[[caption-width-right:350:"[[Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia Wild card, bitches!]]"]]

->''"Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not."''
-->-- '''Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord'''

The Wild Card is so used to swinging between teams that they have no default "good" or "evil" CharacterAlignment or even a "home team." They truly aren't interested in consistently remaining with either side, and will very often simply want both to leave them alone. They can be the sort of person who will stay out of things entirely, until someone else (usually the hero or other sympathetic character) asks them for help.

The Wild Card doesn't care whose toes they stomp on, even if they're supposed to be the Wild Card's own team. In fact, TheHero probably got one (if they even manage to convince one) onto the team ''only'' because the Wild Card [[IOweYouMyLife owes them big time]]. The Wild Card can really shake up a team--the more suspicious characters will quite rightly not trust them.

Wild Cards often share a few of these traits:

* BystanderSyndrome: "As long as that rampaging evil beast doesn't get in my way, it's not my problem. But if it does… well, the good guys just got a new ally."
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: "It's all about being on the team currently closest to my personal goal."
* TheUnfettered: "There's a job to be done, and it doesn't matter whose feet I step on, or who gets in my way, I'm going to do it."
* Personal Goals: "I'm after something else, and I can achieve it without needing to be a good guy. Or a bad guy."
* Self-Preservation DirtyCoward[=/=]LovableCoward: "I'm not in it for my reputation. Or yours. If push comes to shove, I'm going to save my own hide."
* ManipulativeBastard: "Sure, I'm on a team right now. That's because that team has the MacGuffin, AppliedPhlebotinum, PlotCoupon, or other doohickey I need. As soon as they let me get my hands on it, I'll be selling it to the highest bidder. Even if it's the team I just stole it from."
* TheChessmaster: "Why shouldn't I manipulate both teams at once if it'll help me get what I want?!"
* A Distraction: "I'm not really evil enough to be the real BigBad. I may have distracted the good guys from what's important and endangered the world, but that wasn't my intention. On another day I might divert the BigBad's attention away from [[TheHero the heroes]]."
* PlayingBothSides: "Why should I pick a side when I can play both of them against each other without them knowing I'm the one responsible? Let them kill each other, then I'll pick up the slack."
* BecomingTheMask: "Although it doesn't necessarily last forever, my unsteady moral compass often gets in the way of what I'm trying to do, especially when I'm trying to stick it to the good guys."
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: "My redemption is never to turn 'good' (what does that mean to someone like me, anyway?) But as soon as I become steady, reliable, and predictable, I'm usually gone."
* ItAmusedMe: "I don't care whose side I'm on, as long as I get to have fun!"
* PunchClockVillain[=/=]PunchClockHero: "I only get paid if I do the job, and I like getting paid."

Sometimes Wild Cards fall in love. Love is the bane of the Wild Card, because no longer does the world revolve around one amazing and easy to understand person--there's somebody else. Oh my god, WhatIsThisFeeling! Knowing how erratic the Wild Card can be, it could be somebody from either team--or both. With [[MoralityPet somebody to care about]], the Wild Card may well [[LoveRedeems become more reliable]] for a team. Or if there's multiple people to care about, they may become ''less'' reliable. There are also some Wild Cards who became what they are ''because'' they fell in love with someone.

Wild Cards are very rarely {{Big Bad}}s, though; they aren't really ''dedicated'' enough to evil--or to ''anything''--to be ''that'' evil. However much they may enjoy doing what they do, most Wild Cards have either some form of morality, or high survival instincts, and are likely to turn on their evil employer because they were betrayed, don't want to be blown up with the planet, or even just because they just don't like being ''that'' evil. Wild Cards are more likely to be a BigBad's poor choice of BastardUnderstudy, or even the Good Team's TokenEvilTeammate.

While the average Wild Card sees their "friends" as a handy BulletproofHumanShield, they have just enough conscience to feel bad about abandoning them when the fight turns ugly. No Wild Card switches teams because they ''care'' about their friends--they switch teams because it means a better life for them.

On rare occasions, a Wild Card may unexpectedly pull a sudden act of HeroicSacrifice, though it'll likely be because they guessed that if they didn't sacrifice themselves, they'd probably die anyway--along with everybody else.

Or they might [[SubvertedTrope not]]. Wild Cards are just ''that'' unreliable.

Not to be confused with the ''Wild Cards'' [[Literature/WildCards book series]].

See also: TrueNeutral, EnigmaticMinion, LovableTraitor, DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent, TheStarscream, OpportunisticBastard, HeelFaceRevolvingDoor ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, and PlayingCardMotifs. Compare/Contrast NominalHero.

Particularly wild Wild Cards tend to fall under [[ItAmusedMe For the Lulz]] and ChaoticNeutral.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Sora from ''Anime/DotHackSign'' is probably one of the best examples in Anime, checking the entire list from above. Since the setting of the story is an MMORPG, Sora's goal is strictly to have fun, at anyone's expense. He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation as the plot progresses [[spoiler:probably because he's a child in the real world]], and continues to [[FaceHeelRevolvingDoor flip back and forth]] between sides. Even though it's a game, Sora strives to survive at all costs; he only helps either side if there's an immediate tangible benefit to him, and isn't above playing both sides at once, although [[spoiler:this ultimately costs him badly when he pulls one BackStab too many, fulfilling the RedemptionEqualsDeath aspect]]. The effects this have on him as a person are eventually examined [[spoiler:through Haseo, a later character played by Sora's player after he's grown up somewhat, in .Hack//GU]].
* Raphael from ''Manga/AngelSanctuary'', much to everyone else's frustration.
* Ymir from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', due to playing her cards ''very'' close to her chest. While most can agree she's devoted to [[HairOfGoldHeartOfGold Krista]], her true motivations and alliagences are a mystery to everyone. [[spoiler: As an unfilitated Titan Shifter, it seems she's got loyalty to all of two people: Krista and herself. Her HeelFaceRevolvingDoor and unwillingness to share what she knows leaves everyone but Krista justifiably suspicious of her]].
** A couple of other characters ''appear'' to be this. It's a common fan theory that this is Zeke [[spoiler:Yeager]]'s true nature.
* [[PsychoForHire Ladd Russo]] in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}''. He mostly just wants whatever to satisfy his sadism, regardless of who he's teaming with.
* While she's not quite a typical Wild Card, the direction the ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' storyline is going is pretty much dependant on what Casca's going to do after she regains her sanity in the coming chapters. There's a strong possibility she's going to [[CameBackWrong Come Back Wrong]], but no-one is quite sure how yet.
* ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' gives us [[MagnificentBastard Mephisto]] [[TheChessMaster Pheles]]. Just [[MoodSwinger Mephisto]] [[EccentricMentor Pheles]]. No one knows what his goal is in all of this...aside from [[ForTheLulz amusement]]. He's still [[BewareTheSillyOnes dangerous]] though.
* Ryuk from ''Manga/DeathNote'' makes it clear early on that he's not on anyone's side; he only goes along with Light for as long as it makes things interesting for him. [[spoiler:This is proven when in the manga, after Light runs out of plans and ideas and turns to Ryuk to save him, Ryuk kills him]].
** Mello could also count; all he does is only done so that he can prove himself to be the best.
* Impmon from ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' ranges from an arrogant and selfish loner, to helpful and fun-loving (if a bit begrudgingly), to a depressed wreck, to TheAtoner.
* Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', rather infamously, pulls this in each major arc. During the Namek Saga, he is only out for himself, eventually teaming up with the Protagonists to deal with the bigger threat in Freeza. During the Cell Saga, he [[NiceJobBreakingItHero intentionally allows Cell to absorb Android 18]], and even turns on the protagonists to make sure Cell transforms so that he could have more of a fight. Finally, during the Buu Saga, Vegeta willing joins the antagonists for a powerboost so that he would be able to fight Goku.
* Izaya Orihara from ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}''. There's nothing he loves more than stirring up conflict between people and watching the human drama unfold. He's probably helped out ''and'' back stabbed every significant character in the series just ForTheLulz... except for [[ArchEnemy Shizuo]]. With Shizuo, there is no question that Izaya's every action regarding him is driven by pure hatred.
* ''Manga/FukushuuKyoushutsu'': Miho, the strange quiet girl who is one of the BigBad of the manga. She has made actions helping Ayana and those against her, but it's not clear what her endgame is.
* Sagara Sousuke from ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic'' was apparently originally this, before [[DefrostingIceQueen becoming attached to his friends at Mithril and Kaname]]. It's implied that the reason he joined Mithril as a Wild Card was because Kalinin was part of Mithril, and he decided to join him there. Sousuke especially fits this trope in the section of Wild Cards that fall in love. He originally had no conflicting emotions, since his world and goals only revolved around getting the job done. However, it's made clear that falling in love with Kaname is his bane, making him much weaker. [[StalkerWithACrush Gauron]] is less than pleased with this change...
** Ironically, Gauron turns out to be a more evil version of this. He never has any sort of attachment to any of the organisations he's part of, not even of a financial nature. He kills and betrays (or not) only according to his whims, and can not be threatened, bribed or convinced out of it by nothing and no one. Not even when [[spoiler: offered the very real possibility of getting the past/future of his choice, and he ''knows'' it's possible]]. And in the end, he [[spoiler: betrays Amalgam to Sousuke, because apparently he really did feel... erm, something disturbingly close to actual affection for the kid]].
* Greed[[spoiler:/Ling]] from ''Manga/FullMetalAlchemist'' ([[IJustWantToHaveFriends mostly in the beginning]]).
* Hisoka from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', whose sole desire to [[BloodKnight fight strong opponents]] causes this. He wants to fight and kill Gon and Killua, but not until they get stronger, which means he'll occasionally even lend them a hand. He's also a member of the [[CarnivalOfKillers Phantom Troupe]] [[spoiler: or at least he's pretending to be one]], but only because he wants to get the leader alone and fight him, which means he actually feeds information about the group to Kirapika during the Yorknew arc to help this along [[spoiler: but when Kurapika seals Chrollo's nen abilities and [[BroughtDownToNormal brings him back down to normal]], he starts working towards getting him back up to full power again]].
* The Colorless King from ''Anime/{{K}}'' is called this InUniverse by the other Kings, due to the fact that his power "to affect other Kings" is unknown until it manifests in a particular generation. [[spoiler: The character himself counts as this as well, once he is finally revealed]].
** Mercenary [[GratuitousNinja ninja]] Douhan Hirasaka might also count, seeing as she ends up [[spoiler: helping Scepter 4 defeat the Green Clan, JUNGLE]], even while remaining a U-rank member of JUNGLE. The Green King anticipated that not all members would be loyal, but I doubt he anticipated the extent of damage one or two members could cause.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'':
** Hibari and Mukuro. Apparently, after 10 years, however, they both seem to be more loyal to Tsuna (even possibly admiring and respecting his strength). Of course, neither would [[AloofAlly ever admit it]]. Their present time selves ''definitely'' fit this trope very well, though.
** Also Xanxus. Or the whole of the Varia. They will fight under the name of Vongola and there are implications they don't like Tsuna, but they do enjoy what Tsuna has done to Vongola.
* Nijima, self-proclaimed 'friend' of Kenichi in ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' -- though calling him a Wild Card implies that he has a good side. He doesn't; all he's really interested in is gathering information, spreading rumours and [[PowerLevels ranking]] everyone in school. Oh, and [[DirtyCoward running away]]. Even Kenichi gets tired of his shit.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Evangeline doesn't care about Negi's welfare and will occasionally help the villains if she feels it will be entertaining. Eva also seemed to treat the entire Battle of Mahora arc as a massive [[TrainingFromHell training exercise]] for Negi. If she had wanted to influence the outcome, she could have probably [[LittleMissBadass won the battle for either side singlehandedly]].
** Evangeline's partner Chachamaru, being a robot, will fight whoever she's ordered to by her mistresses, including the people she otherwise acts friendly around. [[spoiler:That is, until she falls in love with [[ChickMagnet Negi]], after which she [[LoveRedeems remains firmly on his side]]]].
** Tatsumiya Mana and Asakura Kasumi side with [[spoiler:Chao Lingshen]] because they believe in her goal while having helped Negi several times previously (well, Kasumi switches sides when she learns of [[BalefulPolymorph the consequences for Negi]]).
** [[SmugSnake Kurt Godel]], who is said ([[ImplausibleFencingPowers with reason!]]) to be extremely dangerous and fits the trope to a T. He appears to be on a different side of the conflict every time he appears in a new chapter. The guy is Infuriating Awesome.
** There is also [[PsychoLesbian Tsuku]][[AxeCrazy yomi]], who will betray her side and remain hostile to the other side at the drop of a hat if it looks like [[BloodKnight fun]]. Unlike most others of her sort, you can't even point her at your enemies and let her loose -- but she ''will'' make you ''think'' you can, right up to the point where she slices your limbs off.
* Wang Liu Mei from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'', who would aid/manipulate anybody and everybody to achieve her vision for the future of the world (which was in a nutshell a change in its nature, and exactly that specific). The Ptolemaios faction of Celestial Being, to a certain extent; their NecessarilyEvil nature make the intentions and targets of their interventions hard to second-guess, along with their tendencies to be flit between ruthlessness and diplomacy (depending on the circumstances).
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Uchiha Sasuke is well known for staying on one side only as long as it benefits him, then moving on. The sides bounce from good (Konoha) to evil (Orochimaru and Tobi) to basically neutral (Hebi), then back to evil (Orochimaru again) for a short while, then back to good ([[spoiler: the zombie Hokages]]). Considering that Sasuke has been getting progressively less moral, it's easy to characterize him as a bad guy, but when it comes down to it, he's killed more major bad guys than all the good guys put together.
** That doesn't really count for much in this series since some of the bad guys have their own agendas, and in some cases, [[EvilVsEvil seek to eliminate other villains which interfere in their schemes]]...which Sasuke is doing.
* Nico Robin from ''Manga/OnePiece'' used to be one, jumping from crew to crew to find the Poneglyphs until she got in with the Straw Hats.
** Also Trafalgar Law. He's extremely powerful but backstabs people quite frequently. [[spoiler: It's still unclear whether or not he'll betray Luffy at some point as well, now that they are in an alliance...]]
** [=CP9=]. Now that the World Government has dismissed their [[PsychoForHire Psychos for Hire]] and turned them into outlaws, the only thing known for sure about their goals is that they don't plan on being apprehended... though it's pretty obvious that Spandam, at least, hasn't seen the last of them.
** On the subject of those no longer employed by the World Government, we have Kuzan (former alias: Admiral Aokiji), though it may be a subversion; now that [[MoralSociopathy Moral Sociopath]] Sakazuki (former alias: Admiral Akainu) is Fleet Admiral, and it's clear [[GrayAndGreyMorality just how corrupted the world is, government and pirates]], it seems that Kuzan is only looking out for his friends. His first appearance since the Time Skip proves this, when he [[spoiler:shows up [[BigDamnHeroes just in time to keep]] [[AxCrazy Doflamingo]] from killing Smoker]].
** The Straw Hats are seen as a whole crew of Wild Cards by the world at large. There are certain unspoken rules that pirates are expected to follow. The Straw Hats do not follow them. When Zoro almost attacks a World Noble (the penalty for which is being hunted down by a Marine Admiral), a bystander notes, "I heard the Straw Hats were crazy, but..." Most pirate crews are motivated by money or power. The Straw Hats do whatever amuses Luffy and legitimately don't care what the consequences are. This has led to them taking down three of the [[CarnivalOfKillers Seven Warlords of the Sea]], declaring war on the [[OneWorldOrder World Government]], and picking a fight with one of [[TheDreaded the Four Emperors]].
* ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'': Has the 2nd seat of the Elite Ten Rindou Kobayashi. While she took part on [[spoiler:Azami's takeover and the creation of the Central]], she is clearly not on board with all his ideals and actively despises when Etsuya starts using dirty techniques to win matches, while actively cheering for the group that represents LaResistance and preferring their food and way of cooking than anyone in the Central, while never leaving the side opposed to them. It's actually really unclear what she wants and why she does most things, though there's some implications she has done a lot of stuff ForTheLulz.
* Xellos from ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' does follow Zelas' will, but however he chooses to do that, and what that will actually is, is a mystery to everyone else, which means no one can predict which side he works for at any given time. It doesn't help that he frequently misleads the people he's helping, and often isn't on the side he seems to be.
* Uta from ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' is a fairly easy-going Ghoul that primarily involves himself in things solely because it interested him. Then it just becomes more complicated during the sequel: [[spoiler: revealed to be a member of the Clown Gang, he ''seems'' to have been set up as an evil mastermind during the finale of the original series. But the sequel shows him to swing between playing Auctioneer at a NastyParty, discussing the Clowns' plans with Yomo and Touka, mailing a copy of Kaneki's old mask to Sasaki to coax him into visiting the shop, and even providing his services for the Quinx's undercover mission]]. His true intentions are impossible to predict.
* Seto Kaiba from ''Anime/YuGiOh'' cared for very little, [[BigBrotherInstinct aside from his brother Mokuba]], as long as he ended up victorious.
* ''Manga/YumekuiMerry'': [[spoiler: Treesea in the anime]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' franchise:
** ''ComicBook/BatmanAndRobin'': Jason Todd (aka The Red Hood) is a definite example. While Commissioner Gordon normally relies on Batman to do the dirty things he won't, Jason will do the dirty things Batman won't. He will kill criminals, initiate crime wars, recruit gangsters (only to betray them at the right moment), resort to torture to get information (or just because he feels like it), and so on and so forth. It is all part of his vendetta against crime and vision of a better world. Or something like that. While he does truly think he's doing some good for Gotham, his actions sometimes cause innocents to be casualties. He (tries) to kill whoever gets in his way, even his former mentor and foster parent (Batman) along with his "siblings" (the other Robins). Sometimes it isn't even just about them being in his way but him just feeling competitive. It is hard to classify him as hero or villain, but it's clear he is not someone to be messed with.
** ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'': The franchise invokes the trope directly regarding ''ComicBook/{{Shazam}}'''s Captain Marvel, stating the chief reason he infiltrated the MLF was to remove that threat.
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker is through-and-through an evil character. The problem is, most and with only a few exceptions -- even most ''villains'' -- want almost nothing to do with him, and rightly so. Because when you're a bad guy, but you have a choice of working with other bad guys, you don't want the one who may just try to kill you for no other reason than [[ForTheEvulz because he thought it would be funny]]. However, it's a completely different situation if the Joker ''comes to '''you'''''. Because it's not like he's the type to take "no" for an answer. And he might be a harmless prankster one minute, and then decide to be a back-stabbing, murderous psychopath the next. This is a big reason why [[TheDreaded he's feared even by supervillains far more powerful than he]].
*** Funnily enough this tendency of The Joker is precisely why Lex Luthor always tries to include him in large supervillain team-ups whenever possible. If you have a large group of villains getting together and ''don't'' invite the Joker, he's liable to wreck your plans anyway because he feels like he's been snubbed. There's no way for the Joker to ''not'' be a Wild Card, so Luthor has found it safest to just include him in his plans in some capacity and at least try to get him to cooperate. The alternative is leaving him out and praying he doesn't invite himself to the party.
* While she is more likely to swing over the good side of the fence, ''ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}'' is usually this, although she is inherently a good person, which is why Batman doesn't go nearly as hard on her as he does other criminals.
* ''{{Deadpool}}'': He usually has no rational reason to do ''anything''. And being both liked ''and'' loathed by people in both sides of the hero/villain community (sometimes even liked and hated ''by the same person'') certainly qualifies him.
* Kind of played with in the case of ''TheIncredibleHulk'', as he genuinely is a good guy, but whether you're a good guy or a bad guy, if you do something he views as a betrayal or an attempt to hurt or hound him, it doesn't end well.
* ''Lobo'' the Main Man has fought against and along side with several DC heroes and villains. Most of the time he does it because he's a bounty hunter, and he gets paid for what he does, or he felt like doing it.
* Loki [[spoiler:God(dess) of Stories]] seems to be heading this way after the last few issues of "ComicBook/LokiAgentOfAsgard" where [[spoiler:after finally gaining Odin and Asgard's approval, they pretty much tell him to stuff it and then refuse to take sides on the last Ragnarok battle, but still sit back and enjoy the show]].
* Catman, at least, liked to believe the ''ComicBook/SecretSix'' were this, choosing neither to join the Franchise/{{Justice League|of America}} or the [[LegionOfDoom Society of Supervillains]], but plow their own furrow down the middle. Really, they were [[EvenEvilHasStandards villains with standards]]. Well, some of them had standards.
* In ''ComicBook/SecretWars'', [[RealityWarper the Beyonder]] transports a group of superheroes and a group of supervillains to "Battleworld" and expects the two groups to battle each other to aid his study of what it is to be human. It doesn't precisely work out: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Magneto]] is grouped with heroes, despite still being a villain at the time, due to his AntiVillain nature. The other heroes obviously aren't thrilled and he goes off to do his own thing before finally signing on with them. [[PsychopathicManchild The Lizard]] is too savage to understand the concept of "sides" and ends up most loyal to the Wasp for having treated him when he was injured, and [[PhysicalGod Galactus]] just ignores all the other combatants and spends the entire series working out a way to take on the Beyonder himself.
* Nyna Calixte/[[spoiler:Morrigan Corde]] from ''ComicBook/StarWarsLegacy'' has helped and hindered just about every major faction in the comic at least once. She clearly has an agenda she's pushing towards, but whatever it is remains completely unknown (and is the subject of much discussion on Star Wars fan forums), and as such it's difficult for fans and nigh impossible for characters to predict her next move.
* Harvey Dent[=/=]''[[ComicBook/TwoFace Two-Face]]'', although not so much a wild "card" but a wild "coin," as his morality is entirely dependent on what side his coin lands. There are very few times in the Batman mythos that he goes against the ruling of his coin, and [[ComicBook/ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth one time]] even had fans questioning the possible dubiosity of the action when it was [[WordOfGod meant to be a genuinely sincere moment]]. Although one central part of his character is that he is both Harvey Dent and Two-Face, so anyone savvy enough (Gordon or Batman) is able to exploit that by forcing a confrontation between Two-Face and Dent. At the very least, it'll make Two-Face act fairly, because Dent still believes in justice, no matter how much of a monster he is now.
* ''ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}'' in many of his comic portrayals proves to be something of a AntiHero Wild Card -- while usually on the side of [[ComicBook/XMen the good guys]], he's violent, dangerous, unreliable and extremely intelligent. While he may not swing fully from Villain to Hero and back again, like many Wild Cards enjoy doing, his comic incarnation especially has a high number of team affiliations, and he has frequently worked on his own.
** This was far more explicit in the [[ComicBook/UltimateXMen Ultimate Universe]]. Wolverine started off as a cold-blooded assassin working for Magneto. Then he did a HeelFaceTurn in order to [[HeroesWantRedheads sleep with Jean Grey]]. Then when she dumped him, he responded by trying to murder her new boyfriend, Cyclops (by dropping him off a cliff. He broke a bunch of bones and spent a month lying in a pit eating bugs). Then he was given one last chance to rejoin the team (after having the crap blasted out of him by Cyclops), and has stayed good since. [[spoiler:Except that then his time-traveling future self turned up and apparently murdered Xavier]].
** ''ComicBook/{{Mystique}}'' is similar; there's some contention of whether she belongs here or in HeelFaceRevolvingDoor, i.e., whether she's actually changing sides as the plot demands or just allying herself with whoever's convenient. Not that most of them are under any illusions.
** ''ComicBook/EmmaFrost'' is an ally of the X-Men but occasionally sides with the villains depending on what she can get out of it.
* ''ComicBook/{{Uber}}'': In a alternate World War II fought with titular super-soldiers, Maria Andreeva aka Katyusha is one on none's side but her own. Originally a Soviet sniper that was sent to a gulag to be mistreated before being turned into an Battleship-class Uber (the most powerful kind in existence), she quickly went rogue and attacked any Russian troops that tried to capture her. However, she sided with them to [[EnemyMine fight against the advancing Nazis]] and was instrumental in beating them back. Since then, one of the most important players in the war, since she is the only Uber in existence capable of replicating the rare substance that creates more of their kind, but her alliance with the Soviet Union is shaky and uneasy at best, since nobody is capable to control her and she does whatever the hell she wants.

* [[WesternAnimation/Ben10 Ben Tennyson]] is seen as this in ''Fanfic/FateStayNightUltimateMaster'' by everyone else in the [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Holy Grail War]]; his only interest is in preventing casualties or loss of innocent lives, including the other Masters. As such, he will team up with anybody just to protect other Masters, but will just as easily turn against them if they cross that line. Rin even refers to Ben as such.
* In ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', Fujiwara. He's almost as bad as the aforementioned [[Manga/MahouSenseiNegima Godel]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' fanfic ''FanFic/NewKidOnTheBlock'', Wally is one of these. As long as he doesn't get caught, he'll do things that help and hurt both sides.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Iago from Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' is about as reliable morality-wise as a chocolate teapot. He spends much of ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'' stealing treasures from his 'friends', manipulating people's good natures, and abandoning fights that turn ugly. However he doesn't like his friends getting hurt, and has had some surprisingly brave moments. Jafar makes note of it in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'':
-->'''Jafar:''' "Iago... you betrayed me and allied yourself with my enemies! Then you turned on them as soon at it was in your best interests. That's what I love about you. You're so perfectly... predictable. A villain through and through!"
** And his conscience moment...
--->'''Iago:''' "Hey, I did my good deed! I don't owe you a thing! You hear me?!" ''(beat)'' "Not a thing..."
** This is mirrored in his role in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts1 1]]'', ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts2 2]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Chain of Memories]]''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Captain Renault in ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' looks like TheQuisling at first, but he proves himself just as willing to bend the truth and turn a blind eye to the law for the good guys' sake.
* In ''Film/ExMachina'', is Ava siding with Caleb in order for them to escape? Is she following Nathan's programming to manipulate Caleb? Or is she manipulating both of them? [[spoiler:The ending makes it quite clear she is on no one's side but her own]].
* Creator/ClintEastwood also did this in ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'', the first of his [[Film/DollarsTrilogy "Man With No Name" trilogy]].
* Dr. Elsa Schneider in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''. While she starts off as an ally to Indiana, we find out that she's really a Nazi agent. However, towards the second half of the movie, she shows lots of mixed behavior that suggests she's not truly "evil" nor believes in the Nazi cause. She even helps Indiana by dispatching Donovan in the grail chamber (even if it was to further her selfish motive to get the grail). In the end, her character was just too morally ambiguous for a popular film, and the writers use a DeathByMaterialism to seal her fate.
* ''Franchise/JamesBond'': Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the nefarious head of [[NebulousEvilOrganization SPECTRE]] and 007's biggest ArchEnemy, likes PlayingBothSides by loaning out his services to any nation that is willing to pay him while secretly enabling them to weaken each other so SPECTRE could TakeOverTheWorld. Being a [[PrivateMilitaryContractor mercenary]], he only cares how much SPECTRE is going to profit from their {{Evil Plan}}s. Throughout the franchise, it's shown that both sides of the Cold War are using his services, such as [[Film/{{Thunderball}} rubbing out defectors]], [[Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice conducting nuclear blackmail]], etc. to cover their tracks. Also, this quote from ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove'' best sums up his long-term EvilPlan:
-->'''Blofeld:''' [[AnimalMetaphor Siamese fighting fish — fascinating creatures.]] [[FearlessFool Brave, but on the whole, stupid.]] Yes, they're stupid. Except for the occasional one, such as we have here, who lets the other two fight. While he waits. [[VictoryByEndurance Waits, until the survivor is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself, and then like SPECTRE... he strikes!]]
* The stranger in ''Film/LastManStanding'' not only hires himself out as a mercenary to both sides, but does so in the expectation that his presence will swing the gang violence into gang war, in which he can make more of a profit. Then he guns down both gangs.
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'':
** Captain Jack Sparrow.
--->'''Elizabeth:''' Whose side is Jack on?\\
'''Will:''' At the moment?
** ''All'' the pirates by the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd third film]]. Everyone's allegiance is best described as being on "their own side." Jack just happens to be better at it than most; when the pirates vote for the new Pirate King, [[spoiler:most of the pirates present vote for themselves, including Elizabeth Swann (who does it more as a TakeThat than anything), but Jack, who votes last, votes for ''Elizabeth''--the one pirate present who shared his conviction to stop Davy Jones--making her the winner of the election, and therefore the Pirate King]].
* Han Solo in ''Franchise/StarWars'' happily does work for Hutts, Rebels, or anyone willing to pay. He never offers to help unless they have some credits to offer for his trouble. His CharacterDevelopment throughout the Original Trilogy sees him go from this to a hesitant comrade [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack concerned about a price on his head]] to a [[Film/ReturnOfTheJedi loyal comrade willing to go on a very dangerous mission to help the cause]]. It helps that Luke, Leia, and eventually Lando prove more than willing to put their necks on the line to help him when he's in trouble.

* Sadi, Chief Eunich of the Nyssian Royal Court in the ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' really shows hints of this in the sequel series, the ''Mallorean''. He shanghais the heroes to escape from some rivals' plots (Of course, his part in the prophecies didn't help matters either), manages to trick the leader of the Dagashi (ninja-like assassins) to the point that even said leader is impressed with his cleverness, and then near the end, represents his government (despite at that time having no legal standing whatsoever) in a set of very lucrative accords, and uses his standing in the accords to buy himself back into his queen's good graces.
-->'''Durnik:''' Did we kill anybody?
-->'''Sadi:''' Two. (off their expressions) It's a little hard to ''un''-poison a knife...
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'' features the ironically-named spy Fidelias, who starts the events of the first book when he turns traitor in an attempt to replace the aging First Lord with a new ruling noble, Aquitaine. He believes that what he is doing is no different than the many acts he has previously performed as a loyal spy, acting to preserve the long-term stability of Alera. [[spoiler: In the later books, he turns again upon realizing that TheHero is the heir to the throne and would make a far better ruler than Aquitaine]].
* Along the same lines as Talleyrand, both Fernand and Vilefort from ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'' might count, being excellent judges of when to change their politics and thus rise through society at a time when most people suffer because of having Napoleonic or Royalist politics at the wrong time.
* The Council of Thorn of ''Literature/DoraWilkSeries'' are, technically speaking, Dora's superiors, but their attitude towards her vary not only from person to person, but from situation to situation as well, meaning that in some books, their friendly, in others they're actively or passively antagonistic, and in some they are divided.
* ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' novels:
** Sethra Lavode is a strange example. She might count as a LawfulNeutral Wild Card, given that she is loyal above all to TheEmpire but not necessarily the current emperor or empress on the throne. She is also rather a {{Chessmaster}}, along with being eons old and ultra-powerful -- it's noted in the ''Literature/KhaavrenRomances'' sub-series how some villages view her as the EvilOverlord to be defeated in their fairy tales, while she is considered a "fairy godmother" /PhysicalGod the next village over. In the ''Taltos'' sub-series, her actions are more unambiguously good, and she experiences BecomingTheMask [[spoiler:in her kindly and likeable persona as ClassyCatBurglar Kiera]], which was initially just a scheme to monitor organized crime in the Empire.
** The [[PlanetOfHats House]] she is associated with, the Dzur, is also something of a Wild Card group, as Sethra notes in the book ''Dzur'' how that group likes fighting for its own sake and will choose the right side when everyone else is against it.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' plays with this. Harry is generally perceived as this by a large part of the supernatural community, but Murphy points out that he's quite predictable once you know him. He's a guaranteed SpannerInTheWorks for the plans of everyone in the immediate area, but if he agrees with the morality of what you're doing he'll help you out.
** In his earlier appearances, Thomas Raith was one, until he sided with Harry more permanently in ''Blood Rites''. [[spoiler: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]], since he didn't yet want Harry to know he was on his side the whole time]].
* ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'' plays this in several ways--[[TokenEvilTeammate Senna]] is dragged into Everworld to help [[GodOfEvil Loki]] escape, but she [[AGodAmI has her own ideas]] on how things should play out. To this end she drags several acquaintances through the portal with her, knowing that ''they'' will also be Wild Cards that she can control better than her enemies can. That being said, they become savvier as the series goes on, and pretty soon they're messing up her plans as well.
* Walter Baranov the AntiHero / VillainProtagonist of the mystery novel ''The False Inspector Dew'' qualifies as one of these in terms of his actions, particularly because the novel never conveys his mental state to the reader, making his true nature ambiguous. Walter had planned on killing his nagging wife on board a ship, but when she doesn't show and another corpse turns up, he has to impersonate a famous detective on account of using that detective's name as a pseudonym, and solves the murder. The ending implies that he will very soon be trying ThePerfectCrime again, this time successfully.
* Josip from ''Literature/FlightToTheLonesomePlace'' only wants the reward for finding the Blue Boy, not realizing that the reward was put in place so that Ronnie would have a harder time escaping those who want to kill him.
* In the ''Literature/ForgottenRealms'', Jarlaxle is a MagnificentBastard Wild Card. One excellent example of his playing both sides ''and'' the middle is when he captured a young woman, made a half-hearted attempt at seducing her, and set things up so his own ally would "betray" him and free her, so they could go rescue her would-be boyfriend and the ally's rival, who was being held by Jarlaxle's employer. Ta-daaa.
* Diana from ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' is a CardCarryingVillain, but she hasn't done anything truly, overtly evil, at least not relative to some of the people [[TheSociopath she hangs out with]]. She acts as the [[BigBad Caine's]] chief assistant and seems to genuinely care for him, but helps the heroes from time to time so Caine's TheDragon, who has a sadistic fixation on her, will have someone else to target. [[spoiler: And, although she has an apparant HeelFaceTurn in ''Plague'', it seems to mostly be because she can no longer control the BigBad]].
* Thresh from ''Literature/TheHungerGames''.
* Eddie Malone from ''Literature/{{Leviathan}}'' is an American reporter with no loyalty to either the Clanker or Darwinist side and a knack for finding things out. While he personally likes the protagonists and can be very helpful at times, his first concern is ''always'' having something to turn in to his editors.
* The Marquis de Carabas from ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}''. He's your man right up until there's more in it for him not to be.
* [[TricksterMentor Vergere]] from the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' series. ''What'' she was doing was pretty clear (training Jacen Solo to be an uber-Force user) but the ''why'' was so ambiguous that even the editors can't seem to decide. At first the official position was that she wanted peace but wasn't allied with any faction in particular, then that she was a loyal (albeit unorthodox) Jedi of the Old Republic, and now she's apparently supposed to be a Sith acolyte. Thing is, the original Vergere was just such a messed-up enigma that the authors seem to dust her off whenever they need someone to act as the linchpin of the ongoing plot, giving a sort of weird meta-status as the Wild Card.
** Talon Karrde as well, although at least he's honourable enough not to sell anyone out if he can help it. He even lampshades it at one point, telling a Republic officer that he's in it for the money, not the ideology. The reason he sides mostly with the good-guys? He reckons they're going to win in the end.
** Heck, his ship is even called The Wild Karrde!
* ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'':
** Lucyfar, who claims to be the ArchangelLucifer, is fond of switching between hero and villain apparently at a whim. The only person who has any ability to talk her down when she's in villain mode is Gabriel, who she claims is the ArchangelGabriel (which he denies).
** The Inscrutable Machine ends up as this by accident, since they don't actually want to be villains and are very careful to avoid casualties, but keep finding extremely powerful and dangerous things on accident.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', we have Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish and Lord Varys, both of whom have switched sides at least three times (Lannister to [[spoiler:Tyrell to himself]] in Littlefinger's case, Targaryen to Baratheon to Lannister to [[spoiler:Targaryen]] for Varys) depending on who happens to be able to help them out. Varys [[LampshadeHanging actually mentions]] more than once that his big talent in life is sucking up to whoever is in power. Both come from very humble backgrounds for the circles they operate in (the littlest of Lordlings for Littlefinger, foreign eunuch for Varys) but through raw talent became Councilors and major players in the realm, and both are aware of how they have to secure themselves at all costs. Particularly Varys, who despite decades as a major player has ''no title or wealth whatsoever of his own''.
** [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Sellswords]] are generally on the side of getting paid by somebody whose money is good for at least the next week -- preferably, month. With very few exceptions. They may, however, change sides if you wave a better possible payout for less danger in front of their noses... unless they're with the Golden Company and are sticking to their contract. Or, like the independent contractor known as Bronn, they have taken the Golden Company as the standard by which to be measured. However, then you get the ones like "[[CarnivalOfKillers The Brave Companions]]": ForTheEvulz rules.
* Padan Fain/Mordeth from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' is the embodiment of this trope. He is sort of possessed by an EvilChancellor (Mordeth) who became [[HeWhoFightsMonsters pure evil to ward his city from an other evil]] two millennia ago. But, as it turns out, he (Padan Fain) was working for the main villain before that, and now his only goal is to screw with both teams by killing the hero and making sure no one else does before him. Note that unlike many Wild Cards, Fain ''is'' unabashedly evil -- it's just that his goals put him at odds in various ways with almost every major faction in the series.
* Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy in ''Literature/TheSupervillainySaga'' certainly qualifies. Not only is a CardCarryingVillain despite being a {{Antivillain}}, he's also got many friends on both sides of the superhero/supervillain divide. As a result, he may side with one group or the other depending on his feelings at the time.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' has recently been bringing this trope out with [[spoiler:Tony Almeida]], who seems to have turned double agent in an attempt to get revenge on the man who killed [[spoiler:his wife]]. This means he has no qualms about acting against his country's best interests in order to gain the BigBad's trust.
** Jack also played with it, "going rogue" as a result of the fact that the country wasn't exactly happy with him in the first place, but he still always had the country's best interests in mind and was merely playing the bad guys. Then again, when half the bad guys in the show are corrupt politicians, often going against the authorities ''is'' being the good guy.
* [[spoiler: Grant Ward]] from during the second season of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. After [[spoiler: his escape from prison]] his motives are completely unclear and his actions both benefit and hinder Coulson's team.
* Jack Bristow from ''Series/{{Alias}}'' has not one but ''two'' goals, which he values ''almost'' equally. The first is, as an intelligence agent of the United States, to secure and defend America's military, diplomatic, and industrial interests abroad. The second, and more important, is as a father: to keep his daughter--also an intelligence agent--safe. Because of the dangerous nature of his daughter's missions, these two goals come into conflict more often than might be thought.
* Gaius Baltar from ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003''. His final line in the PilotEpisode is, in fact, "[[EstablishingCharacterMoment I'm on nobody's side]]." So there you go. He certainly does his best to muck up Admiral Adama's command while recruiting groupies wherever he goes; first he tries to seize power politically, but when that plan goes bust, he embraces the mantle of the 'martyr', founding a sect of monotheists (a novelty in the Twelve Colonies, which are devoutly ''poly''theistic) and [[PassionPlay running afoul of some Romans]], i.e. President Roslin. However, he never quite embraces the Cylons despite prodding from various incarnations of Six. The finale reveals that a [[InMysteriousWays higher power]] was manipulating Baltar's greed for their own purposes.
* Despite being nominally a [[{{Heel}} villain]] or [[{{Face}} hero]] at various times, Spike from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' functions as a Wild Card for most of season 4 and early season 5 as he makes his gradual HeelFaceTurn. During that changeover period he provides backup or information to the main cast when he's paid for it but also betrays them to Adam at the drop of a hat when it appears to suit his purpose.
** [[ManipulativeBastard Then immediately rescues them so that they'll decide not to stake him]].
** And [[TheAce The Immortal]] from ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has been described as being not on the side of good or evil, instead fighting for himself.
** Angel himself is destined to be the wild card in the apocalypse who will sway the odds in favor of good or evil. The Senior Partners want to make sure that Angel sides with evil when the time comes.
* Cole Turner in ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' switched sides so often, it could give you a headache trying to keep up. Over the course of the three seasons that he was part of the regular cast, he went from being the BigBad's [[TheDragon Dragon]] to the sisters' TokenEvilTeammate to a human under the sisters' protection to becoming the new Big Bad (replacing the one he had originally worked for) to not caring about anything but trying to win Phoebe back by any means necessary.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': the Master in all his incarnations drifts inscrutably between sides, when he isn't a side unto himself.
** He's ''always'' a side unto himself, and never works for anyone, just tricks people into doing his bidding.
** Though he does get a [[spoiler: doozy of a HeroicSacrifice / HeelFaceRevolvingDoor]] in "The End of Time."
** Similarly, Sabbath from the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' tends to do a lot of becoming mortal enemies with everyone he allies himself with and shifting his goals because of it. He started off engaged in mildly TeethClenchedTeamwork with the Doctor, and, ''well''. That didn't last. He carries on getting into EnemyMine situations with the Doctor, bookended by attempts on the Doctor's life, until he decides he's actually "more than a little fond of" the Doctor.
* This is Crais's role in the second season of ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. After giving up his attachment to the fascist Peacekeepers, and recognising that his quest for vengeance on Crichton was insane and unjustified, he makes it quite clear that his only motivation is to ensure his survival and freedom and that of ''Talyn''. While he still has moral lines that he won't cross in terms of gratuitous murder, he's extremely unpredictable and untrustworthy. This is toned down a bit in the third season after he teams up with [[spoiler:half of]] the regular cast.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'''s Jayne Cobb appears to be this type of character, but when his one attempted betrayal is weighed against all the instances where he unhesitatingly stands by the crew against overwhelming odds he suddenly looks far less neutral. This may be because the one time he tried to betray the crew, Mal [[spoiler: damn near threw him out the airlock]].
** Saffron (a.k.a [=YoSaffBridge=]), in her two appearances. ''There's'' a girl who truly can't be trusted.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' has quite a few of these:
** The first is September, and the rest of the mysterious [[MysteriousWatcher Observers]]. All they do is watch and observe... So there's one (or twelve) wild card(s).
** William Bell's true allegiances are never really clear. On one occassion, he's fighting against Walternate and helping Olivia, on the other, he's the very man who [[spoiler:created the shapeshifters]]. He's also behind some of the show's more... ''morally questionable'' acts.
** Next, we have Sam Weiss. On one hand, he's very friendly, helps rehabilitate Olivia and makes a new friend in the process. On the other hand, Walternate is somehow aware of his existance and doesn't trust him, he appears to be the author behind the century-old book ''The First People'', and knows exactly who Peter Bishop is and what his connection to the Wake Sink Device is. [[spoiler:Eventually, we learn that he was just an ordinary guy all along who happened to have generations of knowledge bestowed upon him]].
** The show's biggest wild card is arguably '''The Man In The X T-Shirt'''. [[spoiler:Olivia has absolutely no memories of the man despite the fact that he was in her mind. Even more creepy is that he ''wasn't'' a normal "mental projection". Because Olivia regressed and hid because of her fears deep in her subconciousness, all of her memories of everyone she knew turned malevolent, seeking to harm her as well as anything that "doesn't belong" (i.e, Peter, Water and Bell). This man, on the other hand, ''wasn't'' a malevolent entity -- he simply sought to escape the zeppelin he was trapped in. And finally, after Olivia returned better than ever, this man's image simply appeared in her mind, and she nonchalantly stated that "he's the man who's gonna kill her."]] WordOfGod says that he's somehow connected to [[MysteriousWatcher September]], and [[DiabolicalMastermind David Robert Jones]].
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Sylar's intentions change to suit whatever his situation at the moment calls for; he'll assist either the good guys or the bad guys if he thinks he has something to gain from it. However, he also dislikes being lied to, and every attempt to control him through lying and manipulation has ended horribly with a bloodbath and Sylar defecting to the other side by default.
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'': When Mac is fitting all of the bar into a FiveManBand structure, he designates Charlie as "the wild card" and for good reason. In that episode alone, he tries to proposition their loan officer, switches the bar to run on a ''gasoline engine'', tries to sell some more gasoline to a random woman using a Texas accent (and sounding like a gigolo), and pushes ''four large garbage cans of gas out of the car'' and jumps out. When asked about any of it, he just says "Wild Card!"
-->'''Mac:''' Why aren't the brakes working?
-->'''Charlie:''' BECAUSE I CUT THE BRAKES! WILD CARD, [[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch BITCHES!]] YEEEHAW! * jumps out of car*
** Frank also serves as a Wild Card, with less insanity and more selfishness. He doesn't have ''any'' loyalty; he just does whatever he thinks will net him the most money/enjoyment.
* ''Series/KamenRiderBlade:'' Hajime Aikawa/Kamen Rider Chalice was initially the neutral variety, having unclear motivation and fighting both [[MonsterOfTheWeek Undead]] and riders alike.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble:'' Shotaro Hidari is SpannerInTheWorks of many plans going on in [[CityOfAdventure Fuuto]] and uses the Joker memory as left half of Kamen Rider Double.
* Benjamin Linus of ''Series/{{Lost}}'', even though his early appearances set him up as the BigBad. Even up to the finale, the audience isn't quite sure what he's going to do or who he's going to side with.
* Krenshaw from ''Series/{{Monk}}'' is probably the closest to being a Wild Card that could be given in the series. A notable example is in the episode where he attempted to vote for the destruction of a parking garage solely to spite Monk, who attempted to defend it from its destruction.
* Eli David of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' seems to be this as well. He seems to put country above ''everything'' including family, to the degree of being an [[AbusiveParents Abusive Parent]] because of this. At the same time, he is not a completely unsympathetic character. Still no one knows what he will do.
** From the same show, Trent Kort, because ''nobody'' knows his reasons, which side he's on, or even his ''actual name''. You don't get much wilder than that.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'' has Mr. Gold, a.k.a. Rumplestilstkin, the type of Wild Card [[TheChessmaster in control of virtually everything that goes on]] in the series, even other villains and Wild Cards. He has made deals left and right, from the miller's daughter Cora her two daughters [[spoiler:Zelena the Wicked Witch]] and Evil Queen Regina, all the way down to Jekyll and Hyde. Gold/Rumple does many things that help the heroes and defeated his own villainous father [[spoiler:Peter Pan]], telling him that villains don't get happy endings... only to turn around later and try to help three other villains (Cruella, Maleficent, and Ursula) get their happy endings! He really seems to know how to make others owe him! Other than his loyalty solely to himself, it can be [[InMysteriousWays hard to decode his rhyme or reason]] a lot of times for whose he picks-and-chooses as temporary ally.
* Piggy of ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' was able to align himself with all three fractions in the series (The Heroes, the Villains, and The Villain Traitors) all for want of money. This isn't a guy who sided with whoever paid the most, this is a guy who just wanted pay.
* Both Sully and Mickey from ''Series/RayDonovan''. They're loyal only to themselves, collaborate with both heroes and villains, and, most importantly, they're unpredictable. Their actions are always self serving, but also impulsive, and short-sighted, and they end up screwing both the heroes and themselves as they make situations worse for everyone. Mickey collaborates with the FBI to bring down Ray [[spoiler:only to kill his handler]] and goes solo. He fakes loyalty to Sully, but ends up on Ray's side by Season 1's end, though Ray tells him to get lost. He loves his family and tries to do the right thing, but the same cannot be said for Sully. Sully used to work with Mickey until Mickey scammed him and Ray hired Sully to kill Mickey. Sully betrayed him and was let loose in Miami, only to find himself increasingly at risk in a city he doesn't fully know, with the cops and Ray's people hunting him.
* Lana Lang on ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', more-or-less because the writers weren't sure to do with her. Lana's first FaceHeelTurn came about as the resulting of being possessed by her ancestor, a malevolent witch. Later seasons had her marrying Lex Luthor (who was demoted to "cuckolded husband" almost immediately), embezzling all of his money, and setting up her own CapeBusters syndicate. She eventually became [[KarmaHoudini a super-powered secret agent]] and left the show to pursue adventures of her own.
* Garak of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. He actually skirts the edges of having no allegiance, because he is steadfastly loyal to Cardassia. However, he is not necessarily loyal to its current government, and he is on the side of the protagonists in later seasons because he believes the current government does not have the best interests of Cardassia in mind. Only rarely, however, is he actually opposed to the protagonists. It is not uncommon for him to be confrontational though. (Specifically, his methods do not always sit well with Starfleet ethics.)
** Although we didn't find out his true loyalties until later seasons. Even then he displayed his ''MagnificentBastard'' abilities by keeping people guessing if he was ''really'' on their side.
* Q of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Unpredictable, showing up at most unexpected times, and it is anyone's guess whether it will be a lesson that leaves one better off than they were before or simply a cruel game set up from boredom/desire to experiment.
* Todd the Wraith from ''Series/StargateAtlantis'':
-->'''Sheppard:''' ''Here's my problem. Every time we get involved with you, I feel like I'm walking around with a live grenade in my pocket, just waiting for it all to go wrong -- for that one thing you forgot to mention''.
* In season three of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', Bela pulls a lot of scams that endanger the Winchester's lives but will occasionally help them (usually out of self-preservation).
** In any given episode, Meg, Ruby, and the all-famous Crowley might be working alongside or against the boys, and is ready to betray them at a moment's notice. Demons are tricksy like that.
** Castiel frequently switches between helping and opposing the Winchesters.
* ''Series/UchuuSentaiKyuranger'' has [[PoisonousPerson Stinger]]/Sasori Orange. He attacks the team in his first appearance, joins them for a single fight later on and opposes them again afterwards. He joins the team later on, but keeps his independence. [[spoiler: The initial mess was an [[TheMole act]] while the rest was apparently a [[IWorkAlone lack of trust]] on [[IneffectualLoner his side]].]]
* ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' has had many, but the practice started with Rob Cesternino in ''The Amazon'' and resulted in the ''Pearl Islands'' season that followed being an all-wild card situation after Rupert's elimination. Special mention to Sandra, who won employing a self-proclaimed strategy of "as long as it ain't me."
* ''Series/VeronicaMars'': the title character's on-again, off-again [[FemmeFatale Homme Fatal]] boyfriend Logan Echolls helps the investigations as often as he messes with them -- all for his own shady reasons, of course. His own girlfriend believes him capable of murder, so there's that, too.
* The GameShow equivalent would be the BonusSpace, but there's two particular examples that fit here:
** ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' has a literal example -- a sparkly red "Wild Card" is placed on the Wheel. When you land on the space with it and call out a correct letter, you pick it up and if you want, you can call for an extra consonant. Lucky players who haven't used it, didn't hit Bankrupt ''and'' make it to the BonusRound get a boost there, where it gives them an additional consonant of their choice.
** And from their sister series ''Series/TheJokersWild'', the titular Joker acted as this -- if you spun one or two, you could make it double as a category symbol and play that category for double its' value. You could also use a Joker to call for a category that hadn't been spun (termed "going off the board"). Spinning three Jokers pretty much won the game, though you needed to give a correct answer to win.
** ''Series/{{Concentration}}'' used the Wild Card in all its permutations. It matched whatever the other number selected concealed. On the original, it could be a double-edged sword--if a Wild Card is picked first and the second number revealed a Forfeit, then the player is forced to relinquish a prize from his/her rack (with hope that he/she at least has a gag prize or no prizes at all).
* Max from ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'', the youngest sibling of the trio. He constantly switches sides, from [[InsufferableGenius Justin's side]] to [[ManipulativeBastard Alex's side]] and back.
* Alex Krycek from ''Series/TheXFiles''.
** Even Mulder's informants can be seen as this, as they simultaneously offer Mulder information, withold it, and feed him incorrect information.

[[folder:Multiple Media]]
* Vezon from ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' would work for whoever had the best chance of killing him at the given moment, however he was mostly out to follow his own twisted yet never quite defined plans. After he gained the power to travel between dimensions, this mostly stopped being a problem for him, although even so, he was once seen doing errands for another, highly powerful character.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The business calls these folks "Tweeners" (as in, be''tween'' {{Heel}} and {{Face}}). Essentially, it's when the [[{{Heel}} bad guys]] [[RootingForTheEmpire get heroes' welcomes]]. (Keep in mind, the ''inversions'' of this -- babyfaces who get booed out of the building, or supposed big things who get no reaction at all -- do not qualify as Tweeners; that's called XPacHeat.)
* Wrestling/DanielBryan. There was a time when Daniel Bryan was a Heel who thought he was a Face. He would come out and chant "YES! YES! YES!" The fans would cheer him and chant along. In order to get heat, he became a more blatant Heel. When the fans shouted YES!, he would shout NO! This had the unintended side effect of being extremely fun, and only made people like Bryan even more. His character eventually evolved to have both Heel and Face elements. Like a Heel, he would argue with the fans, get jealous of his tag team partner Kane, and even cost Kane singles matches. Like a Face, he never ran from a fight, and refused to win by cheating. Most Tweeners in wrestling are actually Faces that simply act cocky, or Heels that the fans like. However, this may be the only time a wrestler was truly unclassifiable, as he performed the tropes associated with both sides.
* Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin. Never trust a rattlesnake.
* Wrestling/ChrisJericho makes a career out of doing this, knowing well how to manipulate the crowd. Once, he returned from a year-and-a-half hiatus, trolled the audience with a video that had nothing to do with him, and did nothing but walk around saying "Come on, baby!" for ''ten minutes''. After that, when he finally started getting booed, he just ''left''. The announcers remarked that they weren't even sure of what they'd just seen.
* Wrestling/{{WWE}} wrestler Wrestling/TripleH seems to settle into this role whenever he attempts a HeelFaceTurn. Mostly because, even as a face, he's kind of a prick--but a ''smart'', (YMMV) ''funny'' prick.
* During his TNA days, Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage settled into this role after the dissolution of Christian's Coalition, and his major storyline was about him trying to rebuild his burned bridges with the {{face}}s on the roster, in order to combat his allies who had now joined the Angle Alliance. The fact that he was still pretty much a cocky asshole {{heel}} in characterization really hurt his efforts.
* Wrestling/RicFlair, whose exceptional skill at both grappling and cutting promos, and his ability to carry even the most pathetic "wrestlers" to four-star affairs while remaining the Dirtiest Player In The Game throughout, made him almost impossible to boo even as he started to push sixty.
* Even at his most face-ish, the late Wrestling/EddieGuerrero would lie, cheat, and steal to get his way. It was ''on his shirt''. As he once said while teaming with his nephew Wrestling/{{Chavo|GuerreroJr}}, "Hey, we may lie, cheat, and steal -- but at least we're honest about it."
* [[Wrestling/JakeRoberts Jake "The Snake" Roberts]] was an evil version of the Wild Card. He could be a good guy for as long as he needed to.
* Wrestling/ShawnMichaels. [[DiabolusExMachina Montreal Screwjob]] aside, whether he's a heel or a face, even if he's just playing a commissioner, he's cheered out of the building, despite being notorious for ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.
* [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] kinda fits this example too. Whether he's a Face or a Heel, he will attack anybody just because he simply doesn't like him (examples: [[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon Vince [=McMahon=]]] and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Also, even when he's supposed to be a heel post-1999, fans will still cheer him on such as his fight with Wrestling/{{Goldberg}}. His charisma and obvious desire to entertain the fans even as a heel makes it really '''''really''''' hard for fans to legitimately hate his character.
* Wrestling/RandyOrton. Even after turning Face again, he still feuds and fights with Wrestling/JohnCena and Triple H.
** His assaults on both John Cena's father and the [=McMahon=] family should have made him the biggest heel in the company. Instead, fans tended to cheer him more.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker and Wrestling/{{Kane}} also fit this example, as they will attack anybody they feel is a threat to them, not caring whether they are a Face or a Heel.
* Wrestling/JohnCena, despite turning Face in late 2003, still used Heel tactics to win some of his matches such as the one at Wrestlemania XX when he used the steel chain to defeat Big Show. Since dropping the rapper elements of his gimmick and becoming the face of the franchise he still falls short of being TheCape despite the company's presentations, engaging in the occasional dirty tactic and contradiction of message and changing his promo cut-down tactics from being straightforward disses to relying on BlatantLies and SmugSuper condescension to press the occasional BerserkButton. A closer analysis of the dissonance involved with his character and push might conclude that part of the problem with Cena is he behaves like a tweener yet the company routinely shills him as the purest hero in the history of wrestling, which only adds to the clear perception that corporate pull is the main thing that's keeping him on top.
* Wrestling/KurtAngle will often be cheered regardless of his status as a face or heel due to his incredible in-ring ability. In fact, he once cut a promo proving exactly this: After saying that the US should lose in Iraq, France is better, he dislikes "the black people", and would make UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} tap out, he said people ("idiots") ''still'' would cheer him, because they knew he was the best in the world. [[http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6oyft_kurt-angle-dislikes-black-people-an_sport The crowd promptly cheered]].
* Wrestling/MickieJames has never actually been booed in WWE. Fans loved her crazed psycho lesbian stalker gimmick so much she was cheered over the also very popular Wrestling/TrishStratus at ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} 22'' and continued to be cheered through her heel run so she turned face and has remained so throughout her entire career.
* Wrestling/BethPhoenix slipped into this role when she was moved to Smackdown (she had been a heel on Raw) where she was immediately shown to be out for herself and a bit of a three way feud started between her, Mickie and Michelle [=McCool=] with Beth's allegiance constantly in question. Eventually she made a HeelFaceTurn. Curiously when she turned back Heel she was still getting a large amount of cheers from the crowd, due to her character having a sympathetic point of view -- wanting to make the division about talent instead of looks. So later on they had to make her just care about no one except herself in order to keep her heel, save the part where she still didn't want to hurt Wrestling//{{Natalya|Neidhart}} when they competed on opposite sides.
* [[Wrestling/KiaStevens Kharma]] debuted as a Monster Heel but she only attacked heel divas at first, before then going for Face divas too. Her farewell promo blurred the lines even further.
* During the summer of 2011, the WWE pulled off the rarely-successful main event tweener feud with Wrestling/JohnCena vs. Wrestling/CMPunk. John Cena is nominally the face, does face things, and is certainly beloved by younger demographics, but has long had a poor reputation with the older fans who, while no longer giving him XPacHeat, think of his BoringInvincibleHero Hogan-like dominance as a clear symptom of WWE's static nature and an on-screen product that was getting old. CM Punk's current persona is the straight-edge The Guy Who Says What Older Fans Are Thinking. Officially, that makes him a heel, but understandably, it doesn't lead to him getting booed, and his AntiHero antics are hilariously entertaining to boot. Throw in some excellent matches between the two of them, and the result was arenas split 50-50 with support.
* Wrestling/CMPunk in general: since he settled into his "Straight Edge Messiah" gimmick across multiple organizations, typically the only difference between whether he's a face or a heel is how condescendingly he talks to the audience when trying to "help" them, or whether he: picks a fight then runs away; or picks a fight, kicks the guy in the face, ''then'' runs away. He's also pulled more than one FaceHeelTurn by being the most beloved guy in the company for weeks or months, executing a grandiose betrayal, and calling everyone out for [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder trusting him again]], once outright stating "[[LampshadeHanging I'm still a snake, you idiots!]]"
* Wrestling/RobVanDam and his chilled and calm persona makes him hard to get over as a heel, because the crowd just cheer for him anyway when he does his "R. V. D" point at himself gimmick.
* Wrestling/AJLee won the title while supposedly a heel in a feud against Kaitlyn, but was cheered more for their entrances and on winning the title. A WorkedShoot that was meant to be heel aligned resulted in AJ speaking her mind about the plastic non-wrestling women who currently made up the roster, the crowd responded positively, which gained her even more popularity and cemented her as the DistaffCounterpart to Wrestling/CMPunk.
* Wrestling/AJStyles' 2013 FaceHeelTurn has him saying he's sick and tired of doing the right thing and instead he'll do his own thing. During the Wrestling/{{TNA}} roster's war with Wrestling/AcesAndEights, Styles refuses to join either side and instead viciously attacks both sides. Eventually settles into a "dark hero" role, taking the World Title off of Aces & Eights for good and using it to try to make Dixie Carter pay for her managerial mistakes over the years.
** Then in WWE, when the brand split happened and he got put on [[Wrestling/WWESmackDown [=SmackDown=] Live]] while his buddies in [[Wrestling/BulletClub The Club]] went to Raw, Styles's heel run really ended up just being this. He's still incredibly cocky, insults the audience, and complains whenever he got put in a situation he didn't like, but he's still acknowledged, in and out of kayfabe, as a phenomenal wrestler, he never backs down from any fight he gets booked in, and while he does cheat sometimes, he always cheats by himself, as opposed to guys like Wrestling/TheMiz who bring in outside help. The result is that he gets cheers everywhere he goes, even against beloved faces like Wrestling/DeanAmbrose.
* Being a WildCard was explicitly a major part of Mexican legend Dos Caras's gimmick; hence the name Dos Caras, which translates to "Two Faces".
* The Mizdow Tag Team are a tweener tag team. One half, Wrestling/TheMiz, is a heel that gets booed, while his "stunt double" Wrestling/DamienSandow, who copies everything Miz does, although still technically a heel is over as a face -- he went full-on face after the team broke up.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Rogue CIA agent Steven Heck of ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'' has no real loyalties to anyone save for himself due to the fact that he's completely insane. He is however an ally of Michael Thorton provided that he stays on Heck's good side. [[spoiler: Though it is possible that he was Halbech;s contact in Taipei that sent [[RightHandVersusLeftHand Mike against Deng]]]].
* ''Franchise/BaldursGate'' has a few, but Haer'Dalis from ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'' is a shining example of the trope. He's a tiefling (demonkin) from a wholly different plane of existence who joins the party to do some sightseeing, seduction, and provocation. Jan Jansen from the same game is also an example, although he's much more down-to-earth than Haer'Dalis.
* The ''Going Rogue'' expansion for ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' let the players do this: heroes can change into villains, villains can change into heroes, or they can stay somewhere in between as rogues or vigilantes.
* The whole shtick of the Mound-Makers covenant in ''VideoGame/DarkSouls3''. Unlike other PvP based covenants, which require you to kill the host to fulfill your goal, Mound-Makers can kill just about anyone to do so, including summoned players, invaders, and even other Mound-Makers.
* Vergil in ''Franchise/DevilMayCry''. He serves the most powerful -- though of course his main intention is to ''become'' the most powerful.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'':
** Zevran is originally sent to kill the [[PlayerCharacter Grey Warden]], then surrenders to their command. Because this fantasy is [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism far too cynical]] to believe DefeatEqualsFriendship, his motivations and loyalty aren't convincing. He can do a genuine turn, but if his RelationshipValues are neglected, he remains the Wild card.
** Both Flemeth and Morrigan qualify, having ''nothing'' to do with the Blight or the later Mage-Templar War.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', he appears as a HeroOfAnotherStory with enough GenreSavvy not to meddle in yours. He still appears to be the Wild card in his own story.
** Hawke is treated as this by every faction in the game. This ultimately leads to them getting blamed for causing [[spoiler: the Mage-Templar War]], when they actually had very little influence on the underlying problems that sparked the conflict and were merely the RightManInTheWrongPlace.
** The player character of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' will lead what is nominally a Chantry organization, but have no pre-determined allegiance in practice. You can thus pick and choose your allies as you see fit.
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'':
** This is a potential [[TakeAThirdOption option]] for The Courier to take towards the end. The line of quests is even known as "Wild Card." Indeed, working with ''all'' the factions and stringing them along for as long as possible before upending all their plans and seizing power without warning is the encouraged way to get that ending.
** In the promotional deck of cards that came with special editions of the game, the Courier and [[MeaningfulName Benny]] (who's lack of success makes him more a SpannerInTheWorks in the grand scheme) are depicted as the Jokers.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'':
** Delita is the ultimate ChessMaster; he manipulates absolutely everybody, and is more often on nobody's side than on any particular side.
** Ramza is a Wild Card in the Lion War, though for the opposite reason as Delita. Almost every faction wants him dead, and the main plot of the third chapter is, from his perspective, one long BlastOut. Delita is just happy to give him fuel and let him clear up the GambitPileup for him.
* Shadow the mercenary from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is a slightly less teetering Wild Card; he indeed seems to care little for the overarching plot, and will randomly leave your party in the first half of the game. He also works for the bad guys in one area of the game, but since you're ''also'' working with them at that point, the issue never really comes up.
* [[spoiler:Nasir]] in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'', who appears to sincerely support or betray the player party on an unpredictable whim. Ultimately a subversion, as there is a consistent pattern to his actions, but it's not until the final cutscene that all the pieces come together: [[spoiler:his actions reflect consistent loyalty to his granddaughter Ena, who in turn serves the BigBad because the villain's mount is her enslaved, feral Laguz fiancée. If you know his loyalties in advance, Nasir's actions make perfect sense on a [[RewatchBonus repeat playthrough]]]].
* [[Characters/KingdomHeartsOrganizationXIII Axel]][=/=]Lea from the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series is this trope all-over (in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'' especially, where he was quite the aforementioned "Getting The Job Done" type), until ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D'' where his character development had him graduate from AntiVillain to [[HeelFaceTurn outright-good-guys territory]].
* Dark Pit from ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising''. He's apparently a reflection of the part of Pit that doesn't like being a loyal pet to the Goddess of Light. This means he's even ''more'' pissed off about the fact that he was created just to be a servant of the Goddess of Darkness.
* Kreia in ''Videogame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords''. Ostensibly she's the main character's ally and adviser but only because that puts her in the best position to manipulate others without herself being manipulated.
* King Bulbin from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess''. Though he only stays on the evil side for the course of the game, his only text in the game states that this the type of guy he is after you beat him for the last time. [[TropeNamers He fights for the]] [[IFightForTheStrongestSide stronger side]].
* ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha [[VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable A's Portable]]: The Gears of Destiny'': Kyrie who, thanks to a mixture of [[WellIntentionedExtremist Personal Goals]] and being a ManipulativeBitch, switches sides at several points in the game whenever it will help her [[spoiler:save her home planet]].
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' has arguably a few, but from the point of view of most organisations and unaligned people Shepard seems like this. He/She has a clear goal that is essentially a good one (prevent the Reapers from destroying all advanced organic life) but most people either don't know about the Reapers at all or don't believe they're real. Even those few who do believe the Reapers are real and a threat to all civilization (such as the Illusive Man) can be badly disappointed at how Shepard treats the problem.
** In the first game, Shepard is mostly a diplomatic investment for the Alliance and a tool for incarcerating a rogue Spectre for the Council. S/He's in a position where it's impossible to please both and for them Shepard turns out to be something of a liability until right at the end of the game.
** In the second game the player ''can'' have Shepard be very cooperative with Cerberus, but because of how the game mechanics work, Shepard remains a wild card for them as well. And of course, because s/he's technically working for Cerberus, the Council and the Alliance don't really know where Shepard stands.
---> '''Illusive Man''': You're making a habit of costing me more than just time and money, Shepard.
** In the third game Shepard is reinstated in the Alliance Military, but that doesn't mean that s/he does everything they tell him/her to or in the way they hoped s/he would. However, by the time there's no intergalactic politics to meddle in in the game and most of the organizations more or less admit that WeAREStrugglingTogether. Shepard is more of the BigGood at this point, being the symbol of hope and unity as well as the Reapers' feared enemy. So you could argue that most other factions that don't get their shit together and side with him/her are the Wild Cards. There are, of course, still plenty of occasions to piss people off and blur the line between friend and foe.
* From the ''VideoGame/MegaManClassic'' series, Bass ''technically'' works for Dr. Wily, but has proven repeatedly that he has no problem backstabbing his creator if it means that he can prove himself as the world's strongest robot. His entire justification for being a playable character in ''VideoGame/MegaManAndBass'' is that BigBad King starts off declaring himself king of the robots, getting Bass' attention and causing him to come after him to prove that he's more worthy of the title.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'':
** The bounty hunter Vile really doesn't care whose side he's on, as long as it's neither X's nor Zero's. The remake of the first game, ''[[VideoGameRemake Maverick Hunter X]]'', even has a [[AnotherSideAnotherStory non-canon bonus mode]] where you play as Vile and fight Sigma's other minions just because they piss him off (and [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou he wants to kill X himself]]). In his opening stage, he even explicitly identifies himself as such.
--->'''Vile:''' Incite rebellion. Split up the Hunters' forces. That's the way to get to X... But Sigma, I may be the wild card you hadn't counted on!
** Dynamo shows up as a TrueNeutral mercenary for BigBad Sigma. In X5 he wipes out an entire space colony, loads it with a computer virus, then initiates a ColonyDrop. He's quite [[AffablyEvil jovial though]] as he stalls for time by fighting X and Zero. When he shows up in X6, he has no relation to the crisis at hand and is merely hunting for Nightmare Soul for his own profit (note that X and Zero are also collecting Nightmare Soul.) When defeated, he has no hard feelings and merely departs. It seems he just wants to get his job done.
* The player characters in the ''VideoGame/{{Mercenaries}}'' series are [[PrivateMilitaryContractors private contractors]]. They have an overarching goal (the substantial bounty on General Song's head in the original, payback on Ramon Solano in the sequel), but are willing to play any side of the conflict, as long as it gets them closer to that goal. For instance, in the original, they ''had'' to work with the Allied Nations, since they were the ones giving out the Ace missions, but in order to get intel leading to the Aces, the players had to do missions for the Chinese Army, South Koreans, and Russian Mafia. Since the Chinese and South Koreans were hostile to one another, and the Mafia was at cross purposes with pretty much everyone, that meant the players had to fight for, and against, pretty much every faction at one point or another in order to maximize profits.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'': Revolver Ocelot is perhaps the greatest example of a Wild Card in the history of fiction. [[spoiler:He at first seems to be aligned with Liquid Snake in 2005, and then it turns out he's working for Solidus, who was the one that had Ocelot convince Liquid to instigate the entire Shadow Moses Incident in the first place. In 2007, he partners with Sergei Gurlukovich, and then almost immediately betrays him while still working for Solidus...until eventually betraying ''him'' in 2009, revealing that he's actually working for the Patriots. However, if we go back to 1964, he appears to be working for the GRU, but is secretly operating as a spy for both the KGB and the CIA. Then, in 1970, when the CIA and Pentagon were bickering over the Philosopher's Legacy, he took the opportunity to join Zero. Then when he started thinking about leaving ''HIM'', Zero lured him back with battle data on the "Perfect Soldier Project," and the concept of genomes. By staying with Zero, Ocelot ends up being one of the ''founders'' of the Patriots, along with Zero, Para-Medic, Sigint, EVA and Big Boss[[note]]one of Ocelot's requirements for joining was that Big Boss must join too[[/note]]. He would continue to act as a Patriot spy in the KGB, and left Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. ''Theeeeeen'', fast-forward to 2014: once Ocelot is possessed by Liquid's ghost, and Snake apparently beats “Liquid Ocelot” so hard that he knocks it out of him, Ocelot dies from a new stream of FOXDIE. After this, we find out from Big Boss (who is still alive thanks to Ocelot, EVA and nanomachines) that Ocelot wasn't working for ''anyone'', and that he was actually coordinating a huge scheme in order to destroy the Patriots[[note]]part of which was ''intentionally'' adapting Liquid's persona[[/note]] probably since the early 70s, [[HoYay all for Big Boss]] (the man who put "Revolver" in his name)]]. Oh, Ocelot, you MagnificentBastard.
* Scorpion from ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' frequently switches sides, though in fairness this is frequently the result of being duped or enslaved by the higher-ups. It's especially apparent during the third game, where his single-minded pursuit of his hated rival Sub-Zero causes him to attack good and evil characters alike, and in the ninth game where he said he would only ''defeat'' Sub-Zero in battle, but ended up killing him anyway when Quan-Chi reminded him of what Subby supposedly did to his clan, wife, and child.
--> '''[[WebVideo/TwoBestFriendsPlay Pat:]]''' Scorpion's not evil, he's just ''insane'' with the spirit of vengeance!
* The Monquistans from ''VideoGame/{{Pirate101}}'' act like this because they are easily insulted. The most famous of them is Mr. Gandry who had served in three different navies before he became a pirate.
* Ada from ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' is definitely this character. She's basically a free agent who works for people only when convenient and always to further her own ends. Somewhat subverted by the fact that she seems to have feelings for Leon and helps him out whenever she can. In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'', you see that while she works on her own, she does actually care about people to a certain degree and doesn't what sociopaths taking over/destroying the world.
* From ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', all three members of [[AntiHeroTeam Team Dark]]. In spite of ending up doing the right thing, they have shaky allegiances. [[TheRival Shadow]] fights whoever gets in the way of his goals; Rouge is only interested in jewels; and Omega attacks whatever the former two point him at.
** This is played with in [[VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog Shadow's own game]]. You can switch Shadow's allegiance at any time, even during a mission. Sometimes your allegiance will be changed for you if you accidentally collide with a different Mission Character.
** Similarly, Sonic's other rival, Knuckles the Echidna, is always ready to fight without hesitation anyone who seeks to steal the Master Emerald or threatens his mission to protect it. This gets exploited by [[BigBad Dr. Eggman]], who has a tendency of tricking him into believing that Sonic is his enemy. In fact, before {{Flanderization}} and MotiveDecay kicked in, the Rad Red was more of a neutral character than a hero.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', Zelos mentions several times that he's only helping Lloyd to be on the "winning team." [[spoiler:He's actually helping all three factions in the game -- the party, the Renegades and the Angels -- so that he can side with whatever faction seems to be on top at the end. Still he will always side with you, as long as you don't reject everyone at a certain event]].
* The Mishima family in ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}''. The only true heroes in the series were Kazuya in the first ''Tekken'', Jun in ''2'', Jin in ''3'' and ''4'', and Lars in ''6''. The only full-on villain was Heihachi in ''1'', ''3'', and ''4''. Since then, it's virtually impossible to define who's good and bad. Asuka was never involved in the main plot, though has always been a {{Face}}.
%%* [[spoiler:Roy and Meilin]] in ''VideoGame/{{Terranigma}}''.
* Boomerang from the first ''[[VideoGame/WildArms1 Wild ARMs]]'', though technically on the side of the bad guys, is only interested in fighting and hence couldn't care less about his own side. At least once in the game he protects your party from them.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series has Spider Daedra, which, as [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin their name might imply]], are a SpiderPeople form of [[OurDemonsAreDifferent lesser Daedra]]. Spider Daedra are [[MagicKnight equally formidable with melee attacks and destruction magic]], particularly ranged [[PoisonousPerson Poison]] and [[ShockAndAwe Shock]] spells. Due to their unpredictability, few mortals are willing to summon them for fear that they will disobey orders. Given that they are servants of the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Daedric Prince]] Mephala, essentially the patron deity of the ManipulativeBastard trope, this trait is rather understandable.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'':
** Archer pulls off a HeroicSacrifice in Fate, goes through ChronicBackstabbingDisorder in UBW and then does his job as a Counter Guardian in Heavens Feel. In all cases he's immensely powerful and knowledgeable and to a large extent drives the plot, mostly in the latter two routes. He has his own goals, but he's not ''quite'' willing to destroy the world to fulfill them.
** Rider in HF. Her goal is to keep Sakura safe and obey her. So throughout HF she's busy switching sides to ensure Sakura's survival and after she becomes unsure of what is the best option, she disappears despite presumably being on the good guy side at the moment. [[spoiler:Sakura/Rider combo ends up causing more bad ends than pretty much every other character, beating out Caster and Ilya by a narrow margin. But she saves Shirou's at the end and even gets to live in the True End]].
* Byakuya Togami from ''VisualNoval/DanganRonpa'' loudly proclaims his intent to graduate (which means killing someone) and is willing to meddle with crime scenes to "make things more interesting." However, he does [[SubvertedTrope eventually get over it]] and [[HeelFaceTurn join forces with the other students]] to escape.
* Nagito Komaeda in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2''. He claims to be on the side of hope, but this also includes the hope of the blackened, meaning he's willing to assist the murderers despite their victory meaning his death. He'll also try to spread despair himself, in the hopes that the hope of the other students can overcome it. This means his actions and allegiances are completely unpredictable from moment to moment.
* Lambdadelta in ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' for differing reasons throughout the story. First is because she doesn't want an outright winner between Beatrice and Battler; later she acts in a fair manner because it's more interesting and, when pressed, is even capable of [[LanguageOfTruth saying in red]] that she is completely neutral. While she's helping everyone out in order to amuse herself, you just need to remember the part about 'in order to amuse herself.'
* Team Q of ''VisualNovel/ZeroTimeDilemma''. Teams C and D, while also introducing a character each with Carlos and Diana, they also have veteran from the past ''VisualNovel/ZeroEscape'' games, Junpei and Akane for Team C and Sigma and Phi for Team D. Team Q are made up of three people introduced in their game with their leader, Q, being an amnesiac who got thrown in with the others for the Decision Game (everyone else was a coworker in the DCOM facility).

* Most of the main characters in ''Webcomic/{{Darken}}'' to a greater or lesser extent, but especially Jill.
* In the world of ''{{Webcomic/Drowtales}}'' where practically everyone is part of a massive GambitPileup against everyone else, a few characters stand out by being this position, mostly notably Kiel'ndia Vel'Vlozress, whose [[WrongContextMagic unique type of magic]] actually allow [[NoFourthWall the readers themselves]] to communicate with her and give her the potential to seriously disrupt some of the larger plans. More minor cases are the Balvhakara and Jie'yen clans, who act in this capacity in the Nuqrah'sharian Civil War and derail the plans of the would-be usurper when they refuse to support her coup. Two members of these clans also wind up part of the main plot and have so far served in a similar capacity for Snadhya'rune.
* Wanda Firebaugh, the dread Croakamancer of ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'', who's seemingly working for Stanley the Tool, but is involved with Jillian Zamussels who is on the other side, and is really working for herself. [[spoiler: In large part, this is because she appears to see herself as a servant of fate, and will do whatever's needed to see that fate realized]].
* Played around with in Vriska from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. On the one hand, she was responsible for setting a CycleOfRevenge into place and keeping it going. On the other hand, she also agreed to end it, and showed some signs of genuine remorse. On the other hand, when she entered the veil she set in motion the events that lead to [[spoiler: Jack Noir being prototyped by Bec, which [[UnwinnableByMistake doomed the kids' session]]]]. On the other hand, she claimed she was only doing it to make John stronger, and that she intended to try to face [[spoiler: Bec Noir]] herself. On the [[RuleOfThree other hand]], she then proceeded to [[spoiler: kill Tavros]] for pretty much no reason. On the other hand, she seems genuinely regretful of that, and has been talking more and more to John lately, who seems to be steering her down the right path. All in all Vriska's Wild Card days seem mostly over, though it's not out of the question she'll revert back to her old ways...
** Later in the story, it's stated that the Bard class is considered a Wild Card class as its role is to have a major influence in how the game progresses in either a positive or potentially devastating way. In the case of [[spoiler:Gamzee, he was at least partially responsible for the Trolls' victory against the Black King by delivering the single most powerful blow of the entire battle, and later in the story he winds up working for the BigBad of the story Lord English/Caliborn]].
* [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20100810.html Galatea]] in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob''. Poor mixed-up kid.
* The Living Words [[spoiler:aka [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality Story]]]] in ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}'' also fits with his/her treacherous deals, technically not lies, weird morality and inscrutable goals. Generally speaking (s)he is not on anybody's side but generally works in the direction of [[RuleOfDrama moar drama]] because, well, [[ItAmusedMe it amuses him/her]] and [[YouBastard also the readers]].
* Bun-bun from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' is one of these through and through. He tends to fall on the good guys' side more often than not lately, though that's largely because the other characters have gotten better at making sure it's in Bun-bun's best interest to keep them alive.
--> '''Bun-bun''': Deal, but I reserve the right to mug the target and/or switch sides at any time.
--> '''Riff''': I know, I know, "your usual disclaimer."
* ''Webcomic/ZombieRanch'' gives us Rosa Amarilla, whose loyalties so far are proving to be... fluid. She's even portrayed as the Joker card in what appears to be a poker hand on the [[http://www.zombieranchcomic.com/episode/episode-five/ cover of issue five]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/{{DC Nation}}'''s Olympics plot, Terra was one of these. Both Hades and Troia tried to recruit her because she was too damn dangerous '''''not''''' to. True to form, however, she took the divinity potion Hades offered her, and betrayed him as soon as he pissed her off. She is now a minor deity of Strife and Chaos (and a pain in the ass for the Titans' shapeshifters), a position that suits her perfectly.
* Ylana Skyfire, a mercenary in ''{{Website/Neopets}}''.
* ''Literature/NewYorkMagician'': Raymond. [[spoiler:Cthulhu]]. Michel's grandmother. Michel himself (as seen by everyone else). Baba Yaga -- is it possible to have a whole cast of wild cards?
* [[spoiler:Arthéon]] becomes this in later parts of ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'', as he has a goal that puts him at odds with most of the player community, but is permitted to temporarily ally with players if it can help accomplish the goal in question faster.
* Maxie Dasai from ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' version three who, whilst not stabbing anybody in the back or outright betraying them, was prone to walking out on groups or partners that she felt wouldn't benefit her. She wasn't exactly cowardly or villainous per se, but Maxie was definitely not somebody to be relied on.
* She-Beast, daughter of the supervillain Dr. Diabolik in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'', looks to be in it for whatever she can get out of the deal. Usually hangs with the other Bad Seeds (children of supervillains), but seems to have a thing for Phase.
* ''YWC'' aka (Youtube Wrestling Community) as everyone switches sides as soon as the person they sided with previously upsets them, the wrestling vloggers also switch sides just as much.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** The Ice King is originally presented as a villain with a stereotypical penchant for [[SaveThePrincess kidnapping princesses]]. It slowly becomes clear that he's less evil and more mentally ill, and he never intentionally ''harms'' anyone, so he's more like an IneffectualSympatheticVillain, and he'll even pitch in to help against existential threats to Ooo or the Candy Kingdom. Problem is, even when he's more or less "good," he's still ''crazy'', so [[UnwantedAssistance his "help" is often unhelpful]], or he might get confused about what the "good" side is. [[spoiler: His alter-ego Simon Petrikov is unambiguously good, but he's very seldom in control]].
** Similarly, Marceline the Vampire Queen, while she cares about her friends, is whimsical and at times amoral. Despite being one of the more powerful beings in the Candy Kingdom, she very seldom pitches in against even the most powerful threats unless she's got some personal stake. Notably, when her Dad, [[SatanExpy Hunson Abadeer]], seems intent on sucking out the souls of every living creature in Ooo, she tracks him down only to retrieve her treasured axe.
** Even Jake the Dog can be like this; he's generally good at heart, but very irresponsible and lazy. He'll sit out entire episodes if he doesn't feel like helping, usually when[[StoryBreakerPower his powers could resolve the conflict too quickly]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'':
** Krieger may be working for ISIS or for the villains depending on what he feels like that day.
** Malory Archer. She is the head of ISIS , but had an ongoing affair with the heads of both rival agency ODIN and enemy agency the KGB for years before the series even started, and often alternates which one has more influence on her behaviour.
* Heloise on ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''. She both works for [[{{Satan}} Lucius]], yet often goes against him to help [[MoralityPet Jimmy]].
* The eponymous hero of ''WesternAnimation/ElTigreTheAdventuresOfMannyRivera'', who is as equally likely to fight against the villains of Miracle City with his superhero father as he is to go about causing trouble with his supervillain grandfather [[ToxicFriendInfluence (often at the suggestion of Frida)]]. However, when push comes to shove, he'll do what's best for his family.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has Varrick, a businessman who initially allies with Team Avatar against Unalaq because his blockade on the Southern Water Tribes is hurting his shipping business and even backs a war with the Northern Water Tribe. Later on, he seeks to prolong the war for the sake of [[WarForFunAndProfit profit]] and is willing to use his friends to his ends by [[spoiler:bankrupting Asami's corporation so that he can buy her out and framing Mako for a crime when he learns of the former]]. Later on, he's found staying at Zaofu, only to sign on with Kuvira's Earth Empire as their head scientist, [[spoiler:though eventually he has a legitimate change of heart after they force him to create {{Fantastic Nuke}}s and sides with the heroes to stop her]].
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' has Mouse the agent for hire/turned goody when her employer disregards her own safety during a job.
** Hexadecimal also counts.
* Boxter Hamdon from ''WesternAnimation/SheZow'' would on occasion support the Episode's villian because he dosen't like when [=SheZow=] steals his thunder.
* Bigmouth in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' can play either friend or villain of the Smurfs, depending on what will get him more food.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Super 4}}'' has Dr X, the ruler of Technopolis. Since Dr X only cares for the success of his inventions, he can be either an ally or an enemy depending on the episode.
* Red X in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
-->''In his first episode:''
-->'''Red X:''' Not everyone likes to play the big villain, kid. I'm a thief. I'm not threatening your precious city. Just looking out for number one.
--->While ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome preventing the other villains from getting Robin's case]]''[[note]]Which ''he himself'' had originally been trying to steal[[/note]] ''after Robin saves his life:''
-->'''Gizmo:''' Whose side are you on, Barf Brain?!
-->'''Red X:''' [[PreAssKickingOneLiner MINE]]!
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'' animated series has two of these. The second, Torbin Zixx, is a mercenary who will betray everyone twice in order to complete a job. The first and more important one, however, is Foot Clan member Karai, whose sense of honor clashes with her devotion to her father in a way that makes her impossible to predict.
* FemmeFatale Blackarachnia from ''{{Transformers}}: WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' starts out as an example of an evil Wild Card. First of all, she was Starscream's BastardUnderstudy in the episode ''Possession''. After learning the ways of treachery from him though, she displayed genuine Wild Card traits by using her new skills on him before the episode ended. Later on she fell in love with Silverbolt, an action which changed her to a more moral person, although it didn't keep her from shooting him in the leg. Later versions of Blackarachnia (''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', for example) were less unreliable and more faithful to the Maximals.
-->'''Silverbolt:''' "You shot me!"
-->'''Blackarachnia:''' "He was going to blow your head off!"
* Polytheus from ''WesternAnimation/MiaAndMe'' can be either on the elves' side or on the villains' side, depending on who currently has something worthwhile to offer him.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The page quote comes from Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, a French diplomat who embodied this trope a couple of hundred years ago. He started out under the Gallic Church and King Louis XVI, switched sides to the anti-Church, anti-Royalist Republic, ditched them to help Napoleon seize power, converted ''back'' just as Napoleon had allied with Russia, convened the Senate that legally dismissed Napoleon, and finally threw his support to the Citizen King Louis-Philippe. All this time he remained powerful and influential, and even managed to stay out of prison. Wiki/TheOtherWiki says he was known as "The Prince of Diplomats" but Napoleon himself came up with the perhaps equally fitting (if less flattering) label "shit in a silk stocking." More recent scholarship suggests that he saw himself not as betraying any particular regime, but [[LoyalToThePosition always serving the interests of France as a state and nation]].
** When he acclaimed brie as the "king of cheeses", it was said that it was the only king he had not betrayed.
* Alcibiades. He switched sides five times during the Peloponnesian War, always for who was willing to give him the power and glory to match his military ability.
* This is the constitutional position of the monarchy in Britain, last used to pick a new Prime Minister in 1963.
* In countries which suffer from a hung parliament after an election, independents and [[TakeAThirdOption third parties]] usually become this.
* Dennis Rodman in Phil Jackson's Chicago Bulls.
* Dr. Pepper to both Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Dr. Pepper is a distinct brand owned by its own company, the Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group. Yet, said company does not have a complete bottling network so they use both Coke and Pepsi for bottling and sales.
* Video game critic [[WebVideo/{{Jimquisition}} Jim Sterling]] is considered to be a wild card by many major video game publishers due to Jim's very wild and swinging viewpoints where he can be [[BrutalHonesty trashing a game for its flaws and production values]] and giving another one [[GushingAboutShowsYouLike his most highest praise]]. Jim's wild card persona is the reason why some publishers silently refuse to give him review copies of their games.
* The [[{{Retronym}} First]] [[UsefulNotes/{{TheColdWar}} Cold War]] provides several examples:
** [[UsefulNotes/{{China}} The People's Republic of China]]. After the death of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin, the political philosophies of China and the Soviet Union began to diverge, with the Soviets becoming (relatively) more moderate. This culminated in 1969, when the two countries briefly fought a war with each other over a disputed island on the border. Three years later, China withdrew from the Eastern Bloc, opened relations with the United States (ironically for being the more radical government), and began fighting against/supporting enemies of Soviet-aligned countries such as Vietnam and Ethiopia; a massive turning point in the Cold War from which the Soviets never recovered.
** [[UsefulNotes/{{France}} France]]. After the Second World War, the United States pressured the country into withdrawing from Vietnam. France responded by threatening to re-align itself with the SovietUnion. In 1965, CharlesDeGaulle had his government cash its entire reserve of US Dollars in exchange for gold, which helped end the Gold Standard. Finally, in 1966, De Gaulle effectively withdrew France from NATO in protest of the "special relationship" between the United States and Britain (it rejoined in 2009).
** [[UsefulNotes/{{Iran}} Iran]]. Before the 1979 Revolution, Iran was an ally of the United States by way of the British-led CENTO bloc and a major regional supporter of western-aligned Israel (both mutually opposing the influence of neighboring Arab countries). After the Revolution, the Soviet Union became the first country to recognize the Islamic Republic in the hope of gaining a new ally. Instead, Ayatollah Khomeini denounced Communism as incompatible with Islam, leading the US and USSR to [[EnemyMine join forces in support of]] [[UsefulNotes/{{IranIraqWar}} Iran's pro-Soviet enemy, Iraq.]]
** [[UsefulNotes/{{Yugoslavia}} Yugoslavia]] began the Cold War as a Communist state and strong Soviet ally. However, because Yugoslavia had expelled the Germans independently, the Soviets had never had the opportunity to establish their own satellite regime there. The Yugoslav leader Tito strongly opposed Stalin's nationalist tendencies and opted to participate in the Marshall Plan, leading the Soviets to expel Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau. The two countries somewhat improved relations after Stalin's death, but Yugoslavia never joined the Warsaw Pact, remained neutral, and opened trade and travel with the west.