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"You staged a mutiny because you thought mutineers were already running the ship."
Kevyn, Schlock Mercenary

An Anti-Mutiny is a subtrope of The Mutiny where The Captain decides to disobey their orders, and the person responsible for the mutiny is actually the one being loyal to the crew's original mission or cause. Despite this, the mutineer is usually depicted as a villain (though they can be an Anti-Hero on occasion, especially if the captain is hypocritically condemning those "disloyal" to his new direction even as he disobeys his own orders). The person who decides to Anti-Mutiny is often a Second in Command, or Number Two.

The scenario leading up to an Anti-Mutiny usually goes as such: the crew of the Cool Ship has a mission or goal that the captain is entrusted with. Usually it is a goal with extreme implications, such as an Alien Invasion that will destroy a planet or race. Then, for one reason or another, The Captain decides that he does not want to go through with the mission given by his higher powers. This is when the mutineer takes over, often by force, with the goal of making the crew resume the mission they were given by the higher powers in the first place. Conflicting Loyalty often ensues.

The Captain may try to Bring Them Around, either before the mutiny, or while it is occurring; it can be interesting, since he can no longer rely on his authority as a captain, which they regard as forfeited by his acts.

In real life maritime law, gross misconduct by the captain of a ship is legally known as barratry (not to be confused with civilian barratry note  or ecclesial barratry note ); the response is often an Anti-Mutiny.

See also Rebellious Rebel.


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    Comic Books 
  • X-Men: Magneto pulls one of these in the "Age of X" storyline; Suspecting that something is not quite right, he rebels against his own rule, sending Shadowcat and Rogue to investigate their situation, and protects them when they are attacked by their former comrades.

    Fan Works 
  • Betastuck: Despite not acting the way his programmers expected him to, Doc Scratch was merely fulfilling his purpose to make the necessary preparations for Lord English's arrival.
  • Changeling Space Program & The Maretian: After the Hab breach of Sol 88, Cherry Berry, who feels she has failed as leader of the pony crew, attempts to resign as mission commander. The others aren't having it, not even Spitfire, who up to this point has felt awkward about being the lowest-ranking member of the crew after being commander of Equestria's most elite military unit.
    “Is it a mutiny when the crew is forcing the captain to keep giving orders?” Dragonfly asked.
    “Yes!!” Cherry Berry snapped.
  • The Lunar Rebellion is set up as an in-universe memoir by heroine Shadow Kicker (with notes by descendant and The Life and Times of a Winning Pony Character Narrator Cloud Kicker as well as various entries from other characters' accounts to fill in what blanks Shadow can't) telling about her legendary and eponymous Anti-Mutiny against her native territory of Pegasopolis, who are rebelling against Princess Celestia because they think she's failing at her duties and having anypony who politically opposes her killed. The latter is actually not true, but she does admit to the former, and yet she just doesn't think abdicating is the proper penance. And it isn't, the Lunars are simply Pegasus-supremacists, even under Rightly Doo, and feel betrayed that Celestia hangs out in Canterlot with all those snobby Unicorns rather than with them and that her attempts to prevent a war with the Griffons despite their obvious hostilities involve her kissing up to them rather than making it clear that the raids won't be tolerated.
  • Megami no Hanabira: Despite Lucifer's interference putting in motion a cascading series of failures for The Flock, Father Phillips stubbornly sticks to his original schemes of making the Flock look like demon-hunting heroes even as his plans continue to crash down around him. Once his lieutenant Ethan is killed by the heroes, however, Phillips finally snaps and orders the destruction of Kazamino and the slaughter of everyone in it, while he plans to ascend to angelhood and fuck off to heaven while Earth is destroyed by demons. His second-in-command Colette and a small group of Flock members promptly turn on him, forming their own subsidiary still loyal to the remains of the original plans: they plan to stop Phillips's rampage, defeat the other Demon Tamer factions, and try to create their originally-envisioned world theocracy in their own way.
  • A personal version of this features in the Star Trek: Voyager fic "Stalemate" when Voyager, just prior to “Endgame”, is visited by a version of Chakotay from the future depicted in the novels to tell Janeway how she will be assimilated by the Borg if she returns to Earth at this time. With the future Chakotay having taken steps to provide Tuvok with a cure for his own neural condition, the most urgent need for them to return has been lost, and while Janeway volunteers to stay behind so the crew can return to Earth, the entire crew submit a report confirming that they’re willing to stay in the Delta Quadrant so she won’t be assimilated. With their future weaponry from Admiral Janeway and Ambassador Chakotay’s future knowledge to aid their trip, Janeway resigns herself to the crew’s decision, observing that this is a rare occasion where the captain will side with the mutineers (even as she also makes it clear that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event).

    Film — Animation 
  • Auto in WALL•E, who takes over The Axiom by force and does not want it to return to Earth despite the captain's protests. However, Auto is simply following his programming (supported by a final broadcast the captain had been unaware of) and it is the captain who is technically going against the plan.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: HAL 9000 disobeys Bowman and kills off the crew, though Bowman did not have enough information to realize that he was "endangering the mission," as HAL put it.
  • Essentially the entire plot of Crimson Tide is whether the XO is attempting this or The Mutiny.
  • Down Periscope's 1LT Pascal attempts to foment a mutiny against Captain Dodge when Dodge makes the decision to ignore Admiral Graham's (patently unfair) changes to the engagement area mid-wargame. Since Pascal is an uptight Jerkass and The Neidermeyer extraordinaire, his effort at rallying the crew to his side is met with a resounding silence, and no one complains too much when Dodge subsequently forces him to Walk the Plank onto a waiting fishing boat whose crew is in on the joke.
  • Defied in The Hunt for Red October. To prevent Zampolit Putin from leading one of these when he works out that Captain Ramius plans to defect with his prototype ballistic missile submarine to the United States, Ramius kills him and blames it on a fall that broke his neck. A GRU operative aboard figures it out later, but rather than try to rally the crew, he attempts to sabotage the sub.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier after HYDRA has successfully infiltrated SHIELD, Cap informs the loyal agents who carry out this trope and attempt to stop the HYDRA plot from succeeding.
    • In Eternals, Ajak decides to go against Arishem's orders and prevent the emergence of Tiamut (which would destroy the Earth and kill everything on it), justifying herself with the belief that Humans Are Special. Unfortunately, the first Eternal she tells is Ikaris, who throws her to the Deviants and tries to use their escape to distract the other Eternals from Earth's impending doom.
  • No. 2 in Meet Dave may be the very definition of this trope. When The Captain does not want to go forward with his given mission of draining Earth's oceans, No. 2 does just this.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show ends with Riff-Raff bursting in on the Grand Finale musical number and proclaiming that "it's all over" because Dr. Frank N' Furter's lifestyle is too extreme. After all, you don't have time to stage an Alien Invasion when you're busy building a studly Frankenstein's monster and sexing it up with the locals. This example overlaps with Enemy Civil War, in that both sides were evil.
  • Clu in TRON: Legacy was created with the purpose of creating the perfect system. He ended up staging an Anti-Mutiny when Flynn turned away from that goal to foster the development of the ISOs, a random (and thus imperfect) side effect of Flynn's recreated Grid system.

  • The events of The Caine Mutiny result in a trial to determine if the eponymous mutiny (Captain Queeg was relieved by his executive officer during a typhoon) was this or the more conventional sort of mutiny.
  • Familias Regnant: In Winning Colors, treasonous senior officers try to use their ship; their juniors realize the treachery and mutiny. (Leading to a very junior officer being in command.) The narrative makes it crystal clear the anti-mutineers are in the right, but in-universe their Hero Insurance doesn't seem to be paid up; they face a lot of hot water for their insurrection before finally being exonerated and treated as heroes.
  • Horus Heresy:
    • The events of Istvaan III as a whole were an attempt to prevent this: by placing the known Loyalist elements of every Traitor Legion in one place, it was hoped that they could be taken out quickly and relatively quietly. However, the Anti-Mutiny forces caught wind earlier than expected and dragged the fight out long enough to prevent the traitors from killing both them and the unrelated Loyalists at Istvaan V before word spread of the betrayal.
    • The Flight of the Eisenstein: Nathaniel Garro convinces Eisenstein's master Baryk Carya to commit barratry (it's not mutiny when the captain does it, as Carya points out) instead of following the order to fire on Isstvan III. Eisenstein's communications officer Tirin Maas informs Terminus Est of his captain's betrayal. When confronted, Maas clings to his oath of loyalty to the Warmaster.
  • Defied in The Hunt for Red October. To prevent Zampolit Putin from leading one of these when he works out that Captain Ramius plans to defect with his prototype ballistic missile submarine to the United States, Ramius kills him and blames it on a fall that broke his neck. A GRU operative aboard figures it out later, but rather than try to rally the crew, he attempts to sabotage the sub.
  • Johnny Maxwell Trilogy: The Gunnery Officer attempts an Anti-Mutiny in Only You Can Save Mankind, when the Captain starts making peace with the humans.
  • A heroic example in Kris Longknife: Mutineer. At a meeting of fleets during the dissolution of the Society of Humanity, Kris's squadron is ordered to sneak-attack a group of Earth battleships in hopes of getting in the first blow of The War of Earthly Aggression, but Kris knows that would require orders from high command, which they haven't received because communications are being jammed, and realizes their admiral is acting illegally. On the spot, she and the junior crew, enlisted, and Marines overthrow her captain and get the other ships to follow suit, then chase down and capture the flagship. As a consequence the breakup happens otherwise peacefully, and Earth awards Kris its highest medal for valor.
  • David Weber's Safehold had a failed attempt at this made by Pei Shan-wei, to thwart the plans of Eric Langhorne and Adorée Bédard to turn the last haven of humanity into their personal church. She was killed and made into their Satan, but Shan-wei had backup plans in place.
  • Spy School: In the climax of Spy School Goes North, Russian spy Ivan falters in his plan to launch a missile at the Alaskan oil reserves due to it learning it will kill his granddaughter. His Mooks all ignore him and try to go through with the plan due to having spent years being separated from their families and hiding out in Siberia.
  • The Pillars of Reality: The Librarians are descendants of the starship crew members who refused to support their superiors' abuse of their authority to found the Mechanics Guild and rule over the passengers they were supposed to protect.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire features a few instances:
    • Bowen Marsh and several other members of the Night's Watch stabbing Jon Snow for allying with wildlings and for forswearing his vows to go save his sister (actually Jeyne Poole) and kill Ramsay Bolton. Notably, whether or not Jon Snow really meets the criteria of "forsaking the original mission" is debatable. He did not truly break his vows (but distanced himself a lot from their usual interpretation), and his reforms all had sound reasoning, until he decided to go in a campaign against Ramsay, effectively breaking his vows.
    • Barristan Selmy, the Unsullied and some of the Meereenese launching a coup against Daenerys's husband for doing a bad job of ruling in her stead, and possibly trying to assassinate her. In this case, even though he is the legal regent, he has deviated quite a lot from what Daenerys wanted, and the conspirators are trying to get things back on track.
    • Varys and Doran Martell each plot (apparently unrelated) schemes to put a Targaryen back on the Iron Throne. While the Baratheon (or, for the King's Landing faction, "Baratheon") dynasty would consider that treason and rebellion, by the strict laws of succession, first Viserys and then Daenerys are indeed the rightful heirs.
  • In the Star Trek novel Before Dishonor, the "new" command crew goes Anti-Mutiny when Picard ignores Starfleet's orders to return to Earth. Of course, this being Captain frickin' Picard, the "old" command crew (including Spock and Seven of Nine) is proven right in the end. But they have one less planetary conundrum to worry about.
  • Played with during The Succession Duology when Captain Laurent Zai refuses to commit suicide as expected of him due to a failure to rescue the Emperor's sister. A mutiny plot arises on the ship in order to correct that failure as this course of action endangers the crew.
  • The Wheel of Time has the siege of Maradon. The city commander has locked his allies outside the walls, where they are being slaughtered. A soldier named Yoeli leads an Anti-Mutiny to take control of the city and let the allies in. Though hailed as a hero, Yoeli says he only did what he had to do, insisting that he is still technically a traitor and will demand his own execution.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • When Sheridan begins to take the fight to the Earth Alliance, at the battle of Proxima, one of the Alliance destroyer captains decides to defect. His second in command decides to undefect (pulling a gun on his captain), and then the crew decides to redefect anyway (subduing the XO offscreen).
    • The Minbari religious caste crew during the civil war attempted to sabotage their ship to prevent Delenn from carrying out her rumored surrender to the warrior caste.
  • It could be argued Starbuck falls prey to this in Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica. She began acting increasingly crazy but was still staying within the bounds of her orders, but then unilaterally decided to do something not covered by those orders, an action which meant she and the crew would miss their scheduled rendezvous and/or put all their lives in mortal danger. The crew (bar one) refused to back her. It's difficult to tell who was meant to be in the wrong in this case, though the fact that just after the mutiny and one poor bastard losing a leg she came up with an alternate solution whereby only she was put at risk suggests Starbuck may be more at fault.
    • Of course, that one poor bastard losing a leg later leads to another mutiny.
  • On Black Sails things are further complicated by the fact that a pirate captain is elected by the crew and is supposed to act in the best interests of the crew at all times. Thus when members of the crew plot to remove Captain Flint from command they feel their actions are perfectly legitimate since Flint is jeopardizing the lives of the crew to further his own personal goals.
  • Farscape Grayza continually goes against the orders of her high command in chasing after Crichton and Scorpius. Eventually her Number Two, Braca, declares her to be unfit for duty and has her arrested.
  • In the pilot of Last Resort the captain of a US nuclear submarine refuses an order to fire four nuclear missiles at Pakistan. After the captain is relieved from command, his XO is issued the same order and also refuses. The Chief-of-the-Boat wants to follow the orders and stages an anti-mutiny, but fails. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the orders are delivered by the Secretary of Defense (sixth in the line of succession) on a secondary communication network that is normally reserved for scenarios where the US has already been nuked, which they know hasn't happened because they're still receiving American news media. The captain and XO are justified in suspecting that a mutiny has taken place higher in the chain of command and are refusing the order to fire as their own anti-mutiny.
  • The Last Ship: In "Scuttle", the Nathan James takes on survivors from another US Navy ship sunk during a mission against the Chinese Navy. Unnerved by Captain Chandler's obsession with taking down Chinese President Peng and blaming it for the destruction of their ship, the add-ons jump on the opportunity when orders come through from their superiors to relieve Chandler of command. Chandler's crew, suspicious of these orders (with good reason, as they're actually from a Government Conspiracy seeking to usurp the federal government's authority), quickly take steps to bloodlessly retake control of the ship.
  • Madam Secretary: A Russian ballistic missile submarine goes off-mission and torpedoes a US Navy minesweeper that intercepts it,note  but then stops acting. The Navy manages to make contact and learns that the captain had gone Ax-Crazy and was attempting to launch missiles at the US, but the crew mutinied and are implied to have killed him.
  • In the pilot of SeaQuest DSV, Commander Ford relieves Captain Stark of duty as she's about to launch a nuclear strike after receiving orders to stand down.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • "Mirror, Mirror": Mirror Kirk is in the middle of demanding the surrender of a planet when he's replaced by Prime Kirk due to a Teleporter Accident. Prime Kirk promptly goes off-mission by giving the planet's populace a chance to reconsider rather than immediately blowing them away for refusing the Terran Empire. Consequently, Mirror Spock receives orders to kill him and finish the mission as the new captain of the ISS Enterprise. Luckily for Kirk, M-Spock would rather not be such an obvious target and warns him.
      • "Turnabout Intruder": Spock begins an Anti-Mutiny against Kirk who has undergone a Body Swap with an old girlfriend. By the end of the episode, all the main characters side with Spock.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In "Lonely Among Us", Picard is possessed by an Energy Being. The senior officers discuss attempting an anti-mutiny when he abandons the mission at hand, but decide that they do not have enough evidence to legally relieve him of command. When Picard's possession becomes apparent and Dr. Crusher attempts to deem him medically unfit, the Energy Being immobilizes the bridge crew long enough to carry out his plan.
      • In "The Battle", the Ferengi DaiMon Bok engages in a mission of personal vendetta against Picard for killing his son in battle years before. Riker tries to get Kazago, Bok's second-in-command, to stop Bok. Eventually, Kazago arrests Bok for engaging in a non-profitable venture, a heinous crime by Ferengi standards. That's the reason Kazago gives, at least; he already knew that there was no money to be made, and only acted after Riker presented evidence that Bok was insane.
      • In "Conundrum", the crew get amnesia. They find out from the computer that they're at war with another race and are being sent to attack their homeworld. After easily penetrating the "enemy"'s defenses Picard decides that there's something wrong, since a war against this species would've been over in about 5 minutes instead of the years the computer tells them. Picard's second in command, who isn't Riker but some guy named MacDuff whom we've never seen before, tries to force the rest of the crew into obeying their original orders. It turns out of course that a third race, which is at war with the second, had orchestrated the events and MacDuff is one of them.
      • In "The Pegasus" we learn that, while an ensign, Riker attempted to help his then-Captain put down an Anti-Mutiny on the eponymous vessel (the captain was experimenting with a cloaking device, a technology banned by a treaty between the Federation and the Romulan Empire), but when they failed, they were forced to abandon ship together.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise has a rare example of the anti-mutineers being right. When a Brainwashed and Crazy Archer decides protecting a Xindi hatchery is more important than their mission, the other main characters organise an Anti-Mutiny, while the MACO squad obey the captain's orders unquestioningly.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a two-part Origins Episode for Jesse, in which we discover that she was the first mate on a future-human submarine captained by a reprogrammed Terminator, and that she led an Anti Mutiny against him because she and the rest of the crew wrongly (because he inflexibly refused to tell them the truth about their secret mission) believed that he'd reverted and was betraying them to Skynet.

    Video Games 
  • Dawn of War: The Blood Ravens chapter as a whole are implied to be a result of this: their progenitor is believed to be Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons, who fell to Chaos during the Horus Heresy. This suggests that the Blood Ravens originated from Thousand Sons who defected back to the Emperor.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Sten will attempt to challenge you for control of the party at a certain point of the game if he's at low approval, thinking that your gallivanting around the outskirts of Ferelden is akin to taking a vacation by deserting. If he's at high approval, he'll merely state his opinions and put it at that. Intriguingly, his approval rises when you crush his mini-coup, since that proved him wrong and you're clearly capable enough to be in charge.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, the relationship between the Outcasts and the Brotherhood of Steel is this. The Brotherhood's mission is to preserve and catalog technology, but the batch that went east decided instead to focus on protecting civilians and killing mutants. The Outcasts broke off to concentrate on the original mission. Neither group is villainous, but the Outcasts tend towards douchebaggery and the game's creation kit tags their Character Alignment as Evil (further evidenced by the fact that you'll be rewarded for killing them if you have the Lawbringer perk).
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • The Courier can convince Benny's second-in-command Swank to help you deal with his boss by convincing him that he's planning to go against Mr House. Since Swank both fears House and likes his current lifestyle, he'll not only give you full access to your weapons but make sure Benny's guards are away. If you do end up killing Benny, Swank ends up as leader of the Chairmen, to which he responds with "Ring-a-ding!"
      • During the Brotherhood of Steel questline, it is possible to help Paladin Hardin to replace and depose Elder McNamara by finding evidence that he is unfit for command. Upon doing so, Hardin takes over as Elder while McNamara is demoted to a Knight. This will also affect the ending for the Brotherhood, as Hardin is a much more militant leader than McNamara, which will lead to problems down the line.
  • In Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, if Douglas MacArthur seizes power in the run-up to the Second American Civil War, the Pacific States of America revolt against him, seeking to uphold American Constitutional values in the face of radical syndicalists, dictatorial nationalists, and a military junta all subverting those values while claiming themselves the rightful American government.
  • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter: Captain Grumpf of the Kurvaz Guild has to be restrained by his crew after ordering them to open fire on a transport they're supposed to be escorting. A transport that is carrying a number of important documents, and a MacGuffin that Grumpf's boss has no doubt gone to a lot of trouble to acquire.
  • In Suikoden IV, Snowe is reluctant to stick around after the Pirate Brandeau opens fire on their ship and he's caught in the blast, killing most of the men around him and temporarily paralyzing his arm. The rest of the crew is shocked when he orders a retreat, since that would mean leaving the ship they're escorting to the pirates. Add in how the soldiers already resented him for being put in charge despite just graduating, and the stage was set for one of these.

    Web Video 
  • Fear the Walking Dead: Dead in the Water: At the climax of the miniseries, the crew of the U.S.S. Pennsylvania receive orders to nuke Chicago to try and contain the spread of the Zombie Apocalypse. While the captain is willing to follow those orders, the rest of the crew refuse. And since the captain was previously bit and is dying, he can't force the issue; he stands down so that he can be put out of his misery.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • During the 1961 putsch in French Algeria by military officers wanting Algeria to remain French, most conscripted soldiers, after hearing Charles de Gaulle ordering them to absolutely disobey to mutineed officers, mutinied against the putschists. In at least one case, a unit arrested their officer!


Video Example(s):


Clones vs Pong Krell

The Clones under Pong Krell's command turn on him after they find out he was deliberately sending them to attack each other for sabotage.

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Example of:

Main / AntiMutiny

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