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Heroic Team Revolt

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Some heroes aren't shining paragons of virtue. Frankly, some heroes aren't fit to bear the title of Anti-Hero. And sometimes, just sometimes, the rest of the squad notices this... and act accordingly.

There's no What the Hell, Hero? this time for the unfortunate bungler. Usually after a colossal screw up or a moment of incredible selfishness, the hero has completely alienated the rest of the team and they're leaving with disgust, if not actually out for their former leader's blood. If lucky they will merely be forcibly demoting the former leader. This rarely leads to a dead hero, but it often leads to the hero being on his own for a while while he gets his act together.

Resolutions to this vary.

  • The hero may have a chance to redeem himself, and usually the rest of the squad is beleaguered while the hero learns his lesson and joins in with new skills and determination sorely needed, becoming the team's needed leader once again.
  • Alternatively, the hero and his lancer or other capable member may change positions. (Expect this one to cause trouble later.)
  • The hero may find himself Jumping Off the Slippery Slope as a Fallen Hero. This will also cause trouble as he's often one of the strongest characters, especially if his team abandoned him on moral grounds, and this kind of split is almost always on moral grounds as grounds of competence would simply lead to demotion.
  • If there were people who still agree with the current hero, there may be a case of Divided We Fall as the heroes turn on one another.
  • Rarely, it turns out that the companions are becoming more morally ambiguous or even outright evil while The Hero is still morally upright. The companions disagree with The Hero's dog petting, refusal to Shoot the Dog, and their general policy of Honor Before Reason. Depending on the tone of the story, the companions are either brought around, manage to corrupt the hero too, or force The Hero to find new True Companions.
  • Sometimes (oftentimes, if you're cynical), it turns out that it was the True Companions who are in the wrong, not The Hero. The author actually does want you to stay on the hero's side and complaints from the rest of the team are painted as bad cases of Poor Communication Kills, Honor Before Reason, or even The Complainer Is Always Wrong. If this is the case The Hero will usually bring the rest of the team around after getting a chance to explain himself.
  • Finally, on very rare occasions the hero and his team may split off entirely, the former hero eventually joining up with another heroic, neutral or evil group while the rest continue on.

Contrast Divided We Fall, where dissension arises despite the hero being in the right. Sub-trope of We ARE Struggling Together, which covers general good guy division.

The reasons for using this trope are numerous; it provides a moment of introspection for the hero and audience for the hero to really come to grips with his or her ideals and true feelings... and how far the hero has fallen away from them. And, perhaps, how that selfishness in putting the heroes own feelings above the needs of the group has led him away from cherished ideals... which the character finds he or she feels even more strongly about than the issues he or she was having before.


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    Comic Books 

  • A version happens to Hal Jordan when he becomes Parallax- he's almost immediately abandoned by his allies (though his habit of taking people's rings and leaving them stranded in space doesn't help) and even when he returns is viewed with much suspicion by the other Lanterns, with the exception of the Earth Lanterns and Kilowog.
  • Happens in The Outsiders (v. 3) after Nightwing's actions lead to Thunder's being injured. He's demoted, and Jade becomes team leader.
  • For Marvel comics this isn't so much a Trope as it is Status Quo. Especially during the Silver Age, it was nearly de rigueur for any randomly chosen pair of characters to not like each other even if they were both "good guys", and if they were in fact on the same team, it just gave them more opportunities to get on each others' nerves. Probably the single most stable team was the Fantastic Four, all of whom had strong ties to leader Reed Richards: Ben Grimm was his best friend, Sue Storm Richards was his girlfriend and later wife, and Johnny Storm was her brother. Even they occasionally had spats (Johnny, the team hothead both literally and figuratively, was nearly always involved).

     Films — Animated  

  • In The Simpsons Movie, the rest of the family want to go and help Springfield, which is in a certain level of trouble to say the least. Homer refuses (the family were out of town at the time for very good reasons.) and storms out in a huff. When he returns, the family have gone without him, leaving a Tearjerker of a message behind them.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Happens briefly in Captain Blood, when Peter wants to take his crew to Port Royale where the vengeful governor and the entire English fleet is waiting to string them up. He manages to talk them round.

     Live Action TV  

  • Angel starts to lose sight of the whole redemption thing in the second season (not helped by Darla screwing with his head) and becomes increasingly morally ambiguous. When Team Angel confronts him about this, he fires them. They carry on in his absence, and he eventually comes to a realisation about what he's been doing and comes back, offering to work for them instead of them working for him. He does end up in charge again, but it takes a while.
    • Angel also subverts this trope in its last season. Angel starts to distance himself from the team, as well as acting more and more like he has given up on hero business and is now playing the game for his own gain only. It ends with the team confronting him in person, and just as they're about to revolt, he reveals that he's been faking it to gain the trust of the Circle of the Black Thorn.
  • Something similar happens toward the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season seven. Buffy has been steadily losing all sense of perspective through the season, and eventually the potential-army confronts her about it. They're initially just trying to demote her, but when she makes it clear she won't work for them and is unwilling to run things by democracy, Dawn tells her to get out of the house.
    • In this case, the potentials and their new leader (Faith of all people) immediately screw up even worse than they had accused Buffy of doing, while Buffy goes off and actually accomplishes some victories on her own (including, recovering a magical weapon that ends up being the MacGuffin they need to win in the finale, and killing the Dragon). Buffy ends up back in charge, accepting that she had been overly critical and needed to accept input from other people, while the potentials realize just what a burden she had been carrying and cut her some slack.

     Video Games  

  • Dragon Age: Origins has three possible occurrences of this, two of which happen at the same point. These occur if you choose to defile the Urn of Sacred Ashes so the crazy man lets you into his super special club. If you have Leliana and/or Wynne with you at the time, they will openly attack you. The third happens if you haven't gotten Sten's approval high enough and you get far enough into the story. At that point he will question your leadership and if you can't persuade him, he will also attack you. Although that is somewhat less of an example than the first.
  • Piss off your team enough in Baldur's Gate and they leave. This can also be because your evil companions think you're becoming too moral
  • Pick the Dark Side endings in Knights of the Old Republic or Jade Empire and you'll have to slaughter most of your crew when they invoke this.
  • Tales of the Abyss, after the events of Akzeriuth, the party abandons Luke in disgust. He eventually redeems himself, but it takes a long time.
  • For Ogre Battle 64 this is a possible ending if your chaos frame is too low. The members of the resistance rant about how the Player Character captured the cities instead of liberating them. Making it a case of Became Their Own Antithesis and not listening to the people. There is also the practical reason that if the man who pretty much won the whole war for them comes back he might be made king instead.
  • Possible in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura either when you take certain story choices with certain followers in your party, or just if your actions stray too far from their alignment and offend their sensibilities so much they decide to ditch you. Magnus is one of the easier ones to get this with, if you let him join and then make certain choices when dealing with the necromancers running P. Schuyler & Sons jewelers, or just if you attack too many good-aligned creatures unprovoked. This includes some random pigs a farmer asks you to clear out of his fields because they're eating the crops.
  • Oregon Trail allows you to start as a greenhorn or the leader of a wagon caravan, too badly and you get demoted to greenhorn.
  • Shovel Knight: King Knight is one of the bosses and antagonists of the game, but the King of Cards campaign initially presents the King Knight as a selfish, vain, but heroic protagonist with plenty of genuine allies, and how he fell from grace. By the end of the campaign, just as he has The Enchantress nearly defeated, the latter offers to give King Knight the proper title of "King of Pridemoor" after he had the opportunity to be "King of Cards" taken away from him. Caring more about the title than the friendships he earned on the way, he chooses to side with the Enchantress over all of his allies who wanted him to take down the Enchantress, leading to the Enchantress beginning the Order of No Quarter and her reign of terror. The people that joined King Knight along the way are appropriately disappointed by King Knight's choice, including his own mother, and none of them stand by him after he becomes King of Pridemoor. King Knight has achieved his goal, but at the cost of being isolated by the people who once adored and cheered for him, becoming Hated by All, even his comrades in the Order of No Quarter.
  • Armored Core For Answer has the final mission in two of the story routes. After the protagonist murders a hundred million civilians and sets in motion the death of several hundred million (possibly over a billion) more, he gets sent on a suspiciously vague mission... which turns out to be a trap orchestrated by his Mission Control, siccing on him four Ace Pilots he worked with during previous missions. What's more, she actually joins in as fifth on Hard difficulty!
    "Please accept my apologies. That briefing you saw was manufactured. This is the end of the road for you. I think you understand why."
  • In Magical Diary, this will happen if you appeal to Professor Potsdam to let Damien back in after he tries to steal your soul. Out of concern, your fellow roommates will attempt to bully you into breaking up with him, and if you refuse, they will throw the final exam just to sabotage your grade.
  • If the player picks the Massacre route of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, which involves destroying the universe, the protagonist's teammates will try to kill him.


     Western Animation  

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In the episode "Bato of the Water Tribe", Aang hides a letter meant for the eponymous Bato because it contains the location of Katara and Sokka's father and he's afraid they'll leave him. While they had, unknown to Aang, refused Bato's offer to visit Dad, when Aang guiltily confesses they change their minds out of disgust briefly. Then they decide helping Aang was more important after all, and nothing more ever comes of it.
    • Also played with in the second season, when Appa is kidnapped, Aang has a Heroic BSoD and lashes out at everyone. He (emotionally) abandons them rather than the other way around, forcing Katara to take charge.
  • The cartoon Noahs Island has an episode where the entire island rebels against Noah for an episode. The following episode opens with them holding a vote and making him captain of the island (said island is a drifting section of another island) again.
  • Played for Laughs on South Park: the kids all make up superhero personae and form a group called "Coon and Friends," after Cartman's character, the Coon. However, Cartman's unheroic and generally Jerkass behavior leads to them kicking him out and getting him grounded. To add insult to injury, his mom lets them keep using his basement as a headquarters, and they keep the "Coon and Friends" name just because "it pisses him off beyond belief." Unfortunately, Cartman teams up with Cthulhu (It Makes Sense in Context) and becomes the Big Bad of the arc, killing thousands, all while insisting that the others turned evil.