Who is just a character who exists to show that the Grinch is a liar, with only one line. In the movie version, she practically becomes the co-star, playing a more vital role in the plot than any character other than the Grinch himself.
* From the ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' franchise we have Puss in Boots. First appearing in 2004 in Shrek2, he got his own movie in 2011.
* In ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'', the Wicked Witch of the East didn't really even rate as an extra, as she's only seen as a pair of feet sticking out from under Dorothy's house. In ''Film/OzTheGreatAndPowerful'', she's the one who initiates all the trouble: murdering the previous king, sending winged baboons against innocent villages, and [[spoiler: maliciously tricking her own sister into hating Oscar and becoming the Wicked Witch of the West]].
* Roadblock isn't exactly one of the leading members of the G.I. Joe team, but plays a big role ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation''.
** Likewise Jinx had a brief cameo in ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'', but becomes one of the main Joe characters in ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation''.
* In ''TheHangover'' trilogy, Leslie Chow goes from a minor role in the first, to a bigger supporting role in the second, and basically the main antagonist in the third.
* Pinhead of the ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'' series was a minor component in the original novel ''The Hellbound Heart''. Come [[Film/{{Hellraiser}} the film adaption]], the more prominent Cenobites from the novel either couldn't speak (Butterball) see ''or'' speak (Chatterer) or had their motion limited by their complicated makeup (Female Cenobite). So, Pinhead took the lead, and quickly became the face of the franchise.
* In ''WesternAnimation/RockADoodle'', the Grand Duke of Owls is the main antagonist and the cause of all the trouble in the movie. In the play ''Chanticler'' by Edmond Rostand, the Grand Duke is only a minor villain - instead, the main villains are the Blackbird and the rival rooster who fights Chanticler. The former receives AdaptationalHeroism while the latter is DemotedToExtra.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'': Biff Tannen's 1955 gang plays a bigger part than in the first film. In the alternate 1985, it's shown that they're still working with Biff when he's become insanely wealthy, and when Marty is back in 1955, they chase him into the gym where Marty's other self in the first film is playing, and they go backstage to fight "him", so Marty has to stop them in a way that won't impede upon the first film's chain of events.
* In the original ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', King Stefan was just a BumblingDad of a king who had about one scene. In ''Film/{{Maleficent}}'', he's a guileful, skilled warrior who was the titular character's childhood friend, and whose actions are what started the plot of the movie in the first place.
** Likewise, Diaval (changed from Diablo) was just Maleficent's raven familiar in the original. Here, he's her [[EmpathicShapeshifter shapeshifting]] [[TheConfidant confidant]], friend, [[TheDragon dragon]], and spy rolled into one. He also helps [[ParentalSubstitute raise Aurora]] [[labelnote:*]]the fairies were so bad at looking after her, he and Maleficent decided to step in to keep her alive until her DangerousSixteenthBirthday[[/labelnote]]and [[spoiler:is the one [[ScaledUp who becomes a dragon]] at the climax]].
** Aurora herself is this. Despite ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' being about her, she lost screentime to the fairies and Maleficent in the first half of the film, and was comatose and mostly absent in the second half. In this film, she's much more active, seeking out the truth of her curse herself, riding off to her father's castle, and has an important role in the final battle.
* ''Film/XMen'':
** William Stryker was much less of an important character in the ''ComicBook/XMen'' comics than he was in the films.
** Pyro about 5 seconds of screen time in the [[Film/XMen1 first film]] but then became a more developed character from the [[Film/X2XMenUnited second film]] onward.
** Kitty Pryde has cameos in the [[Film/XMen1 first]] [[Film/X2XMenUnited two]] films, and then a more major role in the [[Film/XMenTheLastStand third]] and [[Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast fifth]] (seventh if you include the Wolverine movies) films.
* The Chief Elder of the Community from ''Literature/TheGiver'' is a minor character, but is bumped up to be the BigBad (as the representation of the totalitarian authority) in 2014's ''Film/TheGiver''. To a lesser extent, Asher and Fiona (who just...stop appearing in the narration after a certain point in the book) have far more to do in the film adaptation than they do in the book.
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