More Popular Spin-off

Sometimes, a spinoff series ends up becoming more popular than the original that spun it off. See also Adaptation Displacement, where the vast majority of fans are unaware that it started in another medium, and Sequel Displacement. Also see Breakup Breakout, "Weird Al" Effect and Even Better Sequel. Contrast with Quietly Performing Sister Show.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon manga and anime are relatively well known (the awareness of the manga has increased after ten years and an Updated Re-release), but not nearly as many people are as familiar with its sister manga, Codename: Sailor V which stared Minako as Sailor V. Sailor Moon actually began as a spin-off/quasi-sequel (they ran concurrently) when Toei saw potential and asked Takeuchi to expand it with more characters. In fact, when Sailor V was finally published in America in 2011, it was treated as the spinoff.
  • Dragon Ball which was set in the same universe as Dr. Slump is significantly more well known.
    • While the manga is all one and the same, the larger action-oriented Dragon Ball Z (The manga's Saiyan saga onwards) is far more popular than the original lighthearted action comedy Dragon Ball (which adapts the first issues).
    • Dr. Slump as well originated from earlier one-shots such as Wonder Island and Today's Highlight Island.
  • Paradise Kiss (Gokinjo Monogatari) — The former is more popular outside of Japan since, unlike it, the latter does not have as many official foreign language translations. (Gokinjo Monogatari has French and Spanish translations for the manga and an Italian translation for the anime, at least, but Paradise Kiss has at least 10 translations, including to English, according to That Other Wiki.)
  • The anime adaptation of A Certain Scientific Railgun was originally presented as a spin-off of the anime adaptation of A Certain Magical Index, but wound up being more popular and selling more DVDs than the Index anime.
    • It's not quite a straight example though, as the Magical Index novels are still among the best selling Japanese light novels; The debate over whether Index or Railgun (shows, not characters) is better is a highly debated topic among the fan base.
  • The characters Trava and Shinkai in Redline were originally from a lesser-known OVA series from 2003 titled Trava: Fist Planet.
  • While it's not strictly a Spin-Off, Gatchaman Crowds aired in the same season as the premiere of a live-action Gatchaman movie. Crowds was likely an attempt to cash-in on the film...except that the movie got poor reviews, and is considered a flop. On the other hand, Crowds got very high ratings for its time slot, and was given a second season.
  • Lyrical Nanoha started out as a brief joke music video in an extra fandisc for Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever. Then someone decided to turn this fantasy short into a serious Magical Girl series with Nanoha as the main heroine. The spinoff has since drastically eclipsed the original.

  • Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy)
    • Many Marvel characters of The '60s started off in anthology series. The Mighty Thor and Doctor Strange are other examples. The difference here is that Spidey's intro was in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy, while the other anthology books starring future Marvel megastars continued with their anthology titles and formats for a period of time.
  • Batman began as just one of many characters rotating through the spotlight in Detective Comics. Eventually Detective Comics became both the source of DC Comics' name and a full-fledged Batman title.
  • Superman was originally just the central story in Action Comics #1. And while he was featured on the cover, Superman didn't get another cover until Action Comics #7, and wasn't regularly featured on the cover until #16 or #19, depending on interpretation. Action Comics is still alive today... as a Superman title.
  • Marvel Comics' Wolverine first appeared as antagonist for the Incredible Hulk, and has gone on to eclipse him in some respects.
    • And when he was brought into the X-Men, initially Wolverine wasn't a main character at all. In fact, it was something of a toss-up between him and Thunderbird on who to kill off in the second issue of the new X-Men team, as their similar personalities were considered redundant. Wolverine got to live because his appearance and powers were considered more interesting. He then, of course, went on to be one of the very few X-Men characters to get his own long-running solo book.
  • Moon Knight began as an enemy of Werewolf by Night, and debuted pretty late in the title's run to boot. He's since become a much more popular character than the Werewolf by Night, and has gotten his own book several times.
  • ABC Warriors spun out from Ro-Busters, and managed to last much longer and attain greater popularity.
  • Popeye began as a minor character in a comic strip called Thimble Theatre.
  • The Smurfs actually first appeared in, back before they became popular, Peyo's major series Johan and Peewit (Johan et Pirlouit). Guess which series fell in the shadows after the blue critters showed up, to the frustration of Peyo?
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is not only this to Mike Costa's run, but also to its fellow spin-off Robots in Disguise. The main reason being that while MTMTE was breaking new ground and taking risks, the latter two books do very little beyond the same old "Autobots v. Decepticons" storylines other than taking place in supposed peacetime (which often came across as an Informed Attribute at times). It also helps that MTMTE has been virtually free of any and all Executive Meddling, while RID constantly has its storylines and characters picked based on what toys are out at the time.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) was launched as a spin-off of the Captain Marvel series. It's been noted with some amusement that Ms. Marvel frequently outsells Captain Marvel, and has garnered more awards and critical acclaim as well.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Game Shows 
  • The Price Is Right started as a more relaxed game of price guessing hosted by Bill Cullen in the late 1950's. However, when Mark Goodson decided to produce a revival in the 70's, he decided to re-work the show into a carnival of glitz with elements he scraped from the popular Let's Make a Deal (i.e. plucking contestants from the audience to play mini-games, three giant doors, etc). The revised version, dubbed "The New Price Is Right", eventually eclipsed the original in popularity, and still airs to this very day. Most viewers barely even realize that their favorite show has been around much longer than they thought.
  • The Match Game started in 1962 on NBC as a simple panel game. When CBS retooled it in 1973, it quickly became daytime TV's top show.
  • Family Feud was a spinoff of the Audience Match portion of Match Game. It eventually overtook Match Game in the ratings, and even took Match Game panelist Richard Dawson as host, eventually causing him to leave Match Game.
  • Bill Carruthers created a show for ABC in 1977 called Second Chance, which lasted four months. Six years later, the show was revived for CBS, the devils on the game board changed to Whammys and the show renamed Press Your Luck. Even though it ran three years, it still has a following to this day.

  • Beverly Cleary's first book was about an ordinary boy named Henry Huggins. One of the supporting characters was his friend's pesky little sister, Ramona Quimby. She eventually got her own book series which is more popular than Henry's.
  • The Kiesha'ra series (mostly Hawksong) is a lot more popular than the Den of Shadows series; a lot of people aren't even aware that they share the same universe.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happy Days (Love American Style)
    • And then Laverne and Shirley blew past Happy Days in the ratings, almost from episode 1. In the long run, however, Happy Days has made a far greater cultural impact.
      • And then Mork & Mindy was spun off from both of those shows. Probably due largely to Robin Williams' performance, Mork & Mindy became the only one of the shows mentioned here to earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series (in 1979).
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is far more well-known than the original 1992 Buffy film, which is nowadays known pretty much only for being spun off into the show.
    • In turn, the last two seasons of Buffy were eclipsed in the ratings by its own spinoff Angel, although Buffy is still the more well-known show overall.
    • As for the comics, Angel and Faith (the main spin-off, a Spiritual Successor to the Angel (IDW) comics) has become more popular than the regular Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 series. This is at least in part due to the fact that some of the more popular characters were Put on a Bus in the main series to get their own series/mini-series (Angel/Faith, Spike, and Willow).
  • NCIS, a spinoff of JAG, has gotten consistently better ratings and reviews since its debut, although JAG fared better at the Emmy Awards.
    • Unusually, NCIS had fairly modest ratings in its first few seasons. Basically the show was doing well enough to not get canceled but not good enough to be a top rated series. By the show's fifth season, more people became aware of the show thanks to reruns and it became one of the most watched shows by its sixth.
    • Whereas JAG was canceled after 10 seasons, NCIS is still a ratings juggernaut after 12 seasons (and counting) and has become so successful that it has become its own franchise (NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans). At this point, most viewers probably don't even remember that NCIS was a spin-off itself. When by-then-retired Admiral Chegwidden makes a cameo in the 10th season finale of NCIS, it's basically an Easter Egg to JAG fans because the average NCIS viewer had no idea he used to be a main character.
  • The Honeymooners was originally a segment in The Jackie Gleason Show.
  • Diagnosis: Murder was a spinoff of Jake and the Fatman, which introduced the series lead character Mark Sloan in a Poorly Disguised Pilot. While Fatman has fallen into obscurity despite a five-season run (in part because it was never rerun), Diagnosis: Murder ran for eight seasons and has maintained popularity in reruns after ending in 2001.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has received more acclaim and ratings than the original Law & Order, and is on the verge of catching up to the original's 20 seasons.
  • Frasier may or may not be an example; it was a big hit and ran for eleven seasons, but Cheers may have been more popular still. At the very least, it was definitely a More Acclaimed Spin-Off (it won 37 Primetime Emmys in its entire run, to Cheers' 28).
  • The Twilight Zone and The Untouchables were both spinoffs to a mostly forgotten anthology series entitled Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse hosted by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.
  • The Colbert Report to The Daily Show. While the Daily Show is still fairly popular and running, Colbert's show was a Breakout Hit that really raked in the ratings, only ended because Colbert chose to end it and move onto other projects, and many consider Colbert's character performance much funnier than Stewart's more serious approach. Jon Stewart seems to have at least partly realized this and lampshaded it in a few episodes.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess has maintained its fandom to a far greater extent than its parent Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, in no little part due to the character's appeal among lesbians and other women. Hercules, meanwhile, faded into relative obscurity quickly after its cancellation and is more rembered for being the show Xena was spun off of than anything else.
  • The Flash spun off from Arrow and soon became the highest-rating show on the CW network, regularly outrating its parent show by an average of about one million viewers. A big factor is the tone of both shows: Arrow, while a critically-acclaimed show in its own right, is generally very dark, drama-filled and often not very family-friendly; by contrast, the Flash has fully embraced its comic-book heritage and has more of a balance between drama and humour, making it suitable for adults and kids alike. The fact Arrow got a nasty case of Seasonal Rot about halfway it's third season certainly didn't help matters.

  • You ever hear of the band Rainbow (no, not the Ritchie Blackmore band)? No? Wicked Lester? No? What about KISS? Yeah, Gene and Paul founded Rainbow which became Wicked Lester and then, under the names Gene Simmons (his name during the Wicked Lester times was Gene Klein and his real name is Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley (real name Stanley Eisen) they founded KISS. Both Peter Criss (his surname a shortened version of his real one) and Ace Frehley (also not his real first name) were in Wicked Lester and others had been as well.
  • Journey started out as a vehicle for guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie after they left Santana in 1974. While Santana remained popular, Journey had a string of multi-Platinum albums after bringing Steve Perry aboard as lead singer in 1977.
  • Semisonic began as an informal side project for Dan Wilson and John Munson of the cult band Trip Shakespeare. Hugely popular in their hometown of Minneapolis, Trip Shakespeare couldn't translate that success to the rest of the country and eventually broke up. Wilson and Munson focused their attention on Semisonic, and had a huge hit several years later with "Closing Time".
  • Michael Jackson (post-Jackson 5). While The Jackson Five were undeniably a hit, as a solo act Michael was The King of Pop, with the best-selling album of all time and 8 Grammy awards. The Jackson 5 likely wouldn't have the same legacy they have today had it not been for Michael's solo career.
  • Goth pioneers Bauhaus are considered an extremely influential band, but their members all had more success (in America anyway), although not as much influence, with their post-breakup work: Peter Murphy as a solo artist and Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins in Love and Rockets.
  • Justin Timberlake post-*NSYNC. JT's solo albums have only sold a quarter of what *NSYNC sold, but he has had more number one hits and far more critical acclaim than *NSYNC ever did.
  • Beyoncé is far more known for her solo career than she ever was as part of Destiny's Child.
  • Dr. Dre and Ice Cube from N.W.A.. However, influence-wise, NWA still wins.
    • In turn, Eminem over Dr. Dre.
  • Ever heard of the Norwegian Death Metal band Old Funeral? How about the bands some of its members formed after it: Burzum and Immortal?
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash ended up outlasting and outselling the bands they left (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies). And once one considers the best known incarnation is Crosby, Stills, Nash (And Young), Neil Young is this to both Buffalo Springfield and CSNY.
  • Following a mistaken felony charge during a North American tour in 1975, Hawkwind fired their bassist, Lemmy. So he went on to found a new group with a much faster and heavier sound, and named it Motörhead after the last song he'd written for Hawkwind.
  • City And Colour is starting to become this, in comparison to singer Dallas Green's former band. Alexisonfire. Though Alexisonfire is still popular, the more mainstream sound of C&C allowed them to be surpassed.
  • The Polyphonic Spree was formed by a few members of cult post-grunge band Tripping Daisy after the death of guitarist Wes Berggren and are much more well known than their parent band. One of the few members of Tripping Daisy that didn't join the Polyphonic Spree was Ben Curtis, who later formed the Secret Machines with his brother (and later left to form indie band School of Seven Bells).
  • Scottish indie band The Yummy Fur, while adored by their small cult audience, were virtually unknown during their 1990's heydey. Lead singer/only constant member John McKeown found more success with his next band, 1990s.
    • Paul Thomson and Alex Karpanos (then going under Alex Huntley), two former members of The Yummy Fur, formed Franz Ferdinand a few years after they left the Revolving Door lineup of the Yummy Fur. They has much more success than not only The Yummy Fur, but also 1990s.
  • Death Cab for Cutie originally began as a solo project of Ben Gibbard, the guitarist for the now obscure band Pinwheel.
  • Porcupine Tree started as a solo project for Steven Wilson alongside his main band No-Man; as Porcupine Tree became a proper band following Up The Downstair and grew in popularity, No-Man became the side-project. No-Man is still alive at the time of writing, but it's less of a priority for Steven Wilson because Porcupine Tree is much more popular nowadays.
  • Another case of "beloved cult band begets more popular group" is The Hold Steady, formed by two former members of Lifter Puller.
  • Uncle Tupelo were famous for being the Trope Codifier of Alternative Country, but when the band broke up the band's two leaders and various other members formed two different bands. Whereas Jay Farrar's band Son Volt is arguably only barely more famous than Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy's band Wilco is perhaps one of the most critically acclaimed alternative bands of the past 20 years.
  • Joy Division only released two albums before their singer committed suicide, but the ensuing post-Ian Curtis band, New Order, is equal to them in terms of popularity and influence. Not in sales though, New Order is far ahead of Joy Division there.
  • The Seattle grunge band Green River is best known for spawning both Pearl Jam (guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament) and Mudhoney (singer Mark Arm). Pearl Jam also counts for the two projects Gossard and Ament did following Green River: Mother Love Bone (who were on the cusp of stardom when their singer Andy Wood died of a drug overdose) and Temple of the Dog (a tribute to Wood helmed by the duo along with Wood's friend Chris Cornell, featuring Cornell's drummer in Soundgarden Matt Cameron,note  and Pearl Jam's future singer - Eddie Vedder - and guitarist - Mike McCready). After Pearl Jam and Soundgarden broke out, Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone's albums (they only had one apiece) became big sellers due to the connections.
  • Björk was the lead singer of The Sugarcubes, an Alternative Rock band that was one of the first Icelandic artists to ever find any mainstream recognition outside of Iceland. Whereas the Sugarcubes are fondly remembered by fans of 80's alternative music, Bjork's popularity completely eclipsed theirs by the time she released her solo debut album.
    • And before that, she was the singer of the post-punk/goth outfit KUKL.
      • And before THAT she was the singer of the punk band Tappi Tíkarrass.
  • The Yardbirds have three popular spinoffs.
    • Eric Clapton went on to play in the psychedelic rock band Cream and is probably even more popular as a solo artist.
    • Jeff Beck who replaced Clapton as the lead guitarist has also had a very lucrative solo career.
    • Jimmy Page replaced Jeff Beck, all of the group but Page left the band. Page recruited new band members and toured under the name The New Yardbirds for a while before changing their name to Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin became one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
  • John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers was a Revolving Door Band whose former membership includes not only Eric Clapton (after he left The Yardbirds and before he started Cream), but also Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie.
  • Electric Light Orchestra from The Move. ELO was originally just going to be a side project for The Move, but lead singer Roy Wood left the organization after the first ELO album, so the others just continued on as ELO.
  • Savatage was a Progressive Metal band that ran from 1978 to 2001, known in particular for their Rock Operas. One such album, Dead Winter Dead, featured a song that became a surprise hit: "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24". Decided to experiment further with the style, they became founding members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO has became extremely successful for their Christmas themed rock operas (although casual audiences only know them for "Sarajevo"), while Savatage is almost forgotten and disbanded to focus on TSO and other projects.
  • Most people consider Days of Future Passed to be the first Moody Blues album; it was indeed the first of their Justin Hayward era, but their Denny Laine era produced one earlier album, The Magnificent Moodies. This means that Seventh Sojourn, which even they regard as their seventh album, was actually their eighth.
  • The early 90's French indie band Darlin' contained Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo and Laurent Brancowitz. Darlin' didn't last very long, but Bangalter and De Homem-Christo eventually began recording as Daft Punk (named after a dismissive comment in a review of an early Darlin' show) and Brancowitz became a member of the popular indie band Phoenix.
  • Young musician Sonny Moore was a vocalist in a post-hardcore band From First to Last, with modest success and a record deal. After going through some trouble with his vocal chords and preparing to do a solo album, he started experimenting with electronic music that he liked as a kid, releasing instrumental dubstep under the name of Skrillex. Skrillex became the face of the fast-rising genre, while From First to Last, while still around, are more known for being his old band than anything else.
  • Epica has had more enduring success then After Forever the band the main songwriter came from previously.
  • fun. was formed by members of the indie bands The Format, Steel Train and Anathallo, and their success in 2012 far eclipsed the success of those three groups. Notably, The Format and Steel Train each have their own cult followings, both of which are rather split down the middle on Fun's success.
  • British indie rockers Doves provide an interesting case of this trope, as they contain 100% of the members of another less popular group. After a fire destroyed their studio in the mid 90's, the members of house music also-rans Sub Sub reconfigured themselves into Doves. Whereas Sub Sub were known as a One-Hit Wonder for 1993's "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)", Doves has gone on to both critical acclaim and enduring popular success.
  • Imogen Heap is far more known for her solo albums and singles, than with her work with Frou Frou, although it can be justified that Frou Frou only had one album and she already had one solo album out before that.
  • Indie rockers Y-O-U, though critically acclaimed & somewhat popularized by collaborations with The Brothers Chaps, hung up their band's collective hat in 2009 due to increasing difficulty getting bookings, but their barely serious side project, the oldies cover band Yacht Rock Revue, took off like a rocket financially.
    • The YRR, on their first studio EP, covers a Y-O-U song. Not sure if sticking it to the people who ignored their original work, or just enjoying playing that song.
  • Have you ever heard of a band called The Garden Wall? No? How about The Anon? Not ringing any bells? How about Genesis, which formed when The Anon broke up due to most of the band members graduating from the boarding school they all attended, leaving the remaining members, Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford, to merge the group with The Garden Wall (Peter Gabrielnote , Tony Banks, and Chris Stewart)?
    • On that subject, the main reason why the bands Flaming Youth and Quiet World are remembered today is because, when they broke up, respective ex-members Phil Collins and Steve Hackett went on to successfully audition for Genesis (Flaming Youth's guitarist, Ronnie Caryl, also auditioned, but was unable to make it in).
  • Although The Birthday Party are fondly remembered, they are utterly eclipsed by the next band of about half their members: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
  • Busta Rhymes was previously a member of a group called Leaders of the New School.
  • Tupac was a member of Digital Underground, best known for their hit song "The Humpty Dance", although he did not appear on that track.
  • Missy Elliott was previously a member of a group called Sista.
  • Chaka Khan had a successful solo career after leaving Rufus.
  • Inverted with rapper Everlast who had previously had a solo career before joining House of Pain. Their only hit song "Jump Around" hit #4 on the Hot 100. He currently has a solo career again (performing "folk rap"), but his one solo hit "What It's Like" was nowhere near as big and remembered as "Jump Around". Inversely, Everlast's follow-ups to "What It's Like" are much better remembered today than anything else House of Pain has recorded.
  • DJ Lethal may be better remembered now as a member of Limp Bizkit.
  • Nightwish has a case of this. They're far more popular that bassist Marco Hietala's other band Tarot , despite Tarot being fourteen years older.
  • Though Kyuss is influential and has a strong cult following, more people have heard Josh Homme's next band, Queens of the Stone Age.
  • Simple Plan was formed by two former members of Reset, though Reset continues to tour and is somewhat popular
  • One Direction are much more popular internationally than the show they formed on, The X Factor. Back in the UK though, The X Factor has produced many superstars such as Leona Lewis, Cher Lloyd, and Olly Murs, who, while having some international success, haven't reached the heights of the boy band. The same can be said for Fifth Harmony from the short-lived American version.
  • A long-running TV commercial for classical music vinyl records opened with this trope. It opened with the Polovtsian Dance by Alexander Borodin, as narrator John Williams (not the musician, ironically, but the English actor) explains how we may be more familiar with the piece as Stranger in Paradise. Several other songs from the collection are played with both their original and popular titles onscreen, including Tchaikovsky's Concerto #1 / "Tonight We Love" by Tony Martin, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff / Frank Sinatra's "Full Moon and Empty Arms".
  • The Shins started out as an offshoot of Flake Music, who released one full length album and were chiefly popular in their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. To some extent, The Shins are Flake Music in all but name — most of the same lineup recorded both Flake Music's When You Land Here, It's Time To Return and The Shins' Oh! Inverted World. Interestingly, The Shins got their name from a Flake Music song.
  • In the 1980s there was a modestly successful Vancouver-based Synth Pop band called Images In Vogue. Not happy with their musical direction, the band's drummer Kevin Crompton started a Darker and Edgier side project under the alias cEvin Key, called Skinny Puppy. He left Images In Vogue after a few years to work with Skinny Puppy full-time, and they're still around while Images In Vogue broke up a few years later.
  • Melodic Death Metal band Kalmah was formed as a side project by several members of Eternal Tears of Sorrow. While they no longer share any members, Kalmah has since become one of the frontrunners of the Finnish melodeath scene, while Eternal Tears of Sorrow remains a fair bit more obscure.
  • Australian Progressive Metal band Karnivool is not "unpopular", but Ian Kenny has had far greater success and more acclaim with his side project, alt-rock/indie pop band Birds of Tokyo.
  • Motograter was a rather unsuccessful metal band, but is today remembered as the starting point for singer Ivan Moody, the future frontman of Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Fecal Matter was a short-lived punk band from Aberdeen, Washington that only lasted a single year from 1985 to '86. After that, the frontman started a band of his own. That band? Nirvana.
  • Issues was formed after vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn were unanimously fired from their former band Woe, Is Me in 2011 for Creative Differences. They quickly became bigger than Woe, Is Me ever was. For comparison, Issues' debut Self-Titled Album made the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 2014, while WIM's debut album in 2010 made #16... on the Heatseekers chart. WIM's second album (post-firing) in 2012 actually did crack the Billboard 200... and it only peaked #167. Just to add insult to injury, Issues' debut EP, released the same year, charted higher... 71 spaces higher that is. Woe, Is Me broke up in 2013, not long before Issues debut album was released. Nowadays, they're remembered solely as "Tyler and Michael's former band".
  • Martin van Drunen started off as the original vocalist for Pestilence, but left after just two albums with them. While Pestilence still remained a name most hardcore death metal fans knew after he left, Martin himself gained a much bigger following with his main bands Asphyx and Hail of Bullets.
  • The Australian band My Friend the Chocolate Cake was formed as a side project by David Bridie as an outlet for his more folksy songs that did not fit the mould of his then-current band Not Drowning, Waving. Suffice to say MFTCC proved to be much more popular (as evidenced by the critical acclaim of their second album Brood) which eventually lead to the breakup of NDW in 1992.
  • Dashboard Confessional started out as Chris Carrabba's side project while he was still in the rock band Further Seems Forever. When he started becoming more interested in Dashboard, he left the band with their blessing after their first album and went on to emo superstardom. He reunited with Further Seems Forever in 2010 and recorded an album with them while he was on break from Dashboard, and Jerry Castellanos has occasionally toured with Dashboard as a backing member.
  • Rock band Downplay were together for over ten years, but never had anything close to mainstream success. Dustin Bates and Ron DeChant started a side project called Starset. Starset quickly became one of the hottest new acts on rock radio, scoring a top 5 hit with "My Demons" and several more top 20s, achieving more in one year than Downplay did in a decade.
  • Sometimes a remixed version of a song can be more popular than the original; some examples include the Bad Boy remix of 112's "Only You" and the remix to R. Kelly's "Ignition".
  • When Danish death metal band Dominus' vocalist Michael Poulsen tired of his original genre, ultimately leading to the band's breakup, he and Dominus bassist Anders Kjoholm formed a new band called Volbeat, which was named after Dominus' 1997 album Vol.Beat. That band released six albums since forming in 2001, and has developed a large following outside of its home country, even adding American guitarist Rob Caggiano (ex-Anthrax) in 2013.
  • Filipino Riot Grrrl band Keltscross developed a cult following in the early-mid '90s, but weren't as popular as pop-rock band Prettier than Pink, which featured Keltscross lead guitarist Pam Aquino at the time of their breakout hit "Cool Ka Lang" (English translation: "Just Stay Cool"). They also weren't as popular as the secular alternative, and later Christian rock band the Pin-Up Girls (later the Pin-Ups), which featured two Keltscross members — Aquino on lead guitar, and Jeng Tan on bass — and male vocalist/NU 107 disc jockey Mon "Mondo" Castro as band leader.
  • Also from the Philippines: Heavy metal band Death By Stereo's lead vocalist Jerome Abalos had two big hits on mainstream radio as a solo artist, including "Larawang Kupas" (English translation: "Faded Picture"). Both hits were folky ballads far removed from his metal roots.
    • Fortunately for Death by Stereo fans, Abalos was onboard for the band's reunion in the mid-2000s.
  • Wisconsin bands Spooner and Fire Town are best known for the subsequent producing career of drummer Butch Vig (best known album being Nirvana's Nevermind) and the band Vig and guitarist Duke Erikson went on to form, Garbage.
  • Guns N' Roses, originated from the short-lived Hollywood Rose and the still playing and not as successful L.A. Guns.
  • Montrose had some success, but then singer Sammy Hagar became a superstar through both his solo career and his work with Van Halen.
  • Exodus is a fairly influential thrash metal band. Even if their biggest overall legacy is that founding guitarist Kirk Hammett went on to replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica.
  • White Zombie was an Alternative Metal band that is highly influential to the genre, but only enjoyed mainstream success with their final two albums before breaking up. Afterwards, frontman Rob Zombie formed a new band named after himself and became one of the most inescapable mainstream metal acts of the late-'90s, and still enjoys popularity to this day.
  • Fall Out Boy was formed by members of various Chicago hardcore punk and metal bands as a looser and more musically upbeat side-project. Five years after they formed, they became one of the biggest rock bands in America. The members' original groups - Arma Angelus, Racetraitor, Xgrinding processX and Project Rocket - are now only remembered, if at all, for being the bands that Fall Out Boy formed out of
    • Another former member of Arma Angelus, bassist Tim McIlrath, became the lead singer for the popular punk band Rise Against.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • IWRG a largish and moderately respected independent federation with aspiration of grandeur, has two more popular spinoffs: Ultimo Dragon's Toryumon, and Dragon Gate, the Japanese branch of Toryumon rebranded under a rough English translation when Dragon left. Both have at points gotten large enough for people to considered it improper to call them "independent", a level IWRG continually falls ever so short of.
  • WWE NXT as a developmental brand is much more popular than it ever was as a competition.
  • The Nexus were born after seven of the eight wrestlers from the first season of NXT banded together. They left a much longer lasting legacy with the stable than they did with the season, thanks to an unforgettable RAW debut. Their promise, however, was snuffed out when Team WWE's sole survivor John Cena beat the odds to singlehandedly defeat their last two members in a 7-on-7 Survivor Series match in the fall of 2010, then when Cena literally buried Wade Barrett in a pile of chairs at the main event of 2010's TLC pay-per-view.

  • A Prairie Home Companion, from Garrison Keillor's weekday morning public radio show in Minnesota, which he stopped doing in 1982.
  • The Dr. Demento Show started out in 1970 as a recurring guest segment on the weekly show of another DJ named Steven Segal ("The Obscene Steven Clean"). In 1971 Dr. Demento got his own timeslot for a few months, only to be fired along with the rest of the station's on-air staff. Then after guesting again on Segal's show on a different station, Dr. Demento permanently spun off into his own show in early 1972.

  • LEGO Dino Attack was a short-lived and relatively unpopular theme which generated a lot of controversy due to its poorly explained scenario. Dino Attack RPG on the other hand took the basic concepts of the original line, and expanded it into a legitimately well-written story with some very good drama.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 is much better known than Warhammer Fantasy in America, France, and Germany. Just look at how many examples on this very wiki describe elements common to both as coming from 40K! However, in the game's home country, the United Kingdom, Fantasy is still more popular.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, the Trope Maker for the Tabletop RPG genre and major influence on the development of Video Games and the modern fantasy genre, began life as a supplement/spinoff of Gary Gygax's old medieval war game Chainmail and actually originally recommended that players use Chainmail to resolve combat situations. In turn, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons spun off as the more in-depth branch of the baseline D&D, but fully supplanted it from the third edition onwards, dropping the "Advanced" from its title.

  • The Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos was originally written as the Show Within a Show for a Max Reinhardt production of Moličre's Le bourgeois gentilhomme. Strauss also composed substantial incidental music for the play, and later revised it so it too could stand on its own.
  • Felix Unger was a minor character in Neil Simon's play "Come Blow Your Horn" before becoming half of The Odd Couple.

  • In 1981 Hasbro released a line called My Pretty Pony, based around a 10" tall pony doll with grooming tools, accessories and so on. In 1983 they spun off a new line of smaller, simpler, baggable or pocketable pony dolls called My Little Pony... which needs no further introduction (apart from noting that the franchise that it launched has, for the most part, been running ever since). My Pretty Pony was nothing like as successful, and basically died when the original 1981 production run was exhausted.
  • Digimon was originally planned as a Spear Counterpart to Tamagotchi. These days you wouldn't even guess.
  • You'll be hard pressed to find people who are familiar with LEGO Technic, but you'll have much better luck finding people who know about one of its spin-offs, like BIONICLE and the "Constraction" themes in general.
  • Bandai's S.H. Figuarts brand of action figures aimed at adult collectors was a spinoff of their prior Souchaku Henshin series (which is where the "S.H." comes from, which now stands for "Simple Style and Heroic Action" in every SH Figuarts packaging), which were 1/12 scale figures based on various tokusatsu heroes (primarily from the Kamen Rider franchise) as their civilian selves with snap-on armor that transformed them into their powered alter-egos (hence the name of the line, which means "armor transformation" in Japanese). While Figuarts are still being made, the original S.H. series has been discontinued since 2009.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid, depending if you view it as a spin-off to the MSX2 Metal Gear games instead of a sequel.
  • Ganbare Goemon was a spin-off of an obscure arcade game titled Mr. Goemon.
  • Ninja Jajamaru-kun, a sort of spin-off of an earlier game called Ninja-kun, became one of Jaleco's longest-running series in Japan; ironically, more of UPL's Ninja-kun games were released internationally because Jaleco often failed to export Jajamaru-kun even when they tried.
  • Wario Land, itself a somewhat-luckless spinoff series of the Super Mario Land games, has been largely overshadowed by its quirky daughter series WarioWare.
  • Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, a Dynasty Warriors-style spin-off of the sidescrolling beat em' up main series. It sold over twice as much as the first game in the first week and almost twice as much as the second.
  • Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds is more popular in the U.S. than the fighting game it was based on, as the localization of the original fighting game was cancelled for unknown reasons.
  • The popular online Casual Game series Papa's Gameria started out as a 2006 platformer named Papa Louie: When Pizzas Attack!. Papa Louie has a sequel (in fact, has two sequels), but it's eclipsed by the fast food titles.
  • Hudson Soft's Momotarou Dentetsu was a long-running digital board game series spun off Momotarou Densetsu, a shorter-lived RPG series that was essentially Dragon Quest in feudal Japan.
  • The Dwarves vs. Zombies "genre" of Minecraft server was originally created for livestream-only events. As people wanted to play Dv Z on their own time, they made their own clones. Years later, even with the original Dwarves vs. Zombies server having long since switched to an on-demand system, the now-outdated clones are much more popular than the heavily updated original. Part of the reason is that the official Dv Z server was never really advertised, while the clones are common on Minecraft server list websites.
  • In a rare inversion of The Problem with Licensed Games, the video game adaptation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine received significantly better reviews than the movie it was based on (although that was not the most popular spinoff of the game overall; see the Film section above).
  • While SimCity is by-far no slouch in sales, in the 2000s The Sims began eclipsing it. Many people even think the latter came first. They're both popular in their own right however more people remember the 90s Sim City games than the newer ones, while The Sims pretty much gets more popular each game.
  • Bloodrayne is better-known that Nocturne.
  • Knytt is an extremely popular indie game franchise, but it's actually a spinoff of Within A Deep Forest. The original protagonist of the first Knytt is a nameless NPC from the first game who originally existed just to provide atmosphere.
  • A strange subversion occurred with Pokémon Go. While the franchise has managed to hold on a very large and dedicated fan base throughout the years, Pokémon Go became one of the most successful video games EVER, with many people who hadn't played any video games, let alone Pokemon, playing it, despite the fact Pokémon Go was in fact a spin-off with only a few similarities to the main series games. This might seem like a case of More Popular Spin-off at first, but in the fall of 2016, the upcoming main series games Pokémon Sun and Moon were revealed to be the most pre-ordered games in Nintendo history, no doubt due to Pokémon Go's popularity introducing new people into the franchise.


    Web Original 
  • NationStates (Jennifer Government) The game was intended to only have a few thousand players and last a few months at most. Two million accounts, seven years, and copious amounts of improbable world-building by the players later...
  • OverClocked ReMix is so much more popular than the webcomic it spun off, even the creators have neglected the latter in favor of the former.
  • The Annoying Orange was originally just another Gagfilms character.
  • Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? didn't take long to eclipse the Jogwheel Originals in popularity. And in a sense of the microwaving show genre itself, that same show surpassed both Will It Blend? and dOvetastic Microwave Theater, the two shows that inspired it, in total views and subscriptions.
    • And in the same vein, the most popular videos by Jon Paula are Movie Night episodes, one of his newest series'.
  • Ask Fluffle Puff. Originally a recurring gag in the now defunct Dan VS FiM blog, the pink fuzzball quickly grew in popularity. Eventually receiving her own spinoff blog, with Dan relegated to a background character.
  • YouTuber "Danger Dolan" had already achieved a small amount of fame on YouTube thanks to his gaming channel The DD Guides, which he's been running since 2012. However in 2014 he decided to create a channel dedicated specifically to non-gaming related countdown videos simply called Danger Dolan, and the amount of subscribers and video views show that this second channel has already managed to eclipse the popularity of his original gaming channel.
  • The "Heist" videos of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V were initially just a mini-series that played off the lack of real heists in Grand Theft Auto Online, but it received so much Fan-Art, fan-made videos, and tropes on the overarching series' page that it overtook their Let's Play Grand Theft Auto IV "Cops 'n Crooks" videos in popularity.
  • Speaking of Rooster Teeth productions, Red VS Blue is hardly unpopular by any means, being the Trope Codifier of the Machinima genre. However, during the eighth season, the company hired aclaimed CG animator Monty Oum to create custom animated sequences in order to have fight scenes and character movements not possible in Halo3 limitations. Seasons 9 and 10 continued this formula with large sections in pure animation, which became incredibly popular with fans. Spurred by the success, Rooster Teeth later created RWBY, which isn't exactly a spinoff as much as a Spiritual Successor, which has gone on to generate a massive fandom and quickly became much more popular and recognized than RVB ever was. Being fully animated without Machinima, possessing an Animesque art style with some Magical Girl Tropes, and lacking the large quantities of swearing, it had much more universal appeal, including those that might have been put off by the former series' use of Halo lore.
  • YouTube comedy duo Mike & Gian managed to have this happen to them twice. Their original channel had few short sketches before they decided to make another channel focused on the Breakout Character, Dom Mazzetti. The channel became much more popular than their old one, which stopped being updated soon after. After another two years they created another spinoff, Broscience Life, focused on satirizing gym and fitness culture. It quickly gained enough popularity (especially among gym and fitness enthusiasts) to surpass both channels in popularity. Dom Mazzetti channel stopped being updated soon after.
  • Rhett & Link's morning talk-show (Good Mythical Morning) has more subscribers then their actual main channel.
  • What Culture Wrestling was originally just an offshoot of the WhatCulture YouTube channel, itself a branch of the WhatCulture website, but continuously grew in popularity that it overshadowed both the main channel and the website.
  • Russian YouTube personality Ekaterina "Kate Clapp" Trofimova's first channel, FoggyDisaster, has about two time less subscribers than her vlog channel, which was created two years later. It helps that FoggyDisaster is not updated consistently.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • New Zealand? Where is old Zealand, anyway?note 
    • Similarly, New Caledonianote . Caledonia is originally an ancient Roman name for Scotland.
  • New York, Boston, and Richmond (Virginia) are much more populous and famous than the English cities they're named after.
    • Note that New York is not actually named after the City of York, but rather the Duke of York — but the trope still applies, as almost no-one is aware of this fact.
      • New York City is also way more popular for visitors and tourists than New York State, or for that matter any of the other cities in the state. Most people will assume that anyone or anything from New York came from the city until given further clarification.
    • Likewise with New Jersey to the Crown Dependency of Jersey, a small cluster of islands in the English Channel with a population of barely 100,000, less than all but two of New Jersey's counties.
    • Also New Orleans, which is much more famous than the original one in France, although, like New York, it was named after the Duke of Orléans and not directly after the city he held.
    • Portland, Oregon has done the same thing to Portland, Maine. In fact, the Oregon city proper alone is larger than the Maine city's entire metro area!
      • And it came down to a coin toss to determine if it would be Boston, Oregon or Portland, Oregon. This proved fortunate because Boston became a much bigger city than Portland; had Boston been the name of the city, it wouldn't have overshadowed the Massachusetts original and instead we'd have two large cities with that name; try imagining how confusing a Blazers vs. Celtics game would be.
      • How about the original Isle of Portland that the one in Maine was named after? It has a population of about 12,000. A far cry of Oregon's 610,000 or even Maine's 66,000.
    • One that would inspire not only one but multitudes of spinoffs overshadowing it: Springfield, a rural village located in Essex County, England. How did it became important? A native of the village who became one of the leaders of the Massachusetts colony renamed a colonist town after his home village, which grew high and popular enough to inspire more aspiring cities around the U.S., including the ones in Missouri, Illinois, and that one.
    • Calgary in Canada is far better known than the tiny bay and mansion house on the Ilse of Mull in Scotland that it was named after.
  • Guadalajara, Mexico is more populous and famous than Guadalajara, Spain, the city it's named after.
    • When one is referring to Mérida, it's usually the city in the Mexican state of Yucatán that they're talking about, rather than the one in Spain (which all other Méridas are named after), Venezuela, or the Philippines. However, the one in Venezuela also gave its name to the state that surrounds it, so to South Americans, it might not be the case.
      • Likewise, the New Spain (now Mexico) is bigger, richer and more developed than plain old Spain.
  • In the Eastern Mediterranean, there's Tripoli. Everyone knows that it's the capital of Libya. Everyone hardly knows that it's named after a Greek city in the Peloponnese, which is no small village itself by having a population of about 60,000, but far less populous than Libya's 1.1 million inhabitants. Even without Libya, there's another Tripoli in Lebanon, which has a 220,000+ strong population.
  • The city of Lexington, Kentucky is around 10 times more populous than the town of Lexington, Massachusetts (the location of the first battle of the Revolutionary War), which it was named in honor of. note 
  • Mozilla Firefox (Netscape Communicator/the Mozilla suite/SeaMonkey)
    • Netscape Communicator (NCSA Mosaic)
    • Additionally, Mozilla Thunderbird is to the e-mail client portion of Netscape and the Mozilla suite as Firefox is to the Web browser portion.
  • UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas-founded in 1957) is larger and more famous than the original University of Nevada in Reno (founded in 1874). Although the latter's official name is now "University of Nevada, Reno" they've taken to billing themselves as "Nevada" in athletics and other events to emphasize that they were first (though the state of Nevada recognizes both campuses as flagship schools).
    • The University of Alaska's Anchorage campus has done the same thing to the original campus in Fairbanks.
  • The operating system Ubuntu, which started out as a fork of the older Debian distribution, managed to become one of the most popular Linux distributions, to the point where it has quite a few forks of its own.
    • Likewise Microsoft Windows was originally an add-on program for MS-DOS, eventually merging with the text-based OS and finally replacing the DOS kernel when NT was releasednote  to form a stand-alone operating system.
    • Linux itself is a more popular spinoff of UNIX and OS X is a more popular spinoff of BSD UNIX in particular. The various other BSD operating systems are at least more popular than the original incarnation of BSD, and possibly commercial UNIX-based or UNIX-like operating systems (aside from OS X and commercial Linux distributions, obviously).
  • Wikipedia is extremely popular with numerous articles in multiple languages while its predecessor Nupedia was closed down within a few years of Wikipedia's formation.
  • This site, which spun off from a thread from
  • The Scuderia Ferrari was originally Alfa Romeo's racing team in the 1930s before becoming a separate entity. Alfa Romeo still sells way more cars but Ferrari is more glamorous and has won far more Formula One races than Alfa Romeo.
  • In the 1920's, General Motors launched their Companion Make Program which introduced smaller divisions within Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac to close price gaps between the makes. The companion makes all ended up failing...except for Oakland's: Pontiac, which outlasted Oakland by seventy-five years and was only chosen over Buick for shutdown because Buick's so popular in China.
  • Most people don't use AOL as their browser these days, but its instant messaging service AIM is still quite popular.
  • The AK-47 is one of the rarest guns in the world. Surprised? The ones you are seeing in the hands of Iraqi insurgents or Somali pirates are AKM's, a version of the AK-47 that was improved and made easier to mass produce and the one that eventually saw mass popularity in both Warsaw armies and Soviet client states.
    • While much more extensively modified than AK-47 variants, M-16 emerged from the attempt to create a lighter, more controllable version of M-14. Hardly anyone uses M-14.
    • The G3 came into existence primarily because West Germany wanted their standard rifle to be locally produced but Fabrique Nationale wouldn't let them do so with the FAL that everybody else was using (the fact that Germany had invaded Belgium and seized the FN factory twice in 25 years probably had something to do with that decision). Outside of Germany, the G3 had a modest following and was used primarily by Third World armies that weren't Soviet-aligned but also couldn't afford the FAL; it ran a distant third behind the AKM and the FAL in worldwide sales. The MP5 based on the G3 is still in use with multiple countries, both by police and military forces, and is seen as the definitive submachine gun of the post-war era.
  • The fast food chain Carl's Jr. got its name because its founder, Carl Karcher, originally opened it as a smaller version of his restaurant Carl's Drive-In Barbecue. note  The name became a bit ironic when Carl's Jr. became a major nationwide restaurant chain, while Carl's Drive-In Barbecue remained obscure.
  • Panda Express is a scaled down fast-food version of the fairly upscale Panda Inn. Panda Inn is itself a chain, but it's a VASTLY smaller one — six locations, all in California, compared to Panda Express and its 1600+ locations across the US and even internationally.
  • Famitsu, a popular Japanese video gaming magazine that began publication in 1986, actually spun off from a column in LOGiN, a general computing magazine by the same publisher. Famitsu is still going strong to this date, publishing over 1,400 issues and counting, whereas LOGiN has since ceased circulation, ending its print run in 2006. Enterbrain attempted to relaunch LOGiN as a digital only magazine the same year the print version ended, but this incarnation was short-lived, ending its run in 2009.
  • World War II gets this treatment more than World War I.
  • When Starbucks introduced the "Caramel Macchiato" in the 2000s, it ended up becoming one of their most popular drinks, partly because its distinctive lattice pattern of caramel syrup helped it stand out. Many casual espresso drinkers didn't realize that the drink was a flavored variant of a much older drink called a "Latte Macchiato", which had been served at most coffeehouses—including Starbucks—for decades before the Caramel Macchiato became popular. note  This ended up drawing the ire of quite a few baristas at other coffeehouses, who would sometimes encounter customers asking for a "macchiato", expecting it to be a flavored drink with a lattice of caramel syrup on top.