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The Chosen Wannabe

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"It is not yours save by unhappy chance. It might have been mine. It should be mine. Give it to me!"
Boromir, The Lord of the Rings, trying to take the One Ring from Frodo

When a character is The Chosen One, that of course leaves many people left out, and they aren't happy about it.

Either they Missed the Call that they would have gladly jumped at, or the call never bothered to ring them up, or some other reason. Regardless, these people are very unhappy at not being the special person destined to do X.

Even when there is The Chosen Many, these characters will be left out of that many, but wanting desperately to be part of it.

Sometimes they will try to take the status of Chosen for themselves, particularly if this status is granted by a material thing (Power Gem, Ring of Power, etc.). Sometimes they will try this by force, but usually it's through other means, often allying themselves with the villains (foolishly thinking the bad guys won't simply use this opportunity to take the Chosen status for themselves instead). See Hijacked Destiny.

Other times they might be The Rival for the chosen one. How this will end varies. The two most common are either this can lead to the wannabe doing a Face–Heel Turn, or the wannabe will learn he/she does have a role to fulfill which not even the Chosen can do. The latter path may even finally earn the wannabe a place among The Chosen Many, when the character just wasn't worthy before.

A Sister Trope to Heroic Wannabe, The Team Wannabe, Leader Wannabe, I Just Want to Be Special, Refused by the Call, Big Bad Wannabe (being essentially the chosen for the bad guys).

Compare Never Be a Hero.

Contrast Refusal of the Call, I Just Want to Be Normal.

Compare and Contrast The Unchosen One (which is a character not chosen but takes and earns the mantle anyway), Unfit for Greatness (character is given status but blows it) and The Poorly Chosen One (character is destined for greatness but blows it). If the character really is the chosen one and destiny just took a while to get to him, that's The Call Put Me on Hold.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Syaoran Li of Cardcaptor Sakura believes himself worthy of being Master of the Cards due to being a descendant of Clow Reed and seemingly being more competent than Sakura when they start off. He is never officially deemed a Cardcaptor like Sakura however, and the cards' guardian, Keroberus clearly roots for Sakura and sees Syaoran as an interfering brat most of the time. This makes him The Rival for most of the early run (especially in the anime where he manages to capture cards regardless); However, by the time of final judgement, Syaoran has become Sakura's close friend and accepts her as official master rather nonchalantly.
  • In Cross Ange, this is one of Salia's most defining traits. She wants to succeed her idol Alektra as the pilot of Villkiss, and is not happy when the real chosen one, Ange, seems to take her place as Jill's favorite. This fuels Salia's jealousy and inferiority complex to the point she tries (and fails) to pilot Vilkiss herself at one point, and pulls a Face–Heel Turn halfway through the story out of desperation to prove herself better than Ange.
  • Mello from Death Note is not happy that he is ranked behind Near as a contender for L's successor.
  • Fairy Tail: When the heroes are sent to Edolas, a realm where magic doesn't work, Lucy Heartfilia learns her powers still work. She excitedly thinks she must be the Chosen One, only to be disappointed when she is informed Edolas has no Chosen One stories. The real reason why she could use her powers is because she had consumed a special medicine which is soon fed to the others.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: As soon as Kazuki finds the Vassal Katana, he declares he is its chosen wielder and tries to remove it from the stone. However, it rejects him and teleports into Raphtalia's hands. Kazuki angrily attacks her while continuing to claim he is worthy of the sword.
  • In Ushio and Tora, Hinowa believes the Beast Spear should have chosen her instead of Ushio, as she was trained her entire life to bear it. She looks down on Ushio, refusing to acknowledge him as The Chosen One even after the Beast Spear rejects her and Ushio has to save her from Hakumen no Mono's Hiyou, claiming she merely needs more training before the spear acknowledges her.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham, Oliver Queen believes he is the one destined to stop Ra's al Ghul, having trained himself and procured the arrows that had slain St. Sebastian to do it. He is then killed by Poison Ivy, Batman taking the arrows and finishing his mission for him.
  • Prince Ragnar of Betrassus wants all his life to become a Green Lantern. Eventually, he resorts to making a spot open up in his sector by first murdering any other potential candidates and then the Green Lanterns who came to investigate. At his execution, Soranik Natu appears, announcing that she has found a replacement Green Lantern: his sister Iolande.
    • This trope was seen again with the character of Frank Laminski in the DC Rebirth era; ever since Hal Jordan became the Green Lantern, Laminski has spent his entire life 'training' to become a Green Lantern, becoming more and more obsessed with the idea as he sees others join the Corps, but he was only once visited by a Green Lantern ring- likely during the War of the Green Lanterns storyline when Mogo went on a mass recruitment drive under Krona's influence- and swiftly proves himself to be a poor choice once he acquires the Phantom Ring- which can channel the power of any element of the spectrum- and nearly destroys Earth's other currently active Lanterns.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth focused on this in The Flash Annual #9. Tristan Mallory is fanatically devoted to his family's holy mission and has spent his life believing he will eventually succeed his father. When his nonbelieving brother Bryce is chosen instead, Tristan smothers their father in his sleep and lies to Bryce that he was selected. But he's further reminded of his unworthiness when the brothers are both struck by lightning, which gives Bryce superspeed but physically ages Tristan's body several years. He rages against the heavens, demanding to know why his "devotion" has been spurned.
  • Getaway from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye turns out to be this. When he was young, he was informed that he showed signs of Matrix affinity, meaning he could eventually become a Prime. This caused Getaway to get the idea in his head that he was destined to be Prime and he began seeking glory at any cost. Him joining the crew and staging The Mutiny was ultimately just an attempt to take credit for finding Cyberutopia and proving himself as worthy of the Matrix. He's so incredibly arrogant that he totally fails to realize that wanting to be Prime is pretty much an instant disqualification; Primehood is supposed to be an often painful burden and all the Matrix-Bearers seen so far took it up unwillingly or out of desperation. In the end, Getaway, despite (or because of) his delusions of grandeur, has more in common with the dynasty of False Primes that ruled Cybertron before the war... except, unlike them, he's started buying into his own hype.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Heather Douglas consider that only she and her clone sisters are capable of having first contact with Gah Lak Tus, and try to destroy Xavier's array because he will do it instead of them.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Assassination of Twilight Sparkle, Prince Blueblood insisted that he was more worthy to become an alicorn than Twilight Sparkle was, because he was a direct descendant of Princess Celestia, as well as his involvement in Equestria’s politics, while he saw Twilight as little more than being Celestia’s clean up mare to fix the mistakes that she made in the past.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: a flashback reveals that Storm Blade, formerly Swift Wind, believed that he should have become a Royal Knight, but was assigned to guard duty because he was too impulsive. Another flashback revealed that he killed Noble Banner, who was supposed to get the Celestic Gear that Storm Blade named himself after, and faked his death so that he could keep the Celestic Gear.
  • One of the most popular Fandom Specific Plots of the Harry Potter franchise would be the "Wrong-Boy-Who-Lived" plot, where Harry has an Original Character twin who, for some reason, is wrongly named the "Boy/Girl-Who-Lived". Most stories usually have the twin in question be a Spoiled Brat and/or a Dirty Coward who will flee at the first sign of danger while still arrogantly wearing the title of The Chosen One.
  • In Pokémon: Harmony and Chaos, when Lightning Blitz learns of how Pegasoar, Horsearth, and Mysticorn had appeared before Flash Sentry, Time Turner, and Twilight Sparkle respectively, he is completely baffled as to why they chose to appear themselves before a group of "losers". He continuously insists that none of the trio should have been chosen as the Equestria Regions' protectors, and that he, the self-proclaimed "strongest trainer in Equestria" should have been selected instead.

    Film — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Tai Lung became a villain because it was decided he was too ambitious to be the Dragon Warrior.
    • Tigress also seems resentful that she might have been chosen had Po not fallen into the courtyard during the ceremony. Although it's hinted she cares less about the position itself than the chance to to earn her master's affection.
  • The LEGO Movie: Wildstyle is disappointed that she isn't The Special, especially when it turns out to be some guy who just lives by the conformity Lord Business set up. Then it turns out that literally everyone can be The Special. They just have to unlock it within themselves, which Wildstyle broadcasts to the Lego worlds at the climax.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls has Sunset Shimmer, the Big Bad Alpha Bitch of the first movie. Sunset is the Hero's Evil Predecessor to Twilight Sparkle, as Sunset was being groomed to become an alicorn until her impatience and arrogance caused her to be dismissed by Princess Celestia, after which Sunset went to live in the human world. In the first movie, Sunset returned to Equestria years later in order to gain the power she feels she should have received, which had since gone to Twilight Sparkle. After being defeated, Sunset abandons her Chosen Wannabe mindset to stay in the human world and devote herself to becoming The Atoner. It's only after this Heel–Face Turn that Sunset actually gains the power she wanted legitimately.
  • In The Sword in the Stone, when Wart goes to demonstrate that he can pull the Marvelous Sword from the stone and is therefore the rightful King of England, Sir Kay blocks his way and claims, "Anyone can pull it once it's been pulled." Then he tries to draw the sword and fails miserably, and Pellinore tells him to back off and let Wart try it.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Subtly present with General Aldo, the villain of Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Earlier in the series, in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Dr. Cornelius says that in the history of his timeline, it was Aldo who lead the ape uprising against human slavery. However, Cornelius and his wife Dr. Zira have travelled back in time to before this happened, and in the next film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, we see that uprising happening very differently from how Cornelius described, mostly because of the presence of his and Zira's son, Caesar, who ends up leading the revolt instead of Aldo. None of the characters ever figure this out, but it's clear to the viewer that Caesar has inadvertently usurped Aldo's role in history, leading to Aldo's great resentment of Caesar that pushes him to violate ape society's most sacred laws.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: Wimp Lo whines that he isn't this after the man called "Chosen One" shows up. It turns out he's a fool that the dojo just keeps around to amuse themselves.
    "But Master, I thought I could be the Chosen One!"
  • In SHAZAM!, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana was summoned as a child to the Rock of Eternity as a contender to be the Wizard Shazam's Champion, but was rejected and sent away after being tempted by and nearly releasing the Seven Deadly Sins. As an adult, even after Sivana gains powers by becoming the Sins' vessel, he's still so bitter about his rejection and Driven by Envy that, when the Sins inform him that the Wizard ended up choosing and bestowing his powers onto a different Champion (Billy Batson), Sivana spends the rest of the movie antagonizing Billy and trying to force him to give up his powers to him, simply because he feels entitled to them.

  • In The Lord of the Rings Boromir wants to help his people, as they are all but under siege against the forces of Mordor. He feels if he had the ring he could use it to save his land. The ring then uses its corrupting influence to drive him slowly mad with this obsession (although he gets over it when Frodo runs away and the ring's power isn't affecting him).
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Clip introduces himself as the Mortal Sword of the Black-Winged Lord in Reaper's Gale, a status he claims has been sanctioned by the Wizards of the Andara. A rather ambiguous claim, considering the Black-Winged Lord denies his worshippers, never mind appointing anyone to anything. On the other hand, he is able to open gates into Darkness, something not even his god's brother, Silchas Ruin, is able to do anymore. Nonetheless, when it becomes obvious that nobody is buying his claim, he switches locations and proceeds to introduce himself as the Herald of Mother Dark to Nimander and his followers. It goes down roughly as well as his previous claim. Still, there's his ability to open gates, and Silchas Ruin himself asserts that Clip is the Mortal Sword of Darkness, neither confirming nor disproving Clip's claims entirely. He clearly has some affinity to Darkness, and possibly a role to play in the bigger picture, yet his constant, insistent claims of being The Chosen One come off as I Just Want to Be Special.
  • My Brother is a Superhero: Luke, an obsessive fan of comic books, left his tree house for five minutes in order to go to the bathroom. During that time, an interdimensional alien showed up to give his nerdy older brother superpowers. And at the end of the first book it happens again, with his friend Lara lucking out this time. That said, his Genre Savvy abilities turn out to be valuable.
  • The Redwall novel Taggerung plays with this. Gruven Zann doesn't want to be chosen at first. His mother, Antigra, is the one who really wants him to be the Taggerung, but when she sends Gruven to kill the current Taggerung, he becomes this as his enthusiasm for becoming The Chosen One increases.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the Targaryen dynasty tried for years to fulfill the prophecy of the "Prince that was Promised". Rhaegar Targaryen believed that he was destined to be this, and tried to fulfill it by taking Lyanna Stark as a second wife. His actions would plunge the Seven Kingdoms into war, resulting in the destruction of the Targaryen dynasty.
  • In Star Wars Legends, the Sith Order had its own equivalent of the Jedi Chosen One prophecy, the Sith'ari. It was originally intended to foreshadow Darth Bane in stories set before the Rule of Two was in effect, but it became something of a Running Gag that every major Sith character except Bane, including ones who lived millennia after the prophecy was fulfilled, thought it was them. One can't really blame Darth Sidious, the only one to successfully destroy the Jedi Order and The Republic, for thinking it was him but the Revenge of the Sith was ultimately the result of the real Chosen One's actions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: When it turns out that only Zac can activate the Merman Chamber, Erik urges him to do it despite all of Zac's misgivings. Zac ultimately chooses to trust the mermaids' word that the chamber is dangerous, having already seen what the trident could do to them. Erik rejects the warning entirely, being convinced that he can use the Merman Chamber to gain the power to defend the Mako pod and prove that the mermaids don't need to fear mermen. Ultimately, Erik steals the trident stone and uses it to drain Zac of his magic, allowing him to use the Merman Chamber as if he were Zac.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gives us Winn Adami, the Kai of the Bajoran faith (equivalent to the Roman Catholic Pope), who wants to be the most favored one of the Prophets. Unfortunately, they've chosen Benjamin Sisko as the Emissary, and Winn is not happy about it.
  • Ultra Series:
    • Ultraman Tiga: Keigo Masaki was one of these, he desired the power of the titular Ultraman Tiga and was rather frustrated when he didn't get it, going as far as finding another dormant Giant of Light resembling Tiga and trying to take its power but his negative emotions corrupt the Giant into a being of evil known as Evil Tiga.
    • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga: Akito Hijiri desired to have Ultraman Trigger's power and is resentful that the series' protagonist, Kengo Manaka, was the one to inherit said power. He doesn't takes it to the extremes of Masaki, however, and eventually mostly leaves his resentment behind, especially after he learns that Kengo is Trigger's light reincarnated and thus the rightful heir of the giant's power.
  • Yellowjackets: In "Storytelling", Lottie announces that the Wilderness has chosen someone to be her successor and serve as leader: Natalie. All pay tribute to the chosen one, but later Shauna stays up writing in her journal. An snippet: "How could it not have been me?"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "Slayer's Handbook" for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG includes the "Slayer Poseur" template, which is basically a slayer wannabe.
  • Warhammer: Vilitch the Curseling's backstory starts like this. He was born far more frail and weak than his twin brother Thomin to the chieftain of a Norsca tribe, and while he was apprenticed to the tribe's shaman, Thomin was trained for battle, never missing an opportunity to beat and abuse his twin. Tzeentch heard Vilitch's prayers and fused the two together, with Vilitch casting spells and his brother's brain-dead body dicing up anything that gets too close.

    Video Games 
  • In the final "Hell" sequence in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, the shade of Sarevok is really pissed that he's not the one who gained the ability to turn into the Slayer (or something). "It should have been I! It should have been I! ATTACK ME, WORM, IF YOU DARE!" On the other hand, this is averted in Throne of Bhaal when he's resurrected and offers to join the player's party. He thought that he was the centre of the prophecy of Alaundo, but now that he knows he's not, he's willing to fight alongside the one who really is.
  • This is a Running Gag in The Bard's Tale, where the Bard will come across multiple young men who thought they were the Chosen One destined to save the land. More often than not they are already dead for their foolishness, or the Bard witnesses their demise.
  • In Destiny 2, Dominus Ghaul believed that he alone was worthy to wield the Traveler's Light. At first, he interrogated the Speaker to try to learn how to prove himself, but when the Speaker revealed that he spoke for the Traveler, and that it never spoke to him, Ghaul decides to steal the Traveler's Light. Which ends up being his downfall, as the Traveler awakens and destroys him.
  • During part of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind's main quest, the Nerevarine visits the Cave of the Incarnate and speaks to the shades of several Dunmer who tried to be the Nerevarine in the past. They all died before they could fulfill the prophecy.
  • The Futurama: Worlds Of Tomorrow event based on the movie Bender's Game has a Running Gag that Bender's fantasy alter ego Titanius Anglesmith envies Fry's Chosen One status and wants to steal it from him.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Groose thinks he is the Hero of Legend, mostly due to wanting glory and the Standard Hero Reward. When Link turns out to be the chosen one, he is jealous at first, but after some character development, decides to help Link save the world.
    • Hyrule Warriors: Linkle thinks she is the reincarnation of the Triforce of Courage wielder. When Hyrule Castle is attacked, she sets out on her journey, but due to having No Sense of Direction, she never finds the castle or even meets Link or Zelda. She is heroic all the same and saves several people along her journey.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, The Disciple Mical was a Tragic Dropout from the Jedi Academy as the Jedi Civil War left nobody able to help him continue his training. He ends up becoming a soldier for The Republic instead, but continues his fascination with Jedi history and philosophy, seeking to preserve their teachings after The Purge. However if The Exile is female he joins the party and receives the My Greatest Second Chance he always dreamed of, before canonically going to sit on the Jedi High Council.

    Western Animation 
  • Fern from Adventure Time was a plant-based clone of Finn the Human born from the merging between the Finn-sword and the remains of his cursed grass-sword. He has all of Finn’s memories but lacks some of the more virtuous qualities that make Finn so beloved and heroic. After a while, he comes to realize that as long as Finn exists he will always be second best and tries imprisoning him and later tries killing him after he escapes.
  • The Lord Commander in Final Space is a rare fully villainous example, as he thinks he was "chosen" by the Titans to receive his powers and eventually free them so they could reward him by making him a Titan God across all dimensions. Then it turns out that he was technically chosen by Invictus... As an Unwitting Pawn of the latter's plans.
  • The Owl House: A variant in that there is no actual Chosen One for Luz Noceda to envy, she just fixated on the idea of being one. After this desire leads to her being sent on a fake quest that's actually a trap for Eda, Luz realizes there was no reason that she ended up in the Boiling Isles, no destiny she has to fulfill. Eda reassures her that this means she has the chance to make her own destiny and seek greatness.
    • Later subverted. As it turns out, Luz was chosen by the Titan, but it's not due to any special quality she had. Instead, she was chosen because of her extraordinary kindness, especially towards the Titan's son, King.
    • Played straight with Emperor Belos/Phillip Whittebane. Their obsession with being the "hero of their own delusion" drives them to an attempted genocide against the denizens of the Boiling Isles, whom they view as evil and irredeemable.
  • Connie Maheswaran from Steven Universe envies Steven's supposed "magical destiny" and wants to have one of her own, as seen with her interest in fantasy stories like "The Spirit Morph Saga". This never leads to any ill will between them, and Connie Jumped at the Call when offered an apprenticeship under Pearl.
  • In Trollhunters, after he finds out that Jim took the mantle of trollhunter instead of him after his father’s death, Draal does everything in his power to humiliate Jim. When Jim grows a pair and challenges him for a rematch, due to troll-kinds Honor Before Reason culture, Draal uses this as an excuse to kill Jim in hopes of taking the amulet himself. It is not until Jim spared his life does he realize that Jim was the honorable one and decides to help him instead.
  • Emperor Zarkon from Voltron: Legendary Defender is an interesting example in that he used to actually be a legitimate Chosen One and is now trying to reclaim the title. Centuries ago, he was the Black Lion's paladin, until desperation to save his dying wife led to him exposing himself to the dimension quintessence comes from, corrupting him into the brutal God-Emperor he is now. Consequently, he's now unworthy of being a paladin and is desperately trying to take the Black Lion back and restore his former glory. He fails to see that the only thing his cruel actions are accomplishing is ensuring the Lion will never want to work with him again.