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->''"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."''
-->-- '''Princess Leia Organa''', ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/ANewHope''

It can be a cruel life in a typical fantasy story. TheEmpire rules the land with an iron fist, the EvilOverlord is slowly but steadily taking over the world, or a [[TheEvilPrince new government]] ruthlessly takes power. The people are oppressed and overtaxed, but the enemy is just too powerful for anyone to overcome. What can they do?

Never fear, the Rebel Leader is here! Swinging into action (sometimes literally) with their [[LaResistance band of loyal followers]], they lead the charge against evil and fight to free the people!

Almost every rebel group has one of these, a [[HeroicSpirit heroic]] and [[ChaoticGood free-spirited]] person with [[BeautyEqualsGoodness rugged good looks]] and [[TwinkleSmile a perfect grin]]. Sometimes a series bucks the trend by having a PluckyGirl lead the rebels, or perhaps someone who was the [[GovernmentInExile legitimate ruler]] and is trying to get back their country.

Usually the RebelLeader becomes an ally to the main cast, using their expertise and resources to [[WeNeedADistraction distract the enemy]], [[GondorCallsForAid promise to help out at the final battle]] or [[TheAlliance band together]] against a common goal. There's also a chance of a LoveTriangle with the hero's LoveInterest as she swoons over the RebelLeader's good looks. If the RebelLeader is female, on the other hand, there's a high probability of her becoming the hero's LoveInterest herself.

However, in other series [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism things may not be as they seem]]. Sometimes the rebel leader may make [[GoodIsNotNice questionable choices]] in the fight against the empire, perhaps they're just using the rebel cause to further their own agenda, perhaps they're abusing the [[HumanShield very people they're trying to help]], or are willing to take down the enemy [[WellIntentionedExtremist no matter what the cost]]. Sometimes the RebelLeader will be [[NotSoDifferent just as bad]] as the EvilOverlord he's trying to take down, often leading to MeetTheNewBoss should they take over. Occasionaly ''they'' will be the BigBad rebelling against TheGoodKing or a similarly peaceful government, in which case they are a DarkMessiah, a leader who is a very questionable 'savior'. Or perhaps they’re just a DoomedMoralVictor if the odds are ''really'' that bad.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Lelouch from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' leads the Black Knights by LivingADoubleLife as Zero, but their relationship is kind of...complicated. On the one hand, Zero leads the Black Knights very effectively, making what was once a loose collection of rebel cells into a full-fledged revolutionary army. On the other hand, it's not entirely clear if he truly believes in the Japanese independence movement, or is just using the Black Knights to act out the grudge he has against the Britannian Empire. For their part, the Knights don't fully trust him due to his hidden identity and suspect motives, but are painfully aware that they would never have had a fighting chance against TheEmpire if Zero hadn't taken over. [[spoiler:That doesn't stop them from feeling "used" when Zero's identity is revealed, and then turning on him.]]
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', Davis Motomiya is the RookieRedRanger of the second team, which forms the primary resistance against the [[ArcVillain Digimon Emperor]].
* In ''Anime/{{Endride}}'', the charismatic [[IdealHero idealist]] Demetrio heads up the [[LaResistance Ignauts]], aiming to make King Delzaine abdicate the throne. His [[MagneticHero magnetism]] is such that he ends up causing the two protagonists to join up with his cause, rather than the other way around.
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' featured Holland as the leader of his own resistance movement, Gekkostate. The only problem is that [[WouldHurtAChild physically assaults one of his own subordinates, Renton Thurston]], for [[CrazyJealousGuy "stealing" Nirvash Type ZERO and Eureka from him]], making him more akin to a BadBoss than the rebel leader he was meant to be. In other words, for a rebel leader, he sure as heck acts like even more of a [[{{Manchild}} child]] than the actual child, to the point that his own girlfriend, Talho, and most of Gekkostate would call him out on it. By the end of the first half, though, he accepts the fact that Renton is TheChosenOne, and just goes back to leading Gekkostate properly while leaving control of the Nirvash [=TypeZERO=] and Eureka's protection to Renton.
* Lacus in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed'' was the leader of a resistance group fighting against the leader of her own country. To that point, Lacus counts as an {{Expy}} of [[Franchise/StarWars Leia Organa]] above.
* Kamina in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. Simon and Kittan also show signs of this, although Simon doesn't become the official leader until Team Dai-Gurren are done rebelling.
* "The Revolutionary" Dragon, in the ''Manga/OnePiece'' universe. His actions and ideas are so outrageous that he was christened as the "World's Most Wanted Criminal." His importance to the narrative wasn't made clear until [[spoiler:Garp revealed to Luffy that his full name is ''Monkey D.'' Dragon, and that he is Luffy's father.]]
* In the final story arc of ''Manga/TwentiethCenturyBoys'' Kanna becomes leader of the armed resistance against Friend.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''MagicTheGathering'''s Mercadian Masques block had a creature type called, well, Rebel. Basically, it involves bringing creatures out from your library. Lin Sivvi, who rebelled against the Phyrexians on Rath, fits this trope, and was actually a bit of a GameBreaker back in the day. More recent Rebel leaders aren't quite so broken: Koth, Jor Kadeen, Melira, and Kemba had so game-breaking about them in the Scars of Mirrodin block.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' clearly loves this trope
** ''ComicBook/CursedTheFallOfDeadworld'' had a loose, unofficial one in the form of Walter Tucker, Patti Halliday, & Agatha Proudwater, before [[spoiler:the [[{{GreaterScopeVillain}} Dark Judges]] infiltrated and destroyed them]], but not before [[{{TheReveal}} revealing]] [[spoiler:that disposed former US President Boone was alive & well, and also leading a resistance movement against them]].
** ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' has Dredd himself act like this every time the City has had a crisis, usually working alongside somebody else as well; most notably with Fergee & Judge-Tutor Griffin in ''The Day the Law Died'', Psi-Judge Anderson in ''Necropolis'', Galen [=DeMarco=] and Judge Hershey in ''The Doomsday Scenario'', Judge Smiley, Dirty Frank, and Jack Point in ''The Cold Deck/Trifecta'', and Judge Rico, Dolman, Psi Judge Lewis, and Texas City Judge Knox in ''Every Empire Falls''
** ''[[{{ComicBook/Necrophim}} Necrophim]]'' has the FallenAngel Uriel and his lover, Lady Cythea, form one alongside his fellow fallen Angels, Ezarat & Valion, the former ruler of the Blizzard Kingdoms, King Jotunheim, and allied itself with the [[{{OurAngelsAreDifferent}} Angels]] under one of their leaders, Raziel, against the BigBadEnsemble of the leaders of {{Hell}}, [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]] & [[{{TheDragon}} Neboron]], and the former rulers, the [[{{Demon Lords and Archdevils}} Demons led by Lord Astaroth]].
** ''ComicBook/NikolaiDante'' had the Revolutionary Forces led by Nikolai Dante, Jena Makarova, Lady Jocasta Romanov, [[spoiler:Lulu Romanov]], Papa Yeltsin, Katarina Dante, & [[spoiler:Arkady Romanov[[note]]actually the BigBad, Dmitri Romanov, who has secretly [[SharingABody taken over his body]][[/note]]]] until TheReveal. Afterwards, Katarina Dante briefly replaces her son alongside Sergeant Elena Kurakin until the latter manages to find and help him recover from his MoralEventHorizon. He then re-joins the revolution again alongside his mother Katarina, Sergeant Kurakin, and [[spoiler:the remaining Romanov family members[[note]]Lulu & Viktor Romanov/Dante]][[/note]] And before that, in the "Amerika" storyline, there was the Amerikan Resistance led by various front-line military commanders and spies[[note]]which acted as the intelligence and financial leadership for the various New York branches[[/note]], such as Major Liberty and [[{{TheStarscream}} Carmen Suarez]] respectively.
** ''ComicBook/StrontiumDog'' had both Johnny Alpha and Middenface [=MacNulty=] established as leaders during the Mutant Uprising, Middenface as General of the Scotland division and Johnny as General Armz ''aide-de-camp''. Other rebel group leaders like Dai the Death and Bonnie Charlie Prince also appear.
* Princess Sally in the Archie ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' comics.
* Elscol leads the Cilpar resistance in ''ComicBook/TheXWingSeries''. She's far from a PluckyGirl and is much too [[CrusadingWidow driven and hurt]] to smile or trust easily.


* [[Fanfic/HalfLifeFullLifeConsequences John Freeman, Gordon Freeman's Brother and saver of humans.]]
* In ''FanFic/WinterWar'', with the war lost, Seireitei occupied, and Yamamoto dead, this role falls to Captain Ukitake.
* Sothe leads [[LaResistance The Heretics]] against [[spoiler: Vaticus]] in FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire.
* The ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' has Dima leading the deer rebellion against [[GeneralRipper Makarov's]] [[TheEmpire Hooviet Empire]] in the Shining Armor Arc.

* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** Princess and Senator Leia Organa. The [[LaResistance Rebel Alliance]] has a number of leaders, from political leaders (Mon Mothma, Bail Organa) to military leaders (General Dodonna, Admiral Ackbar, and others), but there's no doubt, especially after Alderaan's destruction, who the symbolic flame of the Rebellion is.
** Leia's mother, Padme Amidala, probably counts as well, seeing as the deleted scenes from ''Revenge of the Sith'' have her forming the Rebellion with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma.
** To a point, Luke Skywalker--destroyer of the Death Star, founder of Rogue Squadron, not to mention last of the Jedi--qualifies as well. "Not the last of the old. The first of the new." ~the ghost of Obi-Wan. Luke later becomes Jedi master in the EU.
** There really is irony in the fact that the two people who become the driving force of the Rebellion/Republic are [[LukeIAmYourFather the children of the guy]] [[ArchnemesisDad who put them in that position in the first place]].
** Commander Poe Dameron in ''Film/TheForceAwakens''. Though not the highest-ranking member of the Resistance, Poe is very much someone that the members, especially his pilots, look up to and trust. He basically lays out the plan for the attack on ''Starkiller Base'', with the officers above him in rank assenting. As the leader of their X-wing squadrons, it is made clear that the other pilots, many of whom are less-experienced, draw a lot of confidence from having him in the air with them. Poe is also extremely handsome, further fitting the trope. The film's opening crawl describes him as Leia's "most daring pilot".
* Nigel "The Torch" in ''Film/TopSecret''. Subverted because he is really TheMole.
* Mariana from ''Film/TheRundown'', who leads a group of rebels against the CorruptCorporateExecutive Hatcher and his forces.
* [[spoiler:Malcolm Beech]] in ''Film/{{Oblivion 2013}}'' is the leader of [[spoiler:the remaining free humans on Earth]].
* ''Film/{{Amigo}}'': Simón Dacanay, brother to the village chief protagonist Rafael Dacanay, an officer in General Emilio Aguinaldo's Revolutionary Army, at the time [[OccupiersOutOfOurCountry fighting]] [[TheEmpire the]] [[AmericaTakesOverTheWorld American]] [[EagleLand invaders]].
* ''Film/{{Barbarella}}'': Dildano is the leader of the rebellion in Sogo that wants to overthrow the Black Queen. Barbarella allies with him because if they capture the Queen, she can learn the whereabouts of Durand Durand.

* Kelsier from the first ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' book. He has the rugged good looks, defiant grin and questionable end-justifies-means morality, and is also something of a DarkMessiah and a self-styled DoomedMoralVictor. Given a twist with Quellion, a character from the third book who is in many ways a dark shadow of Kelsier, who shows that it's not always pretty when one of these guys actually succeeds in taking power. In his attempts to eradicate all traces of the old system, Quellion becomes just as tyrannical as the decadent nobility ever were. [[spoiler: Of course, it didn't help that the BigBad was prodding him in that direction]].
* ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'' When [[TyrantTakesTheHelm Umbridge]] actively sabotages any chance of the students learning to defend themselves (not because she's working for the villains, but because the Ministry [[NoMereWindmill refuses to believe Voldemort's back]]), the title character and his friends start a secret defense group. In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', Neville, Ginny and Luna take up the role after the villains ''really'' take over the school, turning the group Harry started into a full-fledged resistance movement against the [[EvilTeacher Carrows]].
* Henri Tod in ''The Story of Henri Tod'', part of the Literature/BlackfordOakes series.
* Florian in Lloyd Alexander's ''Literature/{{Westmark}}'' trilogy seems to be genuinely concerned with what's best for the people, but is willing to be ruthless when necessary. His lieutenant, Justin, goes further into WellIntentionedExtremist territory.
* Enjolras - the leader of the Friends of the ABC, the student revolutionaries from ''Literature/LesMiserables'' - is this, down to the possibly questionable choices he makes during the barricades.
* From ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'', there's Ajihad, the leader of the [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified Varden]]. Also his daughter Nasuada [[spoiler: after he is killed]].
* Hereward (and Edric) in Marcus Pitcaithly's ''Literature/TheHerewardTrilogy''. (Obviously, both are drawn from history.)
* The ''Literature/{{Deathstalker}}'' series by Simon R. Green has some wonderfully reluctant rebel leaders -- notably 1) the title character, a historian named Owen Deathstalker, who got dragged into leading a resistance by his dead father's plotting and the evil empress's overreaction, and 2) Jack Random, professional rebel, who's led so many valiant-but-failed resistance movements over the years that he's ready to quit and fade into the shadows. [[RetiredBadass He's still got it, though.]]
* Literature/HardToBeAGod features Arata the Hunchback, a professional rebel leader. He was merely Arata when he led his first rebellion, but despite leaving bits and pieces of himself all over the empire, through many, MANY failed uprisings, he's still willing to shoot as many dogs as necessary to make Arkanar a slightly less CrapsackWorld.
* In ''Literature/TheShatteredKingdoms'', two or three kinds of rebel leadership can be spotted. Daryan is heir to the Shadari kingship (a fact kept secret to the occupying Norlanders), but has a friendship and a romance which cross racial lines in a way that would be unacceptable to most Shadari if they knew, and doesn't really want the burdens of leadership anyway. Faroth, meanwhile, certainly intends to be in charge of the rebellion, but isn't particularly effectual, is obsessed with excluding other potential leaders, and is more like a gang boss than a hero. A third character, Harotha, has a significant role, but tends to manipulate and chivvy rather than lead (a fact which causes her problems when Daryan decides he doesn't want to be lead around by the nose any more). In the end, none of them are really the reason the rebellion succeeds, although they all had some impact on how it played out.
* General Val'gor, from ''Literature/InvasionOfKzarch'', serves as the leader of the combined [[LaResistance Kzarchian and Marine forces]], until [[spoiler:he betrays his men and allies in an attempt to take over the planet]].
* Moira the Rebel Queen in ''[[Literature/TheStolenThrone Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne]]'' is this during the Orlesian occupation of Ferelden. However, she is betrayed and killed, leaving her young son Maric as the only surviving member of the Ferelden royal line. Maric does not fit this trope at first, leaving the role to Arl Rendorn Guerrin ([[spoiler:until the Arl is killed in a disastrous battle with Orlesian forces]]). Over the course of the novel, Maric matures and becomes more this, although he shares the role with Loghain Mac Tir, who is more proficient in the matter of war. This ends by the end of the novel, when Ferelden is liberated, and Maric is officially crowned king.
* Lyme, from ''Literature/TheHungerGames''. [[spoiler:She's the leader of District 2's rebels and works with District 13 to bring them to the rebellion's side in the war.]]
* In military thriller ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'', protagonist John Rumford sort of plays this role himself at first, leading a small militia of fellow military veterans fighting against the abuses of the near-future [[OppressiveStatesOfAmerica dystopian and massively corrupt]] federal government. However, he soon relinquishes overall leadership to the more politically savvy [[TheChessmaster William Kraft]], concentrating instead on the military operations that are his own forte.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Both Captain Sheridan and Mars Resistance leader Tessa Holloran.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven'': Blake is a Rebel Leader of the genuinely dedicated but morally hazy variety.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Tywin views Robb as a 'Rebellion in the North' as opposed to 'The King in the North'.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Commander Wayne Ramsey of the Resistance. He only appears in "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E11TheStand The Stand]]", "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E12Ghosts Ghosts]]", and "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E18Clue Clue]]". He doesn't actually do all that much, and the episode "Clue" results in [[spoiler: Jim Hudson killing him off]]. It is clear that the rebel leadership is sorely lacking in tactical and organizational competence and an extremely reluctant Miles Matheson has to step in and take leadership. Ironically, he is the one responsible for creating the situation that he is now rebelling against.
* ''Series/TheRevolution2006'': George Washington of the Continental Army.
* ''Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand'': Spartacus, like his historical counterpart, is ''the'' rebel leader. He starts out with a small group of rebel slaves and ends with a full blown army that scares all of Rome.
* Although he wasn't the top rebel leader, Francis Marion was one of them in ''Series/TheSwampFox'', just as in RealLife.
* In the Franchise/{{Arrowverse}} crossover event ''Series/CrisisOnEarthX'', it's revealed that the leader of [[LaResistance Freedom Fighters]] on Earth-X is General Winn Schott. Unlike [[Series/{{Supergirl}} Earth-38]]'s Winn, this version is a grizzled (and bearded) veteran, who only cares about saving his world from the Nazis at any cost.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDiscovery'', the leader of the alien resistance to the MirrorUniverse's [[TheEmpire Terran Empire]] is known as Firewolf. [[spoiler:He's actually an albino Klingon named Voq. Burnham questions him about how he managed to overcome the Klingon ProudWarriorRaceGuy mentality to unite so many different races. Mirror!Voq explains that it helps to have a common enemy, i.e. the Terrans. The conversation is interrupted by Ash Tyler (who is really Prime!Voq as a ManchurianAgent), when his Voq personality surfaces, enraged at Mirror!Voq's perceived betrayal of Klingon ideals]].

[[folder:Mythology & Religion]]
* [[Myth/GreekMythology Zeus]], against his father Cronus and the Titans.
* Satan, in ''Literature/ParadiseLost'' and other works. Subverted, in that he's actually just deluded himself into believing he's this: his "rebellion" is really just a temper tantrum against God for not holding him in as high esteem as he thinks he deserves, and then later trying to make everyone else as miserable as he is once he's lost. Despite his self-deception, he has been interpreted as a TragicVillain or a ByronicHero, especially by modern readers.
* The Bible has King David, although supposedly partly by accident. He starts off just a shepherd, with all of his brothers fighting against the occupying Philistine army, before he's tapped by God to lead the army himself. After he becomes King, his son Absalom becomes this...against his father, who has [[FaceHeelTurn become corrupt]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''7.62 High Calibre'': Has Tanya Tormens as the leader of the rebel group trying to overthrow the coup-established government of Algeira, and you can choose to support her efforts, put her down, or play her against the government until you're forced into choosing sides. Interestingly, she's the daughter of the dictator of Palinero, the neighboring country that was the location of the previous game in the series, who himself came to power in a military coup.
* ''VideoGame/AlterAILA'': White/Hawk definitely qualifies. He's more of a moral leader, with Gold being the more official head of the rebels.
* ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'': Daisy Fitzroy is the leader of the Vox Populi, who fight against the xenophobic Founders. However, whatever idealistic motive she had has since been worn down by the time of the game to simply blind hatred, to the point that she'll justify killing the children of her enemies as "pulling weeds from the roots". However, the Burial at Sea DLC shows that [[spoiler: she was faking the child-murdering part under the orders of the Luteces in order to [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning goad Elizabeth into killing her]], thereby [[ARealManIsAKiller strengthening her resolve]] and in truth was horrified by the idea of murdering children.]]
* ''VideoGame/BlazeUnion'': Pandra is one of the nastiest varieties of the trope; he may have originally rebelled out of the people's interests, but has degenerated into being worse than most bandits. As he intends to thieve, pillage, and rape his way through the country, he has a tendency to get curbstomped by the heroes quite often.
* ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend'': Lars Halford.
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'': Sparda in this series rebelled against the demon emperor by allying with the humans. In Devil May Cry 4, long after he is gone, he is worshipped as a God by the people of a city he supposedly ruled after said rebelling.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Anders wants mage Hawke to be this since s/he is a charismatic individual and one of the most influential people in the city. Hawke can work with him without quite assuming the "leader" bit, actively oppose him, or [[PassThePopcorn joke that they just want to watch with snacks.]] In the endgame, [[spoiler: siding with the mages turns Hawke into a worldwide symbol of resistance against Templars.]]
* ''Videogame/DragonAgeInquisition'': The Herald of Andraste is accused of being this in the beginning, with their detractors claiming that the Herald is taking advantage of the unrest in Thedas to claim power for themselves using the Inquisition. This is ignoring that not only is the Inquisition the only group actively trying to fix the problems in Thedas such as the ''gigantic tear in the fabric of reality'', the Herald isn't even its leader (at least initially).
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** St. Alessia, [[FounderOfTheKingdom founder of the First Cyrodiilic Empire]], got her start as the leader of the Alessian Revolt, a rebellion of Cyrodiil's human slave population against their [[AbusivePrecursors Ayleid]] masters. After [[BornIntoSlavery escaping slavery herself]], Alessia prayed to the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Aedra]] for aid against the (primarily) [[JerkassGods Daedra]]-worshiping Ayleids. The Aedra answered as part of a BargainWithHeaven, sending aid (both subtle and direct). Alessia would further ally with the [[HornyVikings Nordic]] Empire and [[TokenHeroicOrc rebel Ayleid lords]], eventually driving the hostile Ayleids out of Cyrodiil completely.
** Throughout the backstory, the Reachmen ([[BarbarianTribe tribal inhabitants]] who are primitive in [[FurBikini dress]] and [[RockBeatsLaser technology]] of the Reach region in western Skyrim) have [[OccupiersOutOfOurCountry resisted all foreign conquerers]] dating all the way back to the time of the ''First'' Tamriellic Empire, thousands of years ago. Red Eagle was the first to unify the people of the Reach during the era of the First Empire. He was also the first to ally the Reachmen with the [[HarpingOnAboutHarpies Hagravens]], as well as the first to become a [[DeadlyUpgrade Briarheart]]. Durcorach the Black Drake was arguably the most successful leader of the Reachmen, even capturing the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil for a time during [[DarkAgeEurope the 2nd Era Interregnum]].
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'':
*** Ulfric Stormcloak serves in this role for the Stormcloak Rebellion. Of course [[GreyAndGreyMorality how evil his enemies are and how moral he is is up for debate]]. While the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]]-led [[AntiHumanAlliance Aldmeri Dominion]] are ObviouslyEvil and TheEmpire signed a peace treaty, they hardly did it by choice, the conflict Ulfric started [[NiceJobBreakingItHero weakened them further]] (and gave the Thalmor an excuse to ensure the ban on Talos worship, something Ulfric complained about and was initially ignored, was being enforced) and the non-Nords (particularly the [[DarkIsNotEvil Dark Elf]] refuges and [[LizardFolk Argonians]]) of the city are freely abused with FantasticRacism (especially those who don't want to take sides in the war). [[spoiler: His treatment of the Forsworn also echoes his complaints about the Empire and it's implied the Thalmor have manipulated him into starting a civil war (while he was a POW, after being captured while serving in the Imperial army) to weaken Skyrim.]]
*** Meanwhile, the Forsworn, a [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters terrorist group]] within the aforementioned Reachmen culture, has their own in Madanach, the King in Rags, who wants to see the Reach and its people granted independence. However, it's quite a stretch to call him a good guy, seeing as he's fully willing to commit genocide on the Nords if he gets his way. The game also implies that his warriors are cannibalistic rapists who wear the skin and [[SkeletonsInTheCoatCloset bones]] of their victims as their armor.
* ''VideoGame/EmpireEarth'': Russian dissident Grigor Illyanich Stoyanovich and General Sergei Molotov.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'': Rinoa Heartilly leads the Forest Owls.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Princess Ashe leads the resistance.
* ''VideoGame/FreedomFighters'': Has Isabella as the moral leader but Chris Stone (aka, the Freedom Phantom, aka the player) doing the work.
* ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'': [[spoiler:Casper Orillion]] is the head of [[spoiler:the Order]], whose primary purpose is to oppose the [[spoiler:Nomads]] in their plot to pit the four Houses against one another to weaken them.
* ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'': Sal Limones, leader of the Lost Souls Alliance. His design evokes RealLife Latin American revolutionaries.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'': Gordon Freeman, Alyx Vance, Barney Calhoun, Eli Vance, Kleiner, Magnusson, and Mossman.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' has Sesa 'Refumee (referred to solely as "the Heretic Leader" in-game), who leads a small rebellion against the Prophets after learning the truth about the Forerunners and the Halo rings from 343 Guilty Spark, but ends up being killed by Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee. Ironically enough, 'Vadamee himself later takes on this role for the Elites as a whole.
** Admiral Mattius Drake, the leader of the New Colonial Alliance, managed to be both this and TheMole since he was a UNSC admiral until his true allegiance was discovered after [[ComicBook/HaloInitiation a small NCA force attempted to steal]] the UNSC ''Infinity''.
** In ''VideoGame/HaloWars2'', Atriox leads the Banished, a faction that had rebelled against the Covenant while the latter was still fighting humanity.
** The most infamous figure of the early Insurrection was Colonel Robert Watts, a Marine defector who became the main founder of the United Rebel Front. The Spartan-[=IIs=]' [[Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach very first mission]] [[StarterVillain involved capturing him]].
* ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxter'': [[GutturalGrowler Torn]] from the second game.
* ''VideoGame/MechQuest'': Odessa Pureheart, the leader of the Soluna Defense Forces and part of Slugwrath's Elite Guard, who takes up arms against the Kingadent after [[spoiler:Slugwrath, who is actually a [[TheQuisling Quisling]] for the Shadowscythe, had her ship sabotaged, causing it to malfunction]].
* ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'': Ciel from this series. Elpizo takes over during ''Zero 2'', giving Ciel time to try to end the Maverick Wars peacefully.
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'': Abraham Reyes is a negative version of this, being an egotistical GloryHound whose talents solely consists of using fancy words to rile up peasants. Of course, [[NotInThisForYourRevolution John doesn't care]] as long as Reyes can get him to Bill Williamson and Javier Escuela (which he does). [[spoiler:In the epilogue, as Presidente he does not improve Mexico in any way and becomes [[MeetTheNewBoss just another dictator.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/ReVOLUTION'': The Resistance has one, and his name is Marcus.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei: VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' has Ronaldo Kuriki, ironically representing the Law alignment.
* ''VideoGame/SonicForces'': After Dr. Eggman conquers the world in Sonic's absence, Knuckles the Echidna forms a Resistance group against him.
* ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft I}}'': Arcturus Mengsk originally when he lead the Sons of Korhal against the Confederacy, but later took over as TheEmperor. Raynor later takes this role in ''VideoGame/StarCraftII''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'': Odessa Silverburg, until Tir (the hero) takes over. The protagonist in most, if not all, of the other Suikodens.
* ''VideoGame/TachyonTheFringe'': Susan Bradley is the unofficial leader of the [[LaResistance Bora]] in their fight against the [[MegaCorp corporate giant]] [=GalSpan=]. Far from being a merely a political voice, she personally leads an elite squadron of {{Space Fighter}}s called Susan's Lance on some of the most daring strikes deep in "Spanner" space. Your MissionControl and LoveInterest Anna Highfall (if you side with the Bora) is absolutely in awe of Susan.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'': Yuan is one of the more cynical versions of this. He means well, but [[NecessarilyEvil his methods]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist are morally debatable.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{The Witcher 2}}'': [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Saskia the Dragonslayer]] leads the rebels.
* Leonie Beaumort of ''VideoGame/AviaryAttorney'' is fighting a regime that perhaps isn't deliberately ''malicious'' but is definitely negligent and uncaring. She simmers with constant anger and struggles with not putting RevengeBeforeReason and how much violence is correct, but is after all a ReasonableAuthorityFigure. It's just too bad [[spoiler: she has manipulative 'allies' who want everything to get very very bloody]].

* The Summoner and the Sufferer from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' lead two major upheavals in Alternia and are also [[spoiler: Tavros and Karkat's ancestors]]. The former is responsible for Alternia becoming a TeenageWasteland while the latter is so infamous even mentioning the symbols of his rebellion in one's private journal is grounds for execution. Not that this stops [[spoiler: Mindfang]] from talking about it.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', the paladin Thanh is 'nominated' to lead the resistance in [[spoiler:Azure City]]. The position originally belonged to Haley, until she and Belkar had to leave in order to [[spoiler: resurrect Roy]]. In the Empire of Blood arc, HeroOfAnotherStory Amun-Zora plays this role. A large part of Elan's character development involves him realising that it can't be him (whatever [[ArchnemesisDad traditional storytelling tropes might demand]]), because the Order's existing quest to stop Xykon and SaveTheWorld is more important than defeating his small-fry EvilOverlord father.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* ''Machinima/CultOfPersonality'' has a villainous example in the form of the oWn Medic. He formed oWn in an attempt to rebel against BLU, the company he used to work with and their rival, RED. He does so by assimilating mercenaries from both companies through propaganda or by [[DefeatMeansFriendship defeating them in combat]], proving his superiority. With a sizable enough army, he invaded numerous territories of RED and BLU, taking in defects from both companies.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Jet from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' seems to fit the typical rebel hero, right down to causing a love triangle, until the kids learn how far he's willing to go.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' (sequel to the above-mentioned ''Avatar'') we have Book 1's BigBad, Amon, who is leading an anti-bending movement.
* [[AllThereInTheScript Lard Nar]] on ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim,'' though he and the rest of [[LaResistance the Resisty]] only appeared in one episode before the show [[ScrewedByTheNetwork got canceled]].
* [[AlternateUniverseReedRichardsIsAwesome Candace-2]] in ''''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerbTheMovieAcrossThe2ndDimension'' is the leader of Resistance in 2nd dimension.
* T.J. Detweiler from ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' for the rest of the students.
* Kanan in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', and is the leader of the ''Ghost''. He has contacts with Bail Organa, one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance.
* [[BadassNormal Caleb]] from WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}. When he's 15.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'', [[PosthumousCharacter Rose Quartz]] was the former leader of the Crystal Gems, a rebel group that opposed the destruction of all life on Earth at the hands of their Homeworld.
* Both Rick and Bird Person were this againt the oppressive [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny Galactic Federation]] in ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty''.
* The Scotsman and his daughters had formed one during the TimeSkip in ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack''.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* OlderThanFeudalism: Assyrian history springs to mind, which mostly consisted of very brutal conquest and the invariable (and even more brutally quelled) rebellions afterwards. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marduk-apla-iddina_II Marduk-apla-iddina II]], known as Merodach-Baladan from Literature/TheBible was particularly tenacious.
* UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic as per legend, was founded by a rebellion led by Lucius Brutus (ancestor of the assassin) against Tarquin.
** The Republic in turn faced many internal rebellions against the aristocratic senate led by populares such as the Gracchi brothers and Gaius Marius. This was followed by slave rebellions, most famously the Third Servile War led by Spartacus (Creator/KarlMarx's all-time favorite hero). Julius Caesar was initially a rebel against the aristocratic optimates before he crowned himself dictator, at which point his assassins (including Marcus Junius Brutus, descendant of Rome's founder) called themselves the Liberators and became rebels against Caesar's party who had seized Rome.
** UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire encountered many famous rebels: Queen Boudicca of the Celts, Arminius of the Germans, the Sicarii and the Zealots of UsefulNotes/JewishRevolts followed by Simon Bar Kohkba, Queen Zenobia of Palmyra.
* Hereward the Wake rebelled against the invasion of the Normans. There were also peasant rebellions including one led by Wat Tyler, aristocratic rebellions by the English Barons in two wars, Scottish rebels (UsefulNotes/RobertTheBruce and William Wallace) against Edward I; princely rebellions during the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses, the Roundheads led by UsefulNotes/OliverCromwell during the UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar and the Jacobites during the UsefulNotes/HanoverStuartWars.
* UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington and the Founding Fathers during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution.
** Upon coming to power, Washington and the Founding Fathers faced a rebellion of unpaid soldiers against the New Republic led by Daniel Shays. After that there were Native American rebellions, one of the prominent ones was led by Tecumseh during the War of 1812. This would be followed by slave revolts, including ones led by Nat Turner, followed later by John Brown who attacked Harper's Ferry so as to capture guns for a SlaveLiberation. During the Civil Rights Era, Malcolm X and later, Martin Luther King and the Black Panthers became the IconOfRebellion against the establishment.
** Of course the South during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar were technically rebelling against the Union, so as to preserve their "liberty" to maintain and perpetuate slavery. As such generals such as Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee became seen, in romantic Southern historiography, as rebel leaders as well.
* UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution is mostly an aversion. It is distinguished from the American (Washington, Jefferson) and English Revolutions (Oliver Cromwell) is lacking a single dominating leader, thanks in part to its HighTurnoverRate, the fact many of the significant events such as the Storming of the Bastille, the Women's March to Versailles and the Storming of the Tuileries were spontaneous crowd events. Leaders at different stages were Mirabeau and Lafayette (1789-1791), Danton and Marat (1791-1793), Robespierre and Saint-Just (1792-1794).
** The Revolution in turn provoked internal rebellion in the Vendee and the Britanny. Henri de la Rochejacquelin, the young royalist, became a legendary figure for his youth and courage, while Jean Cottereau, a smuggler and suspected murderer, became celebrated by Restoration writers as a reactionary fantasy of a Robin Hood who rose against an "unlawful" republic while living in the forest with his merry men. The Directory Government provoked a rebellion by ex-Jacobins and ex-Radicals led by Gracchus Babeuf and another rebellion by royalists which was later surpressed by Napoleon.
** Toussaint Louverture was the leader of the Haitian Revolution which rose against the slave-run French colony and initially opposed France until the Jacobin Republic abolished slavery in 1794, at which point he allied with the French. When Napoleon sought to restore slavery however, the Haitians revolted against France again and Toussaint died in captivity in France. Louis Delgrès, a Mulatto Revolutionary in Guadeloupe, likewise revolted against Napoleon in 1802. Delgrès and his allies, 300 of them, [[GiveMeLibertyOrGiveMeDeath committed mass suicide by igniting stocks of gunpowder]] rather than surrender. Both Toussaint and Delgrès were later honored in the Pantheon, the Republican Hall of Fame.
* The Indian Independence Movement saw several rebels against the British Raj. Among them: Lokmanya Tilak, Lala Lajpatrai, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and of course, UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi.
** Other figures invoked as rebels in pre-colonial eras include Dulla Bhatti, a Muslim Rajput who revolted against the Emperor Akbar and became an outlaw figure. The Gurus of the Sikh Religion also formed themselves to fight the Mughals, the 10th and last one, Guru Gobind Singh was assassinated by the Mughal government. The Emperor Aurangzeb was so unpopular that he provoked many rebellions. The Maratha Empire formed itself in guerilla campaigns led by Shivaji against the Mughals and their governors.
** Ironically, during the 1857 Mutiny against the East India Company, the Sepoys and other kings [[WeWantOurJerkBack sought to restore the Mughals]] and Bahadur Shah Zafar, the highly reluctant ruler of the Mughal VestigialEmpire, became an icon of rebellion, as did many other Kings and noblemen including Nana Sahib, Tatya Tope and of course the Lakshmibai, [[LadyOfWar the Rani of Jhansi]].
* The leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, especially Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, as well as their successors in TheIrishRevolution, most notably Michael Collins.
* Latin American ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertadores Libertadores]]'', such as UsefulNotes/SimonBolivar, Jose de San Martin, Bernardo O'Higgins, Francisco de Miranda and Antonio Jose de Sucre.
* The {{Philippines}}, having been a colony for nearly 500 years (and still controlled for the most part by colonially-installed elites or their descendants), has no shortage of these, falling into two major classes:
** Independence leaders against foreign colonists (such as Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, two of the most prominent revolutionary leaders against Spain; Aguinaldo then went on to fight the United States, along with the likes of people like General Antonio Luna, [[Film/HeneralLuna star of a recent sensationalist]] {{Biopic}}, when it reneged on its promise to guarantee Philippine independence), and
** Leaders of mass-based peasant movements against elite domination and repression (most notably Luis Taruc, head of the ''Hukbalahap''[[note]]"Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon" (People's Anti-Japanese Army), which after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was renamed "Hukbong Magpalaya ng Bayan" (People's Liberation Army), now redirected against the American-supported oligarchs and warlords[[/note]] movement).
** Since TheSixties there have also been rebel movements amongst the oppressed Muslim minority, including the Moro National Liberation Front, which itself produced a more religiously-motivated splinter group with a [[FunWithAcronyms funny]] [[StacysMom acronym]], the Moro ''Islamic'' Liberation Front.
* [[UsefulNotes/VladimirLenin Comrade Lenin]] during the Russian Revolution, and his fellow Bolsheviks. The Anti-Stalinist Left invoked UsefulNotes/LeonTrotsky and Nikolai Bukharin, as rebel figures to promote an alternative Marxism against UsefulNotes/JosefStalin.
* Henk Sneevliet and Paul de Groot during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands very nearly got the entire Communist Party of the Netherlands to rise up against the Nazis. Sneevliet was captured and executed, De Groot became a successful politician after the war.
* UsefulNotes/FidelCastro, Daniel Ortega, Cesar Augusto Sandino and Farabundo Marti in Central America.
* UsefulNotes/CheGuevara was most successful when he served alongside Castro but he didn't succeed on his own in Congo and in Bolivia.
* UsefulNotes/MaoZedong, Zhou Enlai and the CCP were this during the late 20s and early 30s where they were brutally persecuted by the [=KMT=]. Mao led a rebellion in the 40s and brought the Communists to power. He eventually became a power-crazed dictator and raised hell during the Cultural Revolution by provoking a rebellion from below, ordered from above, against his party and society.
* Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the leader of the Libyan rebels.
* UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle, the leader of the French French Forces in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. They were considered as [[YouRebelScum rebels]] by the government of Vichy. The Resistance on the other hand saw themselves as defenders and restorers of the Third Republic against a bunch of LesCollaborateurs.
* Ho Chi Minh was a rebel against Japanese occupiers and French colonialists in the late 40s and 50s. Among the anti-war left, despite being the leader of the North Vietnamese government, he was seen as a rebel against the US Government.
* Many, many, many organizers of anarchist movements, especially Nestor Makhno and Errico Malatesta.
* UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler during the Beer Hall Putsch. Subverted when upon being released, he came to power by popular vote.
* Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution.
* Nelson Mandela was a rebel who opposed the Apartheid Regime and led the African National Congress. Upon release from prison, he became the President of post-Apartheid South Africa.
* Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan. Against the Soviet invasion first, then against Mullah Omar's Taliban regime.
* According to UsefulNotes/{{North Korea}}n propaganda, Kim Il-sung was an awesome guerrilla leader who single-handedly [[WorldWarII/WarInAsiaAndThePacific kicked the Japanese out of Korea]]. Actually, that was mainly done by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. In the West, it's generally believed that Kim was an actual anti-Japanese Korean guerrilla (of which there were many) whose importance in the war was wildly exaggerated by later propaganda. However, there's a somewhat fringe theory that Kim stole the identity of a dead guerrilla leader in order to boost his popularity.
* Gustav Vasa of Sweden started out as this. Daring escapes, peasant rallying and [[YouKilledMyFather sufficient motivation]]. After kicking out the Danish occupiers he waged war with on the German merchants that paid for the rebellion to avoid having to pay his debts, broke with the Pope and beat down a dozen rebellions from the farmers that helped him take the crown. He used his 40 years on the throne to bring Sweden out of the middle ages.