Come with me.
needs a leader. Be it the Five-Man Band
, Five-Bad Band
, the Badass Crew
, the Badass Army
, to the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
, and a Six Student Clique
, they all have one.
When push comes to shove, there's gotta be someone that stands up, takes charge, and makes a decision. Even if it goes unsaid, it's usually obvious to everyone who's calling the shots. The de facto leader does it out of necessity or their personality type. The De Jure leader is officially agreed upon, and may hold the title or rank.
Leaders in fiction typically come in four flavors, with of course some leeway and overlap.
: The Mastermind. They often assemble their team for a specific purpose
, and have clear goals in mind from the beginning. They rely on their smarts and ability to be one step ahead
of their competition. They are masters of manipulation
and and tactics.
Lighter versions are typically The Smart Guy
, The Strategist
, or a Guile Hero
. Darker versions are usually evil geniuses
or the Big Bad
(the Leader's Evil Counterpart
in the Five-Bad Band
). They tends to work from the behind the scenes
but be careful as Authority Equals Asskicking
may still be in effect.
: Levelheaded. The most practical, experienced, mature
, or neutral member
of the group. They are the most naturally qualified to take the responsibility of the team on their shoulders and driven by either a sense of caring towards their teammates or a sense of duty towards their goals. Most likely of the types to suffer from The Chains of Commanding
. An effective type II is usually The Captain
, but they may have to fend off persistent dissenters
and other loose cannons to maintain order. Can either command from homebase or act as field leader. They prefer to have a plan worked out, but are willing and able to act when the time comes regardless.
: Headstrong. The most outspoken and outgoing members
. Being so determined
they often lead their team both in and out of trouble, and inspire the team to work through problems. Often noted for their bravery. Character development usually dictates that they take on more Type II traits as time goes on and they learn the difference between courage and recklessness.
Tends to overlap with Type IV and are almost always on the front lines.
: Charismatic. The Face
of the team, either because they're the most feared, most skilled
, most loved and respected
, chosen by destiny
, or are the most personally invested in the team's goals.
In contrast to type I's, their personality
is what brings, and keeps, the team together. At an impasse, everyone else is willing to agree to what they want to do and won't argue. The strongest type fours are the core of their group, weaker ones are mascots or figureheads. May overlap with or evolve into any of the other three types.
See also The Chains of Commanding
, the Sliding Scale Of Leadership Responsibility
, Still The Leader
, Ordered Apology
, and Badass In Charge
. Compare The Captain
, Only Sane Man
, and both the Big Good
and Big Bad
. Usually The Hero
is The Leader
, but not always.
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Anime and Manga
- Professor X of X-Men is a benevolent type I. Cyclops, the field leader, starts as a type II, but transitions into type I as the series progresses.
- Ciro in Project 0 is a type III for the Saboteurs.
- Batman is a type I when he works with Robin or the extended Bat Family, but most of his proteges also lead groups of their own:
- Captain America of The Avengers is a mixture of type II and type IV.
- Superman is also a mixture of type II and type IV when he's the leader of the Justice League of America. Because he's a very strong type IV, he tends to become the Leader of any team-up or group he's with. Frequently played with in that he shares the role as part of the trinity that includes Batman, who is typically the type I superhero, and Wonder Woman, who usually fills the type III role. When the three of them show up to a fight, the other good guys immediately defer to their leadership and the bad guys collectively wet themselves.
- Grim Jack describes the lead of Starslayer as a Type IV.
Grim Jack: There are many kinds of leaders. Some are elected, some are selected, some are imposed, but in the end there is only one true leader. The one that others choose to follow. Torin MacQuillon is a leader.
- Papa Smurf of The Smurfs in all forms of media is a Type II.
- Red Tails - Type II
- The Avengers:
- Nick Fury, as Director of SHIELD, is a Type I for being the mastermind behind the Avengers Initiative and the Tessaract Project.
- In the Avengers themselves, Captain America is the leader, overlapping all four types.
- caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a Type I, being the smartest ape..
- Ben from the remake of Night of the Living Dead is a wannabe Type III. The trope is played with in that, his decisions are followed because he acts with the most authority but they're actually horrible ideas and he really should have listened to the others.
- The World's End: Gary King was a Type IV in his youth, as the coolest guy at school; during the movie proper he's a Type I, having assembled his friends to complete a pub crawl.
Live Action TV
- Community: Jeff (charismatic, manipulative) is a Type IV, with elements of Type II fading in and out depending on the occasion. Troy (kind-hearted, responsible) occasionally takes over the position, and is a solid Type II.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Both Grissom and D.B. are Type II-III mixes.
- CSI: Miami: Same thing with Horatio. II/III.
- CSI NY: Mac is a mix of Type II and Type III.
- Falling Skies: Tom is a mix of Type IV and I.
- Firefly: Captain Malcolm Reynolds is a solid Type III.
- Game of Thrones: Tywin Lannister and Robb Stark are each type I.
- King Renly Baratheon is a Type IV.
- House: House is the Dean of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine. A headstrong type in that he bullies, goads, and Breaking Speeches his way to an objective.
- House of Anubis: Nina Martin.
- Leverage: Former insurance investigator Nathan Ford is the Type I leader of Leverage Consulting and Associates. The show even refers to him as "The Mastermind".
- LOST: Jack Shepherd, type II among the survivors. Usually. Ben Linus is type I for the Others.
- Merlin: King Arthur Pendragon. Best categorized as a Type III and Type IV.
- Revolution: Miles Matheson is definitely Type II, along with streaks of Type I and Type IV.
- Scandal: Olivia Pope is definitely Type I.
- Smallville: Clark Kent aka Superman. He's a combo of Type II and Type IV.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Spartacus fits all types except III. As of the third season of the series, War of the Damned, his ultimate nemesis, Marcus Crassus, fits as the same types.
- Supernatural: Dean Winchester. He's a Type III, with traits of Type II and Type IV thrown in.
- Super Sentai and Power Rangers: Generally, it's the Red one. Though there are exceptions, more often in Super Sentai. The only one who took over both team AND field leadership was Big One. And he did it again in Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai, this time knocking Red Falcon out of the Leader role. AND he did it again (though this time he did it with Akarenger, an actual Red) in the Legend War. Guess what Big One became?
- The Vampire Diaries: Stefan Salvatore. Apart from being the hero, he also often takes the lead in most of the plans and missions, despite Elena being the heroine. He's a mixture of Type I, Type II and Type IV.
- The West Wing: President Bartlet is a Type IV, with shades of Type II.
- Star Trek's The Captains:
- The original Captain James T. Kirk was Type III with a bit of IV. A common plot was him upturning some aspect of a planet's society (III) and then convincing them why it was necessary (IV).
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard is II/IV. He's an excellent diplomat who weighs his options before jumping into a situation. Heck, he's so charismatic there's a whole trope about it.
- Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko is also II/IV, but with a heavy dose of III. He's able to bring together a disparate community on DS9 and hold it together against internal and external threats, serves as an Admiral Ross's adjutant at one point, but he's also prone to It's Personal from time to time.
- Captain Kathryn Janeway embodies all of them at one point, given the necesity of flexibility to get her crew through the Delta Quadrant. She's most strongly a Type III in her determination to get the crew home and the confrontations she has with hostile governments who impede her, but she had to be quite the Type II in order to get her crew working efficiently. She later became a Type IV after her crew had molded together.
- Captain Jonathan Archer is very much Type III especially when it comes to the Xindi. He also has a lot of trouble taking advice sometimes and will stubbornly stick to a course of action until he's got no alternative.
- Appropriately enough, Captain America in Zen Studios' The Avengers. Not only does he give instructions to the player, but using his ball increases the Ball Saver duration, to represent improved morale.
- War Hammer 40 K: Commissar Ciaphas Cain note is definitely a leader of some sort. His men see him as a Type IV; a bold and charismatic man of action who cares about each and every one of them. Cain himself would say he's the opposite but invokes this so they will protect him.
- Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series is all four types: s/he does the planning, keeps the Dysfunction Junction together, and makes hard choices. However, dialogue from quite a few NPCs suggest that trait IV is the most dominating factor.
- Almost every Heroic Mime, if they are the leader, is implied to be a type IV. However, dialogue around them may hint towards which of the other three they are closest to.
- Golden Sun
- A disconnect happened wherein Isaac was hinted at, and described as being a Type II, but when he started speaking in the sequel he came off as more of a Type III.
- Matthew is held by fandom to be a Type II, though with the emote "dialogue" it's certainly possible to play him as a Type III (to say nothing of his reaction to Arcanus in the American version). Three guesses who his father is...
- Kingdom Hearts:
- Of the Destiny Islands trio (Sora, Riku, Kairi) Riku is The Leader, between a type II and type III as he's older and more responsible, but he's also the most ambitious.
- Of the original main trio (Sora, Donald, Goofy) Donald was initially The Leader as a type III because of his overbearing personality and since Sora was just a means to an end on his and Goofy's mission of finding a Key Blade Wielder. Later Sora evolved into a Type IV leader, being The Heart and The Chosen One and Donald and Goofy both started becoming background characters. When Riku rejoins the team he becomes Number Two and The Lancer to Sora.
- Mickey Mouse is also a type IV and interestingly enough type I leader of the Disney trio, since he usually works in secret and knows more about all the master plans going on behind the scenes.
- Ciel, Leader of La Résistance On Mega Man Zero 1, 3 and 4, a clear Type IV, as most people agree with her, she's The Heart and even Neo Arcadia's Government seems to have some respect to her, however she's also a Type II, as she sometimes tries to prevent Zero from rushing to battle, still tries to maintain open communication channels with Neo Arcadia, and (after Z1) she almost was able to reach a pacific solution with Neo Arcadia's Government (until Weil arrived).
- In Zero 2, Ciel's Group joined with another group, and we got Elpizo as the new leader, apparently chosen by popular vote. Tried to Act as a type I one at first, organizing Guerrilla operations and data retrieval and a good battle plan in general. In battle he demonstrated that he was a Type III rushing in without having too much of a backup plan. Also apparently he was highly charismatic, as after his death, most of his soldiers deserted Ciel's group.
- Fox of the Star Fox team, type II.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is a Type III among team Hero/Sonic, and a Type IV among the whole cast.
- Tales Series:
- In Tales of the Abyss Jade Curtiss, despite not being The Hero, is a Type I for the protagonists. Van Grants is Type I/IV for the God-Generals, Emperor Peony is Type II for the Malkuth Empire, King Ingobert tries to be a Type IV for Kimlasca and fails spectacularly (later on Princess Natalia takes the helm as a real Type IV) and Grand Maestro Mohs is a Type I for the Order of Lorelei.
- In Tales of Symphonia Raine is initially a Type I for the heroes. As Lloyd undergoes Character Development he gradually replaces her as a Type IV leader. Yggdrasill is a Type I/IV hybrid for the baddies, Yuan is also a Type I/IV hybrid for the Renegades, and Vice-Chief Tiga is a Type II for Mizuho.
- Tales of Vesperia has Yuri as a Type II. By the end of the game he's starting to grow into a Type IV as well.
- Tales of Phantasia has Klarth/Claus as a Type I for the heroes.
- In Disgaea 4, Valvatorez straddles the line between Type III and IV, being principled, commanding, and charismatic, but also stubborn, hotblooded, and a bit dim.
- Ar tonelico: Leard is the governor Platina and his conflict with Lyner is based on him wanting his son to succeed him when Lyner doesn't want to. Over the course of the game, Lyner becomes this for his group. The father is a Type II/III for being grumpy and agressive yet still looking for the best solution; the son becomes a type IV once he matures enough that his earnest herosim comes off as noble instead of naive.
- There is a point in the game where Lyner realizes that he has become the highest authority in Platina because Shurelia has been hacked by Mir and used by her to abduct Leard. Radolf discusses with Aurica that he isn't used to giving orders instead of taking them.
- The Warden is this in Dragon Age: Origins, although exactly which type depends entirely on how the player chooses to have the character behave.
- Vyse from Skies of Arcadia is a cross between Type III and IV, being both immensely charismatic (to the point that it's one of the titles he can acquire throughout the game), and also known for his incredible determination. You'll hear the phrase "Never give up!" a lot.
- The Walking Dead has Lilly, who is a deconstruction of the Type III leader. She takes her headstrong nature too far and comes across as overly bossy, arrogant and overall The Neidermeyer, making her unpopular with the group. When Lee's group meet with Lilly's group in the drug store in Macon, Kenny seems to naturally fall into a Type II role, which isn't surprising considering before the outbreak, he was The Captain of a fishing vessel. The only person who seems to respect Lilly as a leader and openly disapproves of Kenny's leadership is Lilly's father, Larry. This causes an issue in Episode 2, where Lilly and Kenny battle for control of the group, and Lee must decide to support one or the other, or try his best to stay neutral. Later, the camp at the motor inn is attacked by bandits and walkers, resulting in Kenny's son being bitten and his wife committing suicide soon after, causing Kenny to slip over the Despair Event Horizon, and Lilly murders either Doug or Carley and is either left behind or abandons the group herself, causing Lee to fit more into The Leader role. Which type of leader he is depends really on the player's dialogue choices, as Lee can potentially fit into any of the classic leader archetypes.
- Given the leader swapping issue in Final Fantasy VII, Barrret is a self-proclaimed type III, but the rest agree that Clous is suitable as the leader, being both type II and IV. However, when Cloud is out of commision and Tifa is staying with him, Barret actually decides that Cid is a lot better leader than him.
- Endou Mamoru and Matsukaze Tenma of the Inazuma Eleven fame are straight up type III & IV because of their overwheiming determination and idealism.
- Little Busters: Kyousuke is a type IV for the Little Busters. While he's definitely very capable, it's outright stated that the reason the others follow him without question is because he has such an intense aura of a caring big brother, not to mention that he's so charming anything he says sounds persuasive no matter how ridiculous it is.
- In Impure Blood, Dara (Type II) is able to seize command when there's a fight, and even after to prevent dithering. Much to Caspian's displeasure. (You'd think his being the master and her the slave would prevent this.) Faced with a burning city, she snaps out the orders.
- In Rusty and Co., despite the title, it's Mimic, Type IV, so to speak. Then his big advantage is that the Cube is The Speechless, and Rusty says nothing but "Eat ____?"
- In American Barbarian, the leader is a Non-Action Guy but still brave enough to speak to Two Tanks Omen.
- The Order of the Stick Roy Greenhilt is a type I/type III hybrid. His second in command and temporary replacement Haley Starshine is a type II.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November as type I. She specifically recruited Perrault so that he could make the plans, but the motivation and overall plan are hers.
- In Our Little Adventure, Julie's mainly a type IV, but with some type II.
- In Sinfest, Tangerine thinks she can be this. Type IV, probably.
- Homestuck has three different leaders of three different parties in three different types. John Egbert is a Type IV, having barely any tactical expertise but instead holding his team together through sheer optimism; Karkat Vantas is a Type III, who acquired and maintains his leadership position by shouting at everyone constantly; and Dirk Strider is a hybrid Type I and II, being level-headed, dangerously intelligent, and possessing the perspective that comes from living in a Bad Future.
- El Goonish Shive
- The central cast has Elliot as the de facto Leader. He's actually appointed The Leader by Mr. Verres once or twice because he has all the necessary characteristics of a Type II.
- Mr. Verres himself is a healthy mixture of Type I and Type II.
- In Blue Yonder, Yuri is the level-headed leader of the Apartments when needed.
- In Girl Genius, all Sparks are naturally the charismatic type, with a mishmash of everything but level-headed to go with it. Moloch von Zinzer is very annoyed to find out that as Agatha's chief minion, he's the de-facto leader of every minion in Mechanicsburg. He outranks several minor Sparks. Definitely the level-headed variant.
- Sasha in Greek Ninja never gets tired of reminding people that...
- Team Kimba has all four types, and different ones take the lead at different times. Phase is definitely a type I, taking the roles of The Smart Guy and The Strategist outside of actual fighting. Lancer is a Type II, taking the lead in battles and training. Chaka is a Type III, being the one most likely to lead everyone into trouble... and get them out again. Generator is a Type IV who is The Chick but also Crazy Awesome.
- Superman of the Justice League. Type IV.
- Aqualad of Young Justice. Type II.
- Interestingly enough Batman is the leader of the Justice League in Young Justice. Word of God claims he is not the original leader; the League holds periodic elections and this happens to be his term. He seems to be a Type I.
- In Young Justice: Invasion, Nightwing is a Type I.
- Robin of Teen Titans, depending on the situation, is either a Type II or Type III.
- Leonardo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Type II.
- Beast Wars has
- Optimus Primal as the leader of the heroic Maximals. Optimus makes a pretty good example of Type II: He was the leader of the expedition that the tean was on before the show started, he sometimes succumbs to The Chains of Commanding, and (in season one, at least) is often questioned by Dino-bot and Rat Trap. He is willing to lead his troops into battle, or hang back and direct commands if need be. And while he definitely prefers to have a plan, he is certainly capable of improvising and reacting quickly.
- His villainous counterpart, Megatron, is a Type I and IV. He came up with the plan to steal the Golden Disc, and has the strongest personality of the group. While he's not the smartest or most tech savvy of the Predacons, Megatron is very good at finding ways to turn a situation into his advantage, and playing others into accomplishing his goals. Megatron definitely has the most firepower of any Predacon, and this seems to be the chief reason to why he leads. In fact, many of the other Predacons conspire to overthrow him at some point, and the only reason they don't seem MORE eager to dispose of him is because he's so much more powerful than the rest of them (as well as more cunning and ambitious than all of them, with the possible exception of Evil Genius Trantulus, who Megatron still outfoxes).
- Lion-O is mainly a type IV leader by default, since he's appointed Lord of the ThunderCats.
- Tygra serves as a Type II until Lion-O gets his feet on the ground and becomes a Type III, shading into IV as time progresses.
- ThunderCats (2011)
- Lion-O is a type IV as The Chosen One and Lord of the ThunderCats, but rapidly develops a Type III dimension as he becomes more Hot-Blooded and gets farther out of his depth (much to his brother Tygra's chagrin, since he presumes himself more suited for the job).
- In the episode "Old Friends," correctly reading Lion-O as a Type III, Sixth Ranger and Old Soldier Panthro demands Lion-O's deference, and serves as a Type II until Lion-O proves himself in combat enough to earn Panthro's respect.
- In Sonic SatAM, Sally was a Type I for the Freedom Fighters.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Sokka tries to be a Type I / II hybrid to varying degrees of success and becomes more competent at it as the series goes on. Somewhat lampshaded in one episode when Katara says Aang should be leader because he's the Avatar, which would make him a type IV if he cared to be. Solidified in Season 3 when Hakoda appoints Sokka to lead the Invasion after getting wounded, The Boiling Rock when Chit-Sang refers to him as The Mastermind, and the Finale when Toph gives him a trusting aye-aye Captain when things hit their worst point.
- Azula is a clear Type I among her group, Suki and Iroh both come across as Type II in their respective teams.
- Fire Lord Ozai is a combined Type III/IV. He was also a Type I in the backstory but doesn't display those characteristics much anymore. Admiral Zhao tries to be a Type I…and fails consistently.
- In Legend Of Korra, Mako is Type II/IV as the leader of the Fire Ferrets, but towards the end of the season, Korra becomes established as the leader of "the new Team Avatar". She's Type III/IV.
- Tommy Pickles of Rugrats is a Type III. He's more along the lines of a Type IV in All Grown Up!.
- Eddy of Ed Eddn Eddy is somewhere between Type I and Type III.
- Blossom of The Powerpuff Girls is a Type I as she's the smartest, but her dominant and somewhat self-absorbed personality sometimes makes her come off as a Type III.
- T.J. Detweiler from Recess is between types III and IV.
- Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic generally serves as a Type I and Type II leader among her group of friends, and serves this role for the whole town at times (such as during "Winter Wrap Up" and "Dragonshy").
- Princess Celestia is Type I, II and IV for all of Equestria.
- Apple Bloom usually leads the Cutie Mark Crusaders as a Type IV, but Scootaloo can sometimes step up as a Type III.
- Rainbow Dash is somewhere between a Type III and Type IV to her weather team, Fluttershy, and prospective pets. In "Wonderbolt Academy" she displays Type II traits.
- Mulan is a combination Type II and Type III but does not realize it until halfway through the first film. She is able to rally the soldiers to break into the palace and save the Emperor, perhaps a little recklessly but ultimately for the greater good. Her quick thinking and resourcefulness makes her more effective than The Captain Shang.
- Dragons: Riders of Berk:
- Stoick is a type II for the village: a reasonable guy who tries to do what's best for everyone. He definitely feels The Chains Of Command.
- His son, Hiccup, is a type IV for the Dragon Training Academy: his authority rests on the villager's belief that he can solve whatever dragon-related problem they're having. He's also The Face because he's the one that has to listen to their problems and convince them that he can solve them.
- Code Lyoko's Jeremie is a Type I and III
- World Leaders (based on their typical media personalities, YMMV).
- President Barack Obama was a huge type IV during the 2008 election, since then he's more often identified with type I and type II traits
- President George W. Bush type III during his terms.
- Bill Clinton was so strong as a type four that his charisma is described as creating a 'Reality Distortion Field' that makes you feel like you're really close to him even if you've never met, and previously disliked him. Has some shades of all other types because of it.
- Winston Churchill woul count as type III/IV.
- Sports Captains
- Mark Messier was either type III or type IV.
- Shaquille O'neal was type IV.
- Michael Jordan was type III and IV.
- Peyton Manning is type I and type IV.
- Tom Brady is type III and type IV.
- Bill Russell was type I and III.
- Ryan Callahan is type II.
- Cappie Pondexter is type II.
- Ray Lewis was type IV.
- In the US military, every solder is trained to be a type II but the NCO's are this especially since the best way to keep a unit alive is to make sure someone is always there to give commands, make on the spot judgements and keep everyone focused on the mission. In fact the chain of command is partially there to make sure a soldier knows who is in charge when the leader is wounded or killed.