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Bit Character
"Iggy Pop was not inexperienced in acting before this. His IMDb page lists all of his numerous previous roles, such as "Prospective Guest", "Skinny Player on Road", and—coming off of his most recent success—"Man Eating Bird Leg!" (No hyphen, so I assume he is a man eating a bird leg, but I cannot rule out that he was a bird leg that STALKED AND KILLED HUMANS.)"

A Bit Character is a minor character in the cast. She or he has a slightly larger part than the extra or the Spear Carrier, but isn't a well-known actor taking a small part, like a Cameo. The British television industry often refers to these as "under sixes" (six being the number of spoken lines required to no longer be a bit part). Similarly in the US they are "under fives".

While an extra is the guy walking down the hall carrying a stack of papers — basically a piece of animated furniture — the bit character is the receptionist who briefly interacts with the heroes, telling them that Mr Jones is too busy to see them right now, before turning to do other things.

The Bit Character may have a small role, but that part can move the plot along in some way (possibly for the worse), or let them serve as a Foil to a major character to flesh out the characterization. They could even be someone who gives the hero a piece of useful information, when the hero's usual source has run dry or is unavailable for whatever reason. While they might have some eccentricity to make them interesting, a bit character is generally a Flat Character, to prevent the question of What Happened to the Mouse? from arising.

Some actors make a decent living playing bit characters throughout their careers, never moving up the hierarchy to "star". Such actors are called "bit players", and can lead to a case of Hey, It's That Guy! as you wonder why he appears in the background of every movie made in that country. Before she played the lead in the 1957 TV series The Adventures of Tugboat Annie, Minerva Urecal was a bit player in the movies.

Super Trope of Bit Part Badguys, Very Punchable Man. When the apparent Bit Character returns with importance, it's Chekhov's Gunman.

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • The opening sequence of Lupin III: Dead or Alive features four examples in a prison. One turns out to be important to the plot later, as a Chekhov's Gunman. One shows up again as a bit character, helping Emerah to escape. The other two are just there to be saved, and don't contribute anything else.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Cyndia is one, although she is important to the plot. She also serves as a Foil to flesh out Pegasus' character through his backstory.

    Live-Action Film 
  • Mars Attacks!: Danny Devito's character that only gets about five minutes of screentime. Within those five minutes, he reveals he is a lawyer and offers his services to a Martian who quickly zaps him. They really wanted to make sure the audience didn't sympathize too much just before bumping him off.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Many, many sitcoms employ bit characters to set up jokes, advance the plot or otherwise add to the story in that episode. Common bit characters include bar staff, waiters/waitresses, airport check in attendants, flight attendants and taxi drivers. If the bit character in question is interesting enough or proves popular with the writers and/or fans, they may ascend to Minor character status.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Deputy Mayor Finch's death marks the third murder investigation involving Buffy in less than two years: she is previously suspected in the deaths of fellow Slayer Kendra and her would-be stepfather, Ted. Each investigation is headed by the same Detective (played by James Mac Donald).
    • A harried teacher exhorting his students to "be somber" about the new year at the beginning of Season 3. He pops up again on Graduation Day, grimly making the kids play Hangman.
    "Heh heh. They always go for the 'E.'"

    Video Games 

     Webcomics 
  • Company 0051: Ally, originally the counterpart to Sam, appears the least of all the characters now that Sam has risen in prominence. However, it's fitting given she's a much quieter, non-comedic character, and she actually does get one moment in the limelight with the Chief following Maria's confrontation.

     Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Most of the recurring special ponies with a job or role are these. You'll see them whenever the cast goes to their place or require their services. They'll usually appear in an episode, do their thing, maybe even have a little chat or two with the major characters and then leave or disappear until they are needed again. They also help move the plot along through their own little way (you can't have a spa scene without the spa ponies operating the spa itself right?). Without them, the cast would have to do everything themselves. If they get really lucky and get an important role, they may be promoted into minor character.

Ascended ExtraCast Filler TropesBit Part Badguys
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