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More Popular Replacement

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There will always inevitably be characters who the fandom must say farewell to, leaving a vacancy for someone new to take their place. Quite often this replacement will be detested, but sometimes the newcomer is received better than the original.

Perhaps their predecessor was polarizing or outright hated, which necessitated an Author's Saving Throw to get rid of them. Or maybe the new character has simply overshadowed their predecessor by being a fan favorite. Whatever the case, the change is generally welcomed.

See also Superior Successor for In-Universe examples. Compare Rescued from the Scrappy Heap where the fan response is for the same character. Related to Surprisingly Improved Sequel and More Popular Spin-Off for when this trope applies to a show as a whole. See The Pete Best for one of the Real Life versions, especially in the case of bands who manage to have more than one successful replacement. See also Second Episode Substitute when a character gets replaced very early in the show.

Sometimes actors who are The Other Darrin for a character can become this - if their portrayal is considered superior.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Doron Dororon: The initial heroine of the story, Ginchiyo, wasn't very well liked due to what many saw as a duplicitous nature and an uninteresting design. After she gets Put on a Bus, the role of major female character gets passed to Naotora Kamiizumi, who is vastly better received, with distinct looks, being strong in battle, and a cute crush on the main character.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • For the west (especially America) Cell is waaay more popular than his predecessor Frieza as a Big Bad with western fans finding his Love to Hate Smug Super antics as well as his initial “escaped the lab” creepiness simply more engaging than Frieza’s Royal Brat douchery. In Japan it’s the exact opposite with Frieza being an all-time favourite whereas Cell is considered a major step-down in comparison. Toriyama and Toei don’t like Cell simply because those spots are a pain in the ass to draw and animate.
    • In terms of transformations it's undeniable that the Super Saiyan form has historically blown Kaio-Ken and the previous Great Ape/Oozaru out of the water in terms of popularity and iconicness. Kaio-Ken has popped up now and again, and was even celebrated for getting a resurgence in Dragon Ball Super, while the Great Ape form has been left Out of Focus barring Dragon Ball GT, where the golden version is used as the catalyst for the very popular Super Saiyan 4.
  • Dr. STONE began with a Power Trio of Senkuu, Taiju, and Yuzuriha. The latter two and their romance were criticized for being boring, and they were Put on a Bus at the end of the first part. Senkuu ended up finding a new supporting cast in the Ishigami villagers and two new best friends in Kohaku and Chrome, who were praised as being much more fun.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The second JoJo, Joseph Joestar is a lot more popular than his predecessor and grandfather Jonathan Joestar, mainly because Joseph is a great Troll and Guile Hero who undergoes some development and has a memetic ability of predicting his opponents' lines while Jonathan is a fairly standard good-hearted hero.
    • In the Japanese fandom, the third JoJo, Jotaro Kujo, is more iconic than either though in the West, he has more divisive reception.
    • Americans were more fond of the fourth JoJo, Josuke Higashikata, than Jotaro due to being a Nice Guy with some amusing quirks. The Big Bad of Part 4, Yoshikage Kira, was considered a worthy successor to DIO.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Halfway into the original series, Jessie's Lickitung was accidentally traded for a Wobbuffet, who quickly became a popular Plucky Comic Relief for Team Rocket and ended up a mainstay in the anime series, compared to Lickitung, who made only sporadic appearances beforehand.
    • Dawn is this to her immediate predecessor, May, who was deemed a Replacement Scrappy by some to Misty for being too similar in personality while not living up to the original. In contrast, Dawn had a more refreshing straight-up Nice Girl personality and lacked the previous girls' tsundere side. While Dawn originally didn't quite surpass Misty's popularity, she is still held in quite high regard by the fanbase. In recent years, Dawn is usually placed within the top 2 of Ash's female companions, often by a landslide compared to anyone below her.
    • Serena is this to Iris, who is one of the least popular female companions to date. While Serena is not without her detractors for her Romantic Plot Tumor and being retconned into being Childhood Friends with Ash, most in the fandom agree that she's an improvement over Iris. She also further won fans for having an arc of Character Development that helped to have her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, although how it ended is a point of contention that you REALLY need to tread carefully around.note  In recent years, Serena is often placed as the fans' most popular female companion of Ash, with only Dawn being remotely close to her popularity.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Chibi Chibi is introduced in the series' last season to replace Chibiusa as the resident Tagalong Kid. Many western fans like her better than Chibiusa, mainly because she's sweeter and less of a Bratty Half-Pint.
    • The episodes dubbed by Cloverway replaced Chibiusa's original voice actress, Tracey Hoyt, with Stephanie Beard. While most of the other replacements were poorly received, most fans prefer Beard's performance over Hoyt's.
  • Sword Art Online: Sinon serves as the Arc Hero of the Phantom Bullet arc, where she takes over from Asuna as the female lead much like Leafa did. However unlike Leafa who ended up being a Replacement Scrappy, Sinon ended up being a welcome change and would go on to become a Breakout Character. Fans praised her for her compelling personality, her much deeper backstory, having a more realistic motivation for taking up gaming, as well as being the first female protagonist who is not defined by having an interest in Kirito. There's a large group who wish Sinon was the solo protagonist of the GGO arc without having to share the limelight with Kirito.

    Comic Books 
  • The original Ant-Man is Hank Pym, but many nowadays prefer his successor to the title, Scott Lang. Hank is a brilliant scientist on par with the likes of Reed Richards and Tony Stark, and founder of The Avengers, who is very important to much of the Marvel mythos. That said, he's also well-known for hitting his wife once in a scene that gets taken out of context, and which Ultimate Marvel drove to Domestic Abuser levels with Flanderization. He also created Ultron, and can be kind of a jerk at times. Because of his infamy, the Marvel Cinematic Universe chose to star Scott, who in comparison is less controversial but also far less important to the comics, and since then Scott has been promoted as the main Ant-Man of the Marvel Universe. Many would say they prefer Scott even aside the controversial stuff involving Hank, if only because he's a more down-to-earth guy and relatable as someone who's an average Joe without the suit.
  • In contrast to his/their Marvel counterpart(s), when people think of The Atom, they usually think of either Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi, with the original Al Pratt only being remembered as a member of the Justice Society of America. Even in the context of the JSA, Pratt is ignored in favor of another successor, Atom-Smasher (who has appeared in Injustice: Gods Among Us as a cameo and in Black Adam (2022) as a major character). Pratt is probably ignored in favor of successors because he is merely a Pint-Sized Powerhouse Badass Normal without his successors' Sizeshifter powers. Choi might have become the de facto modern Atom, given his appearances in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Injustice 2, and Zack Snyder's Justice League, but Palmer has managed to hold on to the spotlight for a bit longer courtesy of his starring role in Legends of Tomorrow as the only major live-action portrayal of the character to date (especially since in the DC Extended Universe Choi has yet to assume the mantle).
  • Batgirl is best known for Barbara Gordon. However, a few years prior to her creation, Bat-Girl (real name Elizabeth "Betty" Kane) originated as Batwoman's sidekick. She was quickly retired due to her unpopularity but appeared again years later under the mantle of Flamebird, and it's no longer canon that she was ever Bat-Girl. Likewise, within the comic community, Barbara's successors Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, were very well-received as Batgirls during their runs.
  • Captain America:
    • Helmut, the second Baron Zemo, is far more popular and beloved by the fanbase than his father Heinrich on top of being seen as just a cooler villain. This is due to Helmut having actual depth and values, whereas Heinrich, though important to the lore as the one responsible initially for killing Bucky Barnes and putting Captain America on ice, is often considered a lesser Red Skull and is very easy to hate as a mad and extremely amoral Nazi scientist. Tellingly, much of what makes Helmut's backstory tragic and sympathetic was the abuse he suffered at the hands of Heinrich, and a major part of his character is that fact that he disowned his father, the Nazi ideology and all prejudices associated with it.
    • Red Skull believe it or not is a case of this as the first Golden Age Red Skull was actually a devious American known as George Maxon while Johann Schmidt the true and most well known Red Skull was introduced not long after with Maxon retroactively being treated as a decoy in the first of many Actually a Doombot moments for Kirby-created villains.
  • Black Canary:
    • Black Canary's original co-star and love interest was Johnny Thunder. Black Canary was a bit villain in his books, but became a Breakout Villain and soon eclipsed Johnny Thunder. Black Canary's series replaced Johnny's and she was given a new male lead: detective Larry Lance, her eventual husband.
    • The second Black Canary, Dinah Lance, is more well-known than her mother Dinah Drake. She was the Black Canary from 1986 to 2011 (before becoming a Composite Character for the New 52 reboot). She is also the one most associated with the supersonic scream, which she started out with while her mother only gained nearly two decades after her creation.
  • The villainous Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) is usually forgotten in favor of his Redeeming Replacement (and nephew) Dane Whitman. Nathan was a recurring Avengers villain from 1963 to 1967, but received relatively little development. Dane has been a relatively major character since the late 1960s, with emphasis on how his cursed sword is affecting his mentality. Dane has been a long-time member of the Avengers, an early member of the Defenders, and a member of several other teams. He has had several story-arcs focused on his romantic relationships, and a 2020s mini-series added to him a complicated relationship with his estranged daughter. He is much more connected to the cast of the Marvel Universe than his uncle ever was.
  • Blue Beetle is best-known as either the quirky billionaire Badass Normal Ted Kord or the Scarab-wielding Mexican-American teenager Jaime Reyes, but most people only know Dan Garrett as the original Blue Beetle from the '40s, and little else. Kord himself is subject to this trope as well, as most modern portrayals make Reyes the de facto Blue Beetle over him, with Reyes having appeared in multiple media such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Injustice 2. Aside from being an instance of Affirmative-Action Legacy, he also brought a new spin on the costume as a suit of alien (or magical) Powered Armor, which granted him a much more interesting and diverse powerset compared to his predecessor. It also allowed for further Divergent Character Evolution both superpower and characterization wise compared to similar characters such as Batman.
  • The Flash:
    • The third Flash, Wally West, is considered by a lot of readers to be an improvement over his predecessor, Barry Allen (who was generally seen as The Generic Guy). In fact, he is seen as the main Flash by a considerable chunk of the fanbase (especially given his starring role in the Justice League cartoon) and it's not uncommon for modern interpretations of Barry to incorporate some aspects of Wally's personality to his own.
    • Barry himself despite generally being considered bland, is far more well known and popular than his predecessor the first and original Golden Age Flash Jay Garret with Barry’s design instantly becoming iconic when it debuted in the 60s. Any person with even a passingly knowledge of superheroes will instantly recognise Barry as the Flash while showing someone a picture of Jay will produce “Who’s that?” results.
    • Similarly when it comes to Reverse Flashes, Eobard Thawne is way more popular than Edward Clariss the original Evil Counterpart. While Thawne is memetically evil and well known: “IT WAS ME BARRY!” people just forget Edward Clariss exists at all barring his appearance in The Flash (2014).
  • Green Lantern:
  • While Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch, is Marvel's first superhero, he has long since been surpassed by Johnny Storm, the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. To illustrate this point, Hammond is all but forgotten in modern Marvel and only appears whenever Marvel's World War II superheroes are brought up, and his only appearance outside of comics to date was his Lawyer-Friendly Cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Arguably the biggest example in comics is the Justice League of America, who have long since eclipsed their predecessors in the Justice Society of America in the eyes of modern popular culture. To illustrate the shift in popularity, the JSA has been removed from the DC Universe several different times while the JLA has always remained present, and this has carried over into adaptations and derivative works which sometimes ignore the JSA and omit them from continuity, demote them to being the retired predecessors of the JLA, or make the JSA's members part of the JLA.
  • Similarly to the JLA and JSA situation, the second/modern incarnation of Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Drax and Adam) are far more popular than their predecessors (Charlie-27, Major Victory, Martinex, Nikki, Starhawk, Vance Astro and Yondu Udonta) especially thanks to MCU making them household names. While the original Guardians show up now and again they’re firmly supporting characters, which is a shame since the newer Guardians take much of their quirks and chemistry from their forebears with even the scene from Infinity War of the Guardians finding Thor drifting in space and marvelling over him — actually being carried out by the original team in the comics. Out of the first team only Yondu has gotten real exposure, but he’s so radically different from his comic version that Marvel had make a separate movie-inspired Yondu to necessitate.
    • Funny to note the original Guardian are actually from the 31st century with the modern Guardians being technically the first incarnation of the team. So In-Universe the First Instalment Wins.
  • Harley Quinn is of course so titanically popular it’ll come as shock for most people to learn she was not The Joker’s first sidekick, that being a Gaggy a Depraved Dwarf and acrobat who was used an Evil Counterpart to Robin who was long forgotten after the Silver Age. Cleverly this trope actually helped Gaggy make a reappearance as a villain for Harley with Gaggy naturally being pissed a psycho barbie has so brutally stolen his limelight.
  • Even compared to other members of the JSA, the original Badass Normal Terry Sloan Mr. Terrific has long since been forgotten by DC in favor of his Affirmative-Action Legacy Science Hero replacement Michael Holt.
  • Lucky Luke: The Dalton Brothers (Bob, Grat, Bill and Emmett) were introduced in an early story as Historical Domain Characters, and killed off at the end. Then the writer, realizing the potential they could have had as antagonists, introduced the Dalton Cousins (Joe, William, Jack and Averell) who were identical in appearance but had more personality. The new group went on to be the most popular recurring antagonists of the series, appearing in dozens of stories (and often taking the wheel as the story-driving element). By comparison, Billy the Kid only appears in a couple of stories and most of the others are one-shots.
  • Superman;
    • Lex Luthor is so ingrained in the public consciousness as Superman’s Arch-Enemy it’s staggering to think he was actually the replacement antagonist to the initial big bad Ultra-Humanite. UH possessed many of the traits that would go one to define Lex such as Bald of Evil and Evil Genius wit to counter Superman’s great powers yet when Luthor was introduced in Action Comics 23# he soon became the Breakout Villain despite not gaining his signature look until a year after his debut. Thanks to this Ultra-Humanite would go through Divergent Character Evolution to Lex getting the big white gorilla body and unfortunately for him falling to the lower tier of Supes’ Rogues Gallery.
    • Similarly General Zod has absolutely blown his predecessor Jax-Ur out of the water in terms of popularity and long-standing as a villain. When first introduced in the Silver Age Jax-Ur was meant to be Superman’s true Kryptonian foil and nemesis with Zod just being one of his flunkies. Thanks to Terence Stamp’s portrayal in Superman II as Zod however the general exploded with popularity and taken all Jax-Ur’s traits while the latter has been heavily Demoted to Extra and is mostly subservient to Zod. Notably there was confusion and disappointment among fans when Superman: The Animated Series pointedly didn’t feature Zod at all but rather the less popular Jax-Ur in stead, as the showrunners wanted to more be faithful to the Silver Age era.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014): Kamala Khan was not the first Ms. Marvel - that would go to Carol Danvers, now known as Captain Marvel, Kamala's idol. There were also multiple Ms. Marvels running around now and then. However, Kamala has eclipsed all of them in terms of modern popularity. In fact, before Carol got her own movie, Kamala's book would consistently out-sell hers. While there’s plenty of people who do genuinely miss Carol in the Ms. Marvel role, the usual reason for any lament from fans is how iconic and fanservicey Carol’s Ms.Marvel Leotard of Power was.
    • Carol herself is nowadays considered the most popular holder of the Captain Marvel mantle, eclipsing the multiple holders of the mantle before hand such as Mar-Vell, Genis-Vell, and Monica Rambeau.
  • Robin: Tim Drake was much more warmly welcomed by fans compared to Jason Todd. This is mostly because Jason himself was a Replacement Scrappy for Dick Grayson and also due to his excessively angsty nature. In contrast, Tim was the Nice Guy who meshed well with the rest of the Bat family. Though Jason himself would end up undergoing a case of Rescued from the Scrappy Heap after coming Back from the Dead and took up the identity of Red Hood.
  • In Runaways, there is team founder, The Mole, and Decoy Protagonist Alex Wilder was killed off at the end of the first arc, and his role as the second male Runaway has been replaced by Victor Mancha since then. Victor, being a genuine good guy (despite his possible future as a Big Bad), the son of Ultron, and having far more connections to the greater Marvel Universe than Alex, and being a true hero who fights alongside the others as a surrogate family, he's generally more popular than his predecessor. He's also the only one to consistently be a member throughout all iterations since his induction, compared to Xavin and Klara being Put on a Bus.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Gwen to the original Gwen Stacy. While most people accept that the original was a very important character due to her death, many don't like her inconsistent characterization over the years from a high maintenance woman to a pure ingénue. In contrast, many enjoy this version of Gwen for having more of a consistent characterization as an excitable tomboy drummer who is still shaken over her greatest failure, on top of being a Spider-person herself. As a result of this, most current adaptations featuring Gwen Stacy tend to lean towards the personality of this version of the character as opposed to her original incarnation.
    • Mary Jane funnily enough was this for Betty Brant and Liz Allen, Peter’s previous two love interests being far more popular and of course only really rivalled by the aforementioned Gwen and Black Cat. This was even acknowledged In-Universe as prior to MJ’s full reveal she was The Faceless just being a girl Aunt May and Anna are planning to set up with Peter but when Betty and Liz see MJ (who’s off panel) they both instantly throw in the towel claiming she’s simply too beautiful and they can’t hope to compete. This effectively built up hype for the readers and cumulated in the famous “Face it Tiger you hit the jackpot” moment.
    • Though Miles Morales will never outplace Peter Parker as the iconic Spider-Man, he is a much more popular and accepted take on the "next generation Spider-Man" concept than Marvel's first attempt in the '90s: Ben Reilly. Ben is primarily associated with The Clone Saga, the biggest Audience-Alienating Era of the Spider-Man brand, and while he does have his share of fans (some seeing Scarlet Spider as one of the few good things about The Clone Saga), him being made the new Spider-Man did not take. Miles, on the other hand, did. It helps that he's not replacing Peter (both share the identity), that he has a distinct power set, brings a new supporting cast to the table, and adds a new perspective as an Afro-Latino teenager as opposed to someone who is literally a clone of Peter. His popularity continued to soar when he had his own movie and also his own game.
  • Squirrel Girl's squirrel sidekick, Tippy Toe, was preceded by Monkey Joe, who was featured in Squirrel Girl's debut in an Iron Man story and was killed off in the GLA miniseries. Given that Squirrel Girl made no appearances in between, Tippy is far more prominent than Joe was, even having her own limelight story where she teamed up with Rocket Raccoon.
  • When people think of the wielder of the Cosmic Rod, they usually think of Courtney Whitmore AKA Stargirl. She is more recognizable than previous wielders Ted Knight (Starman) and Sylvester Pemberton (the Star-Spangled Kid), making her a double example as she is a Legacy Character to two different identities. The fact she got her own live-action series only serves to cement her presence. Said series also serves to push Ted Knight further off public perception, as in that series Pemberton is the only firmly-established wielder of the Cosmic Rod before Courtney.
  • X-Men:
    • In general Kitty Pryde tends to be less widely popular in the mainstream than her replacement Jubilee, largely due to Kitty being absent during the team's peak in the 90s (best selling comic in the world) as she was in Excalibur in the time and Jubilee also being in X-Men: The Animated Series which is the Audience-Colouring Adaptation of the team. A lot of Marvel writers clearly took this as an insult to Kitty with her getting pushed harder and harder ever since (starting with Astonishing X-Men) while Jubilee got temporarily turned into a vampire and Demoted to Extra. Still the layman/non-comic reader is far more likely to recognise Jubilee than Kitty. Funnily enough both Jubilee and Kitty are far more popular than their replacements Pixie and Hisako with only X-23 (Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone) beating them out.
    • The second incarnation of the team that debuted in Giant Sized X-Men brought a few of these but none more so than Storm who replaced Jean Grey as the powerful flying female teammate and Wolverine who replaced Beast as hairy bruiser. While Jean and Beast will always be loved by the mainstream and relevant to the team (The Dark Phoenix Saga being seminal for Jean) their successors Ororo and especially Logan simply had immense runaway appeal and always tend be more popular (just see this 2022 IGN popularity poll). Jean also has to contend with Rogue who’s insanely popular herself and for a long while took Jean’s part in the Two Girls to a Team alongside Storm. Though ironically Jean is still far more popular than her original intended replacement Polaris, who’s been largely sidelined for years until Krakoa.
    • Gambit is ultimately this for Longshot who debuted several years before him. Before Remy showed up Longshot was supposed to be the resident female swooning cool Pretty Boy with energy based-powers based around throwing things who had a romance with Rogue. Then Gambit came along and exploded with popularity being probably the most badass x-dude next to Wolverine and took over all Longshot’s traits with Longshot himself fading into obscurity alongside Dazzler. Lampshaded by Mojo in Mr. and Mrs. X where he creates a fantasy scenario of Gambit being the cool scoundrel who steals princess Rogue from prince Longshot.
  • Supergirl: When Kara Zor-El was introduced in The Supergirl From Krypton (1959), she completely eclipsed the former Supergirls (Lucy of Borgonia and Super-Girl), who were completely forgotten by comic fans. In the 80's and 90's DC would try to replace Kara with several short-lived non-Kryptonian Supergirls (Matrix, Andromeda...) due to the Post-Crisis editorial mandates making Superman the only surviving Kryptonian, ultimately opting for reintroducing a modern version of Kara Zor-El in The Supergirl from Krypton (2004). This modern Kara quickly became more successful than her barely-remembered predecessors, even making the leap to non-comic media, making appearances in different animated DC shows and even having her own TV Show.
  • Zatara was a member of the Justice Society of America and actually debuted shortly after Superman, but has been completely overshadowed by his daughter, Zatanna.
  • Another villainous example involves the Beetle identity in Marvel stories. The original user of the identity was Abner Jenkins, who was a fairly notable recurring villain from 1964 to 1996. After he quit the identity to become a hero, Leila Davis (the Ringer's widow) was introduced as a replacement in 2001. She served as an important supporting character for the Thunderbolts until her violent death by the end of the same year. After several short-lived Beetle imposters, Janice Lincoln was introduced as the new Beetle in 2010. Janice is depicted as the daughter of long-running super-villain Tombstone, as a brilliant lawyer in her civilian identity, and as an on-and-off love interest for Ant-Man. Due to receiving plenty of character development, Janice has increasingly become more popular than Abner and Leila ever were.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The second Agent Cody Banks sequel isn't considered as good as the first one by most metrics, but one area where fans give it the upper hand is with the female lead, as Hannah Spearitt's Action Girl role was more positively received than Hilary Duff's Damsel in Distress character.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man chose to feature Gwen Stacy as Peter's girlfriend instead of Mary Jane Watson from the Spider-Man Trilogy. In the Sam Raimi trilogy, Mary Jane wasn't too well thought of - both for being too bitchy and getting captured too many times. Gwen was beloved for Emma Stone's chemistry with Andrew Garfield and proving quite useful in the climax. Killing her off in the second movie was met with outrage, although everyone familiar with the comics saw it coming.
  • Carrie (2002) has a few casting choices that are considered superior to those from the original film - though given how beloved the original is, this is in Broken Base territory.
    • Amy Irving's Sue is very divisive, with some finding her portrayal quite flat, wooden and unsympathetic. Kandyse McClure's take on the character makes her unambiguously heroic and she's far more of The Atoner. It's made clear in this version that Sue was not in on the prank.
    • Betty Buckley's portrayal of the gym teacher is considered Narmy and lacking in the necessary fire - not to mention getting a scene where she throws Sue out of the prom while she's trying to warn about the prank. Rena Sofer captures the Cool Teacher persona of someone who is willing to fight for Carrie perfectly. She's also seen helping people escape from the prom disaster.
    • Edie McClurg is seen as a weird casting choice for Helen, given that she was in her thirties already and doesn't fit in with the Girl Posse. Chelan Simmons gives the character a Heel–Face Turn so that she becomes Carrie's friend at the prom and nearly stops the prank. As divisive as the remake is, she's considered one of the better things about it.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's portrayal of the bratty kids are, with the possible exception of Veruca Salt, generally considered a vast improvement from the 1971 movie. On the other hand, fans do tend to prefer the older Charlie to the newer one, and definitely like Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka a lot more than Johnny Depp's.
  • Fantastic Beasts:
    • Newt Scamander is considered by some to be a more engaging protagonist than Harry Potter. Harry is by no means disliked but he’s definitely an Escapist Character and in the mold of an archetypical hero, which can make him a bit hard to relate to. Newt, on the other hand, is a very atypical lead character for a fantasy series. He’s socially awkward, sensitive, and empathetic which makes him very relatable. Some just appreciate the fact that there’s a big budget movie series led by such a character. Newt also chooses to be a heroic person rather than Harry who has his destiny thrust upon him as The Chosen One.
    • Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore is widely considered to be the highlight of the divisive second film and an improvement on Michael Gambon’s take on the character (though most agree he got better as the films wore on). This is was cemented by the third film which about tripled his screen time from it.
    • Johnny Depp’s take on Gellert Grindelwald had been a sticking point since the first movie. His odd character design and stoicism had been singled out as weak points since in the books he’d always been described as very conventionally handsome and charming but with a nasty temper. The fact that he was actually in love with Dumbledore never quite came across the same way it did when Colin Farrell played him in disguise in the first one. When Depp was fired after the second film due to a loss in a domestic violence related civil court case, he was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen’s take on the character was much better received. His look was toned down significantly, he was shown as being more emotional and torn, and he and Law have great chemistry.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Now You See Me 2 saw the departure of Isla Fisher's Henley, due to the actress's pregnancy. A new character Lula, played by Lizzy Caplan, joins the cast in her place. She was extremely well received, and critics called her one of the best parts of the movie.
  • The 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda received a Shot for Shot Remake in Technicolor that's not exactly fondly remembered. Deborah Kerr however is considered a better Flavia than Madeleine Carroll.
  • A Quiet Place Part II: Even though he's constantly criticized by the other characters for not being like Lee, a lot of critics and fans found Emmett's more flawed and rounded personality, character arc, and the relationship he develops with Regan to make him a far more interesting and compelling male lead than Lee was.
  • In Scream 2 fans find Gale's replacement camera man Joel far more entertaining than his predecessor Kenny.
  • Likewise in Scream 4 Kirby was meant to be an Expy of Tatum from the first film - as the snarky best friend of the Final Girl. Critics called Kirby the best part of the movie and like to imagine He's Just Hiding unlike Tatum (though she's not disliked).
  • Human friends of Sonic the Hedgehog have not really been sold well. Chris Thorndyke was disliked for being an unrelatable Spotlight-Stealing Squad and Princess Elise was disliked for being a Damsel Scrappy and having romantic interactions with Sonic. Tom Wachowski, on the other hand, was warmly accepted by the fan base for having a more relatable and dynamic personality, more moments of badass, and a cute fatherly relationship with the blue blur.
  • Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) of Top Gun: Maverick is vastly preferred in the fandom over Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) from Top Gun as a love interest for Tom Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, thanks to Penny's significantly deeper and more well-rounded relationship with him and Connelly's much stronger romantic screen chemistry with Cruise.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon replaced Mikaela Banes with Carly Brooks-Spencer as Sam's love interest, due to actress Megan Fox getting fired between movies. Carly is generally regarded as an improvement over Mikaela, being a Nice Girl and having more charisma courtesy of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and going through a lot more story-wise than she did. It helps that her real life actress isn't nearly as hated as Fox.
    • The next two films in the series replaced Sam Witwicky with Cade Yeager. While the quality of the films did not increase much, fans would tend to prefer Wahlberg's performance and characterization over LaBeouf's, as Cade was less whiny and more mature and badass.
    • Of course, given how said film is viewed as Truer to the Text and as such has a more positive reception among both fans and critics alike, many fans view Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie Watson in Bumblebee as the best lead in the live action films so far eclipsing both LaBeouf and Wahlberg, if not one of the best human leads in Transformers history.
  • West Side Story (2021):
    • Rachel Zegler has received universal praise for her role as Maria and been described as better than Natalie Wood, particularly because Zegler is Latina (albeit of Colombian rather than Puerto Rican decent) and has a great singing voice, while Wood was of Russian descent and dubbed over.
    • While opinions of his performance in and of itself has been mixed, Ansel Elgort has still been described as more believable as Tony than Richard Beymer. In addition, his chemistry with Zegler is much better than the chemistry between Beymer and Wood, who famously didn't get along during production.
    • Rita Moreno has been acclaimed for her role as the new character Valentina, who takes Doc's role from the original film and stage production, especially for her performance of "Somewhere."
    • Moreno is also one of the actors from the original that this did not happen to, with Ariana DeBose's performance being cited as equally good, just different.
  • X-Men Film Series:

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Arrow
    • Caity Lotz took over from Jacqueline MacInnes Wood in playing Sarah/Sara Lance. In her initial appearance, she was a fairly forgettable throwaway character serving simply as the deceased sister of female lead Laurel. But upon her return and recast to Caity Lotz, she became a Breakout Character who was beloved by the fandom to the point where her Popularity Power had her be brought Back from the Dead and given her own spin-off show.
    • Katie Cassidy as Earth-2 Laurel Lance. While the original Earth-1 Laurel was eventually vindicated and Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, she was originally met with a lot of naysayers and only really enjoyed fan-appreciation during her last few episodes and posthumously during her aforementioned vindication. Black Siren, meanwhile, is a fan-favorite from the get-go, even in-spite of her questionable actions. Her Popularity Power eventually leads to her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Ricardo Diaz replacing Cayden James as the Big Bad of Season Six. Cayden was immensely divisive due to being an original character and felt like a poor fit for a Green Arrow villain, instead feeling like he was intended as an Evil Counterpart to Felicity. While Diaz wasn't really met with open arms, due to the contrived plot twist, he did win back his fans and restored investment in the season as of "The Dragon" when his backstory was revealed and he shows off just how dangerous he could be.
  • Emma Peel was the third of four people to costar with John Steed on The Avengers (1960s), but the chemistry between actors Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg made her by far the most popular choice.
  • In-universe in Band of Brothers. Lieutenant Jones arrives fresh out of West Point as a replacement for the incompetent Lieutenants Dike and Peacock. Initially disliked by the men, he proves himself an effective leader and quickly earns their respect.
  • Barney Miller had as one of the detectives for the first two years Chano Amenguale, an excitable Puerto Rican who didn't really make as much of an impression as other characters like Yemana or Harris or Fish. When actor Gregory Sierra left the cast after two seasons, he was replaced by Steve Landesberg as detective Arthur Dietrich, The Comically Serious Deadpan Snarker who became a fan favorite and stuck around for the rest of the show's run.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • Season 4 had to deal with the sudden departure of actress Shannen Doherty, who played the lead sister Prue. Rather than recasting, she was killed off and replaced with a long lost half-sister Paige Matthews. Despite how that sounds on paper, not only was Paige existing justified from an in-universe point of viewnote  but the show wisely avoided making her a Suspiciously Similar Substitute. She was her own character and, while Prue tends to be preferred among the fandom, there are plenty who prefer Paige, and loads who happily accept a fourth sister as part of the canon.
    • Paige's final love interest in the show Henry is also the most liked out of her boyfriends. The chemistry between them is so good that fans don't mind how quickly they were paired up.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Rossi started out as a Replacement Scrappy for Gideon, but he became more well-liked by fans as the show went on and now many fans prefer him over Gideon.
    • Prentiss quickly established herself as part of the team and was well-liked by fans after effectively replacing Elle Greenaway, who was not exactly a fan favorite.
  • Doctor Who:
    • While each of the first three Doctors were popular in their own right, the Fourth Doctor rapidly became the most popular incarnation in the entire series (rivaled only by Ten), thanks to a mix of his resonance with '70s counterculture and his comparatively behemothic seven-year tenure.
    • Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor was this to Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor, who among the Doctor's regenerations was easily The Scrappy for his cowardice, crudeness, and was overall considered obnoxious. The Seventh Doctor, on the other hand, is one of the more popular regenerations for bringing an air of mysteriousness and mischief to the role that revolutionized future Doctor portrayals.
    • Later on, David Tennant's Tenth Doctor became this to Christopher Eccleston's Ninth with Ten possibly being the most popular Revival era Doctor and the closest rival to Four for the position of most well-known Doctor. Still, plenty of fans still appreciate Nine, hence the adage "don't skip Nine" to new viewers who might be inclined to overlook Eccleston's respectable (if short) tenure just because Tennant ended up overshadowing him.
    • Vicki was seen not so much as a replacement for Susan, but an improvement, being smarter, more capable and less prone to screaming (it helps that Maureen O'Brien was a much better actor than Carole Ann Ford).
    • The brainy and playful Zoe was seen as a great improvement over the rather wet Victoria.
    • The first incarnation of Romana, played by Mary Tamm, wasn't widely disliked by any means, but her Ice Queen personality was a turn-off for many fans. Her second incarnation, played by Lalla Ward, was way, way more popular, and widely considered to be the Fourth Doctor's most popular companion after Sarah Jane Smith (who in turn is generally agreed on as the show's absolute most popular companion of all-time) and Harry Sullivan.
    • Ace has a very, very committed personal fanbase, and outside that group is mostly remembered affectionately. She followed Peri and Mel, who are probably the two most widely-disliked companions in the history of the series.
    • Amy Pond was this to some for the divisive Donna Noble, who rubbed many fans the wrong way with her anger outbursts and belittling of the Doctor. Amy, on the other hand became a fan-favorite of modern Doctor Who and was only rivaled by Rose Tyler, with Amy being loved for being one of the most complex companions and having very compelling chemistry with the Doctor.
    • Bill Potts was wholeheartedly welcomed by the fandom after she takes over from her polarizing predecessor Clara Oswald, who got criticized for being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad and being involved in a Romantic Plot Tumor. Bill also wins points from the LGBT Fanbase for being the first openly gay main cast member.note 
  • The Drew Carey Show had Mr Bell in season one, who was unseen as Drew Carey's boss until the season finale. From season two onward, he was replaced by Mr Wick, who became an Ensemble Dark Horse soon after. Being played by Craig Ferguson helps.
  • Farscape: Sikozu was in every way designed as an upgrade to Jool, who was originally created as a replacement for fan favourite Zahn. But where Jool was a stuck-up, spoiled princess whose main feature was a scream that could melt metal (yes, really), Sikozu was more of a frustrated genius coping with being surrounded by crazy people, which made her all the more sympathetic, despite her abrasive personality.
  • Good Game originally featured P-Nutz a stuffed monkey as a sidekick host, but he was reviled by fans which eventually led to the character being killed. A few years down the track, another non-human sidekick, a robot named D.A.R.R.E.N., showed up on the spin-off sister show Good Game: Spawn Point who became very popular especially among kids for how funny he was and the amazing chemistry he had with the human hosts.
  • Jeopardy! weathered two changes of showrunners after Harry Friedman's retirement in 2020. The first, Mike Richards, became hated almost instantly. Fans were not happy with two questionable Final Jeopardy! rulings in his first two weeks, his poor treatment of longtime staff members, the guest host parade after Alex Trebek's death and his alleged promotion of himself to succeed Trebek. After his firing, Michael Davies was announced to replace him. Davies has so far been a much more formidable executive producer, limiting the hosting rotation to Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, adding episode statistics to the show's website, introducing Second Chance tournaments, and bumpers showing the next day's contestants during the credits. He continued this in Season 39 by announcing an overhaul to the Tournament of Champions format, which fans felt was long overdue.
  • Keeping Up Appearances had Rose played by Shirley Stelfox in Season 1, and she was replaced with Mary Millar in Season 2. The sitcom is considered to have grown the beard at that point, and Mary Millar is seen as a funnier Rose.
  • Surprisingly common on Law & Order:
    • On the original show, there was both Detective Lennie Briscoe and ADA Jack McCoy. The former was more well-liked than both of the detectives he replaced (Greevey and Cerreta) due to his Deadpan Snarker personality to the point that most fans look at him as the best character on the show (if not the entire franchise) and believe his demise caused the show to Jump the Shark. The latter, even through his more controversial antics, is leaps and bounds more popular than ADA Stone just because of how charismatic he is. Both men are considered the heart of the show to the point that it doesn't truly feel like Law & Order without them. The same goes for Lt. Van Buren, ADA Kincaid and ADA Rubirosa, with the former two being the rare example of Executive Meddling going right.
    • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Tutuola is considered a superior replacement for Munch's previous partners Cassidy and Jeffries as well as his appearances surpassing Munch himself. Anytime a storyline focused on him, it would catch fans' attention.
    • ADA Cabot is an interesting example. While she's not an example of this herself initially (as she is the first primary ADA that the show had and the most popular), but she eventually re-replaced the series' least popular ADA, Kim Greylek after she got out of witness protection and the new prosecutor went to work in the nation's capital.
  • Legacies: Kaylee Bryant and Jenny Boyd are technically the second pair of actresses to play the teenaged versions of Josie and Lizzie Saltzman in the franchise, after replacing Bella Samman and Allison Gobuzzi, who played them briefly on The Originals. However, due to how briefly the latter two played them and how the current two would define the twins more as characters, most of the fandom tends to forget that the two from The Originals played them at all and act as if they have always played the teenaged versions. Any fanfic that features the two will be based on their personalities in Legacies, like Josie being shy rather than a spoiled brat like The Originals suggested.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, the Season 1 lineup included the heavily disliked Hawkman and Harkgirl who had a long list of criticism from terrible character arc to poor acting. In Season 2 their spots got replaced by Nate Heywood/Steel and Amaya Jiwe/Vixen, who were tremendously better received by the fandom for being more likable characters and being a better fit for the team.
  • Throughout the seasons of Married... with Children Al has had various coworkers at the shoe store, but Griff, who was introduced in season nine, was by far the most memorable and funniest of them all. Despite being a Black equivalent of Al as far as being a hapless and broke loser who hates his (former) wife, he was also a voice of reason within the NO MA'AM organization and had more development than playboy Luke, college student Aaron, and the one-episode wonder Dexter.
  • In M*A*S*H. B.J. is better received than his predecessor Trapper, for being a more-rounded and fleshed-out, as well having a contrasting personality to Hawkeye, whereas Trapper was much like a mirror of Hawkeye though reduced to a sidekick.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure is agreed to have grown its beard in its second season, which began with two of the mermaid trio being replaced with a new pair of mermaids who had better chemistry with the rest of the cast. Lyla and Nixie had very prominent Fatal Flaws that caused them to make boneheaded decisions, drawing out a Love Triangle where she was a blatant intruder in Lyla's case; getting paranoid about Zac after he'd stopped being a threat and allowing Cam to become the final boss of the season in Nixie's case. Mimmi had a more endearing Constantly Curious personality in contrast to Nixie's cold smugness, while Ondina had a more entertaining prickly attitude in contrast to Lyla's aloofness.
  • Tony from Men Behaving Badly is a very popular character. Many viewers are unaware that he was a replacement at all, for the barely-remembered Dermot.
  • Merlin (2008)'s first Big Bad was Nimueh who - while not disliked and in fact more could have been done with - isn't remembered that much. Season 2 introduced another evil sorceress in Morgause - who is far more popular. In her debut she beats Arthur in a duel and later curses all of Camelot in an enchanted sleep just to kill Uther.
  • On Miami Vice, Capt. Marty Castillo is considered a far more popular character than the series' original Metro-Dade police department head, Lt. Lou Rodriguez, due to his calm demeanor and being A Father to His Men (and women). It was to the point of him being seen as the series' arguable tritagonist and remaining quite popular with fans to this day. Being played by Edward James Olmos certainly helped.
  • Jim Phelps (played by Peter Graves) was the second leader of Mission: Impossible team and is the series' most iconic character. The original leader, Dan Briggs (played by Steven Hill), only appeared in the original series and is forgotten by all but the most dedicated fans.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, Dr. Forrester’s original assistant was a man named Dr. Lawrence Einhart, played by J. Elvis Weinstein. In the second season of the show’s run, after Weinstein departed, Einhart was replaced by Frank Coniff as TV’s Frank. Many fans consider Frank to be a much better assistant than Einhart, largely due to Einhart receiving very little characterization as little more than a yes-man compared to Frank’s role as a comedic foil to Dr. Forrester.
  • NCIS: Ziva is more widely recognized than her predecessor Kate, given that the show gained widespread recognition after Kate's departure. As a result, many newer viewers don't even know who Kate is until they either stumble across an episode where she's mentioned or view one of the first two seasons later on.
  • In Nowhere Boys, the New Nowhere Boys who debuted in Season 3 all had a varying levels of Replacement Scrappy for the originals, except for Luke Hamill who took the spot of Andy as the nerd and became far more popular due to having a more fun personality, being a Pop-Cultured Badass, and probably in part due to being played by Kamil Ellis who had been garnering a reputation in ABC television.
  • At the beginning of NYPD Blue, Detective John Kelly was a remarkable character who many fans liked, but his actor, David Caruso, left after only one season and was replaced by Detective Bobby Simone, who not only was considered Andy Sipowicz's most popular partner, but many regarded as the best character on the show, if not one of the most beloved drama characters of all time. The show's popularity grew exponentially once he came on board, fans were devastated by his passing in season six and it served as a Career Resurrection for Simone's actor, Jimmy Smits (who had previously wowed fans on L.A. Law).
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • While Naveen Andrews was beloved in the role of Jafar when he starred in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, he had to be replaced in Season 6 by Oded Fehr. This however was considered a worthy successor, and some even prefer Oded in the role.
    • Gaston was an In Name Only character in Season 1, played by Sage Brockelbank. In Season 5 he's recast with Wes Brown, bringing his characterization back to what Disney fans are more familiar with.
    • Sean Maguire is more remembered than his predecessor in the Robin Hood role - Tom Ellis. Few remember that the latter was even part of the series for an episode.
    • Merrin Dungey is likewise remembered more as the second incarnation of Ursula than the first, where she was played by Yvette Nicole Brown. It helps that the writers avoided Replacement Scrappy by simply saying they're two separate characters and the second one was in fact named after the first, meaning they didn't Retcon the first out of existence.
  • Ben Wyatt for Mark Brendanawicz from Parks and Recreation. While both essentially served the same role as the Straight Man, Foil and potential Love Interest for Leslie, Mark was seen as The Generic Guy compared to the other more colorful characters and the weakest link of the main cast, which only became more evident as the show began coming into its own identity separate from its parent series in its second (and his last) season. Ben, in contrast, was an instant hit with fans, who found him to be both endearing and funny as well as a perfect fit for the show's newfound style. By the end of the series, Ben had graduated to the position of Leslie's co-lead while Mark was never heard from again following his departure at the end of season 2, not even returning for the series finale or the reunion special. note 
  • Party of Five's Sarah Reeves filled this role in two ways; a) she was the third love interest for Bailey after Kate (who was Put on a Bus) and Jill (who was Killed Off for Real) and b) she replaced Nina as Julia's regular best friend. She didn't show up until Season 2 when the series had been Un-Cancelled but Jennifer Love Hewitt became a star from the role. Sarah was even popular enough that they tried giving her a spin-off.
  • Robot Wars started with Jeremy Clarkson as the host. His tenure is largely forgotten, to the point that The BBC even edited first series episodes to remove his appearances. In the second series, Craig Charles took over as host and he is often considered synonymous with the show amongst fans.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • After the first season, Sabrina's best friend Jenny disappears without explanation and is replaced by new girl Valerie. Thankfully, Valerie becomes far more popular and remembered than Jenny, for being funnier and dorkier. The dynamic with Sabrina being the confident friend worked much better.
    • Mr Pool likewise disappears after the first season to be replaced with another Cool Teacher in Mrs Quick. She's just as popular - if not more so - than him for being Cute and Psycho.
    • Season 1 had an intimidating Principal LaRue who didn't really do much. Season 2 demotes him to The Ghost and introduces Vice Principal Kraft as an antagonist. He makes for a much more effective antagonist, especially when paired with Libby who was mainly just mean to her lower classmates in Season 1.
  • After season one of Top Gear concluded, presenter Jason Dawe left the program and was replaced by James May. In part due to his longer tenure on the show and dynamic with Jeremy and Richard, James became immensely more popular than Dawe to the point where many people forget or never knew about Dawe's presence on the show at all.
  • In the 2004 revival of Spanish game show Un, dos, tres, the Fahrenheit 451-inspired negative character Colonel McPhantom failed to catch on and was Demoted to Extra after four episodes. His replacement, General Antilivroff, much goofier and more in the vein of previous negative characters of the show, did achieve some popularity.
  • The Walking Dead originally had Dale to fill the role of wise, good-natured mentor figure. However, when Dale's actor decided to leave the show in season 2, they repurposed Hershel to fill that role instead. Despite Hershel debuting later, he's much more beloved by fans. It's mostly due to Hershel being seen as better acted and more interesting, as Hershel suffers numerous personal losses in season 2 but ultimately grows into a better man because of it, whereas Dale just came off as a Token Good Teammate who staunchly opposed all pragmatism regardless of the circumstances. Some also felt Dale's actions made him seem unintentionally hypocritical as wellnote . Years after they're both dead, Hershel's death continues to haunt the still-living characters, while Dale has been forgotten.
  • Wednesday: Enid Sinclair has proven to be far more popular than the previous attempt to give Wednesday a best friend, Parker Needler from The Addams Family (2019), due being better developed, having a more interesting dynamic with Wednesday, and being far more memorable due to Emma Myers' charm.
  • Wheel of Fortune was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery, with Susan Stafford as the Lovely Assistant. Woolery quit in 1981 and hosted many other popular game shows since, including Scrabble, Love Connection, and Lingo, and was replaced by his much longer-lived successor Pat Sajak. Stafford quit one year later to focus on humanitarian work and was replaced by Vanna White, long said to have been one of the key factors in the show's longterm success and sparking a phenomenon known as "Vannamania" — in short becoming the most famous Lovely Assistant in television history.

  • The Heroes of Olympus: The Power Trio of The Lost Hero, Jason, Piper, and Leo, were pretty divisive characters. Some accused Jason of being rather bland, Piper of getting her abilities overhyped and for being rather shallow, and despite getting the most love from readers, Leo gets flak for being a bit of a Jerkass. In The Son of Neptune, not only does Percy return, but the new characters, Frank and Hazel, were more well-liked by readers for their chemistry as a group. Individually, Frank gets love for being a Nice Guy with a compelling underdog story, and Hazel for her tragic backstory.

  • Atomic Kitten initially had Kerry Katona as the third Kitten. She left the group to focus on raising her children, and was replaced with Jenny Frost. Jenny became the Ensemble Dark Horse of the group and remained in the public eye the most. Ironically for a reunion, Kerry replaced Jenny when she was pregnant.
  • Famously, The Beatles replaced Pete Best with the more talented Ringo Starr as drummer right before getting big. Needless to say, most fans agree that it's not The Fab Four without Ringo.
  • Can's second lead vocalist Damo Suzuki was more popular than their first, Malcolm Mooney. People who discover the band through the Suzuki-era records (which is most fans) generally like Mooney's contributions too, but not to the extent of displacing Suzuki as the band's definitive frontman.
  • Deep Purple began their journey as a pioneering hard rock band when they replaced Rod Evans and Nick Simper with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, respectively.
  • Destiny's Child replaced LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson with Michelle Williams (not the actress) and Farrah Franklin. Although Franklin left after only a couple of singles, Williams is more remembered than her predecessors - while ironically still being considered the Lesser Star of the group.
  • Diamond Rio's original lead vocalist was Matt Davenport. Before the band cound secure a record deal, a producer suggested that he be replaced with Marty Roe. This change occurred in 1988, four years into the band's existence, and helped cement a Long-Runner Line-up that has not changed since 1989.
  • Iron Maiden: Bruce Dickinson was initially regarded as a Replacement Scrappy by the time he joined the band, but soon came to be this to Paul Di'Anno, who was the singer on Maiden's first two albums. Adrian Smith and Nicko McBrain have also proved to be more popular than the ones they replaced: Dennis Stratton and Clive Burr.
  • Panic! at the Disco has bassist Jon Walker, who replaced Brent Wilson. Jon is almost universally considered a more talented bassist and gets more attention from fans, while Brent is largely forgotten by the fandom and allegedly didn't even play on the only album released during his time in the band.
  • Pendulum: KJ Sawka replaced Paul Kodish as the drummer. KJ is considered to be a more talented drummer, while Paul is largely forgotten by fans.
  • The Ramones' original drummer was Tommy Ramone, who began as their manager and played drums because no one else in the band wanted to. He left after three albums and his replacement Marky Ramone is more well-known.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: John Frusciante and Chad Smith to the two original members they replaced: Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons, especially after the former died from a heroin overdose. It's no coincidence that the band started their breakout when those two joined.
  • A song example for S Club 7. Their debut single off the Seeing Double album "Alive" was release around the time Jo was suffering from back problems. An alternate version of the single was recorded with Rachel on lead vocals instead of Jo. General consensus seems to be that Rachel's version was better - even though it was never officially released.
  • Sugababes member Heidi Range replaced Siobhan Donaghy. Once she joined the group experienced much more commercial success, while also keeping their previous level of critical acclaim.
  • Yes guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman were much more popular than the band members they replaced: Peter Banks and Tony Kaye.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • NXT Season 3 abruptly dropped the 7 ft Aloisa from the competition after erotic fetish photos of her were found online. Her replacement Kaitlyn ended up winning the contest and later becoming Divas' Champion. In terms of wrestling ability, Aloisa was seen as clumsy and uncoordinated in the ring - while Kaitlyn caught onto wrestling pretty fast.
  • Aksana was apparently given a gimmick pitched by Maxine - that of a Femme Fatale who seduced Teddy Long. Aksana was agreed to be a better choice for the role - merging Funny Foreigner with Innocent Fanservice Girl - and the resulting segments were Innocent Innuendos that provided many funny moments.
  • The New Age Outlaws weren't part of the original line-up of D-Generation X - which consisted of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna and Rick Rude. In the second incarnation, the Outlaws were added and they're considered a classic part of the group. Some even forget that Rick Rude was even associated with them.
  • LayCool initially began as an alliance between Michelle McCool and Alicia Fox. Alicia was inexplicably traded to Raw after a couple of months, and Layla started teaming with Michelle. They eventually made them a proper stable who really dominated the division. Layla ended up becoming champion twice, and was the Ensemble Dark Horse of the group.
  • NXT was hyping its first women's feud to be between Paige - who was the 'Anti-Diva' - and Raquel Diaz - who was the 'Ultra Diva'. Raquel abruptly left NXT and the feud was then re-started with Summer Rae. Summer was considered an infinitely better choice for the role, considering she could go in the ring in addition to fitting the character better (she was previously a model before she was signed, giving better subtext to the 'model vs wrestler' dynamic) — whereas Raquel was average in the ring at best and the only hype surrounding her was who her father was, so not a lot of people remember her. Summer meanwhile became a fan favourite among the IWC (who are not normally kind to model-turned-wrestlers).
  • As iconic as the "domed globe" (aka. the "Ten Pounds of Gold") NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt was, its replacement, the Big Gold Belt, went on to become the most iconic world championship belt in wrestling history.

  • American Country Countdown was originally hosted by singer and comedian Don Bowman. He was replaced in 1978 by Bob Kingsley, who boosted the show's popularity and helped it expand from three to four hours. Kingsley continued to stay with ACC until he was ousted in 2005 in favor of Kix Brooks; however, he seamlessly moved over to Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, a similar show which he continued to helm until his death from cancer in 2019.
  • The Navy Lark: Lt Price, the show's first Lt, was a very much more military and sarcastic figure who could be almost as much of an antagnoist to the rest of the crew as Commander Povey was. He was replaced after the first season by Lt Murray, who was much more easy going, slightly more clueless, and much more willing to hang together with everyone else in the face of The Admiralty; thus much more loved by the fandom (and in-universe, the crew).

    Video Games 
  • Ezio the protagonist of Assassin's Creed II is a lot more popular and iconic than his predecessor Altair from the original game and still remains the most popular assassin to this day.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • Tawna Bandicoot was Crash's Satellite Love Interest and Damsel in Distress in the first game in the series, though it quickly touched a nerve with Universal executives due to her over-sexualised appearance. Naughty Dog became disillusioned with the character after the conflict it caused and complied to Sony of Japan's request to make a replacement female sidekick for Crash. Coco Bandicoot, Crash's little sister, remained a mainstay after the second game and became popular enough to be Promoted to Playable in future titles.
    • Also from the first game, Koala Kong existed as Cortex's Dumb Muscle, though by Crash Bandicoot 2 he is supplanted by Tiny Tiger, who became more iconic a member of the Rogues Gallery due to his more developed childlike personality and dogged loyalty to Cortex in later titles making him more likeable.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: Fans often consider Dixie Kong to be an even better character than Donkey Kong for not only being a playable Action Girl who serves as a Battle Couple with Diddy Kong, but also for her added ability to glide with her hair.
    • Kiddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! was not very popular, being a one-note character who took the title character's role in gameplay as the big, tanky one. In Donkey Kong 64, Kiddy's brother, Chunky Kong, was introduced and was significantly more liked, partially due to being playable alongside DK, and partially due to his more realized and less generic personality.
    • The Tiki Tak tribe from Donkey Kong Country Returns was largely seen as a Replacement Scrappy for the Kremlings, who were the (more popular) antagonists in the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy as well as Donkey Kong 64, and a low point for an otherwise acclaimed game. The Snowmads from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, in contrast, are much better received for being more charismatic and varied, and for offering more satisfying boss battles. While the Kremlings still get the upper hand among DK fans in terms of overall popularity, the Snowmads are still appreciated on their own.
  • In The King of Fighters, K9999 was derided for being a blatant Tetsuo ripoff (even if he has his fans). 2002: Unlimited Match replaces him with Nameless (that's his name), who stands on his own better as a character and is better received. XV introduces another replacement in Krohnen (who just so happens to be K9999's alter ego), who also stands on his own better and is just as popular, if not more so, than Nameless.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has Tatl filling in the role Navi had in Ocarina of Time, and players were more favorable to the new fairy, finding her manifesting through bell chimes much more pleasant than the infamous "Hey! Listen!", and liking her personality of a Little Miss Snarker who as time passes comes to appreciate Link more.
  • At one point in Monster Hunter: World, the Handler departs from the Player Character to head out to search with the Tracker, leaving the Serious Handler temporarily replacing her as the Hunter's guide. In that short segment, she has a much more positive reception than the Handler due to the Serious Handler not being as annoying or reckless as her with players actually groaning once the Handler return back as the player's guide to the point that an overwhelming majority of them requested to have her as an alternate guide for a possible DLC.
  • Mortal Kombat has had two characters who used the code name Sub-Zero. The first was the Lin Kuei assassin Bi-Han who was killed by Scorpion in the first game and later resurrected as the wraith Noob Saibot. The second Sub-Zero is Bi-Han's younger brother Kuai Liang who would remain the main Sub-Zero for subsequent games. While Bi-Han is by no means hated by the fan base, Kuai Liang's longer tenure as Sub-Zero has made him the more iconic of the two to wear the blue ninja garb.
  • In Persona 3, the Portable rerelease switches around some of the female protagonist's social links, replacing some of the old characters with your male party members. For example Mamoru, the track athlete from another school who is the male protagonist's Star Social Link, is replaced by Akihikonote . Many of the party members are better-liked than the ones they replaced, particularly since said Social Links help flesh out their characters more, and while Ken's Social Link is divisive, partly because he replaces the fairly popular Chihiro, and partly because he can be romanced, some believe that having a Social Link is good for his character. It also helps that if you romance Shinjiro, you can save his life.
  • Persona 5:
    • Sojiro Sakura serves the Parental Substitute role that Ryotaro Dojima did in the previous game. Sojiro is somewhat better liked, though, since while both men have a somewhat distant relationship with their daughters, in Sojiro's case, it's more due to Futaba's severe personal issues than his own failings. Near the end of the game, while Dojima brings the protagonist in for questioning, thereby leaving his daughter vulnerable to being kidnapped, Sojiro, after finding evidence linking Futaba to the Phantom Thieves, questions them about it, but ultimately decides to support them in spite of the fact that the Phantom Thieves are currently wanted for murder.
    • Persona 5: Royal added Kasumi Yoshizawa into the storyline like how Marie was in Persona 4: Golden. Unlike Marie, who was seen as an unnecessary Spotlight-Stealing Squad, Kasumi was much better received for having good chemistry with some of the characters like Akechi, not taking up too much of the plot awkwardly, and an awesome twist of her really being her thought to be dead sister Sumire.
  • Puyo Puyo: Sig, who represents blue puyos, is this to Tartar to a heavy degree, not only overshadowing his predecessor in Accord's class right out of the gate, but even going on to become easily the most beloved Ensemble Dark Horse to come out of the Fever duology.
  • Soul Series:
    • Maxi was introduced in Soulcalibur (which was actually the second game in the series) and it didn't take long for him to far eclipse Li Long, the character he replaced as the series' nunchaku user. This is mainly due to Maxi having a more memorable personality and style compared to Li Long being more of a Flat Character. As such, Maxi remains a staple, but Li Long is all but forgotten.
    • Azwel from Soulcalibur VI, who can create weapons out of nowhere, is meant to be a replacement of Necrid from II mainly due to legal issues regarding the character being created by Todd McFarlane. However, due to Azwel actually looking like he belongs in the game, having an actual backstory, being involved in the plot, having moves that are really well thought of instead of haphazardly putting in moves from other characters, and simply being a very cool looking Fountain of Memes character who is just a joy to watch, he became a very beloved inclusion to the cast of characters while Necrid remains obscure to non Soulcalibur II fans.
  • In Super Mario Bros., Princess Peach is a much more popular and iconic character than Pauline, Mario's girlfriend in Donkey Kong. Pauline is mostly only remembered now because of being a interesting bit of video game history, though she still appears in some Mario games (including Super Mario Odyssey, where she enjoyed a newfound popularity).
  • In World of Tanks, Wargaming rarely removes tanks entirely from the tech tree to replace them, and when it happens this often results in no small amount of fan outcry. However, no one complained when the unpopular and ill-favored M3 Lee was replaced in the tech tree by the much more flexible and thematically appropriate T6 Medium tank (being a turreted medium with generally well-rounded handling characteristics). The inclusion of the popular 105 millimeter howitzer cannon as an option on a tier 4 medium tank didn't hurt its popularity either, rocketing the T6 Medium into superstardom almost overnight.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Riku and Manana are widely considered to be the best Nopon party members in the series, lacking Riki's missing Character Focus during the main story, Tora's more perverted tendencies, and Tatsu's overall obnoxiousness. Instead, Manana is well-liked for her Supreme Chef skills and Genki Girl disposition that make her a Badass Adorable, while Riku isn't even a Plucky Comic Relief character at all, has a surprisingly deep voice for a Nopon, and is instead much more of a Yoda-like figure to the party and Noah - not to mention that he is implied to be more than just a regular Nopon, though this remains ambiguous.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Trilogy: While Ray Schilens as Chrovos wasn't exactly hated during The Shisno Paradox and is still viewed as having done a good job, Lee Eddy's take on Chrovos for Singularity has proven to be significantly more popular with fans due to a greater focus on Deadpan Snarker humor, Eddy's Evil Is Sexy vocal performance, and Eddy already being a big fan-favorite among the greater Rooster Teeth fandom. What certainly helps is that Eddy's take on the character being a Laughably Evil yet strangely maternal Mechanical Abomination proved to be far more memorable than Schilens' more Affably Evil Grandpa God portrayal.

    Web Video 
  • The early episodes of BuzzFeed Unsolved were hosted by Ryan Bergara and Brent Bennett, serving as the believer and skeptic respectively. From the episode on The Illuminati onwards, however, Brent would be replaced by Shane Madej, who took things a step further by openly taunting and trying to provoke whatever supernatural threat they were investigating that episode. This, combined with the entertaining Vitriolic Best Buds dynamic he had with Ryan, quickly made him a fan favourite, and he stayed on as co-host for the rest of the series.
  • When Danny Sexbang replaced JonTron in Game Grumps, he was at first considered a Replacement Scrappy by most fans upset with the sudden change. However, he quickly proved to be quite charming and funny and a good foil to Arin's craziness, now regularly ranking as favorite Grump in reddit fan-polls and fans constantly claiming to see him appear even more often in the middle-slot video.
  • Rachel Tietz, who moved from Demo Reel to The Nostalgia Critic when the former series was cancelled in favor of a revival of the latter, was reasonably well-liked among its fans. Tamara Chambers, who took over from Tietz after she left at the end of 2013, was (and remains) incredibly popular among said fans, possibly even the most popular of the series' lead actors.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Princess Azula made her first full appearance in Book 2, and she almost immediately eclipsed Zhao, one of the primary antagonists of Book 1 and who she replaced as Zuko's personal villain, in popularity. This is mainly due to Azula being far more dangerous and having a more memorable personality, while Zhao was little more than an egotistical Fire Navy officer. As a result, Azula became a staple of the show and showed up in the sequel comics (admittedly under a rather divisive character arc), while Zhao was seemingly killed off in the Book 1 finale and was almost completely forgotten about barring a few minor references in the later two seasons and a surprising but ultimately brief cameo in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Rook Blonko was initially seen as a Replacement Scrappy for replacing Gwen and Kevin, but shortly after he became the opposite and was viewed as an improvement considering Gwen and Kevin are seen by some as Creators Pets who were involved in a Romantic Plot Tumor. It's been said that the reason they were demoted to Recurrer status was because they were overshadowing Ben, before Rook comes in and shows us how being cooler than the main character is really done, acting as a Straight Man to the more reckless Ben as well as being a disciplined By-the-Book Cop and Badass Normal.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was Walt Disney's first major mascot for Disney; however, legal issues led to Oswald and his wife Ortensia being scrapped for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The replacements soon eclipsed the originals and have since become two of the most recognizable cartoon characters out there.
    • Daisy Duck wasn't the first love interest to Donald Duck. Another duck, Donna Duck, appeared in an earlier short. Since Daisy's debut, she's been his main love interest in almost every medium and has since become a part of the core Disney cast.
    • In some older shorts, Goofy had an unnamed son. Max Goof from Goof Troop is much more popular due to his design more resembling Goofy's and due to his less bratty personality. Max even ended up becoming a Canon Immigrant over time.
  • Hey Arnold!: Arnold's second teacher Mr. Simmons is better remembered than his predecessor Miss Slovak.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The first Looney Tunes star in the early 30s was Bosko, who was later replaced by Buddy, but both are remembered as bland Flat Characters and are mostly obscure to modern audience (Buddy, in particular, was largely seen as a Replacement Scrappy for Bosko). Porky Pig was introduced in 1935 and becomes the first true star of the franchise to have an actual personality and remained the studio's main character for quite a few years. However, while Porky is still part of the main cast today, he eventually found himself Out of Focus compared to other "zany" characters like Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Bugs is now considered the most famous star of the franchise and one of the most iconic cartoon characters in history.
    • Porky was paired with many different sidekicks in his early cartoons of the 30s but they are all largely forgotten. A notable example was Porky's sidekick and foil Gabby Goat, whose behavior was considered offensive by viewers. Daffy Duck was initially introduced as another one-shot foil for Porky but eventually became a Breakout Character. One of the Porky/Gabby cartoons ("Porky's Badtime Story") was even remade with Daffy replacing Gabby.
    • In his first three cartoons, Tweety was chased by other random cats, before being paired with his iconic rival Sylvester.
    • Honey Bunny has been Bugs Bunny's official love interest in comics and other media for decades (from the 50s to early 90s). Since the release of Space Jam, she has been completely supplanted by the much more notable Lola Bunny, both in merchandising and every other Looney Tunes project.
    • Daffy has several love interests in his shorts, notably Melissa Duck from "The Scarlet Pumpernickel". His girlfriend Tina Russo from The Looney Tunes Show is fairly likable and more popular than Melissa, which is not hard, considering that Melissa was a Satellite Love Interest, whose only prominent role was in the controversial Baby Looney Tunes.
  • Butters from South Park took over Pip's role in the show as the Butt-Monkey and The Pollyanna at around Season Four. He was much more liked by both the audience and the creators and eventually became a main character and an iconic part of the show. Pip disappeared from the series for a while and was eventually killed off in the 200th episode.
  • Total Drama: Alejandro, one of the two newcomers of Total Drama World Tour, replaced Justin as the Mr. Fanservice of the cast. Alejandro is generally better remembered, having a manipulative side and serving as a Spear Counterpart to Heather, while Justin was almost exclusively defined by his looks (Action tried to make Justin a more villainous character, but gave up after one episode and made him a Butt-Monkey instead).
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race:
    • Don took over from Chris as the host, which was welcomed by the majority of the fandom given how unlikable Chris had become in the later seasons with the flanderization of his sadism and sociopathy. Don on the other hand is closer to the original interpretation of a hedonistic but overall fair host who does not change the rules willy-nilly for his own amusement, unlike Chris who is a contender for Trope Codifier of Screw the Rules, I Make Them!.
    • Crimson and Ennui replaced Gwen as the goth stereotype characters, with the two of them proving insanely popular with many fans deeming them superior due to Gwen's own waning popularity. This is likely the reason why Gwen was made to be more like Crimson in the Spinoff Babies series Total DramaRama.
    • Taylor ended up being almost a carbon-copy of Amy, even down to the same voice actress, but nearly all of the fandom consider Taylor to be a better character due to being somewhat more fleshed out thanks to her backstory being provided, as well as actually having a few redeeming qualities. Also, Taylor ended up having a small ounce of respect for her mother, while Amy remained as awful a person as she was from the beginning.