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"Although the Clone Wars were over, some people never seemed to get the message."
501st stormtrooper, Star Wars: Battlefront II
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The Remnant can be best described as a more militaristic version of Last of His Kind, being members of a faction who are continuing to fight a war that their side has already lost. Basically a (usually villainous) version of La Résistance that formed from the remains of The Empire or some other faction. They may be using irregular military tactics, but they will probably still be dressed in their old uniforms (or the remnants thereof). Unlike a General Ripper, The Remnant no longer hold an official position in the armed forces, often because their government has ceased to exist or has been replaced. In a number of cases, this happens because nobody on either side has yet been informed that the war is over. The losing side then becomes The Remnant by default after the fact.

This happens pretty often in real life, especially for defeated factions where surrender's not an option — or ones that aren't prepared to admit defeat just yet. In particularly nasty cases, two strong-but-not-overpowering factions can alternate between being really weak central governments and really strong Remnants, sometimes for a generation or more (and restoring peace to a population accustomed to war and violence is going to be tricky, too).

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A Remnant using guerilla warfare can be much more dangerous than they were as an established government; guerillas are constantly on the move, and have the luxury of always getting to choose which target they'll attack next. The standard advice is that you need ten soldiers for every guerilla to defeat an insurgency, which means a lot of money and sustained effort, which means that an occupying army will sometimes just give up.

For a short-term 'bigger brother' counterpart to this, see Dragon Their Feet; in fact, a Dragon who missed the last battle is likely to end up leading these guys. They may also be a Vestigial Empire, and the government they're trying to overthrow is likely The Federation (or The Good King in fantasy, where this trope's rarer but not unknown).

This trope tends to involve a bit of Protagonist-Centered Morality. Good guys who do this are Determinators and La Résistance and extra heroic for fighting in the face of near-impossible odds. Bad guys are just exasperating for refusing to go away. See also Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters and Villainous Legacy. To characterize a faction more or less accurately, look at its history, the level of legitimacy it can claim, what it stands for, and — above all — the methods it uses.

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One man's Resistance is another man's Remnant. Government in Exile is the civilian equivalent while The Remnant is military. Still Fighting the Civil War is when both the military and government have ceased to exist but sympathizers still remain. When the remnants are from Those Wacky Nazis, they will likely try to establish the Fourth Reich.

Most heroic examples of this trope tend to be in Zombie Apocalypse fiction, and similar genres.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • After War Gundam X has the New Earth Federation start to make trouble about a third of the way through as they campaign to "unify" (read: conquer) the emerging new nations. They're surprisingly effective and achieve their goal quickly. Meanwhile, around the Moon, the Space Revolutionary Army is doing the same thing. Both sides are enemies and both lost because of the mass Colony Drop that wiped out Earth and Spacenoids alike... and both of them still want to kill each other.
  • In Attack on Titan, the Walled City is pretty much all that's left of human civilization (at least as far as it's known) after the Titans ate everyone else.
    • The big reveal in the basement is that the Walled City is not the last bastion of humanity; every other human civilization is doing just fine and is (at least mostly) free of Titans. However, the city is the last "free" remnant of what was once the Eldian Empire; in the rest of the world, the Eldians are second-class citizens who live in segregated ghettos, due to their connection to the Titans.
    • Half of the survey corps are turned into this following Eren's insurrection, with the Titans destroying the countries of the world and enslaving what's left of Paradis.
  • The last prime minister of Japan in Code Geass is treated somewhat like this trope... But he never got to go through with it because Suzaku killed him. It's heavily implied that Britannia would have eradicated Japan utterly if he had.
    • The Japanese Liberation Front was the remnant of the old Japanese army until the Black Knights absorbed them.
    • What is left of the old Japanese military is killed off by Britannia and the Black Knights, as they crossed the Moral Event Horizon by throwing hostages off a building in the name of the 'glory of Japan'.
  • The character Grenadier in the Leiji Matsumoto series Cosmo Warrior Zero (an Alternate Universe spinoff of Captain Harlock) starts off as one of these, despite being a mercenary soldier hired by La Résistance; blame Honor Before Reason, a group of refugee children to protect, and a very open-ended contract.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Gero and his Androids are technically this — the Red Ribbon Army is long defunct as an organization, but Gero, one of its founding members, tries to continue the cause, though with a heavy focus on killing Goku, partly because Gero wants revenge because Goku is responsible for the Army's defeat in the original Dragon Ball, though it's also out of practicality, since Goku would likely interfere anyway. In both Trunks' timeline and in the regular timeline, his plans are a bit too effective in so many ways, but he never lives to see it happen. It's not drawn attention to, but the Red Ribbon Army iconography is notable on all of Gero's androids except Cell. The Red Ribbon Army as an organization also are the main antagonists of Dragon Ball Fighter Z, even if it's basically just Android 21 at that point.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, and the corresponding arc of Dragon Ball Super, Frieza's Empire has been reduced to a shell of its former self after King Cold and Frieza were killed along with most of their high ranking minions. The remnant of his empire is losing planets at a rapid rate to the point that what little is left decides to resurrect him as a last resort to restore the fear of them they need to keep the Empire afloat. Unfortunately for them, Frieza is more focused on revenge on the ones who defeated him than doing that. This results in Frieza being killed again and the rest of his army being killed as well.
  • The Kiheitai in Gintama is a revolutionary army that seeks to violently drive the Amanto aliens out of Japan, even if it means that Japan will be destroyed in the process. In fact, the complete and total destruction of Japanese society under Amanto influence seems to be the desired goal of this group's leader, Takasugi, who has shown both a willingness and a creepy enthusiasm to do the destroying himself. Then again, Takasugi is also a Nietzsche Wannabe and seems solely interested in destruction and avenging his teacher's death.
  • The Millennium Group from Hellsing is a single battalion of Nazi soldiers who have voluntarily undergone artificial vampirification in their mission to give World War II another go. They're a variation on the usual type, since they're not fighting for Nazism, but because they really like war. Especially the Major, their mad leader. There used to be some actual Nazi die-hards in charge of the organization, but the Major had them all killed.
  • Diana in Jewelpet (2009) turns out to be this after her big brother Dian's backstory is revealed (he was a Malcolm Xerox-flavored rebel). She managed to escape Dian's fate and many years later saw an opportunity to unseal him using the power of the Jewelpets who got lost on Earth; this is what the heroes try to stop during the first half of the show.
  • Hegemon Heidi Einhard Stratos Ingvalt of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is a subversion. Nove assumes her reasons for wanting to fight Vivio and Ixpellia is because to her the wars of Ancient Belka never ended, but Einhard denies this saying she only wants to prove the superiority of her Kaiser Arts. Once she actually meets Vivio, she quickly becomes The Rival and doesn't hold any grudges against her (quite the opposite actually).
  • The Principality of Zeon, from Mobile Suit Gundam, has scads of these; there are at least five separate groups that appear in the animation, and it's implied that there are more. The single largest one fled to the asteroid base Axis and became the first Neo Zeon movement in Zeta Gundam; the others include the Delaz Fleet, Cima's marines, and the Kimbareid force (all in Gundam 0083), as well as Rommel's force (in Gundam ZZ).
    • The furthest extension of this appears in Gundam F90, centering on Zeon remnants who've been hiding on Mars for nearly fifty years before making their move.
    • The second Neo-Zeon movement in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack isn't really composed of remnants from the Principality of Zeon but is rather composed of ex-AEUG and other spacenoids who have taken a radical bent, though it is led by Char Aznable, a Zeon war hero and prince of its usurped royal family. It gets its own remnant in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, in the form of the Sleeves, led by Char Clone Full Frontal.
    • In addition to the Sleeves, Gundam Unicorn also has the Zeon Remnant, both of who manage to eke out livings in various isolated places on Earth, and who band together to continue the war against the Federation in an ambitious attack on Torrington Base while also living out in space on the asteroid Palau. They're not exclusively military either, as many of their Earth camps include numerous civilians.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: After the defeat of the Titans at the climax of the show, their remnants occasionally pop up in Gundam canon, though not nearly as often as Zeon. In-Universe it's established that many Titans either rejoined the Federation or defected to Zeon. Though Zeta's sequel Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ notes that several Titans still hold political seats in government, the faction itself is too beaten down to be of any real threat to the protagonists and they only return in expanded material. Mobile Suit Moon Gundam featured a remnant fielding the Psycho Gundam Mk. IV while Gundam Sentinel featured a group called The New Desides and their attempts to rebel and fight the Federation.
  • My Hero Academia: The Shie Hassaikai is one of the last remaining Yakuza organizations in the setting. As explained, after the rise of All Might and the era of heroes, the yakuza were labelled as villains and were thoroughly eradicated to the point that most of society has completely forgotten about them: when the Shie Hassaikai led by Kai Chisaki AKA Overhaul faced the League of Villains, not only had Magne never even seen one before Overhaul, but Toga didn't even know what a Yakuza was and Mr. Compress derided Overhaul as "an endangered species left over from old times". Overhaul eventually revealed the objective of the organization is to revert society to pre-quirk times and to bring the Yakuza back to its former glory for the man who brought him into the group.
  • Fate Averruncus of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Manga only though, the anime renders this impossible for plot altering reasons. Fate was second in command of a group called Cosmo Entelecheia, a group that was trying to bring about the end of the world A.K.A. "The Ritual To Return The World To Nothing". The group was lead by someone who was only known as "The Life Maker" and "The Mage of the Beginning". They fueled a war in order to accomplish this. It was the war and the defeat of The Mage Of The Beginning that made Nagi Springfield (protagonist's father) a legend. After that he was known as "The Invincible Thousand Master" or just The Thousand Master for short. Fate hasn't given up.
    • Or he might be the newest version of the second in command of Cosmo Entelecheia.
  • Many antagonists of Pumpkin Scissors are this type.
  • Rebuild World:
  • In SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next, taking place roughly in our time, an old man living under Tokyo still believes WWII continues, and is obsessed about the mission given to him. Other underground dwellers consider him dangerously crazy, but he is quite likeable.
  • Viral in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fits this role early on after the Time Skip, although subverted in that while being classified as a terrorist and gets told several times that his fight is pointless, he still insists that he does it for a noble goal. It is later revealed that he did, in fact, fight for a good cause, as he was aiming to keep the population underground to prevent the activation of the Anti-Spirals' annihilation program. He does grow out of this role when he joins up with the heroes, and eventually ends up as the supreme commander of the galactic federation fleet.
    • He doesn't really know about the Anti-spirals though. What he's doing is fighting so that the people who want to stay underground can do that, at least in this particular instance. Lordgenome wanted them underground, they want to be underground, and Viral is pretty much all that's left to fight for that goal. It's hard to not feel bad for Viral finally getting arrested because Enkidu has seen SO MANY HOPELESS BATTLES that it finally just breaks down. Viral even apologizes to it.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: Most life traces back to one of two sides to a genocidal Great Offscreen War between Transhuman New Mankind and Old Mankind, ancestry of the former being how humans can use magic. Monsters and Artificial Intelligence of a robotic nature, are from Old Mankind, while Organic Technology ones are from the New Mankind Abusive Precursors.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: The Supreme Intelligence of the Kree destroyed his own Empire with a Nega-Bomb, and the Avengers executed him for that. Still, a small group of Krees, called the "Lunar Legion" (because they set their base on the blue area of the moon) blame the Avengers for the destruction of their Empire and their beloved Supreme Intelligence, and try to kill them. Of course, the SI turns out to be less dead than they thought.
  • In "The War That Never Ended!" in Adventure Comics #255, Green Arrow and Speedy are stranded on a Pacific island that is still inhabited by Japanese soldiers who do not know that WWII is over.
  • The "Peekaboo Bandit" from Airboy: Deadeye: a Japanese aviator who kept fighting a one-man war against the Allies in the Pacific after the surrender of Japan until capture by Airboy.
  • Asterix:
    • Gaul has surrendered to the Romans, but one Undefeatable Little Village still lives like it's the Iron Age and holds out against the invaders! ...or not, as they never engage in La Résistance-type action, preferring mostly to get on with their own, usually quite petty lives, and beat up any Romans trying to tell them what to do rather than attempting to liberate Gaul. The story clearly establishes that legally, the village is Roman, and the characters even exploit this when being part of the Roman Empire would be helpful to them. They also adopt Roman technology, such as the use of sestertii as currency, wax tablets, Roman numerals and writing, and so on, and everyone's bilingual Gaulish and Latin, though some are better at Latin than others. Caesar even says that the Roman government pays a peace settlement to their chief, as agreed upon in the terms of surrender, and the chief's wife is angry that the Romans haven't made him a senator. And yet, they proudly refuse all Roman identity, did something to the Roman taxman so he would never come back there again, and any Romans approaching the village get beaten to a paste. They have no interest in being seriously liberated and are well aware the war is over, but continue fighting it because it's fun, they hate the Romans on principle, and they just don't care.
    • Obelix All At Sea and The Secret Weapon suggest Asterix's goal is for the Romans to grant them peace with honours, but if they tried to negotiate surrender as it is all the warriors would end up in prison, so fighting until the Romans get the message is the only option. Obelix is horrified by any suggestion of compromise and considers it trampling on the memory of Vercingetorix, with the implication that most of the other villagers agree with this. Of course, this is all Played for Laughs.
    • In Vercingetorix' Daughter the actual remnant shows up: Vercingetorix' most trusted lieutenants, who, on his orders, had left Alesia with his daughter before the surrender, hoping that one day they would launch a rebellion capable of expelling the Romans. They eventually abandon the plan in the face of the sheer impossibility when Vercingetorix' daughter herself just wants to stop the insanity and live like a normal girl.
  • Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific has CHOKAITEN; a rogue Japanese military unit that has been waiting six years since the end of the war to unleash a devastating super weapon that will sink the North American continent.
  • In early 1995, when Bruce Wayne finally returned to Gotham City to officially be Batman again after a two-year absence (it's a long story), the first enemies he found himself and Robin having to combat were the Troika, a faction of three (technically four, but one of them defected to the West) ex-Soviet terrorists unwilling to admit that the Cold War was over.
  • Crossed: Various surviving military units appear from time to time. Most are just holed up behind their forts, or on patrol ships, hiding and vainly hoping to ride things out, but the San Diego Naval Base puts a real effort into evacuating survivors from infected zones and getting them onto ships heading for somewhere safer, although they're gone by the first month of the apocalypse.
  • Subverted in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip "Lunar Lagoon". The Doctor arrives on a Pacific island in 1963, and is attacked by a Japanese soldier. The Doctor tries to explain that the war is over ... and then learns he's in a parallel universe where it isn't.
  • Elfes et Nains, the kingdom of Eysine has been invaded by an alliance of rival kingdoms and all that remains of it are a handful of citizens and soldiers led by their aging king.
  • In Empire, they're the good guys. What's left of them.
  • In G.I. Joe (2016), splinters of Cobra that survived their collapse at the end of G.I. Joe vol. 4 pose a constant threat.
  • According to Halo: Escalation #5, the Covenant has fractured even more than anyone previously thought.
    Zef 'Trahl: What does it mean to be "Covenant" today? A hundred warlords claim they rule the Covenant, but each of them leads only a small faction
  • In G.I. Combat #235's cover story, The Haunted Tank is ambushed by a German tank crew from World War I who cravenly hid out in a forest and seemingly never came out for 30 years. Their weathered faces and tattered uniforms starkly contrast their spotless tank that never saw combat. When they capture a fancy new-model American tank, the TC is sure the Kaiser will pin their medals on himself.
  • The Fort Charlotte Brigade from Jonah Hex are confederate veterans who refuse to accept the authority of the North (although they're more deeply defined by the personal axe they have to grind with Jonah).
  • Colonel Quantrill in B.A.'s Cattlepunk campaign in Knights of the Dinner Table.
  • Colonel Augustus Barton and his renegade Confederate bushwhackers in The Lone Ranger and Zorro: The Death of Zorro from Dynamite.
  • In The Order (2007), one of their first battles is against a nuclear-armed team of Russian supervillains who are completely unaware that the Cold War has been over for two decades.
  • Scarlet Traces: The "Martians" are on the verge of extinction after the events of The Great Game have rendered all life on Mars eradicated, and all that is left of them are those living on Venus. By 1968, the aliens are starting to die out and they have become desperate to finish off their human enemies by planning to destroy the entire Solar System.
  • The Serenity comic book introduces the Dust Devils, extremist former Browncoats continuing to wage a terrorist war against the Alliance, and reveals that technically, Zoe was once one of their number — she participated in a battle where neither the Alliance nor the Independents had been informed that the Alliance had won.
    • From the point of view of the Alliance, Mal Reynolds could be seen as The Remnant, though he mostly resorts to brigandry like his 19th Century counterpart Jesse James.
  • Parodied in one of the "Tales of Irony" in Snake & Bacon's Cartoon Cavalcade, a Japanese soldier on a Pacific island is discovered to still be fighting World War 2 — by a Confederate soldier that still thinks the Civil War's on!
  • Star Wars: Purge: Roblio Darte, a Jedi fugitive asserts that they still serve The Republic and should try to restore it, although the others point out the Republic became the Empire by choice.
  • Teen Titans: Most of those recruited by the original Wildebeest leader were former H.I.V.E. agents who believed their main goal was to take vengeance for H.I.V.E.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin centers around the titular last ronin, Sole Survivor of the Hamato Clan after his turtle brothers were slain by Oroku Hiroto, so he takes on the Foot Clan by himself to avenge them.
  • A recurring trope in Tex Willer, with Tex encountering the survivors of a number of native civilizations.
    • In one particular occasion the US Army called him and Carson in to find if what they suspected was a Confederate remnant was indeed this or just a group of bandits that happened Confederate soldiers and presented itself as this to be helped by the locals, as they operate in Virginia, the Army turning to Tex because moving with enough strength to comb the area they believed the bandits hid into would likely cause rebellions. The "bandits" turned out to be the scouts of a fully equipped regiment of Confederate veterans and new recruits led by Stonewall Jackson (who in this universe survived the war), with their attacks on banks and arsenals being aimed to procure weapons to eventually resume the Civil War - and Tex and Carson have to find a way to stop him without causing a full-scale rebellion.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: With the disbanding of the Decepticons by their leader, their forces are thoroughly shattered. Several just shrugged and moved on with their lives, while others tried for a resurgence of their once mighty empire. Tarn and the Justice Division seek out what might be the largest remnant, a band of Mercurial Decepticons 500 strong, and ally with them to bring forth a new order of Decepticons with their first act of business to hunt down the very one who disbanded the original regime, Megatron.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Presents a more conventional example with Soundwave gathering up many of the A-lister cons, including the remaining members of the Earth Infiltration team, throwing their lot in with Galvatron, and heading to earth to ally with the humans and get in the Autobot's way. They claim to be the Decepticons, following their principles in the absence of their founder, even if their ranks only have a few dozen members.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Magneto seems to die at the end of the first arc, and in Ultimatum. Still, the Brotherhood remains a threat.
  • In the Alan Moore run of Wild CATS Wild Storm, this happened to both sides. The Khreubim/Daemonite war has been over for a long time, with the Daemonites falling to the Kherubim and effectively being subjugated. Unfortunately, neither side bothered to send an envoy to Earth, so the war continued to rage here for centuries
  • Pointed out in the first X-Wing Rogue Squadron comic.
    Tycho: Wait, slow down. A week ago, Wedge vaporized the Emperor and half the Imperial High Command — I know that Imperials tried to stab us in the back after The Truce at Bakura, but isn't the war basically over? Why won't the Imperials just surrender?
    Luke: Would you stop fighting if Wedge was killed? Or me? Or Senator Organa? The Battle of Endor will always be a turning point in this war, but there are millions of Imperials scattered across the galaxy, and we can only assume that they will fight to the end. And they probably have orders to do just that.

    Fan Works 
  • Ask a Pony: Zathir, an Arc Villain from Ask Genie Twilight, is a descendent of a Renegade Splinter Faction of a previously well-intentioned regime. To say he has well intentions would be a sad mistake to make.
  • The Azula Trilogy's Starter Villain, General Azun, is the leader of a portion of the Fire Nation's military that refuses to accept the end of the war and Zuko's ascension as Fire Lord, and intend to "rescue" Azula so that she can lead them in retaking control of the Nation.
  • The Bridge: A Shimmer in the Dark, a crossover between The Bridge and The Shimmerverse, features as its main antagonist Countess Mircalla, the last remaining one of Nightmare Moon's Generals, leading a reserve force that is all that's left of the latter's shattered army. Notably, she's lost faith in the cause, but keeps going out of debt to her former master (and because she knows that if she doesn't, the Always Chaotic Evil Nightmare forces will tear her apart for disloyalty).
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • After Rhaegar flees Westeros, all the Targaryen loyalists unwilling to yield to the rebellion follow him, establishing a court-in-exile that briefly has enough of a power base to rule Myr in all but name. After being defeated by the Sunset Company, however, they're significantly reduced in power, with a large chunk of their men defecting back to Westeros and Rhaegar being fatally wounded, leaving what's left to flee to Volantis and becoming a sellsword company to earn their stay in the city.
    • The Sunset Company's victory also sees them conquering Myr and purging most of the old aristocracy in the process of freeing all the slaves. Those who survive, either by fleeing or having been coincidentally elsewhere at the time, regroup and establish a Government in Exile in Tyrosh, determined to eventually reclaim their city. When Tyrosh likewise falls to the Abolitionist Alliance, these "True Myrish" flee again to Volantis, where they pledge themselves to the Targaryen forces for protection. Meanwhile, the Tyroshi who manage to escape the destruction of their city establish exile communities in Lys and Oldtown.
    • After Khal Drogo conquers Qohor and razes it to the ground, those Qohori who weren't living in the city itself are scattered. While many settle in the Norvoshi territories rebelling against Norvos proper after the reactionary coup, others emigrate to Westeros and set up exile communities in Duskendale and King's Landing.
    • The Grand Army of Volantis was a coalition of that city-state's militia, their Unsullied corps, the Exile Company (a merger of the Targaryen loyalists and the Golden Company), the True Myrish, and the Tattered Prince's sellsword forces. They marched out of their city numbering nearly fifty thousand and boasted themselves as being the mightiest army on Essos since the Doom of Valyria. After the Battle of the Agneiat and the Battles of Ghoyan Drohe, they're reduced to a fraction of the Exile Company sneaking away on river barges after they left the Volantene Militia to the abolitionists' fury, the Unsullied and True Myrish having been wiped out and the Tattered Prince having fled.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: After the Galra arrive and occupy Earth, the European Union is defeated within a week. The wZERO Unit is one of the few military units that survives the invasion, and continues to fight back against the Galra Occupation.
  • Code Prime: When the Decepticons begin their takeover of the world, the first thing they do is completely uproot the Britannian Empire, killing or capturing any of the major leaders and royals. After a six-month Time Skip between R1 and R2, all that remains of the Empire are Euro-Britannia, which declares independence and is currently fighting the EU, and the Glinda Knights led by Princess Marrybell, who go into hiding before eventually joining Euro-Britannia.
  • Cycles Upon Cycles:
    • Even months after the defeat of Saren and Sovereign, the Council and the Alliance are shown to still be moping up units of their forces.
    • Cerberus turns out to be all that's left of the UED after the latter was destroyed by Amon.
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • At the end of their failed invasion of the Milky Way, a group of fifty or so Reapers who survived flee to the Andromeda Galaxy in order to start over. And separately from them, the Reaper Odium goes into hiding and starts upgrading itself with TeTO technology in an attempt to start over on its own, until the Enterprise discovers and kills it seven years later.
    • After the Cybertronian Civil War ends with peaceful reconciliation between the factions, a group of Decepticons led by Scorponok refuse to accept the peace and go rogue, making war on Autobots and organic life.
    • A heroic example in Katie's Bad Future, where after the Empire conquers the Milky Way, portions of GaTO (TeTO's successor state) manage to flee to the Pegasus and Ida galaxies.
  • Fabius Maximus has created a Shared Universe of Battlestar Galactica (2003) fics that uses this trope to apply some Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, on the grounds that as the Twelve Colonies were a fully developed FTL-capable spacefaring civilization, there must have been more survivors that the Galactica's fleet or the few scattered resistance fighters shown still living on the planets:
    • The Pirate King: A pirate organization which was secretly building its own fleet (in order to privately colonize territories on the other side of the Armistice Line) uses that fleet to evacuate as many civilians and military personnel as they can rescue during the destruction of the Colonies, then flees into space to find new worlds to rebuild on.
    • The Last Imperial Fleet: Virgon's planetary fleet (which is separate from the overall Colonial fleet) evacuates as many civilians as they can during the Cylon attack, including the sole surviving member of the Virgon Imperial Family, who is automatically crowned Empress. They hook up with some Colonial forces, which agree to submit to their authority, rescue some civilian ships, then flee the system.
    • Exiles on the Wind: A Colonial squadron overseeing an asteroid belt mining colony evacuates the population, hooks up with a Marine regiment in the area and some civilian ships, and flee. While the squadron's Commodore is in de facto supreme control, a provisional civilian government is assembled by means of voting in a group of representatives from each ship; when the squadron eventually meets up with Galactica, this assembly is folded into Roslin's government by becoming a lower house to the Quorum of Twelve.
    • It's also mentioned throughout all the stories that numerous other small groups of survivors (civilian and military) all also fled the Colonies' system to rebuild elsewhere.
  • In the Outlaw Star fanfic A Fistful of Dragonite the Kei Pirates/Bandits are re-imagined as this, having fought on the losing side of an unnamed war, which is a loose Expy of the US Confederacy. Their leader, Colonel Hazanko, still holds their loyalty, and their influence is felt throughout the western frontier.
  • In the Halloween Unspectacular series, the main antagonists of the second Myth Arc are an organization called PURITY, which has its origins in a group of Nazi military officials who fled to a secret base in Alaska after losing the war. Notably, the original leadership of the group wanted to continue fighting the US directly (even planning U-Boat attacks on the West Coast), but General Rausseman realized this was moronic, took over, and reorganized the group to abandon Nazism as an ideology. Instead, they now focus their hatred on nonhumans and people with superpowers.
  • The main antagonists of I, Warrior are a group of renegade Yuuzhan Vong who refuse to accept the end of their war with the Galactic Alliance. To this end, they've allied with the enigmatic Sith Lord known as the Master, who has promised them revenge and power in exchange for aiding him find a cure for his illness. In the end, however, he was just using them, and they surrender to the GA after the Master's defeat.
  • Heroic variant (but not quite meeting the description of La Résistance); in Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, Konoha is destroyed and most of its population killed in the Sand/Sound attack, forcing the few hundred survivors to fall back to the Senju clan's hidden fortress, led by Jiraiya.
  • In Repairs, Retrofits and Upgrades, Kuvira's supporters continue to uphold the ideals of the Earth Empire and defend its territory despite her being captured and abandoning her ambitions. They're still extremely well trained, armed, organized and equipped, enough to oppose the United Forces on even footing and attempt to "rescue" Kuvira.
  • Seventh Endmost Vision has the Western Alliance remnants, most of which went underground in the wake of Shinra winning the War. Barret has mentioned that he has specifically recruited those he could find into the ranks of AVALANCHE.
  • Summer Crowns: After Lys conquers Tyrosh, the Archon and the surviving magisters manage to escape to several of the city's tributaries with a chunk of its military forces, before dividing over disagreements on the best way forward. The Archon, who wants to reclaim Tyrosh and his power, camps out in the trade port of Bluestones, while the magisters, who want to maintain what power they have left, shore themselves up in the lesser cities of Berosh and Vakar and give up on Tyrosh, focusing on conquering the mainland.
  • The main antagonist of Tomica Hero Rescue Pups is a group of surviving Neo Terror Axto from Tomica Hero Rescue Force. Led by a Sith Lord named Darth Longinus, they now have lightsabers, blasters, AT-ATs, TIE Fighters, buzz droids, and episodic super-droids.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: The hostile lion pride living in the Outlands were banished by Simba because they refused to swear off their allegiance to Scar. Their leader Zira was Scar's lover and is still actively seeking to avenge him. Of course, they were nowhere to be seen in the first film, and the fact that Scar didn't have a mate was actually a minor plot point (Scar convinced himself that the reason the pride was unhappy was because he hadn't secured the succession, rather than because he was running Pride Rock into the ground). Things get more complicated because Zira's son Kovu, while being raised as Tyke-Bomb by her to kill Simba, genuinely falls in love with Simba's daughter Kiara.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (1986): The six Grundles are all that's left of their people after the witches succeeded in destroying the kingdom they once lived in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • April 9th: the main cast keep trying to Hold the Line against the invading Nazi's for several hours after their government has actually surrendered. Truth in Television.
  • Air Force One: Big Bad Ivan Korushnov and his henchmen are former soldiers of a deposed dictator who refuse to accept the collapse of his regime and try to force his release by hijacking Air Force One.
  • In Apache, Massai refuses to surrender when Geronimo does, and escapes to wage a one-man war against the US Army. He regards himself as the last Apache warrior, and even refers to himself as "the last true Apache" at one point.
  • At Home Among Strangers involves a White Russian bandit gang, some time after the Whites have been decisively defeated by the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, still roaming the Russian interior, robbing trains. There are still some true believers, but bandit leader Brylov recognizes that the war has been lost, the Bolsheviks are victorious, and there's no point fighting them anymore.
  • In The Burmese Harp, a Japanese POW is tasked by his British captors with getting a Japanese unit holed up in a cave to surrender, since Japan has surrendered and the war is over. The POW fails, the Japanese in the cave refuse to give up, and they are annihilated. The POW eventually stays in Burma as a monk, helping locate and bury all Japanese dead, vowing to only return to Japan once he's finished.
  • The Damned is about a group of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who flee to South America in a U-boat in April 1945, hoping to set up The Remnant as German defeat looms in Europe. When a German cargo ship encounters the sub and tells them that Germany has surrendered and the war is over, the Nazi Party fuctionary in charge of the submarine promptly torpedoes the cargo ship.
  • Bane's army in The Dark Knight Rises represents the remnants of the League of Shadows, a sinister organization decimated by Batman in the first movie of the series.
  • The Day of the Triffids: The crews of several navy submarines avoid being blinded because they are submerged when everyone else loses their sight and broadcast radio messages to alert survivors that they're willing to ferry people to safety.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • In Man of Steel, Zod and his followers position themselves as the sole remnant of the Kryptonian civilization and seek to restore it. They're also the only ones left of Zod's Civil War army, the Sword of Rao.
    • In the Bad Future seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zack Snyder's Justice League, Batman, Cyborg and Flash are the only Justice League members who are still alive (Darkseid and/or evil Superman wiped out the rest). They are joined by Mera, and even by two members of Batman's Rogues Gallery, Deathstroke and the Joker. It is safe to assume everyone else that they knew has perished.
  • The Dead: Several African army units continue operating, trying to gather survivors to take to various citadels, or protect their home villages, well after central authority has collapsed.
  • The villains in Dead Again in Tombstone are Col. Jackson Boomer and his gang of Confederate renegades who are seeking the horn of Lucifer in order to raise an undead Confederate army.
  • Die Hard:
    • Col. Stuart and his team of mercenaries from Die Hard 2 who think their government backed the wrong side.
    • Another example would be Simon Gruber's unit of East German Special Forces from Die Hard with a Vengeance, who were trained to speak fluent English for infiltration operations and were disbanded after the Soviet Union fell.
  • In Gladiator, the Germanic tribes who refused to bow before the might of the Roman empire's legions. Unusually for such a trope, though they are clearly the antagonists to Maximus' protagonist, Maximus shows respect for their capabilities, sympathy for them, and seems to hope that Rome wouldn't give up even against such hopeless odds. Also is Truth in Television.
  • In Hangman's Knot, a Confederate Major and his troops are falsely led to believe the Civil War is not over, and become wanted men after they attack a Union Army wagon train in Nevada.
  • The Horde: There’s mention of a French military base holding out and taking in survivors in the countryside that the character talk about reaching during the Zombie Apocalypse, although they spend all of the plot busy trying to break out of the apartment building their trapped in, so we never actually see it.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was originally supposed to feature a team of Nazi die-hards as its villains. After directing Schindler's List, Spielberg didn't think he could feature Those Wacky Nazis as villains again, prompting him to change the villains to Soviets.
  • Iron Sky: The antagonists comes from a Nazi moon base that emerges to attack Earth during the 21st century.
  • Quentin Turnbull and his Southern terrorists in Jonah Hex.
  • The Last Flight Of Noahs Ark has two Japanese soldiers on a lost island.
  • Last of the Dogmen: The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers have been living in the unexplored Montana wilderness for 128 years since they fled the Sand Creek Massacre, and have had no contact with the modern world beyond a few violent encounters with intruders.
  • The Last Samurai has Nathan and Katsumoto's samurais fighting against the Meiji government.
  • In The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, the bad guys are ex-KGB, who are pissed at the fall of the USSR and seek to revive the old superpower by raising a vampire army. Little do they know that the old decrepit professor they're dragging along is Dracula himself.
  • The Living Dead Series:
    • Dawn of the Dead (1978). A National Guard unit is briefly seen intact in the countryside, effectively fighting the zombies alongside of the local farmer. There also appears to be some form of central authority (represented by Dr. Rausch) giving emergency broadcasts to anyone still listening for several weeks after the initial outbreak overruns the cities.
    • Dawn of the Dead (2004). Local military base Fort Pastor holds out for a while, providing a Safe Zone Hope Spot.
    • Day of the Dead features a handful of soldiers still guarding the Sole Surviving Scientist team, but by the movies beginning, their are fed up by the lack of progress, and almost all of them turn on their civilian charges by the end.
    • Diary of the Dead. All of the military officials who the main characters encounter in the film have deserted by that point, with one group being holed up inside a warehouse of food. Another group is driving through the countryside and robbing the main characters, possibly due to believing that they've been looting themselves. A more traditional group, containing four men wearing Hazmat suits and plexiglass masks posts a video online of themselves searching houses for survivors, and gunning down some Zombie Advocates they encounter.
  • The Matrix: the second movie reveals that Zion has repeatedly been wiped out, save for a few dozen survivors who are allowed to become this, rebuild and go to war with the machines all over again.
  • In Outpost, a team of mercenaries are hired to scope out an old World War II bunker in war-torn Eastern Europe at the behest of a mysterious scientist. It soon becomes apparent that the bunker was a secret research facility into reality-bending experiments done by the Nazis... and that the bunker's last garrison might not be as dead as they should be.
  • In The Scavengers, a gang of Confederate renegades takes over a frontier town two months after the war has ended, intending to rob a Yankee gold shipment. It seems most of the men are not aware the war has ended, but their commander Captain Harris certainly is.
  • The First Order in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a successor of the original Galactic Empire; note that the Legends continuity already had done something similar, as shown in the Literature folder below. Thanks to some drastic actions on their part, the First Order manages to step out of this shadow by the sequel. It's strongly implied that they were deliberately playing this up so the New Republic wouldn't realize they were a genuine threat until they'd already finished their build up and attacked their now-demilitarized conquerors.
    • Confirmed in the Before the Awakening novel that says the New Republic know that the First Order are villainous but can't legally attack them without proof so they secretly funnel resources to Leia's Resistance group.
  • The aptly titled The Undefeated starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson dealt with a group of Confederate soldiers who chose to move to Mexico and offer their support to Emperor Maximillian.
  • Captain Jim West fights ex-Confederate terrorists at the start of Wild Wild West.
  • Willow: Airk is introduced leading the remaining soldiers of a kingdom (which has been conquered by Bavmorda) in a last ditch battle. Many scenes later, it's revealed that he lost that battle and has gone into hiding with his last few dozen soldiers before Willow recruits them to help fight Bavmorda in the climax.

    Literature 
  • In 1983: Doomsday, the Union of Sovereign Socialist Republics is formed from what remained of the Soviet Union that survived Doomsday.
  • Aubrey-Maturin offers various iterations of this, particularly involving the British-American War of 1812 — sailing ships may have been at sea for months, and not be aware of current events; this can be further complicated by two ships having different sailing dates, and hence different notions of the situation. Averted, in that this is a well-known problem and sometimes results in awkward stand-offs while the situation is resolved.
  • In Andre Norton's The Beast Master, the villains turn out to be a detachment of the same aliens who found out too late that nuking Terra into radioactive sterility wouldn't save them from Terra's colonies. The war's been over for a year or so, but they're trying to make new trouble on a colony planet.
  • In David Eddings' The Belgariad, the country of Arendia has been torn by civil war for millennia, largely due to their race's absurd devotion to Honor Before Reason. The Asturians continue to mount pointless insurrections against the crown, despite the fact that the Mimbrates won the war long ago and the Asturian Duchess is also the Queen.
    • The main problem with the Mimbrates and Asturians, aside from the Mimbrates treating their landed gentry opposite numbers as no better than serfs, is that neither side will talk to the other. When, after some outside prodding, they do, and the point of the queen also being Asturian nobility is mentioned, tensions ease noticeably.
    Queen: "You mean that there have been centuries of strife over a technicality?"
    Noble: "... It is rather Arendish, isn't it?"
  • In Brothers in Arms, the villain is one of these for the Komarran resistance, rather to Miles Vorkosigan's frustration:
    Galen: The revolt must not die.
    Miles: Even if everybody in it dies? 'It didn't work, so let's do it some more'? In my line of work, they call that military stupidity. I don't know what they call it in civilian life.
  • James Blish’s Cities in Flight includes the Vegan Orbital Fort, a hold-out from a long-past war which has become a sort of legend in its own right.
  • Son of Magic (a short story in The Camp Half-Blood Series) tells us what happened to the leftovers of Kronos' army after the events of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Alabaster is one of the few pro-Kronos demigods that doesn't regret their choice to serve the Titan King and as a result he's excluded from Camp Half-Blood. He still hasn't given up his fight with the Olympians and Percy (even if he never sees them in the story).
  • Challengers of the Unknown: The antagonists are a few hundred Nazis who fled to a South American country and want to conquer it for a new Reich.
  • In Cthulhu Armageddon, the government of New Arkham styles itself as the official United States Remnant. However, since its control only extends to New Arkham itself (a pre-Rising military base converted into a burgeoning city) and the surrounding territory (some small towns and villages), no one really takes the claim all that seriously.
  • Down To A Sunless Sea: A civilian version is featured When word of the nuclear war is announced to the passengers on the plane the main action takes place on, two diehard Soviet diplomats and their KBG bodyguards take the news of their country’s fate poorly and try to hijack it. For added irony The actual military forces who survive (most notably some SAS soldiers also onboard the plane, two Russian aviators who picked up the population of the home village of one in cargo plane and then tried to fly somewhere safe, and the soldiers at the soldiers at the Antarctic Mc Murdo station who weren’t Driven to Suicide by despair) all avert this by being helpful and sympathetic characters who never entertain any delusions of grandeur or ideas of continuing their old government.
  • In The Dreamside Road, the Liberty Corps is partially the militarized remnant of the IHSA. Some of its officers are survivors from the earlier organization and most of their technology and gear was scavenged from the ruins of the International Hierarchia or the League of Earth's Nations' other assets. Only their armor is new.
  • Emberverse features the United States of Boise, founded by U.S. Army Martin Thurston, which is the only major faction trying to preserve the old system of government. Thurston considers Boise to the "provisional Capitol" of the country, but none of his neighbors acknowledge Boise's authority and, to their credit, Thurston and his government don't try to force it on them.
  • Evolution:
    • "The Last Burrow" depicts the Antarctica ecosystem 55 million years after the Cretaceous impact, where small lemming-like primates compete with the last non-avian dinosaurs to have survived the Cretaceous impact, including the descendants of Muttaburrasaurus, Leaellynasaura and Allosaurus, with a Koolasuchus thrown in somewhere.
    • In "The Kingdom of the Rats", Eastern Africa is the last place where the animalistic posthumans exist, which in turn are the last primates. In most of the world, they were outcompeted and driven to extinction by the increasingly dominant and diverse rodents; in Eastern Africa, which had rifted off from the rest of the continent before the rodent radiation fully took place, was the only place where they had enough time to adapt into new niches and compete efficiently with the rodents when these eventually arrived there as well.
  • Ex-Heroes: A few military units survive the zombie apocalypse.
    • Cerberus is the inventor and pilot of a DARPA suit of Powered Armor and, along with the survivors of a platoon of marines that were escorting her (including Mauve Shirt Billie Carter), take part in the defense of the Mount and the fight against nearby zombies.
    • The Unbreakables are a unit of Super Soldiers in training, accompanied by lots of regular soldiers, including another Cerberus-trained pilot. They have evacuated thousands of civilians, but only in a regional area, and are also taking orders from a presidential bunker. Actually, they're only being brainwashed into thinking that their corrupt superior is saving civilians and taking orders from the president. Once the brainwashing is shaken, the remaining soldiers join the survivors at the Mount.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Merchant Princes": Trader Mallow is curious when he notices the sun-and-spaceship symbol of the Galactic Empire in a nation called the Republic of Korell. He goes off on his own to establish how close the Foundation is to the collapsing empire. The old empire is using the buffer of nations to attack the Foundation.
    • "The Mule": The first Galactic Empire used to rule every inhabited planet in the galaxy. By the time of this story, 300 years since the founding of Terminus, their rule has been reduced to twenty agricultural planets, and lost even the capital planet of Trantor. When the story's protagonists visit Neotrantor, the new capital, the senile Emperor Dagobert IX is under the impression that his Empire is as strong as ever, treating the Foundation as just another world within the Anacreon Province of a galaxy-spanning Empire. It's implied that this is the final end of the first Galactic Empire, being absorbed offscreen by the Mule between this story and the next.
  • In Gimlet Mops Up by W.E. Johns, Gimlet and his crew take on the Werewolves, Nazi terrorists continuing to fight after the end of World War II.
  • By the end of Guns of the Dawn, the army in which the protagonist is fighting has become this without realising it. Fighting in an inaccessible area, they don't realise that their forces elsewhere have collapsed and that they are now encircled. They're persuaded to surrender, but still gain a lot of praise from the citizenry for being the last survivors — which becomes important when the fugitive king tries to use the protagonist, now as much of a war hero as you can get in a defeated country, as the centre of an uprising. The king's own band, however, is not so much a remnant of his old forces as a new gang of bandits he has recruited through bribes.
  • Honor Harrington: Most of the Government in Exile forces of the People's Republic of Haven are really a cross between this and pirates. Haven itself had to deal with a few remnant forces themselves while it was conquering its neighboring star systems. Henri Dessouix, a prominent member of the Great Escape from the Prison Planet, was a heroic version of this, having served on a ship that refused to surrender after their planet was enslaved and spent the next few months attacking Haven ships before being captured.
  • The Hunger Games: District 13 is a morally grey version of this, having avoided subjugation along with the other 12 rebelling Districts through the threat of their nuclear arsenal, and bidding their time for the next 75 years, waiting for an opportunity to go to war with the Capitol again.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Saruman qualifies in a round-about sense, in that he is a former 'Evil Overlord' , but reduced to a pathetically small scale after his armies are routed and he is cast out from Isengard. He spends the remainder of the series running the Shire into the ground, turning into a sort of bandit leader with a mob of 'ruffians'. He is stabbed in the back (completely literally) by his servant at the end.
    • It's also said that after Sauron's defeat, his human allies such as the Haradrim and the Easterlings continued fighting against Gondor for at least a while, although it's less out of loyalty to their old boss and more out of fear and hatred of Gondor, over the actions of their Numenorean ancestors, who ruthlessly colonized them as described in The Silmarillion.
    • Sauron himself qualifies, as he is the former right hand of the previous Dark Lord, Morgoth.
  • In Red Justice, a book set in the Justice League franchise, the Justice League ends up facing Red Justice, a group of superpowered Soviets who had been in hibernation and believe The Cold War is still going on when they awakened.
  • In "Okuyyuki", Captain Reilly goes to Iraq expecting to fight Saddam's army, but ends up facing these instead: diehards, Islamic volunteers and various disorganized remnants. However, he sort of gets his wish eventually when he runs into an unusually well-equipped and powerful stay-behind unit.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin:
    • House Targaryen is this at the beginning of the series, after the Targaryen dynasty was dethroned fifteen years earlier in a civil war.
    • The Brotherhood without Banners, the pro-Robert splinter cell encountered in A Storm of Swords. An interesting case as they start off as La Résistance, but become The Remnant after their principled leader dies and they get a vengeance crazed replacement.
    • The Sons of the Harpy wage a shadow war against Dany's rule because she outlawed slavery in Meereen and they want it back.
    • The Free City of Volantis sees itself as the Remnant of the Valyrian Freehold and once tried to restore it under its leadership but failed.
    • The Golden Company are mercenaries composed largely of descendants of losers of the Blackfyre Rebellion.
    • The Targaryens themselves are merely the only survivor of forty dragonlords, the nobles who presided the Valyrian Freehold. They were also far from the most powerful, but the extinction of the other dragonlords enabled them to prosper. The only other known dragonlord family name is Belaerys, mentioned briefly in The World of Ice & Fire. Houses Velaryon and Celtigar, who also live in Westeros, are descended from Valyrians but not dragonlords.
  • Once you get past all the Sweet Polly Oliver spoofing, the main protagonists of the Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment discover that they almost qualify as this trope due to their army being on the verge of defeat and arguably in the wrong of the conflict.
    • They then use this discovery in a very effective ruse involving a press release.
  • Out of the Dark: the aliens who eliminate Earth's central authority in a Decapitation Strike have to deal with numerous factions of lingering military forces (sometimes joined by civilian survivalists) around the globe for the rest of the novel, eventually getting so fed up with them that they're preparing to just destroy the planet before being defeated by an Outside-Context Problem vampires.
  • A central trope in the Sandokan series:
    • The title character is the legitimate Rajah of Lake Kini Balu, who lost his throne, his father and entire family due a British-supported rebellion. After barely surviving he assembled a pirate crew and brought it to Mompracem, quickly becoming The British Empire's chief annoyance due his success in raiding their trade and the increasing power of the Tigers of Mompracem.
    • The Tigers of Mompracem become their own remnant twice: first near the end of the first novel The Tigers of Mompracem, when the British and other European states with holdings in the Indian Ocean, having decided the Tigers were becoming an actual threat, launched a joint expedition that decimated the pirates and chased them off their island; after Sandokan returned to Mompracem with a new and stronger crew off-page he eventually abandoned piracy, but halfway during The King of the Sea they're once again attacked by the British (manipulated by Suyodhana's son) and chased off Mompracem, though this time they're in the state to fight back with the title ship (the mightiest warship in the world, that they aquired too late to defend Mompracem) and spend most of the novel attacking British trade. By Sandokan Fights Back they have retaken Sandokan's ancestral homeland, and after the British sell it to the Sultan of Varauni they retake Mompracem in Return to Mompracem.
    • In The Pirates of Malaysia, having entered in conflict with James Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak, join forces with the nephew of his dispossessed predecessor Muda Hashim to depose the White Rajah. Brooke also left behind a remnant, who by the time of The King of the Sea has put his nephew Charles (Brooke's actual successor in real life) back on the throne.
    • After the destruction of the Thuggee cult at Sandokan and Tremal Naik's hands in The Two Tigers, a handful of survivors, armed with their immense treasure and led by the son of their defunct leader Suyodhana, acts to take their revenge on the Tigers. They're the ones who bribe and threaten enough British officials to have them launch the attack on Mompracem in The King of the Sea, and show up in person with a flotilla of warships crewed mostly by mercenaries at the end of the novel, defeating Sandokan... Only for Suyodhana's son to disband the group due falling in love with Tremal Naik's daughter.
    • In Quest for a Throne Sandokan and the Tigers depose Sindhia, the mad rajah of Assam, and put in his place Surama, Sindhia's cousin and the wife of Sandokan's pal Yanez. Some of Sindhia's followers survived, helping the White Rajah of Lake Kini Balu in Sandokan Fights Back (and proving far more effective than the now senile White Rajah) and attacking directly Surama in The Brahman.
  • In Shadows of Dreams, a Psilon battleship from the Vague War days arrives to a small human colony, having spent the intervening century or so at relativistic speeds (its hyperdrive was damaged in the previous battle). Since the crew isn't aware that the war is long over and that the rest of their race have isolated their area of space and refuse to interact with outsiders, they intend to complete their original mission: to capture the military outpost that used to be where the colony is now. The colony has almost no means of defending itself, especially from the most advanced race in the galaxy. Later on, though, the protagonist realizes that the crew must be aware of how much time has passed and that their orders no longer make sense. And yet they fully intend to continue, possibly as a sort-of last hurrah (plus, the fact that there's a human colony there likely means that their side didn't win).
  • Sixth Column: The book follows four soldiers and three army researchers safely hidden in a research bunker during the invasion of the United States. They consider a series of hit-and-run attacks with the weapons in the bunker before realizing this would get thousands of hostages executed. Instead, they scheme to undermine the new regime with a Scam Religion.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, a small fleet of Jem'Hadar warships, led by Kitana'klan, continue to wage war on the Dominion's rivals for several months after the peace treaty is signed. Ashamed of their species' failure to take the Alpha Quadrant, they're determined to renew the fighting even against the will of the Founders. Three months after the conflict's conclusion, they attack Deep Space Nine, destroying the starship Aldebaran with all hands and damaging the starship Defiant. They are in turn attacked by the loyal Jem'Hadar Taran'atar, who was en route to Deep Space Nine as an envoy on the orders of Odo. He defends the station with his own warship, and eventually foils a secondary plot by Kitana'klan to destroy the reactor core.
    • In the pre-relaunch series of books, Station Rage involves Sisko and Odo stumbling upon a hidden room on Deep Space Nine containing the last surviving members of the Crescent Order, an old Cardassian military unit left over from a war that ended eighty years earlier. After Garack revives them from stasis, the holdovers mistakenly believe that "Terok Nor" has been occupied by a hostile force, and set about trying to force Sisko and his crew out.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels set in the Legends continuity, the Empire (referred to as the "Imperial Remnant") continues to be the major antagonist despite the Emperor himself dying in the Battle of Endor. (When people wonder why in various Expanded Universe stories, it's pointed out that if the entire ruling council of the New Republic was killed in an attack...they'd be replaced by people who probably wouldn't be as good at the job; hardly a crushing blow.) Fifteen years later, they are reduced to less than a hundredth of their former strength, and there are still politicians and commanders who refuse to give up — even though the Supreme Commander notes that the average Imperial citizen probably realized it years ago, and decides on his own to arrange for Peace Conferences with the New Republic so that the Empire could survive to rise again, one day.
  • Station Eleven: Done unusually; with many founders of the Traveling Symphony were survivors of an Air Force military orchestra who spent years lingering at the old military base together before eventually joining up with some actors and hitting the road.
  • The Sympathizer: South Vietnamese anti-Communist expatriates living in California after the fall of Saigon decide to raise an army to reconquer their homeland (briefly seeking recourses from another South Vietnamese officer who refused to flee with the Americans and have also been fighting a minor guerrilla war) . It's made clear that they are driven by unhappiness over their newly reduced status as refugees in the United States. Their tiny little band is wiped out as soon as it crosses the Mekong River from Laos into Vietnam.
  • In Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan encounters two feuding groups of Knights Templar, neither of whom know that the Crusades are over.
  • Harry Turtledove
    • The short story "After the Last Elf is Dead" has the garrisons of several fortresses remain loyal to the elven king and continue to fight back against impossible odds long after their liege's demise. All of them are defeated, but they instill some Villain Respect in the Noble Top Enforcer.
    • The short story "The Phantom Tolbukhin" has former Soviet general Fyodor Tolbukhin leading a small, desperate group of Russian soldiers in guerrilla resistance actions against the Nazis several years after the Nazis win World War II (in an Alternate Universe).
  • The linked novels To Arms! To Arms in Dixie! and The South Will Rise Again by J.T. Edson feature US secret agent Belle Boyd encountering a conspiracy by the Brotherhood for Southern Freedom—a sinister band of renegades—to restore the South to its prewar glory.
  • Captain Nemo, the villain/Anti-Hero of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island is an exiled Indian prince continuing to fight the Sepoy Mutiny.
    • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has him continue this, despite ostensibly working with British intelligence; his descendents continue this, to the point that his grandson Jack is his universe's equivalent of Osama bin Laden.
  • In Victoria, elements of the old regime's military forces hold out slightly longer than the Federal Government itself, but soon cease to offer any meaningful resistance to the victorious rebels. Many of their personnel are then implied to join the New Confederacy and other successor states, once the collapse is complete, where they continue to cause trouble for the heroes.
  • In the novel Warday by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka, published in 1984 and depicting a future which seemed plausible at the time, the United States and Soviet Union destroy each other in a nuclear war. Britain, which emerged unscathed, proceeds to re-establish itself as a major world power and in effect re-create The British Empire. Five years afterwards, a Captain of the British Royal Navy, patrolling the Pacific , tells the protagonists: "There are still submarines at sea, carrying nuclear missiles and loyal to non-existent governments. They are extremely dangerous and if they don't surrender we have to destroy them".
  • In The Years of Rice and Salt, although Western civilization is all but destroyed, a few fragments remain such as Georgia and New Norway.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: In Red Leech, Duke Balthasar is the self-appointed head of the 'Government in Exile of the Confederacy', and plans to rise an army to conquer Canada and transform it into a new Confederated States of America.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100:
    • Mount Weather (which houses the descendants of the members of the U.S. Government who survived the end of the world) provides a Tragic Villain example of this for the first two seasons, referring to their leader as “President”, and generally acting like they’re the legitimate authority.
    • Defied at the start of season 5, when Octavia forcibly merges the survivors of all twelve tribes into Wonkru, preventing any of them from continuing on as separate factions.
    • Another (rather extreme) example occurs at the end of season five, where the last know survivors of the entire human species, numbering less than 500, flee Earth aboard the Eligius IV.
  • One episode of The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot had a remnant of the Roman colonial government of Britain hiding behind a section of Hadrian's Wall, pretending to be ghosts.
  • Dylan Hunt is this for a while in Andromeda, trying to restart the Commonwealth despite being the last soldier of the High Guard in existence.
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2021): While taking a stagecoach to catch up with a Transcontinental Railroad train, Phileas Fogg et al. become entangled with a black US Marshal pursuing a gang of Klansmen composed of ex-Confederate Army soldiers, led by a former colonel named Abernathy, who fled west after being driven out of Tennessee where they were conducting a terrorist campaign against freedmen.
  • The crew of the Minbari warship Trigati in Babylon 5.
  • The crew of the Battlestar Pegasus in Battlestar Galactica continued their war against the Cylons long after (as far as they knew) the government was completely wiped out and their warship was the only human fighting force left in the galaxy.
    • The Galactica herself is also an example, though for the most part, they tended only to fight the Cylons when escaping wasn't immediately possible. They do spend most of the Mini Series trying to figure out who is in charge and getting the ship re-armed so they can get back into the fight, it isn't until the end that Roslin convinces Adama that running away is the better option.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Order of Aurelius has existed for centuries as a cult of vampires who worship the Old Ones and wish to bring them back. Initially the main threat of Season 1, after the Master's death and their failed attempt to resurrect him, only the Anointed One and a few others are left by the time of Season 2's "School Hard," and they decide that whoever kills Buffy will take the Master's place. When their plot is ruined due to Spike's impulsive tendencies, he decides to simply kill the Anointed One and takes control of what's left of the order, dissolving it completely.
    Spike: From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here!
  • Day Of The Triffids 2009: A group of soldiers and government officials who retain their sight are seen in the first half of the series preparing to retreat to the countryside to try and reestablish society away form the dangerous triffids and scores of blinded people.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Revenge of the Cybermen", the Cybermen encountered are small group of stragglers from the Cyber War reduced to skulking about the galaxy in a worn-out warship.
    • In "Remembrance of the Daleks", the Seventh Doctor destroys the Daleks' home planet and then persuades the lone surviving Imperial Dalek to kill itself as it has "no superiors, no inferiors, no reinforcements, no hope, no rescue!"
    • When the Ninth Doctor attempts a similar tactic on another lone Dalek in "Dalek", however, he only succeeds in making it angrier.
      Then I shall follow the Primary Order! The Dalek instinct to destroy, to conquer!
    • Most Dalek factions in the revival (or at least the RTD era) were this, as the scattered survivors of the apocalyptic Last Great Time War. The revival's first season ended with the Doctor facing a two-hundred-ship Dalek fleet... after establishing the Time War had ended with ten million ships being wiped out.
    • This seems to happen throughout history with the humans and the Cybermen. One destroys the other, but not quite, then the other recovers and comes back, rinse and repeat.
  • Fear the Walking Dead: The Stalkers, the secondary antagonists of Season 7, are the remaining members of Teddy's Apocalypse Cult from the previous season, who blame the protagonists for the failure of his promised vision from coming to pass.
  • In Firefly, Malcolm Reynolds, on the losing side of the Independents' revolt against the Alliance, still believes that he was on the right side, and ekes out an existence on the outskirts of civilization with a few like-minded comrades.
    • Played with throughout the series. While everyone thinks that Mal is The Remnant — ready to take the fight to the Alliance again on behalf of the Independents — he really just wants to forget the Alliance exists and live his own gorram life. The mistaken belief that Mal is still fighting the war is invoked in "Bushwhacked" and several times during the movie.
    Trade Agent: You all are Browncoats, eh? Fought for independence? Petty thieving ain't exactly soldiers' work.
    Mal: War's long done. We're all just folk now.
    • Note that for a while, he was The Remnant — it's mentioned in various sources that he fought on at Serenity Valley with his troops for several weeks after the leaders of the Independents stopped fighting and began negotiating terms of surrender.
    • As was Zoe, who joined a group called the Dust Devils when she was released from the Alliance prison camp.
    • Other remnants show up in the comics as well.
  • Jess Evans and his Confederate renegades in the Frontier Circus episode "The Hunter and the Hunted". Refused a pardon after the Civil War, they moved west and have been living as outlaws. Several are Still Wearing the Old Colors.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Wildlings have become this by late Season 5, when anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 of them are massacred at Hardhome by the White Walkers. Only a small fraction of that number manages to escape with the Night's Watch fleet and then, even more of them are killed while fighting in the Battle for Winterfell. However, they're now at least somewhat safe south of the Wall, mostly because of their service and sacrifice to Jon Snow, who as King in the North, has placed the surviving Wildlings under his banner and protection.
    • The Stark children become this early in the series when their most prominent members are either dead or missing, their army is scattered, their household is ruined and family members are exiled by the crown, and their family name is also almost extinct in the male line. As Bran tells Rickon, if anything were to happen to him and Robb, he is the heir to Winterfell. With Bran going beyond the Wall, Sansa and Arya trapped in the South, and Jon being an illegitimate son in the Stark family, Rickon is the only one with the Stark name left in the North — one who Bran expects will be fostered with the Umbers, loyal bannermen.
    • Daenerys is the last known Targaryen. House Targaryen themselves are The Remnant of the Valyrian dragonlords.
    Maester Aemon: A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.
    • Stannis is this as far as the War of the Five Kings is concerned, as of Season 4. He is the only original rival claimant to the Iron Throne who hasn't bent the knee to Joffrey at King's Landing. Balon Greyjoy has presumably not bent his knee yet, but he is not considered a threat like Stannis is.
  • In one episode of Gilligan's Island, a demented Japanese soldier who doesn't realize WWII is long-over arrives on the island and begins ambushing the castaways one by one.
  • Jeremiah: The militaristic Valhalla Sector is made up of government members who avoided dying with the rest of the world's adults by withdrawing to a bunker until the initial plague died out.
  • Jericho (2006): Hawkins, Chavez and Cheung are unusual intelligence operative versions of this, trying to achieve their original mission as their country becomes the Divided States of America.
  • Kamen Rider Decade: Super Shocker in the Grand Finale movie Final Chapter. It's the remains of Dai-Shocker's massive Monster of the Week army after the really big fight at the end of All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, rebranded under Narutaki (whose hatred of Decade has evolved from trolling to outright villainy) and a revived Doctor Shinigami.
  • Kung Fu (1972): In "The Last Raid", Kwai Chang Caine must rescue people who have been kidnapped by a Confederate soldier who still thinks the Civil War is going on.
  • The American POWs in the Lexx episode "Apocalexx Now" — the Fighting 78th, a Marine Platoon that was captured during the Vietnam War and released during the episode, circa 2001 AD, under the impression that the war was still raging.
  • The Last Ship features plenty of these, both positive and negative throughout the series given how many nations get ravaged by the Avian flu. The main characters arguably provide an example of this themselves for the first season or two that actually succeeds in their mission. Villainous counterparts include Ruskov, Peng Wu, and Granderson’s mother.
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "Humanity", MacGyver tangles with the K-Force, a group of Praetorian Guard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant Ceauşescu.
  • Col. Emmett Anderson (played by Kurtwood Smith) in the pilot episode of The Magnificent Seven TV series, "Ghosts of the Confederacy," who leads a group of ex-Confederate soldiers who roam the west preying on isolated towns.
  • The main antagonists of The Mandalorian are a faction of former Galactic Empire military units who refuse to acknowledge the Empire's collapse, and are rampaging across the Outer Rim (where the New Republic's ability to enact its authority is fairly limited) as they try to gather the resources needed to retake control of the galaxy.
  • The New Avengers: In "K is for Kill", a cadre of Soviet soldiers are accidentally awoken from their cryogenic sleep and embark on following their original Cold War orders; attacking several former military targets that have been abandoned for decades.
  • Northern Exposure featured one of these guys in one episode, from when Japan controlled the Aleutian Islands.
  • The last surviving generals of the Machine Empire attacked Earth in the Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red", four years after the Empire, and other forces of evil, were destroyed at the end of Power Rangers in Space.
  • Pompeii's army in Rome is reduced to this after he loses a great battle and he is dumped as its leader. Cato and Scipio take over but they are defeated in Africa.
  • The first episode of Rutland Weekend Television has a sketch about a group of British soldiers who remain unaware WWII is over... and who are stationed on the Isle of Wight, a couple of miles off the English coast. It also has a Major who has been told the war is over, but is incapable of understanding the concept.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: In "Tribute", Malone, Marguerite, and Summerlee are taken prisoner by a World War I pilot, Hans Dressler, who still thinks WWI is going on.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", the crew encounter an alien fugitive with the right side of his body colored white and the left colored black. Eventually his pursuer, who has the same colors but reversed arrives to capture him for causing "race riots". Eventually, the pursuer hijacks the Enterprise to try to return the fugitive to their home planet to face trial only to find that the planet had destroyed itself in the race war. Despite being offered a place to live by Kirk, both of them blame each other's race for what happened and start fighting, eventually taking their fight to the destroyed planet below.
    Sulu: But the cause they fought about no longer exists. Does it matter now which one was right?
    Spock: All that matters to them is their hate.
    Uhura: Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?
    Kirk: No, but that's all they have left. [dejected] Warp factor 4, Mr. Sulu. Starbase...4.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Emissary", the Enterprise is sent to intercept a Klingon warship whose crew has been in suspended animation since the Klingon-Federation war 75 years ago and will awaken in range of Federation outposts. Despite fears that they might have to destroy the ship to save the outposts, Worf saves the day by assuming temporary command of the Enterprise, tricking the Klingons into thinking the Klingon Empire won the war (without ever exactly saying so) and convincing them to stand down.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, a member of the Maquis used a plan too complicated to describe here (Brainwashing was involved) to cause the Maquis members of the Voyager crew to mutiny. This is really a subversion; the guy in question was in reality never a part of the Maquis because his more questionable methods of freedom fighting disgusted them, and was trying to revive the Maquis through his brainwashing partially to get back at them for rejecting his help.
  • In Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, it's revealed that a galactic cataclysm called "The Burn" damn near ended interstellar civilization. The Federation has been reduced from 350 members at its peak to just 38, and the seceeding worlds include three of its founders. The eponymous ship proves key to determining the cause of The Burn and bringing the Federation Back from the Brink.
  • Supernatural:
    • After Lucifer was thrown back into his Cage during the Apocalypse, thanks in part to the help of the demon Crowley, who subsequently took over Hell, there remained a remnant of demons who were still loyal to Lucifer and seeking to release him again, which the reigning Kings of Hell never quite managed to stamp out.
    • Henry Winchester was briefly this to the American branch of the Men of Letters, being the only member to escape the massacre of the group and coming to the present as a Fish out of Temporal Water, who becomes desperate to restore them (and his relationship with his family) being willing to go back in time to achieve that even though it could retcon his grandsons Sam and Dean out of existence.
  • Super Sentai: Most crossovers involve remnants of the previous villain group teaming up with the current one.
    • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger Vs Gaoranger involves the last two Orgs: Tsuetsue and Yabaiba, teaming up with the Jakanja to destroy the Hurricaneger, Gouraiger, Shurikenger and especially the Gaoranger by stealing the latter's powers to use them for evil, both are destroyed midway through the film by the combined finishers of the team.
    • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger Vs Hurricaneger: Wendinu and Furabijo show up alive and well despite their apparent onscreen deaths and free a lost member of the destroyed Jakanja Ninja Clan: Janil Iga, who teams up with the Invasion Garden Evolian to help them conquer the world and destroy both Hurricaneger and Abaranger.
    • After the Zangyack Empire is defeated in the Final Battle of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, it's stated in a newspaper later that the Empire has split into multiple warring factions. One remnant faction, led by the deceased emperor Ackdos Gill's nephew Bacchus Gill, shows up in Tokumei Sentai Go Busters Vs Gokaiger The Movie as the main antagonist though he has already beaten the Gokaiger and strong-armed them into service when he shows up.
      • An episode of Gokaier also features remnants of the Gaiark from Engine Sentai Go-onger getting into conflict with the Zangyack over who gets to conquer Earth.
    • After the Gangler Crime Group is defeated at the end of Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, the ICPO turn their attention to hunting the "Gangler Remnants" that have managed to outlast the organization and are still causing trouble. One Gangler Remnant teams up with the remnants of the Jark Matter in the crossover movie with Uchu Sentai Kyuranger. Another Remnant teams up with the Druidon Tribe in Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger.
  • In Torchwood, the Torchwood Institute was once a massive organisation with access of powerful aliens weapons and talking about rebuilding the British Empire. After 2007 it's half a dozen people in a Elaborate Underground Base under Roald Dahl Plass. It became defunct in 2010, when Jack left Earth, and by 2011, it was four people on the run, basically running under Torchwood as a codeword. With the death of one of its remaining four members, its status as of the end of Torchwood: Miracle Day is unclear.
  • Truth Seekers: The ghost of Private Adkins believes that World War II is still ongoing, and jams all communications signals near the Portland Beacon in an attempt to frustrate German air raids.
  • An episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea dealt with a Japanese holdout (see Real Life examples below).
  • Westworld: The Confederados are a group of hosts in the role of ex-Confederate soldiers who roam the outer lands of the park, and are a part of the War storyline. They are known as the "Army of New Virginia", but most people simply call them "Confederados". They are described as not willing to surrender at the end of the Civil War, and now work as mercenaries south of the border.
  • Z Nation:
    • Both regular versions of this and more sympathetic ones appear from time to time, but the most notable is General Arthur McCandles, who commanded the infection response forces in Virginia, and still broadcasts as if he's in command of a major force, but by the time they main cast encounter him, he's a bedridden Zombie Infectee who only has a single, neurotic living soldier left under his command.
    • The first few episodes of Season 4 feature a Marine lieutenant and a few soldiers (one of whom is his daughter) running a benevolent refugee camp.
    • The penultimate episode of Season 4 reveals that the remains of the federal government have survived a decade into the apocalypse by holing up in the Mount Weather facility. By the time the protagonists stumble on them though, everyone's died off except for one bureaucrat who has become President by default and two Secret Service agents protecting her.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Before Rikidozan founded the JWA, it was hard to find any pro wrestling in Japan outside of a few, small, dedicated clubs. Since JWA was a men company, The All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Club was the cornerstone of an association set up to oversee multiple women's pro wrestling companies after the WWWA stopped by on their world tour and proved women wrestlers could draw. The association's board couldn't make anyone do what it wanted however, and every company associated with it died, save one mostly kept alive by continuing to host WWWA and the wrestlers of couple other foreign companies. The remnant "Zenjo" grew to become Japan's first mainstream women's pro wrestling company as The Beauty Pair got over, then became the one of the most successful pro wrestling companies ever with The Crush Gals. Still, when the WWWA shutdown Zenjo made the WWWA titles its top ranking championship belts as a nod to Zenjo's origins.
  • The National Wrestling Alliance lost the ability to compete with any of the national promotions that arose from the territorial system in 1994. It was, in fact almost completely forgotten in its own home country by 1996. The company had been around since 1948 and by 94 there wasn't a member that had been extant in 1989. But even as a shadow of its formers self, the NWA never stopped operating and finally succeeded in establishing itself in Europe, as well as finding viewers in Africa and Asia to be surprisingly loyal. In 2010, it even made an ever so slight resurgence, reminding people it was still around through internet streaming. Even after a leadership shakeup caused more members to leave in 2012, it undauntedly launched an invasion of one of it's largest and most successful former members, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the next year.
  • Carolina Wrestling Federation Mid-Atlantic is the last remnant of Wrestling Superstars Live, which itself was the last remnant of the American Wrestling Association. There are other pieces of the AWA floating around in Australia and Japan, most notably in Pro Wrestling ZERO1, but those are cases of foreign companies snatching up material as AWA and then WSL collapsed with noisy thuds while CWF M-A was active when the latter fell and CWF M-A survived said fall.
  • Wrestling Association R was the last surviving remnant of Super World Of Sports, a Japanese promotion so powerful it threatened New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling by itself but was propped up by eyeglass company Megane Super and had all the problems that implied. However, when All Japan was nearly killed off by the NOAH exodus, Genichiro Tenryu begrudgingly merged WAR back into the now Mokoto Baba ran All Japan.
  • The Heartland Wrestling Association is the last remaining remnant of what was once the largest pro wrestling promotion in the world, WCW, sending trainees that would have gone straight to WCW out to the wider world.
    • HWA folded in 2015, so WCW is officially dead.
  • After the CZW conflict was officially settled by Homicide, CZW's Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli and Necro Butcher continued to cause problems at Ring of Honor shows.
  • The Apache Army were the last of several FMW remnants, spending most of their time invading other promotions before FMW's official revival.
  • Kinya Oyanagi of Toryumon's first gimmick was that of a Japanese holdout soldier. You'd be amazed how many ways a salute can be used offensively.

    Radio 
  • Used as the punchline for the version of Douglas Adams 'Kamikaze' sketch that was broadcast on BBC comedy show The Burkiss Way in 1977:
    Pilot: I stand by what I said! We shouldn't be doing this at all, Sir! All this flying out and crashing into British and American ships — It's all wrong, sir!
    Commanding Officer: Wrong, Simpkins? Give me one good reason why it's wrong!
    Pilot: Well — The war ended thirty-two years ago, Sir!
  • The Navy Lark: In one episode the Troutbridge manages to capture a straggler U-Boat from World War II, with hijinks and poor German accents abounding. Please note, the episode was set in and aired in 1960...

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Kraken Fleet from 50 Fathoms. Their only city has been destroyed, their once proud navy is down to one Great Ship, and their leader, Grand Admiral Caspian, was crippled in the last fight against the Big Bad. It hasn't stopped the remaining Kraken from trying to find ways to fight the Big Bad, and win this time.
  • BattleTech: Even after their annihilation there are still small elements of Clan Smoke Jaguar who pop in and out occasionally.
    • The Spirit Cats are the remains of Clan Nova Cat, who were destroyed by the Draconis Combine.
    • Despite Republic of the Sphere propaganda, the Word of Blake was never entirely annihilated. The survivors are assumed to have made a suicidal bid to attack the Clan Homeworlds, are enjoying retirement on the remaining Hidden Five, or masterminding round two for the Jihad. They are something of a bogeyman for the Inner Sphere: still possessing their most elite troops, a self-sufficient industrial infrastructure, and the setting's planet killing weapon.
  • The Deadlands supplement South o' the Border includes the San Patrico Battalion: a group of Americans who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War and who now roam the badlands of the Confederacy and northern Mexico.
  • In the Eberron setting of Dungeons & Dragons, some warforged (sentient soldier-golems) act like this after the end of The Last War has left them without a place in the world. All the sides are technically at peace, but one of the main aspects of the setting is that the peace is so fragile that any kind of major incident (which the player characters will no doubt get involved in) could start another war. The biggest Remnant among warforged is led by the charismatic Lord of Blades.
    • Also in Eberron is The Order of The Emerald Claw, Karrnathi zealots that were once the pride of Karrn's military but have now been branded outlaws and terrorist. This is also a Subversion, as the Order is actually the military arm of the Blood of Vol and are used as spies, saboteurs, and agents provocateur throughout Khorvaire. And then Double Subverted, as some supplements point out that much of the Order's rank-and-file don't realize just how strong the ties to the Blood of Vol really are, and genuinely believe they are Karrnathi patriots continuing to fight the war on Karrnath's behalf even if the Karrnathi state refuses to (or in some cases believes that the Karrnathi state's public opposition to the Order is all a case of Plausible Deniability to allow the Order to strengthen Karrnath's position without inviting reprisals against Karrnath).
    • In the Forgotten Realms, the Shade Enclave of Thultanthar is an interesting example. The Netheril Empire pretty much collapsed entirely in the event known as Karsus' Folly, which destroyed all their major cities. Thultanthar survived by being thrown into the Shadowfell, where it remained for millennia, until events preceding the cataclysmic Spellplague shifted it back. Being an Empire, they went to work rebuilding in the most imperialist fashion. The enclave was destroyed permanently by Elminister during the Second Sundering.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Chaos Space Marines, who after losing the Horus Heresy continue to wage war against the forces of the "False Emperor" ten thousand years later. And because many of them took refuge in the Eye of Terror after losing the civil war, some of the veterans of the Siege of Terra literally have been fighting the Long War for millennia on end.
    • Roboute Guilliman, who had been cut off from the rest of the Imperium during the Heresy, set up the "Imperium Secundus" centered on Ultramar in an effort to carry out the Emperor's ideals. When they regained contact and learned the Emperor was still alive and leading the defense from Terra, Guilliman ditched the idea and made all haste towards the other Loyalists.
    • The militaristic Craftworld Biel-Tan still tries to reconquer the galaxy for the Eldar race. The Dark Eldar is building up their own empire and sees itself as the remnant of the original Eldar empire.
    • As of 7th Edition's "Gathering Storm: Fall of Cadia", Abbadon's Thirteen Black Crusade resulted in a victory for the forces of Chaos and the complete destruction of Cadia. The Cadian Regiments still exist as a fighting force due to evacuated civilians and other deployments across the galaxy but Cadian recruits will be a bit hard to come by now...
  • Warhammer: as revealed in the "Storm of Magic" book, the Fimir were once the primary servants of Chaos, only for the Dark Gods to switch their attention to the humans and leave the Fimir hanging. As a result, the most Fimir you are ever likely to see in an army is two, and that's only in Storm of Magic games.

    Theater 
  • A Very Potter Musical: Voldemort is defeated at the end of the first play. The sequels reveal that the Death Eaters are carrying on their evil schemes without him, though the final installment has Voldemort resume leadership... sort of.

    Video Games 
  • The Eruseans from Ace Combat do this twice. The first time, after sacking their capital Farbanti and splashing the V-22s carrying their military leaders in the penultimate mission of Shattered Skies, a group of officers and the last 15 members of their pilot corps takes over the last trump card, Megalith, prompting the final Airstrike Impossible. The second is covered in the Arcade Mode of The Unsung War, where a force calling itself "Free Erusea" attempt an uprising. The Leasath also do this after their commanding officer is defeated in Skies of Deception, though our Intrepid Reporter narrator notes that they shouldn't last long.
  • In Alpha Protocol, this is an almost-inevitable consequence of the Alpha Protocol system, because there are so many layers of deniability built into the program that each agent can become an organization unto himself, and when the program is exposed, it just shuts down and the government denies everything, leaving its remaining agents completely unattached. Conrad Marburg's Deus Vult is one such organization, and though it's not outright stated, it is strongly hinted that G22 is actually the remnant of a previous iteration of Alpha Protocol known as G19.
  • In Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, the necromancer Korlasz leads the remnants of Sarevok's followers after Sarevok's defeat. Taking her out is the first mission of the campaign, before the new threat emerges.
  • Call of Duty
    • The Loyalist faction from the first Modern Warfare is reduced to this by Modern Warfare 3, where they act as a PMC who helps the player (themselves acting as the remnant of the disavowed Task Force 141 from the previous game).
    • The OpFor fought in the US Marine campaign of the first game is also reduced to an insurgency by the start of Modern Warfare 2, lacking all the heavy equipment they once had and forced to fight like guerillas.
    • In "Project Nova", in Call of Duty: Black Ops, the German forces fought in the Artic circle count, as Nazi Germany practically ceased to exist in May, 1945, while the mission itself takes place five months after the end of the War in Europe.
  • From Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Colonel Barnesby and his Confederate remnants are undaunted by the end of The American Civil War, and start up a gun-running operation in the hopes of putting together enough money to finance a second rebellion.
  • The player could actually become a remnant soldier in the online mode of the game Chromehounds. If your nation was the first to be taken over, you could then elect to either join one of the remaining two nations or strike out on your own, fighting against both in hopes of liberating the conquered third.
  • Chrono Trigger features a few incarnations of forces from the past in later eras. The Reptites of the Giant's Claw cross over into Lost World, while the only way to improve relations between the Humans and Fiends in 1000 AD is to take out Magus' surviving generals in 600 AD. Doing this with Magus in your party leads to some rather rewarding special dialogue.
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, it's shown that after the death of Greater-Scope Villain Junko Enoshima at the end of the previous game, her Apocalypse Cult Ultimate Despair and their grip on the Villain World she created is on the decline thanks to the efforts of Makoto and the Future Foundation, with its members now referred to as "Remnants of Despair". Zig-Zagged by the fact that while things aren't as bad as they once were, it's still A World Half Full since about half of the human race is still Brainwashed and Crazy with no end in sight after the failure of the Neo World Program. Calling them "Remnants" seems more optimistic than anything.
  • In The Darkside Detective, the gravedigger in the cemetery took the job after crashing his plane there during the War. He doesn't get out much, and is apparently unaware that the War is over.
  • In the Tau campaign of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, when the Imperial Guard are defeated, the narrator mentions that many of the survivors continued to stage guerrilla attacks against the aliens. Also, in the actual game, the forces remaining in any enemy-controlled province after their main headquarters on the "Risk"-Style Map has been captured probably count.
  • In Dirge of Cerberus, the organisation named Deepground appears and wreaks havoc on the world. It soon turns out they are a little-known experimental group from within Shinra's group SOLDIER and were kept hidden underground. It's stated that in the handover between President Shinra and his son Rufus that Rufus was never informed about the group, so by the time they see the surface in Dirge of Cerberus 3 years have passed since the end of the original game and they have been preparing for their mission without knowledge that the Shinra company that caused their formation is basically no more.
  • Disco Elysium: The Deserter, the true culprit behind the murder of the Hanged Man, is this. He is a Communist commissar that kept fighting the war, hidden in the island from civilization, ocasionally going into Martinaise to get food and supplies, and spying on the city from afar, plotting his revenge on the bourgeoisie, the foreign occupiers, and the working class traitors who've allowed the Revolution's legacy to to die, although the true reason he killed the Colonel was a fit of jealousy, as he was sleeping with Klasjee.
  • Dishonored 2: The Regenters are believers of the former Lord Regent Hiram Burrows from the first game and people that hates the Empress Emily Kaldwin, enough that they were alright at the idea of assassinating her and her friend when the former was just 14.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Grandmaster Nimzo from Dragon Quest V is heavily implied to have been a follower of Aamon from Dragon Quest IV who managed to complete his master's goal of achieving godhood through the Secret of Evolution long after Aamon's defeat.
    • Dragon Quest Builders 2 starts when the Builder is found by survivors of the Children of Hargon, who fled when their god Malroth was defeated by the heroes of Dragon Quest II.
  • In Dungeon Keeper 2 the Sylvan Elves formerly under the command of Lord Ronin continue to fight against Keeper Asmodeous. Interestingly, and very unusually for this trope, if left to their own devices they'll actually win. Granted it won't resurrect their commander, but they'll get their territory back. Of course, the mission objective is to kill Asmodeous yourself in order to prevent this, with the assumption being that the player has destroyed the remaining Elves in the process. Later, the remainder of Lord Bramble's forces don't give up either, but they're more interested in surviving in what remains of his fortress than actually aggressing against the two Keepers in the area.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 8, the Jin Campaign's Alternate History storyline sees them defeating Shu and Wu halfway through... and then spend the other half dealing with an incredibly stubborn Remnant of Shu's old military, Jiang Wei, who rallies various allies (including remnants of Wu's forces) in a bid to retake Shu.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Following the events of Morrowind, the Oblivion Crisis, the Red Year, and finally the subsequent Argonian Invasion, Dunmer-controlled Morrowind has become this. What little habitable land was left was mostly taken over by the Argonians, while only a few northern areas of House Redoran territory remain. Most of the Dunmer people were forced to flee to Solsthem (a frozen over, barren rock of an island) and Skyrim (where they are treated as second class citizens to the native Nords). Great House Indoril is a particular example, following the fall of the Tribunal Temple, with which House Indoril was heavily intertwined. While still better off than House Hlaalu (which was scapegoated and Unpersoned by the other Houses), the Indoril are one of the weakest Council Houses as of the 4th Era.
    • Skyrim:
      • The Blades, an Ancient Order of Protectors who have long served the emperors of Tamriel as bodyguards and spies, were decimated during the Great War and officially disbanded by a term in the White-Gold Concordat, which is enforced by the Thalmor ruthlessly hunting down the surviving Blades. The remaining Blades have been forced underground to await the coming of a new Dragonborn to follow, which is precisely what happens during the main quest. You can further assist them into becoming an Order Reborn by recruiting new members.
      • The Dark Brotherhood has only one Sanctuary remaining in all of Tamriel, in a remote forest in Skyrim, and the Legion already knows its location and could wipe out the Brotherhood at any time. They also don't have a Listener, so they can't even pick up the contracts that reach the Night Mother via Black Sacraments and are forced to rely on the rumour mill to find jobs.
      • The Skyrim Thieves' Guild branch is reduced to a single tavern in a sewer, their connections are all but gone, and they are considered little more than petty hired thugs with a veneer of civility. The Guild's sorry state is due to Mercer Frey's betrayal. He stole Nocturnal's Skeleton Key (draining the Guild's luck since this upset their patron Daedra Nocturnal), embezzled the Guild's fortune using the Key, and murdered the Guild's charismatic leader Gallus when he got too close to the truth (which cost the Guild all of Gallus' connections).
      • Once you've completed the Civil War questline in favor of either the Imperial Legion or Stormcloaks, the other side becomes this. Though despite what your commander says, you can't wipe them out without a Game Mod since their outpost officers are still flagged as "Essential" characters.
      • The Empire itself is a mere shadow of its former glory. Summerset Isle, Valenwood and Elsweyr have seceded and become the Aldmeri Dominion, Black Marsh and Hammerfell have become independent states (and Black Marsh has expanded to include some of southern Morrowind) and only Cyrodiil, Skyrim and High Rock remain under Imperial control. Of these three, only High Rock has been untouched by war and disaster and it is only tangentially aligned with the Empire as of the events of the game. A Stormcloak victory in the Civil War would see Skyrim secede from the Empire and the Empire perhaps fatally fractured for good.
      • At the start of the Dawnguard DLC, the Hall of the Vigilant, the headquarters of the Vigil of Stendarr, gets wiped out by the Volkihar vampire clan. This leaves the wandering Vigilants throughout Skyrim as the remnant of the order.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV: most of the nations on the new world of Axeoth are survivors who escaped from the Armageddon on the world of Enroth. One such nation is the kingdom of Palaedra made up of former Erathians and ruled by the just Lord Lysander, who refuses to accept the crown because he's not of Gryphonheart blood. He learns at the end of the campaign that he is, in fact, a Gryphonheart and says ruefully that he won't have an excuse not to accept the crown anymore.
  • The Force Unleashed: Jedi survivor Rahm Kota and his militia, who go from fighting the separatists to fighting the Empire, and are still around over a decade after Order 66.
  • In the Playable Epilogue to four of six plotlines in EV Nova, the Bureau is ousted from their control of the Federation and its lawfully elected government is restored to power. But you periodically run across Bureau remnant forces flying their trademark RAGE Gunboats, battling Federation Navy ships.
  • The Fallout series has plenty, since it takes place After the End.
    • The series' recurring villainous faction is the Enclave, éminence grise members of the pre-war U.S. government who rode out the apocalypse in their bunker before emerging to retake the wasteland. Responsible for unscrupulous projects such as the Forced Evolutionary Virus and Vault Experiment, over the course of Fallout 2 they try to kill everyone that doesn't match their criteria of "pure" human, which considering all the radiation is pretty much everybody except themselves and Vault Dwellers who have never left their vaults (which doesn't stop them from coming in and killing them anyway). They get defeated. So when you encounter them in Fallout 3, you're fighting the remnant of The Remnant, and then in the Broken Steel expansion you fight the remnants of that. As of Fallout: New Vegas the Enclave is all but extinct, but you can convince a handful of survivors to rally for one last hurrah at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, where they'll become the stuff of legends. That said, the game hints that there are probably more Enclave holdouts in the Midwest, such as the Chicago outpost visited by ED-E.
    • Many members of The Master's super mutant army survived his death, and by the time of Fallout 2 eighty years later, the smarter ones have settled in peace in the city of Broken Hills. While super mutants can be encountered as particularly dangerous raiders, New Vegas reveals that most are happy to readjust to a peaceful life. Unfortunately, the Nightkin have had their sanity shattered due to use of their stealth technology, and still wage war on non-mutants for various crazy reasons, even as their non-nightkin brethren are working to cure them of their afflictions.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel technically qualifies, as they're descended from a group of former United States Army soldiers. In a twist, it's revealed in the first game that the soldiers were mutineers and the Brotherhood was effectively a secessionist movement. Unlike most examples on this page, they're relatively heroic, if rather racist and exclusionist.
      • The Brotherhood of Steel itself seems to be heading this way after the events of New Vegas and Fallout 4, potentially much more so if the players don't like the Brotherhood. First New Vegas canonized the NCR-Brotherhood war, which either eradicated most West Coast chapters or drove them into hiding like the Mojave chapter. The tone of Elder Maxison's terminal entries make it sound as if the East Coast chapter of the Brotherhood is by far the most active chapter and that the Brotherhood as a whole depends on them.
    • Fallout 3 features the Chinese Remnant, ghoulified pre-War Chinese infiltrators lurking in the ruins of Washington D.C.
    • The Point Lookout DLC also has Desmond Lockheart and Professor Calvert, two high-ranking pre-War intelligence officers who have carried on their old rivalry for two hundred years, even though the nations they once represented no longer exist. And it's implied that there are others like them still playing the "Great Game."
  • Many un-updated Random Encounter zones can produce an effect similar to this after external plot changes, such as The Empire's troops in South Figaro's secret tunnel after the Floating Continent in Final Fantasy VI.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, defeating King Zephiel with all legendary weapons available and intact unlocks the chapters leading to the true ending of the game. The very first of these, "The Ghosts of Bern", pits Roy against the remnant of the Bern army, led by the final Wyvern General under orders from her deceased king.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade pits Eliwood and Hector's army against the remnants of the Black Fang. By that point in the game, nearly all of the founding members are dead, with only one of the two Reed brothers left to carry the name of the Fang. All of their other leadership and members have been replaced by Nergal and his morphs. After "Cog of Destiny," the enemy forces cease being human.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has it again: Even after the Grado Empire is defeated by Prince Ephraim's forces, the Grado Remnant remains a persistent foe. Of note, Grado's prince is still alive, and is the one giving the orders.
    • On most routes of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, there will be at least one commander from the opposing faction remaining for the final battle after their leadership is crushed:
      • On Crimson Flower, Ashe and Annette, if not recruited, are the last two members of the fallen Holy Kingdom of Faehrgus still fighting after the death of King Dimitri.
      • On Azure Moon and Verdant Wind, Myson and Odesse, two sorcerers working for "those who slither in the dark", are on hand to reinforce a transformed Edelgard and a resurrected Nemesis, respectively. Defeating either of them causes their remaining forces to vanish.
  • In Freespace, we get two factions of Remnants.
    • In the first game is a Vasudan group calling themselves "The Hammer of Light" who refuse to accept their government's cease-fire with the Galactic Terran Alliance, and believe that the genocidal Shivans are a prophesized god-race. The Vasudan Empire declares them a terrorist group and they are believed to have been wiped out some time after the formation of the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance.
    • In the second game, the Terran Admiral Bosch forms a Polaris-based militant group called the Neo-Terran Front. Their aims are to overthrow the current Terran government and break ties with the now-friendly Vasudans, motivated mainly by good old-fashioned racism (speciesism in this case). They are declared a rebel group and wiped out over the course of the game. It was actually all a front by Bosch, who really wanted an excuse to plunder some Vasudan ruins and revive an abandoned Terran project to communicate with the Shivans. He is successful in this endeavor, and survives the game... albeit in the custody of the Shivans, and who knows what they intend to do with him.
  • Galaxy Angel: The second game begins with a series of attacks perpetrated by a fleet of raiders on the borders of the empire, which are quickly revealed to be led by an admiral who survived the war against Eonia. Unsurprisingly, he's just being manipulated by the game's true antagonists and disposed of once he's no longer of use.
  • The Godfather: The Game counts an enemy Family as wiped out once you bomb and take over their Compound, but any Legitimate Businessmens Social Clubs that you have yet to take over still shows as under their control, plus in certain spots even in Corleone turf you may still find pockets of enemy mobsters.
  • In Guild Wars: Prophecies after the Charr invade the Ascalonian capital, Prince Rurik realizes his people are fighting a Hopeless War and choose to lead the majority of the remaining population to Kryta. His father, King Adelbern, refuses to surrender his homeland and continues fighting against the Charr as did the Ebon Vanguard to the far north. Between games Adelbern's war ended with a Last Stand in Ascalon City where he invoked the Foefire, killing the remaining Ascalonians and binding them as ghosts to continue fighting.
  • Guild Wars 2:
    • The Flame Legion are the descendants of the Shaman caste which once ruled over Charr society. Long since cast out by the rest of Charr society, they continue to wage war on the other Legions in an attempt to impose their beliefs.
    • The White Mantle ruled over Kryta for a few years before they and their Mursaat masters were defeated and driven out. Centuries later the cult lingers in secret, stirring up political dissent and funding bandits to harass the Krytan rulers they view as usurpers.
    • Ebonhawk was the last bastion of Ascalonians against the Charr conquest of their nation. This ended when the threat of the Elder Dragons forced the races to unite. The people of Ebonhawk are bitter about this betrayal with many forming the Separatists, a band of outlaws intent on sowing discord between Charr and human.
  • Halo: One of the enemy factions in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians is a Covenant remnant led by religiously fanatical Elites who disregard the Arbiter's peace treaty with humanity. The Covenant fighting on the planet Genesis are the remnants of the remnant, with the Arbiter having rooted them out of their last stronghold on Sanghelios.
    • The Didact, the Big Bad of Halo 4's main campaign, is leading the remnants of his Promethean Warrior-Servants in tandem with the Covenant remnant against the UNSC, despite there being no plausible means of restoring the Forerunner Ecumene to its ancient glory.
    • The Expanded Universe and gaiden games include several other Covenant remnants unrelated to the one we see in 4 and 5, such as the Keepers of the One Freedom (who are unique in their relative tolerance towards humanity).
  • Hearts of Iron IV Game Mods:
    • Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg:
      • The Entente is almost an entire alliance composed of this trope:
      • The British Empire has become an In Name Only institution after radical socialist revolutionaries toppled the government in London. Canada (now the home of the exiled British monarchy), large parts of the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand (now united as the “Australasian Confederation”), and a democratizing rump of British India continue to identify as parts of “the empire”, but in reality they are a coalition of independent states.
      • The remnants of the Third French Republic’s military managed to hold on to much of Northern Africa after socialist revolutionaries seized mainland France, forming the second major arm of the Entente.
      • Lastly, there’s the Kingdom of Sardinia, the last territory ruled by the House of Savoy, the former reigning dynasty of the now-dead Kingdom of Italy.
      • If Germany is overrun during the Second Weltkrieg, but still holds its African colonies, the German monarchy and government can flee to them and attempt to keep fighting. The Netherlands can do the same if they still hold Indonesia.
      • Several examples in China:
      • After Chiang Kai-shek’s defeat in the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang has been scattered, but remnants of their forces survive in Yunnan and Fujian provinces, waiting for their chance to rise up again.
      • After the German-backed restoration of the Qing dynasty in Beijing, the Fengtian clique in Manchuria is now the last remnant of the Xinhai republic.
      • During the course of the game, if one of China’s major factions is defeated, but has allies in the Sichuan Clique, they can retreat there and form a last redoubt.
    • The New Order Last Days Of Europe, set in an Alternate-History Nazi Victory, features numerous examples:
      • Several remnants of the Soviet Union and the Red Army:
      • Genrikh Yagoda has relocated the remnants of the Soviet government to the Siberian city of Irkutsk, but controls only the surrounding area, with the rest of Russia crumbling into warlordism.
      • The West Russian Revolutionary Front was formed by surviving Red Army divisions west of the Urals. It saw some success, briefly re-starting the war with Germany and nearly seizing Moscow. However, their offensive ran out of steam, and the Front became a remnant of itself, holed up near Arkhangelsk and only surviving because the Germans were too exhausted to keep pursuing them.
      • East of the Urals, there’s also the Central Siberian Republic, a democratic state founded by prominent Soviet intellectuals with dissident sympathies. It saw some brief success, but also collapsed when its own generals (being former Red Army officers with no loyalty to democratic institutions) mutinied at the first sign of trouble. It now only controls the minor city of Tomsk.
      • The Pacific Fleet in Kamchatka are the last remnant of the Soviet Navy. They were forced to turn to piracy just to survive in one of the harshest peninsulas in the world with no supplies. They get an Alas, Poor Villain moment if they are wiped out.
      • The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party were nearly annihilated after the Japanese sacked Chongqing. However, some warlords in the mountains loyal to the KMT were never fully defeated, and there’s still some scattered bands of communist guerrillas in Shanxi.
      • The very last Free French garrison continues to cling to the Ivory Coast.
      • Whenever one of Nazi Germany’s far-flung, poorly managed, guerrilla-laden colonies inevitably collapses, there’s often a faction (or two) representing the stranded German settlers and garrison personnel.
      • The Southern Urals is home to Magnitogorsk, which houses Trofim Lysenko and whats left of his clique.
      • ... and this isn't even counting the various resistance fighters who don't have their own country at the game's start! Seriously, TNO has tons of characters.
      • Chita ruled by Mikhail II stands out for being a remnant not of the Soviet Union, but of the White Army. They've been holding out for a long, long time.
      • Nowa Polska is a homeland in Russia for what's left of the Polish nation after Germany wiped it off the map. It's the last Polish nation left.
      • There are many people from the old British Empire still fighting on. The royal family has fled to Canada, while on the island itself several members of HMMLR were old United Kingdom officials.
      • There are several more Chinese examples who are remnants of the Kuomintang. Most of them were Chiang-aligned warlords. These include the Ma Clique, Xikang, Guangxi, and Xinjang. All of them are still resisting the Japanese.
      • In the Philippines, what's left of USFIP (US Forces in the Philippines) is led by colonel Wendell Fertig and still fighting the Japanese. They work with the Filipino natives to chase out the Japanese.
  • Homeworld: Cataclysm with the Taiidani empire. In the original Homeworld, exiles literally march to the heart of their very empire. There was already rebellion, and the rebels found it very useful that exiles took the capital of The Empire and killed the emperor. In the time of the expansion, the Imperial capital is controlled by the exiles, and the rebellion is establishing a new government. However, this fails to stop several Taiidan warlords and splinter factions from trying to attack the still vulnerable ex-capital and try to establish the empire again. By the time of the full sequel, what’s left of the Taiidani joins the Vaygr in trying to destroy Hiigara.
  • In Just Cause 2, Rico can take a mission to find a missing pilot that ends up leading him to an island populated with hundreds of Imperial Japanese soldiers manning and using a towering machine that generates thunderstorms to shoot down planes and sink boats.
  • The Last of Us Part II: Abby, Owen, Manny and a handful of others were former Fireflys who are now part of the Washington Liberation Front (WLF). While they have assimalated into the WLF and are aligned with their goals, they (and especially Abby) still want revenge over what happened at the end of the first game. Them executing their revenge is the catalyst for most of the second game's plot.
  • Ganon's followers on several occasions in The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the series' Trope Codifier for this. The Legend of Zelda ended on a happy note: Ganon's dead, Link has the Triforce, Zelda's free, and Hyrule is back under its original rulers. But the sequel keeps the camera running. Ganon's warriors have regrouped and summoned up new allies, and now they're harrying the countryside and making reconstruction impossible. They have two objectives: to keep Hyrule weak enough that it can be reconquered easily, and to draw out Link so they can sacrifice him and get their master back. It doesn't work in the actual story (Link was just that good), but Ganon's return is the Game Over screen, so you'll be seeing it happen a time or two.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games. This time it's Koume and Kotake, the Gerudo witches who brought Ganondorf up and made him everything he is today. It doesn't go so well this time.
  • Metal Gear
    • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake: Despite losing Mother Base, the Metal Gear, half the army's aces, most of the army, and Venom Snake, Big Boss reconsolidates his forces in Zanzibar Land using the very hostages Outer Heaven took in the first game. In essence, they used to think that Big Boss was only a deluded war maniac (which he may or may not be from all the brain damage) and his war against the secret robot leaders of the United States was just the insanity talking... until said leaders ordered a missile strike on the hostages to eliminate any witnesses, killing some of their families. The survivors enlisted under Big Boss' dying army to fight his losing secret war as one final spiteful revenge.
    • In Metal Gear Solid and its sequel Sons of Liberty, the terrorists joins forces with a renegade Russian outfit led by Col. Sergei Gurlukovich. A most sympathetic character, the Colonel took Cold Warriors who had nowhere to turn after the Wall fell and made them into a mercenary force. Sergei's top guy, Ocelot, hints that certain corners of the Russian armed forces are disgusted with the current state of their country. The Colonel himself has a personal motive: After the USSR collapsed, his hometown was bought up by the U.S. and turned into an atomic testing site. Gurlukovich is delusional enough to think that if he can steal Metal Gear and deliver it into the Russians' hands, it will mean a renaissance for his country.
  • In Metal Slug 3's fourth stage, a large hideout teems with scraggly, demented, though dangerous enemy soldiers. These are said to be holdouts from an old war. Humorously, their hardware is so trashed they have to improvise: they "fly" planes by rigging them to pulleys on the ceiling, and use "tanks" that are just hollowed out vehicles carried by two men.
  • Neo Contra has the titular organization Bill and Jaguar battle throughout the whole game. They are apparently the political rebels who are trying to defy the governments by setting up their powers.
  • The Terran Republic we see (and play as) in PlanetSide is the tiny portion of the Terran military that was stranded alongside everyone else when the wormhole to Auraxis abruptly closed. In Planetside 2, they're the military command that took over the Auraxis colony fleet after much of it was damaged or destroyed passing through the Auraxis wormhole. Despite being separated from their command, the Terran Republic is still a powerful force that equals the New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty in strength.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, the remnants of Team Rocket from Giovanni's sudden disappearance in the last game are the main antagonists, trying to call Giovanni back to them. In the DS remakes, there's also an event involving Time Travel where it turns out Giovanni was going to come back to lead them, but a combination of the signal suddenly stopping and the player soundly thrashing him along the way convince him to go back into exile.
    • Platinum also has Team Galactic turn into this after their leader Cyrus is beaten, though the new guy in charge outright tells you that they're not going to be quite as bad as they had been.
    • A small group of Rockets post-disappearance are fought in the Extended Gameplay of the Red and Blue remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen; it's implied that the last ones you fight are the same people who go on to lead the efforts in Gold and Silver.
    • And again in Pokémon Black and White where after Ghetsis, the true leader and mastermind is defeated he and his son N vanish, leaving behind the seven sages, and a couple of random Team Plasma members. The sequel, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, sees the organisation fully rebuilt after a two-year Time Skip... into two opposing factions.
    • In one of the post-game downloadable missions in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, ex-Team Dim Sun members form a new team called Team Debonairs lead by Dragon Ascendant Kincaid.
  • A Random Encounter in Red Dead Redemption II has Arthur stumble across a lone Union soldier patiently awaiting orders. Except the game is set in 1899, meaning he's been waiting for orders from a long over war to come for 34 years. John can encounter him as well in the Playable Epilogue 8 years later, and he's still waiting.
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, the Peacekeepers under Pravin Lal are all that remain of the United Nations. In fact the crew and refugees aboard the Unity are all that remain of the human species, as the Earth is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust not long after the Unity leaves.
  • The player can unintentionally become this in Sid Meier's Pirates!. The four European nations that have established colonies in the Caribbean go back and forth between being at war, peace and alliance with each other at random, so it's entirely possible to have a letter of marque from nation A, raid a city ruled by their enemy nation B, and then learn that the war ended before you launched the attack. Of course, since it's possible to be a chartered privateer in the service of all four nations simultaneously, once you're far enough along in the game, it doesn't really matter.
  • In StarCraft, the Confederacy just won't seem to go away after being defeated by Arcturus Mengsk. One remnant group joined the United Earth Directorate shortly after they invaded the sector.
    • The Confederacy appears in a cool map, Deception, having made strange alliances.
    • Ironically, there are UED remnants left in the K-Sector after their defeat, some of them serving as mercenaries; in fact, a lot of the remnants of old Terran factions appear as mercenaries that can be hired in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
    • Mengsk himself spent a few months as a remnant force between the sacking of his capital of Augustgrad and being able to reclaim it from Kerrigan's Swarm. There are also several prominent protoss examples (ranging in size from "the majority of the Fleet of the Executor" to "a couple dozen civilian refugees") on Aiur following the zerg invasion of that world; though most of them escape sooner or later and are absorbed into (or found, in the case of Artanis's group) the Daelaam Protoss government on Shakuras.
  • The opening mission of Star Fox: Assault has you destroying the last remnants of the Venom army before you move up in the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.
  • Star Trek Online has the True Way. They're a terrorist group composed of rogue Jem'Hadar and Cardassian soldiers that wants to overthrow the civilian-dominated Cardassian government that came into being post-Deep Space Nine and resume the Dominion War.
    • The 2800 mission arc is a time-travel twist on the 'holdout that haven't heard/refuses to believe the war is over' variant — the eponymous 2800 are 2800 Dominion warships that disappeared in the wormhole in 2374, at the height of the Dominion War... only to emerge in 2409, 34 years after the War ended, quickly capturing Deep Space Nine. It even goes so far as to have the solution be an analogue to bringing in the old commanding officer (the Federation brings out the Female Changeling imprisoned after the war, and gets her to co-operate by offering to return her to the Dominion for her assistance). That is to say, the intended solution. Unfortunately, while the Vorta falls in line, the Jem'Hadar First goes nuts and decides that a suicidal last stand is preferable to surrender even against a Founder's orders.
    • While the Tal Shiar starts out as State Sec crossed with de-facto rule of the Romulan Star Empire note , by the end of the Romulan storyline they have been reduced to this, having splintered from the remnants of the Star Empire in the wake of Sela's disappearance and reeling from Hakeev's death. What remains of Imperial loyalist forces are almost too weak for this trope — when Sela returns the escort force they manage to gather consists of an armed freighter and a Mogai warbird (a mid-size warship).
    • While there have been no story effects of it — Word of God have indicated it was mostly an excuse to keep related PVE queues runningnote  — this happens at the end of the Iconian War. The surviving Iconians decide to withdraw to Iconia with their forces and remain there if they're allowed to do so undisturbed... except for T'Ket, who swears she will continue to fight against the Klingon-Federation-Romulan Alliance (and since the Heralds are all sworn to one specific Iconian or the other she does have an army to continue to fight with).
  • In the Star Wars games set in the Legends continuity, the remaining Imperials after the Battle of Endor are literally known as The (Imperial) Remnant. That's what happens when you cut off the head of the snake...
    • As the page quote suggests, the Empire itself has to deal with a couple of these in Star Wars: Battlefront II, with early missions past the events of Revenge of the Sith involving a Geonosian restarting a Trade Federation droid producing plant on Mustafar and then the cloners on Kamino restarting production of Jango Fett clones to oppose the Empire.
    • The Dark Forces Saga had the Empire Reborn faction, created by a former student of Darth Vader by the name of Hethrir, which was confusingly also referred to as the Imperial Remnant despite having no ties to the main one.
    • The Old Republic era had the Sith Triumvirate of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, a terrorist organization made up of remnants of Darth Revan's Sith Empire. Unlike other, similar factions throughout the ages, their focus was less on restoring The Empire and more on killing Jedi wherever they could find them so they could do whatever they wanted virtually unopposed. The result became known as the First Jedi Purge, with Order 66 being the Second.
    • Furthermore, a solid chunk of Darth Revan's forces were remnants of the Exar Kun Sith Empire before that, so Darth Sion and potentially a few other Sith had served in three almost back-to-back wars.
  • The Divine Crusaders in Super Robot Wars Original Generation show up again in the sequel as the Neo DC, and then again in the Gaiden Game. It helps that the Divine Crusaders are a walking Shout-Out to Zeon, and that they had help from another faction.
    • The Divine Crusaders example happened earlier in Super Robot Wars 3, with the Principality of Zeon reforming the group as the Neue DC.
    • Endless Frontier also has a variant with the Einst, who get bonus points for being the remnant of a eldritch abomination faction. Remnants of this faction also appear in Original Generation Gaiden, but not as examples of this trope.
    • Despite their usual splinter group not showing up, the Titans from Zeta Gundam will play this role whenever Bandai Namco decides to go post-series. A straight example comes from the Super Robot Wars Alpha series as the Titans are given a thourough ass-kicking in Alpha Gaiden, then their remains show up in Alpha 2.
  • According to the official bio for Team Fortress 2's Soldier, after being rejected from all branches of the military he flew to Europe on his own and embarked on a 'Nazi killing spree', which ended when he heard news of the war's end. In 1949.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms Iron Plague: After Lokken was defeated in the first game, a small band of cultist called The Cult of Lokken still fight to restore Taros's former glory, and they are successful in reviving Lokken from the dead.
  • Abundant in the Warcraft universe — enemies are never fully killed off, they periodically return after slowly rebuilding. Arthas, of all people, lampshades this at one point by complaining "Doesn't anyone stay dead anymore?"
    • The early missions of Warcraft III feature orcish holdouts from the Second War, clinging to "dying traditions" and using armies evocative of Warcraft II. Later expansions, including World of Warcraft, turn the tables by featuring a xenophobic Alliance admiral campaigning against the (reformed) orcs even after a truce between the Alliance and the Horde.
    • The upper reaches of Blackrock Mountain are ruled by the remnants of the "Dark Horde," the few ogre, troll, and orc clans that fell under the rule of Rend Blackhand decades ago, and who feel that the Second War has never really ended. What makes this self-proclaimed "true Horde" dangerous is that they know their ongoing battle is largely hopeless, but they keep fighting anyway.
    • Meanwhile in Outland is the "Fel Horde," demon-corrupted orcs left behind following the destruction of the Dark Portal. They've since thrown their lot with Illidan after he conquered Outland from the Burning Legion.
    • The trollish tribes such as the Amani or Gurubashi are actually the remnants of ancient, mighty empires. Thousands of years later, their capitals are mostly ruins, and their (cannibalistic) culture and technology are primitive compared to the rest of the world. As of the "Rise of the Zandalari" patch, these remnants have united under the Zandalar tribe, the oldest troll civilization, in a last-ditch effort to reverse their race's decline and build a civilization capable of surviving their island home's destruction.
    • When Arthas rolled into Quel'thalas at the head of the Scourge forces during the events of III, 90% of the High Elf race was slaughtered. The survivors, few in number and cut off from the Sunwell, took to naming themselves Blood Elves in remembrance of their fallen. The Scourge not only devastated their population but their cities and their culture as well; Blood Elves use different magic (fire rather than frost or water, and more Blood Elves are becoming warlocks, something inconceivable to many High Elves), and they dress differently. Taking this further, the Blood Elves have thrown their lot in with The Horde, and the scant handfuls of High Elves who still cling to the old culture and The Alliance view them as race traitors.
    • After Arthas' death at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon becomes the new Lich King in order to keep the Scourge in check. However in the subsequent Cataclysm expansion it's revealed that Darkmaster Gandling took advantage of the new Lich King's weakness to take control of the Scourge forces in the Plaguelands.
    • The Scarlet Crusade see themselves as righteous successors of the kingdom of Lordaeron, which was destroyed by the Scourge in Warcraft III. This naturally brings them into conflict with the Forsaken, the Horde-aligned faction of free-willed undead that the Crusade sees as indistinguishable from the non-sentient undead Scourge. But with both factions using rather questionable methods, their conflict can be seen as Black-and-Grey Morality at best.
      • The Scarlet Crusade is a particularly enduring Remnant as well. Over Wrath of the Lich King it lost its leadership in Northrend, and by the Cataclysm expansion their forces in the Eastern Plaguelands were turned into undead, their fortress in the Western Plaguelands was taken over by the Argent Crusade, and they're basically down to the Scarlet Monastery and some scattered holdings in Tirisfal Glades. The game attributes their continued survival to High Inquisitor Whitemane — as a Priest, she can revive the fallen.
    • The Twilight Hammer cult served the Big Bad of Cataclysm and by the final raid of the expansion, their numbers were supposedly down to only a few dozen. They nonetheless continue to show up in both Legion and Battle for Azeroth, albeit as minor enemies rather than a significant faction.
  • Any time a faction is defeated in Warlock: Master of the Arcane, all their cities and units remain in the game as "Neutrals". These cities do no longer play to win and are hostile to everyone, except other neutrals.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: In the Hearts of Stone expansion, Geralt can encounter a remnant of the Order of the Flaming Rose. During the time of the first game, this was one of the most powerful factions in Temeria. By the time of the third game, the faction lost almost all of its power due to the political schemes of King Radovid V. What is left of the Order are nothing but roving bandits wearing ornate looking armour.
    • The Scoiatael (elven rebels) had also become The Remnant of The Remnant. In the first game, they had military presence right outside Temeria's capital, even started a rebellion inside it's walls. By the second game, they became roving bandits that joined Saskia's rebellion out of Enemy Mine. By the third game, there is only one camp left in Velen, that resorted to robbing caravans for supplies and is likely finished off by Geralt in a side quest.
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad has Sacred Coil, one of three criminal groups being investigated by the eponymous squad in connection to the assassination of City 31's mayor. While most Hybrids in the city have acclamated to life alongside humanity, Sacred Coil consists of ADVENT loyalists seeking to help the Elders return and retake control of the planet. They've kept ADVENT's black and red color scheme, and make heavy use of the Mecha-Mooks favored by ADVENT's peacekeepers.

    Webcomics 
  • The B-Movie Comic's this movie features an old Nazi garrison on the island of Toblerone.

    Web Original 
  • Common, but usually not very important in Ad Astra Per Aspera. The Batavian Soviet Republic is the main remnant of the USSR, and the Platte system is home to various German successor states.
  • Kentucky Fried Politics: After the 1975 Chinese Civil War ends with a victory for Deng Xiaoping, a pair of Generals loyal to the defeated Lin Biao retreat to Manchuria with their forces. A few months after the war's end, they steal a couple of nukes, and threaten to use them on Beijing if Xiaoping doesn't surrender the country to them. Xiaoping's forces manage to disarm the nukes, then storm the rebel Generals' base and kill most of their faction.
  • Magic, Metahumans, Martians and Mushroom Clouds: An Alternate Cold War: After the Spanish Civil War that breaks out in response to Francisco Franco digitizing his mind in order to stay in power forever, Franco and his loyalists are reduced to a single fortified compound in the Pyrenees — too secure for enemy forces to take, but leaving them without the resources to attempt to retake the country.
  • In Reds! the US government tried to declare the election which saw the American Worker's Party win void and arrest all members of the AWP. This resulted in an armed insurrection which turned the United States of America into the United American Socialist Republic. The USA is, in the "now" of the alternate timeline, a Banana Republic controlling Cuba and a few small islands, firmly in the hands of a quasi-fascist military junta.
  • The Ruins of an American Party System: Following the Soviet Union's sweeping victory in the Second Great European War, Germany is reduced to just the Rhineland.

    Western Animation 
  • The Archer Season 6 opener, appropriately enough titled "The Holdout", has Archer encounter Kentaro Sato, a Japanese officer defending an isolated island in the South Pacific decades after the Second World War ended. He only finds out the war has ended by stealing Archer's smartphone and looking up old newsreels which displayed the dropping of the bombs on Japan, although Archer reunites Kentaro with his still-alive family.
  • A variation in Ben 10: Alien Force, in the episode "If All Else Fails": a Highbreed commander had been chosen when the war still raged to stay in a hibernation-like state on Earth, to awake only should his kind lose the war. An earthquake awoke him however, and thinking he was woken up due to the Highbreed losing the fight (which was actually resolved peacefully), the commander unleashed a fail-safe doomsday weapon on all of humankind. It wasn't until the new Highbreed Supreme briefed him on the situation and ordered him to stop the weapon that he ceased acting as an antagonist to the main cast.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "Mission to Save Earth", the Planeteers come to an island and stumble upon Commander Clash. This soldier had been assigned to guard the island and prepare for a possible invasion of America by the Soviets. After they manage to convince him that the Cold War has been over for a while, he goes into a Heroic BSoD when he realizes his superiors had long forgotten about him and he had been fighting for nothing. Clash eventually finds a new purpose in helping the Planeteers protect the Earth from pollution and such.
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "Launchpad's Civil War" similar in plot to The Magnificent Seven example given above. Re-enactments, Launchpad McQuack, and hot air balloons are involved.
  • In Exo Squad, after Terran retake Venus, some of the Neosapien garrisons become guerrillas, hoping that Phaeton would send more reinforcements to rescue them. The reinforcements never reach the Venusian surface.
    • More directly, the Exo Fleet itself, having been deployed to the Outer Planets when the Neosapiens launched their conquest of the Homeworlds, continues to carry the fight for several years after the government they were loyal to had been disbanded, despite suffering several major defeats in their early attempts to liberate Earth.
  • The Godzilla Power Hour: The Calico discovers a perfectly preserved WW1 era U-Boat trapped in Arctic ice. The crew, upon exiting suspended animation sometime after the ship is freed, still think the Great War is still happening and fire upon the marked American vessel. The usually villainous aspect of the trope is averted soon after however, after the U-Boat captain and first-mate board the surrendering Calico and are shown future technology. While shocked, they realize the Calico crew is telling the truth, immediately call off hostilities and apologize for the misunderstanding. The ending of the episode has them looking forward to returning to a new peaceful Germany.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures: In "The Spectre of the Pine Barrens", it is revealed that during The American Revolution, a Redcoat named Rodney stole the original Declaration of Independence and demanded a ransom of 12,000 pounds from General George Washington. The Founding Fathers didn't tell Washington about this, but sent a Minuteman named Williams to steal the document back (not knowing that he was sent on a suicide mission by his superiors to keep him from revealing the truth while they copied the Declaration). Williams and Rodney began a feud in the Pine Barrens, cut off from civilization and unaware that the war ended. To keep their family lines and feud going, they would dress up as The Jersey Devil and kidnap children once in a while. In the present, Team Quest gets involved and attempts to convince both sides that the war is over and their feud is pointless. In the end, the Minuteman Josiah's wife, Sarah, who was weary of the neverending war, ends up Taking the Bullet for a Redcoat. She survives, and the act causes both groups to reconcile.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Southern Fried Rabbit", Yosemite Sam was told to guard the Mason-Dixon Line and is still doing so... in 1953. On being told by Bugs Bunny that the War Between the States has been over for nearly 90 years, he responds "I'm no clockwatcher!" and that he will never stop unless he gets new orders from General Robert E. Lee (which is of course impossible as Lee is long dead) before trying to blast the rascally rabbit.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Queen Solaria's army was enchanted with a spell to make them stronger in order to fulfill her goal to destroy all monsters. However, this enchantment also suppressed any fear, foresight or conscience, which led to these super-soldiers recklessly throwing themselves into deadly situations. Mina Loveberry is the last surviving member of the Solarian army, and she's determined to complete their mission.
  • Star Wars Rebels: The third season episode "The Last Battle" centers on the Rebels of Phoenix Squadron going to the abandoned planet Agamar, which had been a base during the Clone Wars, in search of munitions they could use to help the Rebellion. After arriving, they find an army of still-operational battle droids led by super tactical droid General Kalani, who refused the shut-down order issued to the droid armies at the end of the war and is still fighting for the Separatist Alliance. He forces Ezra, Kanan, and Rex to fight him in a staged battle to finally decide the true victor of the Clone Wars, but they join forces when the Empire shows up.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Foot Clan are seemingly reduced to this during the 7th season, as they display none of the massive resources they had in earlier seasons. During Seasons 1-5, the Foot frequently used vehicles, mecha and scientifically created mutants. In Back to the Sewer, all that remains are Khan, a bunch of Foot Ninja and a digital clone of the Shredder. To add insult to injury, even Karai and Chaplin turned their backs to the organization.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): 16 years before the start of the series, the Shredder rebuilt the Foot Clan by convincing most of the Hamato Clan members, sans Splinter and their father, to join the Foot. By present day, the Hamato Clan now consists of Splinter and the Turtles, with April and Casey becoming allies and honorary members. With Splinter's death, Leo heads the clan now.
    • Interestingly enough, it was heavily implied the Hamato Clan was this regarding shinobi in general, especially with their victory over the Foot Clan. Tang Shen even notes the end of the age of ninja clans. This certainly casts a new light on why many likely sided with the Shredder.
    • Ironically, the Foot Clan themselves are mostly reduced to this by the end of the series. More specifically, it's been divided into two factions, with Tiger Claw trying to take over Shredder's forces after the latter's death, while Karai established her own faction with Shinigami and hired several mercenaries, intending to regain the Foot Clan's honor (although Tatsu briefly tried to take them from her). For his part, Tiger Claw decided to make a truce with the Hamato Clan once the other remaining lieutenants bail out.
  • In an odd twist on the usual show theme, the Decepticons are the outnumbered La Résistance in Transformers: Animated, fighting to retake their homeland after losing the war the first time around. However, it is All There in the Manual that they technically left by choice, because doing that gave them amnesty for the war-crimes they committed during said war.
  • The Quirky Mini Boss Squad Knights of Vengeance in W.I.T.C.H., at least until they try to free Phobos and end up in prison.

    Real Life 
  • The Sicarii were Jewish rebels who survived the Roman suppression of the Jewish Revolts for several years and occupied the fortress of Masada. They were eventually besieged by the Romans and committed mass suicide to avoid capture.
  • When the Western Roman Empire fell in AD 476, it was survived by a number of remnant states that continued to call themselves the "Roman Empire" or sought to reestablish it to its former glory:
    • The largest and most successful Remnant was the Byzantine Empire, consisting of the eastern provinces of Greece, Anatolia (Turkey), Syria, and Egypt. It lasted for a thousand years, its rulers loftily styling themselves "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans". The Byzantine Empire in turn started its own remnants after the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204; one of them, the Empire of Nicaea, later recaptured Constantinople and put its emperor on the throne there, while the longest-lived, the Empire of Trebizond, maintained independence until 1461, eight years after Constantinople fell to the Turks.
    • Julius Nepos, ruler of the province of Dalmatia in the Balkans, continued to style himself "Emperor" until his death in AD 480.
    • The warlord Aegidius, and later his son Syagarius, continued to hold out against barbarian incursions in the city of Soissons in northern Gaul (France). It lasted until King Clovis I of the Franks conquered their lands and added them to his own petty kingdom in 486. Clovis' consolidation of power and territory would lay the foundations of the medieval French monarchy.
  • Meibion Glyndwr is an odd sort of Remnant. It's a Welsh independence movement most active in the 1960s and 1970s which did things like vandalise English-only signs in Wales and threaten to firebomb English vacation homes there. Although it looks like a particularly ineffectual Welsh version of the IRA, its name translates to "Sons of Glyndwr", and accordingly it traces itself to the army of prince Owain Glyndwr, who led an attempt to retake Wales from English dominance in the 15th century. As Wales was last an independent kingdom in the late 1100s, that would qualify it for one of the longest-lasting Remnants around. However, given the British government's concessions of Welsh autonomy and acknowledgement of its language and culture, very few people take Meibion Glyndwr very seriously anymore.
  • The town of Calais in northern France was a Remnant of English rule over France; even after Joan of Arc and her friends booted the English out of the rest of France, England held on to Calais. This gave Calais a reputation as an odd Remnant, exacerbated during the Wars of the Roses, when its position in France made it hard to conquer and it was essentially the Remnant for whichever faction was out of power at the time. Calais would continue being an English possession until the reign of Queen Mary I. Similarly, the Channel Islands were something of a Remnant insofar as they were culturally closer to France than England and came into English possession through William the Conqueror; to this day, the British monarch rules over the Channel Islands as the Duke of Normandynote , as William the Conqueror did thousands of years before.
  • The Kingdom of Navarre existed in this way up until the 19th century. It was one of the several medieval kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula, almost all of which were conquered and assimilated into modern Spain. Navarre was one of the last holdouts; while it was basically assimilated in 1492 and almost fully conquered in 1512, a tiny portion of it persisted north of the Pyrenees, where the former monarchs of Navarre remained as a kind of government in exile. Then, in 1589, King Henry of Navarre succeeded to the French throne and styled himself "King of France and Navarre". Every subsequent French monarch (except Napoleon) would do so until 1830, even though the overwhelming majority of what had been Navarre had long been a part of Spain.
  • The Principality of Liechtenstein has been described as the last functioning remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, having survived both Napoléon Bonaparte's dissolution of said Empire and the later collapse of Austria-Hungary in World War I.
  • Both Taiwan and Mongolia have been home to various remnants of Chinese dynasties at different times.
    • The khans of the House of Genghis Khan were displaced by the Ming in China itself but still ruled Mongolia and claimed to be the legitimate rulers of all China as the Yuan Dynasty. In the end, both the Ming and Yuan dynasties became remnants when they were absorbed by the Qing Dynasty, who came from Manchuria.
    • In Taiwan, Zheng Chenggong, a one-time pirate known to the Europeans as Koxinga, set up a de facto independent state called the Kingdom of Tungning after the fall of the Ming Dynasty. Zheng was more than "Chiang Kai-shek before his time"; his kingdom displaced both the Dutch outpost on Taiwan and the indigenous peoples of the island, becoming the first major Han Chinese settlement there. His kingdom lasted a full generation before being conquered by Qing imperial troops in 1683. Zheng remains a major folk hero in Taiwan.
  • The "Old Believers" are an unusual religious Remnant. They broke away from the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church in the mid-17th century over a number of liturgical and doctrinal changes, most infamously changing the sign of the cross from using two fingers to three. The Old Believers still exist today and a fair number of them live apart from society; bizarrely, the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church is technically closer to Christianity as it was practiced in the Byzantine days, as the traditions the Old Believers held on to were generally idiosyncracies added by centuries of practice in Russia.
  • The Jacobites, the followers of the British King James II, became a remnant after his ouster in 1688. They attempted two rebellions to restore the House of Stuart to the throne; the first in 1715 was pretty much abortive, but the second in 1745 was almost successful.
  • The Vendée rebellion against the French Revolution was a relatively unexpected attack by the Remnant of the prior regime. It arose in provincial France, where the population makeup was very different from Paris where the Revolution started; the local church hierarchy and peasantry fit very poorly into the Revolution's societal framework. In many ways, it was the Trope Codifier; the rebellion was not centrally organized by higher-ups in the former regime, but started organically by locals who weren't ready for the transition. The rebels were extremely persistent and kept bothering the new government until it was violently and decisively put down in 1796.
  • When The Netherlands fell during The Napoleonic Wars, the only place left where the Dutch flag flew turned out to be the trading outpost of Dejima, an artificial island in the harbour of Nagasaki in Tokugawa-era Japan. That was a bit too far for Napoleon's taste.
  • The War of 1812 formally ended in December 1814, but battles were fought for a few months after that (if only because information travelled so slowly back then). Among them was the Battle of New Orleans, in which the Americans won a decisive victory and convinced the British not to renege on the treaty they had signed; it also made a household name of Major General Andrew Jackson, who would later be elected President.
  • After the American Civil War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee refused to go down this path, even though several of his subordinates believed otherwise. Lee felt that continued fighting would reduce the Southern forces to isolated guerrillas and bandits, prolonging the war and bloodshed but accomplishing little. Nevertheless, a few groups decided to ignore Lee's decision to surrender:
    • This is how Jesse James and his gang got their start. They were Southern guerrilla fighters during the war who continued their battle even after the war ended. They quickly built a reputation as anti-Reconstruction Folk Heroes, with James in particular seeking revenge on the Northerners who had appropriated his family's land.
    • The last ship to fly the Confederate flag was the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah. It kept hanging around a few months after the war ended, occasionally conducting raids on "enemy" shipping runs and choosing to ignore any news that leaked out about Lee's surrender. It wasn't until November 1865, about five months after the surrender, that it reached port (in England, to avoid accusations of piracy) and officially struck its colors.
    • The "Confederados" were a group of Southerners who fled to Brazil after the war. The Brazilian Empire had offered Southerners subsidized transport to Brazil, cheap land, and tax breaks, in exchange for lending their expertise in cultivating cotton. A few of them had hoped to continue building the Southern cause from there, but most simply thought life would be better in Brazil than in the South, now mostly destroyed and dominated by the Yankees. Their descendants still live in the area maintain some of the traditions of the Antebellum South.
    • The Ku Klux Klan and similar entities were formed in part for this purpose. The rise of the Klan is associated with the "Lost Cause of the South", a highly romanticized idea of Southern culture and independence. The Klan quickly turned to violence and chose to direct it towards the most visible symbol of the North's victory, emancipated negroes (who, conveniently for them, were much less able to return fire than enemy soldiers).
  • The "Bitter-Enders" were a group of holdouts from The Second Boer War who refused to surrender to the British and kept fighting as a set of guerrilla groups roaming the South African countryside.
  • The Spanish garrison in Baler in the Philippines bunkered in the local church when it was beseiged by Filipino forces. They held out until June 1899, and in the process completely missed the Spanish-American War.
  • During the Russian Civil War, several White warlords in the Russian Far East kept fighting months or even years after the last White forces were destroyed in 1920, even in further-flung reaches of the Empire like Crimea and Siberia. The lead Determinator was General Anatoly Pepelyaev, who led a raid on several towns in Yakutia in 1923, even after the other remnants in the region had already fallen. Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg also conducted raids in the Soviet Union and Mongolia until his own men handed him over to the Bolsheviks. And some anti-Bolshevik holdouts emerged from hiding or returned from exile to join the Nazis in the fight against the Communists. (It didn't end well for them.)
  • Belarus broke away from the Russian Empire during the Russian Civil War and established the "Belarusian People's Republic", which lasted until 1919 when the Bolsheviks invaded and ousted them. They then established a Government in Exile called the "Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic", which has been running for more than a century, lately being based in Canada. Belarus itself became a Remnant of its own of sorts, having attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 but being run in very Soviet-like fashion by strongman president Alexander Lukashenko and commonly being seen as a Russian puppet. When Lukashenko won a highly disputed election in 2020, protesters against him flew the Rada's flag, and the Rada itself broke longstanding tradition and accepted Lukashenko's opponent as its own legitimately elected leader.
  • Hermann Detzner was a German engineer who was a holdout in World War I in the former German colony in New Guinea. He eventually surrendered to Australian forces there in January 1919, two months after Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne, and four months after Australia conquered the German colonial capital in New Guinea. Detzner claimed to have been the last soldier of the German Empire, flying German colours and singing German hymns for the duration of the war; the Australians thought him so harmless that they claimed to have known his whereabouts the entire time and were just waiting for him to surrender.
  • After the Ottoman Empire fell apart after World War I:
    • Ottoman Lieutenant General Fakhri Pasha, beseiged at Medina by Arab forces, rejected the Armistice of Mudros and disobeyed his superiors' orders to surrender. After holding out for two months, he was arrested by his own troops and handed over to the Entente in January 1919. He was kept as a prisoner for two years and then released, immediately joining Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's forces in the Turkish War of Independence.
    • Enver Pasha, one of the Triumvirate of "Young Turks" that ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I, turned up in Central Asia in 1922 organising the Turkic Muslim tribes there, hoping to recreate the Ottoman Empire from scratch — even as the Soviet Union was in control of the region. It didn't work out.
    • During World War II, Imperial Japan of all people located the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abdülkerim, and invited him to Tokyo with the intent of using the Turkish minority in China to revive the empire with Abdülkerim as a Puppet King right next to Manchuria and Mengjiang, creating a buffer state against the USSR they could use to further their invasion of China. However, the Soviets noticed what they were trying to do and had their puppet ruler of Xinjiang, Sheng Shicai, steamroll their weak forces before they could become a threat. Abdülkerim then fled to India before seeking asylum in the US and being found dead mysteriously in a New York hotel.
  • Even after Francisco Franco won the Spanish Civil War, the Republicans' various remnants kept trying to fight him for decades, even until the day he died.
  • The Japanese holdouts were soldiers who fought for Imperal Japan in World War II and kept fighting after the war ended — sometimes decades later. They were usually stationed on small islands in the Philippines or elsewhere in the Pacific and either never learned or never believed that Japan had actually surrendered. The last known holdout was Teruo Nakamura, who didn't surrender until 1974, a full 29 years after the war's end — but rumours of even more persisted until the end of the century. These single soldiers survived through guerrilla tactics, stealing food and supplies from the locals and attacking local law enforcement; however, due to the unusual circumstances of their actions, most were absolved of all charges after being recovered.
    • Hiroo Onoda was the second-to-last holdout, having been recovered only a few months before Nakamura in 1974. They found him a few months before that, but he refused to believe anyone that the war was over. The only way to get him to surrender was to fly in his long-retired former commanding officer to tell him personally to stand down. When he surrendered, he still had his army sword and original-issue rifle in full working order. During the last two years of his holdout (three men with him all turned themselves in or died between 1950 and 1972), Onoda acted as a lone guerrilla. He and his companions raided and burned the property and crops of local Filipino villagers, killed an estimated 30 people and wounded 100 more; Ferdinand Marcos later granted him a pardon on live TV.
    • Shoichi Yokoi, a holdout on the island of Guam, first heard that the war was over in 1952, but held out for another twenty years after that. He was stunned that the locals who discovered and subdued him didn't kill him as one might expect during the war. When he returned to Japan, his official statement was, "I am embarrassed that I have returned alive," a phrase that quickly became popular in Japan.
  • Nazi Germany never did this officially. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was pretty damn self-centered and a hardcore social Darwinist; he felt that if his forces were defeated, it was the German people's fault and they didn't deserve to be called the "master race" anyway.note  Therefore, he never made provisions for a Nazi remnant, preferring a Salt the Earth approach. But when he died, the remaining Nazis didn't really agree with him:
    • The Werwolf project is the by-word for "Nazi holdout faction". It was originally devised as an underground network of soldiers that would conduct sabotage and guerrilla warfare in parts of Germany that hadn't yet been (but soon would be) occupied by Allied forces. It was never seriously intended as a last-ditch effort to retain Nazi control of Germany. However, the Allies didn't know that, leading to intense paranoia about Nazi remnants hitting when they least expect it; the project's propaganda value far outweighed its practical use, leading the Allies to overestimate the threat it posed. Indeed, this is a big reason why the Soviets were the first to Berlin; Eisenhower was too busy worrying about potential remnants in Bavaria. And this paranoia persisted in U.S. foreign policy for decades after the war; for instance, members of George W. Bush's administration cited Werwolf as a reason to continue the Iraq War even after the deposition of Saddam Hussein.note 
    • "Nazi" groups of this kind existed in countries outside Germany, as well. Many of them were in Eastern Europe and weren't really big on Nazi ideology, but really hated the Communists. They survived the war in anti-Communist underground movements, many of which fought for more than a decade after the war ended; for instance, the last Polish group of freedom fighters was captured in 1965. The longest-lasting of these were in the Baltic states, where these fighters became the "Forest Brethren" and moved into the woods to keep fighting; while it was extremely dangerous for them when Joseph Stalin was in charge, they kept holding out even after the Soviets started offering pardons. The last fighters in Latvia were captured in 1957; in Lithuania, they lasted until 1971; and in Estonia, they lasted until 1979. The degree to which these anti-Communist groups espoused Nazi ideology varies considerably and is indeed a matter of extreme controversy where these groups are celebrated in the modern day.
    • Modern-day neo-Nazis are something of an interesting case. While the common stereotype of them is the skinhead who has no interest in administration of government, there are a few who seek to prolong Hitler's cause. Some act as paramilitaries (or more accurately terrorists), while others attempt to establish successors to the Nazi Party (despite this being illegal in Germany and much of Europe these days). Few of them seem to understand very much about Hitler's policy, many of them choosing to deny that the Holocaust even happened (when one would expect them to acknowledge that it did happen and claim it was the right decision). Quite a few aren't even German and just seem interested in putting a Nazi spin on their own country's political bugbears, leading to cosplaying in horribly outdated Sturmabteilung uniforms and elevating Hitler to an almost immortal being.
  • The Chinese Civil War led to a lot of remnants:
    • Taiwan is easily the most famous remnant of the war, because it still exists in that state. The Republic of China, having lost the war in 1949, decamped to Taiwan hoping to use it as a base to retake the mainland. Accordingly, Chiang Kai-shek ran it as a military dictatorship and invested little in infrastructure, expecting not to stay there very long. Meanwhile, the vagaries of the Cold War meant that several countries considered the People's Republic of China an invading force and continued to recognize only the ROC as the legitimate government of China — but that changed in 1971, when the U.S. switched its recognition in exchange for trade ties with the PRC, and most nations have followed suit since then. This did not deter Chiang, who continued to harbor ambitions to retake the mainland; martial law was only lifted in 1987. Today, China rests in an awkward status quo; both the ROC and PRC claim control of all of China, including Taiwan, but consider only themselves to be the legitimate government.note  Because of this, other countries can only recognize the PRC or ROC, not both. While there are many Taiwanese who have given up on ambitions of reconquest and angle for Taiwan's independence (which neither the PRC nor the Kuomintang will accept), there exist many hardcore KMT followers, in Taiwan and elsewhere around the world, who still dream of the ROC regaining control of all of China.
    • A group of pro-Chiang guerrillas persisted in Burma in the 1950s. They were sponsored by the CIA and raised funds by smuggling heroin and opium into the country. (You'd think after all those Opium Wars that the West would have known better.) They persisted until 1961, when a joint Sino-Burmese force drove them into Laos; from there, some retreated to Taiwan, while others escaped to Thailand or stayed in Laos and started families there. The ones in Laos returned to the drug trade, at this point barely under the control of the KMT, being little more than common drug dealers; they wound up in a three-way conflict over 16 tons of opium with the local drug warlords and a rogue CIA-backed Laoting general.
    • In Yunnan and Northwest China, Muslim Chinese loyal to the Kuomintang and led by the Ma clique warlords led a prologned guerrilla campaign against the PRC. It lasted until its leaders were captured and executed in 1958.
    • Tibet's remnants formed a Government in Exile in neighboring India after the region was invaded by the PRC in 1950. It was semi-autonomous in the ROC days; although the ROC claimed Tibet's territory and the Tibetans had frequent clashes with Ma's KMT-aligned soldiers from neighboring Xinjiang, it more or less ran its own affairs until Mao came calling.
  • The OAS was a French remnant in Algeria, itself a last vestige of The French Colonial Empire. It consisted mostly of the pieds-noirs, as French settlers in Algeria and their descendants were known; many were also disgruntled military leaders and far-right extremists. They were extraordinarily pissed at Charles de Gaulle's negotiations with Algerian rebel fighters and eventual acquiescence of Algeria's independence. Unable to seriously disrupt the peace process through paramilitary attacks on Algerians, they soon began targeting French officials and ultimately de Gaulle himself.
  • In 1969, when the "Football War" broke out between El Salvador and Honduras, one man fled to the jungle to act as a guerrilla fighter. He finally "surrendered" more than thirty years later, to a group of lumberjacks he mistook for enemy soldiers, telling them that he was tired of running away. The saddest part is that the actual war lasted four days.
  • From The Vietnam War and subsequent conflicts:
    • The South Vietnamese government officially ceded power to the North Vietnamese in 1975, and the country was considered unified that year. But many South Vietnamese fled abroad, the majority to America, and continue to advocate for the restoration of the former Republic of Vietnam as the only legitimate government of the country. They're recognizable by their frequent display of the cờ ba que or "three sticks flag" of South Vietnam. A few of them wandered back into the jungle in Laos and Cambodia to try to launch guerrilla attacks into Vietnam, but with little impact. There's also a bit of a stereotype that these guys are so anti-Communist that they're hard right-wing, a stereotype bolstered by the presence of the "three sticks flag" at the 2021 Capitol Riot in Washington.
    • During the war, various insurgent groups sprang up comprised of remote ethnic minorities, most notably the Montagnards and the Hmong. They sided with the Americans and South Vietnamese but continued fighting even after the Americans pulled out and the Communists took over the country, with some forces continuing to hold out into the 1990s. Tragically, Communist authorities in Laos and Vietnam responded with campaigns of collective punishment against the Hmong and Montagnards, which sometimes reached genocidal proportions.
    • In Cambodia, remnants of Pol Pot's infamous Khmer Rouge regime held out for twenty years. They were ousted in 1979 by their former Communist allies in Vietnam, but a large portion of their forces fled to Thailand, regrouped, and launched an insurgency against Cambodia's new Vietnamese-backed government. They fought as part of a broader rebel coalition that included anti-Communist and monarchist groups. In the early 1990s, the latter groups signed a peace agreement, but the Khmer Rouge continued fighting until its final collapse in 1999, one year after Pol Pot's death.
  • The aftermath of the Iranian Revolution led to a number of groups seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic and restore a prior regime in Iran. Problem is they can't agree on which prior regime, leading to several different Remnants who all want to establish their own regime. The most prominent, the National Council of Iran, seeks to reinstall the Shah, with the son of the ousted Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi very much active in that respect. A few remnants angle for a socialist regime like that of Mohammed Mossadegh, who was himself overthrown by the Shah's regime (with CIA help). The most controversial is the People's Mujahideen of Iran; the U.S. government (well aware of its role in the Iranian Revolution) officially declared it a terrorist organization for its more violent approach, but every now and then you'll find U.S. politicians getting caught donating to them.
  • After the fall of the Soviet Union, a few places weren't too keen on being part of a "new" country. Belarus has been accused of this the most, what with its very Soviet-like dictatorship and State Sec setup; the new Central Asian republics also had a lot of continuity with the Soviet era, in many cases retaining their leaders from back then. Perhaps the weirdest is Transnistria, a Russian-majority unrecognised breakaway state in Moldova that still uses many symbolic trappings of the Soviet Union like the famous hammer and sickle.
  • The Iraq War led to the term "blowback" being more widely known in U.S. political parlance for precisely this reason. U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein soon after the war started in 2003 — only for the fighting to continue as various groups resisted what they saw as U.S. occupation. The Americans presumed that all such groups were remnants of Saddam's Ba'ath Party, and while many were, this didn't apply to all of them; the befuddled Americans dubbed them "dead-enders", wondering why they were still fighting after Saddam was overthrown. They evidently didn't realize that they were the enemy and not Saddam. The Ba'athists, meanwhile, joined forces with many of these other insurgents, which helped give rise to Al-Qaeda and later ISIS in the region.
  • After ISIS lost its last territorial holdings in Iraq and Syria, many diehards continued fighting as insurgents. Although they were a shadow of ISIS's "caliphate" at its height (and nobody recognised ISIS as a state anyway), they were significant enough to pose a serious security threat to local authorities.
  • After decisively losing the First Libyan Civil War in 2011, some forces loyal to ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi continued fighting. They lacked any significant popular support, were generally disorganized and isolated, and proved to be only a minor faction in the Second Libyan Civil War that began in 2014.


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