Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Get your terms straight, boy, Mutiny is when the enlisted men take over a vessel. When the ship’s master does it, it’s called barratry.

An Anti-Mutiny is a subtrope of The Mutiny where The Captain decides to disobey his/her orders, and the person responsible for the mutiny is actually the one being loyal to the crew's original mission or cause. Despite this, the mutineer is usually depicted as a villain in said media (though he/she can be an Anti-Hero on occasion, especially if the captain is hypocritically condemning those "disloyal" to his new direction even as he disobeys his own orders). The person who decides to Anti-Mutiny is often a Second in Command, or Number Two.

The scenario leading up to an Anti-Mutiny usually goes as such: the crew of the Cool Ship has a mission or goal that the captain is entrusted with. Usually it is a goal with extreme implications, such as an Alien Invasion that will destroy a planet or race. Then, for one reason or another, The Captain decides that he does not want to go through with the mission given by his higher powers. This is when the mutineer takes over, often by force, with the goal of making the crew resume the mission they were given by the higher powers in the first place. Conflicting Loyalty often ensues.

The Captain may try to Bring Them Around, either before the mutiny, or while it is occurring; it can be interesting, since he can no longer rely on his authority as a captain, which they regard as forfeitted by his acts. Gross misconduct by the captain of a ship is legally known as barratry; the response is often an Anti-Mutiny.

See also Rebellious Rebel.

Examples of Anti-Mutiny include:


  • 2001's HAL 9000 disobeying Bowman and killing off the crew, though Bowman did not have enough information to realize that he was "endangering the mission," as HAL put it.
  • Auto in WALL-E, who takes over The Axiom by force and does not want it to return to Earth despite the captain's protests. However, Auto is simply following his programming and it is the captain who is technically going against the plan.
  • The Hunt for Red October: Half (okay, considering the story, less than that) of Captain Ramius' manipulations aboard the Red October are to prevent the Political Officer from leading his crew in one of these. In accordance with his contingency orders, after events render any other attempted solution impossible the GRU mole onboard foregoes the "continue with the original mission" part and tries to scuttle the ship. In the book, the Americans specifically wonder if Ramius is a mutineer, eventually deciding that the nautical crime of "barratry" fits his actions better.
  • No. 2 in Meet Dave may be the very definition of this trope. When The Captain does not want to go forward with his given mission of draining Earth's oceans, No. 2 does just this.
  • The events of The Caine Mutiny result in a trial to determine if the titular mutiny (Captain Queeg was relieved by his executive officer during a typhoon) was this or the other flavor.
  • Essentially the entire plot of Crimson Tide is whether the XO is attempting this or The Mutiny.
  • Down Periscope's XO Pascal attempts to foment a mutiny against Captain Dodge when Dodge makes the decision to ignore Admiral Graham's (patently unfair) changes to the engagement area mid-wargame. Since Pascal is an uptight Jerkass and The Neidermeyer extraordinare, his effort at rallying the crew to his side is met with a resounding silence, and no one complains too much when Dodge subsequently forces him to walk the plank onto a waiting fishing boat whose crew is in on the joke.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Frank N. Furter, it's all over!"


  • In the Star Trek novel Before Dishonor, the "new" command crew goes Anti-Mutiny when Picard ignores Starfleet's orders to return to Earth. Of course, this being Captain frickin' Picard, the "old" command crew (including Spock and Seven of Nine) is proven right in the end. But they have one less planetary conundrum to worry about.
  • In Winning Colors, treasonous senior officers try to use their ship; their juniors realize the treachery and mutiny. (Leading to a very junior officer being in command.)
  • David Weber's Safehold had a failed attempt at this made by Pei Shan-wei, to thwart the plans of Eric Langhorne and Adorée Bédard to turn the last haven of humanity into their personal church. She was killed and made into their Satan, but Shan-wei had back up plans in place.
  • The Wheel of Time has the siege of Maradon. The city commander has locked his allies outside the walls, where they are being slaughtered. A soldier named Yoeli leads an Anti-Mutiny to take control of the city and let the allies in. Though hailed as a hero, Yoeli says he only did what he had to do, insisting that he is still technically a traitor and will demand his own execution.
  • Captain Garro in the Horus Heresy novels chooses to remain loyal to the Imperium and head back to Earth to warn the Emperor of Horus' treachery just before the Battle of Isstvan III (the Battle of Isstvan III itself was the Traitor Legions failing to efficiently purge themselves of their loyalist elements to the point it became a proper battle).
  • Played with during the Succession series when Captain Laurent Zai refuses to commit suicide as expected of him due to a failure to rescue the Emperor's sister. A mutiny plot arises on the ship in order to correct that failure as this course of action endangers the crew.
  • A Dance With Dragons features one, with Bowen Marsh and several other members of the Night's Watch stabbing Jon Snow for allying with wildlings and for forswearing his vows to go save his sister (actually Jeyne Poole) and kill Ramsay Bolton.
    • However, whether or not Jon Snow really meets the criteria of "forsaking the original mission" is debatable. He did not truly break his vows (merely engaged in Loophole Abuse, which is not unusual in Westeros), and his reforms all had sound reasoning (even if the opposing arguments also had decent reasons for disagreeing with him). A better example might be Barristan Selmy, the Unsullied and some of the Meereenese launching a coup against Daenerys' husband for doing a bad job of ruling in her stead, and possibly trying to assassinate her. In this case, even though he is the legal regent, he has deviated quite a lot from what Daenerys wanted, and the conspirators are trying to get things back on track.
  • The Gunnery Officer attempts an Anti-Mutiny in Only You Can Save Mankind, when the Captain starts making peace with the humans.

Live-Action TV

  • It could be argued Starbuck falls prey to this in Season 4 of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. She began acting increasingly crazy but was still staying within the bounds of her orders, but then unilaterally decided to do something not covered by those orders, an action which meant she and the crew would miss their scheduled rendezvous and/or put all their lives in mortal danger. The crew (bar one) refused to back her. It's difficult to tell who was meant to be in the wrong in this case, though the fact that just after said mutiny and one poor bastard losing a leg she came up with an alternate solution whereby only she was put at risk suggests Starbuck may be more at fault.
    • Of course, that one poor bastard losing a leg later leads to another mutiny.
  • Star Trek Enterprise has a rare example of the anti-mutineers being right. When a Brainwashed and Crazy Archer decides protecting a Xindi hatchery is more important than their mission, the other main characters organise an Anti-Mutiny, while the MACO squad obey the captain's orders unquestioningly.
    • More than a bit of Unfortunate Implications in this example, as Archer makes sense for 3/4 of the episode before going off the rails. It's pointed out that if it was any other Xindi faction there'd be a lot more issues with abandoning children to drift in space without power.
    • A more confusing example in the Mirror Universe episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", where T'Pol leads an anti-mutiny against XO Archer, who has led a mutiny against Captain Forrest. Later, when Archer mutinees against The Empire, he is assasinated by his lover Hoshi and his bodyguard Mayweather, but this is not a true example, as they aren't doing it for the Empire.
  • In the episode "Pegasus" of Star Trek the Next Generation, we learn that, while an ensign, Riker attempted to help his then-Captain put down an Anti-Mutiny on the eponymous vessel ( as in Enterprise above, the anti-mutineers were right), but when they failed, they were forced to abandon ship together.
    • In another TNG episode, a Ferengi named Daimon Bok engages in a mission of personal vendetta against Picard for killing his son in battle years before. After Riker tries to get Kazago, Bok's second-in-command, to stop. Eventually, Kazago arrests Bok for engaging in a non-profitable mission, a heinous crime by Ferengi standards.
  • Babylon 5. The Nightwatch attempt to seize control of the station, because they question the command staff's loyalty to Earth. Sheridan doesn't actually declare independence from Earth until later.
    • Nightwatch was actually under direct orders from the President in what was essentially a Night Of The Long Knives, removing everyone he even suspected of not being totally loyal to him. Sheridan's orders to turn over control to them were technically invalid, since they bypassed the chain of command and came through a source he didn't actually answer to. This justification only bought time until the orders came through proper channels, but the station was in open revolt by then anyway.
    • When Sheridan begins to take the fight to the Earth Alliance, at the battle of Proxima, one of the Alliance destroyer captains decides to defect. His second in command decides to undefect (pulling a gun on his captain), and then the crew decides to redefect anyway (subduing the second, somehow).
    • You could also make a case for the Minbari religious caste crew during the civil war - they attempted to sabotage their ship to prevent Delenn from surrendering (although she had no intention of surrendering). Babylon 5 was all over this trope.
  • In Farscape, Grayza continually goes against the orders of her high command in chasing after Crichton and Scorpius. Eventually her Number Two, Braca, declares her to be unfit for duty and has her arrested.
  • In the final original Star Trek the Original Series episode, "Turnabout Intruder", Spock begins an Anti-Mutiny against Kirk who has undergone a Body Swap with an old girlfriend. By the end of the episode, all the main characters side with Spock.

Video Games

  • In Fallout 3, the relationship between the Outcasts and the Brotherhood of Steel is this. The Brotherhood's mission is to preserve and catalog technology, but the batch that went east decided instead to focus on protecting civilians and killing mutants. The Outcasts broke off to concentrate on the original mission. Neither group is villainous, though the Outcasts tend towards douchebaggery.
  • Mass Effect: When Udina sees it as problematic for you to continue trying to save all intelligent life with your Cool Ship.
  • In Suikoden IV, Snowe is reluctant to stick around after the Pirate Brandeau opens fire on their ship and he's caught in the blast, killing most of the men around him and temporarily paralyzing his arm. The rest of the crew is shocked when he orders a retreat, since that would mean leaving the ship they're escorting to the pirates. Add in how the soldiers already resented him for being put in charge despite just graduating, and the stage was set for one of these.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Sten will attempt to challenge you for control of the party at a certain point of the game if he's at low approval, thinking that your gallivanting around Ferelden isn't doing much against the Archdemon. If he's at high approval, he'll merely state his opinions but won't do anything else.
  • Solatorobo: Captain Grompf of the Kuvasz Guild has to be restrained by his crew after ordering them to open fire on a transport they're supposed to be escorting. A transport that is carrying a number of important documents, and a MacGuffin that Grompf's boss has no doubt gone to a lot of trouble to acquire.

Web Comics

  • Immortal Enemies had a variant with superiors too incompetent to do their jobs, rather than unwilling. Two Space Marines "accidentally" (via Eldar shenanigans) wound up on a planet infested by genestealers, so they help, get some local troops trained and (being Iron Hands) adequately armed. The local governor and PDF commander were a few kilometres out of their depth, at this point afraid to request help in fear of being held responsible for their failures, yet still fussed and got underfoot. So when the Space Marines noticed their crack force is up to something… they just let it happen. Then the new boss proceeds to sort out genestealers, mutants and everyone who won't cooperate with him. When the Space Marines report to their commander, he deems their decisions "effectively proactive in promoting the wellbeing of the Imperium" and expects an Inquisitor to legitimize the result on the same consideration.

To us, the lesser of two evils would be allowing the coup of a duly appointed but impotent Imperial regime, one that would have ultimately lost the battle versus an insidious foe, than squash a rebellion loyal to the Emperor that had the will to triumph.