Sometimes they're too young and inexperienced. Sometimes they're too reckless. Sometimes they made the wrong friends and the wrong enemies. Or perhaps they are just the "wrong" sex. But for whatever reason, the potential hero is prohibited from joining the others on their quest to destroy the Big Bad.
Of course, the official heroes are inevitably captured and await their fate, their plans of saving the world dashed to smithereens. Who could possibly save them now? Aha, the Prohibited Hero has decided to snub the authorities (or employ Exact Words) and come along anyway, often becoming The Cavalry. It's a good thing too, because not only does he rescue the regular heroes, he usually manages to simultaneously foil the Big Bad's Evil Plan. If only the authorities had had some faith in him in the first place.
Those prone to Fridge Logic may wonder if the delayed arrival of the Prohibited Hero contributed to her success. It's possible that had she gone with the others, she would have been captured along with them. It may be that part of her success is that she was the Wild Card the Big Bad was not expecting.
- In episode 19 of Simoun, Aaeru and Yun are inexplicably grounded while the rest of Chor Tempest are sent after the enemy's elusive Airborne Aircraft Carrier. The two of them eventually decide to violate their orders and sortie to save the day, but not before Mamiina is killed in action.
- In My Hero Academia, five members of Class 1-A (Deku, Kirishima, Todoroki, Iida and Yaoyozoru), who are still students and therefore not allowed to publicly act as heroes, secretly launch their own operation to rescue the kidnapped Bakugo while All Might and the other pro heroes are commencing their own rescue. The students get Bakugo to safety, which allows All Might to fight his arch-enemy All For One without having to worry about anyone getting caught in the crossfire. Afterwards their teacher Eraser Head tells them that the only reason they aren't getting expelled (along with the classmates because they knew about the rescue operation but didn't tell the teachers) was that All Might was forced to retire after the battle and heroes are needed more than ever before.
- In the Secret Invasion crossover for Runaways and Young Avengers, Xavin commands their fellow Runaways to flee New York when the Skrull forces appear, fearing that they'll all be killed. They choose to ignore this and end up saving Xavin from their former mentor, who's now become one of the Skrull religious fanatics.
- Advice and Trust: After Gendo fired them, Shinji and Asuka end up coming to Rei's rescue during the fight against Zeruel by hijacking Unit-03 (which hand been in storage ever since Hikari got absorbed). Though in a subversion, Rei was ultimately the one to deal the finishing blow.
- The Incredibles: Helen leaves the kids at home with orders to stay safe and watch the baby when she goes to track down her husband only for Dash and Violet to stow away on her plane. Later it's only through Violet's force field ability that the Incredibles are able to escape their bonds and stop Syndrome's plot.
- In Balto, Balto is not taken on the medicine run (in spite of having been the fastest canine in a race) because he's half-wolf. He tracks down the sled team and leads them home after his rival, Steele, gets them lost.
- Mulan: Mulan is kicked out of the army when her real gender is revealed. Being left behind allows her to see that some of the Hun forces have survived and are planning another attack. While no one believes her warning (again, because of her gender), she is able to lead the counterattack and save the day.
- In the Star Wars film The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker is told to stay put in the cockpit of a Naboo fighter. Technically he obeys, but that doesn't stop him taking the fighter into battle, destroying the droid control ship and preventing the imminent surrender of the good guys on the ground.
- Pacific Rim: Mako, Raileigh, and Gipsy Danger are held back because Mako was not entirely prepared for the Drift. After the three other Jaegers get taken out of the fight, Gipsy Danger is the only one left. They single-handedly defeat all the Kaiju.
- In Police Academy, first Hightower is kicked out of the Academy, and later Mahoney is as well; but just as Mahoney is packing his things a riot overwhelms the city, forcing them to call up the Academy recruits as backup. Mahoney quietly puts on his uniform and boards the bus to go help quell the riots. When Mahoney confronts the prime instigators, who should show up but Hightower (in civilian clothes), who helps subdue them by pretending at first to be on the side of the rioters.
- In Beverly Hills Cop, Axel Foley is explicitly prohibited from investigating his friend's murder. He does it anyway and ends up taking down Victor Maitland.
- In Attack the Block, Probs and Mayhem are considered Tagalong Kids, and when things start to get dangerous, Moses tries to intimidate them into going home and laying low. Not only do they disobey him, they end up saving Biggz's life when they take down one of the alien beasts with an improvised flamethrower.
- Lampshaded in Birds of Prey (2020), when Harley Quinn's voiceover explains exactly why Renee Montoya is about to perform much better now that she's been unceremoniously kicked off of the corrupt police force in a Turn in Your Badge scene.
- Ender from Ender's Game is told by one of his commanders to remain on the sidelines without firing his weapon. He disobeys this and is able to turn what would have been a close defeat into a draw.
- This is a major theme in The Lord of the Rings. The hobbits are frequently encouraged to return to the Shire and let others take responsibility for the Ring, especially Pippin, the youngest of the group. All four of them prove to be vital to the quest in different ways. The same goes for Eowyn. As the highest-ranking female in Rohan, she's left behind to take care of Edoras while the men march to war, but comes along in disguise and manages to defeat the Witch-King, who could not have been beaten by a man.
- In an episode of NCIS, Non-Action Guy Jimmy Palmer is with the team as they pursue the criminal of the week. Gibbs orders Jimmy to stay in the car (obviously intending for Jimmy to not be The Load). When the criminal gets in his truck to make a getaway, Jimmy rams him with the car he was forbidden to leave. Jimmy points out the Exact Words to Gibbs afterwards.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode, "The Other Guys", the clueless Lab Rat SG-1 groupies are told to return through the Stargate when a Goa'uld squad takes the team prisoner. The minor system lord they're supposed to meet (actually a Tok'Ra informant) is assassinated and the groupie geeks need to rescue the heroes.
- Overwatch is now attempting this on an organizational scale, as Winston recalls former agents despite a ban on association related to Overwatch. Six years before this, when Overwatch still legally existed, it intervened in the London Null Sector uprising under the direction of Commander Morrison, despite orders not to get involved. (This could be one of the reasons that led to its disbandment next year.)
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade Chan constantly sneaks away on Jackie's adventure. She is not supposed to help because she is a kid but has saved the group on multiple accounts. She has also been a nuisance an equal (if not greater) number of times.
- Jonny Quest episode "Terror Island''. After Dr. Quest is kidnapped and taken to the title island Race Bannon forbids Jonny and Hadji from going along on the rescue attempt. They act as Little Stowaways and come along anyway. Once on the island they steal a tractor and use it to ram the building where Dr. Quest is being held prisoner, killing the Giant Spider that was about to kill him.
- In the The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Super Koopa", the heroes chase King Koopa to Paris to save Luigi, but Princess Toadstool tells Toad to stay behind, who complains, "I always stay behind!" (Nevermind the many other episodes where he is involved in the adventure.) Unlike other examples, though, Toad actually stays behind (although he still complains about it). It's only when Koopa throws the Mario Bros. into jail and hangs the Princess from the Eiffel Tower is Toad finally summoned to help them.
- Sofia the First: In the episode "Princesses to the Rescue!" James and Jin run off to follow a treasure map. When their respective fathers find out, they go after to stop them from getting into trouble. Sofia and Jun (their respective sisters) want to go help, but their fathers tell them to stay behind for their safety. Then the royal sorcerer reveals that there's a safer back entrance, and now Sofia, Jun, and Amber (who really doesn't want to go) have to take that path in order to warn the kings and princes about the real dangers.
- DuckTales (2017): A recurring motif in the season finales.
- In season one, Donald forbids the triplets and Webby from joining in on the assault on the Money Bin because Magica De Spell is too dangerous for them to face. They decide to go anyway, and their unique fighting styles serve to bewilder Magica enough to make an impact. Subverted or Invoked, depending on how you look at it. Donald specifically told them to stay behind knowing that they would disobey and find a way to get there right when he needed them.
- In season two, Scrooge sends the kids away to find allies, but it's later revealed that he was trying to keep them out of the fight to protect them. They run into a marooned Donald and an escaping Gladstone, Feathery, and Mitzy, and the Duck family returns to the battle, providing a second wave and further confusing the attacking general.
- In season three, Scrooge compiles his teams of fighters, which include none of the children. The kids all get together and outright tell the adults (paraphrased) "Even if you leave us, you know we're just going to follow. So are you going to include us or not?" Scrooge concedes and brings them along as reserves.
- Benedict Arnold was relieved of command by commanding general Horatio Gates in the 18-day interregnum between the first Battle of Saratoga (Freeman's Farm) and the second battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights). Arnold was left sitting in his tent, with no command and nothing to do, as the battle of Bemis Heights (Oct. 7, 1777) raged around him. He proceeded to leave his tent, gather up a bunch of American soldiers—in defiance of orders, and without any authority other than his own personality—and lead the charge that broke the British line.