Prohibited Hero Saves the Day

Sometimes they're too young and inexperienced. Sometimes they're too reckless. Sometimes they made the wrong friends and the wrong enemies. Or perhaps they are just the "wrong" sex. But for whatever reason, the potential hero is prohibited from joining the others on their quest to destroy the Big Bad.

Of course, the Five-Man Band is inevitably captured and awaits their fate, their plans of saving the world dashed to smithereens. Who could possibly save them now? Aha, the Prohibited Hero has decided to snub the authorities (or employ Exact Words) and come along anyway, often becoming The Cavalry. It's a good thing too, because not only does he rescue the regular heroes, he usually manages to simultaneously foil the Big Bad's plans. If only the authorities had had some faith in him in the first place.

Those prone to Fridge Logic may wonder if the delayed arrival of the Prohibited Hero contributed to her success. It's possible that had she gone with the Five-Man Band, she would have been captured along with them. It may be that part of her success is that she was the Wild Card the Big Bad was not expecting.

Compare Changed My Mind, Kid when it's the Hero who made the decision not to come along, then relents.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • In episode 19 of Simoun, Aaeru and Yun are inexplicably grounded while the rest of Chor Tempest are sent after the enemy's elusive Airborne Aircraft Carrier. The two of them eventually decide to violate their orders and sortie to save the day, but not before Mamiina is killed in action.

     Comic Books  

  • In the Secret Invasion crossover for Runaways and Young Avengers, Xavin commands his fellow Runaways to flee New York when the Skrull forces appear, fearing that they'll all be killed. They choose to ignore his commands and end up saving him from his former mentor, who's now become one of the Skrull religious fanatics.

     Films — Animated  

  • This is the basic plot point of The Incredibles, as often times, superheroes fighting crime would also happen at the expense of other innocent bystanders caught in the middle. After an increase in lawsuits against famed supers, the government initiated the Superhero Relocation Act, forcing supers to retire from their hero work, and continue to live out their lives in anonymity. Bob Parr, however, can't resist wanting to relive his glory days as Mr. Incredible.
  • In Balto, Balto is not taken on the medicine run (in spite of having been the fastest canine in a race) because he's half-wolf. He tracks down the sled team and leads them home after his rival, Steele, gets them lost.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • In the Star Wars film The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker is told to stay put in the cockpit of a Naboo fighter. Technically he obeys, but that doesn't stop him taking the fighter into battle, destroying the droid control ship and preventing the imminent surrender of the good guys on the ground.
  • Pacific Rim: Mako, Raileigh, and Gipsy Danger are held back because Mako was not entirely prepared for the Drift. After the three other Jaegers get taken out of the fight, Gipsy Danger is the only one left. They single-handedly defeat all the Kaiju.
  • In Police Academy, first Hightower is kicked out of the Academy, and later Mahoney is as well; but just as Mahoney is packing his things a riot overwhelms the city, forcing them to call up the Academy recruits as backup. Mahoney quietly puts on his uniform and boards the bus to go help quell the riots. When Mahoney confronts the prime instigators, who should show up but Hightower (in civilian clothes), who helps subdue them by pretending at first to be on the side of the rioters.
  • In Beverly Hills Cop, Axel Foley is explicitly prohibited from investigating his friend's murder. He does it anyway, and ends up taking down Victor Maitland.
  • In Attack the Block, Probs and Mayhem are considered Tagalong Kids, and when things start to get dangerous, Moses tries to intimidate them into going home and laying low. Not only do they disobey him, they end up saving Biggz's life when they take down one of the alien beasts with an improvised flamethrower.


  • Ender from Ender's Game is told by one of his commanders to remain on the sidelines without firing his weapon. He disobeys this and is able to turn what would have been a close defeat into a draw.
  • This is a major theme in The Lord of the Rings. The hobbits are frequently encouraged to return to the Shire and let others take responsibility for the Ring, especially Pippin, the youngest of the group. All four of them prove to be vital to the quest in different ways. The same goes for Eowyn. As the highest-ranking female in Rohan, she's left behind to take care of Edoras while the men march to war, but comes along in disguise and manages to defeat the Witch-King, who could not have been beaten by a man.

     Live-Action TV  

  • In an episode of NCIS, Non-Action Guy Jimmy Palmer is with the team as they pursue the criminal of the week. Gibbs orders Jimmy to stay in the car (obviously intending for Jimmy to not be The Load). When the criminal gets in his truck to make a getaway, Jimmy rams him with the car he was forbidden to leave. Jimmy points out the Exact Words to Gibbs afterwards.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode, "The Other Guys", the clueless Lab Rat SG-1 groupies are told to return through the stargate when a Goa'uld squad takes the team prisoner. The minor system lord they're supposed to meet (Actually a Tok'Ra informant) is assassinated and the groupie geeks need to rescue the heroes.

     Video Games  
  • Overwatch is now attempting this on an organizational scale, as Winston recalls former agents despite a ban on association related to Overwatch. Six years before this, when Overwatch still legally existed, it intervened in the London Null Sector uprising under the direction of Commander Morrison, despite orders not to get involved. (This could be one of the reasons that led to its disbandment next year.)

     Western Animation  

  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade Chan constantly sneaks away on Jackie's adventure. She is not supposed to help because she is a kid but has saved the group on multiple accounts. She has also been a nuisance an equal (if not greater) number of times.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Terror Island''. After Dr. Quest is kidnapped and taken to the title island Race Bannon forbids Jonny and Hadji from going along on the rescue attempt. They act as Little Stowaways and come along anyway. Once on the island they steal a tractor and use it to ram the building where Dr. Quest is being held prisoner, killing the Giant Spider that was about to kill him.
  • In the The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Super Koopa", the heroes chase King Koopa to Paris to save Luigi, but Princess Toadstool tells Toad to stay behind, who complains, "I always stay behind!" (Nevermind the many other episodes where he is involved in the adventure.) Unlike other examples, though, Toad actually stays behind (although he still complains about it). It's only when Koopa throws the Mario Bros. into jail and hangs the Princess from the Eiffel Tower is Toad finally summoned to help them.

     Real Life  

  • Benedict Arnold was relieved of command by commanding general Horatio Gates in the 18-day interregnum between the first Battle of Saratoga (Freeman's Farm) and the second battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights). Arnold was left sitting in his tent, with no command and nothing to do, as the battle of Bemis Heights (Oct. 7, 1777) raged around him. He proceeded to leave his tent, gather up a bunch of American soldiers—in defiance of orders, and without any authority other than his own personality—and lead the charge that broke the British line.