"But being chosen doesn't make you a hero; what you choose does."Where The Chosen One is the ultimate victim of Because Destiny Says So, the Unchosen One is the ultimate perpetrator of Screw Destiny. This is the hero or heroine who stands up, not because of a prophecy, but because they feel the need or desire to stop the Big Bad (sometimes doing so in spite of a prophecy). The Unchosen One is, in essence, a Chosen One who chooses themselves. The reasons for this can vary. Perhaps the Chosen One Missed the Call, or was killed or incapacitated by a Destiny Screwing villain. Or, in a twist, the Chosen One is the villain and the Unchosen One decides to stop them. If all the prophecies say evil will triumph, the Unchosen One's reply would be "screw that." Perhaps they were Refused by the Call and decided that they should go on adventuring anyway by their own terms. It could also be nothing more than a simple chance encounter allowing them to intercept the Call to Adventure in place of the real Chosen One. Every so often, the Unchosen is also a Chosen One who's decided to save the world of their own will, regardless of Fate. Of course, because they aren't The Chosen One, things won't be laid out on a silver platter like a proper Chosen Hero often gets. They'll more often have to earn their place as The Hero. If there is a being or force doing the Choosing, they'll eventually have to acknowledge the Hero even if he wasn't the Chosen One. They may also have to deal with the possibility that The Chosen One will get the credit for all of their hard work. On the other hand, even the Chosen One might look in awe of this hero who created great things on his own efforts and is beholden to no one and no destiny. An Unchosen One has high odds of being a Heroic Wannabe, a Determinator, or any other hero type that is likely to jump at the call. There's also the possibility of the Unchosen One being a Badass Unintentional, someone who actually doesn't want to save the world but may be the only one in a position to do so. A possible fate for those who Missed the Call. Some writers can't escape from this frame of thinking, though, and they occasionally write in that the character really was the Chosen One after all. Another common way to work around it is an ontological argument: someone was bound to eventually take up the sword against Emperor Evulz and lead the revolution to overthrow him. There could even be many heroes working together or independently to take him down. The "Chosen One" just happened to be the one who ultimately succeeded, and could easily have been replaced by any of the others had circumstances been different. Compare Anti Anti Christ where someone is the Dark Messiah for the bad guys and tells them to take a hike.
— Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold
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Anime and Manga
- Corrector Yui desired to become a hero so much that she was able to overcome learning she was not The Chosen One and save the true one... when she was Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad. Afterward, she remains The Heroine of the story. Subverted later on the 1st season's finale, she was, indeed, the chosen one. By Grosser, that season's Big Bad, because it wanted her and not Inukai's chosen one to be its vessel and allow it to live on the real world.
- Flame of Recca: Recca is the cursed one destined to end the Hokage clan and Kurei was meant to be the Hokage clan leader. Subverted in that Recca really did end the clan. He defeated their final remaining enemy in the modern day and thus ended the need for the Hokage clan to exist. The spirits of the former dragon clan leaders could finally rest in peace thanks to him "ending the clan."
- To quote Death Note's Light Yagami: "The world is rotting and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Somebody's got to do it because the world can't go on like this. And if somebody's got to do it, why not me? In fact, I'm the only one who can..." This is also explicitly stated by Ryuk, when Light asks him why Ryuk chose him and Ryuk notes he didn't, the notebook just happened to land where Light picked it up. However, Light never acknowledges that he wasn't chosen; all through the plot, events fall into place for him, and at the very end he swears blind that he was chosen.
- Sugimoto from The Twelve Kingdoms was not chosen — indeed it was her friend Youko whose destiny was to rule as a Queen. That doesn't stop Sugimoto from and insisting that she is the chosen Queen, and trying to usurp the position from Youko.
- Ahiru of Princess Tutu, at least in part. Drosselmeyer did personally select her for the part of Princess Tutu. She just decided what to do with it. For in fact, Drosselmeyer picks specific roles for the cast characters, but they eventually grow strong enough to pick different roles. Duck, Fakir, and Kraehe are perhaps the best examples.
- Basara, the main character is the twin sister of the nominal Chosen One everyone has their hopes on. When he dies still young, she crossdresses to take his place.
- Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a rather good example. He was just a kid with the right stuff who was lucky enough to stumble across the right mecha at the right time.
- Dragon Ball:
- Son Goku is a fine example. For numerous reasons, such as being the son of a low class warrior, being labeled as such himself, but moving on to become one of Earth's finest heroes despite being sent there to destroy it.
- Averted with his father, who thought he could pull this off after being able to see visions of the future, he failed.
- The same aversion goes for Vegeta, the prince of the Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z.
- Made fun of in Ranma ˝ where Kuno was destined to be the one to pull the legendary Wish Bringer sword from the stone, simply because he was the one millionth person to draw. The students even commented that there must have been some mistake.
- In contrast to the Chosen Children of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02, the cast of Digimon Tamersnote were not specifically chosen to save the Digital World. They're just kids with Digimon, and for the bulk of the series, it's not clear that they even have anything to save. Digimon Frontier returned to a Chosen Children model, but Digimon Savers and Hunters also had unchosen leads. Digimon Xros Wars falls somewhere in the grey area.note
- A group of four Unchosen Children appeared in the last stretch of Frontier, though a common fan theory is that they would have been the ones to wield to the Earth, Wood, Water, and Steel Spirits had Cherubimon not been corrupted and given them to a quartet of evil Digimon.
- The title character of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise. As pointed out in the third season, it was only through sheer happenstance that Nanoha Takamachi encountered a being who knew about the existence of magic and that she happened to have great magical potential. It was she who chose to involve herself in an inter-dimensional case that would later allow her to meet and befriend a troubled Dark Magical Girl, and later be instrumental in stopping a world destroying tome. If not for that one incident, she would have lived a normal, carefree life.
- Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, as a civilian, is not supposed to interfere with the warfare in Side 7, but he decides to get on the titular Gundam to kick Zeon's asses. As the story progresses, he goes on maturing as a soldier with his own willpower and the support from the White Base crew and ultimately becomes a hero and source of inspiration to the Earth and the Federation, as well as a nightmare for any Zeon pilot he goes up against (up to the point of calling him the "White Devil").
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Bright tells Banagher that this has been the case for every single Gundam pilot in the UC timeline to date: all of them came by their Gundam by circumstance or luck, they were never "chosen" to pilot it. Nonetheless they made the decision to pilot it and combat the evil they saw before them, and through that became heroes. This speech helps Banagher to make that same decision as well.
- The mages of Fairy Tail aren't chosen or even favored by the powers that be like the Magic Council. They just happen to be the people who brought down the three pillars of the Balam Alliance, were pivotal to the resolution of the Dragon Attack on Fiore, and are now leading the defense of Ishgar against the might of the Alvarez Empire. Through massive property damage.
- In Pokémon Special, quite a few of the Dex Holders weren't originally chosen by the regional professors to receive Pokedexes. Silver stole his, Ruby picked his up by mistake, Diamond and Pearl got theirs due to a mix-up, and White got hers when the original chosen decided to pass it to her.
- This appears in the backstory of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. The entire series happened because two ordinary humans decided to become The Unchosen One in different ways; one becoming the worst villain in history by his own power alone and the other stopping him with only some experimental technology and her own skills.
- Tim Drake. He doesn't have any tragic backstory that eventually led him into the path of being a hero; he became a hero simply because he wanted to help and make a difference.
- In every prophecy that describes him, Hellboy is the bringer of the Apocalypse. However, he chooses to fight for the good guys and routinely save the world, once responding to a lecture on his "true" destiny with an actual "Screw you!"
- Marvel Comics' Daimon Hellstrom aka Son Of Satan not only rejected his destiny as the Antichrist, not only worked as a superhero, but was actually ordained as a Christian priest!
- CrossGen loved this trope.
- Sephie of Meridian. The Sigil was given to her father, who between the stress of receiving the Sigil and being poisoned by his brother, had a heart attack and died, passing the mark and its power on to her.
- The Path has another example of "inheriting the Sigil from a dead relative", in this case Obo-san's samurai brother who was killed in battle with one of the First.
- X-Men foe Juggernaut, a.k.a. Cain Marko, was not Cyttorak's first choice of being the avatar of his evil power. Xavier was the one Cyttorak wanted. Cyttorak didn't mind though, since Cain was a natural sociopath who didn't need much encouragement to wreak havoc with Cyttorak's power. It's only when Cain had a brief Heel–Face Turn that Cyttorak started to regret the situation.
- Y: The Last Man has Yorick, who is the only human male on the planet to survive the Gendercide, which causes many different groups to want to get their hands on him. Partway through, they all switch targets to the other last surviving male, Yorick's pet monkey Ampersand, when it turns out that he's the one with the original immunity, and Yorick just picked it up from him.
- Tony Stark was supposedly genetically engineered before birth to be a genius and the man destined to make humanity a galactic power, according to the robot 451. Howard and Maria Stark didn't trust 451 and adopted Tony as a smokescreen while placing their Genius Cripple biological son Arno in seclusion.
- Lero Michealides in Divided Rainbow.
- The second generation of Chosen Children in the 02 fanfic, Digimon 02 The Story We Never Told turned out to not have been chosen by The Order all along, they are simply artificially made one courtesy of Oikawa.
- Pony POV Series, during the Finale Arc, the gods choose and empower several characters to be their champions in the conflict. Flash Sentry wasn't one of them, but he plays a pivotal role in saving Princess Luna and even helps defeat the evil goddess Beldam in a fight. It helps that he's Immune to Fate.
- In All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, it's ultimately revealed that Victoria is this, while Mahanon may actually be The Chosen One. She only touched the orb which made them both the Heralds of Andraste because he was holding it and it seemed to be hurting him. This discovery prompts a Crisis of Faith which is not easily resolved.
- Godzilla Junior is this amongst the benign kaiju in The Bridge. All of his teammates and allies had some sort of destiny or miraculous origin behind their being; Mothra is the heiress of a bloodline of protectors stretching back millions of years, Anguirus and Rodan are both artificial creatures created with elemental powers to serve as Guardian Beasts against the Big Bad, etc. Junior? Just a random mutated dinosaur who was raised by a unremarkable but kindly biologist. And yet with his randomly given powers and sheer force of will, he's grown up to be one of Terra's champions.
- The Matrix:
- While The Matrix plays The Chosen One fairly straight, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions reveal the prophecy was a lie. Thus, when Neo continues to fight on against the Machines he has made himself an Unchosen One.
- The script/art book reveals that originally Neo is the sixth Chosen One by Morpheus, whose poor track record is part of the reason why Cypher wants back into the Matrix.
- An alternate interpretation suggests that The Matrix subverts this one, zig zagging the entire messianic concept: The prophecy was intended by the Architect to be an Evil Plan aimed at a continued recycling of the Matrix as a means of keeping the system in place. He is Out-Gambitted by the Oracle, however, who actually intended for Neo to evolve slightly with each rebooting until he'd eventually reject the Architect's offer to reboot the system and force the machines to reach a settlement with Zion that she believed was necessary for the Machines to evolve. This is possible because Neo was the only one who could beat Smith, who was otherwise poised to bring down the entire machine network (whew!). One hell of a Chessmaster, that Oracle.
- In Willow, the then-infant princess Elora Danan is prophesied to destroy the evil queen Bavmorda. However, it is Willow and others striving to protect the princess who actually stop her. On the other hand, novels that continue the story after the movie play The Chosen One straight, as Bavmorda returns and the now-grown Elora Danan must fulfill her original destiny.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze the Turtles are disappointed when Professor Perry reveals that the formation of the ooze that mutated them and the accident that led to the canister finding its way into the sewer was simply one large accident. No Turtle was more disappointed than Donatello. He believes there's got to be more to the accident.
- In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker was The Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith. Thanks to Palpatine's machinations, Anakin ended up becoming a Sith and all but wiped out the Jedi. The ones who save the galaxy are his kids: Leia by spearheading the Rebel Alliance and Luke by using The Power of Love to get Anakin back on track.
- The Trope Namer is China Miéville's Un Lun Dun, in which the heroine Deeba was listed in the Book of Prophecy as the "Funny Sidekick" to Zanna, the real Chosen One. When Zanna is injured and sent home, Deeba returns to unite UnLondon against the Smog and gets named The Unchosen One by UnLondon's residents. The odd thing about this is that the Book always turned out to be right about the things it claimed were wrong. It later realises this, and is pleased. Also, Deeba realizes that as the Unchosen One, she gets to ignore the parts of the prophecy that requires her to go on ridiculous sidequests.
- Subverted in Sir Apropos of Nothing, where Apropos thinks he is this and hijacks the call, only to find... he was the Chosen One after all. It's complicated.
- Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy just loves to play with this trope. Kelsier, Vin, and Elend were just the people around who were able to do the job. And, of course, were helped by the Big Bad. In fact, just about every good guy in the trilogy could be said to be an Unchosen One with the exception of Sazed.
- Percy Jackson himself is in fact not the hero he had heard in the prophecy in Percy Jackson. Instead, the prophecy was referring to Luke who would sacrifice himself to destroy Kronos.
- Taran, the protagonist of The Chronicles of Prydain becomes involved in a war for control of his homeland because he went chasing after a runaway pig and came face to face with the series' resident Supporting Leader, Prince Gwydion. He slowly works his way up from being a Tag Along Kid to a Bad Ass Normal warrior and the equivalent of a general and eventually the High King of Prydain because he heeds the advice of his mentors and refuses to give up on causes he believes in.
- In I Shall Wear Midnight Tiffany is told that apparently the only thing she was born with was a natural gift for making cheese. Seeing old Mrs. Snapperly cast out of her home and allowed to freeze and starve to death by people who thought she was a witch made Tiffany determined to make sure it never happened again — what better way to do that than by becoming a real one?
I said you weren't born with a talent for witchcraft: it didn't come easily; you worked hard at it because you wanted it. You forced the world to give it to you, no matter the price, and the price is and will always be, high. [ ... ] People say you don't find witchcraft; witchcraft finds you. But you've found it, even if at the time you didn't know what it was you were finding, and you grabbed it by its scrawny neck and made it work for you.
- In Lords and Ladies Granny Weatherwax makes it clear that she decided to be a witch, she didn't depend on an elder witch seeing potential in her. And she went on to be the toughest witch around.
Nanny Ogg: You mean you weren't Chosen?
Granny Weatherwax: Me? No. I chose.
- In I Shall Wear Midnight Tiffany is told that apparently the only thing she was born with was a natural gift for making cheese. Seeing old Mrs. Snapperly cast out of her home and allowed to freeze and starve to death by people who thought she was a witch made Tiffany determined to make sure it never happened again — what better way to do that than by becoming a real one?
- Harry Potter:
- Played with with the titular character. There is a prophecy indicating him as the Chosen One who can kill the Big Bad, but Dumbledore makes a consistent effort to remind Harry that there are many fundamental problems with prophecies; even if they can be proven to be real, they tend to either be very misleading or self-fulfilling, pointing out that it was only because Voldemort himself believed the prophecy about Harry causing his downfall to be true, that he ended up attempting to kill the infant Harry, which backfired and caused his first downfall. He also reminds Harry that he always has the option to Screw Destiny when it comes to making a final confrontation with Voldemort, but points out that both he and Harry himself know that at his core, Harry is simply too heroic to go through with this: he cares too much about the safety of his friends and avenging the deaths of his parents to ever be seriously tempted into backing down from fighting Voldemort, so him continuing to challenge Voldemort is more down to him making the choice to fight him than fighting him just Because Destiny Says So.
- Neville also applies - though he was one of two possible candidates, he'd never heard the prophecy, nor was he marked as Voldemort's equal, but he still manages to turn Dumbledore's Army into a pretty badass rebellion force, openly defy Voldemort even when it appeared all hope was lost, and kill the snake to thus render Voldemort mortal.
- Tad William's novel The War of the Flowers features Mud Bug Button, the unassuming sage who explains carefully to the hero that he was not chosen, his family was not killed by The Big Bad, and he did not have a heroic epiphany after seeing an innocent child killed. He just thought carefully about the situation and decided that leading a revolution was something that needed to be done.
- In the BIONICLE Adventures books, this is Subverted. All this time, the Toa Metru believed they were the chosen Matoran of Metru Nui, hence why the former Toa, Lhikan, had arranged for their transformation into Toa. Then, they found evidence that six other Matoran were meant to take on the role, and their becoming Toa was only due to Makuta's tampering with Lhikan's mind. This chimed with their initial failings as Toa heroes. In reality, Mata Nui anticipated Makuta's trickery, so he re-arranged the stars over Metru Nui, thereby changing the prophecies about who should become Toa. Thus, when Makuta tried to foretell these prophecies, and then attempted to prevent their fulfillment, he deliberately planted the names of the most unlikely Toa candidates into Lhikan's brain. That is to say, the names of those exact Matoran that were supposed to become Toa.
- Kavi and Jiaan both from the Farsala Trilogy operate under the name Sorahb, who is supposed to be reborn in a time of need acording to their country's legend. There is no Sorahb reborn, and if the legend they create is anything to go by, there probably never was an original.
- When the chosen one dies in Cannon Fodder, the soldiers who were supposed to be his escort, Kelsey and Bobbin Pike, get stuck with his mission as punishment.
- Sam in Lord of the Rings While it was Frodo who was chosen to carry the ring, Sam decided to join him, stick with Frodo to the end, and even carried the ring for a while when Frodo was taken in Return of the King. He's also the only character shown to completely resist the ring, and that was where its lure was strongest.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Rhaegar Targaryen once read a prophecy that convinced him he was The Chosen One. Later in his life, he changed his mind and thought the Prince That Was Promised was his son Aegon - or rather, that The Chosen Many were his children, since he claimed that "the dragon must have three heads". It could have been a huge plot point since it's revealed that his wife couldn't get pregnant again after the second child, so this could have been the reason for his abduction of Lyanna Stark. It's rather ironic that he could have been cheated by prophecies once more if The Chosen One was his child with Lyanna all along, or his yet-to-be-born sister.
- In The 39 Clues:
- Amy and Dan Cahill belong to the Madrigal branch of the family, founded by the fifth Cahill child, Madeline, who was born after the fire that caused the family to split up. She never got a serum, so her descendants are not blessed with Superpowerful Genetics like the four main branches.
- In Into the Gauntlet, Amy and Dan theorize that William Shakespeare was a Janus (the 'artistic genius' branch of the family). He wasn't, he was a Madrigal.
Live Action TV
- Chuck, as of the end of Season 2, has graduated to actively being the Not-Chosen One after being The Woobie since the beginning.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer::
- The Potential Slayers, sort of... they don't have much choice on whether or not they'll join Buffy in the fight against the First for much of season 7, because if they don't, they'll probably end up dead. In the series finale, Buffy gives them a choice - become real Slayers and fight the First and his army, or not. They choose the first option.
- Also Spike, when he chose himself to fulfill the destiny that had seemingly been planned for Angel.
- The BtVS RPG includes the "Slayer Poseur" template, who is not even a Potential Slayer, but fights vampires anyway.
- Played straight however with Xander, who despite being a somewhat nerdish guy who's vastly outclassed constantly, gets swept into Buffy's larger than life Monster of the Week/Apocalypse of the Year situations, and continues to help her to the best of his abilities. At one point in the third season he even passes on the opportunity to become a supernatural being (a zombie), realizing the group needs someone normal (keep in mind at this point most of his friends have displayed some sort of superhuman ability or are themselves supernatural beings). Plus is not like he is always useless, striking one of the most solid hits against Glory, the Big Bad of the fifth season, by attacking her with a construction wrecking ball. This even gets lampshaded in the seventh season, with a speech he gives to Dawn, who herself at this point has become another Unchosen One since the end of her plot from the fifth season, in which he almost calls the trope by name:
Xander: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
- Sam and Dean of Supernatural dive very heavily into this, particularly Dean who is even more stubborn about not embracing his destiny, and not letting Sam embrace his. Considering their destinies, this is probably for the best.
- Kamen Rider:
- Gentarou, of Kamen Rider Fourze. He was never meant to be Fourze by anyone, instead coming out of nowhere and actually stealing the Fourze driver to become the Kamen Rider.
- This trope is a point of much frustration for Shroud in Kamen Rider Double. Shoutarou transformed with Philip for the first time pretty much out of necessity, with no idea what he was doing. Shroud spends the majority of the season trying to split them up and put her Chosen One with Philip instead. Unfortunately, her Chosen One is rather uncooperative, and she eventually accepts that Shoutarou is not only Philip's true partner, but also the trump card that can take down Museum.
- Shinji in Kamen Rider Ryuki is another by-chance Rider. Ryuki and Raia, another unchosen Rider, become a serious problem for Kanzaki. Unlike Kanzaki's handpicked Riders, these two don't have any pressing desires and really just want to end the fighting.
- All of the Riders in Kamen Rider Gaim are chosen by Sid and/or Yggdrasill... except Kouta (he got the Driver intended for his dance team's leader, whom Kouta later unknowingly killed in the first episode because he turned into an Inves), Zack (Kaito stole a Driver and gave it to him), and Oren (forcefully got one from one of the person that was chosen by Sid to become a Rider because he made a mess on his bakery).
- Guinevere in Merlin was the only main character never to be mentioned in any prophesy uttered by the dragon or any other seer (though she appeared briefly in one of Morgana's prophetic dreams. She ends up being the individual who rules over the Golden Age of Camelot, with it being heavily implied that she also unites the kingdoms and legalizes magic. Up until the final episode, everyone assumed that this was Arthur's destiny.
- One interpretation of Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott's "Hero".
And they say that a hero can save us, I'm not gonna stand here and wait
I'll hold on to the wings of the eagles, watch as we all fly away
- Skillet's identically-titled song, "Hero," embodies this trope, with lyrics starting out "I am just a man/Not superhuman... I need a hero to save me now." However, the narrator gradually realizing that they themselves can do everything that a hero should be doing.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Link in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was apparently not chosen by the gods to be The Hero right away. He trudged on solely for the sake of his little sister at first, then accepted the quest as a whole later. In doing so, re-empowering the Master Sword after it was weakened, and reassembling the Triforce of Courage, the gods eventually acknowledged Link as the "Hero of Winds."
- Unlike Link and Zelda, Groose in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has no real "destiny" to speak of - a fact supported by how unlike those two, he isn't reincarnated in (chronologically) future games to continue fighting Ganon. Still, he does what he can to help Link, stop Demise and save the surface world.
- The Big Bad of the The Legend of Zelda series is a dark unchosen one. His theft of the Triforce of Power has ultimately left him as bound it as the other two pieces are to their intended Chosen Ones. The Chosen One who was supposed to get the Triforce of Power remains unidentified and presumably uninvolved.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, it turns out that you aren't the one chosen to go to the Hidden Land and save time after all: your partner is. However, because of The Power of Friendship, you're allowed to go too.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- Sora is one through chance. Riku, his best friend, was chosen to wield the Keyblade by Terra but because he jumped at the wrong call the Keyblade went to the closest candidate at the time (Sora), following which Sora goes off to save the worlds. He then earns his position as Keyblade Wielder by winning the Keyblade back from Riku by understanding The Power of Friendship.
- In Birth By Sleep, it's revealed that of the original trio Sora, Riku and Kairi, Sora was the only one incapable of wielding the Keyblade. (Although he would eventually awaken Ventus' keyblade due to having his Heart inside him, that is after the fact that he managed to become the wielder of the Keyblade originally meant for Riku through his own strength of heart.) Granted, Kairi wasn't intentional. And it's revealed that there are three types of Keyblade: The Keyblades of Light (almost all the ones we see), the Keyblades of Dark (Mickey's Kingdom Key-D) and the Keyblades of People's Hearts (wielded by Riku-Ansem).
- This has actually become a recurring theme throughout the series. Despite the many Chosen Ones floating around, the three biggest heroes, Sora, Aqua and Mickey, are all this trope. In Birth By Sleep, Aqua was simply an extremely skilled Keyblade wielder who wanted to look after her friends, and yet she was ultimately responsible for derailing Xehanort's plans and leaving him incapacitated for 10 years. Likewise with Mickey. Nothing so far has indicated any kind of prophecy or 'Choosing' surrounding him. He seems to have been just an ordinary (mouse) guy who formed an adventuring team, became a King and later a full-fledged Keyblade Master, simply because he wanted to help people.
- Xigbar actually calls attention to this in Dream Drop Distance, claiming that Sora himself is nothing special if his strength comes from his connections to other people. Sora doesn't let this faze him. He proclaims that even if he wasn't the Keyblade's first choice, he is "proud to be a small part of something greater; the people it DID choose." Master Xehanort himself describes Sora as a "dull, ordinary boy", yet also calling him a sort of Keyblade wielder he'd never seen before.
- The Tales Series will frequently create some sort of hero, only to reveal how much It Sucks to Be the Chosen One, with an Unchosen taking center stage.
- Tales of Symphonia - Colette and Zelos are The Chosen Ones of their respective lands. However, it is Idiot Hero Lloyd Irving who rallies everyone to try and fix everything the Big Bad has done. And the whole Chosen One system was all set up by the Big Bad, anyway. Fulfilling their duties would've just played right into his hands.
- Tales of Legendia - The bad guys have a Dark Messiah who will annihilate all of humanity if Senel Coolidge and his allies don't stop her.
- Tales of the Abyss - Cloning Blues make it hard to determine who is and who is not The Chosen One. The most simple answer (that no-one ever seems to come up with) is that both Luke and Asch are The Chosen One.
- Tales of Vesperia - the hero, Yuri, is as unchosen as you get. Rather than being predestined, his involvement in almost all of the game's events is due to him suffering from severe Chronic Hero Syndrome. Which his comrades make sure to point out.
- In the "R:1" .hack// games, Aura originally chose Orca of the Azure Sea to be her champion. About 5 seconds after that, Skeith the Terror of Death put his player into a coma. Fortunately Orca was showing his friend Kite the game. Given she makes herself Kite's partner almost immediately after that, BlackRose could also qualify.
- Justin, the protagonist of the first Grandia, was never The Chosen One. The spirits who do the choosing are eventually forced to accept him.
- Lemeza's father, Shorn/Shawn Kosugi is this in La-Mulana. In the Shrine of the Mother he leaves you a message, stating that he made it to the centre of the ruins of La-Mulana, but was unable to give the Final Boss a true form, since he was never deemed worthy to hold the Medicine of Life by the Four Sages/Philosophers.
- In City of Heroes the player can unlock the ability to play as one of the generic Arachnos mooks by getting a Supervillain character to the max level. The mook character follows a special storyline apart from the normal missions in which they repeatedly try to become a Destined supervillain, only to realize by the end that they had already done so the second they hit level 2.
- In Last Scenario, Hilbert is initially portrayed as The Chosen One thanks to Heroic Lineage. However, Zawu was lying, and he is in fact completely normal. This doesn't stop him from smashing the Big Bad's schemes down hard and helping to end the infighting between the 3 or 4 countries that are the focus of the game. As Alexander put it, his Heroic Lineage is real not because Hilbert is Alexander's descendant (which he isn't), but because he chose to follow Alexander's footsteps.
- After accidentally time-traveling to the Bad Future, the protagonists of Chrono Trigger decide that the End of the World as We Know It is not in fact someone else's problem, even though they and their children would be long-dead when the apocalypse does occur. It's not until near the end of the game, long after committing themselves to the quest, that they even start to consider that there could be a higher power choosing them and guiding their actions.
- Rondo of Swords has the main character, Serdic's double. He's pretty much dragged in the whole mess by the destruction of Bretwalde in the beginning, which also results in the death of the real Chosen One, Prince Serdic, who's the only one who can properly wield the holy sword. Eventually he has to choose whether to fulfill Prince Serdic's final wish of restoring Bretwalde (which requires him to ascend as Emperor wielding the holy sword... which results in him having to kill Princess Marie to purify the sword) or fulfill the Prince's request to protect his sister (which forces Marie to become the Queen, and causes the double to gain the name 'Altrius' after a legendary hero and become her bodyguard). Either way, he's pretty much just at the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time.
- Though she's certainly The Chosen One for a lot of other legends in Arcadia, April Ryan turns out to not be the next Guardian in The Longest Journey. Her job turns out to just be finding the new one, which is pretty important in itself.
- In Septerra Core, the Big Bad Doskias believes he's the Chosen One on account of being the direct descendant of the world's Crystal Dragon Jesus. Instead, the person who ends up saving the world is the heroine, Maya, who doesn't have any sort of special destiny or lineage, but manages to become Septerra's savior through sheer determination. Also, not being a homicidal douche, unlike Doskias.
- Mass Effect
- Shepard was a completely ordinary soldier who basically tripped into knowledge of the oncoming danger to the galaxy, and chose to dedicate him/herself to preventing it. In the sequel, this leads into Shepard becoming an actual Chosen One for a vast conspiracy group (still heroic, but working for some decidedly AntiHeroic people) and into him/her becoming a galactic legend.
- And in Mass Effect 3, it turns out that humanity as a species is this. Javik, the last living Prothean reveals that the Asari were chosen by the Protheans to lead the galaxy against the Reapers; to that end, they mildy tampered with their genome, influenced the development of their early civilisation and even left behind a working Beacon, all to give them a headstart in leading the next Cycle. However the Asari ended up squandering their gifts, with the Beacon making them such a Higher-Tech Species, they became technologically stagnant. Ultimately, they did the exact opposite of what the Protheans had expected, choosing to retreat to their homeworld rather than fight the Reapers, leaving humanity to lead the charge.
- Spyro the Dragon is this, in the reboot trilogy. Big Bad Malefor insists that it's their destiny as purple dragons to bring about the end of the world; Spyro disagrees and fights to save it even though he fears Malefor may be right. In a manner of speaking, Spyro is one of the few characters who can manage to be both The Chosen One and The Unchosen One at the same time. He's The Chosen One because he's the legendary purple dragon predicted to guide the fate of the era they're born into. He's The Unchosen One because he's not really chosen to actually do something. He could leave everything well enough alone, go Malefor's way, or change the world for the better. So while he's the purple dragon of legend who is predestined to affect history, he gets to choose how he does it himself.
- Played with in Ōkami — Amaterasu, goddess of the sun, is acknowledged by all the other gods and spirits as the one to restore the beauty of Nippon, but as far as the human world is concerned, the inept and lazy Susano (and Nagi, his ancestor) are the legendary heroes. Played with still further when Susano reveals that he knows he's the Fake Ultimate Hero — and then, when the chips are altogether down, summons up some heroism and delivers the final blow without any help from Ammy.
- Zak in Evil Islands in an odd case. He is originally hailed by the villagers as The Chosen One by sheer coincidence, and most energetically by the village elder — but then it turns out that the prophecy is more or less a scam, the village elder is actually a spy for The Empire, sent there in search of a fallen meteorite. Naturally, he becomes a hero anyway.
- Adol Christin of Ys is an inversion: he became badass not because he was The Chosen One, he became (or repeatedly gets picked as) The Chosen One because he's badass. Because if your land needs a savior, it's an excellent idea to pick the guy who's already killed enough dark gods to fill a pantheon. In the sixth game's Trials of Alma sidequest, the daughter of the goddess running said trials isn't very impressed with this random guy who just showed up, but when Adol started passing the trials, apparently she went and asked around about you. She becomes much more impressed and respectful after that.
- Subverted in the Baldur's Gate series as a whole. It is implied in the first game that your character, good or bad, is just saying Screw Destiny, and that's true enough in regards to their divine parent's plans. But in the last installment, when it's time to finally put an end to the events foretold by the prophecy that's been haunting their lives, it's revealed that it actually comes with a clause saying that the protagonist is the one who can prevent it and save the world a lot of strife (again, even if they choose the evil option).
- A rather low-key example due to her late arrival and consequent lack of character development, but Princess Himi of Yamatai in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn qualifies. Because of a prophecy, her adventurer brother Takeru is away from home searching for the Warriors of Vale when the Grave Eclipse happens, and Himi takes it upon herself to join our heroes and save the day, over her father's protests.
- In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, everything runs on You Can't Fight Fate. Except for The Fateless One, who is Immune to Fate due to being resurrected by the Well of Souls. Which is good because there is no Chosen One destined to defeat the invading Tuatha Deohn.
- In Dragon Quest V, you are not the chosen one. Your son is. When you eventually find The Chosen One and the special equipment, you can bench him and go beat the Big Bad yourself.
- In League of Legends, Nami decided that when the prophesied Tidecaller didn't show up to fulfill their prophesied duties she would do it herself.
- Toyed with in Portal. Chell is chosen because she is the unchosen one. Her evaluation indicates that she should not be used for testing, as she is incapable of quitting and accepting defeat. Rattman puts her into the testing for this very reason, hoping that she will be able to defeat GLaDOS.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- You can claim to be this in Morrowind — the Big Bad begins the final battle by having a polite conversation with you, and at one point he asks you if you really are Nerevar reborn. One of the possible answers is to claim to be a self-willed hero making your own fate. Of course, that aside, you were undoubtedly Chosen by Azura, but it's implied that's been true for several of the 'False Incarnates' over the years, and that you're only the "true" Nerevarine because you are the only one to actually succeed. The Big Bad will approve if you respond this way, claiming that the Nerevarine's tale will show the gods their limits.
- In Oblivion, you aren't the chosen one; Martin Septim is, though at the beginning it is slightly hinted that fate did want you to become wrapped up in the series of events. Dialogue in Skyrim would seem to indicate that you are actually the Hero of Another Story when it comes to Oblivion's main questline, and that your own story is actually the Shivering Isles expansion.
- In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, this trope gets...really complicated. See, you're The Chosen One, the reincarnation of the local Crystal Dragon Jesus, and a prophecy foretold your emergence near Shrouded Hills and subsequent world-saving from the ancient evil, Arronax. Except that the prophecy was a lie to begin with, created by Arronax-worshippers to keep everyone distracted from the actual work of keeping Arronax properly sealed. And Arronax isn't at all behind the actual world-threatening catastrophe that's about to return to Arcanum, and is using said Arronax-cult as a pawn. On top of all this you can't be a literal reincarnation of Nasrudin, since he isn't actually dead yet. Yet you end up fulfilling the role of the Living One anyway and dealing with the threat that's hijacked the role of Arronax, should you choose to do so. One character even asks, if you play the role of The Chosen One, whether it even makes a difference whether you're actually Nasrudin's reincarnation.
- Benjamin, the protagonist of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, gets this twice. First, the wise old man who declares him to be the knight of The Prophecy later says "it was really more of a guess." And at the end, the final boss reveals that the prophecy itself was just a story he made up for lulz. Doesn't deter Ben or Phoebe from taking him down.
- Applies to all of humanity, as explained in Diablo III. Because of their odd origins, humans are the only ones whose destiny is not set out in the Scrolls of Fate - making them the only ones capable of Screwing Destiny. So when Destiny foretells the fall of the High Heavens, it's a good thing that some humans are around to fix things...
- Taken a bit further, most of the protagonists are 'chosen' by something or someONE - the Wizard is outright driven by a prophecy, the Monk was selected by the Elders of Ivgorod, the Witch Doctor follows the voice of the Spirits, the Barbarian is a descendant of Bul-Kathos, the Crusader is a chosen of Akarat, etc... however, the only reason for any of this is that they are amongst the first to develop full-on Nephilim powers. In other words, they're nothing special - pretty soon, ALL humans will have similar powers.
- The Demon Hunter is a definite Unchosen One, especially in comparison to the other classes. They arrive in Tristram for the sole purpose of killing demons - there is no prophecy or divine mandate guiding them. Similarly, their order has no grand history or patron deity, but instead is bound by a shared hatred of the demonic. The difference between the protagonists shows up in Reaper of Souls when each class meets a ghost who aids them. For the other classes the ghost is a mentor, ancestor, and even a spirit guide. The Demon Hunter instead meets their sister, whose death as a child drove them to the order.
- The player character in White Knight Chronicles is the only character in the game that has no obligation to help out whatsoever, but is still there the entire way. The newbie wine-seller to whom no one paid much attention can also end up obtaining a brand new Incorruptus called the Ark Knight, which leaves the villains sputtering in disbelief.
- In Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen, Ambriel reveals that she was intended to be the pilot of Genion. The black nucleus that Hibiki touched in the first stage of Jigoku was the Genion's manual and pilot registration system, and it was sent there by DEM in order to scout Suzune as the pilot but Hibiki, being a teenage mecha protagonist, just had to go touching it.
- From FromSoftware: The player characters from Demon's Souls, all three Dark Souls games, and Bloodborne are all only special because they don't die when they realistically should. The running theme of the franchise comes down to the idea of even the smallest being being able to affect immense change through dogged determination. To wit:
- In Demon's Souls you come to Boletaria due to the promise of treasure and the power of the Soul Arts, only to get lashed to the Nexus for your troubles. By the end you've killed every powerful Demon and Archdemon in the land and have either lulled the Old One back to sleep or usurped Allant's position as its emissary.
- In Dark Souls I all you have to go on is the dying word of a fallen knight and the edict to ring a couple of bells. By the end you've collected a massive bounty of souls, the four Lord Souls possessed by literal gods, and have either sacrificed yourself to the First Flame for the betterment of the Age of Fire or have chosen to let it fade so you can rule the coming Age of Dark.
- In Dark Souls II, you don't even have the distinction of being a "Chosen Undead", you're just a nameless Hollowing schmuck who came to Drangleic for a cure for the Curse. By the end you've meted out peace to old King Vendrick; slain the four Great Ones who are reincarnations of the lords of old; acquired the crowns of the Sunken King, Old Iron King, Ivory King, and Vendrick himself; killed several Children of Dark (and potentially an Ancient Dragon); proved yourself to Vendrick's twisted brother Aldia; and either become the true monarch of Drangleic, for good or ill, or abandoned the throne to search for another way to end the curse with no guarantee of reward just like Vendrick and Aldia before you.
- In Bloodborne you came to Yharnam searching for a cure for your illness and something called Paleblood, only to get thrown into the deep end of the Yharnam hunt and its horrors. By the end you are the most powerful Hunter in the city that has slain countless beasts and Eldritch Abominations, gone through at least three different dream worlds, and have either found an escape, become the new watcher of the Hunter's Dream, or have been transformed into an Old One yourself so you may preside over the Dream and the Nightmare.
- In Dark Souls III you are somehow even worse off than being an Undead; you're an Unkindled, a worthless thing unfit even to be cinders to the flame and only being risen because the proper Lords of Cinder who Linked the Fire can't or won't anymore. You and the other numerous Unkindled represent not plan A, not plan B, but plan C. The Chosen One who was supposed to link the fire, refused. The Lords of Cinder, beings that were able to previously link the fire, all abandoned their duty, content to let the world fade and die. The Unkindled are resurrected as a last, desperate attempt to stave off the darkness, even though there's little chance of them succeeding. Things are so bad, there's nothing left to lose in trying. By the end you've returned the errant Lords to their thrones, dismantled an entire religion dedicated to spreading the Abyss, given final justice to the old gods of Anor Londo for what the Cathedral of the Deep did to them, and either Linked the Fire to prolong the world a tad longer, let the flames die out so that a new world may rise from its ashes naturally, or stolen away the last embers of the First Flame to rise as the unquestioned ruler of Humanity and the Age of Dark as the Lord of Londor.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud absorbs the memories and skills of the more competent, heroic and glamorous Zack, who got shot before the game started, and would have been a much better candidate for an Eastern RPG hero. By the time Cloud unpacks his memories, the angle of his rival Sephiroth being his Evil Counterpart is dispensed with, and Cloud continues on his quest 'without pretending' out of a genuine desire to save the world (from a mess he was partially responsible for).
- In La-Mulana, it comes off at first that there's just a Chosen One based on all the tablets that Lemeza comes across in the ruins, but it turns out to be this trope instead when Lemeza finds a tablet basically stating that just by getting THAT far in the ruins past all the puzzles and monsters on your own means you're the chosen one. So it's both tropes at the same time.
- RWBY attempts to invoke this trope as a manner of trying to save the world in Volume 3. Prior to the series beginning, Cinder Fall ambushed Amber, the Fall Maiden, and began stealing her mystical and mysterious powers before Qrow Branwen rescues her. Headmaster Ozpin, not wanting someone like her to get the power when she ends up appearing in the Vytal Tournament, recruits Pyrrha Nikos to take the other half. However, the process would involve merging her soul with Amber's, and possibly erase her own personality in the process. Ozpin gives her some time to consider whether or not she's willing to do it, and she only agrees to take up the power after Cinder has already launched her plans and Vale and Beacon are under attack by Grimm and the White Fang. It doesn't work as, when Pyrrha ultimately agrees, Cinder ambushes them again and takes the power for herself.
- From the Crossover Wars, Scale. Her own comic starts with her creators (in story) talking of a planned story which was derailed when the Editor & his forces invaded the comic & captured them. Scale's "birth" was a side effect of the Editor reaching into the metaphorical womb (a computer) and pulling out her bracer into "reality". Afterwards she had to figure out what had happened & what to do next, which involved stumbling across dimensions and assembling an army to oppose the Evil Overlords & rescuing her creators.
- The title character of Digger. Digger is an anthropomorphic wombat, and her people usually have the good sense to steer clear of any gods or magic they may encounter. Unfortunately, Digger has gotten herself first good and lost (on account of underground hallucinogenic gas pockets), then entangled (on account of being too nice for her own good) in strange goings on in a faraway land, in which both gods and magic are involved. Prophesies of several groups speak extensively of the other characters in the story, the events that Digger participates in, and even the tunnel that Digger digs up to the surface in the beginning of the story once she decides that she is completely and utterly lost - but strangely none of the prophesies say anything about Digger herself, or mention wombats in any way. Indeed, hardly anyone in the land Digger has found herself in has even heard of them. As it turns out, her ancestor specifically asked that his descendants be immune to divine prying and prophesying in exchange for helping to bind a mad god.
- Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick fits this pretty well. Originally he took on the quest to destroy Xykon, his father's personal nemesis, out of a desire to prove himself. In the process, he discovered that Xykon represents a significant threat to the universe. After telling his father to shove it, Roy decides that he's going to take down Xykon regardless of his father's wishes, just because it needs to be done.
Roy: We're still the Order of the Stick, no matter how much stuff changes along the way. I'm sure there will be even more changes before the endgame — things we can't even hope to predict now. And I'm just as sure that we'll get through them all. Not because we're destined or chosen or fated or any of that cliched heroic garbage. Nah. We'll get through because we're the ones who are too dumb to know when to quit.
- 8-Bit Theater is about four Unchosen who basically steal the destiny of the actual Chosen and then proceed to completely waste the opportunity. And the ones who actually end up saving the world are White Mage, Priest, Shaman and Healer, ending up both as Unchosen Ones themselves and as sort-of Chosen Ones in that they're putting an end to the longest Brick Joke in the series.
- Almond from Cucumber Quest is truly hero material, while her brother Cucumber is rather bookish and has never held a sword in his life. However, it is Cucumber who becomes the Legendary Hero and Almond is supposed to stay home and be the damsel in distress, like the many younger sisters of the Legendary Heroes before Cucumber. Instead, she follows her brother on his journey and is determined to beat The Nightmare Knight herself, even offering to handle the quest herself. While impulsive and eager to fight, she is a capable fighter and has already decimated one of the eight Disaster Masters.
- In Lamia Daughter Quest, the Chosen Ones of Citadel kingdom are the Lightbringers, who will come together, face a Shaper of Darkness, and perform a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat it. Ssen Patrick and her Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are not Lightbringers, but they do manage to be in the right place at the right time to defeat threats the Lightbringers were supposed to thwart. Though the Lightbringers are not actual chosen ones- they're actually victims of an elaborate form of human sacrifice designed to keep Citadel alive. The Dawnchasers being Unchosen Ones and distrupting the Lightbringers' story was a massive Spanner in the Works for them.
- In Ben 10, Ben is surprised, and deeply disappointed, to learn that the Omnitrix had actually been sent to Earth for his grandfather Max, and attached itself to him only by mistake. This is later weakened a little by its creator Azmuth talking about how destiny may have chosen Ben...though this same character doesn't fully accept Ben as the bearer himself until the end of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.
- In Teen Titans, Raven is destined to be The Antichrist, and would serve as a portal for her Omnicidal Maniac father, Trigon. At first she tries hard to fight destiny, eventually succumbs Because Destiny Says So, but later rebels against her fate.
- In The Fairly OddParents! Wishology trilogy, Timmy is assumed to be the Chosen One who will defeat the Darkness, but after he (first) defeats it, it turns out another guy was chosen by a committee holding auditions, so the mix-up wasn't Destiny's fault so much as poor judgement by the fairies. When the time comes for the Chosen One to pass "the Chosen Test" to prove he's worthy of wielding the second wand, Timmy is the one who passes, proving Turbo Thunder was actually the Unchosen One.
- Jamie in an episode of Megas XLR does this, and actually does the job surprisingly well... compared to Coop himself, anyway.
- While the later incarnations of the Avatar of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are all The Chosen One, Wan, the first Avatar, went against the beliefs and lifestyles of the world at the time, refusing to accept that things could not be changed and would always stay the same. Through his efforts, he merged with the spirit Raava to stop Vaatu, and the two began the Avatar Cycle, separated humans and spirits, and allowed humanity to leave the Lion Turtles for the wider world.