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Deuteragonist

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Deuteragonist. The second guy. No, not the Sidekick, who follows the main character around. Not the Supporting Protagonist, who is a main character but not the focus of the story. Not the Decoy Protagonist either. This is the second person the show revolves around, a character whose actions drive the plot just as much as those of the protagonist.

The deuteragonist (from Greek: second actor) is the second important character in the story; the first is, of course, The Protagonist. This person can be either with, or against the protagonist—thus sometimes pulling double duty as a major antagonist or rival to the protagonist; though they are rarely the main "villain" in this sort of scenario, they may be a high ranking minion. If on the same side as the protagonist they can be a sidekick, lancer, or love interest as long as they are given enough screen time independent of the main protagonist. In case of a Geodesic Cast, the Deuteragonist will be the one who corresponds to the first protagonist. If there's another example of this trope in play following the previous one, then that character is the "Tritagonist".note 

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An important aspect is that we see quite a bit of the story from this character's point of view, and that they get a good amount of screen time.

Subtropes include Supporting Leader. The Sidekick or The Lancer can become a deuteragonist if given enough focus on their own. In a romance story, the Official Couple will usually be the protagonist and deuteragonist. If a character seems like a deuteragonist but doesn't get as much screentime, they're likely the Hero of Another Story. Compare Two Lines, No Waiting, where the plots don't actually intersect.

Dramatica calls this character the Impact Character, while The Hollywood Formula refers to this as the Relationship character.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: Year One Jim Gordon is the deuteragonist of the story along with Batman. Although as the story is essentially a retelling of Batman's origin with a large amount of focus put on Gordon's first year as a member of the Gotham City Police Department, the two are optional for both positions.
  • Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk is this in the Daredevil comics. Matt is the primary main character, but we've watched Wilson run, lose, and rebuild his empire, seen the details of his messy personal life, and when he's not a part of Matt's life, it often feels like something is missing.
  • The Falcon and Bucky Barnes take turns in this role to Captain America's protagonist; they've almost always worked with Cap and have been developed just as much as him. Meanwhile, Baron Zemo often takes the role of tritagonist; he's one of Cap's most developed villains and we've seen him face his own conflicts, trials, and triumphs.
  • In the grand scheme of Grant Morrison's Batman Damian is the deuteragonist for much of the run. Most prominently during Batman and Robin (to Dick Grayson) and the second half of Batman Incorporated. He's also firmly the deuteragonist in Peter Tomasi's Batman and Robin run with Alfred as a tritagonist up until Damian's death.
  • Green Lanterns was launched as a full-fledged two-protagonist title (hence the plural); its stars are DC's two new rookie Green Lantern Corps members from Earth, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, who must learn to work as partners to defend the Earth. In the opening "Rage Planet" arc the focus is slightly more on Simon (both his hubris, and dealing with newly-discovered powers), but Jessica Cruz plays the deuteragonist role, with a major arc about overcoming her anxiety issues so that she can serve the way she needs to as a proper Green Lantern - which is a plot point in the climactic battle.
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic comic, Zayne Carrick is the protagonist and Jarael is the deuteragonist. Particularly noteworthy is that the comic's arcs come to center as much around Jarael's personal journey as Zayne's, and while the main villains of the first major arc are Zayne's Evil Mentor and Evil Counterpart, the main villains of the second major arc are Jarael's. The third main character, Marn Hierogryph, is by contrast defined mostly by his interactions with Zayne.
  • Destro from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Although to be honest, the old Larry Hama comics are chock full of deuteragonists and tritagonists. Destro was the villain who wasn't so villainous, who had a code of honor, and who we very often see stories told through his Point-Of-View, so much to the point where we have two views of the evil Cobra organization - first through the eyes of the G.I. Joes, and second through the eyes of Destro, the arms dealer.
  • Robin Series: For a large portion of the books run, Stephanie Brown was Tim's deuteragonist as Spoiler, having certain issues focused on her rather than Tim, rescuing Tim on occasion, and having her own separate adventures when not working with him. She briefly became the title character when she became the new Robin only to be unceremoniously killed off not long after.
  • In Saga the character order goes like this: Marko and Alana as protagonists, the Will and company as deuteragonists, Prince Robot as tritagonist, and Doff and Upsher as tetragonists.
  • Shazam has the Marvel Family function like this: Captain Marvel as the protagonist, Mary Marvel as the deuteragonist, and Captain Marvel Jr. as the tritagonist.
  • Allison from Sunstone. Her lover/best friend Lisa is the protagonist. Allison gets almost as much attention as Lisa and drives the story too, but Lisa also pulls double-duty as the narrator, which leads to us seeing more of her inner thoughts.
  • Nick Fury for the entire Ultimate Marvel Universe. Nick Fury is the linchpin that connects The Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man and even Ultimate Fantastic Four to an extent. He's the leader of SHIELD and the Ultimates, widely seen as the most powerful figure in the superhero community, he's also Peter's main mentor figure in the superhero community, and the latter is also his Morality Pet. And yet, he is not the actual protagonist or any given story, nor he had any dedicated comic book.
  • V for Vendetta has several characters with their own point of view but the main narratives are on V as The Protagonist, Evey as the Deuteragonist, Eric Finch as the tritagonist, and Adam Susan as the tetragonist.
  • War Machine fills this role to Iron Man, with Pepper Potts as tritagonist. Often a supervillain such as Ghost, Blizzard, or Madame Masque will take on the role of tetragonist.
  • Mera has served as this in Aquaman since the New 52. Arthur is the title character, most of the storylines revolve around him and whenever they're apart he gets the majority of the panel time. However, Mera has gotten plenty of character development of her own, has had her own B-plots separate from Arthur's adventures and has been the focus of several plotlines.

    Comic Strips 
  • The title character of Blondie now fills this role, the role of protagonist being held by Dagwood.
  • In Nancy, Sluggo is the Deuteragonist, with Aunt Fritzi the tritagonist. Or vice-versa, Depending on the Writer. Ironically, Fritzi used to be the star until Nancy took over that role.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes the tiger fills this role, given how many strips and even story arcs either only include him in a minimal role or don't include him at all.

    Fan Works 
  • In All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, Mahanon and Victoria alternate between this and the protagonist, depending on who the narrative character is at a given moment. Cassandra is arguably the tritagonist.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter is Izuku's mentor and the other major lens of the story. Much of Izuku's early development can be tied back to Peter, whose actions and presence in Izuku's universe change the course of the story.
  • Stephanie Brown/Spoiler is the deuteragonist to Cassandra's protagonist in Angel of the Bat. Tim Drake/Robin and Bruce Wayne/Batman share the tritagonist spot.
  • The Doctor Who fanfic Being To Timelessness, which depicts how the Tenth Doctor's tenure would've looked if he formed a telepathic bond to Rose and then married her. The Doctor and Rose are the co-protagonists during To Make Much of Time, the section that covers series 2. This is a "series 3 and 4 with Rose" story. In the fics covering those seasons, the Doctor still takes on Martha and Donna as companions respectively, but they are now tritagonists instead of deuteragonists.
  • Hinata is this in Blind while Naruto is The Protagonist.
  • In Candy For Your Thoughts?, the two main characters are Cody and Courtney, with Duncan filling the Deuteragonist/Tritagonist role.
  • In Child of the Storm, Carol Danvers evolves into this from minor secondary character, particularly by the sequel, when she's got top billing alongside Harry.
  • In the Adventure Time fan fiction The Citadel of Truth, Flame Princess replace Jake as the second most important character that serves as the main Love Interest for Finn while Ferrum replaces PB as the third most important character in this fic.
  • Comic Book SNAFU: Hawkeye is the protagonist, and leads the A-plot. Aki Izayoi, who leads the B-plot is the deuteragonist, with Batman and Gajeel serving as tritagonists.
  • Corrin Reacts has Flora and Azura acting as the deuteragonist and tritagonist to Corrin's protagonist respectively.
  • In the Sanctuary fic, Concerning Us while Janine is the POV character and the protagonist the story evolves around the main trio, with John as the deuteragonist and James the tritagonist.
  • In the fanfic Co-op Mode and its companion fic A Bug In The Game, Taylor is this to James' The Protagonist, with Co-Op Mode focusing on James and A Bug In The Game doing the same for Taylor.
  • In Crimson and Emerald, Hawks and Izuku are both protagonists to the story as the story centers on the two's actions and the effects thereof.
  • Date A Re:Live:
    • Tohka Yatogami is the focal Spirit among Shido's harem, having been in love with him long before she ever became one, and the one who got Shido involved in Ratatoskr's mission to save them. During the second season however, she and Shido temporarily switch roles where he becomes the deuteragonist while Tohka functions as the protagonist.
    • Later on, Reine Murasame takes on the role of tritagonist upon regaining her true form as Mio Takamiya due to how connected she is to the existence of the Spirits.
    • For Time is Still a-Flying, which covers series 3, Martha is the tritagonist. The author had actually considered briefly not having her travel with the Doctor and Rose, until she considered that the "Human Nature" two-parter and the Master story arc require a third party in order to work (the former because the Doctor and Rose have been fobbed as they hide from the Family of Blood; the latter being because the Doctor and Rose are imprisoned by the Master, and the Doctor needs Martha to walk the Earth spreading stories of him). The Master also serves as a tetragonist, as the story gives him several interludes showing him plotting behind the scenes in the lead-up to him implementing his plot to enslave the Earth.
    • For Forever and Never Apart, the series 4 rewrite, Donna serves as tritagonist, a role she shares with Jenny from "The Doctor's Daughter" onwards due to Team TARDIS staying around longer on Messaline to see her be revived by the Source. Martha functions as a tetragonist during the Sontaran two-parter and "The Doctor's Daughter", while Mickey, Jackie, Pete and Sarah Jane split that part during the "Stolen Earth" story.
  • Extra Life has Izuru Kamakura/Hajime Hinata become this to the human Chiaki Nanami. He's the one who helps Chiaki to recover from her traumatic experience after the events of Danganronpa 3: Despair Arc, and their growing bond serves to help fuel Chiaki's determination to reunite with him and her friends when they have to go their separate ways.
  • In Graduate Meeting Of Mutual Killing, the main character (Akane Ogata) is incapacitated. The story shifts to focus on Yukio Ohmoto and his actions, including internal thoughts and relationship with the rest of the graduates.
  • History's Strongest Shinobi: Kenichi to Naruto. Although in this case the story (at first) focuses on Kenichi's Story Arc and how Naruto influences it. It only starts focusing on Naruto as soon as the Myth Arc kicks in, at which point Kenichi's Story Arc gets influenced by Naruto's and vice versa.
  • Inner Demons has Apple Bloom, who gets the second character billing after Twilight, has a large amount of focus and Character Development, and is ultimately revealed to be the Master of Harmony.
  • I, Warrior is primarily about Tahiri, but her Evil Counterpart and Foil Keenah carries a significant part of the plot as well.
  • The RWBY fanfic, A More Flawed Gem, features Jaune Arc and Chloe Weaver as the deuteragonists.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim is just as much about Dib as it is about Zim, with Tak as a Tritagonist.
  • In Perfection is Overrated, Mai is the protagonist, Natsuki is the deuteragonist, Nao is the tritagonist, and Shizuru is the tetragonist.
  • Prehistoric Earth has an interesting variant of this. Whilst Drew is the Protagonist of the series, the role of deuteragonist, tritagonist and tetratagonist changes depending on season. However, Leon is the series' overall deuteragonist - his role greatly outweighs that of the other characters (aside from Drew, he has been on the most missions) and his overall character arc is given equal attention to Drew's. The results for each season are:
    • Phase 1: Leon serves as the Deuteragonist, with the beginnings of his romance with Yolanda and his tensions with Jack being a prominent part of the phase. Jack serves as the Tritagonist of the season, with his tensions with Leon acting as a source of drama for the whole phase, with Kyle and Nikolai serving as the Tetragonists.
    • Phase 2: Leon once again serves the role of Deuteragonist and shares this role with Jack. The former has a character arc training the allosaurs and plays a significant role in the finale, whilst the latter takes a significant level in badass, gets a romance arc with Collete and helps take down Sharptooth. Collete and Linda serve as the Tritagonists, with the former being Jack's love interest and the latter having a bonding arc with Cirrus and playing a prominent role in a high number of subplots. Finally Kyle and Nikolai again serve as the Tetragonists, with each playing a prominent role in subplots.
    • Phase 3: Leon once again takes the reigns as the Deuteragonist and shares this position with Alice. The former gets a Romance Arc with Yolanda, and plays an important role in the finale, whilst the latter gets Ship Tease with Will, gets a bonding arc with Raksha and is among the first to find out about Percival's infiltration of the park. Will and Yolanda serve as the Tritagonists, with the former's feelings for Alice playing a prominent role in the plot, and the latter serving as Leon's love interest and bonding with Sharptooth. Finally we have Cynthia and Sharptooth as Tetragonists, with the former's attempts to find out what Percival and the Novum board are planning playing a prominent role, while the latter gets a bonding arc with Yolanda.
  • In Sherlockian fanfic, Inspector Lestrade is a fairly popular deuteragonist to Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson as The Hero. (Some Scotland Yard-focused fics reverse the position and make Lestrade The Protagonist with Holmes and/or Watson secondary.)
  • Obsidian fills this role in the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, to Vale's protagonist. Though it is primarily her story, he is in the spotlight quite a bit and gets a lot of Character Development. He actually becomes the de facto main character after Vale's death.
  • In Son of the Desert, Edward Elric is the protagonist while his mother Trisha is the deuteragonist. While the story is about how the Elrics' Ishvalan heritage affected their lives in the military, the other half of the story is about Trisha's courtship off Hohenheim and her raising Ed and Al.
  • The Supernatural fic Down to Agincourt trades off between Dean's POV and Castiel's; Dean seems to get slightly more "screen" time, but not by enough that they're anything but dual protagonists.
  • Three-Point Shot: Shuichi Saihara ends up becoming this to Kaede Akamatsu once she's saved from her canon fate, allowing her to become the protagonist properly instead of the Decoy Protagonist Team Danganronpa intended her to be. The role of Tritagonist is shared between Maki Harukawa and Kokichi Ouma, the former becoming the focal character of some chapters and getting her own character arc, while the latter becomes less antagonistic and slowly throws the killing game off the rails.
  • In Turnabout Storm, Twilight plays this role to Phoenix's protagonism. Not only does she assist Phoenix and is responsible for his involvement in the events, but is also central to one of the story's major conflicts, and gets a whole episode dedicated to her own side of the investigation via Simultaneous Arcs.
  • In the Vocaloid fanfic Vocal Vision, Gumi and Teto are this,with Miku as the protagonist and Luka as the tritagonist.
  • The Gender Flip Harry Potter fic Weasley Girl has Veronica "Ronnie" Weasley as the deuteragonist to Harry's protagonist, with the role of tritagonist shared by Hermione and Neville. The sequel, Weasley Girl: Secrets of the Past, makes Ronnie the protagonist, with Harry as the deuteragonist.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: While the story is all about Chloe's adventures on the Infinity Train in her journey to reinvent herself, her Childhood Friend Goh is the deuteragonist as he must come to terms on how, despite stating he's "friends" with Chloe, he's never cared or actually interacted with her due to his obsession with Mew and new budding friendship with Ash.
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    Films — Animation 
  • After School Midnighters: The girls Mako, Miko, and Mutsuko are the deuteragonists. Kunstlijk is the center of the franchise and he's the one whose life is most affected by the events of the film, but it is the girls' actions and subsequent adventure that make the story.
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle is the protagonist and the Beast is the deuteragonist. The story initially focuses on Belle's life and she's the point of view character, but the main plot is about the Beast's Character Development. Gaston, meanwhile, is the tritagonist (and antagonist), having an important part of the story and existing to serve as a contrast to the two characters.
  • The Lion King: Scar is this as well as the antagonist. While Simba is unequivocally the protagonist, the story is just about Scar as it is Simba, especially the differences on the leaders they became.
  • Brave: Queen Elinor. The story is just as much about her as about Merida.
  • Coco: Héctor is the deuteragonist to Miguel's protagonist, being most important character in the Land of the Dead as his past and goal bear an important role in Miguel's journey to get home.
  • In Frozen, Anna serves as the main protagonist, but the story is just as much about Elsa coming to terms with and gaining control over her uncontrollable ice powers.
  • Home: Oh is the second main focus after Tip.
  • Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a rare instance of a character being both this and The Antagonist: he opposes the titular character, Quasimodo, and incites all of the story's problems, but the story is as much about him as it is Quasimodo. In fact, the majority of the subtext - which comments on the dangers of pride, lust, and extremism - come from his own racism and inability to accept responsibility for his actions.
  • Ice Age: Diego and Sid are the deuteragonists, while Manny is the protagonist.
  • Inside Out: Riley Anderson. Word of God considers her and Joy to basically be twin protagonists. Of the emotions, Sadness can qualify as well.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Master Shifu. In the sequel, however, he's Out of Focus, and the Soothsayer takes over this role in his place. In the third film, it's Li Shan. In 1 and 2, the Tritagonist is Tigress, while in 3, it's Mr. Ping.
  • Lilo & Stitch is about how the two title characters, a little Hawaiian girl and a blue alien monster, grow because they suddenly have each other in their 'ohana. That said, the girl that's first-billed is behind the alien in importance, not the other way around.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: Sunset Shimmer. The former Big Bad of the previous film pulls a Heel–Face Turn at the end, and Rainbow Rocks is her dealing with the implications and fallout of her years of being an Alpha Bitch. While Twilight Sparkle is still The Hero, Sunset's character arc gets only slightly less screen time.
  • Osmosis Jones: Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff to the titular protagonist, with the film focusing on the two of them slowly becoming partners as they try to put a stop to the threat of Thrax.
  • The Prince of Egypt: Rameses is both this and the main antagonist, with Moses as the protagonist and Miriam as the tritagonist.
  • Rio: Jewel is the deuteragonist with Blu as the main protagonist, and Linda as the tritagonist.
  • In The Road to El Dorado both Miguel and Tulio are the protagonists, Miguel is the one who saves the day while Tulio is the one who gets the girl. The movie was supposed to be a movie where Those Two Guys were the main characters.
  • Song of the Sea: Saoirse with Ben as the main protagonist. While the latter gets the most focus in the plot with his journey to return to the lighthouse and his Character Development, Saoirse's role as a Selkie is just as important as she needs to find her voice, literally and metaphorically.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water: Behind SpongeBob, Plankton's role greatly outweighs that of the other characters, and he even winds up becoming the Big Damn Hero in the end, no strings attached!
  • Strange Magic: The movie starts out focusing on Marianne with the Bog King as the antagonist, however as the movie goes on the Bog King becomes the second protagonist. This is because the movie is their love story.
  • Tangled: Flynn Ryder. His character arc of coming to grips with who he is somewhat mirrors Rapunzel's, and gives her a more world-weary Deadpan Snarker off of whom she can bounce.
  • Toy Story:
    • In Toy Story, Woody is the main protagonist and Buzz Lightyear is the deuteragonist. In the first two sequels Jessie is the tritagonist. In the fourth film, Woody is the protagonist as usual, Bo Peep is the deuteragonist (as Woody's Action Girlfriend), Forky is the tritagonist (has his own story arc that kicks off the plot), and Buzz is the tetragonist (not as prominent as he was in the other films, but the only one of the original toys that wasn't Demoted to Extra).
    • If Toy Story 2 has a tetragonist, then it's likely Rex, who gets the most focus of the toys on Buzz's rescue team besides Buzz himself, has a defined arc of overcoming his cowardice, and a defined goal that he accomplishes by the end of the movie (defeating Zurg).
  • WALL•E: EVE with WALL•E as the main protagonist and Captain McRea as the tritagonist.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Vanellope Von Schweetz, with Fix-It Felix as the Tritagonist and Sgt. Calhoun as Tetragonist.
  • Zootopia: Nick serves as this to Judy's protagonist. He is actually somewhat of a secondary protagonist because although he is very important, the story is more about Judy and her growth as a person. To add to this, Judy gets multiple scenes without Nick yet every scene with Nick includes Judy, with a possible exception being his flashback, but he is telling that story to Judy so it still kinda counts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus. While the main narrative is Antonio Salieri's plot to destroy him, Mozart is equally important and prominent. This can also apply to the original play, though Mozart's role is more supporting in that one while he and Salieri are co-leads in the movie.
  • Annie Hall in Annie Hall, despite being the title character. She is the protagonist's Love Interest.
  • Doc Brown is this to Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films.
  • Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, with Chase Meridian as the tritagonist in Forever and Barbara Wilson/Batgirl as the tritagonist in Batman & Robin.
  • Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns.
  • Luv in Blade Runner 2049 depending on your perspective. We have a distorted point of view from K that Luv is psychotic and loyal to Wallace, but from Luv's possible perspective, K is a Blade Runner who murders her own kind and has been assigned to kill the child of Rachel and Deckard. She is also clearly disturbed by Wallace's actions and like K has the ability to lie unlike most of the other Replicants. It is possible that she is trying to save the baby from both Wallace and K, and sees herself as the Messiah for the Replicants.
  • Clerks has Randall as this to Dante's protagonist and Jay and Silent Bob sharing the tritagonist slot.
  • Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight (Gordon as the tritagonist). Arguably Blake in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • In Double Take, Freddie Tiffany is the obvious Deuteragonist to Daryl Chase's Protagonist, being the titular Double.
  • The Fast and the Furious series:
  • In The Fly (1986), Veronica Quaife is this to Doomed Protagonist Seth Brundle to the point that she edges him out in total screentime. Her efforts to keep her editor/ex-lover Stathis out of her blossoming professional and personal relationship with Seth (which she elevates to a romantic one) end up accidentally paving the way for Seth's Tragic Mistake. Once his Slow Transformation begins, her efforts to first convince him that he's not well and later to deal with what he's becoming are given equal emotional and thematic weight with his own character arc by the narrative, especially when she learns she is pregnant with his child and must decide what to do. In the end, as Seth's Protagonist Journey to Villain becomes complete, she is the one who ends the horror and the film by mercy killing him at his request.
  • For a Few Dollars More: In the same trilogy, Colonel Mortimer is the deuteragonist to Manco's protagonist in . Played by the same actor as Angel Eyes, strangely enough.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: After Gleahan, Penelope has the most impact in the story — and even deals the final blow to Nathaniel's crime empire!
  • Godzilla movies typically have some main human character who helps move the plot along just as much as Godzilla. Miki Saegusa most commonly plays this role in the Heisei films starting with Godzilla vs. Biollante.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Ford Brody plays the other role of protagonist while Godzilla is the lead. This is alluded to when Ford faints at the same time Godzilla collapses after defeating the MUTOs.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has Tuco as its protagonist, Blondie as the deuteragonist and Angel Eyes as the tritagonist.
  • Thao in the Gran Torino, as the character who develops alongside Walt.
  • Kumar in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
  • Old Man Marley in Home Alone, The Pigeon Lady in Lost in New York, and Mrs. Hess in 3, with Kevin as the protagonist in 1 & 2 and Alex in 3, and their parents as the tritagonist.
  • Peeta is this to Katniss' protagonist in The Hunger Games series. Although given what happens to him in "Mockingjay" he probably won't appear all that much in the third movie. Jennifer Lawrence has mentioned in more than on interview how upset she was when she read the script for the third film and saw that she would barely get to work with Platonic Life-Partners Josh Hutcherson in that film.
  • Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. Even more pronounced in Kick-Ass 2.
  • James Bond: The Bond Girls tend to be this, some more than others: Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love), Anya Amasova (The Spy Who Loved Me), Melina Havelock (For Your Eyes Only) and Natalya Simonova (GoldenEye) are introduced before they meet Bond. Natalya Simonova even has a considerable screentime in the first half of the filme with her own subplot.
  • Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. She's The Hero and causes the plot, but Max has the primary point of view and the most screentime.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: As a whole (or at least in the Infinity Saga), either Steve Rogers or Tony Stark could be considered the deuteragonist to the other's protagonist note while Thor is the undisputed tritagonist due to being the only other original Avengers member with his own film trilogy and having several elements of his films be vital pieces of the overall Myth Arc. Within the individual series, we have these:
  • The Negotiator: Chris Sabian. It is probably not a coincidence that, like The Protagonist, Danny Roman, he is also a Negotiator.
  • Jack Sparrow was originally supposed to be the Deuteragonist in the original Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, but Jack's popularity just took off. In the end, Jack became the Protagonist, Will the Deuteragonist, and Elizabeth the Tritagonist.
  • Rio Lobo: Captain Pierre Cardona, who gets the main romantic subplot, plenty of good action scenes and about as much development and screen time as John Wayne's character.
  • Will Rodman in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar is the real protagonist.
  • Mark from The Room.
  • Scarface (1983) has Manny Ribera as this to Tony's Villain Protagonist.
  • Ellis Boyd Redding in The Shawshank Redemption, also serving as Supporting Protagonist.
  • M to James Bond's protagonist in Skyfall.
  • The Social Network: Eduardo Saverin to Mark Zuckerberg's Protagonist.
  • Spock in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. While Kirk is still the protagonist, McCoy's role in the Power Trio is downplayed in favor of focusing on Kirk and Spock's friendship and growth.
  • Star Wars: it's standard for each trilogy to have a Power Trio of the protagonist, deuteragonist, and tritagonist.
    • In the original trilogy, Leia can be seen as the deuteragonist, with her importance as the second Skywalker twin, and the other new hope for the Galaxy her birth represents at the end of the prequels, and the only one who can fulfill Luke's position should her brother fail. In the first (fourth?) film, she's also the only character with knowledge of and stake in the main plot from the very beginning, the one who kicks it into motion, and the only main character who interacts with the Big Bad, Tarkin.
    • Han Solo serves as the tritagonist of the original trilogy.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, with Yoda and Padmé Amidala sharing the role as tritagonists.
    • Rogue One has Cassian Andor, he's the one who frees the protagonist Jyn Erso, providing the way to her father.
    • Finn in The Force Awakens, with Rey as its lead protagonist. Kylo Ren also functions as tritagonist as well as the main antagonist. The films climax is the three of them duking it out.
    • By The Last Jedi Kylo "Ben Solo" Ren serves as this as the Dark half of the Force that his bond with Rey's Light half represents.
  • Zaltar in Supergirl, with Kara/Supergirl as the main protagonist and Ethan as the tritagonist.
  • Lois Lane in Superman: The Movie, Superman II and Superman Returns, Gus Gorman in Superman III and Lacy Warfield in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, with Superman/Clark Kent as the main protagonist of the series. In Man of Steel, Lois returns to being this, while Jor-El is the tritagonist in this case.
  • Optimus Prime in the Transformers Film Series. In all of them, his role greatly outweighs that of the other Transformers and his motivations, goals and backstory ultimately moves the entire plot.
  • The Film of the Book for To Kill a Mockingbird has Scout and Jem as the deuteragonists to Atticus' protagonizing rolenote  but at some point of the film, his deuteragonizing kids acted like the protagonists while an elder Scout played the role of an off-screen Character Narrator.
  • Edward Cullen from Twilight. He is the main love interest of the heroine and protagonist, Bella. Jacob is the tritagonist.
  • WarCraft (2016) has four protagonists the story treats as equals: Durotan, Khadgar, Lothar and Garona. One of them is a Decoy Protagonist, though.
  • In the biopic Yves Saint Laurent the story is narrated by the iconic fashion designer's business/life partner Pierre Bergé.

    Literature 
  • In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim plays this role to Huck, with Tom Sawyer as the tritagonist.
  • Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series, especially in the first two books before she teams up with Artemis — she acts as a Hero Antagonist in contrast to Artemis's intial role as Villain Protagonist. During this period the story revolves around her almost as much as Artemis and the readers are made to sympathise with her. It is more evident in the Graphic Novels where she serves as the second narrator in the stories.
  • In The Balanced Sword: Tobimar, to Kyri's protagonist. But Poplock has a tendency to steal the show, whenever he gets half a chance.
  • Brandon Sanderson typically has two or three point of view characters, so this is pretty standard:
    • In the first Mistborn book, Kelsier is the deuteragonist (despite being introduced first and is the Big Good) with his protege Vin taking the main role. After he dies, Vin remains The Protagonist while Elend takes up the role of deuteragonist and Sazed gets promoted to tritagonist.
    • Elantris: Prince Raoden is The Protagonist, Sarene is the deuteragonist, and Hrathen is the tritagonist.
    • Warbreaker: Vivenna is the protagonist, Siri is the deuteragonist, and Lightsong is the tritagonist
    • The Way of Kings: Kaladin is the protagonist, Dalinar is the deuteragonist, Shallan and is the tritagonist (Shallan is introduced before Dalinar, but receives a bit less page time).
      • This is actually shuffled throughout the series as well. Each book shifts focus and has flashbacks relating the backstory of that book's primary character. Words of Radiance has Shallan take the focus, with Kaladian second and Dalinar third, then Oathbringer has Dalinar as the main focus with Shallan second and Kaladin third.
  • In Brimstone Angels, Word of God explicitly describes Lorcan (the devil who heroine Farideh made a pact with) as the deuteragonist. Who fills the tritagonist position isn't as explicitly described, but it's probably Farideh's twin sister Havilar.
  • The eponymous unicorn in Cerberon is a very close second to George, who is the protagonist for most of the story. After George and Margaret are betrothed, and especially once they leave Aeronweyir for America, Cerberon becomes the protagonist, with George taking on a secondary role.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Charlie Bucket as the protagonist and Willy Wonka as the deuteragonist. While they don't meet until the 1/3 mark of the book and the halfway point of most adaptations, Mr. Wonka's fame and reputation precede him, and it's his actions that set the plot Charlie gets swept into in motion. (The sequel makes Mr. Wonka the protagonist and Charlie a Sidekick.) The 2013 stage musical adaptation takes this trope further via Adaptation Expansion, portraying both characters as Mr. Imaginations. They're the only characters who warrant solo songs (two apiece, in fact) about their personalities and motivations; all the other songs are crowd numbers or team-ups between two or more characters. And Mr. Wonka sometimes ventures out of his factory disguised as an elderly tramp, whom Charlie meets in the opening scene. (On the other hand, the 2005 film adaptation makes Charlie a Supporting Protagonist to Mr. Wonka.)
  • In PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Torisen is the deuteragonist to Jame's protagonist from the second book and onwards.
  • Counselors and Kings has four main characters who fit into this scheme. Matteo is The Hero and The Protagonist, getting the most POV scenes and whose actions tend to drive the plot the most; Tzigone is the Deuteragonist, getting nearly as much development and with a distinct character arc closely tied to the trilogy's main storyline; Kiva is the most direct villain for most of the story and gets nearly as much attention as the heroic portions of the cast, making her the Tritagonist. Andris, the fourth main character, doesn't hold down his own plotline however so much as be defined chiefly by his role in Matteo's and Kiva's stories.
  • Danielle L. Jensen:
    • Malediction Trilogy: Cecile is the protagonist and most of chapters are written from her PoV but her husband Tristan is equally important to the plot, even though he gets less screen time.
    • The Bridge Kingdom Archives: Of the royal couple of Ithicana, Lara is the protagonist, we learn her Back Story and motivations, but once she gets married to Aren, he becomes the deuteragonist, with their stories developing together.
    • Dark Shores: Teriana is the protagonist but Marcus also gets his PoV chapters and they both drive the plot together.
    • Dark Skies: Lydia and Killian are almost equally important, we know their background and history, and the narration switches between them, although Lydia gets a little more time in the spotlight.
  • Although most of The Day of the Locust is seen from protagonist Tod Hackett's point of view, Chapters 7 through 12 tell the story of his friend Homer Simpsonnote  and how he came to Hollywood from Des Moines and met the object of his and Tod's fascination, Faye Greener, and her father Harry. Homer remains an important character through the remainder of the book, even as the primary focus shifts back to Tod.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, Alfred is the deuteragonist to Haplo's protagonist. Alfred is the second-most-recurring character (thanks to the series' use of multiple worlds and Rotating Arcs, Haplo - and his dog - is the only character to appear in every volume), and he and Haplo follow parallel development arcs.
  • Discworld has a number of perennial deuteragonists, including Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson (in the stories featuring Sam Vimes as the protagonist), Nanny Ogg (in stories focusing on Granny Weatherwax), and even Death himself (in the stories primarily centered around his granddaughter, Susan).
  • The Doom novels have Arlene Sanders. Once Fly reunites with her on Deimos, mid-way through the first book, she remains at his side for virtually everything. Together they take on the "demons" on the Martian moons, "hell", the ruins of Earth, and ultimately the enemy homeworld and beyond.
  • In The Dresden Files: On a series level, Harry Dresden is the POV character and protagonist, and Karrin Murphy is the deuteragonist. That being said on a book to book basis the position shifts between a few different people like Thomas Raith, Michael Carpenter, Molly Carpenter and even Butters once.
  • The Earthsea series likes to shuffle the roles around. Ged is the protagonist in A Wizard of Earthsea, but in The Tombs of Atuan he becomes the deuteragonist with Tenar as the protagonist, in The Farthest Shore he plays deuteragonist again with Arren as the protagonist, and in Tehanu he becomes the tritagonist, with Tenar as the protagonist and Therru as the deuteragonist. Tales from Earthsea includes a short story where Ged is the protagonist again, but in The Other Wind he's a minor character, with Alder as the protagonist, Irian as the deuteragonist, and Tenar as the tritagonist.
  • Annie Bellis in George's Secret Key to the Universe, at least in books 2-5. Her father Eric is arguably the deuteragonist of the first book, taking the role of tritagonist in books 2-5. In the sixth and last book, George and the Ship of Time, Hero is this with Boltzmann Brian and then Atticus being tritagonists
  • Gideon may be the eponymous, point of view character of Gideon the Ninth, but Harrow's story develops in tandem with hers and is just as important. Tellingly, the book shifts to Harrow's perspective following Gideon's Heroic Suicide near the end, and the second book is named after her.
  • In Halvgudene is both Trigg and Briskir deuteragonists. And Askill as the tritagonist in the first book, but later Rasp takes that place and he is moved to tetragonist. Eld is tritagonist for a short while.
  • In Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione share the role of the deuteragonist, although the former is mentioned slightly more often than the latter. Dumbledore is the tritagonist behind the two of them but, oddly enough, is the deuteragonist of the last book as a Posthumous Character.
  • Julius and Marci ''The Heartstrikers" series
  • Will Parry in the His Dark Materials trilogy shares the spotlight with Lyra when he's introduced in the second book.
  • Melanie Stryder in The Host.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta Mellark, in the first two books. In "Mockingjay", he spends the better part of the first third being tortured in the Capitol and the second third being kept away from Katniss because he's been brainwashed into wanting to kill her. He goes back to being the deuteragonist in the last third. Gale takes over in book 3.
  • Roran Stronghammer in Inheritance Cycle, with Eragon as the protagonist and Murtagh as the tritagonist, according to Word of God. Other possible interpretations include Eragon > Saphira > Roran, Eragon/Saphira > Roran > Murtagh, and Eragon > Roran > Nasuada.
  • In Invisible Werewolf Dracula Meets Vampire Mummy Frankenstein, Dracula is the team leader but Adam is more the POV character. Still, as a party member, Adam's The Lancer to Dracula's Hero.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the titular characters Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange essentially share the protagonist role, but Stephen Black consistently serves as the deuteragonist, with Lady Charlotte Pole (née Wintertowne) as the tritagonist. Though the latter two don't directly affect Stange and Norrell's story until the end, they both prove crucial to resolving the plot, as Lady Pole's liberation from the service of the Gentleman with Thistledown Hair signals his downfall, while Stephen ultimately defeats him. By the final act, the novel is just as much the story of Stephen and Lady Pole's suffering at the Gentleman's hands as it is the story of Strange and Norrell reintroducing magic to the world.
  • In Kire Flora is the deuteragonist to Erik's protagonist. And Trine and Tore are the tritanogists.
  • Fisk, in the Knight and Rogue Series, since he's 'just' the squire while Michael is the knight.
  • Masks of Aygrima: Each book has a different Deuteragonist and Tritagonist
    • Masks: Deuteragonist: Keltan, the more prominent of Mara's two love interests. Tritagonist: Katia, Mara's friend in the Magic Mine.
    • Shadows: Deuteragonist: Chell, who spends a long time as Mara's only companion in the book. Tritagonist: Guardian Stanik, The Heavy of the book.
    • Faces: Deuteragonist: The Lady of Pain and Fire, Mara's mentor. Tritagonist: Keltan, Mara's Love Interest.
  • In the Mediochre Q Seth Series, Mediochre and Charlotte Johnson tend to bat the roles of Protagonist and Deuteragonist back and forth between them. The positions of tritagonist and tetragonist go to Joseph Carrion and Dhampinella respectively.
  • Mikael Blomkvist in The Millennium Trilogy. He and Lisbeth Salander are developed quite a bit as separate characters, but once they team up the plot centers around them both.
  • Gawan in Parzival, who is the focus of about a third of the poem.
  • Phenomena:
  • Lt. Vincent D'Agosta in the Agent Pendergast novels, serving as the one to protagonist Margo Green in Relic and Reliquary with Pendergast himself as the tritagonist. D'Agosta serves in this role as well for the other novels he appears after Pendergast takes over as the protagonist.
    • Additionally, other characters have also served in deuteragonist/tritagonist roles in the books. In The Cabinet of Curiosities Nora Kelly is the deuteragonist, with William Smithback as the tritagonist, in the novel Thunderhead Kelly was the protagonist and Smithback was the deuteragonist, and in Cemetery Dance Kelly is the tritagonist to Pendergast and D'Agosta. In Still Life with Crows Corrie Swanson serves as the deuteragonist with Sheriff Hazen as the tritagonist. In Brimstone Laura Hayward serves as the tritagonist to Pendergast and D'Agosta. Constance Greene acts as the deuteragonist in The Wheel of Darkness. Corrie again serves in the role for White Fire. In Blue Labyrinth Margo returns and now acts as the tritagonist respectively to Pendergast and D'Agosta.
    • The "Helen Trilogy" novels begin mixing this up, as despite D'Agosta appearing in all three books he remains Out of Focus. He initially starts out as the deuteragonist like usual in Fever Dream, but halfway through it he is shot and Laura Hayward serves in the role for the rest of the book. In Cold Vengeance Judson Esterhazy is the deuteragonist. In Two Graves Pendergast's son Alban serves as the deuteragonist as his relationship with Pendergast serves as a driving force in the novel, while roughly 3-4 different characters all serve in the tritagonist role.
  • Septimus Heap: Jenna Heap. Especially in Physik she does get the major plot-driving role.
  • Milla in The Seventh Tower, to Tal's protagonist. Starting from the second book, her POV is shown and they get about equal focus.
  • In Skagboys, Sick Boy plays this role to Mark Renton.
  • Skulduggery himself in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, with Stephanie/Valkyrie as the protagonist. The tritagonist is swiched between the books.
  • Song at Dawn: Estela and Dragonetz share the spotlight because the story follows the former but the plot is centered on the later.
  • Kahlan Amnell in the Sword of Truth series, with Richard as the protagonist and Zedd as the tritagonist. In the seventh book, Oba Rahl becomes this.note  In the Chainfire Trilogy, it is uncertain who is what, given the shifting of roles, but the top three are definitely Richard, Kahlan, and Nicci in some order.
  • 13 Reasons Why switches between Hannah Baker, who's narrating a series of tapes, and Clay, the boy who listens to them, responds to them, and confronts the people mentioned in them. And the tapes are Hannah's suicide note to the people who convinced her to kill herself. The book is as morbid as it sounds. It sold extremely well, met rave reviews, and is getting a film adaptation.
  • Mal and Laura are this in the sequel to Those That Wake.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy initially uses the same setup of Luke as the Protagonist, Leia as the Deuteragonist and Han as the Tritagonist that the original trilogy uses, while adding Mara Jade as the Tetragonist in the first novel. Eventually though it mixes it up a bit by putting Mara in the role of the Deuteragonist to Luke's Protagonist as she goes through the Hero's Journey aspect of the story, going through the most character growth out of the cast and ultimately killing one half of the Big Bad Ensemble. Meanwhile Leia and Han take on the roles of Tritagonist and Tetragonist.
  • The Tokyo Demons series has Jo Oda as the deuteragonist to Ayase's protagonist, and they both cover different sides of the same conflict. The series later pushes Kadoyuki into the tritagonist role, as he has just that much backstory involving their main antagonist.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Hobbit, Thorin is the deuteragonist, while our hobbit Bilbo is the protagonist. The quest is to restore Thorin as King under the Mountain.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is the protagonist, Sam is the deuteragonist, and Aragorn is a tritagonist, along with some of the other members of the Fellowship, particularly Gandalf, Merry, and Pippin.
    • In Tolkien's The Children of Húrin, though Niënor isn't introduced as a major player until about two thirds of the way through, owing to the approx. ten year age gap between herself and her brother Túrin (the protagonist), once she does show up, she slips into this role.
  • Twilight: Edward Cullen is the deuteragonist, Bella is the protagonist and Jacob Black is the tritagonist.
  • In Vampire Academy, Lisa Dragomir's storyline is secondary to Rose Hathaway's, and is always seen through Rose's eyes.

    Theater 
  • Aaron Burr is the deuteragonist and foil to the main character in Hamilton.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar functions this way, shifting its focus pretty evenly between the title character and Judas Iscariot, while giving equal weight and sympathy to the actions of both of them.
  • Othello: Despite being the Character Title, Othello is actually the deuteragonist, with Iago being the main character.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth is the Deuteragonist in the first and second games of the original trilogy. His Character Development and Heel–Face Turn as a person and prosecutor are directly parallel to Phoenix's growth as a person and defense attorney. He may even be the Deuteragonist for the franchise as a whole, considering he plays a minor, but still fairly important, role in the plot of the third game of the trilogy, and the fifth and sixth games feature him as the player character. The series' face, however, will forever be Phoenix Wright.
    • Mia Fey, Phoenix's deceased mentor, is the Deuteragonist of the third game, with her cases taking part in the past and being critical to solving the final case in the present. Godot/Diego Armando is the Tritagonist, as he is the main prosecutor and ultimately the final culprit due to his past with Mia and twisted, yet sympathetic, desire to protect her remaining family. His ties to Mia and his desire to best Phoenix are the next most focus in the story. Finally, Miles Edgeworth can be considered the Tetragonist, as he plays the role of defense attorney in Phoenix's place during the first part of the final case, and this moment is a huge development in his character.
    • Phoenix takes on the role of Deuteragonist in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Trucy is the Tritagonist, with her original family being one of the main focus of the game.
    • Athena is the Deuteragonist in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies. Apollo and Simon Blackquill share the role of the Tritagonist; Apollo's struggles and conflicts are a key part of the final two cases, and Blackquill is not only the main prosecutor but also the reason Athena became an attorney in the first place. Proving his innocence in the murder of her mother and helping him find the truth and the real culprit is what leads to the game's ultimate resolution.
    • Kay Faraday is the Deuteragonist of the first Ace Attorney Investigations game (the Tritagonist is the Interpol detective Shi-Long Lang). In the second game, that role goes to Yumihiko Ichiyanagi (the Tritagonist here being Tateyuki Shigaraki, Gregory Edgeworth's former assistant).
    • Phoenix becomes the Deuteragonist again in Spirit of Justice. He plays an important role in the story, but Apollo has more Character Development and emotional investment in the outcome of the final trials. The final case even has the player, as Apollo, arguing a trial against Phoenix.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Kyoko Kirigiri in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, to the point where Makoto Naegi might even be considered a Supporting Protagonist. Byakuya is the overall Tritagonist, having more focus than most other characters and being the most influential character in the trials besides Kyoko.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Nagito Komaeda is this to Hajime Hinata. He even got his own manga that retells the events of the game from his perspective. At a certain part in the game you can play as him for a little while. Different from Kirigiri, Komaeda is the Token Evil Teammate, and Hinata's investigative aide is actually Chiaki Nanami. Chiaki herself qualifies as this trope too, as she has roughly even screentime with him compared to Komaeda and is ultimately what pulls him together at the end. Fuyuhiko falls into the tritagonist role as he has the most development out of the survivors and has the most character focus besides those three.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony bounces around with this. At the beginning, Kaede Akamatsu is the protagonist and Shuichi Saihara is the deuteragonist. Then Kaede is executed after a botched attempt to kill the mastermind, Shuichi is promoted to protagonist, and Kaito Momota, Kokichi Oma, and Maki Harukawa take the deuteragonist, tritagonist, and tetragonist slots respectively as in different points in the game, they each help Shuichi with his investigations and they are all directly involved with the murder in the penultimate chapter. After Kaito and Kokichi die in chapter 5, Keebo becomes the deuteragonist for the rest of the game.
  • In Ever17, you have the choice in the beginning to play as either Takeshi or The Kid. Blinkwinkel is either the tritagonist, or the actual protagonist.
  • Kyousuke is the protagonist of G-Senjou no Maou followed by main heroine Usami Heroine and antagonist Maou. Usami is almost a second protagonist and her introduction to the story starts off the plot with her obsession with both justice and revenge with Kyousuke acting as something of an actor for her. Maou, the tritagonist, is the villain of the story and is a criminal mastermind who killed Usami's mother and has a suspicious connection to Kyousuke. There's even a tetragonist: Azai Gonzou, Kyousuke's badass yakuza father, who is the primary target of Maou's schemes.
  • Nasuverse:
    • Fate/stay night's Kirei Kotomine is a pretty obvious villain from the moment he first appears. However, it is not clear until Heavens Feel just how much he has truly shaped the plot of the series. In a more traditional sense, Rin Tohsaka is one of the primary heroines (though not necessarily love interest). She's the only character besides Shirou who gets first-person P.O.V. scenes, and plays a major role in every route of the game (unlike the other villains and supporting characters, Kirei included, whose role may be significantly downplayed).
    • Fate/Zero has Kirei playing a more traditional deuteragonist role to Kiritsugu Emiya's protagonist, as the story focuses quite a bit on his development into the man seen in /stay night.
    • Fate/Apocrypha: Jeanne d'Arc is the deuteragonist to Sieg's protagonist. Saber of Red/Mordred and her Master Kairi Sisigou are the tritagonists by virtue of being the most developed Master and Servant of the Red Faction and joining Sieg and Jeanne's side to fight the true enemy.
  • Phantom of Inferno changes it each act, also depending on which routes are taken:
    • In Act I, either Ein or Claudia is the deuteragonist while the other is the tritagonist.
    • In Act II, either Cal or Claudia is the deuteragonist while the other is the tritagonist.
    • In Act III, if the player takes Mio's route she will serve as the deuteragonist while both Ein and Drei share the tritagonist role. If not, then either Ein or Drei serves in the role instead while the other is the tritagonist and Mio is automatically relegated to tetragonist.
  • In The Pirate's Fate, Morgana. She has the most detailed and emotional backstory of the main cast, has multiple distinct character arcs and emotional ranges across the game, and is responsible for a lot of the most memorable moments in the story directly or indirectly. On top of that, she was (according to Word of God) the most fun to write, and it's telling that the only time she's allowed to decide the ending is the functional Golden Ending of the game. The only thing that stops her from being even more of a protagonist is that she spends some routes permanently dead.
  • Remember11 has Kokoro and Satoru as the deuteragonists in the respective other's route.
  • Houzuki in Sharin no Kuni is Kenichi's mentor figure and guides him along from point to point in the story while forcing Kyousuke to confront his own past and his future. While he's Kenichi's boss, supervisor and even a father figure of sorts, he's also clearly the antagonist of the story due to his harsh methods and later even becomes the villain. The identity of the tritagonist is much less clear: The main heroine that the story is focused around is Natsumi, but the person who really shaped Kenichi into who he is is his sister Ririko who has been following him around the whole time.
  • It's hard to say who the true protagonist of Shiny Days is because the story starts from Setsuna's perspective and follows her view throughout, but as time goes on more scenes are devoted to what Makoto is doing, especially as he begins making more choices that can lead to close relationships with people apart from her.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, it progressively becomes very clear (especially from EP3) that Beatrice is just as much the main character of the story as Battler is. The entire mystery is about understanding who she is, where she comes from and what her motivations are. If we add the 1998 part, Ange, who desperately tries to find the truth of what happened on Rokkenjima, would be the tritagonist.
  • In the Zero Escape series:
    • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Junpei is the protagonist and Akane/June is the deuteragonist. This is subverted in the True Ending, where it's revealed that the positions were reversed the entire time - you have been playing as 12-year old Akane, who is viewing the Second Nonary Game through Junpei's eyes in order to survive the First Nonary Game.
    • In the sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, Sigma is the protagonist and Phi is the deuteragonist. In Phi's ending, Junpei Tenmyouji is promoted to tritagonist and his romance subplot with Akane is finally resolved (although not on a happy note).
    • The third game, Zero Time Dilemma, is a bit more complicated in this regard. Carlos, Diana, and Q/Sean are the game's protagonists. Sigma is clearly the deuteragonist of D-Team, since his relationship with Diana is the centerpiece of D-Team's storyline and Phi has a tendency to end up dead when they do anything important. In Q-Team, Eric eventually becomes the deuteragonist after Mira dies in the timeline leading to the big reveal of Zero's true identity. In C-Team, neither Junpei nor Akane conclusively take the deuteragonist slot since most of Carlos' major contributions to the plot are done either on his own or together with both of them.

    Web Animation 
  • In Freeze Flame, each of Freeze's shows has a character who serves as a Deuteragonist and Tritagonist.
    • In Carl, Blooper serves as the Deuteragonist and Dry Bones serves as the Tritagonist to Protagonist Carl.
    • In Bowser's Koopalings, as Larry serves as The Protagonist, Wendy serves as the Deuteragonist and Ludwig serves as the Tritagonist.
    • In Donkey Kong Island, Diddy Kong and Dixie Fitzgerald serves as the Deuteragonist and Tritagonist respectively to Donkey Kong being The Protagonist.
  • In Half-Life but the AI is Self-Aware, Gordon serves as the protagonist, Benrey as the villain deuteragonist, and Dr. Coomer as the tritagonist.
  • Red vs. Blue has several characters who play the role of Deuteragonist to Protagonist Leonard Church depending on the season:
    • The Recollection Trilogy (Seasons 6-8) has Agent Washington.
    • Revelation (Season 8) has Agent Texas, with Agent Washington serving as a villainous Tritagonist for most of it.
    • Seasons 9 and 10 have Agent Carolina, with Agent Texas serving as the Tritagonist.
  • In RWBY, team JNPR is the deuteragonist to team RWBY's protagonist, particularly in regards to the teams' respective leaders, with Jaune playing deuteragonist to Ruby. Word of Monty is that originally, they were supposed to be the B-team, "but somewhere along the lines, they became a second A-team."

    Webcomics 
  • Archipelago's becomes Raven, despite the role seeming to have always been set up for Blitz.
  • In Cassiopeia Quinn, the second main character is Hero Antagonist Madison Vrax — the story revolves around both her and the title character, and is told from both their perspectives.
  • Kat in Gunnerkrigg Court to protagonist Annie, her best friend and foil. Magic Versus Science is a recurring theme of the story and setting, and is represented in the two characters. Annie, who converses with psychopomps and has connections to the ether and the forest, represents the supernatural. Kat, a Gadgeteer Genius who grew up in the Court, represents technology.
  • Homestuck:
    • According to Word of God, Karkat is the Deuteragonist to Protagonist John, as he takes the role of John's foil when the focus shifts off of the kids and onto the trolls. When the series shifts yet again to a second set of kids, Jane (and later Roxy) becomes the series' Tritagonist. Meenah is the tetragonist of the Openbound arc.
    • Before Karkat, Rose was a combination of this and The Lancer to John's Hero.
  • Joseph from Joseph & Yusra. Despite both he and Yusra are the main characters, he has no Point of View of the story.
  • Amber in Matchu. Neither her nor Protagonist Matchu know each other, and the stories revolve around their intertwining lives.
  • Monsterkind: While Wallace has been the main character for most of the story, relatively recently Kip has taken a role as a deuteragonist.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy (Hero) is the comic's protagonist, with Haley (Lancer) and Elan (Chick) essentially taking turns as deuteragonist and tritagonist. Generally speaking, Haley is the deuteragonist and Elan is the tritagonist during the Dungeon Crawling Fools, Wars and PC's, and Don't Split the Party story arcs, while their positions are flipped during the No Cure for the Paladin Blues and Blood Runs in the Family arcs.
    • Start of Darkness fits this perfectly: Redcloak is the protagonist, Xykon is the deuteragonist and antagonist, and Right-Eye is the tritagonist.
  • Most of the comic Parimetra follows Antine, but Adrienne has scenes all to herself, and her story runs parallel to Antine's until they eventually meet.
  • Faye from Questionable Content. The ostensible protagonist is Marten, especially at first, but the comic's development meant it revolved equally around both of them, before becoming an ensemble cast.
  • The titular characters of Sandra and Woo serve as protagonist and deuteragonist, respectively. The comic gives roughly equal narrative focus to Sandra's life in the human world and Woo's adventures with his fellow forest animals (and sometimes crisscrosses both together, notably during the story arc where Woo gets kidnapped by predators).

    Web Original 
  • Noob has the eponymous low-level guild as the protagonist ensemble. The only other full team from their faction ever seen is the main roster from the high-level Justice guild, that is used to depict the elite's gaming life and have enough importance in the story to have their own rivals be semi-regular characters.

Alternative Title(s): Tritagonist

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