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Demoted to Extra

"Remember when we used to do stuff? You know, be out there with them and help?"
Bulmanote , Dragon Ball Abridged

We have a member of the supporting cast. They're important to the plot. Although, like any other minor character, they fall Out of Focus at times. Then comes the sequel, or a new season, or the adaptation, or The Movie, and... hey, where'd they go? They weren't completely written out, but they just weren't good enough to keep what importance they had in the original. The character's fanbase will complain, and everyone else may just accept it as the status quo. It's sad.

Opposite of the Ascended Extra; instead of a background or one-off character becoming a key member of the supporting cast, a key member of the supporting cast becomes a background or one-off character. Also contrast Spotlight-Stealing Squad; there may not be anyone in particular that takes these characters' screentime, and the presence of a Spotlight Stealing Squad doesn't mean no one else is plot-important anymore. In works when Anyone Can Die, characters fated to die frequently end up demoted to extra before their deaths.

This trope is for characters who become unimportant to the story, but are still seen or mentioned occasionally; for characters who disappear completely from the story as if they had never existed, see Chuck Cunningham Syndrome for when they disappear from the original work and Adapted Out for when they never appear in the adaptation.

Compare Shoo Out the Clowns, Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer, Not as You Know Them, The Artifact, Out of Focus, What Happened to the Mouse?, Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, and Commuting on a Bus. Contrast Ascended Extra, Breakout Character, and Ensemble Dark Horse.

There were more examples to this trope, but we had them cut out to save time. If you can see them, feel free to put them back on.


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    Alternate Reality Game 
  • Trick: Chutlo. He was originally going to be the hero and would defeat Jackoren, but he later he was replaced by Daniel Duck and made a cameo appearance in Act 3. Now Subverted, though, now that the stars in the sequel.


    Comic Books 
  • Also tends to happen to the Doom Patrol. Often lampshaded at the end of their newest guest appearance in some other hero team's series.
  • The third Flash, Wally West, was hit with this pretty hard. He started out as the original Kid Flash, before replacing Barry Allen as the Flash (And becoming the Trope Codifier for Sidekick Graduations Stick) following Crisis on Infinite Earths; even being used as the Flash over Barry in Justice League. After that, Wally remained the main character in the Flash series until Infinite Crisis, when Bart Allen briefly took over the role for a year before Wally returned, at which point Wally took the series over again. Until Final Crisis brought Barry Allen Back from the Dead & he took the book back from Wally; and although they both remained active as the Flash, Wally only made two appearances in the Flash series after that point & was effectively reduced to appearing in crowd shots, until DC launched their line wide reboot & Wally was "taken off the table" with his tenure as the Flash & Kid Flash seemingly completely retconned away. Given that Wally is one of DC's most popular characters, fans were deeply unhappy with this. Wally has been reintroduced as Iris West's troubled delinquent nephew and Barry is starting to take on a mentor role with him, so he does have a part in the reboot.
  • Reading Justice Society of America can be a bit jarring if you're a fan of Sandman Mystery Theatre. After the Golden Age Sandman spent years as the hero of his own cult classic series, he's reduced to a mere scene-filler in JSA.
  • Despite being the reason for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's existance, and being the driving force behind the plot of the Black Dossier, Prospero disappears almost entirerly, and only makes an appearance during the last chapter of Century to get Orlando to resume her search for the Moonchild, and disappears entirerly after that, not even supporting the remnants of the League during the final battle.
  • It also happens a lot to the Legion of Super-Heroes, given the sheer number of characters, frequent RetCons and all-out continuity reboots, generally convoluted continuity, and the fact that the team has been in existence since the 1950s, giving fans plenty of opportunity to start Running the Asylum. The most notable victim is probably Dyrk Magz aka Magno, who spent all of ten issues as a member of the Legion before getting summarily depowered, was given just enough development to be interesting, and then mostly got relegated to the background before the Legion Worlds miniseries finally managed to abandon the character in a way that gave him no resolution but also left him in a position from which it would be hard to bring him back into play. And then the Legion's continuity was rebooted entirely a few years later anyhow. Also notable were Wildfire and Dawnstar, who were amongst the most popular characters of the original Legion.
    • The Legion was also the cause of this for another hero: Superboy. They originally appeared as supporting characters in a 1958 Superboy story, then starting in 1962 they appeared as the backup feature in Adventure Comics where Superboy had been the star since 1946. Within a year they had taken over the comic, reducing Superboy to the back up in what had been his title, and not long after solo Superboy stories stopped appearing altogether (though he continued to appear as a member of the Legion.) A decade later they repeated the feat when they started appearing in Superboy as a backup feautre, which was renamed Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and eventually just Legion of Super-Heroes as they again took over the comic and Superboy got Put on a Bus.
  • In the later years of the feature, Toni Turner, best friend to Millie the Model, seldom appeared, her role largely supplanted by "Millie's Redheaded Rival," the nastier and more colorful Chili Storm.
  • Nintendo Comics System:
    • Mouser and Tryclyde.
    • Herman Smirch became less prominent as the Game Boy series went on.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures all the important supporting cast of Donald Duck(Uncle Scrooge,his nephews a Daisy)were reduced to third-grade characters or cameoes to make place to new characters.
  • Khéna's family on his home planet in The Scrameustache. The Galaxians replace them as the frequent alien visitors.
  • This happens in Sin City, mostly because different stories have different protagonists. For instance, Marv was the main character in the first story and a supporting character in the second. Aside from two one-shots, he was never the main character for any stories after that. Later stories have him showing up as an extra in the background (often if the scene takes place at Kadie's Bar) with one or two lines. Word of God states that he will be the focal point in future tales.
  • In Sonic the Comic, expect them from any animal friend that wasn't a part of the Freedom Fighters.
  • Rotor Walrus in Sonic the Hedgehog, both SatAM and Archie Comics versions, have been hit hard with this; in both versions, he started out as a strong fixture in the Freedom Fighters, then got kicked into this position after a certain point (Season 2 in SatAM, issue #125 in the Archie Comics); in fact, in the comics, his jacked-up importance and Word of Gay relationship in the "Mobius: 25 Years Later" storyline was meant by previous head writer Ken Penders as a way of moving him out of extra status and giving him a much-needed jolt of Character Development. Sadly, when current head writer Ian Flynn took over, he was beaten back down to this spot violently, in both the main comic and the "M:25YL" storyline for quite some time. He eventually regained some prominence when he joined the Royal Council and later made himself a high-tech suit, but not until he'd been largely unseen for several years.
    • A group of characters called "The Substitute Freedom Fighters" faded out of relevance soon after their introduction. Currently, they were brought back as councilors on the royal council. One of them, Hamlin, was angry enough about his treatment that he joined the council out of spite for the Freedom Fighters.
    • Knuckles has also been demoted heavily since his own spin off comic series ended, likely due to his life on Angel Island making it harder to focus alongside the Freedom Fighters down on Mobius.
    • Interestingly, Sonic himself was affected by this - after the Knuckles comic got cancelled, Sonic was limited to mostly being stuck in Knothole following the Sonic Adventure adaptation, with Knuckles and Tails getting a lot of the screen time and action in their backup stories, due to a case of Creator's Pet.
      • A lot of this is Lampshaded in the "Off-Panel" comic strips at the end of the Sonic Universe comics, from Knuckles flipping out over the title not exactly being his to Charmy commenting that if he was going to show up in a storyline, it would be here.
  • Some Spider-Man editors have been quoted saying "Spider-Man has a supporting cast?". This is because most supporting cast members are either lost in limbo or have been killed off. On the other hand, some creators and fans like to boast that Spider-Man has the best supporting cast in comics. The cast evolved, with some characters - notably Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, and Mary Jane Watson - emerging as very resistant to efforts to write them out. But important supporting characters being killed off or consigned to Limbo has been a hallmark of the series since Stan Lee's days. The first notable character Demoted to Extra was Betty Brant, Peter Parker's main love interest until he started college (her rival Liz Allan was Put on a Bus slightly earlier).
  • The Spider-Man series provides some super-villain examples.
    • Shriek was introduced in 1993 to form an Unholy Matrimony with Carnage. She also acted as Team Mom with three younger supervillains they recruited. She was a featured player in a couple of major storylines, and made regular appearances to 1996. Since then she has made only infrequent appearances in crowd scenes.
    • Doctor Octopus died in 1995, and soon got an Affirmative Action Legacy in Doctor Octopus II/Dr. Carolyn Trainer. From 1995 to 1997 this Hot Scientist was one of the most frequently used villains of the Spider books. Then the original got resurrected through a necromantic ceremony and she was Demoted to Dragon for him, then forgotten. She has since resurfaced a few times as an easily-defeated third-string villain.
    • Scorpia was introduced in 1995 as a Distaff Counterpart to Scorpion, with the individual quirks of having Mafia connections and a tendency to hit on Anything That Moves. She was featured prominently for a year or two, got a spotlight issue in 2002, and has since been reduced to mostly appearing in crowd scenes.
    • For about two years, 1996 to 1998, Delilah was an every-issue regular in Amazing Spider-Man. Being a Dark Action Girl and The Dragon to the Rose, a Non-Action Guy type of villain, she often got more screen time than any other villain. She was written out when she was drained by a vampire. She has since been used only in a couple of storylines as a henchwoman to nobodies.
  • In Superior Spiderman, Mary Jane, one of the most prominent characters in Spider-Man's entire mythos, is given a backseat in most of the action and is barely involved in any of the plots, to the point where she largely interacts with Peter via phone messages, and one of her biggest story arcs revolved around whether or not she listened to a message on her cell. Many other established supporting characters in Spider-Man's world have also been shuffled offstage.
  • Steve and Camp Koala in Tank Girl.
  • The original Titans West from the '70s Teen Titans vanished when it came time for the New Teen Titans series, due to Marv Wolfman considering all of the characters (except Lilith and Beast Boy/Changeling) to be lame. Bumblebee and Mal Duncan (who were part of the original East Coast team towards the end of the '70s) were also Put on a Bus, and Duela Dent showed up once as a fat phony who revealed that she had lied about her origin of being Two-Face's daughter. After the Crisis, Wolfman seized the opportunity to retcon Bumblebee and Mal (now called "Herald") as having been part of Titans West, and attempted to erase Duela from continuity completely. Caveman G'narrk (who died in a Bus Crash Pre-Crisis) became a case of Death by Origin Story, while Bat-Girl (retconned to Flamebird) and Golden Eagle became even more shallow "joke" characters stuck in a rut of Can't Catch Up.
    • The earlier Titans all became demoted when it was time for Dan Jurgens' version of the Titans, partly due to Executive Meddling. Jurgens had originally planned to use Nightwing and the JSA member Wildcat as mentors for the team, but had to make do with using the de-aged Ray Palmer instead.
    • Characters like the second Wonder Girl suffered this in the change from Young Justice to the third volume of Teen Titans, as Geoff Johns decided to pay more attention to Robin and Superboy, effectively making the rest of the cast into wallpaper. After OYL, the focus then became Robin and Wonder Girl, which continued somewhat into Sean McKeever's run.
  • In Tomorrow Stories, Greyshirt's sidekick, Rocky, barely appears in Indigo Sunset at all.
  • The Transformers Megaseries:
    • The Dinobots are only present in Spotlight: Shockwave.
    • Soundwave was taken out of action twenty-odd years ago, and spends most of the run stuck in tape-deck mode.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Perceptor, for the first 13 issues or so, takes a more prominent role in "Remain In Light."
    • Sunstreaker and Hound.
    • While the other four Headmasters all have story lines, with Hardhead's in RID, Highbrow has been pushed to the back.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • Flash Thompson plays a far less prominent role here than the mainstream universe.
    • The Lizard, who doesn't even appear in the series proper, only appearing in an issue of Ultimate Team-Up.
    • Randy Robertson and Betty Brant are not nearly as important here as they are in the mainstream comics.
  • Wonder Woman hasn't been able to keep a stable supporting cast together in decades. Even Steve Trevor got Put on a Bus years ago.
    • Doctor Cyber in Post-Crisis continuity.
    • Pre-Crisis Gundra was a major enemy of the 1940s Wonder Woman. Post-Crisis she's appeared only once in the modern era, as part of Circe's vast collective of Wonder Woman villains.
    • Queen Cleas in the Post-Crisis world, where she faced Wonder Woman only twice, once as the leader of a new Villainy Incorporated, and once as part of Circe's massive supervillain collective.
    • Osira, post-Crisis.
  • Happens with X-Men, even the main characters, as well as with other teams. It also happens with newer members (such as Marrow) who almost always turned out to be only temporarily popular or big-time.
    • The junior classes have it the worst. Out of the members who aren't Killed Off for Real, generally one out of each generation will get much of any face time if they aren't Wolverine's sidekick. New X-Men fans refer to this as 'becoming wallpaper'. Currently, Husk from Generation X and Pixie (who ironically started as wallpaper) from New X-Men are filling their respective generation's 'slot'.
    • This tends to be cyclical, particularly in the X-books. Jamie Madrox, for instance, started off as a background character with little personality, became an Ascended Extra in Peter David's first X-Factor run, then spent a couple years Not Quite Dead and about a decade as a bit player until David got the opportunity to have him lead the new X-Factor. The New Warriors (the ones who got blown up right before Civil War) started out as an attempt to ascend a bunch of nobodies and has-beens, with the whole team dropping Out of Focus several times.
    • A lot of human allies to the X-teams disappear when their creator leaves the books. Peter Corbeau got several particularly awesome scenes in Chris Claremont's early days, now, he doesn't even get an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
    • Kitty Pryde inevitably gets reduced to a minor background character in adaptations. People often forget that, for a while, she was the closest thing that X-Men had to a central protagonist.
    • Marrow. She was in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, then she fell off the radar in a big way. In universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. once rewrote her mind to let her think she was a normal teenager. She turned out to be smart enough to attend university, then her mind started resisting the process.
    • Jubilee. Like many characters born in the '90s, from time to time since the early-2000s.
  • Comics have their own name for this trope: Comicbook Limbo. So many characters and whole teams end up there—even ones who used to have a series of their very own.
  • Practically every Golden Age character in The DCU save for the Justice Society of America's core team has either been killed off as C-List Fodder or relegated to the team's reserves. It's hard to imagine that the Red Bee once had his own backup series.
    • Lampshaded in James Robinson's Starman, where the Red Bee is seriously poED OFF during a Thanksgiving with dead superheroes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Inverted in The Boondocks - following 9/11, this happened to everybody except Huey and Ceasar.
    Jazmine: I guess you were too busy sitting here and making mean-spirited comments about the world to realize we hadn't seen each other for two years!!
    Huey: By the way, did you hear that "Meth And Red" got canc-
    Jazmine: AARRRGH!!
  • Harry the Head was originally a major character in Oink!, with his strip occupying a full page each issue, and having a number of multi-part adventures. In later editions, his strip had been reduced to an occasional three-frame gag.

  • Tim, Ralphie, D.A., Keesha and Wanda in The Best Chrismukkah Ever.
  • In The Chosen Ones Journey, the Rocket Trio who appeared in almost every episode of the anime, rarely make an appearance, and even then it doesn't last long.
  • The Mane Six disappeared from The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum for quite a while as Marcus was making his way to Canterlot Castle. They reappear in the "Sons of Legacies'' arc to begin their training.
  • For most of Diaries of a Madman, the Mane Six only appear somewhat sporadically, particularly so with AJ, who barely appears at all within the story. They do become more involved later on, around Chapter 100, however.
  • Alas, poor Ratchet and Clank. They are only mentioned in four chapters of The Ed, Edd n Eddy Project : Act I, Chapters 04 and 07; Act II, Ch. 08; and Act V, Ch. 31
  • Jiazin, The Hero in the first story of The Fall Of The Fire Empire, will be reduced to supporting character according to Word of God. Given that he wants the other major characters to shine this time, the decision is not necessarily a bad one.
  • In The Hill of Swords, apart from several chapters after her introduction, Tiffania has no appearances until the epilogue.
  • Tim in The Life And Times Of The Fantasmic Four.
  • In The Lion King Adventures, former Big Bad Tama and her Adorkable boyfriend Tojo only made fleeting appearances after Series Two.
  • The Lion Of Ivalice:
    • Rafa and Malak get relatively minor roles compared to the others, and Mustadio almost fell in with them. Beowulf and Reis also suffer, but they're secret characters anyway. Heresy Examiner Zalmour Rusnada (whom Ramza fought twice in the game) got mentioned in one sentence, and never appeared proper in the story. The non-FFT cameos, Cloud, Balthier and Luso, are COMPLETELY absent.
    • The monster guests-turned-party-members are also MIA: Boco the Chocobo was replaced by an original Black Chocobo named Atro. The Reaver Byblos doesn't show up either, but considering the fact that only TWO Tactics fanfics have ever remembered Byblos exists (which were back in 2002 and 2005), the odds of it appearing were never good in the first place.
    • On the villains' side, aside from Larg and Goltanna appearing less than in canon and both being killed in Part One, Cardinal Draclau & Dycedarg Beoulve are even less important here. Both face Ramza's group in a Dual Boss fight - as Lucavi - and die without much fanfare (heck, Dycedarg/Adramelk is singlehandedly defeated by Ramza).
      • In-universe when Vormav/Hashmal pretty much gets kicked to the curb by Shemhazai. In more ways than one.
    • Somewhat averted with Mustadio, however - he was intended to be this, but makes a few key appearances starting Chapter 19 which give him a significant role. So although he's... well, still Demoted to Extra compared to the original game, for the author he's... an Ascended Extra.
  • Famously done in the Daria fanfic series by Canadibrit known as The Look-Alike Series, where the God-Mode Sue OC of Lynn Cullen (an Author Avatar that's blatantly Wish Fulfillment taken Up to Eleven) effectively takes over the entire series, relegating Daria and Jane to sidekick status.
  • Nina lampshades this in Part 8 of The Misfits, noting that, because they're female, they might end at a disadvantage compared to the other characters over time, or at least be preceived to be at such a disadvantage. They're of course trying their hardest to not allow this to happen, though.
  • Countless characters in My Little Unicorn.
    • Cookie Dough, who was a core member of the team in the initial series, was removed for several stories and when reintroduced in the My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III, was a minor character. The Deviant ART remake brings him back, not as a member, but as a recurring background character.
    • Krysta is acknowledged maybe once or twice in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III despite being the main character's best friend.
  • Of a sort in The New Adventures Of Darkwing Duck - the members of the Fearsome Five are a lot less prominent in the series, being more or less henchmen to Negaduck's growing empire rather than a team of mostly equally prominent supervillains with a particularly Bad Boss - they explicitly work for him, rather than with him. With the exception of the rare focus episodes that don't feature them doing Negaduck's bidding, most of them get much less prominence than they had in the show. Quackerjack barely features at all.
  • In The Not So Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner, Bella and Edward's roles have been reduced to welcoming Bree into the family and Edward talking to Bree about the wedding. Justified as there are small hints that the events of Breaking Dawn are still taking place while Bree is off doing her own thing.
  • The Kira investigation team in The Prince Of Death.
  • The entire Organization XIII except Xemnas, Xigbar, and Axel in The Return Of The Book Of Legends.
  • Mistle, who was a fairly prominent recuring character in the original fic only appears in a single chapter of Shadowchasers Power Primordial with a relatively minor role.
  • Shadowchasers Tournament Of Shadows:
    • Shichiro, Jinx, Gears, Dugan, and Rebecca Schafer only make cameo appearances during the start of the fic. Other characters such Karl, Hyde, Faye, Barron and Tsubasa are only mentioned briefly.
    • Played around with Kyon. At first it appears that his only role in the fic is to help Ace train for the tournament, but later on it turns out that he is also participating - as a Blue Knight.
    • Also the case with Leroy after his Game-Breaking Injury in Chapter 9 leaves him unable to compete in the tournament, but to what extent remains unknown.
  • Tarakudo and the Oni Generals in Shadows Awakening. While they were an integral part of the plot of Season 4, here they only have very small appearances, with only Tarakudo and the Ninja General having significant (but still small) parts in the story.
  • Flash Sentry only appears as a cameo in Shadows Of Giants seeing as it ignores Equestria Girls.
  • Compared to the other Shadows in Shadows Of The Azure, it seems that Shadow Makoto has not a lot of development and details. Future rectifying reconsidered.
  • Zack is very prominent in Shinra High, but gets very little screentime in Shinra SOLDIER
  • Minka Mark gets only a few lines in Skeletons In The Closet.
  • Lex only makes one appearance in SmallvilleX: Evolution, and that's just to explain why Chloe and Pete are in New York right before Christmas. He's out of the country for most of the series. He has made more apperances since then, and has had a bigger part in things so far, though he still isn't appearing nearly as much as he does in Smallville.
  • The Somewhat Cracked Mind Of Uchiha Itachi:
    • Kakashi, since he's not Team 7's sensei. At least not until after the Kage summit.
    • The Kyuubi. Even after Naruto becomes a ninja it's only slightly involved in Wave and only starts chatting during the chunin exams when it senses Shukaku.
  • Perfect Chaos is the boss of the Dreamcast era in the original game. In Sonic Generations: Friendship Is Timeless , Chaos does shows up, but in his Chaos 0 form, to help the heroes in the Changeling battle in chapter 10.
  • The Metarex are just one of the many different factions fighting over the galaxy in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. The Chaotix, Dr. Eggman, and even Sonic himself are hit badly with this, although the rewrite is adding many more scenes with them and developing them a bit more.
  • Most of the main cast only appear intermittently in Sophistication And Betrayal, save for Rarity and Fluttershy.
  • Soul Chess:
    • Unfortunately happens to most of the good guys; if your name isn't Lelouch, Ichigo, Unohana or Rita, then expect this to happen to you. A pity...
    • Rukia is pretty much Ichigo’s sidekick in the main series. Here we certainly don’t see her as often. Though for her it’s not as bad as say Renji.
    • Renji. You would be forgiven for thinking that he had died at some point early in the plot. He is in the group of reinforcements sent to Karakura, but hasn't done anything significant yet.
      • Subverted. He was able to successfully defend himself during the Battle of Karakura Town and is one of the three Lieutenants (Kaien and Yuna are the other two) going into the Final Battle of Karakura. He's also starting to get a larger role lately so the author hasn't completely forgotten about him it seems.
  • Stallionsof Harmony Verse does this to entire canon Mane6, being an AU story where Elements of Harmony are stallions from the show. To be precise, Prince Blueblood as Magic, Shining Armor as Loyalty, Big Macintosh as kindness, Soarin as Laughter, Thunderlane as Honesty and Doctor as Generosity.
  • Lionblaze in Starkits Prophecy.
  • The canon characters are pretty much on the sidelines (or name-dropped) in Star Wars Paranormalities Trilogy, although Luke Skywalker gets the most screentime out of all the canon characters thanks to his Mission Control status. Justified in that this story is mostly OC driven.
  • Francis, who seems like a really important character early on in Stitching Hearts, suddenly drops out of the story and makes only sporadic appearances after that.
  • The master of the Court in The Story Of A Lonely Sorceress And A Cursed Gardener. Then again, that's probably a good thing.
  • Suite Pretty Cure Variations:
    • The Pastry club and Soccer team in Pretty Konjiki's Suite Pretty Cure.
    • Also, Waon, who in Waltz of a Suite Life isn't even named until episode 28, and prior to it even Hibiki only refers to her as "Blue Sports Chick". So far the only time she was named when she was onscreen was in episode 30, but just because she was crucial to the plot of the episode.
  • So many to list in Super Sentai Vs Power Rangers...
  • In Team8, Asuma and Shikamaru become more important as the Exams wear on and even Choji has his moment in the sun. Ino, however, hasn't yet escaped this treatment.
  • L and the Taskforce in That Epic Plan.
  • In Thawing Permafrost, Kurumu and Yukari have been given only small roles thus far, Koko has had only a cameo, Tsukune a mere mention, and Moka has only had a passing reference as part of "My friends, from Yokai."
  • Time Fixers Nicktoons Of The Future:
    • SpongeBob SquarePants doesn’t appear as often as the rest of the adult Nicktoons.
    • Tak appears even less than SpongeBob.
    • The Syndicate become this in Season 2 after DarkEvil becomes the main antagonist.
  • Mrs. Twombly appears very briefly in The Times They Are A-Changin', while Roger is only mentioned.
  • Some characters who get a lot of focus in canon receive very little in Total Drama Comeback Series:
    • While Owen gets a lot of screentime in every season he's been in and always ranked among the first seven, in both TDC and TDBG gets eliminated very early. In fact, other characters comment how odd is for somebody who did so well the first season to be eliminated so soon. It's worth mention that the author does like Owen, but eliminates him early because he doesn't like the Toilet Humor that comes with him (that and probably to make room for other characters)
    • Duncan, another character accused of being a spotlight stealer, gets a much reduced role in TDC than in canon (he's basically Courtney's dragon), and is eliminated right after Courtney's revenge plot ends. In TDBG, he's eliminated even earlier.
    • Heather is a notable aversion: despite TKN has mentioned that the screentime she has in the show is excesive, on TDC she gots lots of Character Focus, Character Development, ranked quite high despite this time everybody knew about her true nature from the very beginning (granted, eliminating her this time around was harder due to having multiple teams instead of just two, plus the follow-up mini challenges where she gained immunity many times), and even became Ezekiel's love interest.
  • Total Drama Equestria:
    • This happened in the case of Anne Maria throughout the show. Which is a shame, as one of the authors originally wanted to show off more of her character.
    • Once DJ's redemption arc with his animal issues got resolved, he was just mainly there. The only times episodes focused on him was his date with Heather, and the episode where he got eliminated.
  • In Total Zeksmit Series, any male from canon first season who isn't Ezekiel, Justin, or Geoff. Out of the first season guy contestants (and Alejandro), another one of them is set to appear at some point in this season. While not on the actual show, Alejandro appeared in Leshawna's audition, though what he'll be doing is unknown. Otherwise, their whereabouts are unknown. Chris and Chef are also demoted, though Chris has gotten a quick appearance at the beginning.
  • Touhou Doujin: Dawitsu's Folly:
    • Alice Margatroid was a crucial part of the plot in Recompense, and then was barely seen outside of a fluffy beta plot in Jean's Magical Education, and is barely seen at all in Yutaka's Big Fat Youkai Wedding.
    • Hong Meiling.
  • Poor Necrons, right after their awakening in Toy Hammer, they're greeted with equivalent of 1.7 kiloton raw C4 explosion inside a giant mining cave the size of starship hangar. Nothing out of the ordinary considering how resilient they are compared to the rest, but still...
  • Transformers Alter Verse:
    • Averted for the main characters, but Maggie and Glen has been pretty much shunted to one side and only referenced when necessary, otherwise they don't even exist. Simmons, Banachek and the Sector 7 agents too.
      • Glen got killed off rather horribly.
    • Too many official characters got shunted aside to make way for the Original Character(s) in this Fan Fiction, truth be told.
  • Billy and Fred in Transformers Armada Revisited.
  • Out of the formerly prominent O Cs, only Dawitsu and Jean seem to play a prominent part in Twenty Years Later: Reimu's Successor, Yutaka only appears briefly as an obstacle to Patricia, while Tokage and Hebiko get what Hebiko calls 'a contrived cameo' in chapter nine. Dawitsu is actually an inversion, and is extremely influential in this story.
  • Zecora in The Twilight Child, by Word of God because the author wasn't willing or able to write in rhyme. She only appears twice in the whole story.
  • Two Worlds:
    • Chris in being of show played big role, but after Povilas become werewolf his role became more minor.
    • Carla for few episodes too.
    • John in second season.
  • Several characters who once were protagonists of their own series are now, naturally, reduced to cameos or secondary roles in Unequally Rational And Emotional.
  • In the RWBY fanfic Weiss Reacts, Pyrrha, Sun and Neptune barely make appearances apart from token group shots. Pyrrha seems to be averting this, though, due to becoming a major player in the Antic War and becoming her own unique flavour of Stalker with a Crush.
  • Everyone who isn't Cody, the OC Joshua, or Chris in William Country. Katie and Sadie don't even talk until near the final challenges, Owen only has a few lines, Gwen even fewer, Heather also does not have that many lines and only tries to be the villian once, Duncan and Trent are mute and do not do anything plot related, LeShawna is also mute and only won a challenge, and the other campers either don't show up at all or are just reduced to cameos/small appearances.
  • Akune and Kikaijima are mentioned in World As Myth, but do not make an appearance. Hansode Shiranui and her grandfather don't even get that much.
  • Russia, who was one of the world powers to survive the events of the original series has only made a few appearances in Worldwar: War of Equals.
  • Heinkell is hardly even talked about after chapter seventeen of the first story of Worse Than Death Series, just being something of placeholder in the crew.
  • Young Justice Darkness Falls:
    • Aside from a few mentions from Artemis on how she's settled down with Liam, Cheshire gets a lot less to do after she found out Artemis was alive.
    • Much of The Light doesn't get as much time due to being captured or just not showing up. Examples include Queen Bee, Icicle Jr. and Psimon (though that could be excused by him still being in a coma).
  • Yu Gi Oh The Thousand Year Door:
    • The Unfriendly Amazon in Redux. In the original version, she was a part of a Terrible Trio alongside Peten the Dark Clown and End of Anubis and was the Duel Spirit who had a personal vendetta with Francesca (due to her using Amazoness monsters). In Redux however, she only appears during her initial duel and is never seen again afterwards with her role later on being taken by Ruklamba the Spirit King.
    • Merlow may also qualify to some extent. In the original version, he provided assistance to the protagonists inside the Palace of Shadow. In Redux however, his role is taken by Count Bleck instead. Although he is given a new role as a leader of a resistance force that fights the Shadow Queen's forces outside the Palace of Shadow.
    • Possibly Infernalqueen Archfiend. She still appears in Redux, just in a different role. In the original version, she was one of the Duel Spirits ordered to test the other finalists while in Redux she is a member of the Court of Pandemonium. Whether or not it fits this Trope remains to be seen.

    Films — Animated 
  • Kuzco in Kronk's New Groove, when Kronk takes the lead.
  • Finding Nemo: Gerald, the pelican who swallows Marlin and Dory, is onscreen for less than a minute, but was originally scripted with a notable role!
  • Sadly, Tod in The Fox and The Hound II, where he ends up doing chores, neglected by Copper, and becomes a Woobie just because he wanted to play with his friend. Justified, since he was the protagonist of the first film, where it focused on his life before and after his abandonment.
  • Fun fact for Frozen fans. The lead characters from The Snow Queen were named Gerda and Kai. So where are they in the movie? Why, they're servants to Anna and Elsa, of course!
  • The Jungle Book:
    • The wolves, despite their prominent role raising Mowgli in the original book, only appear at the beginning of the original film and do not appear at all in the sequel or spin offs. Akela in particular: easily one of the most important characters in the book, here he appears for only a single scene and winds up being incredibly forgettable (he also gets a key appearance in an episode of Jungle Cubs however).
    • Bagheera in the sequel. Though he's one of the most important characters in both Kipling's book and in the original movie, in the sequel he's barely involved in the plot and only shows up to get beat up a lot.
    • Hathi has one scene in the sequel.
  • Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda 2. He gets a couple of brief scenes at the start, then sends Po and the Five on their way while he remains in the Valley of Peace until the very end when he does a Big Damn Heroes bit. Justified in that his character arc was mostly done with by the end of the first movie and someone had to watch the Jade Palace. Thankfully averted with the Furious Five, who appear much more this time around, and all of them actively help Po out throughout the film.
  • In Search of The Titanic:
    • Both Maltravers and the Duke of Camden; the former only appears in three scenes, never interacts with the main characters, and has little purpose in the movie; while the latter only gets to appear in one scene and doesn't even get any dialogue.
    • Elizabeth herself counts too. She mainly just appears in the background, has maybe 5 lines, and is only really featured in the beginning and at the end. And she was practically the main character in the first movie!
  • Zazu and the hyenas in The Lion King sequels (the latter don't even appear in the first sequel). Also Nala, although she didn't have a ton to do in the first movie.
  • The Little Mermaid:
    • Prince Eric has a recurring role in the TV series, is a supporting character in the second film, and makes no appearance in the prequel.
    • King Triton in the sequel.
    • Max the Sheepdog has minor roles in the sequel and TV series. He makes no appearance in the prequel.
  • Funnily enough, the Lorax in The Lorax. This is mostly due to the expansion of the present-day story about the Ascended Extra boy Ted, who is listening to the Once-ler's tale.
  • In the Rankin/Bass animated version of The Return of the King, Legolas and Gimli are reduced to background characters who have a few non speaking cameos, while Saruman doesn't appear at all.
    • Faramir also crops up at the end. In a non-speaking moment with no explanation as to who he is. In order to give Éowyn a happy ending. The perils of Adaptation Distillation.
  • Bamm-Bamm has no dialogue in The Man Called Flintstone. Pebbles is largely unimportant, but gets two musical numbers (one of them helping to motivate Fred to continue his espionage job).
  • Aaron, Moses's compatriot and aide in the Exodus, becomes less relevant to the story in The Prince of Egypt and does not personally support Moses until after the plagues have been unleashed; conversely, Tzipporah becomes an Ascended Extra. She instead of Aaron is with Moses in the staffs-to-snakes scene.
  • One notorious example is Ms. Brisby in The Secret of NIMH II: Timmy to the Rescue. While Brisby was the main protagonist of the first film, not only does the sequel avoid giving any mention of what she accomplished, let any role in the plot, she is on-screen for a grand total of 25 seconds, and only has two or three lines of dialogue.
  • Talia al Ghul is the Big Bad of Batman and Son in the comics, but her movie role in Son of Batman is quite smaller. Much of her original role is given to Deathstroke in the film.
  • Any character from the show who isn't SpongeBob, Patrick and Plankton in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Squidward and Sandy only show up a few times, and Mr Krabs spends the movie frozen.
  • Carl Jenkins and Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers: Invasion, effectively.
  • With Ivan Sakharine's ascendancy to the role of Big Bad in Tintin, Omar Ben Salaad — a drug-running strongman from The Crab with the Golden Claws — is reduced to a mere plot-advancer, as proprietor of the third Unicorn model.
  • While not exactly "extras," you can argue that Mikey and Don are supporting characters while Leo and Raph are the main characters of TMNT.
  • Slinky. His role in Toy Story 3 is much smaller compared to his part in the first and second films; he is a background character for the majority of the time and his only real standout scene is helping old pal Woody defeat the Cymbal-Banging Monkey, as well as briefly jumping across the trash chute to the dumpster before being thwarted by Lotso.
  • Several characters have this happen to them in Transformers: The Movie. Bluestreak, Sunstreaker, Huffer, Thundercracker, Skywarp, and Bombshell appear in cameos with no lines, Shockwave appears in two scenes and is implied to die, Shrapnel and Kickback are reduced to Butt Monkeys and then rebuilt, Mixmaster, Scavenger and Long Haul do not speak, Blitzwing gets one scene for himself, Ironhide, Wheeljack, Brawn, Prowl, Ratchet and Windcharger are killed off and Sludge, despite being a major character, has no lines. Spike and the three major Autobots who survive the movie (Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper) have more minor roles. Perceptor and the four other Dinobots (Snarl mysteriously receiving this treatment) are the only pre-movie characters to do much of anything in the post-Autobot City scenes. Even Optimus Prime is only around for the first half of the movie. Plus, some characters don't appear in the movie at all, leaving their fates uncertain.
  • Dogmatix (Idefix), while one of the main characters in the books, only makes a few brief appearances in The Twelve Tasks of Asterix.
  • Given the huge cast of Wakko's Wish, it's not unreasonble. A notable example is Minerva Mink; other than some solo lines at the beginning, she isn't exactly a featured member of the cast, even though she pops up here and there during the musical numbers. (Then again, it's not as if she was a big part of the original show to begin with due to Executive Meddling, but still.)
  • Christopher Robin was originally the star of the Winnie the Pooh books; in the poetry books he appears often and has several poems dedicated to him (as opposed to Pooh, who only appears in one poem in When We Were Very Young and only appears occasionally in Now We Are Six), and while he was moved Out of Focus for the Pooh stories he remained a central character. In the first Disney featurettes he was also a major character, but in later productions he got smaller and smaller roles, quite often being left out entirely.
    • This is sort of explained in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (and elaborated upon in ''Pooh's Most Grand Adventure"): He's started school. While the Disney version doesn't seem to be attending boarding school the way his book counterpart is implied to be, it's still reasonable to presume that he isn't around as much because he's busy with schoolwork.
  • The girls in Despicable Me 2. After being the main characters along with Gru in the first film, they essentially serve as living props in favor of giving the Minions more sequences. The Minions even get a role in the villain plot while Margo, Edith and Agnes sit on the sidelines.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The character of Pete, the largely silent and essentially background droog in A Clockwork Orange, played quite a pivotal role in the last chapter of Anthony Burgess's original novel. However, since Kubrick's adaptation was based on a version of the book with the final chapter excised, Pete's role was rendered largely inconsequential.
  • A literal example. Isabelle Fuhrman had been cast in a small role in After Earth , but in the finished film, she is reduced to a split-second non-speaking appearance (when Kitai is told he is not being advanced).
  • The Kevin Myers character suffers from this in the third American Pie film, commensurate with the rise of Breakout Character Stifler.
  • Ed and Garth from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy are regulated to cameos in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Justified though, in that the sequel takes place in a new city and already had to deal with Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Zooey Deschanel's character gives the impression that there was a lot more scenes with her that didn't make the final cut of The Assassinationof Jesse Jamesbythe Coward Robert Ford. The section of the film with her in it was originally supposed to be an hour longer.
  • A number of important supporting characters from the previous films receive much less screentime in The Avengers.
    • Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role from Iron Man, but in a minor capacity. Robert Downey Jr. asked for her to be included as a way of exploring the Potts/Stark relationship that was established at the end of Iron Man 2. Whedon agreed, because "you should always, given the opportunity, put a Gwyneth on-screen."
    • Dr. Selvig also returns from Thor, in a role that's more plot-important but doesn't necessarily get any more screentime.
    • Originally Maria Hill was supposed to be narrating the film. However, the scenes of her doing so got cut out.
  • Samuel L. Jackson mentioned that his part as Nick Fury will be much smaller in The Avengers: Age of Ultron than his role in the first Avengers movie, having gone underground at the end of The Winter Soldier.
  • Death, who's the book's narrator, only has a few voiceovers through the film of The Book Thief (the beginning, the end, and a few Time Skips).
  • The French played a substantial role in the Crimean War, contributing more troops to the British and taking part in all of the war's major battles. You wouldn't know it from The Charge Of The Light Brigade, where they're barely mentioned.
  • Dan Murray, who played a large role in Clear and Present Danger and all Jack Ryan Sr. books after that, is killed in the Colomiban Cartel attack on the FBI Director, when in the book, he wasn't even there!
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • Crane goes from a major antagonist to a One-Scene Wonder between the first, second, and third films.
    • Alfred has very little screen time in The Dark Knight Rises. Though he does at least make the most of what he has, providing his usual insight, wisdom, and poignancy.
  • Scottie had a somewhat larger role in the novel (she confronts Troy at the club, and has several moments of acting out by hurting herself) than in the film of The Descendants.
  • LAPD officer Sergeant Al Powell is a big part of Die Hard, but none of the other films take place in Los Angeles. The second film offers him a gratuitous cameo, and the rest leave him out all together. Possibly justified in that Al had a family and was working the beat again by the second movie, so he wouldn't have been able to join John for more adventures.
  • The Expendables:
    • In order to accommodate the larger roles of Willis and Schwarzenegger, and the additional roles for Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Nan Yu and Liam Hemsworth, a lot of the returning Expendables got the shaft. In particular, Yin Yang vanishes after the first ten minutes and Toll Road barely has any lines in the entire film. Yang made up for it by giving us Jet Li's specialty before he left: a One-Man Army Good Old Fisticuffs beatdown for a good five minutes.
    • Arguable for Jet Li, as The Other Wiki reports that scheduling conflicts with another film prevented him from participating in anything more than the first part of the film.
    • This also occurs in the third film, as a result of Doc, Galgo, the new Expendables, Trench, Drummer and Yang all taking part in the final battle. Hale is nearly killed during the second mission and incapacitated until the last scene, while Toll Road and several others get next-to-no dialogue for most of the film.
  • Caroline's role in The Exterminator II was greatly reduced from the original script.
  • In the sixth installment of The Fast and the Furious series, Mia's role is downgraded so she can look after her and Brian's son. She only makes a few appearances early on and then isn't involved again until the climax when Owen Shaw takes her hostage.
  • Cynthia's husband and his new wife have basically one scene in The First Wives Club.
  • Cover Girl in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to the point where many people didn't even realize who she was supposed to be.
    • Doctor Mindbender was more of an inversion. The character was never intended to have a name, and was only there as a plot device for The Doctor's path to darkness. After the fact, they realized he could easily be Mindbender and threw his name in for the fans.
  • Rico and Oliver were reduced to a few lines at the beginning of the Hannah Montana movie.
  • Harry Potter
    • Percy Weasley. He wasn't all that big a player in the books, usually being involved in the side-plots, but his estrangement from his family was a poignant reminder of what Dumbledore always said about Voldemort's gift for dividing loyalties. After the third movie, his only appearances consist of non-speaking cameos in Phoenix and Hallows, Part 2. Unless you watch the backgrounds, you wouldn't even notice he's there and is apparently still going through his book plotline, albeit almost entirely off-screen.
    • Up until Deathly Hallows, Charlie was mentioned a couple of times in the first film and Bill wasn't mentioned in the films at all. Bill and Charlie's only actual appearances in the first six films were in the photo of the Weasley family in Egypt, which was onscreen for about a second.
    • Tonks and Lupin only appear in one scene in Half-Blood Prince despite having a sub-plot in the book.
    • Mundungus Fletcher had a few minor roles in the books, but was completely ignored in the films until Deathly Hallows part 1, when he was required for the plot. Resulted in a bit of a shoehorning. Kreacher likewise had his role downplayed greatly, and since his introduction, got barely a cameo in Deathly Hallows. Both were still little more than extras for much of the series anyway, but its even more egregious in the films.
    • The Dursleys get this after Prisoner of Azkaban. Their role in Order of the Phoenix is drastically cut, their appearance in Deathly Hallows is essentially a cameo, and they don't appear in the other films at all.
  • The Hitchhiking Ghosts only appear in a cameo in the film of The Haunted Mansion.
  • A Real-life example with The Help. Despite the marketing of the film being built around Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer got all the recognition for the movie, leaving Stone in the dust.
  • In the "Appendices," Dáin played a major role in the Battle of Azanulbizar; the Iron Hills Dwarves turned the tide of the battle, and Dáin himself killed Azog to avenge his father. Presumably Dáin's role was scaled back after the decision was made to keep Azog alive in The Hobbit .
  • While Amy was one of the main characters in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, in the sequel Honey, I Blew Up The Kid she only appears at the very beginning before taking off for college. The reason was the film wasn't originally supposed to be a sequel to HISTK. When the movie became a success, it was quickly reworked into one, but the original treatment didn't have roles for either Nick or Amy to fit into. Although Nick ultimately managed to still get a decent part, there really wasn't any room for her.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • District 4 isn't even mentioned as a Career district, and the girl is simply killed in the Cornucopia instead of joining the Career "pack".
    • Venia, Octavia, and Flavius. They show up, but their names aren't mentioned and they only have a brief appearance. They have a bit more to do in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
    • Greasy Sae doesn't have as much of a role. However, she gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin, instead of Madge.
    • Portia. While never that major of a character, in the film she is only seen in the background, with no lines.
    • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire:

      Not that Cray has major role in the book, but the film reduces his appearance to a single scene.

      While Blight never really was important to the story, his onscreen appearance in the film is only in the interviews, and later in a passing mention by Johanna.

      Ceelia and Woof. Katniss never talks to them in the training center, nor are they mentioned when Haymitch introduces the tributes to them or the bloodbath, only being seen at the interviews and the tribute parade in the film.

      Seeder Is only in one scene in the film, and she doesn't inform Katniss about Rue's family.
    • Lavinia. In both films. In the first film, she shows up in a single scene in the background. Happens again in Catching Fire, where she is wearing a face mask and white clothing behind Peeta.
  • Dr. Kemp in The Invisible Man.
  • Most of the animal characters in The Jungle Book, while the movie focus more on Mowgli's interaction with other humans.
  • Jeri Ryan originally had a supporting role in TheKid as one of Russ' clients, and there would have been a minor Romantic Plot Tumor later in the film involving her character, where she starts hitting on Russ, and making Amy jealous. In the final cut however, Ryan's role was obliterated completely, and now she only has a small cameo on Russ' television being interviewed.
  • The Last Airbender naturally has this by virtue of trying to condense twenty episodes into two hours.
    • Momo shows up long enough to be introduced, then occasionally shows up in the background a couple times. You could be forgiven for not believing him to have followed Aang after the introduction.
    • Appa was also demoted. He doesn't get a lot of screen time and is more of a mode of transportation than an actual character.
    • Arguably, Katara and Sokka. Neither of them get many scenes in the spotlight, nor do anything of much importance, especially when compared to their TV show counterparts. It doesn't help that many of Katara's strong scenes are either given to Aang or cut entirely. At least Sokka gets his girlfriend.
    • Haru and Tyro... ahem, Earthbending Boy and his father.
    • Jet is the small boy Zuko calls over to regale the story of the banished prince.
    • There's also Avatar Roku, who was a major player in the Avatar's quest in the show. In the movie, with the exception of a brief mention, he's completely removed and his mentor role to Aang is handled by a dragon...for some reason.
  • Athena, Vincent and Petie in The Last Don II.
  • The 1929 film of The Letter starts off with some establishing scenes in which Hammond, Leslie's lover, receives the letter and goes to Leslie's house. He breaks up with her, and she shoots him. The 1940 film deletes these scenes and opens with Leslie emptying a revolver into Hammond. In this version the actor playing Hammond does not have any dialogue.
  • Hakan and the alcoholics in Let the Right One In have significantly reduced roles in the film adaptation. They are removed entirely from the American version.
  • The Little Rascals:
    • Typically happened whenever a once popular cast member started to outgrow their roles.
    • Wheezer's role was reduced when Spanky McFarland and Dickie Moore were added to the cast. He is practically unnoticeable in his last episode.
    • Stymie has very little to do in his last few appearances, only getting one line in his last two episodes.
    • Buckwheat in the MGM shorts.
  • Elizabeth March aka Beth, the Ill Girl and dead little sister, in The Film of the Book Little Women, played by Claire Danes.
  • In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, perhaps the biggest casualty of this was Éomer, who was built up to be almost a Sixth Ranger to the trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in the book of The Two Towers. He was offscreen for much of The Two Towers movie as his role was merged with a minor commander who leads The Cavalry rescue at the fortress of Helm's Deep. Conversely, his sister Éowyn takes the almost-Sixth Ranger role since she also goes to Helm's Deep instead of leading civilians to another fortress. Their uncle King Théoden also takes his memorable lines and moments in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
    • Also, Imrahil. In the books he's an important Gondorian commander and is the Acting Steward of Gondor while Faramir is healing. In the films he's shown a couple of times and it's not really made clear who he is.
  • Tim and Lex, now much older, only get cameos and are not mentioned again in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • Ruana Singh for sure in The Lovely Bones.
  • In Maleficent, the three fairies—major characters of the original and part of the driving force of the plot—are reduced to about four or five scenes, all of which involve them being incompetent. They don't even get to soften the curse—Maleficent does that herself as a cruel Hope Spot.
    • Prince Phillip suffers this as well. In the original, he was a Badass Prince who took up the entire second half of the movie. In this film, he gets two scenes and has none of his badassery in either of them.
  • In an in-universe example, this happens to a character in Mrs. Doubtfire. Early in the movie, Mr. Sprinkles is the star of a children's show. At the end of the movie, he's replaced by Mrs. Doubtfire and is demoted to Mr. Mailman, a minor character.
  • The Muppets:
    • Rizzo the rat is no longer interacting with Gonzo in this adaptation and is only seen in crowd shots, probably due to Steve Whitmire being really busy as Kermit. Kermit's nephew Robin suffers a similar fate.
    • Dave Goelz's characters (Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot) get very little to do here. At first this seems a bit bizarre, since Dave is one of the only puppeteers from The Muppet Show era still performing his characters consistently but when one realizes Goelz had shoulder surgery just before filming began, his characters' reduced roles makes sense.
    • Pepe. He was featured pretty prominently in some of the trailers, but it turns out most of that footage came from the one scene he was in that remained in the final cut.
  • While most of the characters they once performed are given new puppeteers and voices in The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth and Janice are reduced to non-speaking cameos and Scooter is completely absent.
  • 80's Robot in Muppets Most Wanted, where he doesn't have any lines at all.
  • Done purposefully by the filmmakers and fandom of the Police Story/Supercop movies (combinations of Sequel First and Market-Based Title confuse the nomenclature.) Jackie Chan was the original star but one sequel (called Supercop in North America) featured Michelle Yeoh as a supporting character. She was so popular that the next movie (Supercop 2 in North America) featured her as the star, with Chan's character appearing only in a humorous cameo.
  • In the film of Queen of the Damned, Armand has two lines in total, and isn't even named as himself except by Word of God, though in the book he was a major player. Much of this is probably because Daniel Molloy was Adapted Out, and Armand's plot mostly revolved around Daniel.
  • The Resident Evil movies, based loosely off of the video game series of the same name, end up doing this to most canon characters in favor of their own. At best, they end up as sidekicks (Jill Valentine is still a semi-main character in Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and at worst, they're truly reduced to extras (Badass Normals Carlos and Nicholai each get a bridge dropped on them, in the case of the latter with absolutely no fanfare).
  • Kenzo Yoshino has one scene cameo in the 1998 film of The Ring, but gained a supporting role in the retconned Rasen.
  • Ann Lewis from RoboCop 3. Her actress, Nancy Allen, was reportedly Genre Savvy enough to notice how Robocop was becoming a Cash Cow Franchise, and thus wouldn't sign on until they promised to kill her character off.
  • Sandy West gets a sizeable character introduction but then does hardly anything else in The Runaways. This was enforced with Lita Ford, who refused to sign over her life story rights to the filmmakers.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Kim Pine, compared to her more involved role in the books (mostly because her backstory has been moved to the [adult swim] Animated Adaptation). Envy Adams gets quite a bit cut out as well, since her fight with Ramona is cut and is compacted into Ramona's fight with Roxy Richter. She is completely absent in the climax and her role is merged with Ramona's. Richter herself gets quite a bit cut out; she almost got a complete axing when Edgar Wright considered depositing Envy into her role as Ramona's 4th ex. Nega-Scott gets the axe from playing a pivotal role in the books to being reduced to a mere punchline in the movie. Lynette Guycott although having a minor but pivotal role gets barely minutes of screen time, and her punching the highlights out of Knives' hair was designated to Todd. Finally the Twins are almost cut out entirely, as they have zero lines (their actors don't speak English), zero backstory, and probably the least screen-time of any of the exes, only seemingly being in the movie because they are exes number 5 and 6 respectively.
  • In Serenity the characters of Book and Inara are set up as not living on the ship anymore. Shepherd Book is an odd example as he's only in two scenes in the entire movie (the second of which kills him off), less than any of the other main characters from the series. However, they're both really good scenes that play a major part in shaping Mal's own story arc as well as shedding some light on the film's villain, so despite his limited screentime he ends up being one of the more important characters.
  • Inspector Lestrade gets hit by this in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. He may not have been one of the most central characters in the first, but he still had a decent amount of scenes and relevance to the plot. In the second movie, he is entirely left out, only briefly appearing at the end with few lines. His sergeant gets about the same amount of screentime, though he had a number of scenes in the original film as well.
  • Douglas Cartland in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
  • Almost all of Rosanna Arquette's scenes in Silverado now reside on the Columbia cuttingroom floor thus failing to explain how she goes from Emmitt to Paden in the course of the movie.
  • Extra might be going a little far, but Brom's role as Ichabod's rival is massively downplayed in Sleepy Hollow. He's only in a handful of scenes, not really a threat to Ichabod and Katrina, and dies halfway through.
  • The fate of Hefty Smurf in The Smurfs, who went from being one of the main characters in the comic books and the cartoon show to showing up only in a few scenes, replaced by Gutsy Smurf as The Big Guy because he wasn't macho (or Scottish) enough.
  • Chris Hughes in The Social Network. To a lesser extent Dustin Moskovitz.
  • In "Stand by Me," Gordie narrates, "As time went on, we saw less and less of Teddy and Vern, until eventually, they became just two more faces in the halls. It happens sometimes: friends come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant."
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • None of Betty Brant's characterizations from the comics made it into the trilogy with the exception of being Peter's potential love interest, and even that isn't as prominent compared to the source material.
    • Gwen Stacy from Spider-Man 3, is nowhere near as prominent as her comic counterpart.
  • The Star Trek films.
    • Uhura, for most of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Mind you, her big scene in the transporter room is pretty awesome, but there is literally no reason for it ending with her being left behind other than that they didn't need her character for the rest of the film. The previous film, when everyone beams from Regula I to the caves inside Regula while leaving no one behind, shows that transporters can be operated on a time delay. This very film later also shows this, as none of the Enterprise crew remain behind when they beam off (while simultaneously beaming the Klingons aboard) before Enterprise's self-destruct. So there is no reason Uhura couldn't have put a short time delay on the transporter and joined everyone else on their mission to Genesis. (Fortunately, The Bus Comes Back just before the end of this film, so that she can be along for the next one.) The film's novelization gives Uhura a little more to do, as she scrambles Starfleet's communication channels during the Enterprise theft, and then joins Sarek in convincing the Vulcan government to pre-emptively grant Kirk and crew asylum there, instead of just handing them over to Starfleet authorities when they arrive.
    • Saavik, who was a major character in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, made a brief appearance in only one scene in The Voyage Home, and then was never seen again.
      • She was intended for a major role in The Undiscovered Country, but between casting difficulties and objections by Gene Roddenberry over an established character becoming a traitor, her name was simply used as a placeholder for Kim Catrall's character, Valeris.
    • Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: Generations. More so in Crusher's case, as she barely did anything in the movie, while Troi's role was proportionately about as large as she got in most TNG episodes.
    • Pretty much everyone in Star Trek: Nemesis except Picard and Data, but particularly egregious for Geordi, Dr. Crusher and Worf. All three do get additional scenes in the novelization, though.
  • Star Wars:
    • Jar Jar Binks. Clearly set up in Phantom Menace as a Chewbacca for the prequels, he gets only a cursory nod in the sequel and a silent appearance in a group shot in the third. This was no doubt a result of fan backlash against the character.
    • In the original cut of A New Hope, Biggs Darklighter (this X-wing pilot) had a much more prominent role. He's actually Luke's best friend from Tatooine who left to join the Imperial Navy, but the scenes where we learn this were deleted. In one scene, Luke meets him while on shore leave and he confesses that he's defecting to the Rebellion. In another, he and Luke get an emotional reunion before the attack on the Death Star, which makes his death in the battle a lot more tragic. The special edition restored his reunion scene with Luke, but left out the early scenes where we learn who he is.
    • Early versions of Return of the Jedi had a much larger part for the Death Star's commander, Moff Jerjerrod. In the shooting script, Jerjerrod is a high-ranking technocrat, taking orders directly from The Emperor behind Darth Vader's back. Jerjerrod butts heads with Vader over Luke Skywalker's capture and even has the guts to deny Vader passage into Emperor's Throne Room, leading Vader to strangle him near to death. Late, he reluctantly accepts orders from The Emperor to fire the Death Star on the Endor moon despite many Imperials still present there and even gives the order shortly before the station is destroyed. In the final cut, his biggest scene is greeting Vader's shuttle in the opening.
    • C-3PO gets next to no scenes of importance in Revenge of the Sith, which he lampshades by stating how helpless he feels regarding everything going on around him.
  • The fate of Mr. Utterson from The Strange Caseof Dr Jekylland Mr Hyde, due to most every adaptation centering on Jekyll from the start rather that Utterson investigating a mystery, as the novel did. In the 1920 film he pops up towards the end as one of Jekyll's friends, in the 1931 film he is an extra, and in the 1941 film he's completely omitted.
  • Cammy, T. Hawk, and Captain Sawada have very little screen time in Street Fighter. More glaringly, Ryu and Ken go from co-protagonists to Those Two Guys.
  • Jerry Killian is a very minor character in the book of Striptease, but his screen time in the movie is still reduced. The same happens to Joyce Mizner, who is barely there before she bites it (although Joyce is really only there as the fiancée of the man Dilbeck attacks).
  • Lois Lane in Superman III shows up in the beginning, says she's going to Bermuda and disappears for most of the movie. Then she comes back before the movie's over as if nothing happened! This was largely done in retaliation after Margot Kidder criticized the producers for their decision to dismiss director Richard Donner from the franchise. It's a testament to how iconic the Superman mythos is in general, and Lois Lane in particular, that it wasn't worse.
  • Not to the extent that she was in Superman III, but Lois Lane still spends much of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace sidelined in favor of Lacy. However, this time round she does at least have a few important bits, most notably where she gives Superman back his cape, which had wound up at the Daily Planet after Mr. Warfield tried to use it for a cheap headline after Superman's defeat.
  • In Superman Returns, rising star Kal Penn plays Stanford, one of Luthor's Mooks, and among them gets the lion's share of close-ups, but almost none of his lines whatsoever made it to final cut.
  • Much of the Tamara Drewe graphic novel is told from the perspective of Beth, Nicholas's wife, but in the movie she's more of a supporting character.
  • John's co-workers Alix and Tanya's sideplot is omitted from Ted's final cut.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014):
    • Karai finally transitions from the comics to live-action, but her role is much less prominent than in other versions like the 2003 and 2012 shows.
    • The same is true for Baxter Stockman (also his first appearance in a live-action Turtles film).
  • Anyone who isn't Christie, Steve, or part of the Mishima bloodline in Tekken.
  • Miriam and Aaron in The Ten Commandments.
  • Jeannette, who plays a vital role in the book, appears for a split second in the boardroom at the opening of Thank You For Smoking and has no dialogue. Reitman takes the time to point her out for fans of the book during the commentary.
  • Adrien Brody in The Thin Red Line. He was originally cast as the lead character and received second billing (though it was in alphabetical order except Sean Penn who was listed first) but only has a very breif and almost mute role in the released cut of the film. Brody learned about these changes from the original script at the premiere, after he'd already been doing press interviews about his lead role.
  • All of the Hamiltons except for Francis have considerably smaller roles this time around in The Thompsons.
  • Hogun the Grim makes a brief appearance early in Thor: The Dark World, having remained in his home realm to help rebuild it after the Marauders' attack; has another appearance, no more than a reaction shot, during the portal-hopping battle of the finale.
  • Constance has hardly any screentime in TheThreeMusketeers 1993, and basically only exists to throw D'Artagnan his sword at the end.
  • Horseflesh had a big role in the script for Time Bandits, but his lines were removed and he's just more of a background character.
  • Fawn, who does not even merit an introduction in the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
  • Remember that blonde chick who dances with Fabrizio in third-class in Titanic? She was written as an opposite counterpart to Rose, a girl who finds her love interest in her class and follows her strict parents' orders without question (down to refusing to go with Fabrizio once the ship begins to sink, despite the fact that he knows the way to the lifeboats better). She's also the blonde girl who hangs on the railing before falling to her death. The film's script identifies her as Helga Dahl (a name she indeed responds to in deleted scenes). The bulk of her scenes in the movie were cut, so it's likely only the most die-hard fans will know anything about her.
  • Dez in The Town, who is The Smart Guy in the book and the Hufflepuff House of Doug's crew in the movie.
  • Gav Temperley in the film of Trainspotting.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Ratchet is a major character in the first movie, but unlike Bumblebee or Ironhide, his screentime decreased massively by the second. The third film does try to give him more spotlight, however. And the fourth film brings him back only to be Killed Off for Real, in a particularly brutal fashion.
    • Megatron goes from the Big Bad in the first film to merely The Dragon in the second.
      • He is barely on the screen for 5 minutes in the third film, and when he is, he's barely doing much until the very end. Granted, it is justified as he barely survived Prime's attack at the end of the second film, but it's still a bit of a headscratcher to not have one of the most famous bad guys of the franchise doing much more in this film. Even the small Autobots that stuck with Sam in the third film get more screentime/action than Megatron... The novelization of the film actually works this into the plot.
    • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen:

      In which Arcee gets blown up real good. This after much expectation that she would actually do something of note. Ironhide and the other Autobots from the first movie, except for Bumblebee and Optimus, of course, share something of a total of 10 lines between the lot of them. Meanwhile, these memorable characters were replaced with the Twins.

      Lennox and Epps had significantly smaller roles.
    • After having prominent roles in the previous two films, Sam's parents only get three scenes in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, one of which is a flashback to shortly after the second film's events.
    • Not a huge amount, but Bumblebee has reduced screentime in Transformers: Age of Extinction because Sam isn't in this film. He's still a major character, and seems to bond a little with Shane, but has no more of a role than the other Autobots sans Optimus.
  • Lysander in Troy. He has just enough dialogue with Hector to indicate that most of his scenes were left on the cutting-room floor.
  • Michael Corvin is definitely is this in Underworld Awakening, seeing as he is practically non-existent in the film aside from one flashback and a single scene where he's shown encased in ice. But one can make the argument that this is also true in Underworld Evolution as well, as he's taken out of focus for the better part of the middle-to-latter half of the movie, when he finally pops up again to raise some hell. Though to be fair, he was technically dead for a good part of that.
  • Tweedledee and Hector in The Unholy Three, due to Echo being made into an Ascended Extra.
  • Conrad Heyer, the head of The Eye, briefly appears near the beginning of V for Vendetta when Sutler's advisors are assembled, but the subplot about his wife manipulating him into trying to usurp the government is cut.
  • Bud, the protagonist of Wall Street, appears in exactly one scene in Wall Street Money Never Sleeps.
  • Captain Metropolis in Watchmen. In the book, he's a hopelessly naive superhero who forms the Crimebusters in the 1960s and tries to convince them that they can solve all of the world's problems. In the movie, Ozymandias forms the team (re-named "The Watchmen"). Metropolis becomes an unspeaking character who briefly appears in a flashback.
  • The increased focus on Turtle and Chris in The Westing Game makes this affect all the other heirs to a degree, but Jake Wexler, Doug Hoo, and Dr. Deere in particular don't even get to play the game. The doctor only appears once in the whole movie.
  • Rawiri in the film of Whale Rider.
  • Mr. Gloop, Mrs. Salt, Mrs. Beauregarde, and Mrs. Teavee in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
  • Aunt Em and the Good Witch of the North in The Witches Of Oz.
  • Maleva in The Wolfman (2010). She had a much larger role in the original film. Although, Gwen sort of fills her shoes as the figure trying to help Lawrence with his curse this time around.
  • X-Men:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:

      Cyclops, though there's a reason. This started happening even in the second film where he was captured fairly early on and didn't come back until the end.

      Rogue, as well, she had fairly large parts in the first and second movies, but her storyline in here remotes to her being jealous of Bobby and Kitty and taking an apparent cure. Part of it was also because Halle Berry didn't like Storm's comparatively smaller role and demanded a larger part. But objectively speaking they both were shafted.

      Dr. Kavita Rao. Gets about thirty seconds of screen time, three lines in total, and then is Killed Off for Real. Most of her role from the comics (like holding the press conference) is taken over by Angel's dad. She was never a major character to begin with, and was a very recent creation when the movie was made, but still.

      Psylocke, she usually has a fair amount of input on the plot in the comics.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:

      Rogue only appears in a non-speaking cameo and doesn't even get a close-up. This is because all her other scenes were cut out and will be put on the DVD release.

      Havok appears in the beginning to be rescued by Mystique and never shows up afterwards. Still, at least he survived unlike the rest of the First Class cast, with everyone who didn't appear in the earlier/canonically later films being unceremoniously killed off between films. But of course, he had to survive because in the film continuity he's probably Cyclops' father rather than his younger brother.

      Storm does kick some serious ass, but gets little screen time overall and doesn't have many lines until midway into the movie. Justified as her part was diminished due to Halle Berry's pregnancy.

      Compared to the prominence of her role in the comic version of Days of Future Past, Kitty Pryde's role is mostly being the means by which Wolverine gets into the past.
  • Nebula in the third Zenon movie who only gets a (very badly green screened) cameo since she on vacation on Earth. On the upside, she's played by Raven-Symoné once again.
  • In 24 Hour Party People, the other members of Joy Division that became New Order. New Order guitarist/keyboardist Gillian Gilbert gets it worse and only appears twice, briefly and in non-speaking parts.

    Lets Play 

    Light Novel 

  • In Avalon: Web of Magic, The One Guy Zach appeared as a major character in the third book, at the end of which he seemed to be an important addition to the team. In books four to eleven, he's lucky if he gets a scene or two, or even a few lines of dialogue. However, the author says that he'll have a bigger role in the sequel trilogy, Shadow Warrior, so he may just be Out of Focus.
  • Happens to Cery in the second book of The Black Magician Trilogy, but he's brought up to main character status again in the third. Harrin and Donia, on the other hand...
  • Shan in The Chronicles of Magravandias goes from being the viewpoint character of the second book to a barely important secondary character in the third. Secondary but still vital character Merlan disappears from the third book until the end.
  • Susan Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Mrs. Smollett in Pirates of the Retail Wasteland.
  • The Death of WCW:
    • Despite his immense popularity (and the huge paychecks WCW wrote for him), Bret Hart floundered in WCW after his arrival due to poor booking. Goldberg was buried after his initial rise to the top by Hogan and Nash's backstage pull.
    • In perhaps a foreshadowing of this, Vince McMahon allegedly told Hart that if he ever went to WCW, they wouldn't know what to do with him. Which is pretty much exactly what happened.
  • The "Paladin's Legacy" series is about the aftermath of Paks' deeds in the third book of The Deedof Paksenarrion, and focuses mainly on Kieri and Dorrin. Paks herself is relegated to recurring minor character. "Liar's Oath" relegates Gird to one (Who dies halfway through); the book is about Luap.
  • In James Gurney's Dinotopia, the first book centered around Arthur Denison and his teenaged son Will. When they split up towards the end, the narrative followed Will on his quest to become a skybax rider. The second book, The World Beneath, dropped the epistolary frame and went with Two Lines, No Waiting, showing what both did. The third, Journey to Chandra, has father and son meet in the beginning and briefly in the middle, but otherwise Will is a bit part. Orianna, a crucial character in the second book and hinted to be Arthur's Love Interest, has the briefest cameo in the third.
  • The Dragon Knight:
    • Danielle is not seen again after the second book, merely mentioned in passing.
    • Angie swings back and forth between this and being a third protagonist. Justified by the setting, since the Middle Ages were very Stay In The Castle. In some books like The Dragon and The Djinn or The Dragon and The Fair Maid of Kent, which are domestic, Angie plays a far greater role.
  • This happens to Ged in the Earthsea books. He's the main character of the first and third books (being the eponymous Wizard of Earthsea), and plays an important role in the second even though he's not its protagonist; but after he loses his power at the end of The Farthest Shore, he becomes a peripheral figure in Tehanu and The Other Wind, having given way to Tenar and Tehanu.
  • The Exile's Violin: In-universe example. When a battle between airships breaks out, Jacquie acknowledges that she is useless because she is neither a soldier nor a sailor. She watches the fighting as powerless to affect it as the audience.
  • Michael Grant has over 300 characters in Perdido Beach, and over 60 of them have names. So, while writing GONE , some characters are extras in some books, main characters in another and not even mentioned in others.
    • John Terrafino for example, went from being a minor character (GONE), a recurring character (HUNGER), a important/main character (LIES), a character who is eternally on mute and is only mentioned once in a cross refrence (PLAGUE) and then isn't present at all (FEAR).
    • The siren (or Jill) is a main character in LIES, but then is only mentioned in PLAGUE and FEAR.
    • Justin has a strange evolution. When first introduced in LIES, he's one of the main heroes, then, in PLAGUE he isn't present or even mentioned. Then in FEAR, he's back, but only as a recurring character. Making him, in effect, both a ascended extra and demoted to extra. In LIGHT, he gets a bridge dropped on him.
  • Sweyn started out in The Great Brain series as a main character along with Tom and John, despite being put on a train in the second to last chapter of book 1. Except for Book 4, he plays an increasingly smaller part in the storyline as the books go on, as he spends most of his time away at school.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the books and movies, Ginny Weasley in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. Gradually reversed in the later books, though.
    • Colin Creevey had a moderate supporting role in the fourth and fifth books and then vanished entirely until Deathly Hallows, when in only one or two lines it is explained that he was killed by Death Eaters when Hogwarts was attacked. As a muggle-born (much less a sixth year), he wasn't even supposed to be there, but the author Handwaved this by saying that he broke into the school to fight.
    • "Mad-Eye" Moody and Dolores Umbridge both appear briefly in Half-Blood Prince but have no dialogue. Both were fairly major characters in previous books and have moderate supporting roles in Deathly Hallows.
    • Madam Hooch was never that important of a character in the first place, but after admiring Harry's Firebolt in Prisoner of Azkaban she is never even mentioned outside of Quidditch scenes and feasts.
    • For that matter, Quidditch itself drastically declines in importance after Prisoner of Azkaban, with Harry playing in a grand total of three matches in the final four books. No Cup is held during Goblet of Fire and Harry being kicked off the team in Order of the Phoenix. Even when Harry becomes Captain in the sixth book it's usually only mentioned for various character purposes, and once again Harry misses the final match.
  • In the first two Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, Haruhi was a walking, talking, reality-warping MacGuffin. Skipping ahead to the last few novels, and Haruhi seems to have been Put on a Bus. Koizumi says she's getting more normal, but we all know from the first few that he isn't exactly someone you'd trust too much. And everything comes from Kyon's point of view, and he's the poster child for Unreliable Narrator.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, the Sequel Series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, almost all the main characters from the original have been demoted to either cameos or Put on a Bus. The only exceptions are Annabeth and Percy, who are both Out of Focus in the first book, and Thalia, who appears briefly in the first book to fight alongside the new trio and reveal that Jason is her brother.
    • Nico in the first three books. He plays a large role in the fourth, and will get POV chapters in the fifth.
    • Grover's one of the main characters in the previous series, but has a much smaller role here. The most he gets is some mentions, an appearance in a dream in Son of Neptune, and another appearance alongside Rachel in The House of Hades.
    • Chiron's a major character in the previous series, but in this one, he appears only in The Lost Hero.
    • Most of the major gods from the last series are laying low this time around, due to the chaos caused by their split personalities.
    • Dionysus who was previously the Supporting Leader of Camp Half-Blood.
    • Hyperion.
    • Rachel as a far less important role in The Heroes of Olympus than in the previous series, besides getting some mentions, an appearance in the first book, and an appearance in a dream (alongside Grover) in the fourth.
  • Those familiar with The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings will recognise throwaway names in those works who originally had much greater roles in The History of Middle-earth. For example, Rúmil is mentioned as a creator of alphabets in those books, but is an important character in The Book of Lost Tales.
  • Partly due to the cast of thousands nature of the series this tends to happen to a lot of characters in the Honor Harrington novels, but a notable example is Aubrey Wanderman, who has a major plot thread running through the entire 6th book, but then vanishes bar a cameo afterwards.
  • The Starlight Barking
    • Several characters; most notably Cruella, who is discussed often but only actually appears once — and even then she spends the entire scene asleep.
    • Almost as notable with Lucky, who is one of the major puppy characters in the first book but is pretty much a background character in the sequel.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • Peta in Mockingjay is in very little of the first half and doesn't really get any significant focus until the climax.
    • Effie Trinket in Mockingjay. She isn't seen till much later. Appears to not be the case in the movies however...[1]
  • Always prominent in the plot of The Inkworld Trilogy, Meggie nonetheless diminishes in significance after the first book, going from The Protagonist to Supporting Protagonist. A common criticism of Book 3 is that her only Arc was "choosing between two suitors".
  • As per Real Life. In The Last Full Measure, Hancock and Longstreet's wounds took them out of action for long periods of time, so the protagonist role is restricted mostly to Lee, Grant, and Chamberlainnote .
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Downplayed. Daniar used to be the hero but now she's one among many and has less screentime.
  • Tsuruko in The Makioka Sisters.
  • In the novel trilogy version of Mobile Suit Gundam, the Black Tri-Stars, the infamous Zeon ace trio who were known for their amazing teamwork on the battlefield, is only namedropped once, being mentioned as being the ones who captured General Revil. As well, Ramba Ral, who was well-known for his "This is no Zaku, boy!" line as he battled in the Gouf, doesn't even take part in the fights here, instead shown being worried for his mistress, who was working by Kycillia Zabi's side as a spy.
  • Sniff's a major character in the first three The Moomins books and a minor recurring character on the fourth, The Exploits of Moominpappa, which end with him being reunited with his long-lost parents. After this, he only makes sporadic appearances and is often left out of the books altogether.
  • In the first Noob novel, Golgotha is introduced as Gaea's childhood friend and the guild's regular helper. In the following books, she's reduced to one or two token appearances and a mention that she's been helping the main characters "offscreen" during the Time Skip between installments.
  • In the original Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy had a much bigger role, being a mother figure and fulfilling the role of his conscience. In almost every adaptation, most of her actions are done by the cricket character. One adaptation didn't even have the Blue Fairy, the cricket almost completely taking her place.
  • Though he's frequently mentioned by the other characters, Raoul de Chagny has to attend to business in France and doesn't make it to New York City until after Erik and Christine's reunion. He only plays an active role in The Phantom of Manhattan's climax as a result.
  • P. G. Wodehouse was writing a standard-issue Boarding School serial about a kid named Mike when an eccentric supporting character stole the show...none other than Psmith. Unfortunately for Mike, the sequels Wodehouse ended up writing were dominated by Psmith and had very little to do with boarding school, so Mike stayed on as his sidekick and personal secretary, all but disappearing from the last two books.
  • Some characters who were fairly prominent in the first book of The Sarantine Mosaic don't get much play in the second.
  • Despite having a very major role in the first two books, this happens to Marina in Firewing.
  • A Songof Iceand Fire:
    • The Dothraki that remain with Dany get quite a bit less page time as first her army expands and then she gets bogged down in Mereen in the third and fifth books.
    • Robb and Jaime only have one scene apiece in A Clash of Kings due to barely interacting with any POV characters. The TV series had to give them more to do.
    • By virtue of splitting A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons by location instead of chronology, many characters do not appear at all in one book or another. However, Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly do appear briefly at the beginning of each others' plots in the respective books.
    • A moderate non-POV supporting character in the first three books, Lord Varys is absent from A Feast for Crows and only shows up in the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons. Certainly a memorable appearance though!
  • Bill Compton in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • This happened to Tahiri Veila for a while. During the latter part of the New Jedi Order, her arc was given a great deal of prominence and she was built up as a main character, but was barely an extra in the final book, and was a peripheral character during the Dark Nest Trilogy and the first half of Legacy of the Force. Then LOTF finally brought her back midway through.
    • Kirana Ti hasn't been seen since The Unifying Force, with only a few mentions since then.
    • Streen was last seen at Mara's funeral, and hasn't even been mentioned for many books.
    • Lowbacca's importance has decreased significantly since the Dark Nest Trilogy ended, with most of his appearances being very brief or mere mentions of him doing something offscreen.
  • Pat and Isobel's roles gets increasingly smaller as the St Clare's series progress, the focus often emphasized more on the newer students that were introduced in the book.
  • Happens in-universe to Kaede after she marries Takeo and re-takes Maruyama in Tales of the Otori. Even though she is the one with birthright to the land and should be able to rule in her own right, all the retainers are used to women being subservient to their husbands, so whenever she tries to do something useful she keeps getting politely blocked and advised to wait for Takeo's approval. It gets even worse when she is forced into a marriage with Fujiwara, who keeps her shut away and denies her any power whatsoever. While this might be normal procedure for someone who considers her a beautiful object in his collection, he is shown to relish mentally abusing people, so might have done this precisely because he knows this is the worst thing that can happen to a strong and independent-minded woman who tasted real freedom, power and had a husband who considered her an equal.
  • In the Abridged book of The Taming of the Shrew made for 30 minutes every characters that isn't Kate, Pertuchio, Baptista, Lucentio or Tranio
  • In Time Riders, Foster's role in the series is greatly decreased after book one.
  • Fiona appears only briefly in a couple of books, and Kevin is referred to as being in New Zealand but never appears in person. Justified in that one of the themes of the Ellie Chronicles is the way that life marches on and how things are different once the war is over.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • Though a main character in the first two novels, Cloud's completely absent in Emperor Mage and only appears at the end of Realms of the Gods.
    • Clara Goodwin in Mastiff. She never actually appears.
    • Although he becomes the Rogue at the end of Terrier, Rosto has a much more minor role in the rest of the trilogy since Beka hardly spends any time in Corus.
  • Damia's older siblings in Tower and the Hive.
  • In The Trail of Cthulhu, every character other than Shrewsbury and Hovarth (who was introduced too late into the story to have a chance to be demoted).
  • Trainspotting:
    • Rab has narration duties, but appears only sporadically in both Porno and Skagboys.
    • Davie Mitchel had narration duties, but only appears as a supporting character in Skagboys.
    • Kelly had narration duties. She is barely mentioned in Porno, and only appears a few times throughout Skagboys.
    • Dawsie’s already limited role is reduced in Skagboys, where he's only mentioned a few times.
  • In Unseen Academicals, Rincewind is not a key part of the team's strategy, much to his relief. Vimes and Angua only show up as antagonists. William de Worde has a cameo as proto-announcer for the match.
  • Gawain, Kay and Bedivere barely appear and are killed off quickly in The Warlord Chronicles. Rather unusual for "historical" Arthurian retellings, since in the earliest version of the legends the last two formed a Power Trio with Arthur and Gawain was Arthur's best warrior before Lancelot was introduced. Derfel takes on their usual roles somewhat, and at the end he is the sole surviving warrior of Arthur who throws Excalibur into a lake, like the legendary Bedivere.
  • Happened to most of the characters from the first series of Warrior Cats. Characters like Sandstorm, Mistyfoot, Cloudtail, Ravenpaw and Graystripe (who was also Put on a Bus for three books) don't make many appearances from the second series onward. Firestar still has a noteworthy presence as Clan leader, but he still isn't as important as the main characters. The second series characters were a bit better about this (except for Tawnypelt, whose purpose in the plot seems to be one of the few cats in ShadowClan who isn't a jerk, and to give birth to relatively important characters, and Stormfur, who has been Put on a Bus twice), especially with Leafpool, who is still an important character after the end of the second series.
    • Brambleclaw, Squirrelflight, Hawkfrost, Tawnypelt, Stormfur, and Crowfeather among others all play a much less important role in Warrior Cats: Power of Three. Also, Cinderheart in the last two books.
    • Willowshine has a fairly important role in Warrior Cats: Power of Three, but does next to nothing in Warrior Cats: Omen of the Stars.
    • Willie’s Gang. They (aside from Willie) have significantly less screen time after Shattered Peace.
    • Heathertail gets a much smaller role in Warrior Cats: Omen of the Stars.
    • Lionblaze was a point of view character for twelve books. His previous incarnation, Lion's Roar, is a fairly minor character who is left behind a quarter of the way through the first book of Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans. May also count as Ascended Extra, since he'll be reincarnated as a far more important character.
  • King Draco features prominently in the first few chapters of White as Snow and later disappears from the book aside from being mentioned now and then.
  • Vagabond in the fourth Wing Commander game's novel.
  • Ludmila, one of the point-of-view characters in the Worldwar series, gets only two appearances in the first book of the Colonization series, neither of which last more than two pages and both through the eyes of Mordechai. Still, she gets off better than Heinrich. George Bagnall is actually a character of relevance in Colonization, but only for one single scene when he helps David Goldfarb emigrate to Canada.
  • Grue gradually fades in importance in the later arcs of Worm, and leaves the story entirely by the Cockroaches arc, due to his death in the first battle with Scion.

  • Supermarioglitchy4s Super Mario 64 Bloopers:
    • After the text font changed (starting with "The Warrior and the Hobo"), X started only making a few appearances in later bloopers, with Starman3 taking his original place.
    • Mejiacantillogustavo had a fairly major role early on, but in recent episodes he only appears as a background character.
    • In-Universe example: Bowser was demoted to co-villain in "Two Evil Friends" because his evil plans constantly failed, and SMG3 was made the main villain.

  • Chun-Woo for the most part of The Breaker: New Waves.
  • After Monica's arc in Witch Hunter detailing around her awakening as a witch, defeating the witch plaguing her village and joining the Witch Hunter organization she is soon reduced to the background as a minor character with a crush on Tasha.

    Multiple Media 
  • Noob has a handful of characters whose main characteristic is to show up at quasi-random moments in the story. This works fine in the webseries and comics, but doesn't transfer well to the novel version's tendency for Extremely Short Time Span:
    • Golgotha: She sepends most of the first novel in company of the Noob guild, then gets single scenes in the following ones.
    • Dark Avenger: In webseries and comic, the guy who ends up in a complicated situation with Sparadrap due to being convinced that he's displaying Obfuscating Stupidity. Existence mentionned twice in the novels.
    • Tenshirock's presence is only really necessary for the third novel and he might as well not exist in the other ones.
    • Relic Hunter guild is quite essential to the franchise-wide Wham Episode, but their purpose of being the Noob guild's Griefer is the only reason they are ever seen after that.
    • Arthéon gets a gradually diminishing role also, first by being kidnapped in Season 2 of the webseries, then due to Real Life Writes the Plot. This has resulted in his character being treated as a secondary role in the upcoming movie material.

  • Malin Berggren used to be the lead vocalist of Ace of Base for the first two studio albums, then got more and more into the background note  and her sister Jenny had to fill the void, and eventually quit the band (and her sister a few years later as well).
  • After the Smile sessions ground to a halt, Brian Wilson's role in The Beach Boys diminished significantly, though he did manage to pitch in a few great songs on each album (many of them leftover Smile songs, in fact). His mental illness certainly didn't help.
  • Alan Myers was the drummer for Devo up until the mid-eighties, after they recorded Shout. By that point Devo had made him somewhat obsolete on record, relying increasingly on drum machines rather than acoustic drums, so Myers left essentially out of creative boredom.
  • Cut Man and Guts Man, despite being two of the more well known Robot Masters, don't show up at all in the Megatainment album. There's been talk of making a Megatainment Pt. 2, but The Megas have expressed a desire to finish the Mega Man 3 album before they get to work on that, and there's the issue of how they're going to fill it with more than just the songs for those two.note 
  • Mercury Rev flautist was credited as part of the guest orchestra from All Is Dream onwards. It was generous to credit her as a band member to begin with considering that she didn't play on every song and didn't appear with the band in interviews and photo shoots.
    • David Fridmann gradually phased himself out of the band, first declining to tour with them from 1995 onwards and then quitting as bass player before 2005's The Secret Migration while continuing to produce the band's albums. However, he remained credited as the band's bass player while still a studio player, making this case an aversion.
  • Roger Waters-I mean Pink Floyd did this to Richard Wright, as he was no longer a member of the band during The Wall but still played on that album. Their next album, The Final Cut, lacked him altogether. David Gilmour brought him back, but still as an extra on the first Waters-less album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Then The Division Bell (the final album of the band) credited Wright as a band member again.
    • Before that, the band did this to Syd Barrett, due to his drug use causing increasingly erratic behavior. He only appears on a few tracks on their second album.
  • Pixies member Kim Deal was highly prominent on the debut album as a vocalist. On the following ones, not so much, as Black Francis started to develop an I Am the Band attitude.
  • The Rolling Stones:
    • Keyboardist Ian Stewart was an original member, but when they began recording in 1963 their manager, Andrew "Loog" Oldham, had him officially demoted to road manager, mainly because his straitlaced, short-haired look didn't fit the image Oldham was trying to cultivate for the band. Because the band still liked him, Stewart did continue to appear on the Stones' recordings, though, and occasionally performed with them on stage until his death and was inducted with the rest of the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. He - by any meaningful measure - was still a full member of the band, so his demotion really only was relevant in promotional material.
    • Less dramatically, this is more or less what happened to Brian Jones as the '60s progressed. Originally the Stones' leader, Jones was relegated to an increasingly secondary role in the group, due to the emergence of the Jagger-Richards partnership (Jones didn't write any songs and wasn't a big creative force in the band) and his own personal problems. His last album, Let It Bleed, features him on just two tracks (congas on Midnight Rambler and autoharp on You Got the Silver).
  • SKE48:
    • Sato Sumire used to be a solid member of the Undergirls in the elections, but her rank has dropped each year, and now she ranks in Future Girls.
    • Watanabe Miyuki ended up dropping out of the senbatsu in the 2014 elections, ranking in the Under Girls.
  • Kimono My House-era Sparks bassist Martin Gordon was annoyed when he saw the final album pressing, as on the back the planned band photo had been replaced with a large colour photo of the Mael brothers, with him, guitarist Adrian Fisher and drummer Norman "Dinky" Diamond being relegated to smaller, black-and-white portraits.
  • David Palmer, Steely Dan's "original" lead singer (he only sang on three tracks on the first album, as well as in concerts) was bumped down to one of several backing vocalists for Countdown to Ecstasy. No surprise that he's gone by Pretzel Logic, since the band had abandoned touring.
  • Ron Asheton of The Stooges was bumped to bass on Raw Power.
  • In spite of their popularity and influence, Uriah Heep is less well remembered than other early metal groups, though they probably have more recognition in prog rock circles.
  • Zero-G was one of the first ever VOCALOID's, and yet he gets the least amount of recognition (and fanart).
  • A factor in Gregory's departure from XTC. Partridge bought a synthesizer that allowed him to create string arrangements, something Gregory had done in the past.
  • This happened to Dusty and Frank of ZZ Top on Eliminator: despite them being credited on the album sleeve, Dusty's bass being replaced by keyboardsnote  and Frank by drum machines. For all intents and purposes, Eliminator is a Billy solo album (excepting Dusty's lead vocals on "I Got The Six" and "Bad Girl") with contributions by pre-production engineer Linden Hudson, who contributed drum machine programming and keyboard sequencing, and was alleged to have co-written most of the material, to the point that the band got into a legal conflict that was settled with him being granted the copyright to "Thug". Hudson had also showed Billy some research he'd done previously that most popular rock songs used the tempo of 120 beats per minute, which influenced Billy to write most of the album's songs at that tempo. And when the combination of blues guitar and incongruously synthesised backing tracks sent the album to diamond status, the formula was repeated on Afterburner and Recycler, and even led to the infamous rereleases of the band's past albums that replaced Frank's drums with drum machines. While the band continued using electronic loops and synth elements, Dusty's bass and Frank's actual drums returned to prominence starting with Antenna and Rhythmeen.
  • Blues helped to create Rock & Roll and yet never sees much in the way of thanks or tribute from any of the sub-genres that sprouted from its existence. Blues, being characteristically not particularly glory-seeking is probably okay with this.
    • A lot of early Rock & Roll and classic rock hits, especially from the British Invasion, were covers of old Blues songs. The similarities are so close, Sam Phillips famously said "Rock & Roll is just the Blues sped up."
  • Hip-Hop DJ's; while still prominent on tours and the mix-tape circuit they have all but disappeared from mainstream media. In fact a cynic could say the same thing about all of the other "pillars of hip-hop".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • This eventually happened to Cutter John in Bloom County. Though he didn't disappear like the scores of other characters who were dropped from the comic, his role was dramatically reduced by the strip's end (Word of God being that wheelchairs are difficult to draw within the confines of a comic strip panel).
  • After the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Boondocks became less of a life comedy strip and commented more on world news. It takes few to commentate so the strip neglected everyone except Huey, Riley, Granddad, Tom and Caesar. Eventually a few characters were brought back though, Jazmin was mad that Huey wasn't worried about her while she was gone.
  • The London Evening Standard used to run a cartoon called Clive about a boy of 17-18 and his various escapades. However, the strip began focusing less on him and more on his ten-year-old sister Augusta, until he was such a minor character that the strip was renamed Augusta. It was recognisably the same strip, especially since it still had all the Running Gags of its previous incarnation.
  • Dilbert 's transition from slice of life absurdism to office satire meant the more fantastical characters were marginalized (Ratbert, Bob the Dinosaur, Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light) if not eliminated altogether (Zimbu the Monkey, Dawn and Rex). There's also Mordac the Preventer of Information Services, who went from a regular recurring villain to appearing infrequently.
  • On The Fastrack used to star Bob Shirt, but compared to the other characters, he was boring. For many years now, he has appeared almost exclusively in ensembles — the only exception being him complaining about his reduced role at Fastrack. Another Bill Holbrook comic, Safe Havens, used to star Matt Havens. He hasn't appeared at all in the last decade.
  • Luann was initially a comic largely about the titular character and her classmates and family. Once Brad, her brother, started becoming more and more important to the strip, gaining his own storylines, most of the teenage cast was downgraded significantly. Even Luann's best friends Bernice and Delta rarely appear, to say nothing of poor Knute and Crystal, themselves Satellite Characters of others.
    • They seem to have moved into a pattern: Brad and Luann alternate focus each week. Luann's storylines tend to alternate between using her parents and using her friends. Every other month we usually get a week focusing on Gunther and Knute.
  • This happens all the time in Newspaper Comics - the long running American strip Nancy was initially based around the title character's aunt Fritzi (the original title was Fritzi Ritz).
  • This happened to a number of Peanuts characters: Shermy, Patty, Violet, Freida, Pig-Pen. For example, in the 1980's and 1990's, Patty (not to be confused with the more prominent Peppermint Patty) appeared in a total of three comic strips. Word of God said Patty and Violet got the shaft because Lucy worked better as a female bully character, so it would be too redundant to have all three of them featured prominently.
    • In the latter half of the 1990s this had happened to nearly the entire cast. By the end of the strip's run, the focus had boiled down to four major storylines: the misadventures of Rerun (with Snoopy or Lucy acting as the Straight Man depending on the plot), the day-to-day life of Snoopy's desert-dwelling brother Spike, the travels of Snoopy's other brothers Andy and Olaf, and Charlie Brown and Franklin (who had essentially replaced Linus) talking about life while leaning on a brick wall. Charlie Brown's sister Sally would occasionally get her own Sunday strip, but the other characters (particularly Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and the already-mentioned Linus) rarely appeared.
  • Retail had a shake up in 2012 where Stuart, the store manager, was promoted to district manager, with his assistant Marla taking over his old spot. While Stuart still shows up, he doesn't appear as frequently these days.
  • Once upon a time, back in 1919, there was a comic called "Take Barney Google f'rinstance". The titular character was a diminutive gambler with a gigantic angry wife. The wife was written out, and Barney got himself a horse named Spark plug, and the strip was renamed "Barney Google and Spark Plug". In 1934, Barney found himself deep in the Appalachians, where he met a hill-billy named "Snuffy Smith". And the strip was renamed, again, "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith". Here Barney would live for 20 years, until he left in 1954... But the comic stayed with Snuffy, and Barney became a rare guest in the comic carrying his name, his last two appearances being in 1997 and 2012.

  • Gottlieb's Rocky pinball, based on Rocky III, reduces Clubber Lang to a small figure on the backglass with his face covered.
  • During development of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, pre-release secrecy and fears the pinball could be released before the film resulted in the near-total removal of Robert Patrick and the T-1000 from the playfield or the backglassnote . When the dot-matrix display programming was nearly completed, the "liquid metal" T-1000 was public knowledge, which allowed him to be included in the display animations.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Both played straight and inverted by The Acolytes. Ron "Faarooq" Simmons was the first African-American WCW World Heavyweight Champion and had one of the longest single reigns of the title (at 150 days). In the WWF, he became famous for leading the stable "The Nation of Domination," which was also responsible for jump starting the careers of Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, and most famously, The Rock. After the Nation disbanded, he found success in the Acolytes (later the Acolytes Protection Agency, or the APA for short) with John Bradshaw Layfield, who had several failed singles pushes beforehand. After the APA split up, Layfield, now better known by his initials JBL, became a world champion with the Intercontinental, United States, and WWE Championships, while at the same time Simmons was reduced to making short cameos watching backstage promos and saying "DAMN!" It is of course worth noting the 9 year age gap between the pair.
  • Alex Riley had a toe-to-toe feud with the Miz. Pinned him clean on PPV at one point. After their feud was over, he promptly disappeared almost entirely from Raw. He's regularly seen on Superstars and NXT as a commentator.
  • The Barbarian in WWE and WCW.
  • Big Van Vader. More or less his second run with the company. He was more of a Mook than a stand alone star.
  • Bobby Eaton, in 1997 after he broke up with the Bluebloods.
  • Ever since The Authority (led by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) took a more active role making matches on TV since August 2013, RAW GM Brad Maddox and Smack Down GM Vickie Guerrero have had their onscreen roles reduced as a result.
  • David Hart Smith went from being tag team champions with Tyson Kidd while part of the Hart Dynasty, having a brief feud with him after their breakup, to not appear on TV at all. He was then released.
  • After losing the Tag Team titles, David Otunga disappeared off TV for a while before reappearing again with a lawyer gimmick before disappearing again.
  • Diamond Dallas Page went from prominence in WCW to jobbing in WWE.
  • Drew McIntyre, would you believe Vince McMahon declared him to be a future world champion at one point? No?
  • Ezekiel Jackson was due for a renewed push in 2012, but before it even got started, he was bragging about it and annoyed others to the point where a fight nearly started in the locker-room. Vince McMahon got wind of the situation and thus the push was halted and his Badass Decay was part of his punishment.
  • The Great Khali was a force to be reckon with when he debuted, but these days he is more of a comic relief character.
  • JTG is hardly ever seen on TV. He is mainly on Superstars or NXT.
  • Kayo Ozawa. However, Kayo was the only one of the three cut from the roster altogether for V3.
  • Matt Striker. Booker T replaced him on commentary on Smackdown, and he became a backstage interviewer and commentator on WWE Superstars.
  • Maven pretty much slip-slided down the card after his one shot for the World Title in 2004, getting squashed by Batista and Shelton Benjamin and ending up in a low-tier tag team shilling Simon Dean's "health products."
  • Michael Tarver was part of one the biggest faction in WWE, before he was injured, and then only seen in backstage segments before his release.
  • The Miz seems to have been lost in the shuffle, going from a WWE Champion to a guy that has trouble getting meaningful TV time. He seems to be floating in the awkward camp of being above the status of a mid-carder (and therefore not being seen as a good candidate for a run with the IC or US titles), but not quite a true main-eventer.
  • Nathan Jones after Team Angle d. Team Lesnar at Survivor Series 2003.
  • The Nexus:
    • What happened with the New Nexus group once Punk declared he would leave WWE with the WWE Championsip. Otunga and McGillicutty was the only one left of the group, Mason Ryan was out with an injury, and Husky Harris had been sent back to their developmental system. They lost their tag team titles to Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. Otunga was later repackaged with a lawyer gimmick, while McGillicutty was sent to NXT.
    • Darren Young went from main eventing SummerSlam with Nexus, to compete on NXT season 5 for seemingly forever, until he and Titus was moved to Smackdown.
  • Outback Jack. He'd beat the lower ranked guys but lose to more significant guys.
  • Paul Orndorff, as a WCW road agent and trainer from 1995-2000.
  • The Renegade. After Diamond Dallas Page defeated him for the WCW World Television Title at WCW Fall Brawl 95 until he was released in December 1998.
  • Rosa Mendes was never an especially major player in the division, but all but disappeared in 2013 from a combination of being sent home and returning only to find that the tag team she had been managing had been repackaged.
  • Sgt. Craig Pittman started out winning, but eventually became this.
  • Sheamus is a multi-time WWE Champion who fought Triple H in a high profile match at WrestleMania 26, put him out of action for nearly a year at the next PPV and became King of the Ring. Since winning KotR, however, he's subsequently lost more often than he's won. When Triple H returned, Sheamus interrupted his promo... and was promptly beaten down like he was an afterthought and then subsequently squashed by Evan Bourne. He managed to win the United States Championship from Daniel Bryan, who invoked his rematch clause for WrestleMania]... in a match that subsequently got pushed off the card into a dark match that turned into a meaningless battle royal won by the Great Khali. From main eventer who put a legend out of action to not even on the show a year later. Isn't it sad, Sheamus?
    • Been reverted recently, he's now fighting Mark Henry, who's become an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight that no one else is willing to fight. One of the first things he did, ironically, was beat Khali.
    • He won the Royal Rumble, so we will see him as one of the co-main eventers at WrestleMania, fella!
      • Ironically, he faced Daniel Bryan for the championship.
    • Happened again after Royal Rumble 2014. Part of it had to do with his being on the shelf with an injury for about four months, but with so many high-profile storylines happening, Sheamus was sort of pushed off to the side.
  • When WCW folded, Stevie Ray was doing colour commentary on Thunder.
  • Stonecold Steve Austin:
    • Following his match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, Austin appeared on WWE programming in a non-wrestling capacity (mainly as an authority figure) until 2004, when he left the company due to contract disputes and a budding acting career.
    • Austin had also retired due to injuries at that time: he hasn't wrestled another match since.
    • In 2002, Austin was scheduled to face rising star Brock Lesnar on Raw in a match during the King of the Ring tournament; Austin would have jobbed to Lesnar (who, in fact, eventually went on to win the tournament). However, Austin - who had been shafted out of a match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, facing Scott Hall instead - thus making it his first WM appearance since WMXIII where he wasn't in the main event- felt that losing to Lesnar on Raw would do neither man any favorsnote . After disagreements with the creative staff over the issue, Austin took his ball and went home, no-showing Raw and not appearing on WWE programming until 2003.
    • Austin didn't like the idea of facing Hall because he thought Hall was unreliable. WWE was aware of this, which was why they didn't announce a match ahead of time for Kevin Nash, since he was the Plan B. In the event that Hall, being Hall, had screwed up and gotten himself fired prior to the show, they could simply have plugged Nash into Hall's spot.note 
  • In Dragon Gate, Takuya Sugi got a clean win over a veteran like Genki Horiguchi in the Open The Brave Gate Title Tournament, but shortly after he was relegated to Mochizuki Buyuden and NEX shows. Then he left and never came back.
  • TedDiBiaseJr has rarely appeared on TV in recent months.
  • Test, when Triple H ran a video that admitted he gave future real life wife Stephanie McMahon drugs and taken her to get married in Las Vegas. Stephanie was previously Test's on-screen love interest, and had taken down his push was basically hijacked by Triple H. It then allowed Test to undergo a Face-Heel Turn, forming a tag team with Matt "Albert" Bloom known as T & A under the management of Trish Stratus.
  • TNA:
    • D'Lo Brown as a Road Agent and Head of Talent Relations. Reversed when he was revealed as the VP.
    • Simon Diamond as a Road Agent and Color Commentator.
    • After disappearing from TV for several months, "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero made his return to television on the 6/14/12 edition of Impact as a participant in the Bound For Glory Series. Unfortunately, he was eliminated early from the Series, due to injury.
    • Desmond Wolfe constantly punked out Kurt Angle within his debut, at one point ranked at #1 on the TNA online poll, and seemed to be on his way to becoming a member of Fourtune. After months of jobbing he and Douglas Williams seemed to switch places between who's partnering with Magnus and who's with Fortune, not to mention Wolfe was stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with Chelsea. Just when the London Brawling team was about to get some traction, Wolfe's medical issues caught up to him so much that he was forced to take a leave of absence.
    • (Ayako) Hamada and Kong were stripped of the Knockout Tag Team Title because they had not defended them in thirty days, even though that statement was a bald faced lie.
    • Winter. To the point that her storyline with Angelina Love was ended off-screen.
  • Tony Chimel currently only announces on Superstars.
  • Tony Garea. As a WWE road agent.
  • TPE in WCW.
  • Trent Barreta was mainly seen on Superstars or NXT.
  • For the most part Triple H is semi-retired, mainly due to his backstage duties piling up in preparation for when he finally does take over the company.
    • This occurred to him in 1996. He was a part of the infamous kayfabe-breaking Madison Square Garden "curtain call" (where Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Trips, and Shawn Michaels hugged each other in the middle of the ring following a match); since Hall and Nash were heading off to WCW, and Michaels was the WWF World Heavyweight Champion at the time, Trips had to take the fall. His main event push was delayed for quite a while as punishment. Interestingly, Triple H was originally supposed to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. After the "curtain call", "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was booked to win the tournament as part of Triple H's punishment, and it's that victory over Jake "The Snake" Roberts that gave us the Austin 3:16 phenomenon.
  • Tyler Reks brute-forced his way onto the Smackdown Bragging Rights team by taking out Kaval in 2010, and also made the Survivor Series team on the same brand. Then he got drafted to RAW in the 2011 draft and promptly disappeared from television. He then showed up on NXT along with Curt Hawkins, until the two briefly appeared as members of John Laurinaitis' informal stable in 2012.
  • Tyson Kidd went from being in a successful tag team to spending his days on NXT and Superstars.
  • Val Venis. After his Chief Morley gimmick, he became Val again, but lost his hair, his charm, and rarely was allowed to use the mic. He was buried as a result.
  • Vickie Guerrero has rarely been seen on TV in 2014, thanks in large part to The Authority.
  • Wade Barrett went from being a major threat with The Nexus on Raw and The Corre on Smackdown, to having a brief feud with Daniel Bryan, to not appear on television much at all. Then after appearing somewhat frequently on television as a midcarder, he vanished for no explicable reason before reappearing under the name Bad News Barrett & going months without a match as he spent most of his TV time giving people telling the crowds why they sucked.
  • William Regal is today hardly seen on TV, for a while he appeared on WWE NXT as the "match coordinator" and is now an announcer. He had a brief moment of spotlight when he got in the middle of Sheamus's feud with The Big Show. As of 2013-2014 though, his position as announcer at NXT is fairly formalized, serving as a regular announcer signature to the show in the same way Jim Ross is treated.
  • WrestleMania 29 was an example of several WWE wrestlers being left off the card in order to give more time for the three main events (John Cena vs. TheRock, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk vs. Undertaker). This also marked the first time in 16 years that there was no Divas match.
  • WWE:
    • This happens whenever a wrestler who usually who is in the midcard, and his/hers storyline and feud ends, he/she all but disappears, but might show up just to have one off match against someone, as there is a another feud that is starting up. Can also happen in the top card and said wrestler get dropped to mid card (or lower). It can be due to they are not over enough, or someone got hurt and they just get dropped as a result.
    • Since the 2010s, many prominent mid-carders such as Kofi Kingston, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and Wade Barrett have been pushed aside by the likes of such part-time talent like The Rock and Brock Lesnar for one simple reason: part-timers sell, most of the mid-card do not.
  • Since the early 2010s, full-time WWERaw mid-carders such as Wade Barrett, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, and Zack Ryder as well as the Divas have been demoted storyline-wise in order to make room for part-time (but very marketable) talent such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar (usually in the weeks heading into WrestleMania and SummerSlam) in an effort to give RAW a boost in the ratings.
  • After the draft lottery Yoshihiro Tajiri came to Raw as a big deal. Feuding with Evolution members Triple H and Batista and even pinning Kane. Did not last for him (or fellow Smackdown grab, Shelton Benjamin, for that matter).
  • On ECW Yoshi Tatsu was a number one contender for the title. Once that show was over he became a jobber.
  • During the last 12 months of the ECW brand, Zack Ryder was a perennial contender to the ECW title, having several standout matches with then ECW champ Christian. He also was given the honor of retiring the last ECW original Tommy Dreamer. He even interfered in the final ECW championship match. Upon arriving to RAW, he has not displayed any of that in-ring competence at all.
    • Lampshaded by CM Punk during his invasion of WWE Comic-Con
    CM Punk: "When's Zack Ryder gonna be on televison?"
    • Has sadly happened again. After a successful year in 2011, where he won the US title, he's hardly on TV anymore, and only show up on Superstars. Something that he complains about on Z! True Long Island Story.
  • 2 Cold Scorpio as Flash Funk in WWE. So much so that, when he did win a match, it was almost immediately forgotten as the focus turned to something bigger. Easily the most significant example of this was on the October 11 (taped October 6), 1997 episode of WWF Shotgun Saturday Night. Flash d. Rockabilly (Billy Gunn) after manager the Honky Tonk Man accidentally tripped up Gunn. "Double J" Jesse Jammes walked out and introduced his new name of "The Road Dogg." He made an offer to Rockabilly to leave HTM and team with him instead. Billy smashed HTM over with the head with his guitar and left with Road Dogg. Later that night, the announcers reported that Billy had changed his name to "Billy Badass." This was later corrected to "Badass" Billy Gunn. Thus, the New Age Outlaws, though not named as such yet, were born, and, despite the win, Flash was no better off than he had been before.
  • Happen to many WCW wrestlers who joined up with the WWF/WWE following the closing of WCW. Save for Rey Mysterio, and to a lesser degree Booker T, none of them managed to find much success in the WWE. In fact, Booker T himself also happens to be a pretty egregious example since he went from being one of the top wrestlers near the end of WCW, to not receiving a decent push in the WWE for about 5 years despite being very over with the fans. Some believe Booker was robbed at WrestleMania XIX and should have won the title from HHH.
  • The Pro Wrestling industry term for this trope is "getting buried." It refers to the worked lowering (relegation) of a popular wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans. It is the act of a promoter or booker causing a wrestler to lose popularity by forcing him to lose in squash matches, continuously, and/or participate in unentertaining or degrading storylines. It can be a form of punishment for real-life backstage disagreements or feuds between the wrestler and the booker, the wrestler falling out of favor with the company, or the wrestler receiving an unpopular gimmick that causes him to lose credibility regardless of win-loss record. It is also a result of a company seeing a wrestler as having no potential or charisma. The term can also be applied to a wrestling company that jumps the shark, rapidly loses ratings, fans, and finally becomes bankrupt. According to many critics, the most infamous burial of a company was The Fingerpoke Of Doom, a pivotal incident in the Monday Night Wars that took place during a Hulk Hogan/Kevin Nash match on January 4, 1999 on WCW Monday Nitro at the Georgia Dome.
  • This also happens to some wrestlers towards the end of their careers. They get older and/or less interesting, but still have enough respect from the company that they aren't flat out fired. Instead they slide down the card to mainly work on the opening matches and put the new guys over. Tito Santana and Val Venis are two of the best examples of this. At his high point Venis was an upper midcarder who actually tested the main event waters by feuding with Mick Foley, but he spent the last 4 years of his career in WWE working opening matches, working Heat, and rarely winning.
    • Tony Garea, who held the WWE World Tag Team Titles on five occasions in the 1970s through early 1980s, was a jobber-to-the-stars (that is, a wrestler who still gets occasional wins over low-tier stars and jobbers, but consistently loses to mid- and top-card wrestlers) late in his career. Part of this was he used his position to help assess the skills of newly arrived heel wrestlers. Today, Garea remains with what is now World Wrestling Entertainment as one of the company's top agents.
  • This happens to many women's wrestlers, especially after their Playboy pictorials come out and everybody's already seen them naked. Torrie Wilson suffered a very painful decline from "Top Tier" star to "Still on TV Every week" star to "In a stable" star to "maybe shows up on TV every once in a while" star. Candice Michelle and Maria Kanellis have similarly been released. Non-pictorial-related Divas include Victoria, who went from top-tier WWE Women's Champion to a jobber to new girls before quitting. Molly Holly had all but vanished by the time she requested her release. Most recently, WWE Divas such as Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, and Layla have been recently relegated to competing on the C Show WWE Superstars in favor of their male counterparts such as John Cena, CM Punk, Triple H, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Sheamus.
  • This has been happening quite frequently to many of WWE's mid-card talents with WWE's increased use of part-time talent starting in the early 2010s. Full time wrestlers who spend most of the year on the mid-card or upper mid-card (bordering on "main event status,") will usually get demoted down the card when it comes time for The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, the Rock, Triple H and the like to make their semi-annual returns for a few weeks or months to dominate the scene (usually in the weeks heading into Wrestle Mania, Summer Slam, the Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble). Some of the most frequent victims include Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett, The Miz, and more recently Damien Sandow. In addition, even wrestlers such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will go from the main event level to the mid-card when overshadowed by the returning greats.

    Puppet Shows 
  • After the untimely deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt, most of The Muppets they once played were handed down to new performers, starting with The Muppet Christmas Carol. However, Henson's Rowlf and Dr. Teeth and Hunt's Janice and Scooter, all formerly major characters with sizable roles in previous Muppet productions, would be reduced to non-speaking background appearances or not appear at all. The Muppets reversed this, as all four characters were as prominent as ever in the various trailers and the film itself.

  • Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty tend to get this for any episode of The Goon Show where there's a guest star playing a unique villain instead.
  • Due Ana taking the co-host spot from him, Ben's gradually lost a lot of his old prominence on The Young Turks. He's been regulated to guest host and Power Panel member, with Rick quickly taking over as host of TYT Sports.

  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • Atton Rand introduced a number of NPCs during the Adventurers' Island story arc, resulting in his own primary character being taken out of focus in favor of stories focusing on the various medics and Kate's efforts to fit in with the team.
    • While technically they do have a significant part in the story, the four official members of the Dino Attack Team have barely appeared in the RPG.
    • Libo, who once appeared frequently in the Dino Attack RPG, has barely been seen or mentioned, especially following the idealist-realist debate. He was finally revealed to have had a Bridge Dropped on Him (literally).
  • Thunderhawk in The Legend Of Heroes Tales Of The World.
  • Ithilrandir fell prey to this for a while in The Massive Multi-Fandom RPG —only appearing once in a blue moon, apparently eternally lagging kilometers behind the group and only popping up to remind that he exists, then going Out of Focus again (his player was having problems finding time to RP). He since recovered.
  • In The Sky Tides, Kefka, after being dropped, became a mod-controlled NPC due to his importance to the plot. Ocelot, too, near the end. Other dropped characters, like Chrome, have had cameos after leaving, though they are turned into Lawyer Friendly Cameos with their names no longer mentioned in case somebody else wishes to app the character.
  • In Smile For The Camera Monster Mashers, after Frankie was put into the hospital after the Lady War incident, we haven't seen much of him.
  • Inverted in Super Robot Wars Unlimited Generation with Auel in contrast to his treatment in Super Robot Wars K and Super Robot Wars L and then taken a little bit further. Whereas in those games, he's only around for cutscenes (if even that!), he's managed to survive for quite a while, even outliving Stella.
  • Suzaku suffered from this in TURNINGCOLORS, he didn't even appear in the Narita 'turn'. He recently got promoted to supporting character to Euphemia after the events at Shikinei Island.
  • Happens in The Velvet Key to anyone apped from the actual Persona series. Poor Minato.
  • Anno R, by himself in We Are At A Teen Sleepover.
  • We Are Our Avatars:
    • Dee, up until very recently. Shortly after 3Dee's introduction, she would usually only say anything whenever Cupid was involved or during introductions and would tend to sleep the rest of the time. And then Rachel Elizabeth Dare appeared, which pushed Dee's speaking appearances back down into "pretty much nil" territory. You just can't win, can you?
      • Dee got better, leaving Osaka's Other to fall into this territory; she was a pretty major character in her first appearance very early on, but lost most of her screentime to Dee and 3Dee in her subsequent appearances, due to her writer's preference for the desdroids.

        Dee eventually left due to relations in and out of character spiraling out of control, causing Dee to leave.
    • Protoman appears a lot less, but Etheru is trying to give him more appearances.
    • Gandalf is usually this. Justified in that he's an old man(despite being undead) that uses powerful magic.
    • Deviot. Ever since his first appearance, anyway. He has a few moments, but rarely interacts with The Group.
    • Princess Zelda. She's still in the party, but she doesn't do much these days and usually only gets a couple lines here and there to remind the players that she still exists.
  • As of early 2013, Catherine made sporadic appearances in We Are Our Adventuring Avatars, since her roleplayer wasn't appearing as often in the game due to her schedule, and she wanted to try someone new.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer40000:
    • Aside from some old rules in White Dwarf magazine (and one Apocalypse formation in Warzone: Damnos), the Deathwatch have never had a substantial tabletop presence beyond the odd conversion kit.
    • The Squats used to be their own army, with their own lists, units, and models, separate from the Imperium of Man but a trusted ally to it. These days they are an obscure bit of background fluff which is barely acknowledged as even being in the setting.
    • Although no longer a playable model, Iyanna Arienal plays a large role in the 6th edition Iyanden Codex Supplement.
    • Lost and the Damned didn't get an army codex for Fifth edition - unless you buy the Imperial Armour books.
    • The C'tan went from being among the most fearsome beings in existence to being simply shards of their former power. On the tabletop the C'tan went from being HQ choices to their shards being Elite troops.
    • Although no longer a playable model as of the 7th edition codex, Wazdakka Gutsmek is mentioned on the Warbikers Datasheet and his Waaagh! is marked on the map of major Ork activity.
    • Although no longer a playable model, the Doom of Malan'tai has an entry in the Zoanthrope info page in the 6th edition codex.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Of the six Signer Dragons, Red Dragon Archfiend and "Life Stream Dragon" are the only ones not to be featured as a Cover Card nor a Ghost Rare. Instead, this card's "Assault Mode", "Red Dragon Archfiend/Assault Mode" is featured on the cover of Crimson Crisis and is the Ghost Rare of the set, while "Majestic Red Dragon" is the Cover Card of Absolute Powerforce and is the Ghost Rare of that set and "Life Stream Dragon's" Machine counterpart, "Power Tool Dragon" is the Ghost Rare and cover card of Raging Battle.
    • Brohunder hasn't been released in the OCG, yet.

  • In the original film The Little Shop of Horrors, the first customer is a recurring character who appears throughout. In the stage musical Little Shop of Horrors, however, he only appears in two scenes, one of which is a background cameo.
  • The priest who plays a minor part in The Most Happy Fella played a considerably larger role in They Knew What They Wanted. Whereas in The Most Happy Fella he silently approves of Tony's resolution to have "plenty bambini" by his wife-to-be, in They Knew What They Wanted he objects strenuously to Tony taking a non-Catholic wife, in return to which Tony accuses the Church of coveting his inheritance.
  • Benvolio doesn't appear in the last two acts of Romeo and Juliet, despite having been quite important in the first three. He doesn't even show up to cry over his dead cousin.
  • In Six Characters In Search Of An Author, all the lead actors and actresses that should be the focus of the play get pushed aside for the characters.
  • In Holy Grail, Bedevere was the only knight to make it to the end with King Arthur and led the witch trial. In Spamalot, he doesn't even get his own recruitment scene, and his iconic helmet is missing until Act II.
  • Rebecca (Sarah's mother and Chagal's wife) disappears from Tanz der Vampire three-quarters of the way through the first act.

    Theme Parks 

  • BIONICLE has many examples, even after its Merchandise-Driven nature has faded. For instance, the Turaga: major side characters initially with a great story-importance, then got two full years devoted to their early lives, but from '06 onwards, they barely appeared in any scenes, and now... Where are they?

    Visual Novels 
  • Similarly, Kano and Minagi in AIR. Everything from merchandise to posters to, well, the backstory of the game makes it clear that this is Misuzu's story. Therefore, their routes are just there so the game can't be accused of having no variety — and when you think about it, if either of them wins, then the incarnations of Kanna will live and die in loneliness and pain for all eternity (especially with Kano's "good" ending). They were completely removed from the movie adaptation, and their arcs were shrunk to three episodes each in the Kyoto Animation version. They do each have one good figure, though. One.
  • From the original CLANNAD game we have Yukine, who, much like poor Sacchin, was originally planned to be one of the main heroines.
    • And in After Story, anyone whose last name isn't Okazaki or Furukawa gets shafted in terms of the spotlight halfway.
    • Also Kappei. He was a pretty important character in the original visual novel, but never appears in the anime, EVER.
  • Assassin, Shinji and Zouken in Fate/hollow ataraxia get much smaller roles than they did in Fate/stay night. Well, Assassin had a small role anyway. The latter two probably get smaller roles because the game as a whole is lighter in tone and they were two of the darkest characters.
  • Good luck finding a decent Shiori figure from Kanon. At least Kyoto Animation did her arc justice, and her falling out of the public eye might be because she doesn't have a "seven years ago" connection and is just a normal Ill Girl. In the 2002 anime, she, Makoto and Mai all fell victim to this, having their arcs squished into one episode each with key portions removed.
  • In To Heart 2 with the exception of Konomi and Tamaki in their special route, the Another Days game sequel swaps the roles of the winnable characters and the supporting cast.
  • While in the first game Reiichi Himuro and Ikkaku Amanohashi were capturable, in Tokimeki Memorial Girls Side 3 they're only supporting characters.
  • Satsuki Yumizuka a.k.a. "Sacchin" from Tsukihime. She quickly disappears on each route of the game despite being set up as another possible heroine, and in some branches she is quickly and cruelly dispatched by Shiki Tohno after becoming a vampire and declaring her admiration for him in a truly Tear Jerker moment. The anime lets her survive unvampirized, but other than that it didn't treat her much better; the manga, more of the same.

    In Melty Blood she re-appears, but as an enemy, in her vampire form. She is quite real (and dangerous) in the game, but in its manga adaptation she is the form that Tatari took after discovering Shiki's guilt for having had to kill her, and then he has to dispatche her again.

    She is more famous for how she doesn't appear that much on the other semi-official games, and the unreleased "Satsuki route" (which was supposedly planned and written but cut out, and is allegedly the one where the events of Melty Blood happen) is one of the running jokes of the franchise and the fandom. Within some fandoms (including this very wiki; see Meta below) she became the poster girl of the phenomenon (and former Trope Namer for this very trope) due to a meme based on the phrase "Isn't it sad, Satsuki."
    • Satsuki may finally catch a break in the updated remake, which is all but confirmed to feature her long lost route, and with it, a chance at not being fatally stabbed by her love interest.
  • Surprise, Haruki, in Setsuna's True End of White Album 2. He does this on purpose, as he realizes (rightly for a change!) that intervening directly would just make the situation more difficult than it already is.

    Web Comics 
  • By season four of Ansem Retort, Marluxia is demoted so much he's left behind with Darth Maul while the rest of the cast members take Red XIII with them to Hawaii. This is one of the reasons he's so keen on fighting Xemnas in season six: he gets more screen time that way.
    • He seems to be re-ascending in the current season: he's one of four people traveling through time to stop Xemnas. (Apparently, Axel and Zex need him to drink the time-traveling gay drinks. Because he's gay. It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • Rowby from The Bug Pond was featured in some of the earlier comics and was even given a bio on the character page but hasn't done anything of significance since.
  • Justin and Sarah in El Goonish Shive have steadily sunken into the background, though Dan is trying to avert this. Specifically, Justin seems to only exist to be a gay male and Sarah as Elliot's girlfriend.
    • Justin, at least, was a major focus in the "New and Old Flames" arc.
    • Sarah is getting more "screen" time and more of her own role as Tedd's lab assistant in one of the current arcs relating to summer jobs.
  • Ralph and Bimbo, the original main characters of Exploitation Now.
  • In Homestuck, this happens to several characters after they get killed. They then recognize that this is happening, and one makes it their mission to become relevant again (dragging a friend along for the ride whether he wants to get back into the spotlight or not).
  • In Jayden and Crusader the character Hannah has often slipped into the background and mostly only exists to give Smic another character to bounce ideas off of, a roll that could be accomplished by a lamppost.
  • In Least I Could Do, Rayne's best friend John was given a rather strong demotion as writers switched over, being replaced with a long lost best friend. He began to see a resurgence in later times, though. Supposedly, this is because he was based on the writer's real best friend, who he had a falling out with.
  • Happened to the human children in Noblesse some time after the Parachute Trio of enhanced humans formed. This is not the case in the Noblesse S lite novels.
  • Stephan used to be a much bigger part of Ozy and Millie. The cartoonist explains that he was created to represent the overly confident geeks of the dotcom era; when the dotcom bubble burst, there simply wasn't as much of a place for Stephan.
  • Several characters in Questionable Content, most notably Steve (Marten's best friend, now rarely shown) and Raven (who's apparently off getting her degree). Seems like Penelope is sliding into that abyss as well. Of course, none of them have had the indignity of being eaten by an Allosaurus.
    • Steve seems to have returned, and appears far more frequently than before, although still very much a secondary character. Pintsize and Winslow, on the other hand, seem to be slipping towards this with their ever decreasing appearances.
    • Steve was demoted to extra very early on - the joke about him being locked in the hall closet for months was as early as comic 155 (of 1750+). Raven was demoted to extra when Penelope arrived, and has now definitely been Put on a Bus. But The Bus Came Back. Apparently Jeph was doing an Archive Binge for a book release and realized that Raven was hilarious. She showed up to ask for her job back that day.
    • When Penelope and Cosette weren't seen for awhile, the author lampshaded it by saying they were "just to the right" and off camera.
  • It's happened a few times in Real Life Comics. Officially, this list includes Danny, Crystal, and the first Liz. However, anyone but Pal and Alan Extra under the Supporting Characters section get precious little panel exposure. In fact, it doesn't appear that Debbie or Cliff have appeared in the comic for years.
    • This is actually lampshaded in this strip where it's questioned if anyone remembers Ben at all
    • Recently Debbie returned... revealing that she had been stuck in a terrible limbo between life and death for the proceeding decade.
  • Endemic to Sam and Fuzzy. The comic is based into arcs separated by month- if not year-long Time Skips, bringing with them a severe disruption of the status quo. Characters like Lance, Alexa, Ackerman, Carlyle, Malcolm, Earl and Sidney, who were frequently appearing characters in the arcs that introduce them, later move on and away and appear sparingly if at all.
  • Rachel and Tessa start off Scary Go Round as the main protagonists, but after the first chapter they're demoted to the supporting cast. The comic would often spend time focusing on some characters at the expense of others before rotating back, but they never really recover: it's another six chapters and nearly a year later before they get the limelight back. After that, they make another few appearances, but they're inexorably sliding towards a Face-Heel Turn and finally being Put on a Bus to Hell.
  • Robotnik himself has yet to make a full appearance in Sea3on, only being mentioned by other characters and seen in flashbacks.
  • Sinfest:
    • Criminy after the Patriarchy arc. Some fans see this as suspicious due to him being the most likely character to be able to successfuly debunk Glossy's views on men.
    • The Dragon has being out of focus ever since the Sisterhood appeared.
    • Ever since Xanthe and the Sisterhood showed up, Buddha hasn't been seen in a while. A very long while.
  • Dr. Lorna hasn't had more than the (very) occasional reference in Sluggy Freelance for years, despite being Riff's mom and still living in the same town by all accounts. She's essentially been Put on a Bus, having disowned Riff and fired Gwynn and Zoe, leaving her with no connections to the cast (and satirizing Dr. Laura no longer being in style).
  • Happens to several characters in Something Positive, but the most notable example is probably Monette. After years of being a major focus in the Texas storylines, she's Put on a Bus to California and has shown up sparingly since. Arguably significant to her Character Development, but her drop in panel-time is very noticeable.
    • Randy specifically sets aside time at the beginning of every year to show characters that are out of focus — calling it "Old Familiar Faces." So these characters are more properly Commuting on a Bus. But yes, if you aren't interacting regularly with Davan, Aubrey, PeeJee, Jason, or to a lesser extent, Mike, you just aren't in the comic. Especially odd is the absence of Davan's disabled sister Dahlia, who lives close to the Texas cast and wouls seem to need her brother's help and support.
  • The title character of the notorious Sonichu series takes a backseat to everyone else in the comic after issue #1, which begins to center completely around Chris. He does gain some more attention in Episode 8 and onward, but it's not much.
  • Emmit hasn't had much to do in recent years of Station V3, though he's probably not complaining too hard about it.
  • Sweet Jade And Hella John:
    • Pretty much every troll except Nepeta. Word of God stated that he even hates writing for them because he can't come up with anything for them that isn't walls of hemospectrum=racist, romance discussions, and plot exposition. Notably, Vriska, opposite of Nepeta, turns from one of the most important characters in Homestuck who deliberatly tries to force herself into the plot into an Earl expy early on in the comic. This was intentional. Lamshaded in the Shipping Intermission when Tavros asks Vriska what the last big plan she had was. She answers with a long pause, followed by a "fuck you."
    • Rose, Roxy, Dave, and arguably Dirk. (The "arguably" meaning that he actually joins John's group for most of Intermission Act Two, but he doesn't do anything until after he separated himself from the group to look for rupees.) It's also heavily implied that the lines on the "==>" arrows stand for John, Jade, Jane, and Jake, and not any of the blondes. The reason for this being that dashes and equals are added once a gender flipped counterpart is made, including counterparts to Jane and Jake. Thankfully, this only applies for the first three Intermission Acts; from IA4 onwards, they get a lot more focus.
    • Within the fan fic, Elitaa and possibly Puerco. Elitaa was at first quite the spotlight taker and her introduction and surrounding initial mysteries heavily took up most of Sweet TROLLS and Hella MORE TROLLS. There was even a segment where she wandered around the yellow ship and looked at what all of the trolls there were doing; unfortunately, nobody suggested, so that didn't go anywhere. She's now a Living Prop who hasn't made a physical, non-cameo appearance in over several hundred pages, and never really contributed to the plot. (Everything she did was tied directly with another character, such as destroying the T-800s with Eridan.) The "possibly" for Puerco is only because she was almost never important at all and is one of the few characters who didn't actually contribute anything to the story.
    • Meenah Peixes. Overall less relevant and gets less screentime than her Homestuck counterpart, but at least in the intermission and Act Two Act One she gets some roles in tampering with Dave's stuff... until after Aranea's rampage, then she's pretty much shoved to the back and killed off screen.
    • The Troll Ancestors really have even less relevance and their actual story arc was covered in less words by Aranea, though they themselves get a bit of dialogue. Aranea's description on Summoner best sums up what to expect from their arc:
    "Summoner was a 8adass. And on team "Yes Mutants." He flys. The end."
    • The Millennium Members. Compared to both Hellsing and Hecksing Ulumate Crconikals, everyone bar Rip suffers from this.
    • Doctor (7). Noted here because he gets it far worse than any other member of the Millennium, and that's saying a lot.
    • Hecksing compared to both Hellsing itself and HUC.
  • Mr. Birdbeak from Tragic Deaths. In the first three comics that that Petalklunk made, he was the main focus, but now he's only made one appearance after it switched focus to the war between Petalklunk and Mr. Bignose.
  • Wapsi Square:
    • In the slice-of-life years, Tina was a moving prop, Katherine was just a weird Drop-In Character, and Tep was such a joke that he wasn't added to the cast page at the time until after the Heather arc, when she'd been there for months already; essentially, Monica and Shelly are the only two left of the original cast. Even Shelly hadn't been very prominent among Monica's friends until the Heather arc and her Important Haircut boosted her popularity.
    • Tepoz rarely shows up anymore.
    • Jacqui was much more important before the paranormal elements of the strip showed up. However, she does have the most appearances of any character who is not in on the paranormal.
    • After the situation between him and Shelly was resolved, Owen stopped appearing. In March 2012, Shelly got a postcard announcing that Owen and Lakshmi had eloped.
    • Darren isn't quite as important as he used to be.
  • Miyoko and Eizo as the strips have gone on in The Way To Your Heart.

    Web Original 
  • In The Ballad Of Mike Haggar, Cody and Guy (key players in the actual game, Cody being the one who punches Belger out of the window of his complex in the finale) get a small, demeaning mention toward the tale's end. In this case, not a sour note for this ballad. This IS Haggar's story, after all.
    "This is not the ballad of Guy or Cody, / Saviours weak and frail and bony, / If you'll think back, and not too far, / Recall that I speak of Mike Haggar!"
  • Mr. Luciano in The Classroom.
  • The Creepy Teen Years:
    • Randomideaguy. Former writer, main character, and editor in season 1, quite a bit less important in season 2. Isnt it sad RIG? ;_;
      • Randomideaguy even disappeared for the first half of season three, before showing up out of nowhere with out an explanation, both instory and IRL. NothingNow even had trouble remembering when he had last appeared. So, is accidental Chuck Cunningham Syndrome a thing?
    • Blackwave, and several Others also fall in this Category. Whether or not this is for the better is up to the readers.
    • Evilprodigy, Catboy, and Lord_Roem have less focus on them in seasons 3 and 4.
  • Iridescence and Doodlecute don't do much but stand around in Dusk's Dawn, despite being in an ensemble cast. Meanwhile:
    • Mister Brave saves Star Whistle from the magic ring.
    • Donut finds the antagonist and performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Star Whistle fights against the antagonist using her telekinesis.
    • Breeze Rider saves the day by grabbing the sceptre.
  • Kit-chan's Fullmetal Alchemist abridged series parodies this with Alphonse's lines being cut mid-sentence in order to support Ed's status as the main character.
  • As with Comic Book Limbo, both players and entire campaigns came and went over the course of the ten-year history of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. As they did, most of the characters involved would fade from being important main characters to being supporting NPCs to eventually being background color.
  • Thanks to having Loads and Loads of Characters, this happens frequently in the Homestar Runner world. Inexplicably, Pom Pom (one of the original main characters) did not appear in the season finale of Strong Bad's game, despite Pom Pom being in every other episode up to that point. In fact, Pom Pom used to be one of the three main characters along with Homestar and Strong Bad, although now, his appearances are rare, and the annual Christmas/Halloween cartoons are the only times he'll be seen consistently.
    • The Poopsmith's demotion is, if possible, even more evident than Pom Pom's, as the Halloween cartoons just might be the only time he's seen at all anymore (evidently a result of the two characters being silent and bubbly-voiced). Still, he didn't do too bad considering he was an Ascended Extra to begin with.
    • Like Pom Pom, Homsar also didn't appear in the finale for Strong Bad's game—but he, like the Poopsmith, started out as an Ascended Extra (from a Strong Bad E-mail, no less!) and even then he was often relegated to clickable Easter Eggs.
  • Kickassia:
    • LordKat, one of the more well known and prolific contributors to That Guy with the Glasses fell into this in the second anniversary special Kickassia, due to Reality Subtext: he sprained both ankles during filming.
    • Handsome Tom also had this happen to him, relegated mostly to posing as Kickassia's flagpole. This was lampshaded in one of the "making of" videos, where Doug passes out the script and apologizes to Tom for having him be "an object". Tom takes it pretty well, pointing out that objects are useful. The other contributors have also said that Tom's okay being in the background because he doesn't think he's an especially good actor and is there mostly to have fun.
      • Fine enough to only making it to a cameo in To Boldly Flee.
      • Benzaie and Suede are also reduced to off site cameos, probably because they live outside the US and couldn't make the shoot that year.
    • Speaking of To Boldly Flee, Spoony, compared to his roles in Kickassia and Suburban Knights, had this happen to him, serving a much more passive role as a semi-comatose Distressed Dude instead. Justified in this instance as his actor, Noah Antwiler, put most of his acting chops into The Dragon Terl.
      • Similarly, Linkara is MIA for most of the story, but the actor is prominent as Linkara's villainous robot double.
      • Handsome Tom had three lines, one spoken three times, in six episodes. In the commentary, other cast members said he was to have gotten a slightly bigger role, but he begged off, saying "I'm just here to have fun" and doesn't think he's an especially good actor.
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Kitty Bennet, who was the fourth Bennet sister, has been adapted into an actual cat named Kitty, while Mary has been turned into a cousin seen mainly in Lydia's spin-off videos (although she has appeared in Lizzie's videos).
  • The Most Popular Girls in School:
    • The Van Buren sisters are pretty much put aside for most of the second season to focus on the feud between the cheer squads.
    • Invoked in-universe when Ashley Katchadourian asks to be left out of the current conflict after all she's gone through. However, she has a pretty prominent role in episode 58.
  • In-Universe. The Nostalgia Critic complains about Mrs. Brisby getting this treatment in The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, including a caption at the end that asks where is a statue of her.
    Narrator: But Jonathan Brisby's widow and her family stayed behind.
    Critic: Oh, nice. Mrs. Brisby, after all the shit she’s been through, gets the incredible honor of widow credit. Oh, she also did a few other things, but fuck it, they weren't important!
  • Andy had this happen to him in Season 2 of Omega Guardians having gone from a character with a huge role in Season 1's plot to sitting on the sidelines with random appearances here and there.
  • Several series that used to get a lot of attention in The Outskirts Battledome have had this happen over the years. One example being Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • Sister from Red vs. Blue. She brought the ship to Blood Gulch, and her arrival leads to the Reds discovering the underground caves. After that, she gets shuffled around from the Red team to the Blue team and finally to just bumming around with Doc, by which time she's barely seen. She appeared once or twice in season 6 and has not been seen since.
    • Sister suffered from all her personality traits being stuff that could not be done though machinma by Roosterteeth at the time. Anytime she is doing something, she ends up being off screen while the other characters comment on it, and that only goes so far.
    • Wyoming also suffered this. In the Blood Gulch episodes, he was one of the primary villains, alongside O'Malley; oftentimes accomplishing his objectives. But despite his role in those episodes, he is rather unimportant in the prequel portions of Seasons 9 and 10. Word of God is that this is due to his goofier personality clashing with the more serious tone the Freelancer bits have.
  • Mois in Sgt. Frog Abridged, due to her voice actor often being busy, and the writers getting anything they could have really gotten out of the character in her first episode. She still has the occasional line, and the season finale features her more prominently, but overall the writers just never have a use for her.
  • Kirby gets a passing mention in Season 5 of Sonic For Hire, and one line in season 6.
  • Spill:
    • Carlyle has stopped appearing in reviews, the last one with him being Clash of the Titans, only showing up to do ACOCO until eventually leaving that as well. This is actually because he has two other jobs reviewing movies and was burning out, so it was his own choice.
    • A good chunk of the LEOG went from regulars to Support League status on their own volition.
  • Deanna Troi in Star Trek Specter, oddly enough, given that she was a cameo guest star.
  • Howard Parks from the first film; in Star Trek Redemption he's seen exactly twice when we're in 2378, and unlike the scenes in Specter isn't present during the briefing scene in the observation lounge.
  • Godzilla in Toho Kingdom Toons from the actual Godzilla series, however recent toons give him more screen time.
  • Due to the large cast of Video Game Championship Wrestling, there are some characters that basically only show up in Royal Rumbles or Tag Team matches. A good example is Bowser, who went from being the one who finally overthrew Ganondorf's "1000 Years of Darkness" reign as champion to being an afterthought for a while. Other aren't even that lucky and get Put on a Bus.
  • On The War Comms, if there's a meta post with most of the characters, Christine and Olivia will be left off of the first version.
  • Feral in Whateley Universe. Made a few appearances before her author vanished, leaving the Canon Cabal uncertain what to do with her. She has only appeared in one liners since.
  • Ryo Bakura in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Even more so than in the original series. Yami Bakura, on the other hand...
  • Zap Dramatic:
    • Ted is the main character in the first few episodes. Later, he gradually becomes less important as focus shifts to the mystery of Angie's murder.
    • Jim is a main character in Episode 1, and then all but disappears (save for a few cameos) until Episode 10. Even then, he is still only a supporting character.
    • Frank doesn't really show up much after Episode 6, save for game over scenarios and cameos. Even what dialogue he does get in Episode 8 seems to have all been recycled from Episode 6 to save the bother of bringing back the voice actor.
    • Dave the Brave's a pretty major character in the boy's plot on Monday, but after that he becomes a background character. The one other time he speaks, it's via recycled audio.

    Real Life 
  • Apple has done this to its Mac products with the success of the iPad and iPhone.
  • After the Virtual Boy flopped, Gunpei Yokoi was given what amounted to a desk job and had no real power. He would later leave Nintendo entirely.
  • Pluto. It got its own spin off, Solar System: The Dwarf Planets Saga. Much earlier, Ceres became the newest member of the Solar System, but, an influx of other similar characters (Pallas, Juno, Vesta) led for them all to be dropped. Ceres, luckily, got a role in the Dwarf Planets Saga alongside Pluto.
  • After a company merger with AOL, Ted Turner was given a figurehead desk job with no real power in the company's decision making.
  • Almost every US President ever after their term. In office, they're the most well known person in America but once their term is up, they sink to the background except for a few public appearances here and there. The one exception was William Howard Taft, who after leaving office was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, an extremely powerful position in its own right.
    • The same could be said for any nation's leaders. They're the most important person while they're in power, but then disappear into the background after they lose power. It's pretty rare for a former leader to zig-zag between this and Ascended Extra, though for nations that lack strict term limits the possibility always exists. (Australia is probably one of the few countries where examples of this exist, with three Prime Ministers having done this during their lives in parliament.)
    • Cabinet-level positions occasionally avert this. Usually a party will be in power for a given period, be replaced by their rivals, then come back to power a decade or so later. When that happens, ministers / secretaries who served in government the first time sometimes come back when their party returns to office.
  • Happened to dinosaurs: for a hundred millions years, they were the dominant animals on land. Now that mammals and humans in particular have taken over, what remains of them? Birds... Although it hasn't been too bad for them since there are about 10,000 bird species compared to only about 4,000 species of mammals.
    • Reptiles, as a whole, exemplify this trope even if they still play a big role in our ecosystem. Long ago, they ruled the Earth for more than 185 million years during the Mesozoic Era (compare the Cenozoic Era, which is barely a third in length) and were very diverse in their respective area. Some scientists believe that if the K-T extinction event never happened, the smaller theropods might have achieved an intelligence similar to humans.
    • The same might be said about synapsids (or "mammal like" reptiles that preceded dinosaurs as dominant terrestrial vertebrates. After Permian-Triassic mass extinctions, the only traces left of their descendants were tiny rat-like creatures that slithered in the shadows, while the ancestral archosaurs (ancestors of dinosaurs, among other things) became dominant.
  • In a manner of speaking, when a company, government entity or school district purchases new vehicles, the new vehicles are the ones used on the primary routes and/or long trips. The older vehicles are demoted to shorter routes, while the oldest vehicles in the fleet are parked in the yard and used as spare vehicles (such as when one of the newer vehicles is unavailable or in the shop for repairs). Eventually, it is the oldest vehicles that are sold off and replaced by the new vehicles, and the cycle continues.
    • An illustration: A school district in a rural school district covering 200 square miles purchases five new buses. The new buses are placed on the high-mileage routes and used for athletic trips. The buses they replace are then put on shorter routes, perhaps in-town. The oldest buses still on regular routes are then parked at the bus garage, used only when one of the newer buses is being repaired or otherwise unavailable. To mean – as a bus gets older, they begin fitting the trope more and more as the newer buses fit the spotlight.
    • The same thing happens on the railways, especially with passenger engines. The railway gets a new passenger engine, the fastest thing on the rails, and it pulls the big expresses for about ten or fifteen years. Then it gets an even newer engine, and the original one gets put on the second-string trains. Finally, after thirty or forty years in service, the former "star" engine is clanking around on branch lines or commuter routes before it gets scrapped or donated to a museum. Ditto for airlines.
    • And also for cruise ships — the newest ships get the most prominent (often longer) routes, while the older ones run less popular or shorter routes, and the oldest ships doing 3-day runs to the Bahamasnote  until they are sold off or scrapped.
  • In the West, advances in agriculture that made meat more widely available did this to vegetables. In Western cuisine, meat is considered the "main dish" with vegetables as "sides". Due to the health problems excessive meat consumption can cause, many experts are recommending that meat should be Demoted To Extra.
  • Mergers in general. As the big boys get bigger and bigger, even the moderately-sized regional companies in the same market are either shunted aside or gobbled up by the bigs. Wal-Mart and Target v. K-Mart is a good example.
  • Most of the world's remaining monarchies are now constitutional monarchies within a parliamentary system. In such cases, the real power resides in the Parliament (and in the person of the Prime Minister.) The monarch's position becomes largely ceremonial. Even in cases where the constitutional monarch has considerable residual or theoretical power (e.g., Great Britain), the power is seldom exercised.
    • Speaking of Parliament, the institution itself was originally a threefold system with the 'King-in-Parliament', the House of Lords to represent the aristocracy, and the House of Commons to represent the wealthy middle classes (the idea that poor people might actually have a right to representation didn't have much traction at this point). From the Civil War onwards, the monarch was gradually removed from this arrangement, leaving the Lords as the main centre of power. However, from the early 19th century onwards they too began to lose power, and its aristocratic nature was also reduced. Now the Commons holds supreme power and the House of Lords is just a technocratic advisory body.
  • This even happens to some countries in the course of history.
    • Rome used to have an empire but since the early A Ds, it's only notable for housing The Pope.
    • Iran (known for most of history as Persia) was regarded as the first world empire (under the Achaemenid Dynasty), when it conquered most of what was then called the "civilized world". It remained a major power even after the Arab conquest. Now? Just a third-world theocratic despotism.
    • Spain and Portugal used to be major world colonial empires during the Age of Exploration. By the late 19th century, they became less mighty.
    • The Dutch used to be a world power. Sic transit gloria mundi.
    • Ottoman Empire; it seized half of the middle east and some eastern European countries but after WWI, Ottoman Empire fell and a fresh Turkey was born. With Turkey's desperate attempts in becoming an EU member, it's obviously lost its relevancy.
    • Germany and Japan used to be major world military powers in the first half of the 20th century. America used to think that they would conquer the world by buying it. Later they just follow their much more powerful allies.

  • Your colleagues from school/highschool/university/work/volunteering. While it's likely a few of them will remain lifelong friends, the others will, at best, be reduced to an occasional chat when you meet them by accident on the street. Even with the advent of social networking sites it's unlikely you'll spend any significant amount of time talking to most of them.
    • Your parents. When you're a kid, they are the most important people in your life. However, as you get older and have a spouse, children, friends, co-workers, employers, and the like, your parents eventually become secondary or even tertiary people in your life. This varies by culture; there are some where even after the child grows up and gets married, his or her parents remain very much a big part of their lives (and are culturally expected to remain so), especially when they live close by.
    • Also your ex-girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands/wives/friends. Even if you remain on friendly terms, chances are you won't see them nearly as often after the break-up. There are a few cases where former lovers become best friends, but they are rare.
    • With the advent of Social Media, unfriending, unfollowing and, the biggest demotion, blocking. Definitely counts as a "demotion".
      • You also "grow out of" forums/other social media servicess and go from spending an entire weekend on somewhere to forgetting it exists or simply, only posting rarely...Both going from extremes of frequency to infrequent or nothing.
      • Back in the days when MySpace was the dominant social media site, the choices for your Top 8 Friends (prior to the expansion into however many you wished to list) showed just who had been demoted (in their own minds, at least).
    • Also happens when you have a fight/fall out with a friend or just stop getting messages/calls from someone. Moving away is another example...

  • TV Tropes started out as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan forum.
  • Satsuki from Tsukihime is the center of the meme "Isn't it Sad, Sacchin". What makes Satsuki's lucklessness worth a section here, is that it even extends here, on TV Tropes. This trope was originally named "Isn't It Sad", after the meme in question. With the wiki's shift to less esoteric titles, Sacchin was—you guessed it—demoted in importance once again. She has since been demoted again; for a while, she was still the page's image, but she's since been replaced. Really, the only reason this page isn't a Self-Demonstrating Article is because putting it on the appropriate index would be a Promotion FROM Extra.
  • When a character-named trope has its name changed here on TV Tropes, it can end up demoting that character from star to being just another example. For instance, Spike is now just one more instance of Badass Decay instead of being the defining instance of "Spikeification". Nor let us forget Wesley Crusher, former tropenamer for Creator's Pet.

The Dead Have NamesCast Filler TropesEvil Minions
Creator RecoveryReal Life Writes the PlotDisabled Character, Disabled Actor
Descended CreatorCharacters and CastingAs Himself
Cutscene Power to the MaxProfessional WrestlingDefeating the Undefeatable
X-MenImageSource/Live-Action FilmsWolverine Claws
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