[[caption-width-right:300: Guess who the main characters are? [[labelnote:Answer]]It's the two people on the bottom left. The three guys in the shopping cart have about 20 seconds of screen time each.[[/labelnote]]]]

->''"After re-watching the film, making sure not to blink the second time, you confirm that [[Creator/AngelinaJolie Jolie]] does in fact make a brief cameo. But since she's the most bankable star in Hollywood, you release a trailer that uses that cameo like Native Americans used a buffalo carcass."''
-->-- '''''{{Website/Cracked}}''''' on ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow''

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

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

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

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

May be a victim of the SpotlightStealingSquad, and expect him to become an EnsembleDarkhorse. Another possibility is that the extra is a DecoyProtagonist. Some creators will even [[TropesAreTools use this trope intentionally]] to make a DecoyProtagonist twist more shocking.

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



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Anime/OnePieceFilmGold'', Despite being announced in the film, [[spoiler:Rob Lucci and Sabo barely play a role in it and at best just have a brief battle outside the Gran Tesoro. They don't even interact with the Straw Hats. Likewise Koala has one scene in the film talking with Sabo.]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** The main series tends to suffer this problem, with the main characters often obtaining monsters that end up receiving less screen time than the ''guest stars''.
** Advertisements and trailers for various movies often prominently feature one or more Pokémon who ultimately play a very minor role, if any at all (it doesn't help that almost all of them [[NeverTrustATrailer lie through their teeth]]).
*** The original teaser for ''Anime/PokemonGiratinaAndTheSkyWarrior'' prominently featured Regigigas, who in the actual movie only shows up ([[DeusExMachina rather suddenly]]) for the last fifteen minutes.
*** The website for ''Anime/PokemonGenesectAndTheLegendAwakened'' presented a Sableye among the cast as if it were a major player. After the first ten minutes, it becomes a background character. There's also the bulk of the Genesect Army, who get very few lines and no personalities, being outshined by the Douse Drive and Red Genesect.
*** The poster for ''Anime/PokemonHoopaAndTheClashOfAges'' has Arceus standing behind the main cast. In the actual movie, it's only ever talked about [[spoiler:until it shows up out of nowhere in the climax]].
*** The original teaser for ''Anime/PokemonVolcanionAndTheMechanicalMarvel'' was the first appearance of Zygarde's Complete Forme. In the actual movie, Zygarde only assumes its Complete Forme towards the end for one scene, and none of the main cast even see it.
* Kouchuu from ''VisualNovel/KoihimeMusou'' is treated as a main character in both promotional art and anime opening, but in the first season she only appears for one episode before joining the FinalBattle (everyone else gets at least 4-5 eps of hanging with the heroine) and for the next seasons she has to StayInTheKitchen while everyone else has adventures (except Bachou on season 2, and her got ADayInTheLimelight to compensate).
* The Kämpfer mobile suit in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam0080WarInThePocket''. Heavily merchandised and loaded with weapons. It wreaks havoc across the colony for a few minutes, then gets torn to shreds in less than a minute by the Gundam Alex. Most likely the point of it's non-use; it was crashed early on, and in repairs up until the finale. ''0080'' wasn't about the Gundam battles itself, but knew that the build up for the final clash would make it more memorable.
* Descartes Shaman in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]: [[TheMovie Awakening Of The Trailblazer]]'', who appeared on plenty of promotional material but ends up being a rather minor character.
* ''LightNovel/AriaTheScarletAmmo'' gives us [[EmotionlessGirl Reki]], who is put on par with [[{{Tsundere}} Aria]], [[{{Miko}} Shirayuki]] and [[BeAWhoreToGetYourMan Riko]] in promotional artwork but ended up getting a few tiny (albeit important) appearances while all the others got AnArc and/or plenty of screentime. In the novels, however, she's more prominent, and even get two novels dedicated for her.
* Tigerstar in the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' manga ''Tigerstar and Sasha'', is this for the second and third books. In the first book, he was the love interest. However, in the second book (on which he is the only one on the cover), he shows up, asks the hero a question, and is never seen again! In book three, he only appears in dream sequences. It's like the writers didn't know what to do with him, so they hid him in a cupboard and hoped no one would find him.
* Subverted by Yuina in ''Anime/HanasakuIroha'', as she was treated as part of the main cast but barely appeared... until episode 13-14, which were focused on her, and afterwards she started hanging around the main girls all the time.
* Cammy in ''Anime/StreetFighterIITheAnimatedMovie'' appears in every piece of promotional material and tie-in for the Japanese release, to the point that it almost seems as if she's one of the main characters (along with Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li), despite having a screentime of less than five minutes. Cammy's only significant scene involves her assassinating a British politician while under M. Bison's brainwashing.
* Chalia Bull in the original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' was played up as the AcePilot from Jupiter who'd be able to completely change the war. He was a [[PsychicPowers Newtype]], a great pilot, and not only that, he was piloting a new Prototype Mobile Armor with remote weapons. Thing is, he only had a few minutes of screen time...in one episode...[[spoiler: And he died...]]
* The cover of ''Anime/DragonBallZFusionReborn'' features many villains both from the main series as well as the other DBZ films, despite that none of them play any major role in the film apart from a tiny cameo appearance.
* Manga/{{Naruto}}:
** Sai in the anime adaptation. While he's an important character during the arc he debuts in, his relevance to the plot and character development pretty much end there, and gets little to do afterwards. Yet lots of openings after his debut still featured him almost as prominently as Naruto and Sakura, despite both his screentime and contribution to the plot being minimal. He's much less featured in the openings(to the point of being absent in some of them) once the anime reached the Fourth Ninja War arc.
** In the case of ''Manga/NarutoGaiden'', while Boruto was seen prominently in the promotional material for this spinoff, he has a rather small role whereas his classmate Sarada has become an AscendedExtra.
* TheAnimeOfTheGame ''Anime/SandsOfDestruction'' is subtitled ''Sekai Bokumetsu Rokunin'', or "The Six People Who Will Destroy the World". Agan is supposed to be one of the main six characters, but he tends to be just some guy who shows up every few episodes and says a few lines, maybe offers the team a ride (for a price, of course). It's never implied he's following the group or has any real interest in them; he just...appears. Of course, part of the problem could be that this AlternateContinuity has removed his status as Morte's ChildhoodFriend, and a good deal of his development in the game comes from their LikeBrotherAndSister VitriolicBestBuds relationship. The other part could be that, since he never officially joins the team this time around, the writers just have to figure out a way to shoehorn him in somewhere.
* The promotional materials for the Anime/JapanAnimatorExpo short ''Bureau of Proto Society'' shows a rampaging HumongousMecha about to open fire. In the actual short, it appears in only one scene of archive footage-[[spoiler: to be precise, [[FutureImperfect various fictional works Proto Society]] ''[[FutureImperfect thought]]'' [[FutureImperfect was archive footage.]]]]
* From the way Hazuki and Sapphire are advertised and featured in ''Literature/SoundEuphonium'' material you would think they're of the utmost importance. While they are still above being ThoseTwoGuys their friendship with the protagonist is put on the backburner for Kumiko's friendship with Reina.
* ''Anime/DanganRonpa3'' heavily built up Nagito Komaeda as major character in ''Side:Despair'', as per his role in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'' (where he was a main character). While he doesn't quite get enough screentime to be called a minor character, he still doesn't much screentime or relevance outside of ADayInTheLimelight and gets PutOnTheBus a third of the way in.
* ''Anime/FullMetalPanicFumoffu'' prominently features Tessa Testarossa, one of the central characters from the main series, in both the opening and closing as well as promotional artwork. She only appears in a 2-part episode.
* While ''Anime/DigimonAdventureTri'' had always intended to center the original characters of ''Adventure'' over their apprentices of ''02'', it is the [[spoiler:apparent defeat of the ''02'' characters]] that steals the trailers to the first film...and so far through five of the six planned films, [[spoiler:they haven't been seen or heard onscreen yet, and only Ken has been verbally referenced at all]].
* ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable'':
** Despite being the BigBad (and therefore prominently featured on advertising and merchandise), Yoshikage Kira's original appearance is only seen for two arcs before he [[KillAndReplace kills Kosaku and steals his face and identity]]. Even ''VideoGame/JoJosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle'' demoted Kira's real face to DLC, while his Kosaku persona is presented as his default look.
** Yukako Yamagishi is prominently featured in all three of the anime openings despite only appearing in a handful of episodes, a few of which only have her in brief {{Cameo}}s with minimal dialogue. Her part wasn't much bigger in the original manga, where she still managed to appear on quite a few chapter covers.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion'' introduces a new magical girl: Nagisa Momoe, the much-hyped human form of EnsembleDarkhorse witch Charlotte. However, she's just an elementary school-aged little girl whose role is little more than being Mami's "pet".
* ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' had an ad for its Universal Survival Arc which showed the ten warriors for Universe 7. One of those was Majin Buu, who seemed like he would be able to get into action for once since he'd essentially been sidelined since the Battle of Gods Arc. He prepares for the tournament, getting a brand new form... then ends up dropping out due to falling asleep and ends up getting replaced by the ''real'' tenth member: [[spoiler:Frieza]].

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

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* At the height of the popularity of Comicbook/GrantMorrisonsBatman, Creator/DCComics announced that [[Comicbook/{{Robin}} Damian Wayne]] would be joining the cast of ''Comicbook/TeenTitans''. His arrival was heavily promoted and multiple variant covers were created for the issue where he joins, but he was only with the team for a grand total of four issues before being PutOnABus.
* Many of the examples on the WolverinePublicity page fit.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Tagging systems on sites like ArchiveOfOurOwn can lead to this. As the author will create a tag for every character that appears in the story, nor matter how minor. So someone searching through the tag can find stories that don't involve the character they're looking for at all.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Jack-Jack doesn't feature nearly as much in the action film ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' as you'd be inclined to think by the promotional material. In fact, he doesn't even wear his full Incredible outfit until literally the last fifteen seconds of the film.
* ''WesternAnimation/IceAge''
** Taken to an extreme by having the advertisements center around the squirrel, then releasing a movie where the squirrel was only occasionally seen outside of the scene from the advertisement. The three main characters weren't even in some of the ads. Scrat is widely considered [[EnsembleDarkhorse the best character of the series]], [[WackyWaysideTribe even if he's hardly part of the main plot]].
** Rappers Music/{{Drake}} and Music/NickiMinaj in ''Continental Drift''. Their combined screen time is about five minutes and yet Fox saw it was enough to put their names on the poster. Meanwhile, actual actors like Creator/PeterDinklage, Nick Frost, Creator/AzizAnsari and Rebel Wilson have far more screen time than those two but barely appeared in the marketing.
* Lizzy from ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' is featured prominently on the poster (which aside from her only includes the main characters), despite the fact that she is in no way essential to the plot, has maybe one full minute of screen time, and anywhere from two to five lines. The present-day version of Dr. Krunklehorn is also featured on the poster alongside many characters who appear in the future, which is odd because she ends up being [[spoiler: Lewis' adopted mother.]]
** Lizzy and Stanley (the chubby kid at the science fair with the volcano) [[AscendedExtra played more prominent roles in the video game adaption, however]].
** The Robinsons' dog Buster (the one who wears glasses) was also prominently shown in advertisements, despite having only one scene. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the entirety of the dog's screen time.
* Every single cameo by a video game character in ''Disney/WreckItRalph''. The way that Disney marketed the film, it seems like they tried to make the cameos the stars and push the actual main characters to the background (but at least they have the honesty of putting at least one of the four protagonists along with the cameos in the posters). Like many animated films, there were even character-themed posters that a cameo character had all to themselves. These characters rarely appeared outside of the opening scene, and some of them didn't even have lines.
* Bobby from ''WesternAnimation/AGoofyMovie'' had a big enough role that it made sense for him to be advertised--or it would have if the trailers didn't play him up to the detriment of three secondary characters with bigger roles than his, including [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer completely ousting one of them]]. From viewing the trailer and looking at the cover art you would probably think Bobby was a main character on par with or barely beneath Goofy and Max. He actually has six scenes worth of screentime, one of which is spent doing nothing interesting or important and not being acknowledged, five of which are in the first act, and he completely disappears without even a mention for the entire second act and most of the third. He also has only one contribution to the plot.
* Creator/BradPitt and Creator/MattDamon in ''[[WesternAnimation/HappyFeet Happy Feet 2]]''. The trailers gave their characters WolverinePublicity but their scenes total 10 minutes at most and their characters (a pair of krill wanting to leave their pack) add nothing to the plot.
* Michelangelo and Donatello in ''WesternAnimation/{{TMNT}}''. All the posters, promotional material, and merchandise featured all four turtles evenly, but in the actual film they barely do anything and only appear in about a third of it in total.
* Master Thundering Rhino in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''. He was advertised on the official website and other promotional material, but only got about two minutes of screentime before being KilledOffForReal. To a lesser extent, Masters Ox and Croc apply as well. The DVD special ''Secrets of the Masters'' makes up for this, as Ox, Croc, and Rhino are the main characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/FoodFight!'' had a ''very'' bad example of this, which is possibly due to troubled production. The movie was supposed to be used to promote several supermarket food brands, and as such, the cover had Mrs. Buttersworth, Twinkie the Kid, the Vlasic stork, Charlie the Tuna, etc. However, each of these characters were basically extras, only appearing in one or two scenes.
* Many ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' ads show minor characters Bruce and Crush, who have very small roles in the movie.
* If you've never seen ''Disney/ChickenLittle'', you'd think Morkubine Porcupine was a major character. He featured heavily in TV spots and on the website, and appears on the DVD cover (in place of Abby Mallard, who was a main character) yet has 3 lines of dialogue in the whole film ("Yo", "no", "whoa").
* Piglet in the first ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh'' short, ''Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree''. He appears in the opening theme, but is absent from the actual short itself, and he would not properly show up until two years later in ''Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day''.
* One of the first things revealed in the lead-up to ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'' was that the movie would feature [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 TMNT2003]] versions of [[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesIITheSecretOfTheOoze movie villains]] Tokka and Rahzar. The poster for the movie makes them one of its most notable elements, even more than several prominent characters. In the actual movie, they appear for less than a minute, unnamed, as part of a larger group of {{mooks}}.
* Droopy was on the cover of and in many of the advertisements for ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTheMovie'', even though he only gets a five second cameo.
* Mei Mei from ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda3'', the trailers made it seem like she was going to be a major character and Po's love interest, [[spoiler: while it does initially seem like they'd become a couple, they only share a few scenes together and she instead chooses the dopey crooked toothed panda after she fixes his teeth when she accidentally hits him with nunchucks.]]
* Many of the supporting characters from ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'' can fall under this, considering posters and other ads were littered with characters who had only a few (if no) lines and barely any screen time. Yax and Gazelle are particularly guilty of this but the worst offender is probably Flash, who was in only two scenes but had the entire [[BreakoutCharacter teaser trailer centered around him]] (in fact it's one of his two scenes ''in it's entirety'').
* Creator/GeorgeTakei was billed heavily alongside the other main actors for ''WesternAnimation/KuboAndTheTwoStrings''. In reality his character only appears at the very beginning and end, and he only has 4-5 lines total in the entire film.
* Pua the pig appears in all the advertisements and merchandise for ''Disney/{{Moana}}'', even though he has a very small role in the actual film, appearing at the beginning and end, and not accompanying the titular character on her journey. Instead, the rooster Heihei fills the animal sidekick role.
* Yoda appears on the main poster for ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' with his lightsaber drawn, yet he only has a small speaking role in the first quarter of the film and a small, silent role at the end, with absolutely no fighting done by him whatsoever. Likewise with Commander Cody who only has a few, mostly background appearances and three short lines in the entire film. Yet he appears on the main poster in a similar fashion to Captain Rex, in the background.
* ''WesternAnimation/FantasticMrFox'': Owen Wilson plays the coach at the animals' school, appears in one scene with a few lines, and that's it. He's still mentioned on the cover of the DVD box as if he were playing a major character.
* Creator/PatrickStewart's Poop character in ''WesternAnimation/TheEmojiMovie'' shows up frequently in trailers and even has his own poster. In the movie proper, he only has a handful of lines and is only a minor character at best.
* Songbird Serenade in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie2017'' is featured front-and-center on displays at stores as if she is the protagonist, has her own plush toy, a large plastic doll, and a lot of other miscellaneous merchandise, but she appears only at the beginning, for one scene halfway through, and for the first credits song, with very little plot relevance. Undoubtedly this is to draw in fans of Music/{{Sia}}, as she voices Songbird and is the basis for her design. Averted with the advertisement not related to the toys though, in which she is either in the background or absent entirely.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Advertisements for the classic movie musical ''Film/SinginInTheRain'' listed the names of all its stars, which was common at the time. However along with the people you would expect (Kelly, O’Conner, Reynolds, Hagen, Mitchell) they had Cyd Charisse. She was in the movie for less than 3 minutes as Kelly’s dance partner during a BigLippedAlligatorMoment (which was inside another BigLippedAlligatorMoment). The strange thing is that Charisse was not a star yet it probably would not have made a difference whether people saw the movie or not. You could chalk it up to fanservice.
* Watching the first bit of ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}'', it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that Creator/DrewBarrymore is our main character. But, alas, [[spoiler:she's offed after one scene.]]
* Many trailers and posters for ''Film/DumbAndDumberTo'' feature the famous sheep dog van from the first movie. Unfortunately, it was only featured in the actual film for a few seconds before it crashed, forcing our heroes to find another vehicle.
* The DirectToVideo action film ''Film/WrongSideOfTown'' actually starred Wrestling/RobVanDam. However you would not know that by looking at the DVD cover where Wrestling/{{Batista}} is featured front and center. He plays a minor supporting character that was only in three scenes. RVD was billed second and is in the background alongside third billed JaRule who was an even better example of this trope. The rapper plays a gang leader who is shot by Batista literally three minutes after being introduced. Fourth billed R&B singer Omarion has a similar role to Ja Rule. Strangely other actors that have bigger roles in this movie [[note]] (Edrick Browne, Lara Grice, Jerry Katz, Ava Santana, and Creator/LouisHerthum)[[/note]] are not mentioned at all. According to [[WebVideo/BadMovieBeatdown some people]] this was because Batista was the best actor in it.
* ''The Hunger Games'':
** Liam Hemsworth as Gale in ''Film/TheHungerGames'' did appear in quite a bit of promotional material like posters and did a fair amount of press, but wasn't in much of the movie since Gale isn't a participant in the Hunger Games. Though Hemsworth isn't a big name, he's an up and comer that the studio wanted to promote. Also, Gale becomes a more prominent character as the series goes on. Sort of. This is actually a complaint about ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' in general - it treats Peeta/Katniss/Gale like a big triangle, but Gale barely appears in the first two books of the trilogy at all, thus making it fairly obvious who Katniss will end up with.
** Creator/JenaMalone as Johanna in ''Film/TheHungerGamesMockingjay''. In Part 1 she only appears briefly at the very end. In Part 2 she has just three scenes. Some of her scenes appear to have been cut.
* Creator/KayaScodelario as teenage Eve in ''Film/{{Moon}}'' receives top billing despite having only a minute or two of screen time. To a lesser extent, Dominique [=McElligott=] who plays Tess is only seen in a handful of flashbacks and videos. Justified as the only actors who have any significant screen time are Creator/SamRockwell and the voice of Creator/KevinSpacey.
* Creator/ChristopherWalken appears only once in [[OneSceneWonder one of the most memorable scenes]] in ''Film/PulpFiction'' and receives top billing.
* ''Film/AustinPowersTheSpyWhoShaggedMe'': Elizabeth Hurley appears in the cold opening but is [[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome killed off]] before we see her name in the opening credits.
* Jeanette from ''Film/AlvinAndTheChipmunks: [[PunnyName The Squeakquel]]'': The boys and her sisters all get ample screen time, whereas Jeanette seems to fall by the wayside. Older fans know her from the 1980s cartoon as a genius, but this never really comes out. She's never seen without her sisters, and she gets about 5 minutes of screentime that isn't singing. Fortunately, she gets significantly more screen time in the third movie. Dave as well actually has much more of a minor role than the film let on, as he's hospitalized for nearly all of it. The main human in the movie is actually a relative of his played by Creator/ZacharyLevi.
* A somewhat debatable example with Venom in ''Film/SpiderMan3''. Eddie Brock was around for most of the movie, but Comicbook/{{Venom}} is seen for all of 15 minutes. However, he did a ''lot'' in 15 minutes, including finally doing what no other villain in the movies could do; [[spoiler: kill one of Peter's loved ones, Harry Osborn.]]
* ''Film/HalfASixpence'': The DVD cover features the main character, Kipps, along with a beautiful woman in a lacy leotard. That character, whose name is Laura, only appears in one scene early in the movie.
* ''Film/HarryPotter'':
** ''Film/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban'' - Julie Christie as Madam Rosmerta. One scene with about three minutes of screen time. And no close-ups of her (since the entire scene is from under Harry's invisibility cloak).
** ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'' advertised Music/NataliaTena's Tonks with plenty of merchandise and even a special feature on the DVD with her giving a tour of the set. She's only in the film at the start and the big battle at the end.
** ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' gave rather lots of attention to the twins Hestia and Flora Carrow in marketing. The characters have no lines and only appear in the Slug Club scenes. They were originally supposed to serve as a clue [[spoiler: that there were two Vanishing Cabinets - when Harry realises the one in Borgin & Burke's has a twin]] but that plot point was dropped. As such the twins serve no purpose. The film also made a note of advertising that Gemma Jones was returning as Madame Pomfrey. She has just one scene, no lines and is only in the background.
*** The credits and DVD release give an incredibly high billing to Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew...who appears for less than a minute and has no dialogue.
** ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallowsPart1'' devoted some attention to Creator/BillNighy's casting as Rufus Scrimgeour. He has just two scenes.
* Most of the criticisms toward ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'' comes from a feeling that the Basterds are this trope. Though this is more of a [[TitleConfusion misunderstood title]]. Inglorious means unknown, or disgraceful bastards being plural. i.e. [[spoiler: The Nazi, The girl, The black guy, ''AND'' Brad Pitt's crew are all inglorious bastards]]. The European posters made this a bit clearer. Many of them consisted of a shot of one of the cast members with tagline *actor's name* is a Basterd. The marketing strategy was not done in the US because besides Brad Pitt the cast was relatively unknown.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'':
*** Comicbook/{{Cyclops}}' screen time is ''greatly'' reduced because of Creator/JamesMarsden's other commitments.
*** Angel is featured heavily in all the promotional material, as part of the whole "the original X-Men team in the comics finally together in film." He only has three scenes: he refuses the cure and flies away; he very briefly shows up at the X-Mansion for the sole purpose of allowing them to state categorically that the school is still open; and finally he [[spoiler:saves his father's life]] during the final battle. He does nothing in between. The promo posters even showed Angel in an X-Men uniform despite the fact that he never officially joins the team (or dons a costume) during the movie.
*** The same can be said of Colossus -- he has one line (which is about as long as both of his two lines in ''Film/X2XMenUnited'' combined) and he's really only in the film for the FastballSpecial.
** ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'': Comicbook/{{Gambit}} has limited screen time, but manages to do a few things (sets/stops a fight between Logan and Sabretooth, takes Logan to the enemy base, and saves Logan in a BigDamnHeroes moment).
** ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'': Creator/AnnaPaquin as Rogue has a total of one scene (and a handful of seconds at that) in the theatrical release. She even got her own ''Empire'' magazine cover despite the fact that most of her scenes were cut from the final film.
** ''Film/XMenApocalypse'': Comicbook/{{Jubilee}} got a fair amount of focus in the advertising along with the co-stars who played the new recruits Cyclops, Jean, and Storm. In the middle of the movie, it looks like she's going to be on the same squad of rookies with Cyclops, Jean, and Nightcrawler, even going with them on their teen rebel mall trip as a heroic team of four to contrast the Horsemen. Then she gets knocked out and left behind at the mansion in the next scene, leaving the others as a PowerTrio instead.
* Sao Feng from ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd''. Like Angel, advertised as a great new addition to the cast. When it came out, roughly 30 minutes of screentime (in a movie that's almost 3 hours long!) and an [[DroppedABridgeOnHim anticlimatic death]] one hour in.
* Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger and Creator/BruceWillis in ''Film/TheExpendables''. The two actors were featured on nearly every advertisement for the film but appear in only one scene. The trailers for the [[Film/TheExpendables2 first sequel]] showed that Arnie and Bruce were getting more screen time of the action variety, though they're still not the lead characters. For that matter, both Toll and Hale also have very minor roles despite having equal billing in the film. The only real members of the team to have any major roles are Barney, Lee, and to a lesser extent Yin.
* Happened with the 2009 [=DVD=] release of ''Film/SesameStreetPresentsFollowThatBird'' -- the cover features Elmo amongst the pictured characters, but the film was made in 1985, before he became a prominent member of the show's cast. In the film he only has a few seconds of screen time at the beginning and end, with only one line of dialogue (part of the song at the end).
* Music/MichaelJackson appears on the front cover of ''A Special Sesame Street Christmas,'' despite only showing up for less than two minutes and ''not singing.''
* Most advertisements and promotional images for the ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' film ''[[Anime/DragonBallZLordSlug Lord Slug]]'' featured one of his henchmen Zeeun, in the film itself he only shows up for a few minutes and is killed by Slug when he accidentally insults his age before he even has a chance to fight.
* ''Film/ValentinesDay'' has a huge cast made up numerous A-listers. The movie was advertised one of two ways, the first was by advertising all of the stars, regardless of how big their role was or by saying it "starred" Music/TaylorSwift and Creator/TaylorLautner despite them having roughly two scenes and their characters were clearly meant to be looked down upon. Even worse was that all the reviews focused almost entirely on Swift, judging her performance despite her being a cameo. The SpiritualSuccessor, ''Film/NewYearsEve'' managed to avoid this by only advertising the stars that had major parts (in fact there are several stars who don't appear in the commercials).
* Creator/StevenSeagal received top billing on ''Film/ExecutiveDecision'' despite [[spoiler: his character dying]] before the cast even got on the plane. This was perhaps purposefully invoked as the movie's initial twist was that it had a DecoyProtagonist.
* In a way Film/{{Beetlejuice}} kind of fits this trope, despite being the title character (sort of), and the main focus of all advertisements and promotional material is on screen no more than 17 minutes of the film's 92 minute run time. The film might as well have been called ''The Maitlands'' if it hadn't been for the fact that Beetlejuice stole the movie. Chances are the only scenes you remember are the scenes with him and the "Banana Boat Song" scene.
* ''Film/TheGoldenCompass'' heavily advertised Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Sam Elliot. The first two have about ten minutes of screen time, with Sam Elliot not appearing until an hour in. WordOfGod is that a whole ''hour'' of footage was cut by the studio.
* Creator/MrT in ''Film/DCCab''. The advertisers were hoping to cash in on his popularity from ''Film/RockyIII'', despite the fact that his character, aside from one memorable monologue in front of the Lincoln Memorial, has about as much screen time as most of the non-essential characters of the company (which, by the way, included Bill Maher and Gary Busey).
* Early ''Film/HalloweenResurrection'' trailers heavily featured Creator/JamieLeeCurtis and made it seem as though she played a big part in the movie. She ended up appearing in one scene at the beginning... [[spoiler:before being killed off]]. She is also positioned at the forefront of the movie [[http://i.imgur.com/kQcnf.jpg poster]]. It could be argued that she is actually a [[spoiler: DecoyProtagonist since viewers obviously weren't supposed to see her death coming.]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Boba Fett in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' - heavily promoted, had his own action figure before the movie even came out, has exactly four lines.
** ''Film/TheForceAwakens'':
*** Captain Phasma was also heavily promoted but did very little and was quickly outwitted by the heroes. WordOfGod says her part will be expanded in Episode VIII.
*** Poe Dameron. He was heavily promoted as a main character, fueling speculation that he would be part of a new trio of heroes. While he's a major supporting character, he's ultimately just that--a ''supporting'' character. He vanishes for the entire middle act after [[spoiler:getting separated from Finn on Jakku]], and he spends the final act running interference with a Resistance X-Wing squadron while the main characters [[spoiler:storm Starkiller Base to rescue Rey and confront Kylo Ren]].
*** Lor San Tekka. Played by actor Creator/MaxVonSydow, who played Ming the Merciless in ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'', whose [[Film/FlashGordonSerial original serials]] were a major influence upon ''Star Wars'', he was highly expected to be a prominent character, but [[spoiler:he's killed by Kylo Ren within the first five minutes of the film.]]
*** Luke Skywalker, bizarrely. He frequently got the SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer treatment in promotional material, but his presence in the movie was played up by Disney and Creator/MarkHamill received second billing (Creator/HarrisonFord got first). In the finished film, [[spoiler: he only appears in two very brief scenes, getting no lines and less than a minute of screentime]].
* ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' promoted Shockwave as the new BigBad quite non-subtly. Since you should NeverTrustATrailer, it turned out a RedHerring to hide a shocking PlotTwist and Shockwave only had two lines in the whole movie and pretty little screentime.
* In ''Film/RollBounce'', Nick Cannon and Mike Epps. Each are only in three scenes. Epps' garbageman Byron is pure comic relief alongside his partner Victor, played by Charlie Murphy, who doesn't even make the theatrical poster. More egregious is Cannon, who's skate rental clerk Benard gets ONE semi-dramatic scene, yet somehow pulls second billing on [[http://upcomingdiscs.com/ecs_covers/roll-bounce-widescreen-edition-large.jpg TWO DIFFERENT]] [[http://www.copertinedvd.org/copertine-dvd-file/R/roll_bounce.jpg DVD COVERS.]]
* The marketing from ''Film/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' placed a lot of emphasis on the White Witch, to the point of making her appear as the primary villain of the film. In fact, the character only appears sporadically, and only as an illusion- the ''real'' Witch never shows up at all. Tilda Swinton expressed surprise that she was in the trailer, saying she'd only been on set for "about twenty minutes". Additionally Peter and Susan were included in the trailer, despite Peter having just one scene and Susan two.
* ''Film/MaryReilly'' bills Glenn Close with AndStarring. She has only three scenes.
* The cover for ''Film/{{Birdemic}} proclaims'' "Hollywood legend Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock's ''Film/TheBirds'' co-stars." She only appears in one scene. ''[[CoversAlwaysLie In archive footage on a TV.]]''
* Roux (Creator/JohnnyDepp) in ''Film/{{Chocolat}}'' was advertised on all the posters, but actually doesn't appear until an hour into the movie and only has a minor role compared to the less advertised characters.
* Creator/JackBlack in ''Film/TropicThunder'' is supposed to be one of three leads. In reality, his character is more of a SatelliteCharacter. It doesn't help that Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. stole the show.
* The title character in ''Film/QueenOfTheDamned'' does not appear until an hour into the movie (unless her statue form counts). The film draws elements not only from its own source novel (basically just the framing story, the book being mostly about the background which gets summarized in the movie in two sentences), but also from ''TheVampireLestat'', and ''he'' is the central character along with love interest Jesse Reeves (whose actress, Marguerite Moreau, [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer never even gets a mention]]). There's also the fact that Akasha's actress, R&B singer Music/{{Aaliyah}}, died six months prior to the film's release, and the movie was heavily promoted as her last "starring" role.
* Take UpToEleven with ''Film/{{Idlewild}}''. In the trailer, you see a shot of comedian Bruce Bruce as a bodyguard leaving a room. Once you see the film, you realize that the trailer showed his entire role.
* The trailer for ''Film/TheNextThreeDays'' plays up Liam Neeson's role in the movie, but he's in it for a grand total of about five minutes and doesn't show up again.
* Even though you probably didn't get a good look at his face in the split second it's on the screen (Creator/JoshHolloway, aka [[Series/{{Lost}} Sawyer]], by the way), you probably associate the trailers for ''Film/MissionImpossibleGhostProtocol'' with a man jumping off a rooftop, spinning around and firing several shots in freefall. This is taken from a scene fairly early on in the movie, and while the character is pretty plot important and does survive the fall, [[KilledOffForReal he doesn't live for long afterwards.]]
* A really weird backwards (though possibly deliberate) version happened with ''Film/AngelHeart''. For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, it really does look like Robert De Niro's character is such. He's always billed as a "special appearance" even though the posters and DVD cover prominently shows him in front of the leads, making it appear that the film is just overbilling an actor who in actuality only has one scene. In the actual movie, while he doesn't have as much screentime as the lead, De Niro does make multiple appearances [[spoiler: and his character turns out to be {{Satan}} himself, suddenly making the cover in which he is prominently displayed make a disturbing amount of sense]].
* ''Film/HurricaneBianca'': The Movie Poster and DVD cover lists the main cast as Roy Haylock, Rachel Dratch, Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho and Ru Paul. Cumming and Cho are both One Scene Wonders and Ru Paul has a few short scenes as a weatherman on TV.
* ''Film/MenInBlack3'' has Lily, the FanserviceWithASmile girlfriend of villain Boris played by Nicole Scherzinger. She only appears to free Boris in the opening sequence, then he unceremoniously dumps her by letting her be [[ThrownOutTheAirlock sucked into vacuum]]. In a sense, there's also Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K. Agent K does have a significant role in the movie...but it's the ''[[TimeShiftedActor young]]'' Agent K, played by Josh Brolin, whereas Jones is only in the beginning and end.
* ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'':
** Maria Hill was featured on many of the posters of ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' alongside the team and Nick Fury. Ultimately she gets one action scene to herself in the first ten minutes, and after that is mostly a bystander. As she has at least three deleted scenes, it's safe to say that much of her material was cut for time. Some have theorised it was an attempt to disguise the glaring fact that [[TheSmurfettePrinciple Black Widow was the only female Avenger]].
** NickFury got a lot of presence in the posters and trailers for ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'', despite his role being much smaller than in the first one.
** [[spoiler: [[Comicbook/{{Agent 13}} Sharon Carter]]]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar''. She is heavily featured in the merchandise and promotional art for the film as a member of Team Cap, including illustrations of her fighting alongside the others against Team Iron Man. [[spoiler: In the actual film, she never suits up in the uniform she's seen wearing in the illustrations, nor does she officially join Team Cap or fight against Team Iron Man]].
** Odd example with Comicbook/DoctorStrange's role in ''Film/ThorRagnarok''. He only appears in one scene in the first act, and most of the promotion for the movie made sure to avoid exaggerating the size of his role. However, the preview for the movie included in the guide for the D23 expo definitely tried to make it seem like Strange had a much larger part than he actually does, likely due to the success of his [[Film/DoctorStrange solo movie]]:
-->If you need even more intergalactic, world-saving action, ''Thor: Ragnarok'' in November brings together Thor, the Hulk, and Doctor Strange to face off against intergalactic baddies both familiar and new.
* Robert De Niro's role in "Great Expectations" is pretty small but he's advertised as one of the four leads. A better choice for 4th lead might have been a then-unknown Chris Cooper
* The advertising for the second [[Film/ThePrincessDiaries Princess Diaries]] movie would have you believe Princess Asana, played by Creator/RavenSymone, was a main character. She wasn't.
* Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} advertised ''Series/DrakeAndJosh Go Hollywood'' with "Don't miss Creator/MirandaCosgrove in the Drake & Josh movie". Miranda's character isn't a protagonist in the movie.
* The ''Film/JamesBond'' movies have a few examples:
** Paris Carver from ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies''. Her role was heavily promoted due to her being played by tv star Creator/TerriHatcher; she stands beside Creator/MichelleYeoh on the film poster, implying that they have equal importance. Her total screentime is about 15 minutes. [[spoiler: The only important thing she does is tell Bond about the secret lab on the roof of Carver's printing facility in Hamburg. She is murdered offscreen for her troubles, her death marking the end of the first act]].
** Severine in ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', who appears in the movie just long enough to give her tragic backstory before sleeping with Bond and [[spoiler: getting tied up and murdered by [[BigBad Silva]] in front of an indifferent Bond just barely into the second act.]]
** In ''Film/{{Spectre}}'', Creator/MonicaBellucci was lauded as being the oldest Bond Girl in the series and was expected to be a game-changer. Everything about that sentence is a lie. Not only is she not the film's leading Bond Girl, but she doesn't even qualify as the Secondary Girl, which this movie lacks. She gets exactly five minutes of screentime despite being promoted as a major character in the film, with some suspecting that further scenes were left on the cutting room floor. As for her age, even if she had been the main Bond Girl of the movie, she would have been the oldest as of filming but not be the first one to be older than Bond. Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore from ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'') is 5 years older than Sean Connery, and Creator/DianaRigg (Tracy from ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'') has a year on George Lazenby.
* The beginning of ''Celeste and Jesse Forever'' imply the film is going to be evenly split between Celeste (Creator/RashidaJones) and Jesse (Andy Samburg) but after ten minutes they stop hanging out together and the story sticks with Celeste; Jesse remains in the film on and off and he is important to the plot but he's definitely a supporting character in Celeste's story and gets far less screentime overall.
* Gary Oldman in ''Film/{{Lawless}}'', who was heavily featured in the promotional material and received third billing. In the actual film, Oldman appears in only a few scenes and is billed no less than tenth in the ending credits.
* Every original release poster and trailer of ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'' prominently features Jose Ferrer (Oscar winner for ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'') as the Turkish Bey, who appeared for two scenes totaling less than five minutes in length. Avoided through various re-releases, as Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif have long since eclipsed Ferrer's fame.
* Cobra Commander, Flint, Duke, General Joesph Colton, and Jinx in ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation''.
* Luchino Visconti's ''The Damned'' gives Florinda Bolkan a featured [[AndStarring and]] credit in the opening credits. Bolkan's role amounts to a two minute, wordless cameo as Martin's escort in the wedding scene.
* Creator/MichelleRodriguez in ''[[Film/TheFastAndTheFurious Fast & Furious]]''. Her role in the sixth film made up for it.
* The ''Film/{{Wings}}'' poster gives fourth billing to Gary Cooper. His character, Cadet White only appears for three minutes at most [[spoiler: before he dies performing stunts]].
* Creator/HelenaBonhamCarter is in ''Film/TheLoneRanger'' for about 10 minutes tops (in a 150 minute film). The marketing made her out to be the lead female.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' gives posters to all the [[AMechByAnyOtherName Jaegers]]. The [[{{Irony}} Japanese one]], Coyote Tango, is barely in the movie, only appearing in a flashback.
* Rowan Atkinson was one of the actors featured on the posters for ''Film/LoveActually'' and yet he only appeared in two short scenes and none of the threads in the movie featured him as a major character. Keira Knightley also got high billing (having just become well known with ''Pirates of the Caribbean''), despite only being in four scenes and playing a supporting role in all of them.
* Rick Genest, aka "Zombie Boy", was featured prominently in [[http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/35100000/47-Ronin-Promotional-Poster-47-ronin-35151214-1579-2500.jpg posters]] for ''Film/FortySevenRonin''. He appears in one scene in the film that lasts about three minutes.
* In ''Film/{{Juno}}'', Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) was heavily emphasized in the promotional material and trailers. In actuality, he's a supporting character and goes OutOfFocus in the second half of the film.
* ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'' was a somewhat infamous case of this, since the marketing campaign for the movie focused almost entirely on the fact that it was going to feature a team-up between Captains Kirk and Picard, the protagonists of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' and ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. The poster of the movie only showed [[FloatingHeadSyndrome Kirk's and Picard's faces next to each other]], and the movie's TagLine was ''"Two Captains, One Destiny"''. In truth? Kirk gets trapped in a NegativeSpaceWedgie in the first twenty minutes of the movie, and he isn't seen again until he's freed right before the climactic action scene, during which [[spoiler: [[DroppedABridgeOnHim he unwittingly names a rather infamous trope]]]].
* Despite being hyped up as a major supervillain in trailers and posters, Alexei "The Rhino" Sytsevich has around five minutes of screen-time in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', and we only see him as the Rhino for around ''two'' minutes. Alexei appears in exactly two scenes: the ActionPrologue of the movie, and the final scene--where [[spoiler: the credits roll just as Spider-Man swings in to fight him]].
* ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'': Trailers heavily featured Bryan Cranston of ''Series/BreakingBad'' fame. His character is important in the beginning of the film, but [[spoiler:[[DecoyProtagonist dies at about the end of the first act]].]]
** Godzilla himself falls under this. He gets sparse screentime and isn't the one driving the story, [[NeverTrustATrailer despite several trailers portraying him as the main threat.]]
* Creator/JohnnyDepp as the Wolf in ''Film/IntoTheWoods''. Despite receiving major credit in the promotions and trailers, [[spoiler:the character's only in two scenes]].
* An increasingly popular trend is for blockbuster films to stunt cast well known foreign actors in minor roles so that they can heavily promote that aspect to overseas markets where those celebrities are more popular.
** A big example of this is ''Film/IronMan3''. Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing have extremely minor roles (and in fact, Fan's scenes were not even included in the American release), but the overseas trailers depicted both actors alongside Creator/DonCheadle and Creator/GwynethPaltrow as though they were playing main characters.
** The already-mentioned ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' cast popular French actor Omar Sy as Bishop, and popular Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (there she is again!) as Blink. The two heroes each got their own posters and were featured in the various trailers and TV spots. In the actual film, they only appear in a few scenes and have minimal dialogue. [[OneSceneWonder Blink at least gets a few cool action scenes]], though.
* For ''Film/TheGiver'', Music/TaylorSwift was heavily advertised as Rosemary, a PosthumousCharacter who appears in perhaps three scenes.
* ''Film/{{Clash of the Titans|2010}}'' gave special focus to Danny Huston as Poseidon, Luke Evans as Apollo and Alexa Davalos as Andromeda. None of them gets more than about five minutes of screen time. In the latter two cases, the movie underwent extensive re-shoots and their characters ended up severely cut down. There was also considerable hype about some of the other Greek Gods, such as Hestia and Artemis. They would have had only a couple of lines in group scenes.
* ''{{Film/Hook}}'' drew a lot of press from Phil Collins having a cameo as a police officer. Collins actually got worried that the press was making him out to have a larger role in the film - and feared people would think his scenes had been cut because he wasn't good.
* Creator/DavidWalliams received top billing for his one scene in ''{{Film/Marmaduke}}''.
* Franky Cook, played by Creator/AngelinaJolie in ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'', appears for about fifteen minutes of the film despite her extremely heavy presence in trailers and posters and Jolie's star billing. Audience disappointment over this has been credited for a lot of the film's bad post-release word-of-mouth.
* In the film ''Welcome To Collinwood'', Creator/GeorgeClooney has little more than a cameo as the older criminal mentor-figure Jerzy, despite being very heavily featured in the trailers.
* The advertising campaign for ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'' heavily advertised the fact that Creator/GalGadot would be making her debut as ComicBook/WonderWoman in the movie, and that Creator/JasonMomoa would be making his debut as ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}. Though neither of them were actually pictured in the posters for the movie, Creator/WarnerBros widely distributed publicity photos of them in costume as their characters, released action figures of the two for the film's various toy lines, and prominently featured footage of Gadot in the final trailer. In the actual movie, however, Wonder Woman is a minor supporting character at best, and doesn't appear in costume until the climax of the movie; if the trailers and publicity photos [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil hadn't given it away]], moviegoers might actually have been ''surprised'' to learn that the mysterious European antiquities dealer was Wonder Woman all along. Aquaman is even worse: Jason Momoa never even appears in the flesh, and is only seen in [[spoiler: some brief submarine footage in Lex Luthor's metahuman research archives]]. Ironically, [[spoiler: Ezra Miller's ComicBook/{{the Flash}} has actual dialogue and screen time, but he wasn't featured in advertisements and didn't get an action figure]].
** After many fan and professional reviewers reacted to the film along the lines of "Wonder Woman's brief appearance is the only good thing about it", the British posters for the DVD and online release went so far as to feature Wonder Woman front and centre, with Superman and Batman behind her in "sidekick" position.
* Though posters for ''Film/{{Suffragette}}'' gave Creator/MerylStreep, who plays Emmeline Pankhurst, top billing and featured her next to Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham-Carter and she was prominently included in the film's trailer, she only appears in person in ''one single scene'' in the entire film and has less than five minutes of screen time.
* The 2010 ReligiousHorror movie ''Camp Hell'' had a case of this with Creator/JesseEisenberg that actually resulted in legal action. One of the movie's posters consisted almost entirely of his face and the title and he was highlighted in the trailer, but his character only appeared in a few flashback scenes. As a result, Eisenberg sued the distributor, Lionsgate Entertainment and Grindstone Entertainment, for fraudulent advertising.
* ''Film/SingStreet'': The trailers made it seem as if Evan had a bigger part. While his influence is definitely there, he's offscreen for most of the film.
* ''Film/SuicideSquad'':
** Comicbook/TheJoker was the focus of much of the film's marketing, but the majority of his scenes were cut, causing complaints from viewers and even Creator/JaredLeto.
** Comicbook/{{Katana}} was pretty prominently advertised as well, but in the movie, she doesn't have a lot of lines or screentime. Some critics and fans even compared her treatment to the above-mentioned Jubilee from ''X-Men: Apocalypse''.
* ''Film/GhostInTheShell'': The members of Section 9 have their own posters and their actors, including CanonForeigner Ladriya, revealed details about their characters while promoting the movie. With the exception of the Major, Batou and Aramaki, the rest barely have some screentime in the movie itself.
* The trailers for ''Film/TransformersTheLastKnight'' made it look like Izabella would have a large role in the film. Instead, she disappears almost completely after the first 15 minutes -- in a film that's nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes long -- with only a brief return appearance near the end.
* ''{{Film/Manhunter}}'' was broadcast on TV immediately after the phenomenal success of ''TheSilenceOfTheLambs'' but the title was changed to ''Red Dragon: The Pursuit of Hannibal Lector''. Of course, anyone who saw the movie in 1986 or read the book would realize that Lector (played by Brian Cox) had about eight minutes of screen time and being that the story is set prior to ''Silence of the Lambs'', Lector is still behind bars for the entire film. The character being pursued was a serial killer called The Tooth Fairy [[spoiler: real name is Francis Dolarhyde]]. Lector's influence is marginal and is mostly part of the main character's backstory. The name change and subtitle was just an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the recent 1991 blockbuster by broadcasting a little remembered film that was based on the previous book in the series.
* ''Film/{{Brimstone}}'': Creator/KitHarington receives top billing and his face is even on the cover, but his character only has a few scenes.
* ''Film/KingsmanTheGoldenCircle'': Creator/ChanningTatum was prominently featured in the posters and received top billing. However in the film itself, his character appeared in 10 minutes[[spoiler: before he was put on ice after being infected by the BigBad's drugs]] and only showed up near the end [[spoiler:where he joins the newly revived Kingsman]].
* In Country Crush, Jana Kramer receives top billing and takes up the majority of the cover while only being a supporting character while the actual main characters are reduced to the bottom third of the cover.

* The cover of ''Literature/ShamanBlues'' displays the hero, the villain, and a ghost that in the story proper appears only in three very brief scenes, one of which doesn't even identify it.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Characters on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' are invariably either some of the most dynamic and developed characters on TV, or completely wasted. Daniel Faraday, an important character in season 4, [[spoiler:disappears]] for most of season 5, and [[spoiler:[[BackForTheDead dies immediately upon re-appearing]]]]. Caesar was hinted as being mysteriously integral to the plot before Season 5 but [[spoiler: he dies less then halfway through the season. Then he gets replaced by the equally mysterious "Bram" in a sense, who dies in the first episode of Season 6]].
* From the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' franchise:
** Travis Mayweather on ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]''. He was the pilot (when Captain Archer was also a pilot, and perfectly able to take over for Travis when needed) and had previous extensive experience in space (which was less and less of an issue as the show progressed).
*** To a lesser extent, Hoshi Sato from Enterprise also qualifies. She was the linguist and communications officer. Most of her work is not particularly interesting, so while she does get some scenes doing her actual job, she's more often treated as an office intern doing whatever odd jobs need doing. Since the show suffers from severe TheMainCharactersDoEverything, this means she'll do things she is grossly unqualified for, such as manning the transporter (which 200 years later in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' was manned at all times by specialist staff).
** Harry Kim on ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]]'' applies as well, as with the exception of a few episodes that were specifically about him, he usually gets the obligatory one line.
** Jake Sisko in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Despite being credited as a main character for the show's entire run, the Son of the Emissary appeared in less than half of the show's episodes. Not as strong a case as Mayweather and Kim, as Jake was a well-developed character who saw a lot of development during the series. That his actor was a teenager for much of the show provides a reason for his relatively small number of appearances, since he was simply unable to shoot as much as the adults.
*** Jake was also never intended to be a full cast member either: his purpose, when the show was created, was to provide fodder for Sisko, as the original idea for the show was "a father tries to raise his son on the frontier."
* After not being included in the first two seasons of the show, the appearance of Tuck in the BBC's ''Series/RobinHood'' was loudly heralded amongst the advertisers for season three, and interviews with the actor David Harewood mentioned a "dark back-story" for the character. Tuck gets one character-centric episode (which is just pointless filler), and is then a tag-along member of the gang from then on.
* From ''Series/{{Glee}}'':
** Tina much of the time; is usually lucky to get two lines an episode, and in the whole first season she had exactly one song to herself.
** There is also Terri, Jessalyn Gilsig her actress is credited as a regular for the first 2 seasons but stops appearing regularly after the first 13 episodes only having a few scattered appearances afterwards. In season 2 she only appeared in roughly 6 episodes.
* In the late 80s and early 90s, a series of ''Series/SesameStreet'' videos based on the Israeli co-production Rechov Sumsum called ''Shalom Sesame'', focusing on being a travelogue for Israel. Many of the video boxes for the individual shows released in the 90s show American ''Sesame'' Muppets front and center despite the fact that the Muppet on the box only appears in one partially dubbed segment in the show. An example is the Chanukah episode; the video box shows The Count and Elmo - they only appear near the very end during a dubbed "Do De Rubber Duck," where Elmo doesn't even have a line.
* Sheena Easton, who plays Queen Anne, has spot in the opening credits of ''Series/YoungBlades'' despite appearing for about a minute each in two of the first five episodes -- and one of those is just to explain that she's gone on vacation and a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute will take her place. She gets a larger role in the next few episodes, but still doesn't appear at all in 6 out of 13 of them.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Hitler, in "Let's Kill Hitler." Despite being the title character and featured in the trailers, he has about five minutes of screen time before he is punched out by [[MemeticBadass Rory]] and stuffed in the cupboard, where he is forgotten for the rest of the episode.
** In "Mummy on the Orient Express", the pop singer Foxes was promoted as one of the episode's main guest stars along with Frank Skinner. She appears briefly as a torch singer on the train doing a version of "Don't Stop Me Now", and was probably a computer program in-universe anyway.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', Robert Rusler, who appears as Warren Keffer in 6 out of 22 episodes in Season 2 but is in the main credits for the entire season. A case of ExecutiveMeddling, since the network wanted J. Michael Straczynski to introduce a "hotshot ''Film/TopGun'' kind of pilot." The commentaries reveal that JMS ''hates'' this kind of character, and as soon as the network stopped giving him notes, he [[spoiler: offed the character as soon as he possibly could.]]
* Misha Collins is credited as a main cast member for all the season five and six episodes of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' he appears in, including the ones where, in his own words, he "turns up, gives a piece of sage advice and disappears."
* Grey Damon as Hastings Ruckle in Season 5 of ''Series/FridayNightLights''. Although billed as a main cast member, he gets fewer scenes than, for example, Dallas Tinker, who is listed as a guest star.
* ''Series/{{Soap}}'': all cast members are credited only in episodes where they actually appear. But since (a) the cast list in the closing credits is done alphabetically, (b) Jimmy '''B'''aio as Billy Tate rarely has anything to do even in episodes where he appears, and (c) CreditsPushback, he's sometimes the ''only'' cast member credited even if all he did was stand around in a family crowd scene or something. Even when the credits aren't truncated he's still always listed first in episodes he appears in.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}''.
** Johnathan Schneider's character was killed off 12 episodes in the 5th season and only appeared in two episodes afterwards in that season but continued to be credited as a main cast member for the entire season. Another example is Erica Durance who played Lois Lane. In the first season she appeared in she was only ever billed as a Special Guest Star for the 13 episodes she appeared in. She is also the only character to appear on posters and the DVD box other than Clark himself. When she got a PromotionToOpeningTitles the following season she still only appeared in 13 of the 22 episodes, and it wasn't until around the penultimate season that she finally appeared in the majority of a season.
** [[spoiler:{{ComicBook/Darkseid}}]] has the worst case. [[spoiler:In a poster of season nine he is the only character depicted other than Clark. ''He does not appear at all.'' Partially why season nine is universally disliked.]]
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'': Tracy Scoggins as Kat Grant, a society page reporter in the first season. Given little to do, dropped after the first season.
* Due to having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, this is common on ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration''; in a given season, some characters will have lengthy story lines, while other become almost completely OutOfFocus, sometimes appearing in just a few episodes. Characters this has happened to include Toby, who, though prominent in the first few seasons, quickly became TheArtifact as the cast expanded, and Leia, who had two centric B-plots after she was introduced, then promptly disappeared.
* ''Series/PoliceSquad'' had this as a CreditsGag. The opening prominently credits "Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln!" who never appears in the show itself. And then the episodes introduce a "Special Guest Star" who is promptly killed off in the credits and never appears in the show or is even part of the plot.
* In the early seasons of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', Dan Butler, who played Bulldog Briscoe. The character was ''very'' cut off from the "real" main cast of Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Roz and Martin, was a fairly two-dimensional coworker at KACL who only ever appeared as comic relief or a foil for Frasier or Roz, and had neither any specific importance to the show that would justify billing him along with the main cast, nor any deep connection to the rest of the billed characters. He was eventually dropped from the opening titles, appearing as a guest star in the end credits in the episodes he appeared instead. It's pretty jarring to see the character squeezed into promotional images and covers along with the five "real" leads, when Eddie the dog was more of a main character than he was.
** This was due to the original premise being that the series would focus on both sides of Frasier's life - work and home. They wanted characters from both sides to feature, and that's why Bulldog was in there along with Roz (because originally Roz wasn't supposed to become such close friends with Frasier). Obviously the dynamic changed and that's when they left him out of the photos.
* In ''Series/{{Merlin2008}}'' Creator/KatieMcGrath who plays Morgana has been in the main credits since day one, but numerous episodes (especially early on) feature Morgana doing very little beyond looking beautiful in the background. Sometimes this even extends to periods of the show when her character is playing a vitally important role (such as early Series 4) but still often results in very limited screentime.
* In season 5 of ''Series/TwentyFour'', Carlos Bernard was promoted back to the main cast as Tony Almedia after spending the previous season as a recurring character and appeared heavily in promotional materials. He then spent most of it off screen in a coma and then halfway was seemingly killed off for the remainder of the season. He was in a quarter of that season's episodes in total, compared to the rest of the cast who all appeared in at least half of the season if not more. In season 6 Regina King joined the main cast as Sandra Palmer, even getting the AndStarring credit for that year, yet she was only in a handful of episodes. In fact, she actually is notable for having the least amount of appearances total out of every actor or actress to ever be a main cast member on the show.
* Tim Meadows on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had one of the longest tenures but rarely was onstage. It even became a RunningGag in the backstage sketches. "Are you still on the show?"
** Starting with Dennis Miller in TheEighties it's been traditional for a ''Weekend Update'' anchor to only appear in other sketches sparingly despite being credited as a full cast member. Norm Macdonald, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler and Cecily Strong did appear prominently in sketches, as did Michael Che once Jay Pharaoh left the show, but with the exception of Macdonald, all of them were co-anchors. Their anchoring partners (Tina Fey, Seth Meyers and Colin Jost) rarely if ever appeared in sketches.
** Seth Meyers did appear in sketches prior to taking the anchor job.
* Simon Reynolds as Daniel Dickinson in the first season of ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}''. A particularly JustForFun/{{egregious}} case in that ''several'' of the "guest stars" appeared quite a lot more than he did in that span. A case can also be made for Leena (Genelle Williams) who was 'credits only' in four of the twelve first season episodes, and, generally, until her key role in the final story arc, merely puttering doing something intuitive, and not really essential to the 'A' or often even 'B' storyline. Of the thirty-eight episodes of the first three seasons, she was only in the credits for twelve, despite technically being main cast.
* In ''Series/VeronicaMars'', Teddy Dunn's character Duncan Kane was written out midway through the second season, but continued to get credited in the show's opening for that year. [[spoiler: This notably did help hide his surprise return in the season finale where the paid an assassin to kill Aaron Echolls.]]
* The rules governing who will and who will not receive billing in the opening credits for ''Series/GameOfThrones'' seem increasingly arbitrary. Episode count and even amount of face time you receive per episode is apparently not a factor in whether or not you are billed in the opening credits as a regular or in the closing credits as a guest star. It is not uncommon for regular-billed actors to receive less screen time or appear in fewer episodes than non-regulars. Several of the actors billed as regulars are little more than semi-frequent guest stars, to wit:
** In the first season, Conleth Hill appears in 6 episodes as Varys, but is billed as a guest star. He gets opening credits billing in every subsequent season, despite his appearances becoming less frequent. For that matter, Aiden Gillan's appearances have decreased each season, but he was credited as a regular from his first appearance onward.
** Rory [=McCann=]'s main role in seasons 1 and 2 is to stand around looking threatening, while uttering maybe one or two lines per episode. He is billed as a regular for both. He gets more screen time and character development beginning in the third season, though, and his development really took off in the fourth.
** James Cosmo appears in five episodes in the first season, three in the second and four in the third. Guess which season only credits him as a guest star?
** Nearly all the Dragonstone crew, actors Stephen Dillane, Liam Cunningham and Carice van Houten, seem to appear very infrequently compared to nearly all the others. Ms. van Houten appeared only four times in the second season, while Cunningham appeared in 6. While van Houten's appearances increased in the third season's, Cunningham's decreased. They hardly appeared at all in the fourth season. They have all been billed as regulars from their first appearance.
** Hannah Murray (Gilly) was added to the opening credits in Season Four, despite appearing in only three episodes; only half the amount of appearances she had in Season Three.
** Harry Lloyd appeared in five episodes. Credited as a regular for all of them.
** The series mostly copes with this problem by changing its opening titles for each episode, depending on who's actually in the episode. Most prominently, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appears in only a few episodes during the second season, but when he does, he's always the third billed behind Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey. This was already the case, though less noticeable, in the first season, since all the regulars from the first season, barring Mark Addy and Harry Lloyd, appear in at least eight of the ten episodes.
** Played about as straight as possible in "First of His Name". Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) doesn't appear, so Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gets top billing, despite his only role in the episode being standing silently watching Tommen's coronation.
* Dustin Brooks from ''Series/{{Zoey 101}}''. Through he is credited as a main character for all 65 episodes of Zoey 101, he only appears in 25 episodes and rarely contributes to the plot in a major way.
* Suzie in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', sort of. She was listed in the opening credits of the first episode, and released beside the rest of the cast as a major character. Suzie was a member of Torchwood at the start of the first episode, and quite important to the first episode. [[spoiler:She's the villain of the episode, and ends up dying by the end of it.]]
* One of Creator/JimCarrey's first roles was in the 1981 television special ''Introducing... Janet'', where he gets second billing and his character doesn't appear until after at least 15 minutes. That special was released on video in 1995, shortly after he'd become a big star, and the packaging makes it look like he is the star of the special, being the main focus of all video covers, the only actor whose name appears on the cover (despite getting second billing), the video description talks about him more than the main character Janet, and when released on video the special was retitled ''Rubberface''.
* Jenna in the second season of ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', really doesn't do anything of note despite being a main character. Also Tyler in the first season, who's sole purpose seemed to be getting in fights with people.
* Tom Wopat and John Schneider famously held out during the fifth season of ''Series/TheDukesOfHazzard'' and were replaced by Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer playing their [[RememberTheNewGuy heretofore unmentioned cousins]] Coy and Vance Duke. After Wopat, Schneider and the studio agreed to terms, Bo and Luke returned. Even though Coy and Vance left 15 minutes into Bo and Luke's first episode back and were never seen nor referred to again, Cherry and Mayer were still shown in the opening credits the rest of the season.
* ''Series/TheWire'' didn't have much rhyme or reason to its opening credits. Early on they seemed pretty judicious about who got opening credits billing, even crediting people who had storylines centered around them as guest stars, but in the final season they moved a number of former guest stars into the opening credits, such as Neal Huff, Gbenga Akkinagbe, and Michael Kostroff, despite their characters not really doing anything more than they had in previous seasons. Also, Tristan Wilds and Jermaine Crawford received PromotionToOpeningTitles despite having less to do than the previous season.
* Gregory Itzin was a series regular on the short-lived ''Series/MobCity'', but only appeared in four of the show's six episodes, and only had a speaking part in three of them.
* Various promotional images for ''Series/MuppetsTonight'' prominently feature Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal, as if they are main characters, but due to Frank Oz's directing career, their presence on the show (especially Fozzie's) wasn't as big as it was on ''Series/TheMuppetShow''. Various promotional images for ''Series/TheJimHensonHour'' prominently feature Zondra and Ubu, who only appeared in two episodes.
* The advertisements for the ''Series/ICarly'' episode "iFind Spencer Friends" hyped up Creator/EmmaStone as a guest star. When the actual episode aired however, we find out that she only appeared near the end of the episode, has about 30 seconds of screentime, and plays absolutely no role to the main plot.
* Similar to the ''Smallville'' and ''Veronica Mars'' examples, in season 3 of ''Series/OnceUponATime''
** Michael Raymond-James' character Neal Cassidy [[spoiler: aka Baelfire]] was written out of the series midway through the season, but was still credited as a regular for the rest of it, even though he only made a few brief appearances in flashbacks for the remainder of the season.
** The show really hyped up Frances O'Connor being cast as Belle's mother for Season 4. She appears in one episode and only in the first five minutes.
** Alexandra Metz's casting as Rapunzel got a surprising amount of attention - for the RaceLift they gave the classic blonde, and the popularity of ''{{Disney/Tangled}}''. She appears in a supporting role in just one episode.
** Season 5 heavily advertised that Lancelot, Ruby and Mulan were returning. Lancelot returns, has one episode in which he plays a decent role, and is DemotedToExtra with his story unresolved. Ruby and Mulan have just one episode.
** Subverted with the 100th episode. Cruella was advertised as returning, and only the outside of her car is shown in the episode itself. However she appears in subsequent episodes as part of a story arc.
* The ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' season one DVD features Creator/PaulLynde on the label for its third disc. While fans would recognize Lynde as Samantha's Uncle Arthur, the actor actually only appears in one episode from the first season--"Driving is the Only Way to Fly"--[[YouLookFamiliar as an entirely different character]].
* The third season DVD set of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' heavily feature images of [[WolverinePublicity Spike]] as much as the other post-season one cases do, and he even appears on the label of one of the discs. He also appears in only one episode of the entire season.
* The Mother herself from ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. She's in the fricking title and finally appears for real in the eighth season finale and her story is finally told throughout the final season. Her actress, Cristin Milioti, is billed as a regular cast member, but only appears in only half the episodes. This is apparently due to a rule by the showrunners that she is to only appear in episodes they personally wrote.
* In ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'', one of the selling points was the return of [[Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers Bulk]], now training Spike, the son of his former sidekick Skull. Unlike the early days of the franchise, Bulk and Spike only very rarely interact with the Rangers, almost never have any significance to the plot, and there are quite a few episodes that don't even include them at all.
** One scene where they do sort of interact with the Rangers outside an ice cream shot, they are shot entirely from behind, which only highlights how the majority of their scenes were shot completely separate from the main show.
* In ''Series/BetterCallSaul'', Creator/MichaelMando is credited in all ten episodes of the first season, but his character Nacho Varga only appears in four of these episodes, and often only for just a scene or two. His role is greatly expanded for season 2.
* ''Series/TotalDivas'' Season 3 hyped up the new additions to the cast in {{Wrestling/Paige}} and Wrestling/AliciaFox. Paige was prominently featured, but Alicia appeared entirely in a supporting role. She didn't get an episode in which she did anything of note until the fourth season.
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'' includes Simon Pegg in the opening credits of the first two episodes. He's in the background for a couple of scenes in the first episode and has just one line. He's killed off in the first five minutes of the second.
* ''Series/ScreamQueens2015'' heavily hyped up Arianna Grande appearing as Chanel #2. She's killed off in the pilot. In this case, she was meant to be in around nine episodes - but due to scheduling conflicts with her tour, she had to have her role cut down. To a similar extent, Charisma Carpenter (who played Grande's mother) was advertised as appearing on the show. She has just two brief scenes in one episode. Joe Jonas likewise was hyped up as being as prominent at Glenn Powell's Chad and Diego Boneta's Pete. He doesn't even appear in half as many episodes as they do.
* ''{{Series/Riverdale}}'' has Josie Mccoy listed as a main cast member, and appears in its buffer promos for The CW. But she appears in only seven episodes of the first season. This is less than Kevin Keller, who is a guest that appears in all thirteen.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': Claire Temple during the first two seasons. She only appears in five out of 13 episodes in the first season, and she doesn't have any big impact on the plot after Matt saves her from the Russians. In the second season, she only has three episodes: an early episode where Foggy approaches her seeking help scouring the hospitals for Matt after he's captured by Frank, and later being asked by Matt and Brett to shelter kids they've rescued from the Hand (and later quitting when the Hand attack, and the hospital covers up the event). In between the two ''Daredevil'' seasons, she also got an extended cameo in the season 1 finale of ''Series/JessicaJones2015''. It wouldn't be until ''Series/LukeCage2016'' that Claire finally began to take on a more prominent role, functioning as Luke's sidekick for the second half of season 1.
* ''Series/IronFist2017'': Ramon Rodriguez gets main credits billing, yet Bakuto has fewer episodes across ''Iron Fist'' and ''The Defenders'' than Madame Gao, who is considered a FakeGuestStar.
* ''Series/TheDefenders2017'': Due to the time constraints of eight episodes, juggling four leads AND a very large supporting cast, the supporting cast kinda get pushed to the wayside and save for Claire, Misty, and Colleen, have about maybe 12 to 15 minutes screentime max. Additionally, the supporting cast in question all get title credits billing if they were billed in the title credits of whatever standalone show they originated in.
* ''Series/ThePunisher2017'': [[Creator/DeborahAnnWoll Karen Page]]'s appearance in the first season seems to be akin to the same trap that Claire fell into during ''Daredevil'' season 1: she was heavily featured in the marketing, like she was going to be one of the leads...and she only appears in four of the thirteen episodes. This is somewhat the result of two things: 1) Deborah Ann Woll had a busy shooting schedule since she was also appearing in ''The Defenders'', which was shot simultaneously with ''The Punisher'', and 2) she wasn't a part of Steve Lightfoot's story plan at all to start, until he decided to find a place for her after being impressed with her chemistry with Frank in ''Daredevil''.

The most common incarnation of this trope in music is when featured artists get credit either for backing vocals that would not be immediately notable, or an otherwise trivial contribution to the song.

* Music/TimMcGraw has had this happen many times.
** His collaborations with [[CreatorCouple longtime wife]] Music/FaithHill zig-zag this. "It's Your Love", "Let's Make Love", and "I Need You" had Tim as the lead artist, but were full-fledged duets that credited Faith; "Angry All the Time" and "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" had Faith merely singing backing vocals, but only the latter gave her credit. On singles where Faith was the lead artist, "Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me" credited Tim's backing vocals, but "Like We Never Loved at All" did not (although he still appeared in the video).
** He got credit for singing a far-from-prominent backing vocal on then-labelmate Jo Dee Messina's late 2001-early 2002 hit "Bring On the Rain". Even more, he already had a single out at the time ("The Cowboy in Me", which actually succeeded "Bring On the Rain" at #1).
** And again in 2016, when [=McGraw=] got full credit for a barely discernible backing vocal on Big & Rich's "Lovin' Lately".
* Music/GeorgeJones got chart credit for Shooter Jennings' "4th of July" even though his only contribution to the song was singing a few bars of "[[SignatureSong He Stopped Loving Her Today]]" at the end — a part that was cut out of the radio edit!
* Music/KennyChesney:
** [[Music/BobMarley The Wailers]] sing a chorus at the end of Music/KennyChesney's "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven", and still received chart credit despite their part being cut from the radio edit. Strangely, said credit did not show up until the song's second week at #1.
** Zig-zagged: "You and Tequila" and "Wild Child" gave full credit to backing vocalist Grace Potter (of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals), but "El Cerrito Place" in between did not.
** His 2016 single "Settin' the World on Fire" gives credit to Music/{{Pink}}, who gives barely noticeable backing vocals, but also sings one line near the end.
** Kenny also had an inversion when Music/GeorgeStrait did not get duet credit on "Shiftwork" until it was halfway up the charts, as Kenny's label had to get permission from George's.
** An even more bizarre inversion is his guest vocal on Music/RebaMcEntire's "Every Other Weekend". A few stations had been playing the song before it was a single, so it was just listed as "Reba [=McEntire=] with Kenny Chesney" on the charts. Once it was released as a single, Reba's label couldn't get permission to keep Kenny on, so the radio edit [[FakeShemp replaced his vocals]] with co-writer Skip Ewing. However, due to Kenny's much bigger name recognition, most stations continued to play the Kenny version anyway. As a result, it was credited to "Reba [=McEntire=] with Kenny Chesney or Skip Ewing" for one week, then to ''just'' Reba for the rest of its run.
* As with "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven", David Nail's "Let It Rain" did not give credit to the barely-audible backing vocalist Sarah Buxton until it was just shy of #1.
* After Music/BrooksAndDunn split up, some of their solo singles displayed this:
** Kix Brooks' "New to This Town" credits [[Music/{{Eagles}} Joe Walsh]], whose only contribution is a very short guitar solo.
** Bizarrely, Ronnie Dunn's "Damn Drunk" credits Kix Brooks for backing vocals. As Kix was always the less prominent of the two, it's a Brooks & Dunn song in all but name.
* Similarly to the "Damn Drunk" example, Wynonna Judd's 2004 single "Flies on the Butter" gave credit to Wynonna's mother Naomi, who provides backing vocals. Since they recorded as The Judds in TheEighties prior to Wynonna's BreakupBreakout, one is left to wonder why they didn't just credit it to The Judds -- especially since "Stuck in Love" four years prior did just that despite being from an otherwise-solo Wynonna album.
* Music/ClintBlack also gave credit to his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, simply for singing backup vocals on "When I Said I Do" and "Easy for Me to Say".
* Inverted with Ty Herndon's "It Must Be Love". Sons of the Desert sing a very prominent {{Call And Response|Song}} on the chorus, but received zero chart credit. On the other hand, Sons of the Desert ''did'' get chart credit on the country and Hot 100 charts for their counterpoint on Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance", even though the pop remix omitted them.
* Accordionist Flaco Jiménez got a credit on The Mavericks' "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" entirely for, you guessed it, playing accordion.
* Another strange inversion: Roger [=McGuinn=] and Chris Hillman of Music/TheByrds recorded Music/BobDylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (which the Byrds themselves had previously recorded in 1968) on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1989 album ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two''. Even though the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band features prominently on this version, it was credited to just [=McGuinn=] and Hillman.
* Music/BradPaisley's "When I Get Where I'm Going" credits Music/DollyParton, even though (as with "Bring On the Rain", above) she only sings barely audible background vocals that you may not even notice the first few listens.
* Also similarly, {{Music/Alison Krauss|AndUnionStation}} and Billy Dean got credit for backing Music/KennyRogers on "Buy Me a Rose". Dean can be heard echoing the line "rest of your life" on the final chorus, but he and Krauss are otherwise rather unobtrusive.
* Yet again with Krauss. She and Music/VinceGill can barely be heard singing backup on Mark Chesnutt's "It's Not Over", but they still got chart credit.
* Sara Evans got full chart credit for singing backing vocals on The Warren Brothers' "That's the Beat of a Heart". To her credit, she sings one line by herself near the end.
* Similarly, John Rich sings backing vocals on Gretchen Wilson's "Come to Bed", and sings just one line on the bridge by himself, but still got full chart credit.
* On Music/BlakeShelton's 2014 single "My Eyes", barely-discernible backing vocalist Gwen Sebastian (a contestant on ''Series/TheVoice'', where Shelton is a judge) gets full chart credit.
* Music/{{KISS}} has had several examples of this:
** The group's 1979 album "Dynasty" featured Peter Criss on the cover, even though he played on only one song.
** Years later, the group's 1998 reunion album "Psycho Circus" prominently featured original members Criss and Ace Frehley on the cover and in promotions even though Criss only on one song and Frehley on two or three (Kevin Valentine and future member Tommy Thayer played drums and guitar, respectively, on most of the album).
* Music/TrishaYearwood:
** "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart" featured Music/GarthBrooks on backing vocals, which was enough to get him credit on the Canadian charts (this was before they sang duets together and got married). However, Garth did write the song for her (along with one of his usual writing partners, Pat Alger).
** She got full chart credit for a backing vocal on Josh Turner's 2008 single "Another Try", even though Yearwood had her own single ("This Is Me You're Talking To") out at the same time.
** Her 2014 single "[=PrizeFighter=]" has backing vocals from Music/KellyClarkson, who gets full credit despite being only in the background.
* An older example: Gus Hardin (her name a rare example of GenderBlenderName in the genre) had a Top 10 hit in 1984 with "All Tangled Up in Love". The song gave full credit to Earl Thomas Conley, whose only contribution was a barely-noticeable backing vocal.
* Yet another inversion: A then-unknown Janie Fricke sang the entire third verse of Johnny Duncan's "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous" but did not receive chart credit.
* Music/PixieLott gets a "feature" credit on the Music/SelenaGomez song "We Own The Night" but she really only sings backing vocals. Even so, the backing vocals are almost buried in the mix.
* WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows references this in his review of "We Are Young" by Music/{{Fun}} and Music/JanelleMonae. He says that Monáe's part was so unobtrusive that he never even realized she was singing on it, then mocks the concept by claiming the video is now a crossover with [[WebVideo/YouCanPlayThis JewWario]], who appears on-screen for two seconds to say "hi".
* Music/ColbieCaillat on Music/TaylorSwift's "Breathe". It's supposed to be a duet, but Colbie's voice is so drowned out, it sounds like just Taylor sing. On a flipside, Taylor is this on Music/JohnMayer's "Half of My Heart" (who incidentally is an advertised on Music/FallOutBoy's cover of Music/MichaelJackson's "Beat It", where he only plays the guitar solo).
* Numerous songs that feature [[Music/TheB52s Fred Schneider]] as a guest just feature him making the occasional shout, rather than singing or rapping anything.
* One of the covers of "Big Yellow Taxi" is by the Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton. However, her total contribution throughout the song is less than 15 seconds.
* Subverted/avoided in the song "Sixth Avenue Heartache" by the Wallflowers. Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows sings background vocals, but the song is not credited as being by The Wallflowers featuring Adam Duritz.
* Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! did not record very much with Wham!, but was always listed as a member. His contributions included the occasional guitar playing and co-write, but most of their work was down to George Michael and session musicians. Ridgeley was mainly listed as a band member for his sex appeal. This is why George Michael has gone seamlessly from Wham! to his solo career, but Ridgeley has floundered.
* Subverted with the Music/TimMcGraw-Music/TaylorSwift duet "Highway Don't Care", which also features Music/KeithUrban on lead guitar (but not on vocals). The album credits both Urban and Swift, but on the charts, only Swift was credited due to her being the only one of the two who actually sings.
* "Hangover" is supposedly a song by Music/{{PSY}} featuring Music/SnoopDogg. If you heard it without seeing who's credited, you could be forgiven for thinking that it's a Snoop Dogg song with PSY providing backing vocals.
* "Uptown Funk" is supposedly a song by Mark Ronson, featuring Music/BrunoMars. However, one could easy think this is simply a Bruno Mars song with any random band playing (as opposed to many modern Santana songs where, despite the fact that he doesn't sing, it is easy to tell they are his songs by the guitar style).
* "Time of Our Lives" is a song equally credited to Music/{{Pitbull}} and Music/NeYo, and it appears on both their albums. Honestly, it feels more like Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, since he does 90% of the song. Pitbull does half the chorus and all the verses, while Ne-Yo only does the other half of the chorus and the bridge towards the end.
* Pharrell is credited as a feature in 2 Chainz' "Feds Watching", but apart of a very brief introduction, he only sings backing vocals in the chorus, which is completely unnoticeable without headphones.
* "Darker Than Blood" is by Steve Aoki featuring Music/LinkinPark. It actually feels closer to being "Steve Aoki featuring Chester Bennington", the other members make little contribution, and Mike doesn't rap in the song (he does give his vocals, but it's hard to notice).
* {{Inverted}} with Avicii's songs. The featured vocalists are never credited for their contribution, most notably Aloe Blacc in his smash hit "Wake Me Up!", despite the fact they sing the entirety of the song.
* "The South" by The Cadillac Three gave full credit to guest artists Music/DierksBentley, Music/FloridaGeorgiaLine, and Mike Eli (lead singer of the Eli Young Band), who sing "This is where I was born and this is where I'll die" at a few points throughout the song. However, most of this part was cut from the radio edit, so they are only heard for a few seconds on the radio edit.
* Ricky Skaggs is credited for barely-discernible backing vocals on High Valley's 2014 single "Make You Mine" in the band's native Canada. However, the American re-release two years later did not credit Skaggs.
* Music/VinceGill is credited for an almost unnoticeable backing vocal and brief guitar solo on Chris Young's 2016 single "Sober Saturday Night".
* Music/{{Lonestar}} lead singer Richie [=McDonald=] got full credit for a barely noticeable backing vocal on Mindy [=McCready's=] 1996 hit "Maybe He'll Notice Her Now".
* In 1994, record producer Scott Rouse remixed several of Creator/JeffFoxworthy's stand-up routines with musical backing, and usually choruses from contemporary country music artists as well. One of these, "Party All Night", credited Little Texas for singing the chorus... and oddly, also credited Rouse for his production work. This is especially odd since Rouse did several more of these (plus several more for Creator/BillEngvall), and this wasn't even the first of the bunch, yet none of the other ones went so far as to give him a chart credit.
* Strangely inverted on Music/RonnieMilsap's 1988 hit "Old Folks". The song was featured on one of Milsap's albums, and credited as a duet with co-writer Mike Reid. However, Reid sings most of the song either by himself or with Milsap on harmony, with Milsap only singing the second verse.
* Maren Morris gets full chart credit for her barely noticeable backing vocals on Music/ThomasRhett's "Craving You".

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Happened a lot when Raw had the weekly celebrity guest hosts. Some would be routinely involved throughout the show. Others would only arrive, plug their project or whatever and barely be seen. Wrestling/TrishStratus had an opening introduction, one backstage segment and a short match for example. This was about fifteen minutes of screen time in a two hour show.
* Can happen when a PPV advertises a title match that turns out to be a SquashMatch. Most egregiously was [=WrestleMania=] 25 where the Intercontinental Championship between Rey Mysterio and JBL was hyped up. It was over in ten seconds.
** This will often happen when [[RealLifeWritesThePlot a wrestler is injured in the months between promotion material printing and the actual event]]. The wrestler can't perform a full match, so they do a squash or have him "attacked" back stage.

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

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Ride/DisneyThemeParks:
** Let's say basically every time an attraction has a memorable original character that only shows up a few times, expect to see them in almost all the ride promos, and on tons of the merchandise. A good example would be the Hitchhiking Ghosts from ''Franchise/TheHauntedMansion''. They only show up at the end, but their scene is so recognizable that they appear on all of that ride's merchandise.
** There are some Disney properties that only have a show or a meet and greet, but they still get tons of attention in advertising. For example, WesternAnimation/PhineasandFerb only had a meet and greet and some merch throughout the parks, but got tons of promotion in the early 2010s at the height of their show's popularity.
** In ''Ride/StarTours'', C-3PO is quite prominent on the attraction poster, but only appears in the queue as a animatronic with R2-D2. However, this was averted when Disney updated the ride, because now C-3PO has accidentally become pilot of the Starspeeder 1000.
** With a show called ''Ride/MickeysPhillharmagic'', you'd expect Mickey Mouse to be the main character. In reality, although his presence is still there throughout the attraction, he only shows up twice at the beginning and the ending. The real star happens to be Duck.
* Ride/UniversalStudios:
** In the american parks, WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants easily falls under this trope. He gets tons of promotion at the Orlando park, despite his franchise only being featured on a parade float, a meet and greet, and merchandising. However, he can be justified, as he's about as recognizable to the public as Mickey Mouse is at Disney World.
** Speaking of Nickelodeon shows, for ''Ride/JimmyNeutronsNicktoonBlast'', the characters from ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' were shown a lot in earlier advertisements of the attraction, but they only showed up in the ride for like 5 seconds.
** The ''T. rex'' in ''Ride/JurassicparkRiverAdventure'' is always seen in commercials for the park, but only appears at the very end of the ride.
** Although ''Ride/TheSimpsonsRide'' is set at Krusty the Clown's theme park, he doesn't even appear in the main ride portion of the attraction.

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

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Phillipe Loren in ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' was advertised as the game's BigBad. [[spoiler: He's killed at the end of the first act]].
%% * Maria from ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII GTA III]]''.
* The cover, advertising and loading screens of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' all feature an [[SexSells attractive blonde in a skimpy bikini]]. Some people think that this is supposed to be the minor character of Tracey De Santa, making it this trope. The other possibility is that she is just a LadyNotAppearingInThisGame.
* In ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'', [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI Shantotto]] and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII Gabranth]] were secret characters with no real effect on the storyline, only showing up in flashbacks. In the prequel, they're much easier to unlock, appear on the cover and are shown standing side-by-side with the other characters in the opening FMV...but they still have no role in the main story.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria'', [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething Al]][[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses is]][[LadyOfWar ha]] was heavily advertised alongside [[TheHero Sor]][[BadassBookworm ey]] in just about every piece of promotional material prior to the game's release, even having a [[DownloadableContent DLC]] [[LimitBreak Mystic Arte]] as a preorder bonus, leading many to reasonably believe that she was the female lead. When the game was released, however, Alisha turns out to [[GuestStarPartyMember only be playable for a short while early on]], the rest of the party seems to very swiftly forget all about her not long after she leaves, and [[PutOnABus she's not even so much as mentioned for a very long time]], with the real female lead turning out to be [[TheLancer R]][[GenkiGirl o]][[ProfessionalKiller s]][[HitmanWithAHeart e]]. This lead to many fans being upset about being misled. Bandai-Namco attempted to make up for this by releasing [[AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent an additional story taking place after the end of the main game featuring Alisha as the main character]] as DLC, but due the story being very short and linear, as well as having rather poor writing, it didn't help much, and for some it just twisted the knife further due to Rose being a SpotlightStealingSquad within the story itself.
* Your avatar in ''VideoGame/WhiteKnightChronicles''. [[NeverTrustATrailer Despite the trailers]] and the back of the box, Leonard is the main character of the game, and the character that you put all the effort into creating will be quickly relegated to standing in the background of cutscenes, nodding dumbly along with whatever Leo is saying, with no one bothering to even interact with him or her most of the time -- if your avatar even appears in the cutscene to begin with. You're not even required to have yourself in the party, whereas the game forces Leo in at various story points.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'':
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'', Hinoka easily has the least presence in the story of all the siblings from both sides. Unlike all the other siblings, she has barely, if any, impact or presence in the story besides her scenes in the pre-route split chapters and her recruitment chapters in ''Birthright'' and ''Revelation'', meaning that virtually all her screentime is limited to supports and My Castle skits. Hell, it has actually been discovered that she has more story lines in ''Conquest'' than in ''Birthright'', her own route! Possibly justified as she was added to the game fairly late into its development, after much of the story had already been finalized.
** The Avatar from ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemMysteryOfTheEmblem Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem]]'' is similar. Despite being promoted by trailers as a major mechanic (create your own Fire Emblem character), the Avatar has very little role in the plot past the Prologue, only existing as a SatelliteCharacter others can provide exposition to, and aren't even required to be in the party for most of the game. The masked assassin Legion is another example: being featured very prominently in promotional materials and being one of the few new characters to get official art. In the game proper, he's easily the least developed of the QuirkyMinibossSquad, and why he has [[SendInTheClones an army of clones of himself]] is [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment never explained.]]
* The only unlockable characters in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'' not getting the SecretCharacter treatment are Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog and [[VideoGame/MetalGear Solid Snake]], since they're the only two {{guest fighter}}s in the game and as such they're openly featured on the Super Smash Bros DOJO website, their own announcement videos (which in the game are available ''from the start'') and '''on the back of the cover.''' This is not a coincidence: Nintendo has actually been smart enough to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] a certain trope.
** Marth and Ness also appear in the opening movie, despite also being secret characters. Also in Melee, Ganondorf's arm, Pichu and Jigglypuff are shown in the opening, although the latter two are in a crowd shot featuring [[CastHerd nearly half of the other Pokemon from the first two generations,]] so even if Jigglypuff steals the screen, at least Pichu's a little innocuous to someone not looking for it.
** In the original, Luigi appears as a 1 Player mode enemy as well as in the How To Play video, so being able to unlock him was hardly a surprise.
** Played straight with Sonic in the Subspace Emissary, where he only shows up right before the final boss fight. [[spoiler: Although he does manage to weaken Tabuu's OneHitKill attack in the process.]]
* Tentomon and Gomamon appear on the PAL boxart for ''VideoGame/DigimonWorld'', alongside the playable Agumon, Biyomon, Gabumon, Palmon and Patamon, who in total make up the original lineup of main characters from the anime, of which this game is not an adaptation. Tentomon is only a common enemy in-game, with only his evolved form, Kabuterimon, available to the player character, so he is at least featured. Gomamon and all of his associated forms are '''entirely absent from the game'''.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'''s marketing campaign heavily advertised the fact that Creator/PatrickStewart would be playing the voice of the series' perennial BigGood, Emperor Uriel Septim VII. In the actual game, he only has a few brief lines of dialogue before he gets killed during the tutorial mission.
* Promotional art for ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' heavily features Jedi Master Atris, portraying her as a kind of light side counterpart to Sith Lord Darth Nihilus. However, while she is important to the game's backstory, her involvement in the actual game is much smaller than it should have been; she was originally supposed to be a party member and, in an alternate ending, [[spoiler:replace [[EvilMentor Kreia]] as the BigBad]], but, like many other features, it was cut short by [[ExecutiveMeddling rushed development]].
** The same goes for Nihilus, who was also featured prominently in advertisements but had a diminished role in the actual game. Doubles as CoversAlwaysLie, thanks to a piece of promotional art which showed Atris and Nihilus in a lightsaber duel. [[spoiler: They're never in the same place at the same time]].
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'': Disney/MickeyMouse is featured on the cover alongside the main characters, but he only shows up in one scene of the story.
** Several trailers for ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' featured a scene with [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Vanitas]] standing beside Young Xehanort and speaking to Sora. As it turned out, that scene was Vanitas's only appearance in the entire game, and to add to that the line he says in the trailers is his only ''line'' in the whole game.
* You'd think with a name like ''VideoGame/{{Skylanders}}: Spyro's Adventure'', that famed [=PlayStation=] mascot Franchise/SpyroTheDragon would be the main character, right? Wrong. Spyro's name was slapped on for being recognizable. In reality, Spyro's role in the game is no bigger than any of the other plastic toys. He isn't even the central character on the box art, that role belonging to Stealth Elf. As the series has grown in popularity, Spyro has only been pushed further away from the spotlight. He's still around, but it really doesn't matter if he's in the game or not at this point.
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', five characters (Aleph, Beth, Daleth, Gimmel, and Zayin) are generally prominently shown. [[spoiler:Beth dies early on, Daleth drops out of the plot soon after, and Gimmel's importance is only revealed in a short sidequest in which you kill him. In the end, only Aleph and Zayin maintain prominence, with Hiroko and Lucifer being the other actual main characters]].
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', Navarre is often advertised alongside the rest of the player's group of Samurai. However, while they are all important characters, Navarre bows out of the story after the first dungeon and is never mentioned again save for one unimportant sidequest. ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse Apocalypse]]'', on the other hand, makes him a full-blown party member, subverting the trope.
* Similarly to the ''VideoGame/WhiteKnightChronicles'' example above, your created character in ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'' has almost no influence on the story, and might as well not even exist. They're not alone in this though. ''Every'' party member in this game except for [[MarySue Elma]] and [[TokenMiniMoe Lin]] seems to exist solely so that you have more than two party members to use.[[labelnote:*]]([[RequiredPartyMember Not that story missions even let you use]] [[CantDropTheHero any of them the vast majority of the time though.]])[[/labelnote]] This is especially jarring considering that this is a sequel to [[VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles a game]] with a ''very'' well-developed and lovable cast of characters who all had their turn in the spotlight.
* Sega's ''Rent A Hero No. 1'' for Dreamcast, the remake of the Genesis title ''VideoGame/RentAHero'', featured in each and every piece of promotional material Rent A Hiroko, the titular character's DistaffCounterpart. In the actual game, though, her presence is somewhat limited and, while the ending [[SequelHook sort of implies]] that she would have had a much bigger part in the sequel, no further games were ever made, thus making players wonder what all the fuss about her was about.
* ''VideoGame/PulpAdventures'' main menu screen is an artwork featuring several of the campaign's party members. While most of them are plot-critical protagonists directly involved in the plot, some others are much less prominent. Conan, Zorro, and the Lone Ranger are special characters only playable in their own level ([[ShowWithinAShow said levels represent the protagonists of the main timeline reading books]]). Also, the Spirit is available as a regular party member but he is completely optional (he must be bought with Prestige Points instead of being obtained for free when the plot proceeds).
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** With the start of a new generation, a Mythical Pokémon is generally revealed either first or very early on. As the name implies, Mythical Pokémon are unobtainable in a normal playthrough outside of limited-time events, and as such a player is likely never going to even hear of them, much less fight/catch them.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' were the first games to feature unique OlympusMons for each game, but Lugia and Ho-oh weren't important to the plot at all. In fact, you could beat the TrueFinalBoss without ever fighting them. The remakes fixed this by making them required encounters.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' had Zorua and Zoroark as some of the first new Pokémon to be revealed. However, neither can be encountered in normal gameplay; they could only be accessed with event Pokémon (the events required to get either of them are long past) and aren't used by any trainer [[spoiler:aside from N in his final battle]]. This is cited as one reason why Zoroark failed to [[FollowTheLeader follow in the footsteps]] of resident BreakoutCharacter [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Lucario]], leading to Zorua and Zoroark becoming common in later games.
** Promotional art and trailers for ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRanger Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia]]'' made a great showoff about surfing on an Empoleon's back as one of the main things in the game. How many times it happens? ''Once''. Two or three if you want to go for HundredPercentCompletion.
** Advertisements for ''VideoGame/PokemonSuperMysteryDungeon'' featured Latios and Latias among several [[OlympusMons Legendary and Mythic Pokemon]] that would play a major role in the story or a boss battle. They appear towards the second half of the game, only to have a few lines before [[TakenForGranite turning to stone]] [[SacrificialLamb for the rest of the story]] (they are recruitable during the post-game).
** ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'':
*** The game's trailers revealed Zygarde's new formes, which made it appear as if it would have a big role in the plot (particularly since, unlike Rayquaza, Giratina and Kyurem, it never got an UpdatedRerelease or sequels focusing on it). In-game, Zygarde is nothing more than a CollectionSidequest with no plot significance.
*** The Ultra Beasts were hyped up as having a big role, while in the actual game only UB-01 Symbiont/[[spoiler:Nihilego]] has any role in the main plot, with the rest being shunted off to postgame status.
*** The Tapus, despite being presented as Alola's revered guardian deities, play miniscule roles overall. While Tapu Koko gets decent screentime during the main game, the other three are never seen until the main story's over and are otherwise glossed over, receiving offhand mentions at best.
* ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfWar''
** The Balrog Tar-Goroth was featured heavily in the game's advertisement, indicating he'd be an major antagonist working for Sauron and sent to hunt down Talion and the Wraith. Turns out in the game itself that he is a secondary villain with no direct relation to the plot - he was awakened by an entirely unrelated event and is causing destruction on his own. [[spoiler:He appears for only two missions very early in the questline he is involved, and he isn't even the ArcVillain, but rather the necromancer Zog the Eternal (who is trying to bind the Balrog to his service)]].
** The Agonizer is a subversion: he got his own trailer, but he follows the exact same rules as every other orc, appears at random, and it's possible to permanently kill him during your first few hours, so he can be made one if the player so chooses.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Missile, the adorable Shiba Inu from ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' is often seen in posters and other such advertisements and is even with Phoenix and Maya in ''Marvel vs. Capcom 3'', however, he has only one appearance during the original trilogy and the scene he appears in is optional. He does, however, appear briefly in both ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'' spinoffs.
** Despite the advertising for ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneySpiritOfJustice'' hyping up Maya Fey's return, she doesn't appear at all in three of the game's five cases, plays a comparatively minor part in another, and the one case that she ''does'' play a central part in confines her to prison during the investigation segments. The only case where she has the same sort of role that she had during [[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney the original trilogy]] is the optional DLC case.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'''s Rena Ryuuguu is featured in all promotional art, crossovers, side-games and is practically synonymous with the entire ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'' franchise. She's only really, truly important for two arcs out of eight.
* The true route of ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoishinasai'' S is often referred to as the Koyuki route. However, while it does give her a [[spoiler:happier backstory and saner personality]] she appears very little after the opening. getting only a brief fight and then an optional sex scene at the end. The trouble is that, as noted in the original VN, she has quite a bit of overlap with Miyako and what ''does'' set her apart are traits that are rather incompatible with being a love interest [[spoiler:and that she doesn't have if you've altered her backstory]]. So there isn't much to do with her that you couldn't do with a more important or popular character.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/SenpaiClub'' often shows Rock-and-Roll Senpai with the main cast during the opening, implying he's at least prominent to some degree. In-show, however, the most he's been seen was the club introduction and a couple of {{Cameo}}s.
* In ''Toys/TheGrosseryGang'' webseries, Fungus Fries was set up to be a major character, appearing in the sizzle reel, a good chunk of the promotion artwork, and getting one of the longer bios the webseries characters get. In the end, he ended up relegated to just the toyline. He would eventually make his debut in the webseries for Series 4, three seasons after his official release.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' can be pretty bad with this with a few characters.
** Lady Rainicorn was originally intended to be a main character of the show, and even to this day appears on merchandise and in the splash pages of various tie-in Comic books. Despite this, she hasn't even ''appeared'' in several seasons at a time. Episodes that feature her tend to mostly focus on her children instead, making her even more underdeveloped.
** Lumpy Space Princess suffered a similar fate. With so much merchandise and appearances in advertisements you'd think she'd be a main stay, but her roles as a main lead are very, very scarce.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is rife with this:
** The deal they made out of Music/{{U2}} appearing on the 200th episode and they only had a scene and a bit. Before that was "Lisa's First Word", the episode "starring" Creator/ElizabethTaylor... wherein she spoke one word! (But it was [[spoiler: Maggie's ''first'' word]], so it was pretty important.)
** Denis Leary in "Lost Verizon". He gets 5 minutes of screen time. And is portrayed as ''an utter psychopath''.
** Another that was heavily advertised was Alyson Hannigan; her character has very limited screen time and only has three lines of dialogue.
** Sky's (and FOX's) promotion of "Elementary School Musical" was pretty bad too, emphasising the guest voices of ''Series/{{Glee}}'' regulars Lea Michele, Amber Riley and Cory Monteith while completely ignoring the presence of Music/FlightOfTheConchords, even though Messrs. Clement and [=McKenzie=]'s characters had far more screen time, were essential to the plot, and writing original songs for the episode!
** Parodied in "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" with Music/DollyParton, who appears in the Super Bowl halftime show, only she's wearing a [[GoofySuit Snoopy costume]]. This is commented on at the end of the episode.
** "Bart Star" was advertised as a {{Crossover}} with ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' even though Hank Hill is on screen for mere seconds. It probably set a record for shortest {{Crossover}} ever made. Additionally, WordOfGod says these shows don't exist in the same Universe, making it even weirder.
** In "Today I am a Clown" Lisa mentions having an imaginary Jewish friend named Rachel who she created to make up for having no real friends when she was younger. Rachel finally makes an appearance in the 600th episode. [[spoiler:Except that 600th episode is "Treehouse of Horror XXVII", and Rachel is murderous spirit who kills all of Lisa's friends out of revenge for Lisa forgetting her.]]
* Both Ironhide and Arcee were actually given this treatment in the Japanese opening for ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. Ironically, according to the [=AllSpark=] Almanac, Ironhide ''was'' intended [[AscendedExtra to become a main character]] in the fourth season before the show was canceled at three.
** Cliffjumper was one of the main advertising faces of the ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' promos, got a preview comic devoted to him and even a handful of figures when the toyline was released, and generally seemed to be the future main-character of the show. [[spoiler:He dies within the first couple of minutes of the pilot, then becomes a zombie and is killed again, and only gets a Flashback episode halfway through the series. After that, he received several ''other'' toys depicting him as a Terrorcon zombie.]]
* Bunsen and Beaker have their own line in the ExpositoryThemeTune of ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies'', but they only make occasional appearances on the show itself.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' spoofs this trope: in the opening credits for the first film, "Bender's Big Score", the new character [[http://theinfosphere.org/Zylex Zylex]] is announced with great fanfare... only to appear just for a couple of seconds, while begging for food!
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'':
** The Mad Thinker narrates the opening of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oRwpy66NXc this trailer]], but only appears in episodes 5 and 6. The writers even relegated his demise into one of the short stories included in the tie-in comics.
** Comicbook/BlackWidow appears on the cover of the Australian Blu-Ray compiling the first season. In actuality, only six of those episodes feature her, though her subplot strongly ties into the main events.
** The Australian Blu-Ray package for Season 2 has both her and ComicBook/NickFury on the cover, due pretty much only to their prominence in [[Film/TheAvengers2012 the movie]]. ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} and Franchise/SpiderMan are shown as well, despite only appearing in three and two episodes respectively (one of which was a big CrisisCrossover with ComicBook/TheFalcon, ComicBook/{{Luke Cage|HeroForHire}}, [[ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist Iron Fist]], ComicBook/WarMachine, the ComicBook/FantasticFour, and pretty much every other hero that ever appeared on the show). They're only on the cover because [[WolverinePublicity they're two of Marvel's most popular characters]].
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. In the early episode "[[Recap/SouthParkS1E4BigGayAlsBigGayBoatRide Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride]]", George Clooney was advertised as a guest star on the show. Yet, in the episode itself, he is just Stan's gay dog, Sparky. All he does is bark. Similarly, another episode features Jay Leno providing the meowing sounds of Cartman's cat.
* A ton of celebrities were advertised to appear in the ''WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob|SquarePants}}'' 10th Anniversary special, "Truth or Square" but almost all of them only made cameos, most of them don't even appear in the trimmed-down rerun version, and ''none'' of them appear in the animated segments instead appearing in the live-action Patchy segments. This trope is however, averted with Music/{{Pink}}'s appearance as she got to sing ''Scurvy''.
* Most of the regular cast from ''Series/TazMania'' is acknowledged in the opening, including characters whose appearances were very few and far-between (including Wendell T. Wolf, Buddy Boar, The Kiwi, and The Bushrats). In fact, some of those characters who ended up appearing in many episodes (such as Digeri Dingo and Francis X. Bushlad) weren't in many episodes during the first season.
* Although she gets a lot of screentime, Minka in ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012'' has not had an episode focused on her as of late 2013 and is the only major character with this distinction. She has received a B-plot in two episodes, however, but in both cases, Minka is incessantly doing one single thing for most of the B-plot, meaning the story makes very little progression. For most of the rest of the series, she just hangs out with the other main characters doing whatever they're doing.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'':
** In the TV special "Dance Pantsed" heavily promoted special guest star Music/RingoStarr. He has about three minutes of screen time and he doesn't even sing. And while a song & music video for "I Want To Be A Powerpuff Girl" ''was'' shown during the special's breaks, it wasn't part of the actual story.
** There's also the villain Roach Coach despite his appearances in promotional material, posters, animated bumpers, video covers, and appearing in the intro amongst the villain roster, he only appears in one episode after his defeat revealing he was a cockroach in a robot body of a disgusting human being, he is never seen again.
* The Franchise/DisneyPrincess merchandise advertises Mulan and Pocahontas as official princesses, but they're commonly left out of most of the merchandise.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' had a villain named Kid Carrion, who resembled a zombie cowboy. His appearances in the show's opening suggests that he was intended to be a recurring villain, but his only appearance in the actual series is a silent cameo in "Relax-O-Vision". He doesn't even appear with the other villains in the show's GrandFinale in spite of one-shot villain Invisibo being among them.
* Roberta Tubbs from ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow''. She's billed as a main character, yet her screentime is much smaller than the rest of her family. While her counterparts from the sister shows [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Meg]] and [[WesternAnimation/AmericanDad Hayley]] got DemotedToExtra over time, at least they were prominent characters on their respective shows' first few seasons. Roberta was ''never'' prominent to begin with.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{XMen}}'': Despite being one of the main team members in the intro, Beast is arrested halfway through the second episode and spends the rest of the season in jail, only appearing briefly a few times for the rest of the season. The following seasons would make up for this, making him a full-time member of the team again.
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'': Nadine is the most prominently featured girl in the opening sequence aside from Helga, but in the series, she's either a background character or a SatelliteCharacter to Rhonda.