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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.
  • Mello from Death Note is not happy that he is ranked behind Near as a contender for L's successor.
  • 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 
  • 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 Mojo 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • In The Flash Sentry Chronicles, a flashback reveals that Storm Blade, a member of the Cult of Shadow, was once known as Swift Wind, and he believed that he should have become a Royal Knight, but his impulsiveness caused him to get assigned to guard duty, and another flashback revealed that he killed Noble Banner, who was supposed to get the Celestic Gear that Storm Blade named himself after, when the mission they went onto in the Badlands went south, and he faked his death so that he could keep the Celestic Gear.
  • 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”, and insist that they made a mistake of choosing them to be the Equestria Regions’ protectors, and believe that they should have chosen him, the so-called “strongest trainer in Equestria” as the regions’ protector.

    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 

  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • 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 
  • 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.

    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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Destiny 2, Dominous Gaul 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, Gaul decides to steal the Traveler’s light. Which ends up being his downfall, as the Traveler awakens and destroys Gaul.
  • 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.

    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 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.
  • 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.