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The Unchosen One

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"But being chosen doesn't make you a hero; what you choose does."

If The Chosen One is the ultimate perpetrator of Because Destiny Says So, the Unchosen One is the ultimate perpetrator of Screw Destiny.

The Unchosen One is the hero or heroine who stands up to do what's right not because of a prophecy, but because they feel the need or desire to stop the Big Bad (sometimes doing so in spite of a prophecy). The Unchosen One is, in essence, a Chosen One who chooses themselves.


The reasons for this can vary. Perhaps the Chosen One missed or refused the call, or was killed or incapacitated by a Destiny-Screwing villain. Or, in a twist, the Chosen One is the villain and the Unchosen One decides to stop them. If all the prophecies say evil will triumph, the Unchosen One's reply would be "screw that." Perhaps they were Refused by the Call and decided that they should go on adventuring anyway on their own terms. It could also be nothing more than a simple chance encounter allowing them to intercept the Call to Adventure in place of the real Chosen One. Every so often, the Unchosen is also a Chosen One who's decided to save the world of their own will, regardless of what fate has in store for them.

Of course, because they aren't The Chosen One, things won't be laid out on a silver platter like a proper Chosen Hero often gets. They'll more often have to earn their place as The Hero. If there is a being or force doing the Choosing, they'll eventually have to acknowledge the Hero even if he wasn't the Chosen One. They may also have to deal with the possibility that the Chosen One will get the credit for all of their hard work. On the other hand, even the Chosen One might look in awe of this hero who created great things on his own efforts and is beholden to no one and no destiny.


An Unchosen One has high odds of being a Heroic Wannabe, a Determinator, or any other hero type that is likely to jump at the call. There's also the possibility of the Unchosen One being a Badass Unintentional, someone who actually doesn't want to save the world but may be the only one in a position to do so. A possible fate for those who Missed the Call.

Some writers can't escape from this frame of thinking, though, and they occasionally write in that the character really was the Chosen One after all. Another common way to work around it is an ontological argument: someone was bound to eventually take up the sword against Emperor Evulz and lead the revolution to overthrow him. There could even be many heroes working together or independently to take him down. The "Chosen One" just happened to be the one who ultimately succeeded, and could easily have been replaced by any of the others had circumstances been different.


Compare Anti Anti Christ where someone is the Dark Messiah for the bad guys and tells them to take a hike. Not to be confused with The Poorly Chosen One, who is a Chosen One who does a bad job being one, though that may necessitate an Unchosen One to do what the Chosen One failed to.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Basara, the main character is the twin sister of the nominal Chosen One everyone has their hopes on. When he dies still young, she crossdresses to take his place.
  • Beast Tamer and the Cat Girl: Discussed. After finishing Arios's request at the Lost Forest, the girls ask Rein to explain an earlier statement that Arios was the only one who could defeat the Demon Lord. Rain explains that Arios is descended from a hero who was given the power "Limit Breaker" by the gods. This allowed the Hero, and by extension Arios, to continue to get stronger and stronger, unhindered by the "Growth Limit" that all other mortal beings are subject to, and this is needed to match the Demon Lord. Upon hearing this, Sora suggests the possibility that Rein also has no Growth Limit, as his Power Copying makes him stronger with every contract he forms. This prompts Kanade to ask if this means Rein would be able to defeat the Demon Lord instead of the divinely chosen, but very arrogant, Hero. Rein is not against the idea, but is hesitant and asks to be able to give it some thought.
  • Corrector Yui desired to become a hero so much that she was able to overcome learning she was not The Chosen One and save the true one... when she was Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad. Afterward, she remains The Heroine of the story. Subverted later on the first season's finale, she was, indeed, the chosen one. By Grosser, that season's Big Bad, because it wanted her and not Inukai's chosen one to be its vessel and allow it to live on the real world.
  • To quote Death Note's Light Yagami: "The world is rotting and those who are making it rot deserve to die. Somebody's got to do it because the world can't go on like this. And if somebody's got to do it, why not me? In fact, I'm the only one who can..." This is also explicitly stated by Ryuk, when Light asks him why Ryuk chose him and Ryuk notes he didn't, the notebook just happened to land where Light picked it up. However, Light never acknowledges that he wasn't chosen; all through the plot, events fall into place for him, and at the very end he swears blind that he was chosen.
  • Digimon:
    • In contrast to the Chosen Children of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02, the cast of Digimon Tamersnote  were not specifically chosen to save the Digital World. They're just kids with Digimon, and for the bulk of the series, it's not clear that they even have anything to save. Digimon Frontier returned to a Chosen Children model, but Digimon Data Squad and Hunters also had unchosen leads. Digimon Fusion falls somewhere in the grey area.note 
    • A group of four Unchosen Children appeared in the last stretch of Frontier, though a common fan theory is that they would have been the ones to wield to the Earth, Wood, Water, and Steel Spirits had Cherubimon not been corrupted and given them to a quartet of evil Digimon.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Son Goku is a fine example. For numerous reasons, such as being the son of a low class warrior, being labeled as such himself, but moving on to become one of Earth's finest heroes despite being supposedly sent there to destroy it. Actually — as of a Retcon by Toriyama — his parents sent there to save him from the genocide at the hands of Frieza.
    • Averted with his father Bardock, who thought he could pull this off after being able to see visions of the future, he failed.
    • The same aversion goes for Vegeta, the prince of the Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z.
  • The mages of Fairy Tail aren't chosen or even favored by the powers that be like the Magic Council. They just happen to be the people who brought down the three pillars of the Balam Alliance, were pivotal to the resolution of the Dragon Attack on Fiore, and are now leading the defense of Ishgar against the might of the Alvarez Empire. Through massive property damage.
  • Flame of Recca: Recca is the cursed one destined to end the Hokage clan and Kurei was meant to be the Hokage clan leader. Subverted in that Recca really did end the clan. He defeated their final remaining enemy in the modern day and thus ended the need for the Hokage clan to exist. The spirits of the former dragon clan leaders could finally rest in peace thanks to him "ending the clan."
  • Goblin Slayer: The gods are baffled and intrigued by Goblin Slayer. They didn't choose him for anything, but due to his single-minded determination to rid the world of goblins and his refusal to leave anything to chance, he is Immune to Fate and alters the fates of several of the chosen ones, sometimes saving them when they were destined to die.
  • Megumi of HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! wasn't chosen to become a Cure like the rest of her fellow members — Hime just tossed a stone out into the open because she didn't know how it worked and it smacked Megumi on the way down. It was just damn luck it reacted to her.
  • Similarly to Rekka, Ruru in HuGtto! Pretty Cure is both The Chosen One and The Unchosen One. Both Ruru and Emiru desired to be Pretty Cure together and that the desire was so strong, Mother decided to split the power and let both of them become Cures. Of course, this is an Achilles' Heel as if one loses that power, so does the other.
  • In I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, the main character Rekka is both The Chosen One and The Unchosen One at the exact same time. More specifically, he's chosen as destiny's failsafe from sixteen until adulthood. In this period, any time one of the myriad stories in the multiverse winds up without a hero, be it by death or any other circumstance, The Call will hunt him down. And he's been the designated hero for so many stories he even wound up the designated hero for his future self: by the time he grows up he's saved so many girls, including galactic princesses, sorceresses, and demigods, who all want him, that the ensuing strife in the future will threaten to wreck the earth and more, unless he changes the future by choosing someone and getting the others to give up.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, only individuals with a specific quality will survive getting hit with a Stand Arrow and gain a Stand, while the rest are killed. Keicho Nijimura fires an arrow at Koichi Hirose, which nearly kills him until Josuke uses Crazy Diamond to heal him. Initially, Koichi's Stand begins as an egg because he didn't have the right fighting spirit. Over time, Koichi's Character Development to a heroic individual caused his Stand to evolve and gain new abilitites.
  • The title character of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise. As pointed out in the third season, it was only through sheer happenstance that Nanoha Takamachi encountered a being who knew about the existence of magic and that she happened to have great magical potential. It was she who chose to involve herself in an inter-dimensional case that would later allow her to meet and befriend a troubled Dark Magical Girl, and later be instrumental in stopping a world destroying tome. If not for that one incident, she would have lived a normal, carefree life.
  • Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, as a civilian, is not supposed to interfere with the warfare in Side 7, but he decides to get on the titular Gundam to kick Zeon's asses. As the story progresses, he goes on maturing as a soldier with his own willpower and the support from the White Base crew and ultimately becomes a hero and source of inspiration to the Earth and the Federation, as well as a nightmare for any Zeon pilot he goes up against (up to the point of calling him the "White Devil").
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Bright tells Banagher that this has been the case for every single Gundam pilot in the UC timeline to date: all of them came by their Gundam by circumstance or luck, they were never "chosen" to pilot it. Nonetheless they made the decision to pilot it and combat the evil they saw before them, and through that became heroes. This speech helps Banagher to make that same decision as well.
  • My Hero Academia: Whereas Midoriya is considered The Chosen One for taking All Might's quirk, Bakugo considers himself this in comparison, saying that just because All Might chose Midoriya as his pupil and the one to take over his quirk, it doesn't mean he has given up and intends to still take All Might's spot.
  • Gold Roger in One Piece was in a hurry to conquer the Grand Line after finding he had a terminal disease, and suddenly everything fell in place: he found all four Road Poneglyphs that reveal the final island's location and met Kozuki Oden, a samurai who could read them to determine the location of the final island. Upon arriving, however, the Roger Pirates burst into laughter — while the eponymous treasure isn't shown, it involves some kind of task that requires a person who wouldn't be born for ten more years. This led to Roger turning himself in to the Marines and ushering the next generation of pirates through his execution. Ironically, Roger's will is rejected by his son Ace but is taken by Ace's sworn brother Luffy, who tends to be oblivious and indifferent to the legacies that surround him.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, quite a few of the Dex Holders weren't originally chosen by the regional professors to receive Pokedexes. Silver stole his, Ruby picked his up by mistake, Diamond and Pearl got theirs due to a mix-up, and White got hers when the original chosen decided to pass it to her.
  • Duck of Princess Tutu, at least in part. Drosselmeyer did personally select her for the part of Princess Tutu. She just decided what to do with it. For in fact, Drosselmeyer picks specific roles for the cast characters, but they eventually grow strong enough to pick different roles. Duck, Fakir, and Kraehe are perhaps the best examples.
  • Made fun of in Ranma ½ where Kuno was destined to be the one to pull the legendary Wish Bringer sword from the stone, simply because he was the one millionth person to draw. The students even commented that there must have been some mistake.
  • What Daisuke turns out to be in Revisions. Originally, AHRV foresaw his best friend Keisaku being the most important person in the Shibuya drift and Daisuke was the backup, but due to Prophecy Twist and some applications of the Timey-Wimey Ball, things became twisted.
  • Lina Inverse of the Slayers universe is a gifted and crafty sorceress who winds up taking on several world-ending threats, mostly out of self-interest or because they're targeting her. The Chosen One with enough dragon-god power to curb stomp those threats is technically her older sister Luna, but she can't be bothered to deal with them or even appear in the series. The most Luna's willing to do about a potential apocalypse is threaten Lina into fixing it.
  • Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a rather good example. He was just a kid with the right stuff who was lucky enough to stumble across the right mecha at the right time.
  • Sugimoto from The Twelve Kingdoms was not chosen — indeed it was her friend Youko whose destiny was to rule as a Queen. That doesn't stop Sugimoto from and insisting that she is the chosen Queen, and trying to usurp the position from Youko.
  • This appears in the backstory of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. The entire series happened because two ordinary humans decided to become The Unchosen One in different ways; one becoming the worst villain in history by his own power alone and the other stopping him with only some experimental technology and her own skills.
  • Yusaku from Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS has no special destiny or powers that make him The Hero. He just happens to be a normal civilian smart enough to swipe Ignis from the internet before his enemies can. On the other hand, a later reveal shows that the Ignis that Yusaku captured was actually created based on Yusaku himself due to the Lost Incident and shares a special connection to him as a result. And much later it's revealed Ai secretly manipulated Yusaku into fighting the Hanoi and using the Cyberverse deck. Of course, Yusaku knew none of this at the time but capturing Ai gave him the capability to take on the Knights of Hanoi.

    Comic Books 
  • CrossGen loved this trope.
    • Sephie of Meridian. The Sigil was given to her father, who between the stress of receiving the Sigil and being poisoned by his brother, had a heart attack and died, passing the mark and its power on to her.
    • The Path has another example of "inheriting the Sigil from a dead relative", in this case Obo-san's samurai brother who was killed in battle with one of the First.
  • Green Lantern: Most Green Lanterns are chosen by their rings because of their ability to "overcome great fear." However, when Hal Jordan went crazynote  and started killing the whole corps, Ganthet escaped with one special Green Lantern Ring and crashed on Earth. He passed it onto Kyle Rayner, who happened to find him, saying only "You will have to do." (However, later writers will sometimes imply that Rayner really was some kind of secret Chosen One of Ganthet's the whole time.)
  • In every prophecy that describes him, Hellboy is the bringer of the Apocalypse. However, he chooses to fight for the good guys and routinely save the world, once responding to a lecture on his "true" destiny with an actual "Screw you!"
  • In Kieron Gillen's Iron Man story The Secret Origin of Tony Stark a robot named 451 claims Tony Stark was genetically engineered before birth to be a genius and the man destined to make humanity a galactic power. Howard and Maria Stark didn't trust 451 and adopted Tony as a smokescreen while placing their Genius Cripple biological son Arno in seclusion.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: As a descendant of the Hyrule Knights, Roam is eligible to be the prophesied hero destined to stop the Great Cataclysm. Though it's Link who is the Chosen One, which Roam is quite miffed about. It doesn't stop him from helping defeat Ganon, though.
  • Marvel Universe's Daimon Hellstrom aka Son Of Satan not only rejected his destiny as the Antichrist, not only worked as a superhero, but was actually ordained as a Christian priest!
  • Tim Drake. He doesn't have any tragic backstory that eventually led him into the path of being a hero; he became a hero simply because he wanted to help and make a difference.
  • Shazam! (2012): Unlike previous versions of Captain Marvel's origin, in this version Billy Batson is decidedly not pure of heart, and the Wizard rejects him, until Billy gives a speech about how there's no-one truly pure (kid's got issues). After hearing this, the Wizard decides to change the parameters of his search to someone who has the potential to be good, which Billy does qualify for.
  • In The Transformers (IDW), it's strongly hinted that Optimus Prime of all people is this. When he got the Matrix of Leadership, he felt incredible pain like nothing else, which he took to be the Matrix's way of letting know the burden he would bear. But then, Rodimus briefly inherits the Matrix and notes that when he got it, he experienced the most wondrous, euphoric feeling ever. Optimus is deeply unnerved by the implications; that he was never really worthy of being Prime and that all he's doing is keeping the Matrix away from the real Chosen One.
  • X-Men foe Juggernaut, a.k.a. Cain Marko, was not Cyttorak's first choice of being the avatar of his evil power. Xavier was the one Cyttorak wanted. Cyttorak didn't mind though, since Cain was a natural sociopath who didn't need much encouragement to wreak havoc with Cyttorak's power. It's only when Cain had a brief Heel–Face Turn that Cyttorak started to regret the situation.
  • Y: The Last Man has Yorick, who is the only human male on the planet to survive the Gendercide, which causes many different groups to want to get their hands on him. Partway through, they all switch targets to the other last surviving male, Yorick's pet monkey Ampersand, when it turns out that he's the one with the original immunity, and Yorick just picked it up from him.

    Fan Works 
  • A staple of Role Swap AU fics in the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power fandom, with Catra regularly having to prove herself as a worthy wielder of the Sword of Protection in order to fully access the powers. Cat-Ra is a rare instance where she's actually ecstatic about Adora being the real chosen one; Catra immediately tries to give the sword to her in hopes of repairing their friendship after learning the truth, only to then be told that things have gone so off the rails, The Chooser of the One has decided to make her the new Chosen One anyway.
  • Lero Michealides in Divided Rainbow.
  • The second generation of Chosen Children in the 02 fanfic, Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told turned out to not have been chosen by The Order all along, they are simply artificially made one courtesy of Oikawa.
  • Pony POV Series, during the Finale Arc, the gods choose and empower several characters to be their champions in the conflict. Flash Sentry wasn't one of them, but he plays a pivotal role in saving Princess Luna and even helps defeat the evil goddess Beldam in a fight. It helps that he's Immune to Fate.
  • In All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, it's ultimately revealed that Victoria is this, while Mahanon may actually be The Chosen One. She only touched the orb which made them both the Heralds of Andraste because he was holding it and it seemed to be hurting him. This discovery prompts a Crisis of Faith which is not easily resolved.
  • Godzilla Junior is this amongst the benign kaiju in The Bridge. All of his teammates and allies had some sort of destiny or miraculous origin behind their being; Mothra is the heiress of a bloodline of protectors stretching back millions of years, Anguirus and Rodan are both artificial creatures created with elemental powers to serve as Guardian Beasts against the Big Bad, etc. Junior? Just a random mutated dinosaur who was raised by a unremarkable but kindly biologist. And yet with his randomly given powers and sheer force of will, he's grown up to be one of Terra's champions. This stirs Grand King Ghidorah's curiosity. As a fatalist, Grand King Ghidorah doesn't quite know what to make of Junior. One reason he challenges him is to determine whether Junior really is something special or if he's just a mistake that needs "correcting".
  • Fate/Starry Night: By his own admission, Ritsuka was only brought to Chaldea to fill a quota, being the least qualified mage who only got in due to his absurdly high Master compatibility. He's not a born hero or someone expected to do great things, but he gradually rose to the challenge and has saved the world time and again.
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, facing the prospect of going down in history as Harry's sidekick, Hermione sets out to make herself a hero.
  • Rise of the Dragon Child has a depressed Harry feeling like a mere substitute when he learns he was picked to be the Dragonborn only because the guy intended for the job has been killed right before starting. His mentor Paarthunax comforts him by telling him that as long as you can fulfill the job, the whole universe will hold you for the Chosen One... and once your adventure is finished, even if you didn't started as the Hero, you now are.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug webcomic Scarlet Lady, Chloe Bourgeois is the wielder of the Ladybug Miraculous purely because she stole the earrings from Marinette's purse in an act of petty bullying — and now that she let the power go to her head, the rest of the cast (not to mention the city of Paris and, yes, even Hawk Moth) can only grit their teeth and try to tolerate her. As a result, Marinette (the actual Chosen One of the Ladybug Miraculous) still gets involved in the Akuma fighting as a Badass Normal.
  • Cardcaptor Rad has Rad himself. He learned from The Watery that Rachel was supposed to be the Cardcaptor but she Refused the Call so Kero had to make due with him. When offered to take the burden off his hands, he refuses and still continues on as he sees it as his responsibility anyway.
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: When the final clash with Xehanort's forces begins, everyone is shocked when Sora is not one of the designated Seven Guardians of Light, except Sora himself who reminds them that he wasn't supposed to receive the Keyblade in the first place, and as in Dream Drop Distance is happy just to support them. It's a divergence from canon, as Sora was one of the Seven in Kingdom Hearts III, but by this point in the story Terra has already been freed from Xehanort's control.
  • Breath of the Wild adapts the events of the namesake game, and also makes extensive connections to the events of other games, including Skyward Sword. Among the connections is the revelation that Ganondorf is the reincarnation of Groose from the Era of the Skies. His actions during the canon game impressed the Goddesses enough that they decided to make him a third hero to fight Demise's curse...only for said curse to tether itself to his soul and corrupt him to become the very monster he was chosen to fight.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Kung Fu Panda, becoming the Dragon Warrior is presented as a matter of destiny, but is revealed to fall more into this trope. The reveal of the Dragon Scroll is that there isn't any secret technique and the Dragon Warrior is not really “chosen” by a higher power. The real “secret ingredient” that makes up the criteria to be a Dragon Warrior is the personal growth and training to earn the scroll in the first place. This is why Po is chosen while Tai Lung isn’t. Tai Lung’s status as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who had no doubts about himself means that the scroll and its lesson would’ve been meaningless for him.
  • The "Special One" of Vitruvius's prophecy in The LEGO Movie doesn't really exist. At the beginning of the movie, Lord Business dismisses the prophecy as something Vitruvius made up on the spot, and it turns out that he was right — there really is no Special One, at least, not in the way that is implied. This devastates Emmet when Vitruvius dies, but Vitruvius returns as a ghost to reveal the true purpose of the prophecy to Emmet — he made it up because the only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that they are special, and to turn whoever found the piece into someone extraordinary. At the end of the movie, Emmet talks down Lord Business by telling him he could be the special one, too — although the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane nature of the movie leaves it ambiguous if this is just symbolic of Finn and his father working through their issues.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blade Runner 2049, Officer K initially believes that he is the Replicant child of Rick Deckard and Rachael Tyrell that he's been searching for. Nope. Not only is he just a regular Replicant, but as he learns, the memories he had that supposedly proved he was the real child were common to all Nexus-9 Replicants, meaning that every one of them falsely believes themself to be the chosen one. This revelation drives his decision be more than just a machine by fighting for Rick Deckard even though Deckard is not his father, laying down his own life in the process.
  • John McClane from the Die Hard films largely views himself as this, typically being just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time who has every reason to do nothing, no obligation to do anything, and every opportunity to just say Screw This, I'm Outta Here! He always chooses to be the hero instead, explaining to a panicked Matt Farrel in Live Free or Die Hard to encourage the boy that, despite being a punk kid with low blood sugar and no experience doing that sort of thing, that he can be a hero too:
    McClane: Do you know what you get for being a hero? Nothing! You get shot at. Pat on the back, bla bla bla. That a boy! You get divorced... Your wife can't remember your last name, kids don't want to talk to you... You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
    Matt: Then why you doing this?
    McClane: Because there is nobody else to do it right now. Believe me if there was somebody else to do it I would let them do it. There's not, so we're doing it. That's what makes you that guy.
  • The Fourth Wise Man: Artaban wishes very much to find the foretold savior and gift him with precious gems, but is delayed tending to a seriously ill man and misses the caravan the other three magi take to Judea. Undaunted, he spends the next several decades trying to find the Christ, except whenever his quest is again interrupted by people in need.
  • The Matrix:
    • While The Matrix plays The Chosen One fairly straight, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions reveal the prophecy was a lie. Thus, when Neo continues to fight on against the Machines he has made himself an Unchosen One.
    • The script/art book reveals that originally Neo is the sixth Chosen One by Morpheus, whose poor track record is part of the reason why Cypher wants back into the Matrix.
    • An alternate interpretation suggests that The Matrix subverts this one, zig zagging the entire messianic concept: The prophecy was intended by the Architect to be an Evil Plan aimed at a continued recycling of the Matrix as a means of keeping the system in place. He is Out-Gambitted by the Oracle, however, who actually intended for Neo to evolve slightly with each rebooting until he'd eventually reject the Architect's offer to reboot the system and force the machines to reach a settlement with Zion that she believed was necessary for the Machines to evolve. This is possible because Neo was the only one who could beat Smith, who was otherwise poised to bring down the entire machine network (whew!). One hell of a Chessmaster, that Oracle.
  • In the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, the main hero Rey plays with this. The Last Jedi shows she and many around her believe she's just a nobody from nowhere. Her parents were nothing but filthy junk trading drunks who sold their child for drinking money and eventually ended up dead in unmarked graves under the sands of a lawless desert planet. Rey only became a hero of the galaxy by choosing to help BB-8, to go with Han Solo and Finn to find the Resistance, to fight back against Kylo Ren's Mind Probe (inadvertently giving her part of his knowledge of using the Force) to seek out Luke Skywalker, and to never stop trying to help her friends or those in need. The Rise of Skywalker throws this for a loop by showing she's actually the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, meaning she very much isn't a nobody. However, it was still very much her choice to act as she did with no expectations of some great destiny for herself.
    Kylo Ren: You have no place in this story. You come from nothing. You're nothing. ...but not to me.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze the Turtles are disappointed when Professor Perry reveals that the formation of the ooze that mutated them and the accident that led to the canister finding its way into the sewer was simply one large accident. No Turtle was more disappointed than Donatello. He believes there's got to be more to the accident.
  • In Willow, the then-infant princess Elora Danan is prophesied to destroy the evil queen Bavmorda. However, it is Willow and others striving to protect the princess who actually stop her. On the other hand, novels that continue the story after the movie play The Chosen One straight, as Bavmorda returns and the now-grown Elora Danan must fulfill her original destiny. The main villain of the books is actually a version of Elora from an alternate future, who's angst over being a Chosen One who never actually did anything kind of snowballed into conquering several planets and accidentally destroying the universe. It's complicated.

  • In The 39 Clues:
    • Amy and Dan Cahill belong to the Madrigal branch of the family, founded by the fifth Cahill child, Madeline, who was born after the fire that caused the family to split up. She never got a serum, so her descendants are not blessed with Superpowerful Genetics like the four main branches.
    • In Into the Gauntlet, Amy and Dan theorize that William Shakespeare was a Janus (the 'artistic genius' branch of the family). He wasn't, he was a Madrigal.
  • In Animorphs, it's eventually revealed that the Ellimist subtly manipulated events to ensure that Cassienote , Marconote , Tobias and Axnote  would be part of the six-person group. This leaves Jake and Rachel unaccounted for. As Rachel dies, the Ellimist admits that he didn't pick her, and that she was "a happy accident" — but no less important for it.
  • In the BIONICLE Adventures books, this is Subverted. All this time, the Toa Metru believed they were the chosen Matoran of Metru Nui, hence why the former Toa, Lhikan, had arranged for their transformation into Toa. Then, they found evidence that six other Matoran were meant to take on the role, and their becoming Toa was only due to Makuta's tampering with Lhikan's mind. This chimed with their initial failings as Toa heroes. In reality, Mata Nui anticipated Makuta's trickery, so he re-arranged the stars over Metru Nui, thereby changing the prophecies about who should become Toa. Thus, when Makuta tried to foretell these prophecies, and then attempted to prevent their fulfillment, he deliberately planted the names of the most unlikely Toa candidates into Lhikan's brain. That is to say, the names of those exact Matoran that were supposed to become Toa.
  • When the chosen one dies in Cannon Fodder, the soldiers who were supposed to be his escort, Kelsey and Bobbin Pike, get stuck with his mission as punishment.
  • Taran, the protagonist of The Chronicles of Prydain becomes involved in a war for control of his homeland because he went chasing after a runaway pig and came face to face with the series' resident Supporting Leader, Prince Gwydion. He slowly works his way up from being a Tag Along Kid to a Bad Ass Normal warrior and the equivalent of a general and eventually the High King of Prydain because he heeds the advice of his mentors and refuses to give up on causes he believes in.
  • Discworld:
    • In I Shall Wear Midnight Tiffany is told that apparently, the only thing she was born with was a natural gift for making cheese. Seeing old Mrs. Snapperly cast out of her home and allowed to freeze and starve to death by people who thought she was a witch made Tiffany determined to make sure it never happened again — what better way to do that than by becoming a real one?
      I said you weren't born with a talent for witchcraft: it didn't come easily; you worked hard at it because you wanted it. You forced the world to give it to you, no matter the price, and the price is and will always be, high. [ ... ] People say you don't find witchcraft; witchcraft finds you. But you've found it, even if at the time you didn't know what it was you were finding, and you grabbed it by its scrawny neck and made it work for you.
    • In Lords and Ladies Granny Weatherwax makes it clear that she decided to be a witch, she didn't depend on an elder witch seeing potential in her. And she went on to be the toughest witch around.
      Nanny Ogg: You mean you weren't Chosen?
      Granny Weatherwax: Me? No. I chose.
  • Kavi and Jiaan both from the Farsala Trilogy operate under the name Sorahb, who is supposed to be reborn in a time of need according to their country's legend. There is no Sorahb reborn, and if the legend they create is anything to go by, there probably never was an original.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Played with for the titular character. There is a prophecy indicating him as the Chosen One who can kill the Big Bad, but Dumbledore makes a consistent effort to remind Harry that there are many fundamental problems with prophecies; even if they can be proven to be real, they tend to either be very misleading or self-fulfilling, pointing out that it was only because Voldemort himself believed the prophecy about Harry causing his downfall to be true, that he ended up attempting to kill the infant Harry, which backfired and caused his first downfall. He also reminds Harry that he always has the option to Screw Destiny when it comes to making a final confrontation with Voldemort, but points out that both he and Harry himself know that at his core, Harry is simply too heroic to go through with this: he cares too much about the safety of his friends and avenging the deaths of his parents to ever be seriously tempted into backing down from fighting Voldemort, so him continuing to challenge Voldemort is more down to him making the choice to fight him than fighting him just Because Destiny Says So.
    • Neville also applies — though he was one of two possible candidates, he'd never heard the prophecy, nor was he marked as Voldemort's equal, but he still manages to turn Dumbledore's Army into a pretty badass rebellion force, openly defy Voldemort even when it appeared all hope was lost, and kill the snake to thus render Voldemort mortal.
  • Sam in The Lord of the Rings. While it was Frodo who was chosen to carry the ring, Sam decided to join him, stick with Frodo to the end, and even carried the ring for a while when Frodo was taken in Return of the King. He's also the only character shown to completely resist the ring, and that was where its lure was strongest (the fact that it couldn't actually contribute to anything he wanted was a big part of it).
  • Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy just loves to play with this trope. Kelsier, Vin, and Elend were just the people around who were able to do the job. And, of course, were helped by the Big Bad. In fact, just about every good guy in the trilogy could be said to be an Unchosen One with the exception of Sazed.
    • Played straight in that Vin was literally born and groomed by both Ruin and Preservation, her powers, her sister, and her spike being part of a centuries series of manuvers by both Shards
    • Also played with in the rest of The Cosmere especially in The Stormlight Archive where The Chosen Many is at play, and those that appear to be the Chosen One typically are just the first ones to survive long enough to be recognized.
  • In My Brother is a Superhero, the protagonist, Luke, is obsessed with superheroes. Unfortunately, he happened to be in the bathroom when an interdimensional alien suddenly shows up and gives superpowers to his geeky older brother, Zack. The first chapter is even called "The [Not] Chosen One." Naturally, he takes it upon himself to help Zack and often winds up saving the day, even as it becomes a Running Gag that just about everyone but Luke gets some cool power or ability.
  • Percy Jackson himself is in fact not the hero he had heard in the prophecy in Percy Jackson. Instead, the prophecy was referring to Luke who would sacrifice himself to destroy Kronos.
  • The Rise of Kyoshi, a tie-in to Avatar: The Last Airbender: After fourteen years of being unable to find Avatar Kuruk's reincarnation through the usual methods, his old companions discover a street kid named Yun, who is an amazing earthbender and so similar to Kuruk that they conclude that he must be the new Avatar. And for two years, Yun proves amazing at the diplomatic and spiritual aspects of the role...but can't bend the other elements. Of course, anyone familiar with the show knows that Kyoshi, his servant/friend, is the real Avatar. After this is revealed, Yun dies, then turns out to be alive, then turns into the Big Bad of the sequel.
  • Subverted in Sir Apropos of Nothing, where Apropos thinks he is this and hijacks the call, only to find... he was the Chosen One after all. It's complicated.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Rhaegar Targaryen once read a prophecy that convinced him he was The Chosen One. Later in his life, he changed his mind and thought the Prince That Was Promised was his son Aegon — or rather, that The Chosen Many were his children, since he claimed that "the dragon must have three heads". It could have been a huge plot point since it's revealed that his wife couldn't get pregnant again after the second child, so this could have been the reason for his abduction of Lyanna Stark. It's rather ironic that he could have been cheated by prophecies once more if The Chosen One was his child with Lyanna all along, or his yet-to-be-born sister.
  • The Traveler's Gate:
    • Unlike Alin, Simon is just a random boy who had some bad experiences with a few Travelers. He has absolutely no connection to any of the Territories, which he would normally need to become a Traveler. Thankfully, Valinhall doesn't need a connection; all you have to do is pass the tests, and you gain the powers.
    • In the Avernus short story, it turns out that Simon was subject to a small but important prophecy. An Avernus girl told Denner that one day Kai would have a choice whether to take an apprentice or not, and it was very important that he take him. It was Denner's recommendation that convinced Kai to take Simon.
  • Tree Of Aeons: Lausanne, as a young girl, hears stories of the heroes chosen to defeat the demon king, and resolves that she'll become a hero too — except that she doesn't have the divine blessings that let them gain levels unnaturally quickly and wield "star mana". With TreeTree's help, she still becomes impressive in her own right, reaching an unusually high level at a young age, and having a special magical familiar to enhance her abilities. When she meets the actual gods-chosen heroes, though, she's discouraged by how they're able to surpass her efforts in mere days or weeks. Nonetheless, she achieves a tremendous amount of good in the world.
  • The Trope Namer is China Miéville's Un Lun Dun, in which the heroine Deeba was listed in the Book of Prophecy as the "Funny Sidekick" to Zanna, the real Chosen One. When Zanna is injured and sent home, Deeba returns to unite UnLondon against the Smog and gets named The Unchosen One by UnLondon's residents. The odd thing about this is that the Book always turned out to be right about the things it claimed were wrong. It later realises this, and is pleased. Also, Deeba realizes that as the Unchosen One, she gets to ignore the parts of the prophecy that requires her to go on ridiculous sidequests.
  • Tad William's novel The War of the Flowers features Mud Bug Button, the unassuming sage who explains carefully to the hero that he was not chosen, his family was not killed by the Big Bad, and he did not have a heroic epiphany after seeing an innocent child killed. He just thought carefully about the situation and decided that leading a revolution was something that needed to be done.
  • The Wings of Fire series opens with one of the five eggs that was supposed to hatch into the chosen ones being destroyed. Unable to find another Skywing egg in time, the Talons of Peace decide to steal a Rainwing egg as a replacement even though the prophecy called for a Skywing. The egg hatches into Glory, who ends up suffering a ton of abuse from the chosen ones' caretakers for being the wrong species. When the Nightwing who foretold the prophecy finds out, he orders her to be killed, setting off the plot as the chosen ones decide to escape to save Glory's life, which ends up completely derailing the Nightwings' plans. The Nightwings and The Talons of Peace try to get the prophecy back on track by having a backup group of dragons who are all the correct species but didn't quite fit the other requirements replace the chosen ones but it doesn't go well due to the imposter chosen ones being far less competent and all disliking each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer::
    • The Potential Slayers, sort of... they don't have much choice on whether or not they'll join Buffy in the fight against the First for much of Season 7, because if they don't, they'll probably end up dead. In the series finale, Buffy gives them a choice — become real Slayers and fight the First and his army, or not. They choose the first option.
    • Also Spike, when he chose himself to fulfill the destiny that had seemingly been planned for Angel.
    • The BtVS RPG includes the "Slayer Poseur" template, who is not even a Potential Slayer, but fights vampires anyway.
    • Played straight however with Xander, who despite being a somewhat nerdish guy who's vastly outclassed constantly, gets swept into Buffy's larger than life Monster of the Week/Apocalypse of the Year situations, and continues to help her to the best of his abilities. At one point in the third season, he even passes on the opportunity to become a supernatural being (a zombie), realizing the group needs someone normal (keep in mind at this point most of his friends have displayed some sort of superhuman ability or are themselves supernatural beings). Plus is not like he is always useless, striking one of the most solid hits against Glory, the Big Bad of the fifth season, by attacking her with a construction wrecking ball. This even gets lampshaded in the seventh season, with a speech he gives to Dawn, who herself at this point has become another Unchosen One since the end of her plot from the fifth season, in which he almost calls the trope by name:
      Xander: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
  • Chuck, as of the end of Season 2, has graduated to actively being the Not-Chosen One after being The Woobie since the beginning.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Gentarou, of Kamen Rider Fourze. He was never meant to be Fourze by anyone, instead coming out of nowhere and actually stealing the Fourze driver to become the Kamen Rider.
    • This trope is a point of much frustration for Shroud in Kamen Rider Double. Shoutarou transformed with Philip for the first time pretty much out of necessity, with no idea what he was doing. Shroud spends the majority of the season trying to split them up and put her Chosen One with Philip instead. Unfortunately, her Chosen One is rather uncooperative, and she eventually accepts that Shoutarou is not only Philip's true partner, but also the trump card that can take down Museum.
    • Shinji/Ryuki and Tezuka/Raia in Kamen Rider Ryuki are another by-chance Riders, as the intended user of the Ryuki and Raia decks were Koichi Sakakibara and Yuichi Saito respectively. Shinji happened to found the deck when he's investigating Sakakibara's house and found the Ryuki deck lying on the floor, or in the 13 Riders timeline, by Sakakibara passing his deck to Shinji after Sakakibara saved Shinji's life (at the cost of his own) inside the Mirror World; while Tezuka got the Raia deck after Saito refused to become a Rider and got eaten by GuldThunder, his intended Contract Monster, as a result. They would become a serious problem for Kanzaki, because unlike Kanzaki's handpicked Riders, these two don't have any pressing desires and really just want to end the fighting.
    • Most of the Riders in Kamen Rider Gaim are chosen by Sid and/or Yggdrasill, except for Kouta (he got the Driver intended for his dance team's leader, whom Kouta later unknowingly killed in the first episode because he turned into an Inves), Zack (Kaito stole a Driver and gave it to him), and Oren (forcefully got one from one of the person that was chosen by Sid to become a Rider because he made a mess on his bakery).
    • In Kamen Rider Zi-O this was revealed to be the case regarding The Hero himself. As it turns out, that he was just a pawn that was to be used by the Big Bad of The Movie himself. His goal was to distract all his enemies by getting a pawn to collect all the the Riders powers in one spot so that he could destroy them all and recreate everything in his image. Needless to say, Sougo does not take it well upon finding out. However eventually realizes that just because he was born a fake, didn't mean that he had to stay as one and takes the fight to the Big Bad.
  • Guinevere in Merlin is the only main character never to be mentioned in any prophecy uttered by the dragon or any other seer (though she appears briefly in one of Morgana's prophetic dreams. She ends up being the individual who rules over the Golden Age of Camelot, with it being heavily implied that she also unites the kingdoms and legalizes magic. Up until the final episode, everyone assumed that this was Arthur's destiny.
  • The unnamed female protagonist in The New Legends Of Monkey. The original Tripitaka was killed in a raid by a bunch of demons to prevent the Monkey King from coming back to the world, along with the rest of the temple's monks and the Scholar who knew how the prophecy would go. Since she was the Sole Survivor and the only person left who knew the details of the quest, she takes on the role and name of Tripitaka in order to complete it.
  • Once Upon a Time: While Emma is the destiny-ordained default Saviour throughout the series and the mythology of her role as such gets expanded as the show goes by, post-Heel–Face Turn Regina finds herself or steps up to be this on multiple occasions.
    • In the second half of Season 3, it is Regina who unexpectedly breaks the new Dark Curse by giving Henry a maternal True Love's Kiss, and subsequently takes down the Wicked Witch of the West with Light Magic when Emma is Brought Down to Normal. Contrary to Emma, who was prophesied to be the Curse-breaking Saviour and wield Light Magic by being born of True Love, Regina achieved both by Character Development alone.
    • When Emma becomes The Dark One in Season 5, Regina steps up to be the Saviour both in Camelot and in Storybrooke. In the former she merely impersonates the Saviour in order for the group to be granted access at Court; in the latter, she fully embraces her role to counter Emma’s new iteration of the Dark Curse, and even goes around undoing some of Emma’s spiteful minor spells.
    • In the series finale, Regina puts a permanent end to the Dark Curse by casting it in reverse so that, instead of ripping everyone apart from their loved ones, all the Fairy Tale Worlds are brought together in Storybrooke so no one is separated ever again.
  • In Power Rangers: Beast Morphers, Devon and Zoey become the Red and Yellow Beast Rangers due to the fact that Evox is able to essentially capture the intended Rangers, Blaze and Roxy, and turn them into his Avatars. This is doubly so as Devon was a civilian who trespassed onto the Grid Battleforce HQ to see the Battle Simulator and Zoey was a candidate, but was cut in favor of Roxy.
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam and Dean dive very heavily into this, particularly Dean who is even more stubborn about not embracing his destiny, and not letting Sam embrace his. Considering their destinies, this is probably for the best. Note that both of them were SUPPOSED to be The Chosen One in different ways — Sam as The Antichrist and Dean as Michael's host. The boys refused to accept the destinies forced upon them, then went above and beyond by creating their own roles and getting accomplishing things nobody though possible — especially for two mortal humans.
    • Castiel also applies; originally an accomplished angel given the honor of protecting Michael's future host (aka Dean), but not particularly noteworthy. From Season 5 on, he starts taking initiative and directly or as a direct result of his actions initiates the main plot of Seasons 6, 7, and 9, as well as becoming a major force for driving the plot along.

  • One interpretation of Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott's "Hero".
    And they say that a hero can save us, I'm not gonna stand here and wait
    I'll hold on to the wings of the eagles, watch as we all fly away
  • Skillet's identically-titled song, "Hero", embodies this trope, with lyrics starting out "I am just a man/Not superhuman... I need a hero to save me now." However, the narrator gradually realizing that they themselves can do everything that a hero should be doing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Discarded playbook from Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined is thematically all about being left behind. Mechanically it focuses on dishing out the most damage, representing the idea that the character is pushing themselves to prove their worth.

  • In BIONICLE, the Toa Metru eventually hit upon evidence that reveals they weren't supposed to be Toa, but rather it should have been the six Matoran who discovered the location of the Great Disks. Makuta, anticipating that Lhikan would seek to create a new team of Toa to succeed him in protecting the Matoran of Metru Nui, divined the stars and searched out evidence that revealed to him the supposed heroes, and then he implanted the names of the Toa Metru into Lhikan's head in an attempt to Screw Destiny. As he reveals later, even if the Metru succeeded in temporarily foiling his plans (which they did), he could still take solace in that he defied his brother's plans. This knowledge crushes the Toa Metru since destiny is a big thing in this universe and makes them wonder if their failure to save the city and prevent their friends from lapsing into comas was all because they weren't the true chosen, and is just another part of catalysing the already-unstable Vakama's temporary Face–Heel Turn. However, it's subverted when Karzahni eventually revealed to Vakama that they're the real deal, and that it was Makuta who got played by Mata Nui and his Hero Secret Service in a Batman Gambit of fabricated evidence and had the Metru's names implanted in his mind by Mata Nui. This knowledge gives Vakama the resolve to face off with Makuta one final time and force a temporary truce.

    Video Games 
  • ADOM: The Eternal Guardian was instructed by his god to guard the way further down into the Caverns of Chaos until the arrival of the chosen one bearing the Ring of the High Kings. Normally this is the Player Character. If the player character elects not to obtain the ring and to kill the Eternal Guardian instead (good luck with that), and then saves the world or otherwise beats the game, this makes them the Unchosen One in relation to this prophecy.note 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, this trope gets...really complicated. See, you're The Chosen One, the reincarnation of the local Crystal Dragon Jesus, and a prophecy foretold your emergence near Shrouded Hills and subsequent world-saving from the ancient evil, Arronax. Except that the prophecy was a lie to begin with, created by Arronax-worshippers to keep everyone distracted from the actual work of keeping Arronax properly sealed. And Arronax isn't at all behind the actual world-threatening catastrophe that's about to return to Arcanum, and is using said Arronax-cult as a pawn. On top of all this you can't be a literal reincarnation of Nasrudin, since he isn't actually dead yet. Yet you end up fulfilling the role of the Living One anyway and dealing with the threat that's hijacked the role of Arronax, should you choose to do so. One character even asks, if you play the role of The Chosen One, whether it even makes a difference whether you're actually Nasrudin's reincarnation.
  • Subverted in the Baldur's Gate series as a whole. It is implied in the first game that your character, good or bad, is just saying Screw Destiny, and that's true enough in regards to their divine parent's plans. But in the last installment, when it's time to finally put an end to the events foretold by the prophecy that's been haunting their lives, it's revealed that it actually comes with a clause saying that the protagonist is the one who can prevent it and save the world a lot of strife (again, even if they choose the evil option).
  • After accidentally time-traveling to the Bad Future, the protagonists of Chrono Trigger decide that the End of the World as We Know It is not in fact someone else's problem, even though they and their children would be long-dead when the apocalypse does occur. It's not until near the end of the game, long after committing themselves to the quest, that they even start to consider that there could be a higher power choosing them and guiding their actions.
  • In City of Heroes the player can unlock the ability to play as one of the generic Arachnos mooks by getting a Supervillain character to the max level. The mook character follows a special storyline apart from the normal missions in which they repeatedly try to become a Destined supervillain, only to realize by the end that they had already done so the second they hit level 2.
  • Dex is a strange blue-haired girl who wakes up to assassins trying to kill her, and discovers she has a superpower; the ability to remote hack from her mind without any cyberware whatsoever. Except she quickly augments herself with cybernetics anyway, and the superpower has recently manifested in a small but substantial percentage of the local population, called Crows, because they're all test tube babies, their superpower had to be refined over MANY disturbing failures, and they're all the genetic descendants of the most powerful woman in the solar system who spawned them for her own benefit. And every Crow past a certain age has also been hunted down by assassins — she's the one who survived.
  • Diablo:
    • Applies to all of humanity, as explained in Diablo III. Because of their odd origins, humans are the only ones whose destiny is not set out in the Scrolls of Fate — making them the only ones capable of Screwing Destiny. So when Destiny foretells the fall of the High Heavens, it's a good thing that some humans are around to fix things...
    • Taken a bit further, most of the protagonists are 'chosen' by something or someONE — the Wizard is outright driven by a prophecy, the Monk was selected by the Elders of Ivgorod, the Witch Doctor follows the voice of the Spirits, the Barbarian is a descendant of Bul-Kathos, the Crusader is a chosen of Akarat, etc... however, the only reason for any of this is that they are amongst the first to develop full-on Nephilim powers. In other words, they're nothing special — pretty soon, ALL humans will have similar powers.
    • The Demon Hunter is a definite Unchosen One, especially in comparison to the other classes. They arrive in Tristram for the sole purpose of killing demons — there is no prophecy or divine mandate guiding them. Similarly, their order has no grand history or patron deity, but instead is bound by a shared hatred of the demonic. The difference between the protagonists shows up in Reaper of Souls when each class meets a ghost who aids them. For the other classes the ghost is a mentor, ancestor, and even a spirit guide. The Demon Hunter instead meets their sister, whose death as a child drove them to the order.
  • Lohse from Divinity: Original Sin II is notably the only one of the player characters who are not chosen by a god. While she was at one point, the gods ditched her due to the demon currently occupying her mind, a fact that the demon in question uses for all its worth. If you play as her, you can personally call the gods out on this when you meet them.
  • Dragon Age 4: Varic specifically says that, this time, the Main Character is this. No prophecy or destiny or marked hand. Just a regular person deciding to do something about the world they live in.
  • Dragon Quest:
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Played straight in Daggerfall. Once you pick up the Totem of Tiber Septim, it tells you that you aren't allowed to control it, and only the various nobles and other powers around the Iliac Bay would be allowed to control the Numidium. In a Dummied Out ending, if you try to take the Totem to the Mantella yourself, the golem goes berserk, wreaks havoc around the Iliac Bay, and is destroyed.
    • Morrowind leaves this as an open interpretation with regards to the prophecy of the Nerevarine; it is completely possible that the Player Character is merely an extraordinarily lucky or determined mortal of no actual importance who, through sheer coincidence, winds up perfectly fitting the prophesied description of Nerevar's reincarnation through comparatively mundane means. The player even have the option to play into this interpretation by selecting the right dialogue options, making them a Nerevarine who's fulfilling the prophecy because they think it's the right thing to do, not just Because Destiny Says So. Most notably, the Big Bad begins the final battle by having a polite conversation with the player, and at one point he asks them if they really are Nerevar reborn. One of the possible answers is to claim to be a self-willed hero making your own fate. Of course, that aside, the Nerevarine were undoubtedly Chosen by Azura, but it's implied that's been true for several of the "False Incarnates" over the years, and that the player is only the "true" Nerevarine because they are the only one to actually succeed. The Big Bad will approve if the player responds this way, claiming that the Nerevarine's tale will show the gods their limits.
      • Taken Up to Eleven if you try to go Off the Rails in-game: The Railroading mechanic to make characters essential wasn't present until Oblivion, and the player was literally free to kill any major plot character, with only a message that you have doomed the world as a result. But even then, two separate paths exist to get you back into the endgame from this state: You can either acquire enough reputation through other quests that the game basically recognizes you anyway, or you can Screw Destiny by killing Vivec (a fight that is harder than the final boss), and manually reactivate it with the help of Yagrum Bagarn, the last living Dwemer (keep in mind the game gives you no help here, since you are Off the Rails), and then take a permanent loss of over 200 health. But it is possible.
    • In Oblivion, you aren't the chosen one; Martin Septim is, though at the beginning it is slightly hinted that fate did want you to become wrapped up in the series of events. Dialogue in Skyrim would seem to indicate that you are actually the Hero of Another Story when it comes to Oblivion's main questline, and that your own story is actually the Shivering Isles expansion.
    • In general, this is a running theme within the universe; due to the malleability of fate and reality itself, forces powerful enough to make prophecies are often just exerting their influence, and their "chosen ones" are all actually this trope propelled by divine propaganda... Unless they become successful enough that, pretending or not, the universe has to recognize that they were in fact fated to succeed.
  • Zak in Evil Islands in an odd case. He is originally hailed by the villagers as The Chosen One by sheer coincidence, and most energetically by the village elder — but then it turns out that the prophecy is more or less a scam, the village elder is actually a spy for The Empire, sent there in search of a fallen meteorite. Naturally, he becomes a hero anyway.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • While in Fallout 3 and 4 your character had sort of a destiny, in Fallout: New Vegas, your character, the Courier, is nobody special beyond being a skilled courier. Your entire story is mainly an accident given Uysses was supposed to deliver that package, but backed out as he wanted you to do it as a sort of revenge against something you don't even know you did. By total happenstance this puts the Courier in the position to help various factions and give the Mojave to specific people or ultimately thrust it into total anarchy.
    • When you talk to Major Dhatri, he asks for your help in taking on several fiend leaders. The only reason you're doing it is because the last mercenary (who is coincidentally still inside Camp McCarran) admits to being afraid being burned alive or raped.
    • Motor-Runner is similar. You can be tasked with helping a ranger get Motor-Runner, and when you find the ranger he is too injured to keep fighting. You can help him back on his feet and both of you take Motor-Runner, or you can do it by yourself.
    • The Star Sunset Sarsaparilla caps have a tragically ironic connection to this trope. Legend speaks of a cache of unknown riches and/or goods buried in the bottling plant, and people are brutally murdering one another for these caps all over the Mojave. When you get access to this cache, you find a man who beat you there and then slowly suffocated in an airtight vault after finding... plastic deputy badges. The Sunset Sarsaparilla company was so cheap, they never actually got a real prize, and the story of the reward was over-romanticized. Everyone who thought they would have a great reward as they, the finder of the bottle caps, arrived to the plant, would be horrified to find nothing more than toys.
    • Old World Blues only happens by accident really. You were never meant to have conscious thought, you can only think because your robo-brain is connecting to your real brain.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • From FromSoftware: The player characters from their "Soulsborne" games are all only special because they don't die when they realistically should. The running theme of the franchise comes down to the idea of even the smallest being being able to affect immense change through dogged determination. To wit:
    • In Demon's Souls, you come to Boletaria due to the promise of treasure and the power of the Soul Arts, only to get lashed to the Nexus for your troubles. By the end you've killed every powerful Demon and Archdemon in the land and have either lulled the Old One back to sleep or usurped Allant's position as its emissary.
    • In Dark Souls, all you have to go on is the dying word of a fallen knight and the edict to ring a couple of bells. By the end, you've collected a massive bounty of souls, the four Lord Souls possessed by literal gods, and have either sacrificed yourself to the First Flame for the betterment of the Age of Fire or have chosen to let it fade so you can rule the coming Age of Dark.
    • In Dark Souls II, you don't even have the distinction of being a "Chosen Undead", you're just a nameless Hollowing schmuck who came to Drangleic because you heard there was a cure for the Undead Curse there. By the end you've meted out peace to old King Vendrick; slain the four Great Ones who are reincarnations of the lords of old; acquired the crowns of the Sunken King, Old Iron King, Ivory King, and Vendrick himself; killed several Children of Dark (and potentially an Ancient Dragon); proved yourself to Vendrick's twisted brother Aldia; and either become the true monarch of Drangleic, for good or ill, or abandoned the throne to search for another way to end the curse with no guarantee of reward just like Vendrick and Aldia before you.
    • In Bloodborne, you came to Yharnam searching for a cure for your illness and something called Paleblood, only to get thrown into the deep end of the Yharnam hunt and its horrors. By the end, you are the most powerful Hunter in the city that has slain countless beasts and Eldritch Abominations, gone through at least three different dream worlds, and have either found an escape, become the new watcher of the Hunter's Dream, or have been transformed into an Old One yourself so you may preside over the Dream and the Nightmare.
    • In Dark Souls III, you are somehow even worse off than being an Undead; you're an Unkindled. In a previous life (undeath?), you tried to Link the Fire, but were unfit to do so and just got immediately incinerated for your trouble. You and the other numerous Unkindled represent not Plan A, not Plan B, but Plan C. The Chosen One who was supposed to Link the Fire refused. Several previous Lords of Cinder who Linked the Fire were then resurrected to Link it a second time, but all but one of them also refused. The Unkindled are resurrected as a last, desperate attempt to stave off the darkness, even though there's little chance of them succeeding. Things are so bad, there's nothing left to lose in trying. By the end you've returned the errant Lords to their thrones, dismantled an entire religion dedicated to spreading the Abyss, given final justice to the old gods of Anor Londo for what the Cathedral of the Deep did to them, and either Linked the Fire to prolong the world just a little bit longer, let the First Flame die out for good so that a new world may someday rise from its ashes naturally, combined the First Flame with the Darksign to usher in an Age of Humanity and rule as the Lord of Hollows, or simply murder the Fire Keeper so that you can have the last dying embers of the First Flame all to yourself like a crackhead who needs his fix.
      • The True Final Boss of the series, Slave Knight Gael is also one of these, not unlike the countless undead that have come before them. They were a worthless thing only fit to be fodder for their betters, but through sheer dogged determination and an unwillingness to give into despair he became a Deity of Human Origin by becoming the Dark Soul's avatar in the way the Soul Of Cinder was for the First Flame. Everything was pointing to Gael being a footnote in your story, but he winds up becoming one of, if not the most important being in the entire series.
    • Elden Ring: The player is one of the Tarnished, old exiles who have been revived from death and recalled to the Lands Between with the goal of becoming the Elden Lord. There are many, many Tarnished, and many of those Tarnished are far more storied and accomplished than the player: the game explicitly says they are a nameless Tarnished of no reknown, who died without accomplishing anything. So while they have the right to try, nobody truly expects them to become Elden Lord. And even the idea of the Tarnished being "chosen" to succeed the Elden Lord is thrown into question later, when the player achieves what they set out to do but the Erdtree still refuses them entrance to become Elden Lord, which throws the various seers of the game for a loop and leaves them wondering just what the hell is actually going on. Naturally, by the end of the game, the player has slain monsters and demigods aplenty, and even defied the will of the gods themselves to forcibly enthrone themselves as the new Elden Lord, ushering in a new age of the world. Which ending you choose determines what kind of Lord you will be... from one who restores the lost order, to one who alters the order of the world, or even to one who just burns the world to ashes.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: Grace wanted to become the new hero of legend so much that she stole the Sword of Fate and convinced the others to join her on the road trip. However, the Divine Order doesn't consider her the one chosen by fate to wield the sword and believe she's trying to fight the Machine Devil too early. Despite that, she ultimately succeeds and gains the approval of the previous wielder. As Angela states, fate itself yielded to Grace.
  • Jack from Ghostrunner is actually a basic model of Ghostrunner with no inherent special abilities that some of his fellow cyborgs were lucky enough to possess. Even his number code (number 74) is unremarkable.
  • A rather low-key example due to her late arrival and consequent lack of character development, but Princess Himi of Yamatai in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn qualifies. Because of a prophecy, her adventurer brother Takeru is away from home searching for the Warriors of Vale when the Grave Eclipse happens, and Himi takes it upon herself to join our heroes and save the day, over her father's protests.
  • Justin, the protagonist of the first Grandia, was never The Chosen One. The spirits who do the choosing are eventually forced to accept him.
  • In the "R:1" .hack// games, Aura originally chose Orca of the Azure Sea to be her champion. About 5 seconds after that, Skeith the Terror of Death put his player into a coma. Fortunately Orca was showing his friend Kite the game. Given she makes herself Kite's partner almost immediately after that, BlackRose could also qualify.
  • The player character of Hollow Knight. The Knight is a vessel who tried to crawl out of the Abyss to be selected by the Pale King for their quest to seal away Radiance. Upon reaching the top, they fell back into the Abyss after finding out that a different one had been chosen. The game begins as they surface an indeterminate amount of time later, seeking to complete their task after being called back to Hallownest by either the Hollow Knight or the Radiance.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Sora is one through chance. Riku, his best friend, was chosen to wield the Keyblade, but because he jumped at the wrong call, the Keyblade went to Sora, the closest candidate at the time, after which Sora goes off to save the worlds. He then earns his position as key bearer by winning the Keyblade back from Riku after understanding The Power of Friendship.
    • In Birth by Sleep, it's revealed that of the original trio of Sora, Riku, and Kairi, Sora was the only one incapable of wielding the Keyblade. Although he would eventually awaken Ventus' Keyblade due to having his heart inside him, that is after the fact that he managed to become the wielder of the Keyblade through his own strength of heart.
    • This has become a recurring theme throughout the series. Despite the many Chosen Ones floating around, the three biggest heroes — Sora, Aqua, and Mickey — are all this trope. In Birth by Sleep, Aqua was simply an extremely skilled Keyblade wielder who wanted to look after her friends, and yet she was ultimately responsible for derailing Xehanort's plans and leaving him incapacitated for 10 years. Likewise, with Mickey, nothing so far has indicated any kind of prophecy or "choosing" surrounding him; he seems to have been just an ordinary (mouse) guy who formed an adventuring team, became a King and later a fully fledged Keyblade Master, simply because he wanted to help people.
    • Xigbar calls attention to this in Dream Drop Distance, claiming that Sora himself is nothing special if his strength comes from his connections to other people. Sora doesn't let this faze him, proclaiming that even if he wasn't the Keyblade's first choice, he is "proud to be a small part of something greater; the people it did choose." Master Xehanort himself describes Sora as a "dull, ordinary boy", yet also calling him a sort of Keyblade wielder he'd never seen before.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, everything runs on You Can't Fight Fate. Except for The Fateless One, who is Immune to Fate due to being resurrected by the Well of Souls. Which is good because there is no Chosen One destined to defeat the invading Tuatha Deohn.
  • The Exile from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is an ex-Jedi Knight who was kicked out after serving under Darth Revan and becoming a war criminal, who returns to Republic space after a decade of walking the galaxy only to find all the other Jedi dead or in hiding and a new faction of Sith hunting them down as they're the only Jedi they could find.
  • La-Mulana:
    • It comes off at first that there's just a Chosen One based on all the tablets that Lemeza comes across in the ruins, but it turns out to be this trope instead when Lemeza finds a tablet basically stating "If you managed to make it this far, then we choose you". So it's both tropes at the same time.
    • In the Shrine of the Mother, Lemeza's father, Shorn/Shawn Kosugi, leaves you a message, stating that he made it to the centre of the ruins of La-Mulana, but was unable to give the Final Boss a true form, since he was never deemed worthy to hold the Medicine of Life by the Four Sages/Philosophers.
  • In Last Scenario, Hilbert is initially portrayed as The Chosen One thanks to Heroic Lineage. However, Zawu was lying, and he is in fact completely normal. This doesn't stop him from smashing the Big Bad's schemes down hard and helping to end the infighting between the 3 or 4 countries that are the focus of the game. As Alexander put it, his Heroic Lineage is real not because Hilbert is Alexander's descendant (which he isn't), but because he chose to follow Alexander's footsteps.
  • In League of Legends, Nami decided that when the prophesied Tidecaller didn't show up to fulfill their prophesied duties she would do it herself.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Link in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is not immediately recognised by the gods as The Hero. He's not descended from any previous Link, and there are reasons to doubt that he's a reincarnation of the original Link like every other Link in the series is (namely, the fact that the Ocarina of Time Link didn't actually die in the current timeline). He started his quest solely to rescue his little sister at first, only accepting the quest as a whole later when learning he'd have to do half those things to save his sister anyway. In re-empowering the Master Sword after it was weakened and reassembling the Triforce of Courage, the gods eventually come to acknowledge Link as the "Hero of Winds."
    • Unlike Link and Zelda, Groose in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has no real "destiny" to speak of — a fact supported by how unlike those two, he isn't reincarnated in (chronologically) future games to continue fighting Ganon. Still, he does what he can to help Link, stop Demise and save the surface world.
    • The Big Bad of the series is a dark Unchosen One. His theft of the Triforce of Power has ultimately left him as bound to it as the other two pieces are to their intended Chosen Ones. The Chosen One who was supposed to get the Triforce of Power remains unidentified and presumably uninvolved.
    • In the Updated Re-release of the Spin-Off Hyrule Warriors, Linkle is the Unchosen One who adamantly believes that she's her generation's incarnation of Triforce of Courage wielder. As several other characters can testify to, she definitely is a hero, just not the hero. To add insult to injury, she never gets to meet Link himself.
  • Though she's certainly The Chosen One for a lot of other legends in Arcadia, April Ryan turns out to not be the next Guardian in The Longest Journey. Her job turns out to just be finding the new one, which is pretty important in itself.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Shepard was a completely ordinary soldier note  who basically tripped into knowledge of the oncoming danger to the galaxy, and chose to dedicate him/herself to preventing it. In the sequel, this leads into Shepard becoming an actual Chosen One for a vast conspiracy group (still heroic, but working for some decidedly Anti Heroic people) and into him/her becoming a galactic legend.
    • And in Mass Effect 3, it turns out that humanity as a species is this. Javik, the last living Prothean reveals that the asari were chosen by the Protheans to lead the galaxy against the Reapers; to that end, they mildy tampered with their genome, influenced the development of their early civilisation and even left behind a working Beacon, all to give them a headstart in leading the next Cycle. However the asari ended up squandering their gifts, with the Beacon making them such a Higher-Tech Species, they became technologically stagnant. Ultimately, they did the exact opposite of what the Protheans had expected, choosing to retreat to their homeworld rather than fight the Reapers, leaving humanity to lead the charge.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Ryder wasn't the first human Pathfinder, their father was. Then he dies saving Ryder after the disastrous first-landing in Andromeda, and transfers the link to SAM to them, which can't be removed without killing Ryder. Pretty much everyone, Ryder included, is aware the job shouldn't be theirs, and it takes a hell of a lot of effort on Ryder's part to prove they were a good choice.
  • Played with in ŌkamiAmaterasu, Goddess of the Sun, is acknowledged by all the other gods and spirits as the one to restore the beauty of Nippon, but as far as the human world is concerned, the inept and lazy Susano (and Nagi, his ancestor) are the legendary heroes. Played with still further when Susano reveals that he knows he's the Fake Ultimate Hero — and then, when the chips are altogether down, summons up some heroism and delivers the final blow without any help from Ammy.
  • Panzer Dragoon:
    • Kyle at the start of the first game, as the blue dragon's original rider is killed by the dark dragon, and he just happens to be there to see it. The unnamed rider gives him his mission as his dying wish, then keels over. This also leads to the rather unfortunate side-effect of Kyle being the one rider just about everyone seems to forget, since his place in the series is seemingly nominal at best when compared to the other protagonists. However, some DO note that for the dragon to fight at maximum capacity, it needs a rider; without Kyle, it could never have accomplished its mission.
    • Somewhat averted with the crossover comic Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite, where Kyle and the Blue Dragon represent the franchise and help the heroes take on Sigma, although his inclusion may be due to the fact that the first game represented the franchise in Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed. Noticeably, Kyle has no dialogue in the story.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers:
    • It turns out that you aren't the one chosen to go to the Hidden Land and save time after all: your partner is. However, because of The Power of Friendship, you're allowed to go too.
    • You and your original partner were this before you lost your memories. The two of you were born into a Crapsack World and just decided to fix it.
  • Toyed with in Portal. Chell is chosen because she is the unchosen one. Her evaluation indicates that she should not be used for testing, as she is incapable of quitting and accepting defeat. Rattman puts her into the testing for this very reason, hoping that she will be able to defeat GLaDOS.
  • Rondo of Swords has the main character, Serdic's double. He's pretty much dragged in the whole mess by the destruction of Bretwalde in the beginning, which also results in the death of the real Chosen One, Prince Serdic, who's the only one who can properly wield the holy sword. Eventually he has to choose whether to fulfill Prince Serdic's final wish of restoring Bretwalde (which requires him to ascend as Emperor wielding the holy sword... which results in him having to kill Princess Marie to purify the sword) or fulfill the Prince's request to protect his sister (which forces Marie to become the Queen, and causes the double to gain the name 'Altrius' after a legendary hero and become her bodyguard). Either way, he's pretty much just at the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time.
  • In Septerra Core, the Big Bad Doskias believes he's the Chosen One on account of being the direct descendant of the world's Crystal Dragon Jesus. Instead, the person who ends up saving the world is the heroine, Maya, who doesn't have any sort of special destiny or lineage, but manages to become Septerra's savior through sheer determination. Also, not being a homicidal douche, unlike Doskias.
  • Almost all main characters of the Shin Megami Tensei, with a few notable exceptions, are normal humans that just end up being at the right place at the right time.
    • The Hero of Shin Megami Tensei I is a Badass Normal high school student that has no magical powers whatsoever, he compensates by having the ability to recruit demons. By the end of the game you've killed at least one, if not both, of your best friends, one of them being the actual Chosen One of a cult. At the end of the game itself, you've either slain Archangel Michael, general of the army of Law, or Asura, general of the forces of Chaos. As shown in the sequel, he canonically killed both.
    • The protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is just a well trained American/Japanese (depending on which version you play) soldier chosen to be part of the Strike Team sent to investigate the Schwarzwelt. He's a completely normal human with no affinity for magic, equipped only with the adaptive Demonica suit and the Magitek weapons made with the materials from the Schwarzwelt itself. By the end of the game, not only have you killed several god-like entities in the form of the Mothers, but also either destroyed the Schwarzwelt itself or changed the world forever with the power of the Cosmic Eggs.
    • The protagonist of Persona 3 is (sort of) The Chosen One in the present because Aigis sealed Pharos inside them to prevent the Fall and save the world, but the incident that led to that happening — a late night ride with their parents being interrupted by Aigis fighting Death/Pharos — was essentially a random accident that could have happened to anyone. The protagonist just happened to be the only person nearby when Aigis needed to seal Death away.
  • StarCraft seems to have followed the Diablo franchise in this trope as of Legacy of the Void. As it turns out, the Xel'Naga Prophecy basically includes an Alien Non-Interference Clause, and that the two species (originally thought to be Protoss and Zerg) that are to merge must do so of their own volition. Amon essentially tried to subvert this prophecy by making those two races into The Chosen One, and therefore unable to fulfill the prophecy: The Zerg Swarm is unable to assimilate the Protoss, while forcibly merging them creates Hybrid instead of a new generation of Xel'naga. In comes Kerrigan, a powerful Terran psionic (fulfills "Purity of Form"), who as of the end of Heart of the Swarm has had her Zerg essence rebuilt from the ground up with Primal essence untouched by Amon (fulfills "Purity of Essence"). A unique case to Kerrigan in the story of the franchise, as any other Terran psionic in the game would have been killed by the process which Kerrigan underwent (which is why her survival is vital in defeating Amon), however it is implied that Terrans are quickly evolving into psionic ability, and after a few centuries they would begin rivalling even the Protoss.
  • The Tales Series will frequently create some sort of hero, only to reveal how much It Sucks to Be the Chosen One, with an Unchosen taking center stage.
  • In Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen, Ambriel reveals that she was intended to be the pilot of Genion. The black nucleus that Hibiki touched in the first stage of Jigoku was the Genion's manual and pilot registration system, and it was sent there by DEM in order to scout Suzune as the pilot but Hibiki, being a teenage mecha protagonist, just had to go touching it.
  • The Bard of Wandersong sets out to learn the Earthsong, convinced that it'll save the world. Later on, however, they discover the universe wasn't meant to be saved that way, courtesy of Eyala and Audrey. Once the Bard learns Audrey's true duty as The Chosen One is to hasten the destruction of the world, they become dead-set on defying fate itself to save the world.
  • The player character in White Knight Chronicles is the only character in the game that has no obligation to help out whatsoever, but is still there the entire way. The newbie wine-seller to whom no one paid much attention can also end up obtaining a brand new Incorruptus called the Ark Knight, which leaves the villains sputtering in disbelief.
  • In the course of World of Warcraft: Legion, you retrieve and empower an artifact, Light's Heart, which channels the spirit of a Naaru, a being of light, called Xe'ra. Xe'ra insists that on Azeroth there is a "Child of Light and Shadow" who will be instrumental to defeating the Legion. This individual is none other than Illidan Stormarage. When he meets Xe'ra in person, the Naaru tells her would-be Chosen One about his destiny. However, after he refuses Xe'ra's offer of power, having been in a position like this before, Xe'ra tries to empower him by force. He takes this poorly, fights back, and Illidan completely destroys Xe'ra. He sums up his reasons to one of Xe'ra's enraged followers.
    "Your faith has blinded you. There can be no chosen one. Only we can save ourselves."
  • Adol Christin of Ys is an inversion: he became badass not because he was The Chosen One, he became (or repeatedly gets picked as) The Chosen One because he's badass. Because if your land needs a savior, it's an excellent idea to pick the guy who's already killed enough dark gods to fill a pantheon. In the sixth game's Trials of Alma sidequest, the daughter of the goddess running said trials isn't very impressed with this random guy who just showed up, but when Adol started passing the trials, apparently she went and asked around about you. She becomes much more impressed and respectful after that.
  • Zettai Hero Project opens with The Hero, the Unlosing Ranger, dying in a hit-and-run accident. You just happen to be nearby when he croaks and leaves you with his morphing belt. When you go to confront Darkdeath Evilman, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs and your unprepared ass is handed to you on a platter. What follows is Training from Hell as you work on becoming the hero who will save the world, through trial and error — lots, and lots, and lots of error.

    Web Animation 

  • 8-Bit Theater is about four Unchosen who basically steal the destiny of the actual Chosen and then proceed to completely waste the opportunity. And the ones who actually end up saving the world are White Mage, Priest, Shaman and Healer, ending up both as Unchosen Ones themselves and as sort-of Chosen Ones in that they're putting an end to the longest Brick Joke in the series.
  • From the Crossover Wars, Scale. Her own comic starts with her creators (in story) talking of a planned story which was derailed when the Editor & his forces invaded the comic & captured them. Scale's "birth" was a side effect of the Editor reaching into the metaphorical womb (a computer) and pulling out her bracer into "reality". Afterwards she had to figure out what had happened & what to do next, which involved stumbling across dimensions and assembling an army to oppose the Evil Overlords & rescuing her creators.
  • Almond from Cucumber Quest is truly hero material, while her brother Cucumber is rather bookish and has never held a sword in his life. However, it is Cucumber who becomes the Legendary Hero and Almond is supposed to stay home and be the damsel in distress, like the many younger sisters of the Legendary Heroes before Cucumber. Instead, she follows her brother on his journey and is determined to beat The Nightmare Knight herself, even offering to handle the quest herself. While impulsive and eager to fight, she is a capable fighter and has already decimated one of the eight Disaster Masters.
  • The title character of Digger. Digger is an anthropomorphic wombat, and her people usually have the good sense to steer clear of any gods or magic they may encounter. Unfortunately, Digger has gotten herself first good and lost (on account of underground hallucinogenic gas pockets), then entangled (on account of being too nice for her own good) in strange goings on in a faraway land, in which both gods and magic are involved. Prophesies of several groups speak extensively of the other characters in the story, the events that Digger participates in, and even the tunnel that Digger digs up to the surface in the beginning of the story once she decides that she is completely and utterly lost — but strangely none of the prophesies say anything about Digger herself, or mention wombats in any way. Indeed, hardly anyone in the land Digger has found herself in has even heard of them. As it turns out, her ancestor specifically asked that his descendants be immune to divine prying and prophesying in exchange for helping to bind a mad god.
  • Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick fits this pretty well. Originally he took on the quest to destroy Xykon, his father's personal nemesis, out of a desire to prove himself. In the process, he discovered that Xykon represents a significant threat to the universe. After telling his father to shove it, Roy decides that he's going to take down Xykon regardless of his father's wishes, just because it needs to be done.
    Roy: We're still the Order of the Stick, no matter how much stuff changes along the way. I'm sure there will be even more changes before the endgame — things we can't even hope to predict now. And I'm just as sure that we'll get through them all. Not because we're destined or chosen or fated or any of that cliched heroic garbage. Nah. We'll get through because we're the ones who are too dumb to know when to quit.
  • Tower of God:
    • A Downplayed case near the beginning, when all the candidates to climb the Tower have to pass a test to show they can tolerate the higher concentrations of Shinsu in the upper levels. Lero Ro puts it by saying that some people are "chosen" and some are not. Shibisu and Serena Linnen, who have been unable to pass through the Shinsu curtain so far, say something to the effect "screw being chosen" and push through with all their might, getting through even though they injure themselves in the process. (Of course, they presumably wouldn't have been able to regardless if they hadn't been at least borderline suitable to begin with.)
    • Rachel tries so hard to take for herself the position of the chosen one that no-one's giving her. (What exactly she's after is something not revealed for quite a while.) Since she's got no powers or anything, she gets quite frustrated and desperate trying. Basically the only way she gets anywhere on that road is by getting help from more powerful people who want to use her as their pawn.
    • The Hero Bam is initially motivated by very personal reasons, although he's never far from Chronic Hero Syndrome anyway. This phase also includes being forced to work for an evil organisation that wants to use him to kill Jahad, the King of the Tower. Later, he finds out that his origins and his powers have something to do with a destiny placed upon him to do that same thing. Finally, at the end of the Hell Train arc, he realises to look to himself for meaning instead of asking anyone else, after which he explicitly declares that he chooses his destiny to be again, defeat Jahad, but this time for his own reasons — because Jahad is, in his eyes, exactly what a king should not be.

    Web Original 
  • In Lamia Daughter Quest, the Chosen Ones of Citadel kingdom are the Lightbringers, who will come together, face a Shaper of Darkness, and perform a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat it. Ssen Patrick and her Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are not Lightbringers, but they do manage to be in the right place at the right time to defeat threats the Lightbringers were supposed to thwart. Though the Lightbringers are not actual chosen ones — they're actually victims of an elaborate form of human sacrifice designed to keep Citadel alive. The Dawnchasers being Unchosen Ones and distrupting the Lightbringers' story was a massive Spanner in the Works for them.

    Western Animation 
  • While all the later incarnations of the Avatar in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are all The Chosen One, Wan, the first Avatar, was this. He went against the beliefs and lifestyles of the world at the time, refusing to accept that things could not be changed and would always stay the same. Through his efforts, he merged with the spirit Raava to stop Vaatu, and the two began the Avatar Cycle, separated human and spirit world for their mutual protection, and allowed humanity to leave the Lion Turtles for the wider world.
  • The titular character of the Ben 10 franchise. In the original series, Ben is surprised and deeply disappointed to learn that the Omnitrix had actually been sent to Earth for his ex-Plumber grandfather to use. It only attached itself to him because the Omnitrix was able to scan D.N.A. and decided Ben was close enough in the genetics department. Later, the device's creator, Azmuth, muses how destiny may have chosen Ben... though this same character doesn't fully accept Ben as the bearer himself for several more years. That said, most of the alternate timelines shown throughout the original continuity do have Ben as the wielder of the Omnitrix, with a few alternate ones having his cousin Gwen receive the device.
  • Zig-Zagged in The Fairly OddParents Wishology trilogy. Timmy is assumed to be the Chosen One who will defeat the Darkness, but after he first defeats it, it turns out another guy named Turbo Thunder was meant to do so, being chosen by a committee holding auditions. However, when the Darkness rises up a second time and the Chosen One must pass "the Chosen Test" to prove he's worthy of wielding the second wand to defeat it for good, Timmy is the one who passes, proving Turbo Thunder was actually the Unchosen One.
  • Jamie in an episode of Megas XLR does this, and actually does the job surprisingly well... compared to Coop himself, anyway.
  • The titular Steven Universe is this. As the series progresses, Steven learns that his deceased mother, Rose Quartz, was not as perfect as everyone thought she was, and he begins to wonder if she gave birth to him purely to dump her problems onto somebody else. "Lion 4: Alternate Ending" has his father confirm that this was never his mother's intention; she just wanted her son to have a happy, normal life on Earth, which makes Steven feel a lot better. At least for the moment, as it still falls to Steven to fix said problems and the fallout they caused when it all inevitably comes back to him, whether by case of Mistaken Identity or Revenge by Proxy, which results in him resenting Rose later in life.
  • In Teen Titans, Raven is destined to be The Antichrist, and would serve as a portal for her Omnicidal Maniac father, Trigon. At first she tries hard to fight destiny, eventually succumbs Because Destiny Says So, but later rebels against her fate.

Alternative Title(s): Unchosen One