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?
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.
of Bit Part Badguys
, Very Punchable Man
. When the apparent Bit Character
returns with importance, it's Chekhov's Gunman
. If he suddenly becomes hugely popular in the fandom, then it's an Ensemble Dark Horse
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- 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.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: With the huge expanse of characters found in the series, there are a number of people that show up for bit parts. Some entire Houses might even be called Bit Characters, usually with a defining characteristic that makes them at least slightly memorable. Ex. House Smallwood/Lady Smallwood.
- In Vampire Academy, several of the teachers and students of St. Vladimir's Academy are no more than this. Appearing for one or two scenes and then vanishing into obscurity. A few are more recurring than others. Dr. Olendzki turns up whenever a protagonist is injured or shows signs of mental instability, Deirdre is the therapist appointed to Rose and Lissa, Camille Conta acts as one of the Academy's most popular girls and a power-player in the social scene, Xander Badica is a student who wants to taste what Rose's blood tastes like and figures in social gathering scenes, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cloak from the Brave New World Universe is barely introduced in the first arc of the story, has less than ten lines, and is never seen again until he tries to double-cross The Benefactor. He is quickly killed in the ensuing Curb-Stomp Battle.
- 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. Of course, the fandom has fleshed them out to the point that every last one has many devoted fans. Sometimes Ascended Fanon happens (Hasbro uses their Fan Nicknames when possible.)