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They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character

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"Every time I watch a show, I get hooked on one particular character who isn't a main character. He or she only gets about one or two scenes per episode, and I watch while slowly and unconsciously ripping a hole out of the sofa pillow with my teeth, because it seems like only I can see the potential in this person that ISN'T being exploited!"

This character is brilliant. They might serve any role in the story, but no matter what trope they fall under, whether it be single trope or many, they all have one thing in common: you love them with a passion, but the writer doesn't. At least not to the same extent. For whatever reason, the work has gifted the audience with what you think is a fantastic new addition to the cast, but they just never seem to get the screentime you think they deserve. That Day in the Limelight isn't forthcoming, nor are any more hints about their mysterious past getting dropped. You never get to hear their snarky remarks on a situation that just calls for it, and after five pages of teasing they get Put on a Bus to Nowhereville or get a bridge dropped on them.

Often happens with characters that are introduced for only a single episode or two, or have mere supporting roles in a work that already has a large cast. These are characters that have an interesting backstory or interact with the main cast in intriguing new ways, setting the stage for compelling future plots or new dynamics if made a permanent fixture, or at least a recurring character — but those things never happen because the character in question ended up underdeveloped or underutilized by the narrative. This also happens to characters who only turn up within supplementary materials or, in a video game, through sidequests (which are very likely to be skipped and ignored). This can be especially annoying if these supplementary materials were never made available in your country.

Please note that this trope is about ignored characters with good potential who never receive the spotlight (or do so just once and then get removed or forgotten). It is not about leading characters who are not used the way you would like; there are infinite alternative ways any given character could have been used. It is not either about characters who have a limited or supporting role in one work but have leading roles elsewhere in the franchise, that's a Hero of Another Story.

Contrast Creator's Pet, this trope's exact opposite, where a character isn't considered good by many viewers but keeps getting exposure anyway. A subtrope of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, supertrope of Too Cool to Live. Nearly always an Ensemble Dark Horse. Fan Fic writers are especially drawn to these characters, as the Fanfic Fuel they generate can be prompts for many stories.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes
    • Galaxoid and Nebular, the two aliens Calvin sells the Earth to, could've been fun characters. Problem is, they were introduced extremely late into the strip (two months before it ended), and thus were only featured in two arcs.
    • Bill Watterson regards Uncle Max as a bad idea of a character who failed to open new avenues in the writing. A number of fans disagree with this, citing Uncle Max being a coolheaded guy and the only adult who regularly interacts with Calvin at his own level, bringing angles that rarely if ever appeared in the rest of the strip's run. Despite this, Max gets on an airplane at the end of his arc and leaves both town and the comic strip for good.
    • Calvin's doctor is considered by many to be a very funny and sarcastic character (like when he tells Calvin his ear light is a cattle prod and that "it hurts a little less than a branding iron"). Sadly, he disappeared after the chicken pox storyline, and never became as major as Rosalyn or Miss Wormwood.

    Fan Works 
  • Code Prime: The Glaston Knights have even less time here than they did in the original series, being totally wiped out after only two battles. At least some fans have expressed annoyance that they died without any character development at all. Special mention goes to Claudio, who was the Sole Survivor in canon, yet here is one of the first to die.
  • Johanna Mason: They Will Never See Me Cry: District 5 Victor Cassio is the only confirmed non-Career Victor in the last ten Games besides Johanna, Byte, Katniss, Peeta, and possibly the Victor of the 72nd Hunger Games. He could have had interesting scenes mentoring alongside Johanna (especially when Foxface/Merade is a contender), but he is only mentioned once or twice in passing.
  • Smaug in Lay Down Your Sweet and Weary Head. Thorin spends all his time worrying about the dragon's inevitable appearance. Then when he finally appears, Thorin shoots him and kills him in the space of a few paragraphs. We scarcely get to see Smaug at all. Even his attack on Dale is off-screen.
  • Cerise from My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic II is a major in Starfleet, can stand toe-to-toe with Lightning and can use the Uniforce. She is a one-shot character.
  • Of State: Grimmel the Grisly could have made for an interesting antagonist for Hiccup and his kingdom to face. Additionally, there was potential for an interaction between him and Frozen's characters. Many readers were disappointed at his treatment as a one-off villain who served little more than a plot device to show Hiccup's status as an Adaptational Badass.
  • In The Prayer Warriors: Battle With the Witches, Voldemort appears in a single scene, establishing himself as an enemy to both the Prayer Warriors and Hogwarts, and blackmailing Draco into killing Michael with the threat of killing Ebony so that he will be able to continue to fight against Dumbledore. It would have been more interesting to have an additional opposing faction, but Voldemort is never seen again.
  • This happens pretty often in Nuzlocke stories due to Real Life Writes the Plot. A writer can come up with an interesting and complex personality for a Pokemon... only for it to die to a fluke critical hit before they can fully develop. One notable example is Vinny the Magneton in Petty's Nuzlocke Challenge, who developed a huge fan following when he was introduced due to his interesting personality and good performance in battle... and he unceremoniously died to a critical in the next chapter.
  • A few cases in Panzer und uni
    • In the last chapter, Emi Nakasuga is introduced. For context, Emi and Miho had parted ways at the end of the prequel manga, Little Army, promising to see each other again once Miho found her own way of tankery. Unfortunately, Emi doesn't serve any role other than as Miho's final opponent in this fic.
    • Similar to Emi, there's also Chihiro Yusa, an old friend of Miho's who ended up going to a different middle school. She rejoins Miho's university team in the first chapter, but hardly has any role in the fic. Interestingly enough, Hitomi, the other member of their group, doesn't appear at all.
  • Universe Falls: You'd think Ronaldo, a walking Conspiracy Theorist stereotype, would fit in a Gravity Falls fanfic like a glove with its various mysteries, conspiracies, and cryptids, yet his presence is scaled back considerably compared to his various episodes from Steven Universe proper.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda. Wonderful character design, awesome powers, voiced by the likes of Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan, each with the potential for intriguing backstories — but for such an imaginative, talented group of characters, they seem remarkably underutilized. However, they're given a bit more to do in the sequel (particularly Tigress) and are also fleshed out a bit more in supplementary material like the Secrets of the Furious Five special and the Legends of Awesomeness series.
  • Many who didn't like Shark Tale have dubbed Lenny the film's only likable character, due to his being a Nice Guy and genuinely pretty sympathetic (it helps that Jack Black actually does a decent job as the voice as opposed to just acting like himself into a microphone like the rest of the cast did) and have stated that he should've been the protagonist.
  • Brutus of The Secret of NIMH has a scary introduction where he menaces Mrs. Brisby with an electrified spear, but that's his only appearance in the film. He's apparently in the scene where the rats are moving Mrs. Brisby's house as Justin shouts for him, but he's not on-screen. A scene of him actually getting to use his badass electro-pike (against Dragon, perhaps?) would have been nice.
  • Zee from Monster House. At first she's a nasty (though darkly humorous) subversion of the sweet and kind babysitter, but there are a few moments here and there that suggest she's not altogether bad and there's even some build-up as to her involvement in the titular Monster House (at one point she offers to go and see what DJ is so afraid of). Given the emphasis put on her in the film's first half, many viewers expected her to turn up again in a Chekhov's Gunman capacity, but ...nope. Instead she disappears halfway through the film and only reappears for a tiny scene during the closing credits.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: The Shadowbolts weren't given much screen time — surprising since they're the focus of the toyline (along with the protagonists, of course), were among the first things leaked and/or formally revealed about the film, and promotional materials (such as posts by the official My Little Pony facebook page and the official Equestria Girls website) pushed parallels between them and the Humane Six and gave interesting character traits that are, for the most part, unexplored in the film proper.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Valka in the second movie is shown to be an incredible character with a connection to dragons, a sympathetic backstory, and a very spooky design aesthetic that is great to look at. But then she gets pushed to the sidelines for the sake of Hiccup's character development, and in a situation where you'd think she'd do great, she ends up being pushed down almost immediately. Word of God says that she was originally conceived as the Big Bad, which does explain it somewhat. She also has little presence in the third film.
    • Following his ambiguous fate at the end of the second film, Drago Bludvist was originally intended to return for the third instalment, but this was ultimately scrapped and Drago is completely absent from the film note . Grimmel casually mentions how Drago's defeat was made public among other warlords, but Drago's ultimate fate is not further elaborated on.
    • The Night Furies. They were teased at various points but the third film reveals that with the exception of Toothless they all have been killed. We will never see Toothless interact with another Night Fury and we know almost nothing about the species.
    • Grimmel's Deathgrippers in the third movie. Drugged into compliance, they're both natural predators and the embodiment of everything ugly about humankind's treatment of dragons. They're given very little attention and Toothless unceremoniously electrocutes them in the climax, and they fall to the ocean never to be seen again.
    • The Warlords serve as Drago Bludvist's successors and are implied to have been in conflict with Hiccup and Berk for a year as of the third film. These characters could have been an intimidating threat even without Grimmel, and the fact that at least one of them is from outside the Barbaric Archipelago could have been used to show how the rest of the world views Berk and its peace with the dragons. Instead they are relegated to minor joke villains while Grimmel serves as the Big Bad, and they are sidelined during the climax with their final fates left ambiguous.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo's cousins, the Adelita Twins who fought during the revolution and are also the only badass Sanchezes to not be Bull Fighters. Only got two scenes.
    • Joaquin's dad is talked about a lot but never makes an appearance which leads to all sorts of Fanon.
  • Finnick from Zootopia starts off as a cutesy sidekick to Nick, who is apparently a baby fox that wants to grow up to be an elephant...only for the audience to find out later on he's actually a grown-up fennec fox that has a cynical, aggressive, tough as nails personality and a deep voice. However, despite the fact that he makes his personality very well known, he only gets three lines and is in the movie for less than 5 minutes, to the point where he's pretty much the only character in the movie who's nowhere to be found in the Dance Party Ending (which is also kind of weird considering he can be seen on many of the promotional materials for the movie, to the point where he has his own toy commercial).
    • However, the directors have acknowledged his popularity, and have gone on record saying that if a sequel is made, he will have a bigger role.
  • Most of the characters in The Secret Life of Pets appear to be in the movie just for audience appeal, and ended up largely superfluous to the plot. Among the protagonists, Chloe and Tiberius only contributed briefly to Max's rescue, while Buddy, Mel, Norman, and Sweetpea could've stayed home for all the difference they made.
  • In Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, lots of effort is devoted early on to establishing a huge herd of interesting supporting cast members, who then spend the rest of the movie tripping over each other for screen time to the point where it feels like all of them got shortchanged. If the proposed TV series had materialized, they would have each finally gotten a chance to shine.
  • Frozen II: Of all characters from the first film, Prince Hans could qualify for this since it was said he was going to be making a return and have a potential Heel–Face Turn before the writers scrapped the idea entirely. He only gets brief mentions.
  • Wreck-It Ralph/Ralph Breaks the Internet: Many fans of the cute little racers in the game Sugar Rush wish they had more screen time (aside from Vanellope and the adult King Candy/Turbo, both of which play major roles) and some wish the racers had their own film or TV show. One Sugar Rush racer (in this case Rancis Fluggerbutter) did get his own tie-in book, and a subplot about the racers with Fix-It Felix, Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun as their parents was planned for “Ralph Breaks the Internet” during the storyboards, but was cut from the final version and only showed a few scenes in the beginning and end. Still, fans are disappointed about the limited screen time for the Sugar Rush racers. Some fans make fanfics about them, and some are even annoyed that the racers have full bios that the “Wreck-It Ralph” movies wasted. Yet the lead trio of racers (Taffyta Muttonfudge, Rancis Fluggerbutter and Candlehead) get a few small scenes of screen time, which a few are annoyed about.
  • In Turning Red, Jin gets very little focus and presence with the exception of the scene where he talks with Mei before the ritual. Some people felt he could have had a bigger role in the story.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie:
    • This was bound to happen for the one that acts as Bowser's hostage that needs to be saved, and Luigi was no exception. After how well the Brooklyn opening does at getting you invested in the brotherly chemistry between Mario and Luigi, the two of them end up separated during the warp to the new world. As a result, the chemistry is lost, and Luigi's time is mostly just spent on him being Out of Focus as Bowser's hostage; leaving him no opportunity to shine like Mario. There's a small attempt at setting up a character arc for him regarding his nature as a Cowardly Lion, but the movie's short runtime means this gets reduced to 2-3 lines and a brief flashback to his childhood. At the very least, Luigi does get to be a key player in the Final Battle, on top of getting some well-earned revenge on his captors once he toughens up.
    • For all the emphasis put on Toad being a member of the Token Trio along with Mario and Peach, he actually gets very little to do during most of the movie. He is the first person Mario meets in the Mushroom Kingdom and gladly brings him to the princess once he learns of Luigi's situation, but once Mario and Peach meet, the only further contributions Toad makes to the plot are being tortured by Kamek to coerce Peach into marrying Bowser (and even there, it's made clear that this would work with any of the Toads in the kingdom, not just this one specifically) and sneaking an Ice Flower into her wedding bouquet for her. Notably, during the entire second act where the Token Trio travels to the Kong Kingdom — from the time they leave to when Peach and Toad return after losing Mario and the Kong Army — Toad could have been completely removed from the group with absolutely zero effect on the story whatsoever.
    • The Goombas. For the most iconic enemies in the Mario series, they barely appear at all in the movie and are effectively replaced by the Koopas as the lowly mooks of Bowser's army.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the WWE, Muhammad Hassan was original portrayed as an Arab-American suffering from racism in a post-9/11 world. Judging by his character alone, he had the potential of becoming one of the biggest woobies ever. However, he was treated as a typical Foreign Wrestling Heel by racist fans despite being billed from Detroit, Michigan to the point where he eventually became the very thing he was stereotyped as. Eventually, due to outcry following an incident where men in ski masks assisted him on the same day as the 2005 bombings in London, Hassan was written off when The Undertaker dropped him through the stage.
  • Paul Burchill's pirate gimmick, in which the wrestler discovered one of his distant ancestors was a pirate so he began to model himself as one, swinging onto the ramp from a rope and brandishing a cutlass, was much beloved by the fans. It even came about at the height of the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean. But, the gimmick was axed prematurely because Vince McMahon couldn't understand why a pirate would be a Face.
  • Hade Vansen, a mysterious British wrestler who was supposed to feud with the Undertaker, was released before he debuted. Most fans feel it was a waste
  • When Dustin Rhodes returned to WCW in 1999, it was originally supposed to be in the guise of "Seven," a ghoulish, pail-skinned character in a long coat and wide-brimmed hat. One vignette for the character features him staring at a child through the child's bedroom window, and then the child's eyes turn into empty black pits. When the character actually debuted, he floated to the ring (with assistance from some wires) and then Rhodes broke character and cut a worked shoot promo verbally bashing this gimmick, as well as the Goldust gimmick. The next time he was seen, he had a completely different gimmick, and the Seven character never even wrestled a match. The gimmick was actually the brainchild of Rhodes and his father Dusty, but the character was dropped after the network executives feared that he would be misinterpreted as a child abductor.note 
  • Maxine was an Ensemble Dark Horse for Diva fans on NXT Redemption. As well as having a solid character, she was quite good in the ring too. When NXT Redemption was cancelled, she could have made for a good top heel in the women's division - or at least a character role on TV. She spent a couple of months barely being used, and opted to ask for her release.
  • Layla returned to WWE after a year off (due to a torn ACL) fresh off a Heel–Face Turn - and very improved in the ring. As Kelly Kelly was on her way out, WWE were in need of a new top babyface Diva - and Layla had gotten decent reactions from crowds beforehand. However she was barely on TV and got no mic time to herself at all. Despite wowing people in the ring, nothing was done with her at all. It happened again a year later when she turned heel on her friend Kaitlyn - seemingly forming an alliance with AJ. This was dropped after a couple of weeks and Layla was Put on a Bus for months for unknown reasons.
  • The Beautiful Fierce Females on NXT, mostly due to Real Life Writes the Plot. Summer Rae and Sasha Banks formed a Power Stable hoping to take control of NXT - later recruiting Charlotte to make it a villainous version of The Three Faces of Evenote . However Charlotte left for a few months to get breast implants. The feud between Paige and Emma also took centre stage and Bayley also needed people to feud with - so the BFFs never got much of a chance to get pushed as a top heel faction. What's more is that Summer Rae's main roster career took off, meaning that she had to stop appearing at NXT. When she returned, the group was quickly broken up. Put it this way: the first time the three of them wrestled in a 6-Diva tag together - it was the start of their break-up.
  • CHIKARA simply announced that Wani would be on Juan Francisco de Coronado's squad for the Torneo Cibernetico at the 2015 Season Finale Top Banana and never developed a character or backstory for him. He didn't do much of note during 2016. Then he defeated Space Monkey for the Young Lions Cup and, once he lost it to Sylverhawk, he left and was completely forgotten. The reason behind this was that Kai Katana, who played him, didn't like being under a mask.
  • WWE signed Heidi Lovelace, who had been a Champion and main eventer in many promotions, changed her name to Ruby Riot(t), made her the leader of a team...and jobbed her out nonstop.
  • WWE also signed Ruby's longtime friend/rival Kimber Lee, changed her name to "Abbey Laith," and jobbed her out endlessly and released her. As Princess Kimberlee, she had made history by becoming the first female CHIKARA Grand Champion, and all WWE could think to do with her is have her lose to Lana, who isn't even a wrestler. In this case though, it's been said that Kimber had severe attitude issues while in developmental, to the point that she went through six roommates and Ruby cut ties with her. It wouldn't be the first time that Kimberlee had behavior issues either - just ask Absolute Intense Wrestling.
  • WWE gave Kizarny a big buildup and then did nothing with him. He beat MVP, appeared in a battle royal, and was never seen again. Critics point out that his vignettes consisted of Kizarny talking in Pig Latin, informing everyone that he was Kizarny, and other carnival people doing actually interesting things.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Few characters have been wasted worse than Ajani Goldmane. Introduced in the first batch of "neo-walkers" in 2007's Lorwyn, he was a primary protagonist in the following year's Shards of Alara. And...that was the extent of his use as a major character. He occasionally showed up in a supporting role after, such as in 2013's Theros, but never again took on a starring role. This came to a head after the soft reboot in 2015's Magic Origins - he officially becomes a member of the "main" hero team in Aether Revolt, only to vanish again in the very next set. His next appearance was in War of the Spark, where he plays very little role beyond being another planeswalker for the planeswalker-heavy set. This would be his last appearance until 2022's Dominaria United...where he was promptly assimilated by the villains. Ajani fans were drawn in by his likable personality, sympathetic backstory, unique power suite, and cool design, and seeing him spend year after year being completely ignored before returning only to be villainised for shock value...was frustrating, to say the least.
    • Ugin also got a raw deal. Initially revealed as a mysterious figure in the flavour text of a single Future Sight card, we got a bit more info on him years later in Zendikar, which revealed he was one of the three ancient planeswalkers who sealed the cosmic entities called the Eldrazi away to stop them from destroying more planes. When the Eldrazi are released, Sorin tries to track him down again to stop them, only to learn he's been dead for centuries. This leads to Sarkhan travelling through time and changing history to save Ugin. Finally, we see the Spirit Dragon in all his glory, ready to reprise his ancient role and save the multiverse from the Eldrazi once more! Except, after all these years of buildup, his only role is to tell the Gatewatch not to destroy the Eldrazi because there might be some vague consequences at some undefined future point maybe. They completely ignore him, destroy the Eldrazi anyway, nothing comes of his pointlessly vague warnings, then a few years later he seals himself away again. Leaving the audience to wonder, the hell was the point of any of that buildup?

    • Dark Hunter Ancient. He's a unique case: started out as a decent character (evil but not outright malicious, and a founding member of the Dark Hunters), but was overall plain and unimportant. Not many would've missed him. Then, with no foreshadowing, he's revealed to be a Double Agent for the good guys. He's become interesting! He is then abruptly killed off and forgotten completely, rendering this reveal pointless (because no other character found out). Worse, the plot which led him to be killed was abandoned after that chapter.
    • Other Dark Hunters might also count, such as Guardian, who only ever appeared in one scene before being killed by the Big Bad For the Evulz, even though they had an in-depth backstory written for him. Toyless Toyline Characters are prone to this, as a lot of them come off as more interesting than the main characters, but are always forced to the back because there's too many of them.
    • Some might think they wasted Tren Krom too. Sure, he had a great impact on the story already, and was an interestingly developed character (some sort of a benevolent but still mean-spirited Eldritch Abomination who's terrified to see what the world he was once appointed to rule had come to), but he was bound to his island prison, which limited his use greatly. Then, he became free, and when we next see him... his pieces are all over the scenery. Justified in that killing off powerful characters was the point of this story, but still. There was great potential in the guy.
    • Telluris. A crazed and evil Gadgeteer Genius who does have a good side, but this is usually overshadowed by his mighty mechanical scorpion-war machine, the Skopio XV-1. The Skopio only ever appeared in one scene (not counting its animation model appearing in The Legend Reborn), in a difficult-to-get side story, and got trashed. Thus, the most defining aspect of Telluris' character was gone. Telluris also received an in-depth history, and even seemed like an actual likable character, only to be killed off later for no reason whatsoever, before he could do anything that had an impact on the plot.
    • Alternate-Teridax, the benevolent Alternate Universe-self of the story's Big Bad. He is brought to the main universe, but only appears for a short action scene where he brutally demolishes some Mooks, and is then forgotten. He doesn't even play a part in defeating the original Teridax, and nobody seems to care that he's there.
      • In both of the last two cases, it's quite possible that more would have been done with them if not for the Executive Meddling that shut down BIONICLE and left some stories half-written.
    • The Vahki made a huge impact on fans in the 2004 web animations and tv commercial, which portrayed them as merciless, extremely efficient and creepy law enforcers that keep the city in a constant Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque state. They had powerful abilities, could show up everywhere, attacked in swarms, and being fully robotic, had no reason to care about their lives. This depiction never came up elsewhere; the comics, books and movie turned them into disposable Mooks easily beaten though convenient circumstances and barely ever using their powers. The writer hated them so much, he wrote them out of the story.

    Web Animation 
  • Lobo (Webseries): Some DC fans were bothered that Superman (a common rival of Lobo) didn't make a cameo. Others were relieved since Lobo generally isn't a family friendly character.
  • Red vs. Blue had Grif's Sister, Kaikaina. Once introduced in season 5, she was quickly well-liked and deemed a hilarious character, but still ends up having barely any effect on the story. Come the next season, Sister appears to show the other characters moved to other places and left her behind, despite all the fun gags or plot complications that could be built off Grif having a sibling on the other side. It would take seven seasons for Sister to appear again in a cameo, and after brief appearances in the following two, she was finally back in the main cast for season 16, which while divisive among fans, had Sister's reintroduction and usage being one of the few things no one complained about.
  • SBB Brothers:
    • Presumably; this was what the producer thought about Kristen and Roscoe. Before he canceled the original Sims Big Brother 7, the two were brought back as the guest star players. Both were evicted second and didn't have a chance to develop (That and SRN admits that he had almost no creativity while working on Sims Big Brother 4 anyways and it shows.) However when the viewers chose the cast of All stars, Roscoe sadly didn't make the cut (He did have several amusing moments; though, more than can be said for Kristen) but Kristen was one of two people from season 4 that made it in - the other was Johnny. Kristen wasn't even a producer's choice!
    • Unfortunately, the same could be said about a lot of the big brother 4 cast. CJ seemed almost a background prop despite being popular enough to win (Viewers voted on the winner). Brian and Sam seemed to be in control of the game, heck, Sam is the only player who was never nominated.
    • The viewers also thought this about Dana, too. Dana was another early boot from Big Brother season 2 but was voted in as well.

  • Check, Please!:
    • Downplayed case, but some believe it happens to Bittle. The first 2 years of the comic heavily focus on Jack's issues, his past and his plans for the future, leaving Bittle to have focus only during his coming out, his concussion and his crush on Jack during year 2. Bittle is heavily implied to be a rather complex character, and things about him never got explored, such as his relationship with his father and his conservative family, his bullying-filled childhood, his fear of checking that seems to expand to most forms of physical contact and his romantic life.
    • Kent's implied narrative is very compelling, dramatic and got a lot of fans interested in it after Jack's comments about their relationship brushing off Kent as a physical thing, while Kent is still in love with him. That added to the rise in popularity of Kent/Tater made a lot of people interested in his side of the story, but since the plot takes place from Bitty's point of view, and he can't stand Kent, he doesn't really get any focus.
  • The "To Thine Own Self" arc of General Protection Fault introduced some side characters who would have been interesting in their own right as counterparts to the main cast, but got killed off before long. Examples include a version of Yoshi who is a savant at engineering but otherwise mentally retarded, Wong Li, a diminutive yet extremely powerful operative and a Shrinking Violet version of Sharon. Unfortunately, most of the resistance characters are implied to have been killed off when the resistance hideout is raided, and Nega-Sharon is The Mole for the Emperor, and gets killed when an explosion causes the roof to collapse on her.
  • Homestuck:
    • The trolls of Hivebent hover somewhere around 'deuteragonist' level, but are still this. They're introduced in Act 5, almost half of them are dead by Act 6, and they're the protagonists of a compelling, highly abridged Story Within a Story that Hivebent gives us only an idea of. They each have their own distinct personalities and methods of coping with the Fantastic Caste System and their species' truly messed up culture. They have an alien system of romance that the author created specifically to bait shippers with. It should come as no surprise that they're also Ensemble Dark Horses par excellence.
    • Jade is by far the least-seen of the original four main kids, an issue that only grows as the comic goes on. She is introduced with a unique life — the first of the four players to have her dream self awake and under control, living on an island with a superpowered teleporting dog as a guardian, and has plenty of Hidden Depths that could work well with other characters. As a hero of Space, she also has one of the two "required" aspects to a session (along with Time, Dave's aspect) and plays a crucial role in the endgame of Sburb. Then Act 5 ends with her becoming one of the most powerful characters in the entire story... then her screentime plumets. While John, Rose, and Dave all undergo their own personal adventures and storylines, Jade spends more time than any of them either "just" left to piloting a ship, asleep, or mind-controlled by the Condesce. She barely even interacts with Rose that much, with their total number of on-screen conversations being in the single digits.
  • Rain (2010): Brett, a character introduced in the January Girls chapter was a tall, quiet kid who seemed to served no purpose in the story besides annoy Chanel. Some thought the comic was setting him to be a highly closeted queer person who was too socially anxious and distant to come out. Sadly, nothing was done with his character.
  • Starfighter: Encke and Keeler, the leaders of the Sleipnir ship. They are so far the ones to show to be the sanest and most level headed members of the cast, but some fans feel that their romantic tension needed more screen time, specially because, aside from a flashback implying that Keeler was Encke's Closet Key, there isn't much to their relationship outside of friendly and professional.
  • VG Cats: To say the least, Ramsoomair's style was good back in the day. He made a number of jokes about Star Fox, but the only time anyone actually got to see how he would draw any of the characters aside from Slippy Toad was in the strip where Aeris imagines Fox & Falco having sex while making bad in-jokes... with Wolf presumably joining in later.

    Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest has tons of characters, each with detailed backstories, characterizations, and other information inside their profiles. It also happens to be a Deadly Game in which characters die regularly. As you might expect, many characters die early on, or without reaching their full potential.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's review of Osmosis Jones had a parody of Inside Out with other actors as his emotions. But instead of any character references, they mostly just fight about whether they ripped off the former movie or not, even though they're focused on two completely different aspects of the body.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • Name any student character that appears in the "Bowser Junior's Summer School" or "First Grade" story arcs that isn't Junior, Toad, Cody, or Joseph. Almost all of them never show up in any other videos besides those story arcs. Charleyyy, Black Yoshi, Shrek, and Logan are in the "Summer School" story arc, but they don't really count, due to the former three being recurring characters, and the latter being the series' creator.
    • The Strongbottom Family, all of whom are royalty from the Iron Asses of Wales and are related to Chef Pee Pee. Naturally, this would raise a lot of possibilities. What sort of antics would Junior get up to with the sisters? What sort of development would Chef Pee Pee go through with his father? Where did Stacy learn "Queef?" What sort of struggles would Chef Pee Pee and Benjamin go through taking care of BOTH the Strongbottoms and Bowser's family? What sort of relationship would Bowser and the King have? Where is Queen Strongbottom? How did Chef Pee Pee go from royalty to a common house chef? There was a lot that could be done with this family and could have added a lot of characterization, depth, character development and even an interesting backstory to Chef Pee Pee. But instead, King Strongbottom gets killed by his servant Benjamin (Even more baffling because Strongbottom says that Stacy would take the throne if he died, yet we never see Stacy again), Stacy never goes beyond being a cheerleader who keeps saying "Queef" and Chef Pee Pee's big sister is not even named.
  • In Overly Sarcastic Productions trope talk on Plot Twists, Red lists this and its counterpart as a hallmark of a bad twist; The story would be more interesting if the twist hadn't happened. As an example, she asks what would have happened if Quicksilver had survived Avengers: Age of Ultron.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Petrov might have sided with Tony, truly believing that Tony was atoning for his actions through the Sokovian Accords. This would have put him on opposing sides of Wanda, the first time the twins truly conflict, and leading to some great drama.
    • Petrov could have survived the Snap, leaving him as the sole surviving twin and spent the five ensuing years doing for earth what Captain Marvel did for the universe; running around and being a hero to the survivors. When Wanda returns in Endgame, there is suddenly a five year age difference between these twins and, while Petrov had five years to come to term with his loss, and has grown as a person, Wanda lost the love of her life a few minutes ago from her perspective, leaving the two at completely different places in life.


Video Example(s):


Lord Azriel

Daniel Craig of Casino Royale fame was really done dirty in this film.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter

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