Breakout Character

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/HappyDaysPan_161.jpg
Hmmm. Something has changed about who's important enough to be on the cover, and where...

Gandy Goose: Nobody remembers me! Why are you still popular?
Mighty Mouse: Well... some of us are built to last!
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, "The Ice Goose Cometh".

What's a writer to do when a minor character that they created for a show suddenly becomes much more popular than the other members of the cast? Why, re-write them as a main character of course!

This is that character. Usually starring in a sitcom, the breakout character quickly grabs hold of the audience's attention and writers take advantage of this energy. Someone who was once a one-note C-character (such as a Satellite Character or a Living Prop) becomes a central part of the regular cast. Often liable to lead to a Spin-Off, or be subject to becoming an Adaptational Badass. Sometimes a breakout character becomes such because they fill a niche in the cast that wasn't previously filled or acts as an impressive foil to the Hero.

When a character gets a larger, but still supporting, role because of the fanbase, that is simply an Ensemble Darkhorse (which they also are even if they don't get any increased role). Ascended Extra is when a character gains any sort of increased role regardless of the character's popularity (or lack thereof). When a character simply takes over the existing show, see Spotlight-Stealing Squad.

It isn't always good though. Sometimes if a breakout character gets too much screentime they risk making the audience feel that the character is overexposed or worse, become a Scrappy or a Creator's Pet. Always remember that you still have other characters in the cast who need screen time too and just because one character is extremely popular doesn't mean that the others should always be Demoted to Extra. This pitfall can be avoided by occasionally giving breaks to the breakout. Other characters can get their stories told and their fans will patiently wait for them to reappear in the story and be all the more excited when they do reappear.

Trying to intentionally make a breakout character before they're even introduced to audiences can also lead to some unfortunate results.

Also see Breakout Villain, a Sub-Trope for villain character, and Iconic Sequel Character, a Sub-Trope for when the Breakout Character in question doesn't appear until a sequel. Compare to Breakup Breakout. Contrast The Artifact.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!"
  • Geico:
    • Although the Geico Gecko was always the main character of his own commercials, he started out as a complainer, annoyed that the company's name was similar to his own, causing him to get calls from prospective customers. When he proved sufficiently popular, he became the company's mascot (justified by a commercial that actually depicts him getting hired by Geico), the focus of most commercials, and, inexplicably, changed accents.
    • The Geico Cavemen were so popular they got their own show. Of course, that didn't last very long.
    • Maxwell the Pig was first featured in one of the Rhetorical Questions campaigns. He became so popular that he starred in his own series of commercials.
    • The Hump Day Camel. Originally intended as a one-off, popular response to the ad he starred in saw him come back for several sequels, including one set in a zoo that heavily Lampshades the original ad's popularity.
  • In one campaign, commercials for Capital One credit cards featured rampaging Barbarian hordes, who would mercilessly attack anyone not bearing the correct card. Because Barbarians are more interesting than shoppers, they quickly became the main characters of these commercials, using the cards themselves to stock up for their various acts of mayhem.
  • Sugar Bear was one of three identical bears featured on the box of Sugar Crisp. Two of them were removed and the bear that would become Sugar Bear was given a voice.
  • In the UK, the character Aleksandr Orlov, a meerkat, was created to advertise an insurance comparison site called "compare the market.com", presumably based on the idea that "compare the market" and "Compare the Meerkat" sound similar if you say them in a silly accent. The character has become a huge success, spawning his own franchise (books, toys, general merch etc...). He's even been interviewed on a talkshow, despite being a CGI character. His wikipedia page is actually longer and more detailed than that of the company he was created to promote.
  • Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice Man was initially just one of several Old Spice ads airing on television. The popularity and Fountain of Memes caught on like wildfire, leading Old Spice to launch an entire marketing blitz centered around Mustafa.
  • The Carfax Carfox started as a puppet of a shady car dealer. His popularity lead him to become Carfax's mascot.
  • In the late '80s, Duracell ran a commercial showing their battery outlasting several competitors at powering a toy. Competitor-brand Energizer realized that their battery wasn't included in the competition, and launched a Take That spoof-commercial against Duracell, showing their battery outlasting Duracell in a similar toy. The toy used in both commercials? A mechanical rabbit hitting a drum. Fast-forward to today, and the Energizer Bunny used in that initial spoof has become a valuable mascot that keeps going and going and going...

    Comic Strips 
  • Popeye - Popeye the Sailor started out as a minor character in Thimble Theatre, which had been running for ten full years before he was introduced. The strip was originally about the adventures of a money-hungry slacker named Harold Hamgravy, who traveled the world in search of riches. Popeye originally showed up as a generic sailor who was hired by Hamgravy for a treasure hunting voyage. He wasn't supposed to show up again after the end of that story arc. Instead, he ended up becoming so popular that the strip was eventually renamed after him. Poor Hamgravy was demoted to minor supporting character status, and to add insult to injury, Popeye even stole his girlfriend, Olive Oyl!
    • This history is lampshaded in the live-action Popeye movie. As the story opens, Olive has just dumped Hamgravy.
      • In fairness, though, Hamgravy is kind of a jerk, and only dated Olive because her family is rich (and would routinely dump her for wealthier women, only to come crawling back after they rejected him.) Popeye, on the other hand, is always true to his lady.
  • The very aptly named Opus of Bloom County and its follow-up comic strips was originally a fairly flat gag character, not intended to ever be seen again after his week-long plot was resolved, but fan reaction quickly led the author to make him the main character of the strip.
    • Years later, Breathed mused in one of his books about the nature of the breakout character: "You can't design an Opus; they're the sort of characters who come knocking at your door in the pouring rain at 3 in the morning. [The author's] job is to figure out which ones should be let in and allowed to stay."
    • Funny thing is, he almost accidentally made another one — by making the worst possible deliberate attempt: Bill the Cat. Many long storylines in the later years of the initial strip featured only Bill and Opus, with the rest of the crew having barely more than cameos — such as the 'Deathtongue' stories.
  • Snuffy Smith. He started out as a one-shot character in Barney Google, a comic about a luckless gambler. A 1934 storyline took Google to a hillbilly mountain community called Hoot'n Holler, where he met Snuffy and his family. Google was only supposed to be there for a few weeks, but Snuffy proved so popular that Google permanently relocated there. The comic was renamed "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith" and Google's part in the strip became smaller and smaller, until he was written out altogether. Despite his name being in the title, Google has only appeared in the strip twice in the past 20 years.
    • This was actually the second time this had happened to the strip. A decade prior to this, Google's horse, Spark Plug, proved incredibly popular, and ended up becoming the focus of several storylines and a huge amount of merchandise (with the strip temporarily renamed "Barney Google and Spark Plug.") When Snuffy took over the comic, he adopted Spark Plug as his horse.
  • First, it was Robotman. Then, it was Robotman... and Monty. Then Robotman got put on an intergalactic bus, and now it's just Monty.
  • In the early Peanuts strips, Snoopy acted like an ordinary dog, and wasn't a key character.
  • Nancy was originally called Fritzi Ritz and about a flapper. Fritzi became Nancy's Aunt Fritzy, and Nancy and Sluggo took center stage.
  • British newspaper strip Flook (1949-84) featured Flook (a creature) and Rufus (a boy) as main characters. But there was a short period back at the start (before Rufus found and named Flook) when the strip was called Rufus.
  • Dick Cavalli's Morty Meekle was eventually taken over by (and renamed after) what was originally a minor character, Winthrop.
  • In the early years of FoxTrot, the strip equally focused on the five members of the family. Come the late 90's, and Jason's pretty much the main character.
  • The crocodiles from Pearls Before Swine. Zebra originally contacted his predators through letters in the early days of the strip. Wanting to cut out the middleman, author Stephen Pastis had a fraternity of crocodiles (Zeeba Zeeba Eata) move next door. Their complete incompetence in killing Zebra became the comic's new and most popular Running Gag (besides long, confusing puns, of course).
  • Catbert was introduced to Dilbert as a one-shot character who tried to eat Ratbert. Fans began asking to see more of Catbert (asking for him by that name, even though he hadn't been given one in the strip) and Scott Adams decided that when your readers spontaneously name a character for you, it's a good idea to keep him in the strip. Now Catbert is Evil Director of Human Resources at Dilbert's company.
  • Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse were so popular as Funny Background Events in The Family Upstairs (originally titled The Dingbat Family), that George Herriman gave them their own strip.
  • Bill Holbrook
    • The first time it happened in a comic was Dethany Dendrobia in On The Fastrack.
    • Before that, in he same strip, it was Wendy Welding who just grabbed the spotlight. And Dethany came long after Samantha (see right below) became a major player.
    • The second time was Samantha Argus from Safe Havens went from just one of the kids in the (former) main character's eponymous day care center to the strip's central character.

    Fan Works 
  • The Perseus Attraction: Luke Castellan. Luke was originally intended to become the main antagonist, and Percy's rival for Annabeth. However, the breakout of his first real appearance (doing squats in a sword class listening to Noah and the Whale and Katy Perry) quickly gained him recognition among the reviewers. He further solidified his position by making stupid dream appearances with Kronsis throughout the first season, and then when he saved the entire Perseus Attraction main cast by recreating The Princess Bride (as the 'Man in Pink.) By season 3, which covers The Titan's Curse, Luke appears tag teaming the sky with Annabeth, even though he should have no part in the story at all at all, in a typically 'Luke' fashion, making him all but untouchable as the Breakout.
  • The South of Nowhere story 'Romance on the Set' has an universe example on the show Spencer and Ashley star in with Rachel played by Taylor Momsen. She starts as a minor character but later becomes a regular and is then Promoted to Love Interest for Ashley's character
  • Electra Pendragon first appeared in Jake Englishs Mysterious Theater Of Scientific Romance From The Year 3000, an MST series with a laughably thin Excuse Plot, as a Parody Sue that the author pretended to have an unhealthy obsession with. She was surprisingly well-received and ended up becoming a character in the author's next fic, Justice Society of Japan.
  • TD from The Non-Bronyverse was originally conceived as the protagonist for a silly one-shot story, but whose popularity (no doubt helped by his Deadpan Snarker tendencies) ended up spawning a full-fledged story, and later an entire series of works.
  • Child of the Storm arguably has several, but the two most prominent are Carol Danvers and Diana of Olympus, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, both thoroughly re-imagined, and intended for relatively little: as per Word of God, both were thrown in at the last minute, a third and half of the way through the story respectively. They have since become two of the most popular characters in the fic.
    • The Winter Soldier is also one, as the fic greatly expands on his internal dialogue, the growing conflict between his Soldier personality and his Bucky personality, as well as his history with Natasha.
  • In canon, Lightning Dust is a one episode foil that serves to show why teamwork trumps solo flying. In the Reading Rainbowverse, she becomes the center of an ever-increasingly dysfunctional family and the personal target of an Eldritch Abomination who dates a changeling.
  • Anything Her Heart Desires: Ingrid Hanna Andersen. Word of God is that she was not only intended to be a very minor character, but was written to be as unimpressive as possible. But if you're writing a "problematic Elsanna" Frozen fic, and Elsa & Anna aren't speaking, someone's going to fill the void. By the end of the story, Elsingrid.

     Film — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon examples, in chronological order:
    • Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The personality of Gideon the cat from Pinocchio was completely altered during the film's production to make him more like Dopey in Disney's hopes of capturing the same lightning twice.
    • Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio ended up becoming something of a mascot for Disney due to his popularity.
    • Figaro who was also in Pinocchio was one of the earliest Disney characters to become popular outside of the film he came from similar to Donald Duck. In the mid 40's, Figaro got his own series of shorts and would also become Minnie's pet cat. Figaro is also seen in Mickey Mouse Club House and the spin-off "Minnie's Bow Toons".
    • Jose Carioca from Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros became HUGE in Brazil. He was also popular enough in the U.S. to reappear in Melody Time and cameo in Alice in Wonderland, as well as pop up in shorts and TV specials through the 1970s.
    • Tinker Bell from Peter Pan became just as popular as Jiminy Cricket. Tick-Tock the Crocodile is also this, to a lesser extent.
    • Sleeping Beauty has Maleficent. Many of the heroic characters in the movie were shallow and bland by comparison (except the three good fairies, who were essentially the real protagonists of the movie), but every time the evil fairy showed up, she shamelessly stole the scene. To this day, she is perhaps the iconic Disney Villain. Maleficent is all over the merchandice, one of the most epic bosses in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and even got a movie of her own starring Angelina Jolie!
      • Ironically, she was sort of forgotten in the latter half of the 20th Century due to Sleeping Beauty falling out of focus, perhaps because - besides the more present-day movies - classics like Snow White, Bambi and Pinocchio would generally be better known and remembered over the years; not helped by her movie coming out in The Fifties, from where the studio was constantly struggling to keep with the times, or that villains just weren't meant to be so popular (interesting and likeable, yes, but not popular). The Disney Renaissance of The '90s may have either highlighted this (with its memorable revival of the studio) or otherwise helped Maleficent (thanks to both said revival and to the focus on Evil Is Cool with the villains), but either way it was Kingdom Hearts, which made Maleficent the Disney villains' representative in the Big Bad Ensemble (for the first two main titles especially), that really caused her popularity to skyrocket in modern times.
    • 101 Dalmatians: Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil... What does it say that the 1961 animated version treated her simply as the villain, but the '90s live-action films were essentially a Villain-Based Franchise focused on Cruella? In fact, Cruella was the only human character to return in the live-action sequel. Of course, this was compounded by the dogs not talking in the live-action versions, although they still had Amplified Animal Aptitude. And in 2018, there's going to be Cruella, a live-action spin-off movie explicitly centered on her. Ironically, the original book had a sequel in which Cruella only had a small role.
    • Baloo from The Jungle Book became so popular in the late 1960s that Disney brought his voice actor back to basically play the same character in The Aristocats and Robin Hood.
    • Marie from The Aristocats. While Marie is one of the main characters in the film. She started becoming popular in the mid to late 90's replacing Thomas as the character that represented the film. She's also been featured alot in any merchandise for The Aristocats. Marie is so popular in Japan that she even gotten her own one-shot manga "Miriya & Marie" where she is the main character and even gotten her own music video. Outside of Japan, Disney released a book in 2006 called "Disney Marie" where she and Roquefort visit the famous places in Paris, France. A year later, Disney also released a book with a CD called "Disney Marie A is for Adorable A Fabulous Alphabet" which is a read-along CD which mostly follows any alphabet letter related to Marie, Paris, or anything related to her complete with a Bragging Theme Tune titled "Everyone Loves Marie" which serves as the theme and background music for the book. She even gotten a cameo in Robin Williams' Flubber and a remix by D!tto called "Oui Oui Marie" created to promote the Blu-ray released of the film that is focused on Marie. In fact, Disney was going to make a sequel called The Aristocats II where Marie serves as the main character with her family serving as secondary characters and gains a love interest.
    • Tigger from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. He was even given his own non-canon spinoff film in the early 2000s.
    • Iago from Aladdin. His popularity has grown to the point that he's arguably more iconic than Aladdin himself, and he even has a Heel–Face Turn. Only the Genie rivals him in popularity.
    • Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King. They got their own TV show, a P.O.V. Sequel, and have tons of fan art dedicated to them, far more than Simba, Nala or Mufasa get.
    • In the animated movie The Emperor's New Groove, Yzma's servant Kronk delivers many of the film's funnier moments. Because of this, and partly because he was voiced by the deep-voiced Patrick Warburton, Kronk was popular enough among the fanbase to be the main character in the sequel, Kronk's New Groove.
    • Stitch from Lilo & Stitch. Chris Sanders' mischievous blue alien quickly became one of Disney's most iconic characters during Disney Animation's lull in the 2000s, and was heavily promoted throughout the decade, especially in Disney Parks. He became especially popular in Japan, where they even had an anime made there.
    • Disney initially expected that Anna would be the breakout character of Frozen due to her princess status (as Rapunzel had three years earlier), and focused most of their initial marketing push around her. While Anna did become popular, it was her older sister Elsa the Snow Queen and snowman sidekick Olaf who ended up breaking out.
  • Chomper from The Land Before Time film series. He was originally just a guest character brought in for the second film. But he proved to be so popular with fans and critics that he was brought back as a supporting character in the fifth film. Eventually, he became a main character in the TV series as well.
  • Despite being almost pure comedy relief, the Penguins and King Julian from Madagascar and its sequel were so obscenely popular that they got their own Spin-Off series, The Penguins of Madagascar, as well as a film all to themselves The Penguins of Madagascar. Nobody really cared that it seemed to take place in a completely Alternate Universe (there's no feasible way the two series can co-exist) - the characters are just that awesome.
  • Puss in Boots, the swashbuckling feline who became the primary protagonist of the 2011 spin-off prequel Puss in Boots, was a supporting character who first appeared in Shrek 2 as an assassin on Shrek and Donkey's life before making amends and joining them as a Power Trio in all the other sequels. Audience and critics alike gave him credit for stealing the show. Even after the Shrek franchise ended, his own popular spinoff has left room for an entirely new franchise focused on him.
  • Scrat from the Ice Age franchise quickly rose to become the most popular character in the film; he even has a special segment of his own in the first film.
  • Finding Nemo has Dory. Popular enough to call the sequel Finding Dory.
  • The scene-stealing Minions from Despicable Me definitely qualify. They have starred in countless mini-films, dominate the soundtrack, have earned the position of official Mascot of Universal Pictures, and got a feature film of their own in 2015 Minions.
  • La Muerte and Xibalba from The Book of Life, gained a lot of attention for their designs, the former’s loving (but feisty) nature, the latter’s mischievous (but caring) nature and their relationship with each other.
  • Bing Bong, Riley's imaginary friend from Inside Out became this because of the crucial role he plays in the film's plot and for being adorable and hilarious. It got to the point where his image was placed on Inside Out merchandise packaging, even if the product was not related to him at all.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • Steve Stifler in American Pie starts out as a supporting character, establishing himself as a jerkass who is only interested in sex. In the sequel, he actually gets involved in the main plot, getting much more screen time even though he continues to be the same selfish jerk throughout the entire film. The third movie goes much further, with Stifler as the central character, making the ultimate transition into Jerk with a Heart of Gold, which took up most of the film's plot.
  • Punic Wars-era strong man Maciste (played by Bartolomeo Pagano) was the breakout character of the Italian epic Cabiria (1914). Pagano reprised his role as the star of 25 Maciste films in the following twelve years, and a further slew of Sword & Sandal films during the 1960s and 1970s starred various other actors in the same role.
  • Clerks - Jay and Silent Bob are originally bit characters. Smith put them again in Mallrats only because he wanted to see Jason Mewes play Jay one more time. According to his blog, he had no idea they were so popular at all until the screening of Mallrats at 1995 San Diego Comic Con. After that, he felt confident enough to put them as bit characters again in Chasing Amy, to give them a more prominent part in Dogma, and finally to make a whole movie about them: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And, of course, they made their return in Clerks II.
  • Dazed and Confused's David Wooderson. Originally a more minor character, Richard Linklater was so impressed with Matthew McConaughey's performance, he ended up writing much more dialogue for him.
  • Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall who got his own movie, Get Him to the Greek.
  • In the first Friday the 13th (1980) Jason was supposed to have drowned before the events of the film. His mother is actually the killer in this film. However, the writer saw the movie Carrie (1976) and wanted a shocker ending, so Jason crawls out of the lake at the end of the movie. Sequels would have Jason as the main character, though he did not get his iconic hockey mask until the third movie.
  • Slimer from Ghostbusters didn't even have a name in the original film, yet he wound up the mascot of the cartoon series and franchise. The third season of the cartoon series was even titled Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters. His semi-official name during production of the first film was Onionhead, but the fans nicknamed him Slimer and it stuck.
  • Sharpey Evans from the High School Musical films, despite being the Designated Villain, proved so popular that she ended up getting her own spin-off film in which she's the protagonist.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Agent Phil Coulson is the very definition of this. In the first Iron Man, he had a minor role as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Insanely positive fan reaction to his character got his role somewhat expanded in Iron Man 2, and in Thor and The Avengers he's one of the central characters. Even his own death couldn't stop him, as he just was resurrected to lead the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The guy headlines his own short films, has his own comic book series, and from the looks of it, is getting bigger and bigger.
      • It's worth noting that he's such a fan favorite that he's crossed universes. His actor had a few minor spots as an FBI agent on The West Wing and some fan fiction has run with the idea that the characters are actually the same person, and that Phil Coulson was merely undercover in the FBI.
    • Iron Man fits this because before the movies came out, he was being shifted into the background. He was still a mainline superhero in the Marvel Universe, but people wanted to see everyone else more. Then the movies came out, and suddenly Iron Man is one of the biggest things ever — to the point that he's overshadowed Spider-Man in popularity these days.
    • While were on the subject of superheroes, Captain America deserves a mention. While he had appeared in his own movie beforehand and had a prominent role in The Avengers, it wasn't until the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Cap rose to became one of the most popular characters in the MCU rivalling, and at times, surpassing Iron Man himself. Case in point for the posters for the original Avengers movie: Cap was displayed in the background and Tony had center field; however for the posters for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap is displayed front and center as the most prominent member of the team.
    • Loki. Despite having previously appeared in Thor, it wasn't until his depiction in The Avengers that Loki became almost as merchandise-able as the heroes themselves. Suddenly people wanted more of Loki and actor Tom Hiddleston to the point that Target even released their own Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray packaging that features only Loki on the cover.
    • When Peggy Carter debuted in the comics, it was to be a Temporary Love Interest to Captain America during his time in World War II... and she debuted in The '60s, long after Cap's regular WWII war stories were over. At first she appeared only in Flashbacks (in her first story she wasn't even named!). Under these circumstances, she's rarely been anything more than a Satellite Love Interest in the comics. But when Captain America: The First Avenger came out, since 99% of the film takes place during the War, she naturally had a much bigger role. She took center stage in the Marvel one-shot "Agent Carter", which was such a huge hit that it spun off into her own regular TV series. It's worth noting that the filmmakers have tried to use Peggy in every single (Earth-bound) MCU vehicle after The First Avenger. Joss Whedon wrote a scene for her in The Avengers, and she has cameos in The Winter Soldier, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. This character has seriously resonated with her audience. The fact that the actress playing her isn't prohibitively expensive probably helps this enormously.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Captain Jack Sparrow. The original intention was for the series to focus on the adventures of up-and-coming pirate Will Turner. Jack was meant to be a freewheeling, accidental mentor, with a large role only in the first film. But Johnny Depp ended up re-imagining Jack in such a hilarious, fascinating way that he dominates the first movie. His increased role continues into the sequels until the fourth film, where he's the only star and the previous main characters are not present.
    • Barbossa was originally only meant to be a Foil and nemesis for Jack in the first film, but proved to be so memorable (due to Geoffrey Rush's incredible performance) that the writers decided to resurrect him at the end of the second film, leading him to become one of the main characters in the third and fourth.
  • Star Wars:
    • Han Solo. George Lucas wanted Luke Skywalker to be the hero that everyone else just supports, but the public just went for Han. Doesn't hurt that it was Harrison Ford, even before he was big.
    • Even Darth Vader is one of these. In the first movie, he barely even appears, and when he does, he's usually being subordinate to Grand Moff Tarkin. In early drafts of the script, he was even killed in the Death Star trench run, and was never intended to be Luke's father. Fortunately, however, Lucas decided to insert a shot of him escaping as a Sequel Hook, and he ended up becoming the big villain of the series, enough to warrant a three-movie-long Start of Darkness arc.
    • Admiral Piett is a more minor example. Viewers found him so sympathetic in Episode V that he was written in to Episode VI to reprise his own role as Admiral of Vader's fleet... and then he dies. (At least he goes down fighting.)
    • Boba Fett became so popular that a decent chunk of the prequel trilogy's second film was dedicated to his origin story. His father became the sole genetic basis for the Grand Army of the Republic, one of the single most influential factions in the entire saga. He was even digitally added into a restored scene of A New Hope when Lucas released the Special Editions of the original trilogy. This in addition to his role as a supporting character and protagonist in the Expanded Universe stories, as well as getting his own upcoming anthology film?. All of this is pretty crazy when you realize he has just two lines in Episode V and none in Episode VI.
  • Tommy Lee Jones' version of Deputy Gerard in The Fugitive was so popular that he got his own sequel, U.S. Marshals.
  • The Lost Boys - Edgar Frog was merely a supporting character in the first film while Michael was the protagonist. But in the sequels, Edgar becomes the primary focus of the series, predominantly in the third film.
  • The Pink Panther (1963) was originally meant to be about David Niven's jewel thief character, with Inspector Clouseau bumbling antagonist. Then a last-minute casting change put Peter Sellers in the Clouseau role, and the rest is history. Let's face it, the whole thing ended up turned around. The thief, the antihero, the glamour romance interest and the plot all end up being forgotten in favour of Clouseau. The animated Pink Panther that appeared in the opening credits to the movies ended up as an independent character.
  • Burt Gummer, a supporting character in the original Tremors, wound up stealing the franchise so completely that the TV series never bothered to give leads Kevin Bacon or Fred Ward so much as a Continuity Nod.
  • Tropic Thunder - Les Grossman, the foul mouthed movie producer has his own movie in the works.
  • X-Men Film Series:
  • The original Jurassic Park made Velociraptor a Stock Dinosaur. It's speculated that Jurassic World will do the same for Mosasaurus. Jurassic Park III was set up to do this for Spinosaurus, but it didn't really work out.
  • Step Up 2: The Streets has Andie's Adorkable and talented friend Moose who was very popular even with those who didn't like the movie. His actor won a "Best Scene Stealer" award. Moose became a main character in the third movie and the only character who appears in all the films except the first one.

    Literature 
  • The Ponson Du Terrial 19th Century saga that came to be known as Rocambole was originally called The Dramas of Paris, the first book of which was subtitled The Mysterious Inheritance. The Hero was Armand de Kurgas and the Big Bad was his half brother and Evil Counterpart Adrea Feliponi aka Sir Williams. Baccarat was a supporting character, not even the most prominent female, and Rocambole was a minor character who only showed up near the end. But those latter 2 characters were the most popular.
    • So in the second novel Baccarat becomes the main hero of the story, and is given her own Evil Counterpart in Femme Fatale Torquise, while Rocambole becomes The Dragon. Andrea is still the Big Bad but Armand is absent much of the story and seems useless when he is there.
    • In the third book Baccarat is still the lead protagonist, now dealing with her Evil Doppleganger half sister. Armand's role is even smaller, Rocambole is Dragon-in-Chief to a mute Andrea serving more and becomes Dragon Ascendant.
    • Then he gets a Heel–Face Turn and becomes The Hero of the saga with the other main characters phased out all together.
  • Slappy, the Demonic Dummy of Goosebumps fame, was a minor character in the first Night of the Living Dummy book, but in the sequels was brought back as the primary villain.
  • Cthulhu in the Cthulhu Mythos. He has very few appearances in Lovecrafts own stories and most of them are very minor references (only The Call of Cthulhu extensively features him), with Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep, as patrons of human sorcerers, being far more prominent. Lovecrafts term for his stories was Yog-Sothothery.
  • Discworld:
    • Samuel Vimes was originally intended to be a minor character in the City Watch sub-series, with Carrot being the major character. Suffice it to say, Samuel Vimes is likely only beaten by Death and the Librarian for the number of books he's in.
    • Death. He started out as a joke in The Colour of Magic. He appears in nearly all of the books, sometimes as a main character.
  • The Lumatere Chronicles: Froi. He begins as an immoral thief and supreme Butt Monkey who just cannot catch a break, and deserves it to a degree as well, but he grows on the group of Exiles when Finnikin and Evanjalin save him from slave traders. He begins to speak the language of Lumatere, albeit poorly. Later on, he helps gather the Lumateren exiles from around the continent in order to regain the kingdom and helps to rebuild Lumatere as well. In book two, Froi of the Exiles, he takes center stage and the readers are shown just how much Character Development he's gone through.
    • In hindsight, Melina Marchetta probably always intended for Froi to be a major character, given how crucial his role in the backstory of Lumatere and Charyn turns out to be, and loads of Foreshadowing in the first book that the second and third bring to fruition... but that doesn't mean that his complex development over the course of the first book didn't make him a popular character with readers.
  • Rupert Psmith was a supporting character in P. G. Wodehouse's school-story Mike, but quickly eclipsed the stolid protagonist to become the star of the novel. In later books he is the central character. As Evelyn Waugh wrote: "One can date exactly the first moment when Wodehouse was touched by the sacred flame. It occurs halfway through Mike ... Psmith appears and the light is kindled which has burned with growing brilliancy for half a century."
  • The novels ''Relic'' and ''Reliquary'' have Batman-like, super-competent FBI Agent Pendergast as the tertiary main character (who didn't even manage to appear in the film of the book). The authors subsequently made him the main character of their next several books. Note that this wiki's own page for the series even bears his name.
  • Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh from the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. In the first few books, he's a very minor character — young and handsome, but so daft and foppish that no one takes him seriously. He appears in a few society scenes, but has nothing to do with the plot. Turnip was so popular with fans, however, that Willig gave him his own book, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.
  • The Icewind Dale Trilogy was originally supposed to be about Wulfgar and his friends, one of whom was a dark elf named Drizzt Do'Urden. The first book is pretty much like this, the second book has everybody pretty much share the spotlight, and by the third book Drizzt has clearly become the star. Salvatore followed up with The Dark Elf Trilogy, a prequel series which told Drizzt's life story before he met the others, cementing Drizzt's status as The Hero. The greater series as a whole became known as The Legend of Drizzt.
  • Albert Campion in the series of novels by Margery Allingham. He was originally just a minor character in The Crime at Black Dudley, but Margery Allingham found him so fascinating that he became the lead character in a series of novels.
  • Interview with the Vampire is Louis's story, with Lestat as a villain and supporting character (he's actually absent for a good chunk of the novel midway). But thanks to all the positive feedback he got in Interview, Rice saw fit to not only make the sequel from Lestat's POV, but to pretty much make him the protagonist of the whole damn The Vampire Chronicles series.
  • Ramona Quimby, star of Beverly Cleary's beloved book series started off as a minor character in the Henry Huggins series.
  • Evvy of the Circle of Magic universe by Tamora Pierce. She was one of the students that the first four protagonists found in their travels, but thanks to her terrible living situation Briar decided to take her with him, whereas the other students were okay where they were and haven't appeared since. Evvy was the protagonist of Melting Stones in the next series and tritagonist in Battle Magic with Briar and Rosethorn after that.
  • Ridley from The Caster Chronicles, who was popular enough to get her own spinoff series (Dangerous Creatures).
  • Warrior Cats features several. Not so much in the series proper, but the novellas, Super Editions, and manga, plenty of popular characters get their own adventures. Tigerstar, Graystripe, Crookedstar, Tallstar, Yellowfang, and more have all gotten either novellas, manga, or Super Editions about them.
  • Bernice Summerfield was the Seventh Doctor's companion for much of the Virgin Doctor Who New Adventures. She ended up getting a popular Big Finish spin-off, the first Doctor Who companion to do so.
  • Rosemary Wells' character Yoko first debuted in the 1998 book Yoko which deals with racism. Like the other characters created by Wells, she was originally going to only show up in one book like the other characters she made in the past. However, Yoko actually started getting popular with readers in the late '90s. As a result, Wells decided to create a new book series in the late '90s titled Yoko & Friends which brings back other characters from Wells previous books such as Nora from Noisy Nora and Charles from Shy Charles. Yoko later becomes one of the characters featured in the Animated Adaptation of Timothy Goes to School. Years after the animated series ended, Yoko continues to be one of Wells' most beloved characters and new books starring Yoko are still being made by her with the latest being "Yoko Finds Her Way" in 2014.
  • Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments was only meant to have a minor role in the first book of the series, but due to the amount of positive reception by the fans he received an expanded role as both a secondary character and Alec Lightwood’s love interest – appearing in every book in the series. He also went on to appear in the prequel series – The Infernal Devices, and got a series of short stories that were told from his perspective – The Bane Chronicles.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Bobo Brazil went from lower card attraction whose only notable opponent was Ernie Ladd to top draw in multiple promotions with highly publicized matches against André the Giant and The Sheik.
  • (Somewhat)Popular Narcissist Lex Luger became the successor to Hulk Hogan after the latter was shamed out of the WWF by Yokozuna.
  • Wrestling's Legion of Doom had many proven stars in it, including both Sheiks. But the entire stable's identity would be completely absorbed by the two least known members at the time of its inception, The Road Warriors.
  • Eddie Guerrero started out as a guy who would wrestle during intermissions and ended up as one of the biggest stars in Mexico as one half of La Pareja Atómica with El Hijo Del Santo in CMLL then as part AAA's of Los Gringos Locos.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin started out as part of a tag-team in WCW with the late Brian Pillman called "The Hollywood Blonds". They eventually part ways and Austin became a singles competitor both in WCW and eventually ECW. When he joined the WWF however, his meteoric rise began after the epic "Austin 3:16" speech he made after winning the King of the Ring tournament in 1996. And the rest, as they say, is history.
  • While CM Punk has always been an Ensemble Darkhorse, his Career Resurrection in 2011 put him in a whole new level especially when he won his fifth world title, which is also the fifth longest reign in history and the longest since the Hulk Hogan reign of '84 to '88.
  • Cheerleader Melissa went from valet(cheerleader) to the Ballard Brothers in All Pro Wrestling and semi regular competitor who usually lost to an undefeated streak in Ultimate Pro Wrestling, tours of Japan and the seizing of APW's Above The Law Title belt, which she would permanently rename the "Future Legend Title". Then she became ranked as the best woman in her profession as SHIMMER's champion.
  • To the annoyance of wrestling fans many years after the fact, John Cena on Thursday Night Smackdown, as his rise to super stardom coincided with the loss of most of what made him a star in the first place.
  • Jimmy Jacobs, in IWA Mid-South, All American Wrestling and Ring of Honor. Each being a more extreme case than the preceding. Consider he started as a commentator, one could say this of his wrestling career in general.
  • While Delirious was always fairly important to the angles of his starting promotion, Gateway Championship Wrestling, in Ring of Honor he was little more than a jobber for higher who got a long term deal because the RoHbots took an unexpected liking to him. Then worked his way out of jobberdom to feud with Adam Pearce's Hangmen 3, Austin Aries and his so called Pantheon of gods and became the aforementioned Jimmy Jacob's enforcer in Age Of The Fall.
  • However briefly, Dolph Ziggler was a main eventer and World Heavyweight Champion after starting out as Kerwin White's caddy and a cheerleader in the spirit squad.
  • AJ Lee went from loser of NXT season 3 and borderline jobber to spotlight stealing general manager of Monday Night Raw and then longest reigning divas champion.
  • Jimmy Havoc after Progress Wrestling made him their top heel several other companies in England started to use him in a similar way to the point at that one point in 2015 he held 5 different companies championships at the same time.
    • Will Ospreay has become popular among internet fans recently. Although this popularity started due to a match he had in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, many have now seen his work in Progress and have nothing but good things to say about him.

    Radio 
  • Douglas Adams originally intended Marvin the Paranoid Android to be a one-off character in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; he supposed that there were only so many jokes you could get out of a robot with Eeyore-like depression. He's the most popular and well-remembered character in the franchise to the point he's considered the Series Mascot.
  • Hey, man, this is Donnie Baker. I was a know-nothin' redneck that owned a boat and worked as a stockboy under that dumbass Randy. Then I started callin' The Bob & Tom Show. Now the chicks can't keep their hands off my pork rind. I swear to God they can't.
  • Karl Pilkington, from The Ricky Gervais Show, for a real life example. Originally the show was just a vessel for Ricky Gervais and his partner in crime Stephen Merchant. Then they discovered the machinations of their producer's mind and the entire thing changed gear. Karl Pilkington quickly became the focus of the show, and his thoughts (and mad stories) have since been compiled into books, and even a TV series.
  • The Adam Carolla Show:
    • David Alan Grier when he's a guest. Particularly his impression of R and B singer Teddy Pendegrast, which usually involves a skit of him coming into the studio to lay down backing vocal tracks (with Adam acting as producer) and him going off into obscene sexual tangents.
    • Recently, comedian Jo Koy's "Bung Lu Soo" character (aka "The Rooster"), who has evolved from his "generic Asian guy accent" bit. He's constantly trying to join old 70s bands and goes on weird tangents. When he's not trying to join musical acts, he's the host at PF Chang's, not allowing Adam to sit down despite his reservation.
      • Jo seems to have another hit on his hands with "Brown Sugar" a literal box of brown sugar trying to live in the pantry, only to be denied by the other spices due to his "ethnicity."
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • Charlotte Pollard the Edwardian Adventuress. She was the 8th Doctor's main companion in the monthly audio series and ended up getting her own spin-off. She has finally become a Canon Immigrant, one of the most popular DW companions, and is now in DW Legacy.
    • The Eighth Doctor himself. Given that he has only two TV stories, there was a huge gap to be filled and Big Finish created a complex Doctor with whom they can basically do anything they want.

     Roleplay 
  • A number of examples from Dino Attack RPG:
    • Trouble was intended by PeabodySam to be a one-off character who would only appear in a very short scene. Trouble ended up becoming popular enough to become Rex's personal Lancer. When Trouble was suddenly subjected to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, other players eagerly awaited his return. They ultimately got their wish when Trouble came Back for the Finale and was given a Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • Kat was introduced by Jackson Lake as an Affirmative Action Girl. As a response to her unexpected popularity, Kat was elevated to a higher level of prominence and given far more character development, especially starting with the Goo Caverns Story Arc.
    • Dr. Alan Pierce was first brought in as a seemingly random extra who existed for no other purpose than to heal Zenna after she got into a nasty accident. Not only did he go on to become a major character in the RPG and one of Atton Rand's most popular characters, but his popularity also led to the Dino Attack Team's medical wing being brought to the forefront and being a focus for drama as opposed to simply a place for wounded agents to be healed.
    • A number of Red Shirt characters, such as Hertz and Zelda Frodongan, were able to survive and graduate to Mauve Shirt status before ultimately becoming important members of the cast thanks to their popularity.
  • From AJCO: Cameo Vincenti was brought in mostly to help bolster the numbers of AJCO, which were rapidly becoming insignificant when compared to the expanding Castle Crew. They eventually wound up becoming the driving force of the first truly structured story arc, rekindling A_J's interest in the Void, developing the concept of the Void linking worlds and prompting Egg's shift from a Lovable Coward into a Crusading Lawyer.
    • The angelic mayor Kaja of Katton also became very important very quickly, being a rare Neutral Good in a world of Grey and Gray Morality. Her village consisted of only herself and Crez in the arc she was introduced in, and following the conclusion of the Silo arc is now the largest in terms of numbers (housing roughly ten characters, which is two more than the titular AJCO).
    • Arguably Egg as well. She was an insignificant yes-woman when she first arrived, a cowardly background worker of AJCO. She gained a little more time in the spotlight after the creation of the Castle Crew, but rocketed into main character position following Cameo's death and the unveiling of her status as a prosecutor. She's been involved in every arc finale as a key player — she is the only non-State character to have this status.
  • Persona Requis Aeterna has this a gameplay mechanic; the more interest the players show in an NPC, the bigger and important that NPC's role becomes.

    Theater 

    Visual Novels 
  • Kotori Shirakawa was one of the heroines in Da Capo, though both Nemu and Sakura were more important characters to the 'real' plot of the story. However, Kotori proved to be extremely popular and landed not only a clear expy in the sequel but also numerous fan discs and side stories to satisfy all of her fans.
  • The two Archer servants from Fate/stay night are this:
    • Archer, the Servant of Rin Tohsaka, only comes to prominence in the second of three routes in the game, but he has more fans then the main character. Though funnily enough, he is the main character. He has since appeared in almost every spinoff, including as a playable servant in Fate/EXTRA and its sequel Fate/Extra CCC.
    • Gilgamesh is also in a similar boat, only becoming a main antagonist in one route. However, he has since appeared as a major antagonist in the prequel Fate/Zero, as a playable servant in Fate/Extra CCC and as a main character on Fate/strange fake, among other roles.
  • Of the Danganronpa cast, the one character that everyone loves to talk about is Nagito Komaeda from Super Dangan Ronpa 2. Part of the main cast of that game, he quickly started to endear himself to fans of the series for his incredibly fluctuating luck, his infuriating nature, and his genuinely interesting backstory and personality. He quickly came to be one of the most marketable characters of the game, getting two Image Songs, showing up in Ultra Despair Girls as a side character, and getting his own spinoff OVA bundled up with New Dangan Ronpa V3. Ironically, his presence decreased overall where he should have been most prominent— the backstory for the 77th graduating class of Hope's Peak.

     Web Animation  
  • Homestar Runner
    • Strong Bad, the cartoon's rival/villain is even more popular than the title character.
    • Homsar, who started off as a One-Shot Character that's purely there to help make fun of a misspelling of Homestar's name in the second Strong Bad Email, but has since became one of the core characters of the series.
      • Senor Cardgage, Stinkoman, Trogdor, and Teen Girl Squad started as jokes in sbemails, and the latter now have their own page.
  • Bravest Warriors has Catbug. An adorable cat with a ladybug shell and wings. Fans loved the cute little critter. He's basically the series mascot at this point, and even outshines the Bravest Warriors themselves in popularity.
  • Red vs. Blue has Caboose. His idiotic nature and childish randomness caused many fans to get attached to him. It helps that Caboose has gotten a lot of scenes in later seasons, being one of the more frequently seen characters of the Blue team to appear.
  • Velvet Scarlatina the Australian-accented bunny girl of RWBY was intended as a one-off character for Volume 1 to demonstrate the social challenges faced by the Faunas. For obvious reasons, the fandom reaction was extremely strong, so much so that she later became a recurring character with her own team, CFVY, and the show's creators held a fan contest to submit a costume design. Velvet even becomes a Chekhov's Gunman in Volume 3, when she unknowingly hands Ruby information which reveals Mercury and Emerald's machinations and proves Yang's innocence. She also gets her own fight scene, where she more than holds her own against two Paladins at once.

    Webcomics 
  • Ray and Roast Beef from Achewood. Originally two of a trio of cats (along with Pat) who fancied themselves "the dirtiest dudes in town" and basically existed to be a bad influence on Phillipe. So interchangeable were they in the early years that Beef was billed simply as "the other cat," notable only for being "not Ray, and not Pat." But soon the three of them began to develop their own personalities, the trio became a duo (with Pat evolving into a sanctimonious vegan) and the strip began to revolve around the friendship between laid-back Ray and eternally depressed Beef.
  • The little blue thing in Something*Positive was simply a one-off joke for Life with Rippy until...well...fans started liking the bastard. He'd eventually become Kharisma's imaginary "NEW FRIEND!" What the hell were the fans thinking?
    • Probably the same thing they were thinking with Rippy himself...who was a one-shot one-panel gag in S* P, and he'd eventually get his own gag series.
  • Loopy church-girl Joyce stole the spotlight in Roomies!, with most storylines centering around her. Willis tried to write her out by having her inducted into secret alien-fighting organisation SEMME, but it backfired. Once SEMME was in the picture, Willis found it more interesting than the college life premise, and It's Walky! was the result. She then stole the spotlight again in It's Walky!, as the strip mutated from being primarily about Walky to being primarily about Walky and Joyce's relationship.
    • Both Mike and Robin were relatively minor characters in It's Walky; Robin was only introduced halfway through, and while Mike was there from the beginning, his role was later reduced by transferring him to a different squad. However, come Shortpacked!, both are members of the primary cast—in fact, Willis knew his next project would be Shortpacked, and decided to lay the groundwork early, creating Robin to spin her off and deliberately killing Mike to cause confusion when he reappeared. (come Dumbing of Age, emphasis on both is heavily reduced, Robin moreso than Mike) .
  • Fox and Collin from Friendly Hostility were originally minor characters on the author's previous webcomic, Boy Meets Boy. Now that Friendly Hostility is over, the writer's started Other People's Business which has Leon, a minor character from Friendly Hostility as a major character, and Collin reduced to the background.
  • The Midnight Crew originally started as Evil Counterparts of the Problem Sleuth characters that appeared in a few non-canonical strips drawn for donations. They became so popular that they started appearing frequently as a Show Within a Show in Homestuck, then became playable during an Intermission arc between Acts 3 and 4.
    • Said intermission is canon - the Midnight Crew are the exiles of the Trolls, who are Breakout Characters in their own right.
    • They also have counterparts in the kids' session. Spades Slick's counterpart / alternate universe past self, Jack Noir, ultimately became one of the most active antagonists.
  • In Dead Of Summer, the integration of The Protomen was secondary, as originally, the characters in Book 2 were going to be just a group of people who lived underground. The Protomen's willingness to be in the comic, however, suddenly gave these people names and faces. They soon became major characters, and have drawn many fans to the site for the sole reason that they're the Protomen.
  • Zexion in Ansem Retort became increasingly more popular in Ansem Retort, to the point that Season 3 revolved entirely around him. Nearly everything in the comic ends up focusing on him and/or Axel
  • Arthur the duck and Gramp in Sheldon. Weeks can go by without seeing the title character.
  • Zig Zag from Sabrina Online. A decade after her introduction, she's gone from "just Sabrina's boss" to being just as prominent a character as Sabrina herself.
    • Yeah, but Zig Zag was invented by Max Blackrabbit, a friend of Sabrina creator Eric Schwartz, and was already established with a backstory and porn career when Schwartz asked to use her. She's more of a permanent crossover character, and was pretty well destined to rub up against Sabrina in the way that she does.
  • Kel from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. She first appeared as indentured servant to the Green Knight, joined the Rogues when they overcame him, and spent a year or so snarking in the background (with stringy hair) before growing a personality (and nice head of ginger locks), and becoming one of the principal characters.
  • Helmeted Author. Did you know that he wasn't originally even a character to begin with? When he first appeared, he was supposed to be just THE Author with a helmet. The Dave just decided to give him his own comic. Helmeted Author Quips were so popular that Helmut became the Big Bad of the series, eventually possessing Bob.
    • Mynd, Chadling and Mike. They were originally just villains that a fan requested. However, Chadling betrayed Mynd and after the storyline, all three became so popular that Mike became the narrator of the Second Party. Later he was resurrected by Mega Man and Bass. Then he got an Evil Counterpart from Evil Overlord Mike AKA Ninja Ned. Mynd himself became one of Bob's three evil minions.
  • The photo webcomic Hearts of Plastic has seen several breakout characters, including Ratchet, Bill Cosby's Floating Head, and Grimlock. But the biggest is Baby Clouder, the son of Double Dealer and Arcee. Clouder went from a very minor character introduced in Season 2 to being one of the leads to being the most popular character in the comic. This may or may not be related to Clouder going from being a simple baby to becoming the most powerful being in the universe.
  • String Theory: Marcus was first intended to be one-time-only, but fans liked him so much the artist decided to make him a recurring character.

     Web Original  
  • The Slender Man took off by means of this trope. Originally, there was (and still is) a thread on the Something Awful forums devoted to photoshopping normal photos with ghosts or monsters hidden somewhere in there, with one intent being to dupe real life paranormal organizations. Eventually, one member posted two photos of a tall, thin man with no face who had tentacles instead of arms. Slendy gradually took over the thread because he was, more than any of the other ghosts and monsters, genuinely terrifying, and thus, a legend was born.
  • The Annoying Orange sprung forth two adorable characters Marshmallow and Midget Apple, who were both introduced as minuscule, supporting characters in their first videos (esp. Midget Apple who only got one line), but grew to become two of the most iconic, beloved characters of the series.
  • The Spoony Experiment - Dr. Insano started as a one-off character in a made-up 'Previously On' montage. He was brought back in Spoony's Final Fantasy VIII review series, and now he's one of the most popular and iconic characters among That Guy with the Glasses' repertoire.
  • In The Lazer Collection, Doctor Octogonapus made a single appearance. The sequel has him making several appearances, and in the third, there's an actual storyline and he's the antagonist.
  • Catbug only appeared in three episodes of Bravest Warriors' first season, but by the season's finale he's easily the most popular with its fanbase. And with a seemingly expanded role in the upcoming Season 2 and a web short just for him, the folks at Cartoon Hangover are very aware of this.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:
    • It has Lydia Bennet. In the book this is inspired of, she is shown as an irresponsible Hormone-Addled Teenager who jeopardizes her family's future and her sister's chances of happiness for a hunk. The series highlights both her Freudian Excuse (her mother is obsessed with men and thinks that no happiness or self-worth could be really found without a loved one, and she receives no attention from her Aloof Big Sisters) and her more sympathetic traits (she's almost in love with the things she has a passion for, making her vibrant and genuine, her talent for getting things to go her way is both innocent and hilarious and she has no idea of what she is doing). Plus, she is a Fiery Redhead played by the adorkable Mary Kate Wiles. On the flip side, she becomes The Woobie. She was very popular with the fans, but she was obviously an interesting character to the writers who gave her lots of opportunities to shine. She even had her own spin-off vlog.
    • Bernie Su, one of the head writers and directors of the show, frequently described Charlotte Lu as his favourite character. Charlotte Lucas of Pride and Prejudice was voice of reason and close friend to book Lizzy, but her role was made much more important in the vlog.
  • Flora has become this in the small franchise of play-by-post role-plays and stories spunoff from Into the Black. Not only is she the only character to migrate forward from the maligned sequel Racing the Storm, she stars in the sequel and Racing's epilogue is spent entirely delving into her backstory. She also appears in many of the expanded universe stories and was even ported into the alternate-universe Blanking the Slate, the only character to do so who didn't originate from the original role-play.
  • Nappa from Dragon Ball Z Abridged is a character who was so popular, that the creators of the series brought him back as a ghost after he died, and he even got a shared internet series with Vegeta.
    Nappa: I am hilarious and you will quote everything I say.
  • Achievement Hunter became this for Rooster Teeth. Outside of Red vs. Blue and RWBY, most videos people hunt down are dedicated to the six-eight man team of nutcases.

Alternative Title(s): The Fonzie

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BreakoutCharacter