->'''Luke''': So... you got your reward and you're just leaving then?\\
'''Han Solo''': That's right, yeah. I got some old debts I've got to pay off with this stuff. Even if I didn't, you don't think I'd be fool enough to stick around here, do you? Why don't you come with us? You're pretty good in a fight. We could use you.\\
'''Luke''': Come on. Why don't you take a look around? You know what's about to happen, what they're up against. They could use a good pilot like you. You're turning your back on them.\\
'''Han Solo''': What good's a reward if you ain't around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain't my idea of courage. It's more like... suicide.\\
'''Luke''': All right. Well, take care of yourself, Han. I guess that's what you're best at, isn't it?\\
''[starts to storm off]''\\
'''Han Solo''': Hey, Luke... may the Force be with you.\\
''[Luke exits. Chewie growls]''\\
'''Han Solo''': What're you lookin' at? I know what I'm doin'.
-->-- ''[[Film/ANewHope Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope]]''

Fairly often in fiction, [[IWorkAlone a Dedicated Loner]] character will appear. He (or more rarely, she) is [[IneffectualLoner pretty useless]], evil, or just [[LonersAreFreaks a little strange]]. However, sometimes these Switzerland types are in possession of just enough power to sway the final battle, should they choose to get involved. If they do, the chances are excellent that they'll end up [[NeutralNoLonger throwing in with the Good Guys]] [[ChangedMyMindKid at the very last minute]] and providing the decisive element in the victory over evil. [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant Sometimes they provide a little more decisive element than necessary]].

[[IWorkAlone These unaffiliated loners may initially refuse to join a side for many reasons]]. They [[BystanderSyndrome may not care about the conflict in question]] ("Eh, meet the new boss, same as the old boss"), or may not care enough to consider it worth risking their own precious skins ("I'm not stupid, [[RedShirt I'm not expendable]], and I'm not going,") or may have reasons to hate both sides of the fight equally ("A plague on both your houses; I hope you annihilate each other completely and leave the world a better place.") Generally, they relish their uninvolved status, although you may see them randomly helping out the Good Guys (or even the Bad Guys) once or twice just because it livens up a dull day.

Occasionally, this particular loner gets stuck with what might be called a "destiny choice", especially if he appears in EpicFantasy -- the character's personal salvation depends on his making the "right" choice at a certain juncture. The salvation of the rest of the World As We Know It becomes something of an afterthought. The moment of choice will be accompanied by loud exhortations from the Good Guys to "Choose well!" If the loner character manages to screw up "the big choice", it's definitely a subversion.

If you want to bring one of these guys over on to your team, there are a couple of simple suggestions you might want to follow:

'''If You Are The Good Guys''': Don't attempt to bribe him through false displays of affection. He'll see right through it and scorn you for the attempt. Bribing with cold hard cash or other valuable commodities might work, but make sure the bribe is of an appropriate size; these guys ''never'' come cheap. They will be offended if the offered price undervalues their worth. Generally, trying to guilt them into helping you out won't work either, although there are [[Franchise/StarWars exceptions]]. Your best bet is to win them over with a genuinely unforced gesture of [[PowerOfFriendship friendship]] or [[PowerOfLove affection]], with no agenda behind it. Picking an attractive member of the appropriate gender to offer this gesture may be effective, but again, don't pander or it ''will'' backfire. You can also try reason: "Do you want to live in the kind of world the BigBad is going to create? No? Then make yourself useful!" The odds are in your favor if you don't mess it up by being too obvious.

'''If You Are The Bad Guys''': Whatever you do, do not choose this character as a subject to [[KickTheDog randomly display how evil you are.]] If he wasn't inclined to help those ''other'' twits out at first, dropping him into a tank of flesh-devouring blood eels to prove your villain credentials won't help. He'll [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal happily forget]] whatever grudge he had against the Good Guys and [[AdoptTheDog join up with them]] [[{{Revenge}} in order to take you down]]. Displays of affection are out since you're Evil. But, since you ''are'' Evil, chances are you can outbid the Good Guys either in mercantile goods or in offers of worldly power. Good, in addition to being [[GoodIsDumb dumb]], is also often cash-strapped. Remember that the odds are against you in this effort, however; if the loner refuses your carefully considered and politely delivered bribe, [[KilledOffForReal kill him immediately]]. Do not [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat take half measures]]! These types are noticeably difficult to dispose of, and if you fail to kill him, well...remember what we told you about the tank of blood eels? Same deal, only more so.

Note that this is '''not''' the same as either a HeelFaceTurn or a FaceHeelTurn. Someone who Defaults To Good was neither a Heel nor a Face to begin with; they are affiliated with ''neither'' side until some critical point very late in the story. For most of the tale, they are looking out solely for themselves, or possibly affiliated with a [[HiddenElfVillage third]] [[HufflepuffHouse group]] that is not taking an active part in the main conflict.

Defaulting To Good is sometimes a ChangedMyMindKid moment. Compare RousseauWasRight.


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Subverted, then played straight by Rabat in ''Anime/{{Vandread}}'' flees before the final battle at the end of season 1. Despite pleas from the crew of the Nirvana, he never comes back. [[spoiler: Then at the end of season 2, he not only fights in the final battle, but brings a whole ''fleet'' with him!]]
* Averted with Amon Garam ([[DubNameChange Adrian Gecko]]) in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''. After being neutrally helpful (but manipulative!) throughout the first arc of season three and then showing his own goals in the second (but still a bit helpful, if distant), you get to [[spoiler:the spot right after Haou has been defeated, where he steps up and sacrifices the woman who loves him and that he loves back in order to control Exodia.]] Then, he starts his plan to become king of the world. [[spoiler:But then it's double subverted (without being subverted in the first place, get over it) when he reveals himself as a WellIntentionedExtremist.]]
* Guts, from ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'', was a freelancing career mercenary who only went where the money was and didn't pick sides. When he's first introduced as a teen mercenary, he's fighting for [[TheEmpire the Tudor Empire]] (and they won the battle because of Guts), but then immediately leaves the job after his contract is fulfilled. But after being spotted by Griffith and his mercenary army, of which Guts helped fight against, [[DefeatMeansFriendship Guts was recruited]] to the Band of the Hawk, who were employed by the Kingdom of Midland to help fight against Tudor. When Guts went from default to the side of Midland, the kingdom got a HUGE advantage during the war.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': Sesshomaru's personal goals left him in conflict with Inuyasha's group but uninterested in either the BigBad or the plot-driving DismantledMacGuffin. However, the BigBad kept trying to manipulate his SiblingRivalry to take out the heroes and his MoralityPet to neutralise his own power. This drove Sesshomaru from being a random element, through the TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou and IWasJustPassingThrough AntiVillain stage, into being an openly helpful AntiHero. Without Sesshomaru throwing his lot in with the good guys, the BigBad and ArtifactOfDoom could never have been defeated. In short, the BigBad should have read the 'If You're the Bad Guy' advice.

* As noted in the starting quote, [[Franchise/StarWars Han Solo]] is the most famous example of this trope. While he certainly wasn't the first to pull this move, people of a certain generation will never forget "YAHOOOOO! You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home."
** From the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'', Talon Karrde, Mara Jade, and the rest of the Smugglers' Alliance in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy''. Took a MistreatmentInducedBetrayal to convince Karrde and Jade, and they had a hard time convincing the others. When they tried to do so, perhaps having realized his previous mistake with Karrde's organization, Thrawn gave specific orders to leave the other smugglers alone so that they'd continue to have no dog in the fight. A less intelligent informant of Thrawn's managed to ruin this in a play for personal glory, bringing most of the other major groups on board with forming the Smugglers' Alliance.
* The real ur-example has to be Rick, the original Mr. "I stick my neck out for no one," from ''{{Film/Casablanca}}''. He pulls it off so well he gets Captain Renault to turn right after him.
* Happens a couple of times in Film/MichaelClayton to two different characters.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Gabriel winds up doing this in Series/{{Supernatural}}. He helped advance the villain's agenda in his second appearance on the show, and tried to advance it in his third, because he thinks the whole destined mess should be gotten over with as quickly as possible, but he doesn't actively back either side. His official story is he doesn't care; it's pretty clear he doesn't want to be responsible for either side losing because he cares about them ''both'', but then:
-->'''Gabriel:''' I've been riding the pine a long time, but I'm in the game now. And I'm not on your side, or Michael's. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming I'm on theirs.]]\\
'''Lucifer:''' Brother, don't make me do this.\\
'''Gabriel:''' No one makes ''us'' do anything.

* Averted in Lloyd Alexander's The Iron Ring. The neutral king Bala, who has been curt to both good and bad sides, not only throws in with the bad guys in the final battle, but tips the scales greatly in their favor.
* In ''Literature/TheFionavarTapestry'', by Creator/GuyGavrielKay, the big Destiny Choice goes to [[spoiler:Darien, son of the BigBad. He chooses for Light (of course)]] and, [[RedemptionEqualsDeath well, you can guess how that ends up.]]
* In Creator/SusanCooper's ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'' series, just before the climactic battle in ''Literature/SilverOnTheTree'', the forces of the Dark attempt to stick [[spoiler:John Rowlands]] (who, being human, is a part of neither the Light nor the Dark and is not even really aware that there is a conflict going on) with this choice, bribing him with a promise of freeing his [[NotBrainwashed possessed wife]] from their control in exchange for his deciding in their favor on a matter critical to the outcome of the big battle. He is not fooled, however, and this [[KickTheDog little move]] causes him to side decisively with the Light, as he both rules in their favor on the matter in contention, and goes on to play a small but vital role in the final victory.
* In Creator/DavidEddings' ''Literature/{{Malloreon}}'' [[spoiler:Cyradis, explicitly described as the incarnation of TrueNeutral, has the sole purpose of deciding whether the Child of Light or the Child of Dark won. It's described as being as random as a coin flip, but needless to say, she picks good. It helps that the forces of Dark blatantly tried to cheat.]]
** Well, the good also cheated [[spoiler:by removing her blindfold, which led to her losing her prophetic powers.]]
** It also helps that [[spoiler: she was developing a crush on one of the good guys before making the aforementioned choice. And, thanks to her seer powers, knew she would have a deliriously happy marriage to the guy in the event that Light triumphed. Makes you wonder why the Dark thought letting her choose was a good idea.]]
* Subverted, like so many things, in Creator/GeorgeRRMartin's ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. Lord Eddard Stark ''thinks'' he has secured the vital loyalty and aid of "declared neutral" [[spoiler:Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish]]. However, that fellow has gone over to the Bad Guys instead. The results are not pretty.
* Riana, The One Immortal, in the novel ''Lord Brother'' by Carolyn Kephart. A very powerful magic-user but chronically neutral, she's initially only concerned with lounging around and having sex with the main character or whatever other gorgeous man might come her way. By the end, she's [[spoiler: moved to provide what is almost a DeusExMachina to help the good guys.]]
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' series, this role falls to [[spoiler:Yrael, also called Mogget]].

[[folder: TabletopGames]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' cosmology, St. Cuthbert, the god of justice and retribution, may be the UrExample for that setting. He has LawfulNeutral as an InUniverse alignment, but sources say that he sides with Good when given the choice, because Evil beings break laws more often than Good ones. (He does not allow evil worshippers, and many Paladin's are among his clergy.)

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/ExitFate''. TheHero, [[AllLovingHero Daniel Vinyard]], assumes that [[spoiler:Pereious and the mountain tribes]] are going to do this after [[TheEmpire Almenga]]'s unexpected acts of aggression and, if not, that he'll be able to convince them due to [[GenreSavvy knowing that he's a]] MagneticHero. Turns out, the big guy actually wants ''nothing'' to do with the upcoming war, is going to stay completely neutral in the fight, ''and'' even flat-out tells Daniel that they're still enemies (albeit this one has a WorthyOpponent vibe to it).
* Twice in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI''. First is the mayor of Narshe, who insists on staying neutral despite having already been invaded by the Empire once; only a ''second'' (and much larger-scale) invasion finally sways him. Later comes Setzer, who wasn't a fan of the Empire but refused to officially take sides until the Returners convince him, in part with a rigged coin toss. (The SNES translation mistranslated Setzer's view, though, making his joining the Returners seem more like a HeelFaceTurn. The GBA translation is more true to the Japanese original.)
* In ''VideoGame/SuikodenV'', Gizel Godwin's FatalFlaw is that he simply cannot resist pissing off neutral factions with his intrigues. The vast majority of Falena's factions considered the whole Prince vs. Godwin fight to be not their problem, or else actively supported the Godwins, but due to something that the Godwins either did in the BackStory or during the game's story, became enemies of the Godwins and supported the Prince's army. By the end of the game, the entirety of Falena has either rallied behind the Prince or been wiped out in the fighting.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Subverted in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower''. Both the Rebels and the Evil Horde court a magical being (in the form of a talking tree) to get it on their side. Just when you think it'll go with the good guys, instead it says, [[TakeAThirdOption "I choose to - think about it"]] and vanishes.
* Red X from ''TeenTitans''. While on the whole an unrepentant thief and a ChaoticNeutral character who is on his ''own'' side, whenever it really counted, he chose to side with the heroes rather than the villains. Especially notable considering the fact that in both cases he ''did'' have the option to just walk away and choose neither side.
* Asajj Ventress from ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' seems to routinely default to good after [[spoiler:her master's betrayal]] causes her to undergo a significant MoralityAdjustment that eventually has her end up falling somewhere between AntiHero and AntiVillain status.