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"You are my sister and technically have a claim to the throne. And believe me, I would love for someone else to rule. But it can't be you. You're just... the worst."
Thor to Hela, Thor: Ragnarok

Somebody is introduced who is set up to be the hero's successor, because the hero is overworked, due for a promotion or retirement, or being reassigned (something the hero naturally disagrees with). The newcomer seems to be superior to the hero in every way and everybody loves them, leaving the hero to think that maybe it would be better if they stepped back and left things to the new generation.

But of course, the replacement will turn out to have Feet of Clay or be a Deceptive Disciple (this can turn into Older Hero vs. Younger Villain), or the villain's Xanatos Gambit-of-the-episode happens to work perfectly with them (when the previous hero was able to prevent triggering them so far), and so the hero has to show what makes them so special and irreplaceable. In the end, Status Quo Is God, as the successor refuses or is unable to take the hero's place.

Also very common with robotic or cybernetic heroes, who will be replaced by newer versions. If that's the case, expect a Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight. These invariably are technically superior to the hero, but they lack Heart. Will the executives never learn?

A specific version of Always Someone Better. See also We Want Our Jerk Back!, Job-Stealing Robot & Rotten Robotic Replacement, Inadequate Inheritor and The Wrongful Heir to the Throne. Contrast Beta Test Baddie. For a fan reaction example, there's Replacement Scrappy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bakuman。: After Mutou Ashirogi managed to get their first series on Weekly Shounen Jump, Akira Hattori, the editor who helped to that success since the moment they met him, was assigned to other mangaka, and Goro Miura became Ashirogi's new editor. Unfortunately, Miura wasn't as good as an editor like Hattori was, as Miura's advice usually went against the style of Ashirogi and was geared towards Miura's personal taste. After losing their first series and creating a second series that neither satisfied them nor was popular with the readers, Hattori gave Ashirogi a wake-up call, which promptly led to Ashirogi abandoning their second series under the condition that they would be able to make a new series that could compete with Niizuma's CROW. After gaining some experience by tailing Hattori, Ashirogi were able to create PCP and were lucky to get Hattori back as their editor. Miura would continue to be a bad successor of Hattori, this time being assigned to the +natural mangaka duo Minase and Niizuma, with Minase being especially displeased with Miura's poor job.
  • Corrector Haruna from Corrector Yui. The 'suck' wasn't her fault, though... Drozzer wanted her out of the way because she was the Professor's original Chosen One for the Corrector powers, and Yui was his Chosen One (because he's smitten with her). Thankfully, Yui decides to become The Unchosen One and get back on the saddle.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has Cell Max, the successor to Cell. While Cell Max easily beats his predecessor in terms of raw destructive power, he is also a brainless Berserker with none of the original Cell's cunning and intellect, as well as a lack of a Healing Factor (when his arm gets blasted off by Gamma #2, it does not regenerate). Cell Max also has an Achilles' Heel purposely built in, courtesy of Dr. Hedo not having much faith in Cell Max's usefulness to begin with: a strong enough hit to his head will kill him instantly.
  • Akito Tenkawa's replacement in Martian Successor Nadesico seemingly gets herself killed in her first battle. She's actually the Hero of Another Story of the spin-off game The Blank of Three Years.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Jet Alone, a giant robot created by one of NERV's competitors. Jet Alone was hyped up to be a superior replacement to the Evangelions, since it was completely unmanned, capable of operating autonomously for far longer than the EVAs thanks to its nuclear reactor, and not prone to going berserk. Unfortunately for its creators, Jet Alone wound up malfunctioning and nearly having a meltdown, courtesy of sabotage from NERV. Even without the sabotage, its completely artificial nature also means it cannot project an AT Field: as a result, its chances of doing any good in a fight against an Angel are no better than any of the UN's routinely-curbstomped tanks and aircraft.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: When it was proven that BoBoiBoy was getting increasingly stressed as a Kid Hero and unwittingly committed arson as his fire elemental as a result, Adu Du introduced BoBoiBot to Rintis Island as a replacement. Initially, everyone (except for BoBoiBoy, his friends and Adu Du's Robot Buddy Probe) preferred BoBoiBot over the original, until it was revealed that he and Adu Du were never giving heroic services for free. They even destroyed property just to fix it right afterwards, then demanded the owner to pay ridiculous amounts of money, or suffer the consequences.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman
    • Deadshot's first appearance in Batman comics was this. He appeared as a super-efficient new vigilante who was wiping out crime in Gotham City. He was actually removing all his competition so he could take over.
    • Jean Paul Valley, better known as Azrael, served as one to Batman in the Knightfall arc following the breaking of Batman's back. While Azrael did do a better job at frightening criminals because of his sheer utter ruthlessness, his past 'programming' as Azrael ended up kicking in and, along with being in a dark place like Gotham, caused him to sink further into aggression and violence. Bruce made his decision to take back the mantle of the Bat after Jean Paul, who had a crisis of conscience, let a villain by the name of Abattoir die, which had the effect of dooming one of his victims who was being held in a secret, hidden torture chamber in an unknown location. This trope was then immediately inverted, when Bruce took back the mantle of Batman back, he had to leave town, so he temporarily had Dick Grayson (Nightwing/Robin I) take over as Batman, who did an exemplary job until Bruce's return.
    • Jason Todd as the second Robin, in modern stories, is often portrayed as less effective in his role than Dick Grayson, the Robin before him. He was angrier than Dick, leading to mistakes, and he didn't listen to Batman as often and thus failed to learn many lessons that Dick did. Jason wound up being the first Robin to die, and after he was resurrected, he has a big chip on his shoulder when it comes to Dick. Jason thinks that Bruce considers him not only not as good a Robin as Dick, but also not as good a son.
  • This is the premise of The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, except Rusty, rather than being malevolent, is merely childish and incompetent, causing Big Guy to come out of retirement and serve to mentor him.
  • Captain America: John Walker during his stint as Captain America. In his defense, he tried to live up to the ideals Captain America represents, even if he disagreed with Steve Rodger's viewpoints on those ideals, but things quickly go off the rails when he beats a man to death on the job. Things go from bad to worse when two former buddies of his unveil his identity on national TV out of spite, and some of John's enemies go after his parents. The Walkers end up dead, and John goes quite, quite mad. Then it turns out the Red Skull had some part in this, as part of scheme to ruin the name of Captain America altogether.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Kraken, another Fargo clone from "Necropolis." As Kraken's final examiner, Dredd himself ruled against enlisting Kraken before taking the Long Walk, but Chief Judge Silver felt that the city would continue to need a "Dredd" to patrol the streets due to his status as a symbol for the law. It ended in a catastrophe as Kraken was brainwashed by the Sisters of Death to release the Dark Judges, then Mind Raped by Judge Death into becoming his personal puppet and forced to participate in their slaughter. In the end Kraken is so broken by what they've made him do that he calmly accepts his execution at Dredd's hands, as he didn't want to live anymore.
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Secret Weapon, Bravura briefly replaced Cacofonix as the village bard.
  • In the Project Superpowers universe, Fighting Yank was succeeded as champion of the American Spirit by the Revolutionary, a violent anarchist. This was an intentional choice on the American Spirit's part; the Yank had been such a lackluster champion that the Spirit deemed it necessary to empower an extremist to restore the balance.
  • Superman:
    • Deconstructed with the '90s Anti-Hero and The Dark Age of Comic Books in Kingdom Come. Although the new generation of heroes has been willing to kill (Something their predecessors would never do) and have effectively ended crime, they bring about a problem much worse than supervillains: their own reckless civil wars, equally capable of devastating entire cities. Most blatant of these is Magog, who publicly called Superman outdated by adhering to his no-killing code. However, this doesn't help when the people who supported these heroes who kill died in the Kansas explosion. Eventually, the old and new generations clash when Superman leads the old guard back to Earth and active duty while dealing with Batman's third party and the schemes of the villains, such as Lex Luthor.
    • Magog was explictly designed to be this. Compare the biblical and messiah-like imagery of Superman to Magog being pretty much a gold calf (hence the horns on his head.) Ironically enough, he himself is bitterly aware of what he caused and genuinely repents. He even becomes a teacher at the end.
    • "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?": A new team of heroes, the Elite, who lack Superman's code of ethics, gain the public's adoration before Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and forcing Superman to bring them down. And in the process, Superman demonstrates just how terrifying he would be if he didn't adhere to his moral code.
    • Matrix was created to replace the original Supergirl Kara Zor-El, who died a hero saving the Multiverse. Nonetheless, Matrix was not only weaker, but also she was gullible and easily manipulable. She went nuts, abandoned Earth, became Brainiac's dupe and Luthor's unwitting pawn and lover in quick succession. At the end, Kara returned in The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), and Matrix was missed by nobody.
    • The Superman Adventures: One issue features Superior-Man, a superhero with kryptonite vision who upstages Superman, virtually eliminates crime from Metropolis, and plans to collaborate with Lex Luthor to bring a new golden age. When Superman refuses to be exiled even when he's been reduced to just getting kittens down from tree, the two heroes battle, ending with Superman using his heat vision to expose Superior-Man as Metallo, who had gone insane from his memory being tampered by Luthor.
    • Way before them were the four replacement Superman during The Death of Superman. Discounting the Cyborg Superman for obvious reasons, Steel was probably the closest to acting like the Man of Steel as the Eradicator was too lost in his vicious punishing ways (so much so that Steel was forced to give him a What the Hell, Hero? a few times to get it through his head), and Superboy was prone to too much grandstanding (which also got him a What the Hell, Hero? from Steel).
  • In 52, Booster Gold tries to become Superman's replacement after the latter's temporary retirement, but is soon overshadowed by the mysterious Supernova, who is much better at superheroing and has a cleaner record. Subverted, it turns out that Supernova is Booster Gold due to time travel.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): During the 90s, Diana lost the mantle of Wonder Woman to Artemis, an Amazon from the more aggressive and war-focused Bana-Mighdall tribe. Despite having won the tournament to become Wonder Woman, Artemis' tenure was marred with criticism from the public and even other superheroes due to her antisocial personality and excessive use of violence which often made situations worse. Batman refused to let her sit in at Justice League meetings and Diana's own sister Donna Troy voiced her disapproval of Artemis. To add insult to injury, the only reason Artemis won the tournament was because Hippolyta was trying to prevent a vision of Diana's death from coming true and so had rigged the tournament in Artemis's favor.
  • During the original The Infinity Gauntlet event, Thanos was confronted by Quasar, who had been given both the title Protector of the Universe and the Nega-Bands once held by Captain Marvel. Thanos viewed Mar-Vell as a Worthy Opponent and dismissed Quasar as an inferior replacement.
    • Monica Rambeau had fears that she was this due to taking up the Captain Marvel name, and the weight of Mar-Vell's legacy weighed on her. One of the worst beatings she took was during a battle with an iteration of the Legion of the Unliving that was made up of deceased Avengers... including Mar-Vell himself. He subjected her to a Breaking Speech about "tarnishing (his) legacy" before killing her.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Blacksmith's Apprentice, Snotlout officially replaced Hiccup as Stoick’s Heir a few years before the narrative begins, but Stoick has been forced to acknowledge over time that while Snotlout is physically stronger, he has all the tact of a rampaging dragon and gets bored when taking any kind of lessons, to the point that Stoick twice has to arrange for Hiccup to ‘pretend’ to be his heir when other tribes visit Berk to avoid Snotlout insulting them and provoking war.

    Films — Animated 
  • This is more or less what happens to Bolt, where he is replaced while trying to get back to the studio and thinks everyone prefers the new dog. Naturally it turns out the new dog is a coward, accidentally sets the soundstage on fire and Bolt has to go in and rescue his person.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Baby Driver: Bats to Griff. While both are amoral criminals and assholes who constantly belittle or bully Baby, Griff is shown to be competent and able to keep to a plan without accruing needless casualties. Bats on the other hand is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who feels the need to be the craziest person in a group, beats a guard to death once he disembarks from a car, will murder random gas station clerks because he doesn't want to pay for gum, and cause a shootout with cops on Doc's payroll because he thinks they might be actual cops. Finally, Baby has enough respect to not kill Griff during a heist, while Bats is killed by Baby when there are no civilians around for Bats to hurt.
  • Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight is a particularly tragic example; his success as District Attorney would have enabled Batman to retire and leave Gotham in the hands of competent law enforcement, but his Two-Face–Heel Turn ends that possibility.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: Ragnarok: Thor and Loki are told by their father, right before he dies, that they have an older sister, Hela. When she returns, she immediately tries to kill them and murders the entire army of Asgard as they try to resist her. Her plan is to conquer the entire Nine Realms and she sends her Berserker army after the civilians that try to resist her. When Thor returns to Asgard, he discovers the mural that Hela uncovered, showing her and Odin conquering the Nine Realms brutally.
      Thor: You are my sister and technically have a claim to the throne. And believe me, I would love for someone else to rule, but it can't be you. You’re just... the worst.
    • The plot of Spider-Man: Far From Home involved Mysterio, a competent, intelligent, and charismatic hero, arriving to take over Spider-Man's role as "the New Iron Man." In the end, it was not the break from the spotlight Spider-Man was hoping for.
  • RoboCop 2 explores Omnicorp's attempts to create an actual RoboCop 2, which fails each and every time. Two prototypes were Driven to Suicide as a result of the stresses placed on the police officers who were not prepared for a life of being a robotic slave to Detroit's resident Mega-Corp, with the original RoboCop, Alex Murphy, being described as an outlier due to his unique background and willingness to lay down his life in the line of duty. A third RoboCop 2 managed to resist the urge to kill itself, but it was saddled with its own issues, chief among them the fact that it used the brain of an Unwillingly Roboticized narcotics-addicted drug lord with a God complex. In theory, its addiction should've acted as an effective Restraining Bolt: it could get a hit if it did as it was told. In practice, a lot of people wound up dying when the withdrawals hit, because it's an unstoppable killing machine and can just take the drugs by force.
  • Scream (2022) has a villainous example in its Ghostface killers, Richie and Amber. They rack up six victims, equal to the original killers, but they seem to fail just as much as they succeed. They leave behind the highest number of people injured but not dead (Tara, Sam, Sidney, Gale, Chad, and Mindy), and one of those people is the cold open kill Tara, who is the first in the series to survive her attack despite the fact that she was their only target; for comparison, the previous films all had the killers take out two victims. And while they do succeed in killing Dewey where so many have failed, Dewey is shown to be Dented Iron by this point, a Jaded Washout living alone in a trailer after sustaining multiple injuries over the prior films that it's implied eventually got him pushed into early retirement. Appropriately enough, their motive is the pettiest in the entire series: they're Loony Fans of the Stab films who think that they're "saving" the series by staging a new killing spree for the filmmakers to draw inspiration from, with one character even comparing them to bad fanfiction writers. And sure enough, the one who defeats them is the daughter of the first film's killer, Billy Loomis.
  • In Se7en, Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is set to retire, leaving his new partner Mills (Brad Pitt) in his place. However. in what was probably going to be Somerset's last big case, the pair investigate a serial killer using the seven deadly sins as "inspiration". The film ends with Mills shooting the killer for murdering his wife and unborn child. The result is Mills is arrested and Somerset remains with the force.
  • Valeris, the Sucksessor to Spock in Star Trek VI.
  • Skynet replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger with newer Terminator models designed to kill Sarah or John Connor may sound like a good idea, but the original model keeps proving itself the best.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when McLaggen fills in for Ron's keeper position. Sure, he's technically a better Keeper (or at least not prone to losing his nerves like Ron), but that's sort of offset by his Bottom-like attempts to be the whole team in actual play.
  • Brian Clevinger's Nuklear Age has Superion, who takes over when Nuklear Man is decried as a public menace. He is, of course, evil.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the fifth season of Angel, Spike is briefly set up as taking over Angel's "help the helpless" job. This being Joss Whedon, it was a villainous ploy all along - though not by Spike.
  • Sheriff Andy in Eureka is an android replacement for Jack Carter intended to be superior in every way. It turns out all his programming doesn't make up for the intuition and often sheer dumb luck Carter employs dealing with the chaos that breaks out in town. In the end, Andy concedes isn't as effective as Carter is and resigns as Sheriff. He also doesn't like experiencing the personal destruction so much.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Agito: The Kamen Rider G3 armor was made to be a successor to Kamen Rider Kuuga in case the Grongi returned, but Kuuga being an ancient superweapon while G3 is a policeman in Powered Armor makes it decidedly less effective even before considering that the new enemies are much more powerful. It takes some heavy upgrades to make the suit into something practical, although they do eventually work something out.
    • Kamen Rider Hibiki: Hitoshi's apprentice Kyosuke wants to be his successor as Hibiki, but he's a lazy cheater and clearly unfit for the role. Even fourteen years later in Kamen Rider Zi-O and with the benefit of being much older and wiser than in his last appearance, it's shown that Kyosuke is struggling to fill his mentor's shoes, and only gains temporary use of the power after accepting his unworthiness of it.
    • Kamen Rider Kabuto: The first and second Kamen Rider TheBee each think themselves a superior Rider to the lone wolf Kabuto and try to push him to retire, but given Kabuto is The Ace, they're clearly inferior and both end up losing their positions.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva: Kiva himself is this compared to his predecessor, Dark Kiva, at least in terms of pure abilities: Kiva needs two separate Amplifier Artifact items to wield the same level of power that Dark Kiva can alone. Since the first Dark Kiva was a villain, though, the new Kiva's status as a hero makes him much better than his predecessor as far as pretty much everyone else is concerned.
    • Kamen Rider Decade: Most of the alternate Riders that Decade meets are weaker or otherwise lesser than their originals, requiring Decade to come help set them straight.
    • Kamen Rider Double: Shotaro is constantly worried that he's this to his predecessor, the great detective Sokichi Narumi. While he's probably right that he doesn't measure up completely, Shotaro becomes a great detective in his own right once he learns to be himself.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: After Mitsuzane kills his brother Takatora, he attempts to pose as him as the second Kamen Rider Zangetsu-Shin. He's immediately outed as an impostor when the other characters notice that the new Zangetsu fights like an amateur, when Takatora was defined by his incredible swordsmanship.
    • Kamen Rider Drive: Kamen Rider Mach initially presents himself as wanting to be the successor to Drive, but it quickly becomes clear that unlike Drive Mach has no potential for growth, leading him to some dark places when he realizes that he's getting left in the dust.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost: Edith temporarily dons the mantle of Kamen Rider Dark Ghost during one episode. Where the first Dark Ghost was a juggernaut of a Rider capable of easily defeating his light counterpart, Edith is essentially a joke character and taken out in one scene.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Nearly all of the Another Riders are deliberate invocations of this, being monsters created when the powers and history of a Kamen Rider are given to someone unworthy of the title.
    • Kamen Rider Saber: The fourth Kamen Rider Calibur isn't nearly as powerful as any of the first three, but it's mostly because she picks up the Sword of Darkness for the first time when there's two episodes left in the show. She recognizes this trope is in effect and sticks to handling the mook army, which her limited experience is still plenty to handle, while the more experienced Riders take on the bosses.
    • Kamen Rider Revice: The original Kamen Rider Vail was monstrously powerful and a brutally effective warrior, hindered only by being made of a human and demon pair who despised one another. His successor, Kamen Rider Demons, is far less powerful than Vail, and any given user can only use it for a few episodes because the Demons Driver ruins the user's body with prolonged usage. Many attempts are made at fixing this, but ultimately the only Superior Successor in the line is Kamen Rider Destream, which is the original Vail Driver upgraded to bring out the full potential of its original human user.
  • Averted in M*A*S*H; when Radar leaves, Klinger at first appears to be his Sucksessor, but his skills at wheeling, dealing and stealing eventually get him accepted as company clerk.
    • Inverted in the same series with Frank Burns replacement Charles Emerson Winchester III, who, though stuffy, annoying, arrogant, and somewhat bigoted, was a far more competent surgeon than Frank, and not nearly as cowardly or power-mad. But then, Frank could never have qualified as a hero outside his own delusions.
    • Trapper's replacement BJ had some initial friction but eventually fit right in.
  • Red Dwarf:
  • In one episode of Power Rangers Light Speed Rescue, a new general takes over Lightspeed and brings with him cyborg rangers, forcing the human rangers to turn in their morphers. However, during a battle with a lightning monster, the cyborgs' circuitry ends up getting fried and they start attacking innocent people. Thus, the rangers are given back their morphers to take down the cyborgs and the monster. Afterwards, the general apologizes for his interference, saying he underestimated the rangers.
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith", Ruby White appears to be Sarah Jane, only younger and more efficient, and even has her own version of Mr Smith. She turns out to be a monster feeding off Sarah Jane's life force.
  • In an episode of Smallville, Booster Gold arrives and starts hamming it up as the new hero in town, but Clark ultimately shows him the error of his ways.
  • When Gaius Baltar is elected President of the Colonial Fleet (unseating Laura Roslin) in Battlestar Galactica (2003), he gives the people what they want (and elected him for) and settles the fleet on New Caprica. A year later with the Cylon occupation of that planet and Baltar's collaboration with them, most of the Colonials view his Presidency as a disaster. In a deal with Baltar's VP Tom Zarek (who had resigned that office rather than cooperate with the Cylon occupation), Laura Roslin reassumes the Presidency upon exodus from New Caprica.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "The Storyteller", Chief O'Brien is named the new leader of a Bajoran village who would tell the tale of the village's struggle against a monster called the "Dak'Rok" to keep the monster from destroying the village. O'Brien is clearly not up to the task, and the village is on the brink of destruction when Bashir tells the previous leader's son that O'Brien was set up as leader as a Secret Test of Character: the son would have to take over for O'Brien to save the village.
    • Winn Adami becomes Kai (the Bajoran equivalent of the Pope) in the second season, replacing the late Kai Opaka. While Opaka was truly religious and treated her office with reverence, Winn is a scheming, conniving, political game-player who uses the position to force her vision of what Bajor should be through the faith. Later in the series she even admits she has never "spoken" or had an Orb experience with the Prophets, which helps ease her slide into a Sinister Minister.
    • In "Accession", a 200-year-old ship emerges from the wormhole, and the Bajoran poet on board, Akorem Laan, claims to be the Emissary. Sisko didn't care for the title to begin with and steps down. Akorem then brings back an ancient caste system and throws Bajoran society into chaos, forcing Sisko to challenge Akorem.
    • Downplayed in the case of Ezri, who inherits the Dax symbiont after Jadzia's untimely death going into the final season. In comparison to Jadzia and her predecessor Curzon, Ezri is shy, mousy, and lacking confidence. Whereas Jadzia was a highly talented scientist who endeared herself to Klingon and Ferengi culture, Curzon helped establish peace between the Klingons and the Federation, and the other Dax hosts of the past were accomplished in their own ways, Ezri was simply an assistant counselor with crippling motion sickness who didn't even want to be joined to a Symbiont and got Dax simply because she was the only Trill around when the Symbiont's condition became critical. In time, however, she proves herself to be just as worthy of the Dax legacy as those who came before her.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Choujin Sentai Jetman had a two part story where the Jetmen face a Monster of the Week with the ability to take away their powers at the same time that a selfish general brings in his own team to replace the Jetmen called the Neo-Jetmen. The Neo-Jetmen at first appear to be superior to the originals as they are actual trained soldiers and don't have the original's weakness to the monster they are facing but after they prove to not be as effective as the originals and see just how much of a Bad Boss the general is they decide to sacrifice their powers to give the original Jetmen their powers back, which also makes them immune to the monster.
    • Avataro Sentai Donbrothers: In episode 10, Haruka decides to quit being Onisister, which erases the event of her being framed for plagiarism. A girl named Marina becomes her replacement and at first seems to be far more competent and gets along with the rest of the Donbrothers a lot better but then she unable to hold a gun because it reminds her too much of the trauma of having her career as a photographer ruined in the same way that Haruka's career as a Mangaka was ruined. Seeing that her successor is not able to handle the cost of being Onisister as well as she did causes Huruka to decide to reverse the wish.
    • It happen again when Taro gets killed and soon a replacement named Jiro shows up but the Donbrothers don't accept him as their new leader as he is even more annoying than Taro was and is far less competent. Taro later gets revived while Jiro becomes the team's Sixth Ranger instead. In a later episode, Taro temporarily quits the team to allow Jiro to be the leader and Jiro decides to make the team famous, which ends up causing them all to suffer Acquired Situational Narcissism and forget about actually being heroes, which they are snapped out of when they find out that Taro was secretly helping them without being seen and also continuing to fight without them.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Eli's sons sucking leads the way for Samuel to become the priest; then, Samuel's just as terrible sons lead the way to Saul being crowned.
    • Saul sees Jonathan as this, since Jonathan cares more about his friendship with David than the throne, but being the suck-sessor to a (formerly great) king who is becoming increasingly paranoid and murderous is hardly a bad thing.
    • Terrible kings often followed good ones, but every so often good kings followed terrible ones. (At least in Judah, anyway. The Books of Kings grades all of Israel's rulers as evil.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Dick Hutton got his big break in pro wrestling when Lou Thesz handpicked him to be the new face of the National Wrestling Alliance's World Heavyweight division. Sure enough, the three time NCAA Champion proved to be an excellent wrestler, easily as technically sound as his predecessor. But Hutton wasn't the innovator that Thesz was, nor the showman, the speaker or most importantly, the crowd attraction. The NWA tried for little over a year to get something out of him before giving up and finding much more success in Pat O'Connor, and then calling Thesz back when Buddy Rogers started pissing too many people off. Thesz, outside of the world heavyweight title scene, continued to have great success in India, Europe, Mexico and Japan. When Hutton dropped the belt, he gradually faded into obscurity as he was outshined by his more interesting Tag Team partner, Gene Kiniski.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Rin from Blue Archive is seen as this by some in story. The President before she left was seen as a perfect superhuman who could do just about anything perfectly. When she vanishes without warning one day, it doesn't take long before Kivotos falls into chaos. Rin has to step up as the acting president. However, there are those who see Rin as incompetent or unworthy to succeed her given how she is unable to run things to the same level of efficiency that the president could, and has to rely on Sensei to do a lot of the work. In fact, this becomes the motivation for the Big Bad of Volume 4. Getting rid of Rin and taking her place because she thinks that she is unworthy to succeed the President.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • Liu Bei's son Liu Shan is portrayed as this, even if it's a little less so in his playable appearance. Regardless of who's story mode is played, Liu Bei's death signals the end of Shu. However, the later games portray him more as a Reluctant Ruler who is aware that he's not up to the task of being a ruler and surrenders due to the fact that he tires of war and believes Sima Zhao to be more suited to the role. This is certainly the case in the video game versions of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Koei), as well as the novel. Liu Chan/Liu Shan (depending on which system is used) is always, always portrayed as stupid. Fridge Brilliance sets in, as the RTK features a scene where Liu Chan is rescued from Cao's forces by Zhao Yun's solitary bravery, and Liu Bei spikes the infant like a football for almost costing him Zhao Yun. "Were you dropped on your head as a child?" "Yes, yes I was." Some have said Chan was stupid like a fox, seeing how he got to die of natural causes—surrendered monarchs often died under suspicious circumstances in China—and live in opulence after Shu fell. The scene of Sima Zhao's test in Romance of the Three Kingdoms which supposedly reveals his shallow and petty nature, might be seen as an inspired bit of Obfuscating Stupidity (Liu Shan was put into a situation where he had to either show grief about his fallen homeland right before its conqueror, or remain visibly untouched by a reminder of it and raise suspicions about his duplicity - he has shown grief that seemed clearly fake, making Sima Zhao discount him as a harmless loser).
    • In addition of Liu Shan, the other Three Kingdoms successors past certain points fell into this. At the very least, Cao Rui was an okay successor of Cao Pi, but after him, it's Cao Shuang, whose incompetence led the Sima clan to finally decide that Shuang was going to run Cao Cao and Cao Pi's legacy to dirt, so they had to take over to preserve it (and bring in their way too). Meanwhile, after Sun Quan passed away, Wu was then led by Sun Chen, who's far worse and more incompetent than Quan and his next successor Sun Hao showed promise at first, but turned out to be so far worse that he has never appeared in DW, not even as an NPC, due to how hellish his regime was.
  • Samurai Warriors.
    • Takeda Katsuyori is the son of Shingen that succeeded him after his untimely death, and in his very next battle at Nagashino, he displayed such reckless valor that he got the Takeda Cavalry wiped out by Nobunaga, signalling the end of the Takeda clan. Come Spirit of Sanada, he downplays this where he's portrayed sympathetically and his reckless charge was more due to the combination of grief of losing his father and heavily burdened to live up to Shingen's great image, but he still ends up being the one who brought the Takeda clan to ruin.
    • Tokugawa Hidetada. While he ended up surviving and becoming the second Shogun, it was clear that he's not as good as his father Ieyasu, being outwitted by Sanada Masayuki in Ueda Castle and unable to participate at Sekigahara, not winning his father any favors. Like Katsuyori, he gets a more sympathetic portrayal and managed to get a bit more trust from Ieyasu, protecting him at times, but the core was more similar: He has a heavy burden as Ieyasu's successor and tends to have a sarcastically rude mouth to express his own burden towards his father. Unlike Katsuyori, however, despite being less successful than Ieyasu, he would end up still making Japan and the Tokugawa dynasty stand strong after Ieyasu's passing (a certain Christian rebellion notwithstanding later), it would take several generations later for the dynasty to fall into ruin so it was implied that he eventually got better.

    Web Comics 
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Wonderella I, Uncle Slam, and Black Beetle were the previous generation's superheroes, and all three were famously competent and unstoppable when they worked together. Wonderella II, Patrianna, and Queen Beetle are the current generation's superheroes, and their teamwork is woefully lacking— and that's not even mentioning Wonderella II's infamy as an alcoholic Nominal Hero.

    Western Animation 
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: June meets a witch who is nice, cheerful, knowledgable, and annoying. Eventually, she can't bear working with her anymore and shoves her duties on her. Things go downhill when she feeds a human cookie (yes, the distinction is important) to a troll that, when it eats human food, grows twelve feet tall and everything it touches turns to stone.
  • An episode of the Sunbow G.I. Joe cartoon had COBRA hack the Department of Defense computers while all the top-ranked Joes were absent, to promote the three worst candidates to command positions: Lifeline, Dialtone, and Shipwreck.
  • Mordecai and Rigby are almost fired and replaced in an episode of Regular Show due to their tardiness and incompetence. However, their potential replacements decide the job is not worth the hassle after experiencing some of the craziness that comes with working at the park.
  • In the TaleSpin episode "From Here To Machinery", a Jerkass professor invents a robotic pilot called the Auto-Aviator. Despite his best efforts, Baloo loses a race to the machine because he needs to sleep and the Auto-Aviator doesn't. Shere Khan signs a contract with the professor to build a thousand of the robots. However, the Air Pirates led by Don Karnage take advantage of the Auto-Aviator's style of flying, and attack Shere Khan's plane. Even after coming under attack, the Auto-Aviator refuses to deviate from its flight path and get them out of danger. Shere Khan radios for help, to which Baloo answers. Not only does Baloo save Shere Khan from the pirates, but Shere Khan 'convinces' the professor to give back his money.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Armstrong", the titular character is a Job-Stealing Robot invented by Gyro Gearloose. He can do so much (flying, running the office, vacuuming) that Scrooge replaces much of his staff, and even the triplets are impressed by his capabilities. Of course, as might be expected, Armstrong turns on his masters and Scrooge rehires everybody after Launchpad confronts the rogue robot to rescue him.
  • In the Grand Finale of Danny Phantom, Vlad creates a new team of ghost fighters called Masters' Blasters. The new team proves better at catching ghosts and humiliate Danny at every turn, to the point where he decides to give up his powers. However, when a humongous asteroid that was released due to the first battle of the episode threatens Earth, no one can stop it and Vlad deliberately makes the Blasters (and Jack) fail at trying to destroy it so that he can save the day and become ruler of the earth. When that fails, Danny comes up with a plan to turn the entire planet intangible. In the process of gaining every ghost's help, Danny regains his powers and saves the planet.
  • Happens in The Powerpuff Girls (1998) with a classical Flying Brick named Major Man. However, it eventually proves that he's running a scam, as all of the threats that he defused were set up. Doing some Engineered Heroics of their own with a monster Major can't handle, the Girls are able to save the day and regain the town's favor.
  • Happens in the Inspector Gadget episode "Inspector Gadget's Last Case", where the 'new hero in town' is really Doctor Claw using a special disguising serum to pretend to be an Ace-like crime-fighter who forces Gadget to retire.
  • The very first episode of The Real Ghostbusters had a trio of ghosts disguising themselves as human exterminators calling themselves "Ghosts 'R' Us", to eventually drive the Ghostbusters out of business by answering all ghost calls first. It helps that they were the ones who staged each attack they answered.
  • The original penultimate episode of Kim Possible featured Team Impossible ordering Kim and her team to stop fighting supervillains as it was cutting into their profit margin. To ensure that Kim wouldn't get in the way anymore, they bribed away all the people who give her lifts. However, Kim, with the aid of a ticked off Wade, convinced Team Impossible to go nonprofit.
  • In Loonatics Unleashed, Drake Sypher steals all the powers of the Loonatics to become Acmetropolis's new superhero. Turns out, all his heroics were done to publicly undo his secret villainy.
  • The second episode involving Venom in Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) is this trope. A black-suited Spider-Man appears which is more physically powerful than Spidey and people like more (even Jonah Jameson likes him), and this leaves Spidey more than a little distraught... especially because the 'black suit' is the Symbiote, and sure enough it possesses its host Harry Osborn by the third act of the episode, forcing Spidey to fight him.
    • Another example appears on The Spectacular Spider Man, with J. Jonah Jameson's son John getting superpowers. Nice enough guy, very competent, wants to help Spidey... driven insane by his powers on the third act, Spidey fights him, and ends the episode becoming a powerless, catatonic patient on some hospital as a side-effect of his forceful depowering.
  • This is the plot of the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Frightful". A new superhero team appears in town and begins stealing the Four's spotlight — not to mention insulting them at every turn. The Four become hated after being framed for "attacking" them. However, Reed exposes them as villains via an Engineered Public Confession and everything returns to normal.
  • One Tom and Jerry cartoon by MGM Studios is "Push Button Kitty," in which the homeowner buys a robot cat to dispose of the pesky mouse, Jerry. Within seconds of being activated, Mechano catches Jerry and ejects him from the house. Poor Tom can only grab a Bindle Stick and depart morosely. By the end of the cartoon, however, the homeowner is crying for Tom to return, because Jerry Mouse has found the kryptonite of a robot cat: mechanical mice.
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: In one episode, Hannibal McFist creates an alter ego named Lucius O'Thunderpunch to become the town's new hero and make the Ninja feel unwanted. After the Ninja leaves, O'Thunderpunch shows his true colors and the school becomes vulnerable to the Sorcerer until the Ninja returns.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse has Billy Billions assembling a team of "superheroes" (for the most part actually former heroes turned villains) in an attempt to invoke this trope against Ben. For his part, Ben finds them so unimpressive that he doesn't even bother opposing them. Instead, he sits back and waits for the group to inevitably fail and self-destruct. Sure enough, as the team is filled with Small Name, Big Ego villains who wants to be in charge, it doesn't take long before everyone turns on each other when they no longer have a common enemy.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Downplayed, Molly Yarnchopper tries to be a good leader but she isn't able to keep the Timbercats in line through sheer willpower like Yumyan. Any time she tries to act as leader leads to huge all out brawls.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: This is basically parodied during Operation I.T, as when Numbuh 362 wants to step down from her job, the selection for the new Supreme Leader is a game of tag...that Father ends up winning. Surprisingly, he manages to convince nearly everyone minus Numbuhs 1 and 362 that he will do a good job when he claims he wants to get rid of making all the kids eat it.

    Real Life 
  • To an extent, US President William Howard Taft can be seen as one of these, having been handpicked by Theodore Roosevelt to be his "progressive" successor after Teddy refused to run for a third term in 1908. However, Taft did not turn out to be a disappointing president who lacked Roosevelt's charisma or decisiveness especially given his tendency to dither on policies. Teddy returned in 1912 in an effort to reclaim the presidency and reestablish his values only to have the Republican vote-split result in the election of Woodrow Wilson; although, Roosevelt did receive more votes than Taft. In the end, Taft later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which proved more suitable for his cautious and detail-focused personality.
  • Donna Reed took over the role of Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow on Dallas after Barbara Bel Geddes left the series just before the 1984-1985 season. She was then subjected to such a hate campaign from fans of the show, cast members and even the lighting director (whom she claimed was messing with her key light to give her a particularly "monstrous" appearance on camera) The Powers That Be fired her and reinstated Bel Geddes.
  • Prior to his retirement in 2013, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football, selected Everton manager David Moyes to be his successor. There was a lot of hype about the appointment, with banners and billboards proclaiming Moyes to be The Chosen One but sadly Moyes, a more than competent manager at smaller clubs note , failed to live up to, perhaps excessive, expectations. Under his leadership United lost badly to old rivals Liverpool, made some poor forays into the transfer market and failed to qualify for the lucrative Champions League for the first time in nearly 20 years. Defeat at the hands of Moyes's former club was the last straw and he was ousted before his first season was over. note 
  • While Hugo Chávez was popular during his term as President of Venezuela, most of the reason he managed to stay in office was because the high oil prices earned his administration (and himself) a lot of money to give out and silence any possible opposition and critics, keeping the country's economy relatively stable. Coinciding with his death and the rise of his hand-picked successor Nicolás Maduro, the oil prices plummeted and the economy went down with them, and Maduro's initial approval ratings went down steadily, to the point many former officers who worked with Chávez have declared themselves against Maduro.
  • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was this to her predecessor and mentor Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. Under Lula's presidency, Brazil experienced an economic boom that lifted millions out of poverty and cemented the country as a major global power. Subsequently, many had expected Rousseff to continue this streak, especially given how she was a key player in Lula's administration as the Minister of Energy and Chief of Staff. However, Rousseff proved rather inadequate as she lacked Lula's charisma and political connections, making it difficult to coordinate the government and communicate her policies to the public. Subsequently, Rousseff's presidency became mired in economic malaise and corruption scandals that culminated in her impeachment and removal from public office.
  • Bob Chapek to Bob Iger as Disney CEO. Chapek seemed like a natural fit given his decades of success running Disney's home entertainment and theme parks. However, Chapek proved inadequate in the role with his decisions coming off as short-sighted and insensitive. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down theaters and theme parks, Chapek pivoted towards the new streaming service Disney+. However, Chapek's decision to shunt movies to Disney+, especially as the pandemic was beginning to recede, alienated Disney's relationship with theaters and stars given how they lost out on box office royalties. Furthermore, Disney+ not only proved unprofitable, but his demand for more streaming content lead to worsened working conditions, especially among VFX artists. Likewise, his neutral stance on Florida's infamous "Don't Say Gay" law drew condemnation from Disney employees who feared that the law could hurt their families. Subsequently, Chapek's bad decisions lead to Disney's global revenue failing to recover and its public image damaged to the point, Iger had to come back as CEO.


Video Example(s):


Robots with Emotional Problems

OCP tries to replicate their success with RoboCop, and fail. Miserably.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / Sucksessor

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