Spotlight-Stealing Crossover

So we have a Massive Multiplayer Crossover spanning across multiple worlds, franchises, uni/multiverses, what-have-you. Many characters from all featured worlds participated in it, in one way or another.

But then you noticed something: one, or at least a small number, of said franchises/worlds gets more spotlight than the others, be it the number of representations, the limelight, or the story prominence.

This means we have a case of Spotlight Stealing Crossover.

Keep in mind, though, that this trope isn't always bad and isn't necessarily an unintentional blunder either (e.g some works deliberately focus the crossover from one franchise's Point of View).

Not to be confused with someone from a franchise who's regularly featured in crossovers because of popularity - check Breakout Character, Wolverine Publicity and Popularity Power for that.


Anime & Manga
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time which crosses over the then three Yu-Gi-Oh! series the story mostly focuses on Yusei and the cast of 5Ds with all the supporting cast appearing. The plot mostly takes place in the time of the original Yu-Gi-Oh series but GX gets the shaft with Jaden being the only living character to appear and his section takes place in Venice rather than anywhere from his life.
  • This is one of the problems fans had with the Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage trilogy, as it will have all active Cures show up in a movie, give big focus to the Current and Previous teams (Suite Pretty Cure ♪ and Smile Pretty Cure! for the first movie, Smile and Doki Doki Pretty Cure for the second and Doki Doki and Happiness Charge Pretty Cure for the final) and shaft everyone prior, either with The Cameo or The Voiceless. Then again, All Stars DX only had 14 Cures while New Stage 3 had a whopping 37.
  • If there's a Time Bokan crossover, you can bet that the cast of Yatterman will be leading the forefront of the plot. The Royal Revival OVA was a major offender of this- Although it was meant to be a celebration of the series as a whole, the whereabouts of the Doronbo Gang was the main plot point of the first episode while the second focused on Gan and Ai's offscreen retirement. Everyone else got a Cameo bit at best.

Comic Books
  • In any given Crisis Crossover in the DC Universe Batman and Co. will likely be featured prominently despite being as street level as Superheroes get.
  • Happened quite a bit with the Silver Age Worlds Finest comics—they were run by the Superman editorial office, so tended to feature Superman's villains and themes far more than Batman's. (And sometimes when they did use Batman characters, failed to check for updates on their status.)

Fan Fiction

  • Averted by executive mandate in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Disney and Warner Brothers allowed their characters to be used but they had to have equal screen time, hence the Donald Duck & Daffy Duck and Mickey Mouse & Bugs Bunny scenes. Mickey and Bugs are never separately on-screen, and were made sure to have the exact same amount of frames of animation each.
  • In Toei's Superhero Taisen movies that feature their Toku franchises, the current installments in those franchises tend to get featured while the past ones primarily fill in crowd scenes. The third such movie shifts the spotlight in a different direction, explicitly being a Kamen Rider movie guest-starring Super Sentai instead of putting them on relatively equal footing like the last two films did.
  • There are tons of cameos in The LEGO Movie, from Gandalf and Dumbledore to Superman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But of all these characters, Batman is the only character from another franchise to be important to the plot.

Video Games
  • Partially due to the game reusing characters from previous games, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes has more than half of its cast coming from Street Fighter or X-Men.
    • In the previous crossovers there would always be at least two X-Men: Wolverine and the flavor of the year character. (Psylocke for Marvel Super Heroes, Cyclops for Marvel Superheroes vs Street Fighter and Gambit for Marvel vs Capcom 1)
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us had a significant portion of its cast coming from Gotham even though Catwoman and Bane barely play any role in the story. Batman is also the only remaining superhero and the only character to have two chapters in story mode: one as the main universe one and the other as his Injustice verse counterpart. He even has a bonus Mirror Match fight between Wonder Woman and Superman's chapters.
  • Playstation All Stars Battle Royale started getting called "God of War All-Stars Battle Royale" after the game's Big Bad and Final Boss Zeus was added as a DLC character, bringing the usual collection of new icons, backgrounds and minions associated with a new character (and thus, more fanservice for the GoW fan-base) with him. It should also be noted that God of War is the only series to have two different characters (The Coles are good and evil versions of the same person) .
  • Sega Super Stars got so far into this with regards to Sonic the Hedgehog's overabundance of characters that they later renamed the series Sonic & SEGA All-Stars (starting with Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing), and later, just "Sonic and All-Stars".
  • This trope is in full effect in the SNK vs. Capcom series in light of all the Street Fighter and The King of Fighters characters populating the roster (though at least KOF has the distinction of starting out as a Massively Multiplayer Crossover). When SNK made their later entry with SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, they tried to remedy this a bit by throwing a few Unexpected Characters into the mix, such as Zero, Red Arremer and The Mars People (in other words, characters not coming from a Fighting Game background).
  • Super Smash Bros.'s name is a play on Super Mario Bros., and that franchise gets the most representation by far (even if you're generous and count characters with spin-off games - Yoshi, Donkey and Diddy Kong, and Wario - as coming from their own series instead of Mario's). This is more noticeable in the fourth game than in previous titles, where Mario has several times the number of stages that other franchises have, has more playable characters than any other series at seven (with the runner-up, Pokémon, having sixnote ), and Mario and Peach themselves get even more focus in marketing and promotion than they did for previous titles. Nintendo's other major cash cows, The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon, aren't too far behind.
    • Taking into account that the creator of the series, is also the creator of Kirby, it's actually quite surprising that that series in particular isn't more of an example of this (King Dedede was even Dummied Out of Melee and saved for Brawl out of fear this very trope). The closest the series has shown any real favoritism is in The Subspace Emissary, which has the Kirby characters each getting very prominent roles in the story, and was actually based on what was originally meant to be the concept of a cancelled Kirby game that was salvaged for Super Smash Bros.
    • After Masahiro Sakurai directed Kid Icarus: Uprising, many people have complained that Kid Icarus is being overrepresented in the fourth game, getting two newcomersnote , tons of items, and more Smash Run enemies than even Mario, Nintendo's flagship franchise. note  Palutena also has 12 completely unique special moves, and is the only character in the game to do so other than the customizable Mii Fighters. By comparison, more popular and better selling series like Metroid and Donkey Kong, barely got any new content. Effectively demonstrated here.
    • Fire Emblem is another candidate. After being modestly represented with two reps in Melee and Brawl, it shot up to six by the end of the fourth game (four characters in the base roster and two as DLC). The only other series to have that many characters are Mario and Pokemon, Nintendo's biggest franchises, and even they got less newcomers than Fire Emblem did. Like Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem is a relatively small series, so many feel it doesn't deserve that much attention and think Sakurai is playing favorites (he hasn't directed any Fire Emblem games, but is an admitted fan of the series).
  • Look no further than Nicktoons Unite, or SPONGEBOB featuring Nicktoons, as the final installment was named. While the earlier titles in the series went toward more egalitarian representation of the Nicktoons involved, as the series progressed Sponge Bob Squarepants stole the whole show.
  • In Street Fighter X Tekken, while there's equal amounts of playable characters per side, many more Street Fighter Characters make cameo appearances.
    • And in an example of a nested crossover, it'd be harder to name a Final Fight character that doesn't appear one way or the other, including Poison being playable for the first time ever. Not that anyone is complaining.
  • Kingdom Hearts plays with this, since it focuses on the Original Generation more than the Disney and Final Fantasy worlds. To a lesser extent, the Final Fantasy worlds play this straight, due to being a franchise (granted, one where the games are Non Linear Sequels) to Disney's various non associated movies. Though they appear in less worlds than the Disney characters, a couple of them are among Sora's group of friends and as a result, slightly impact the plot more then the Disney Animated Canon characters note  and at least one the worlds that they do appear in (Hollow Bastion/Radiant garden, Twilight Town and Traverse Town) shows up in each game.
  • Coupled with Wolverine Publicity, the Mazinger franchise has appeared in every non-Original Generation installment of Super Robot Wars. While not totally egregious, some titles like Super Robot Wars K feature Mazinger simply as Filler, using only its characters and units, without any storyline crossover involvements.
  • Eternal Fighter Zero gives Kanon the most representation, with 10 player characters coming from there.
  • The Queen Of Heart 98 and 99 has To Heart as the series with most representation: the second game has 12 characters from there, in a roster of 24.

Western Animation
  • Averted in the Justice League series by way of Executive Meddling where, because another Batman focused series was running at the same time, the only Batman character available was the Dark Knight himself.
  • While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is an amalgamation of various TMNT media, favoritism toward the 80s-90s cartoon can be rather blatant at times. One of the main villains native to that series is made into a whole race of Big Bads who are made out to be more of a threat than even the franchise's most iconic Big Bad, Shredder, a lot more characters are reused from that series than the others, and one episode even featured the original cartoon's turtles for little reason than to please its nostalgic audience. But to its credit, it also improves upon most of the many flaws that the original cartoon had, making the ideas seem more plausible, and the Shredder is still treated as the more dangerous and formidable of the two main villains.