Hero of Another Story

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

David Copperfield, opening lines.

Our hero(es), while being the focus of the show's attention, is a member of a large organization. After a while, it starts to seem odd that the Enterprise is always the only ship in the sector.

A good way to combat this is to use a recurring character instead of making up a new one whenever the plot demands it. The writers give the impression that this character is having just as many adventures as the hero, only off-screen. In other words, they're the Hero of Another Story.

Such a character will come in handy to establish that the folks back at base are actually doing something when our heroes get captured. Though they will rarely actually succeed in rescuing the captured heroes, they may end up leading The Cavalry to sweep up after the Blast Out. In general, the Hero of Another Story will be a competent professional, but will lack whatever special gift or drive makes our hero so special; or else act as a Supporting Leader and occupy the enemy while the main characters go after the Golden Snitch.

Unfortunately, such characters have a bad habit of being Killed Off for Real, as they can carry some of the emotional impact of a regular character while avoiding the inconvenience of changing the cast. Of course, viewers may feel cheated if promised that Tonight Someone Dies.

The Hero of Another Story is usually someone our heroes respect and trust, and while they may enjoy some friendly competition, he is rarely a serious rival.

On occasion, we'll see one of these characters get a Day in the Limelight episode and they'll become The Hero for the episode. This often makes the real cast the Hero of Another Story for the episode, as they'll be off doing their own heroics in the meantime.

In some cases, certain series episodes may introduce a guest character where it is intentionally done as a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for a spinoff of his own series of adventures. Unfortunately, the majority of these are unsuccessful and thus he remains the Hero of Another Story.

Compare Supporting Leader. Naturally, this will result when someone encounters the main character(s) of another series via Crossover or a Poorly-Disguised Pilot. See also Little Hero, Big War, for settings that often have a bunch of heroes of other stories. Depending on how well written the character is they could become a Ensemble Darkhorse.

Examples of Hero of Another Story include:


  • This was used by Wizards of the Coast in magazine ads for their Star Wars RPG. The ad showed a famous scene from one of the movies, like Mos Eisley Cantina or the Death Star Docking Bay, point to a background character, with the caption, "What's this guy's story?" The point, or course was that the PCs likely wouldn't be part of the franchise's main story, but could nonetheless contribute to it.

Anime and Manga

  • Chiaki from Bodacious Space Pirates probably qualifies for this trope. She has her ship that she works on with her dad, and does a lot things which often forces her to suffer from being Out of Focus (despite appearing prominently in the opening and ending sequences). She also fills in for Marika's pirate role in some episodes while the real one is working on a more covert mission.
  • In Dog Days, most of the plot involves non-fatal sports-like "war" (where literally Nobody Can Die) and the Ordinary High School Student becoming "the Hero" while Trapped in Another World. Two of the characters in that world, a samurai and ninja partner team; Lady Brioche and her subordinate Yukikaze; are hunters of monsters and demons. While 2 episodes of the plot deal with a similar entity; even the monster that main characters fight is redeemable as opposed to the untold Darker and Edgier dealings they handle. They are polite and make gestures at helping the main characters; but it's clear they normally deal with things on a totally different level; and aren't nearly using their full abilities at the games the rest of the cast are playing.
  • Vyura and Chor Rubor on Simoun. And Chor Caput, and the Arcus Niger. Vyura is later promoted to the main cast.
  • Major Genya Nakajima of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, commander of Ground Forces Unit 108. There to lend additional assistance when the heroes need help on an investigation, or to provide a Redshirt Army to protect against The Siege while the heroes go off to handle the named villains.
    • Chrono Harlaown becomes a stronger and stronger version of this trope as the series goes on, culminating in his apparent leadership of a large portion of the TSAB's Navy but barely being a part of the story in StrikerS.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann example: Kittan is this when first introduced, but becomes a member of the main cast in the beginning of part two.
  • In Gantz, after following for quite a long time the adventures of a team of fighters from Tokyo, we learn that there's another team in Osaka. And then one in Rome. And in Germany, the USA, etc... Basically, there are GANTZ teams everywhere on the globe, often stronger and more experienced than the Tokyo team.
  • In Kino no Tabi, Kino meets a male counterpart; an exiled prince with a talking dog. They go their separate ways after one chapter.
    • In the novels that the anime is based on, he is one of the main heroes as he appears in stories of his own, all of which are narrated by his dog, Riku. This trope still does apply though, in that every once in awhile he will cross paths with Kino and these stories are never narrated by Riku and are told in third person, just like all the stories that focus on Kino. The same trope also applies to Shishou (or "master"), the woman who taught Kino and used to go on travels of her own. In the anime we only see her as an old woman, once in a flashback during the main 13 episodes and during the movie Life Goes On, which is set during the time Kino is living with her, but the novels include stories about the travels of a much younger Shishou and her unnamed student.
  • It seems in One Piece, any D is the Hero Of Another Story. Ace is the most notable, with an arc driving about a third of the series. However, Blackbeard qualifies, from a Villain Protagonist perspective, performing feats like deposing King Wapol, breaking in to Impel Down, and joining the Battle of Marineford.
    • An argument could be made for any of the Supernovas as well.
    • In the manga, the entire crew sans Luffy get demoted to heroes of other stories during the Marineford Arc as they basically each become the hero of a different island so Luffy can have an adventure with a fresh supporting cast. This differs from normal split up arcs because we don't really get to see the crews stories while they are away, it's just implied with sparse glimpses and tellings. However, in the anime, they each get episodes explaining this more in-depth every so often while the story still mainly follows Luffy. This stops at the Return to Shabody Arc.
    • Luffy's dad Monkey D. Dragon may be even more notable than Ace, as he's leader of the Revolutionary Army and the World Government's worst enemy. As yet, however, very little is known about him.
    • One could include Gold Roger himself on this list. This guy freakin conquered the Grand Line but most of his adventures have never been shown in the anime.
  • The forgettable mini-series Pokémon Chronicles had each episode do this with a different character in the series, be it Misty, Richie, or Brock.
  • During the Chunin Exams, Naruto introduced Gaara. One can only imagine the story to how he went from the repentant Dark Magical Guy to the most loved man in his home village.
    • There are also at least 3 other teams that we rarely see in the show, and they're all implied to be out fighting their own battles offscreen.
    • Also Killer Bee, who was hated/feared as a child (due to having the 8-tails inside him) and is now a considered a hero in his village.
  • Digimon Tamers had Ryo, a character with a fairly small role in the grand scheme of the Tamers story, but who was literally the hero of another story (a set of video games that were never released in the west)
  • In the Hayate the Combat Butler manga, it seems like Hayate's older brother is shaping up to this. We haven't actually seen him yet, but we've met a few people he helped, years ago.
  • The Ojou Tsuruya of Haruhi Suzumiya is implied to be this. In addition to flat-out calling Unreliable Narrator Kyon on being bad at upholding The Masquerade (but says that she's content to sit back and watch the antics), she is in possession of at least one potential Plot Coupon and it is known that her (apparently stupidly rich) family are one of the financial supporters of Koizumi's Organization.
    • Considering that if you're a named character in the Haruhiverse and aren't one of Those Two Guys (and even that may not save Taniguchi) or Okabe-sensei the homeroom teacher, you will be revealed to be a part of the larger scheme of things eventually. Tsuruya's setup has just been longer in coming that most.
  • The big sister of the main character of Mayoi Neko Overrun tends to go missing for several days and return with heroic tales to tell.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has Meta Knight, who took part in a resistance movement fighting the Big Bad before the series' hero, Kirby, came along.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, practically every other member of class 3-A counts. There's a vampire that has lost her powers and been sealed in the school, a Robot Girl who works for said vampire, a half-demon swordswoman hired to protect the heir to a magic association, said heir to the magic association who has been kept in the dark about her powers, an ex-priestess turned sniper for hire, a mysterious acrobat who isn't completely human and rarely speaks, a Mad Scientist who developed and maintains the aforementioned robot, a ninja, a Cute Ghost Girl, a martial artist who won the school's annual martial arts tournament the year before, a pair of bookworms who regularly explore a giant library filled with traps, a rumormonger who explores said giant library with the aforementioned bookworms, a net idol who keeps her pastimes secret from her classmates, and a time-traveling martian from the future who is descended from the main character. And that's not even acknowledging the more normal characters like the cheerleaders, the gymnast, or the basketball player. There's even a few chapters that focus on delivering the message that everyone is the hero of their own story.
  • This occurs frequently in the works of Leiji Matsumoto: Captain Harlock and Queen Emeraldas occasionally have made either been referenced or made cameo appearances in Galaxy Express 999 and Galaxy Railways. The Space Battleship Yamato had a very brief cameo in Harlock Saga as well as in the Galaxy Express 999 manga. In all such cases however, the crew of the Yamato is never seen.
  • Habit By Teacher/It Ejaculates In The Teacher does it with the titular cast as Teacher A will have sex with one or more students then runs into Teacher B before or after said encounter and so on in essentially one day.
  • Luna Inverse, Lina's older sister in Slayers. One reason she's never shown in anything but flashbacks or cameos is she would easily solve all the problems the heroes face alone.
  • Pansuto Taro in Ranma ½. The only character he has any connection to (or wants any connection with) in the cast is Happosai. As such whenever he appears his plot is at a right-angle to the rest of the series, and the appearance of any of the regulars seems like it's contractually mandated.
  • Played with in A Certain Scientific Railgun whenever Touma wanders over from A Certain Magical Index to save the day. Thankfully, he only does this twice in 48 episodes, usually allowing the regular characters in Railgun to drive the plot. Played straight when other Index characters appear in Railgun.
  • Originally played straight in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, with Ais Wallenstein occasionally wandering in and out of Bell Cranel's plotline. Inverted a few years later in Sword Oratoria, with Bell Cranel occasionally wandering in and out of Ais Wallenstein's plotline.
  • The original Dragon Ball series has Arale Norimaki around the Red Ribbon arc. Arale is better known as the main protagonist of the Dr Slump series.

Comic Books

  • The mysterious night shift team in the Hero Hotline mini-series in The DCU.
  • Pick a super hero. Any super hero. Odds are they have had an adventure and encountered Spider-Man, Wolverine, Superman, Batman...
    • Spider-Man's first encounter with the Sinister Six had Iron Man playing this role; also subverted, when he encounters the X-Men and they turn out to be android duplicates programmed to try and kill him.
  • It was once a common occurrence that every time the Sinister Six would show up, Spider-Man would call the Avengers and Fantastic Four, only to find out that they were on other missions. Other super heroes would eventually come to his aid, however.
    • The first Spider-Man Annual was full of this. He couldn't go two pages without crossing paths with another super hero who was off on his own adventure (while the narrator points out that you can follow said hero's adventures in his respective comic)
  • Sin City will do this to the point where actual stories will intersect. For instance, in Yellow Bastard we see Marv in the background in the scene where Nancy runs off with Hartigan. They go off and have their own adventure. In Just Another Saturday Night, we see this scene from Marv's view point, lamenting that "Nancy ran off with some old guy" before going off to have his own adventure.

Fan Works

  • Tiberium Wars features this in the form of several officers and commanders fighting other battles. As with the main characters of the story, though, Anyone Can Die is in full force.
  • The Sun Soul has a few of these. Ash Ketchum leads his core party of intrepid heroes all over the place, but along they meet up with a number of recurring individuals who work towards similarly heroic ends off-screen. So far, not many of these have been Killed Off for Real, but given the author's willingness to kill anyone...
  • In the Fallout 3 fan fiction Trouble, Harkness encounters the lone wanderer, the protagonist of the game, who goes through in-game quests off screen while the story takes place.
  • The Hunter is one of these in With Strings Attached. The four are unfortunately sucked into some of his adventures... and he is fortunately sucked into theirs.
  • Doctor Whooves and Assistant works a lot like this. The Doctor and Ditzy Doo's adventures run side by side with those of the mane cast. For example, while the mane cast was heading off to fight Nightmare Moon, the Doctor and Ditzy had that way first and fought the Manticore first. The mane cast are seen at some points, but only from the view of the Doctor and Ditzy.


  • Nick Fury plays this role in Iron Man.
    • In the same movie, we get Black Widow and a hint of Thor, who are obviously having their own adventures.
    • In the latest Incredible Hulk movie, Tony Stark briefly appears at the end, hinting at the formation of the The Avengers.
    • In the first Iron Man movie, Agent Coulson mentions "This isn't my first rodeo" and Nick Fury blatantly states that there are other heroes out there.
    • The recent[when?] Thor film features Nick Fury, has a cameo by Hawkeye, the aforementioned Agent Coulson, and plenty of Asgardian warriors who have had plenty of adventures off-camera. Tony Stark even gets mentioned in a throwaway line.
      • The video release for Captain America the First Avenger includes a short entitled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer" showing one minor incident Agent Coulson was involved before getting to the hammer in Thor.
  • The mysterious 008 is occasionally used for this purpose in James Bond movies, most notably Goldfinger. He never appears, but if M ever tells Bond that if he can't do the mission, someone else will, chances are 008 is that "someone else". Only thing we learn about him is when, in The Living Daylights, he is said to "obey orders, not instincts", in contrast with the more headstrong Bond.
    • In The Living Daylights, the cold open has all the Double-O agents on maneuvers together in Gibraltar, being picked off one by one (that is, "picked off" by the SAS who were using paint guns; only one agent is actually murdered). All are good-looking white males, and the intention was to tease the audience as to which was Bond. Trailers Always Spoil, of course, so we already knew. And, of course, the aforementioned 008, who doesn't appear but is name dropped by M.
    • Similarly, both Octopussy and A View to a Kill start with the deaths of 009 and (off-screen) 003, respectively. Agents other than Bond, with 007 picking up the cases they were working with only the cryptic clues taken off their bodies.
    • Bill Fairbanks, 002, was killed before the start of The Man with the Golden Gun.
    • In The World Is Not Enough it is mentioned that 009 was the one who shot the Big Bad prior to the events of the film.
    • At the beginning of GoldenEye Bond goes on a mission alongside with 006, who doesn't make it out. until he does and becomes the movie's Big Bad
    • In the novel Devil May Care Bond is told that a new 004 has been appointed. Turns out she's the Bond Girl.
  • Jessica Stevenson's team in Shaun of the Dead appear to take part in a much more interesting adventure, ultimately joining up with the army and leading The Cavalry to defeat the zombies. However, we only see a brief glimpse of them as the plot follows Shaun's trip to the pub.
  • An Officer and a Gentleman is the story of Zack Mayo (Richard Gere). Casey Seeger, the only female officer candidate, appears in a few scenes—just enough to declare her intention to be the Navy's first female fighter pilot, show her struggles on the obstacle course, reveal it's really an internal struggle with feeling like "a second class citizen," let Foley hold her up to the main character as an example of "heart! and character!" and overall give the impression that, if the camera started following her around, there'd be a damn good movie in there.
  • Not so much in the comics, but in the Scott Pilgrim movie, Stephen Stills appears to be starring in his own movie, where Scott is just some weird guy who flakes out on the band and messes up their shows. Director Edgar Wright has stated that he instructed Stills' actor to pretend that the movie he's in is called Stephen Stills Is Almost Famous.
    • Also one has to wonder what the Vegan Police might be doing.
  • Frankie and her group from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.
  • The ending to Batman Returns suggests Catwoman will become this. Also counts as a Poorly-Disguised Pilot... sorta.
  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Goldstein and Rosenberg are on their own quest for Hot Dog Heaven. Their names are an homage to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who serve this function in Hamlet.
  • Cloverfield. The main characters end up lugging a camera about when the monsters attack and naturally start filming the weirdness. On the bridge they see another guy doing the same thing. Word of God says this is a Sequel Hook.
  • Lord of the Rings alludes to Bilbo's adventures, as well as adventures made by unseen heroes. See the Literature section for more info.
  • Throughout Cop Out, we see an old cop-young cop pairing who appear to be acting out a more routine cop movie off-screen, only bits of which we see.
  • War movies in general tend to do this. In Saving Private Ryan, for example, the soldiers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division played crucial roles which helped the landing parties on the beaches during D-Day. It was very possible that without the erratic drops, sabotaging the Germans in their own lines to confuse them and divert their resources haphazardly, the landings could've ended in failure, with the Allies being pushed back out to sea. General Eisenhower even prepared a letter of apology should the landings have failed.
  • In Ed Wood, the titular character runs into Orson Welles near the end; he appears to be facing the exact same problems Edward has been facing throughout the actual film, but he appears in only one scene.
  • In Satan's Playground, while Paula is freaking out in the Leeds house, there's a knock on the door. When she answers it, there's a teenage girl there who says her car broke down, and that she needs a telephone. She ends up being scared off by Paula's erratic behavior.
  • The Cabin in the Woods takes this to the extreme. The titular cabin, the teenagers who visit it, and the zombies hunting them down? That's only one of dozens of other monster attacks happening all over the world on the same night. We only get to see the destructive aftermath for most of these, but we do a couple glimpses of some Japanese grade-schoolers being terrorized by a ghost and then turning the ghost into a frog with a magic spell.



"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

  • The Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novels make extensive use of other Imperial Guard regiments fighting alongside or in the same area as the Ghosts, with the commanders typically being named, likable individuals.
    • Watch out, though, for the other commanders ever getting character development. If they do, bastardry will ensue at some point during the book.
  • Your Mileage May Vary: in Great Expectations, both Miss Havisham and Magwitch could easily have been the heroes of the story, with Pip as a side character.
  • Pretty much any named character from The Dresden Files. Special credit goes to:
    • Carlos Ramirez, professional Badass and Harry's best friend on the Wardens. The regional commander of the Wardens on the West Coast, he gets into almost as much trouble as Harry.
    • Michael Carpenter's exploits against the Denarians could make a fantastic series on their own.
    • Morgan. Come on, we get to hear the stories about how he nuked a shapeshifting demi-god of pure evil, and cut his way through the entire Red Court, fully intent on dueling a being that has Odin matched for metaphysical muscle.
    • Karrin Murphy, and the rest of S.I.. After the first few books Harry mentions that S.I. has gotten good enough at handling minor supernatural threats that they don't call him in as much.
    • The Alphas. College kids turned werewolves, dealing with the troubles of young adulthood by day, wolf-shaped vigilantes by night.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe (outside of the X Wing Series, where he is The Hero), Wedge Antilles tends to be this. He's rarely in focus, but almost always there. In the X-Wing Series, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are the Heroes of Another Story.
  • There are so many characters in Harry Potter that would make good protagonists, including Neville Longbottom, Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore.
    • And Nymphadora Tonks. She's probably just slumming in this series; surely she is off having awesome Auror adventures at other times.
    • Nicolas Flamel probably would have a pretty interesting story to tell, considering that he lived for more than 650 years.
    • Neville is an interesting case, because it could have been his story had Voldemort made different choices. As it stands, there's an entire alternate Power Trio in Deathly Hallows (Neville, Luna and Ginny) with enough stories to take up an entire novel.
    • The previous generation characters (Lily, Snape and the Marauders) had more than enough high drama to support their own series. Plus, the epilogue gives us the tantalizing hint of a whole new generation headed for Hogwarts. It's not surprising that novel-length Marauder-era and next-generation fanfics are so common.
    • Neville, Luna, and Ginny become this in Deathly Hallows, as noted above. While Harry was away, they led a rebellion/resistance against the new order in Hogwarts. Neville even picked up some trendy scars. Their actions have a direct impact on Harry long before he knows what they're up to.
  • In the Dragonriders of Pern series, Menolly and Piemur are literally this; as well as appearing here and there in the books, they have their own trilogy that runs concurrently with the first three books. This in turn causes major characters from the first few books who appear in the Harper Hall books to themselves be heroes of another story.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos, Rachel Weintraub, who we see travel to the far future at the end of Fall of Hyperion, and then learn that she later returns to a (slightly less distant) the future. Just read the books.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, where the protagonists from our world might be The Only One for the brief time they are there, but Narnia exists for thousands of years without them and is said to have many adventures and heroes of its own that we never hear of (as well as many times where nothing exciting at all is happening).
    • The (adult) Pevensie children become this in "The Horse and His Boy" and Shasta is this to them (his being the story we get to see).
  • In Second Stage Lensmen, Nadreck of Palain VII. He goes on a solo mission to destroy an enemy base that no one has been able to touch. He does so by inciting the locals into a civil war. However, despite great urging, he absolutely refuses to tell anyone how he did it, because in his eyes the mission was an unmitigated disaster. His shame comes from the fact that he comes from a race of cowards, and he was forced at one point to kill three entities directly to complete his mission, rather than causing them to kill each other.
    • To make the point clearer, these people included the highest-ranking enemies at the base, and in a society where Authority Equals Asskicking is taken to the extreme that means he had to personally fight the hardest targets.
  • In the final stage of the Nibelungenlied, the last survivors of the besieged Burgundians are at last taken out by the retinue of the Gothic king Dietrich of Bern (not Bern in Switzerland, but Verona in Italy). Dietrich, the mythical version of king Theoderic the Great, and his followers Hildebrand et al. literally are the heroes of a whole different cycle of legends and stories, so the decision to bring him in not only was an early example of a "cross-over", but also served to enhance the standing of Gunther and Hagen.
    • Similarly, a number of well-known characters from the Arthurian cycle - Percivale, Tristram, Merlin and quite possibly Lancelot - appear to have started out as the heroes of stories of their own that were gradually absorbed into Arthur's.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing seems to be beset with many, many heroes of other stories. Whenever they try to regale him with their adventures, however, he always cuts them off...because he abhors such stories.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien did this several times in his Middle Earth stories. He was creating a mythology, and he knew that mythologies are never perfect records, and there are always gaps which leave tantalizing hints of other stories. Some examples:
    • In The Hobbit, while he's certainly involved in the main plot, Gandalf spends much of the novel attending to other matters, which turn out to be destroying the Mirkwood stronghold of the Necromancer, otherwise known as Sauron.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, there are hints of adventures that the other members of the fellowship had before meeting the hobbits at Rivendell, such as Aragorn's capture of Gollum, or Gandalf's escape from the Ringwraiths. At one point Sam wonders if Gollum thinks he's the hero of his own story.
    • Both stories focus on the exploits of Gandalf, who is only one of five wizards who were sent into the world by the Powers That Be, each with missions of great importance to all of Middle Earth. Little is known of what Saruman did before he became evil, and Radagast is only mentioned fleetingly. The other two wizards, Alatar and Pallando, are not even named in the main trilogy but it is mentioned elsewhere that their actions in the east were crucial in weakening Sauron's forces.
    • There's also the battles at Lothlorien and Dale which are briefly mentioned.
  • Roran Stronghammer of The Inheritance Cycle is an arguable example. He's technically a point of view character, but over the course of Brisingr he slaughters nearly one hundred men from atop an ever-growing mountain of their shattered corpses, is summarily beaten to within an inch of his life for disobeying orders, immediately goes out and wrestles an Urgal chieftan into submission, and leads his new troops to several important victories over The Empire. And everyone completely forgets about him once Eragon gets back from his vacation, to the point that he isn't even mentioned during the Final Battle.
    • Saphira gives a blessing of sorts to an infant girl, later informing Eragon that the girl won't have an ordinary life after receiving it, and that what he just witnessed was the beginning of a whole new legend.
    • And then it turns out that they screwed up and cursed her to suffer other people's problems. After they find out, they try to remove the curse, but only partially remove it, resulting in someone who is aware of other people's problems, but is not inclined to help. It's implied that she is now on a path to become a villain.
  • Discussed and lampshaded in one of the Aubrey-Maturin books by Stephen Maturin and Jagiello, right after Jagiello loses his grip on a ship's mast, narrowly avoids the deck, plunges into the sea, and is pulled out roaring with laughter: in a bit of metafictional humor, Jagiello jokingly says that the hero of the story never dies in such a unspectacular fashion, and that he considers himself to be the hero of his own story.
  • This is discussed in Fifth Business. Dunstan Ramsay isn't even the hero of his own story; instead, he (according to Liesl) is destined to be the vital supporting character to everyone else. Strictly speaking, the hero of the story is the successful, handsome Boy Staunton, but the narration only checks in on him now and again.
  • In Laura Anne Gilman's Retriever series there's the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigators (PUPI or "puppies") who she eventually decided to give their own series in which the characters from the Retriever series play this role.
  • In For Whom the Bell Tolls, the partisan leader El Sordo appears to be the best in the area, with many exciting battles under his belt. But the narration focuses on Pablo's band, and we only see Sordo in one conversation scene and one combat scene.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, each series could be considered this to the other ones. However, Star Trek: New Frontier really plays this role. Because Peter David has sole control over New Frontier, any major events that the Excalibur cannot somehow be excused from, such as Star Trek: Destiny, are told through Broad Strokes by the other authors. Whether we actually get to read those stories depends on whether Peter David wants to write them.
  • In the Star Trek: Mere Anarchy series, the fourth tale attempts to give the impression that Starfleet captains across the board have noteworthy adventures, avoiding the implications that Kirk is the guy to which everything interesting happens. When Kirk mentions he was present at a particular event, the captain he's talking too responds with a casual "oh yeah, that was you", and it's mentioned that this captain was off having his own adventure at the time.
  • Hawk between Spenser novels.
  • Since The Hunger Games are told entirely from Katniss's point of view, there's a lot of details and stories we miss out on because she is unaware of what's happening.
    • Thresh and Foxface throughout the first novel are off having adventures completely separate from Katniss. Foxface and Katniss unknowingly cross each others paths a couple of times but Katniss only runs into Thresh once during the games. Thresh is also apparently off having a major battle with Cato for several days while Katniss and Peeta are in the cave.
    • In the first half of the first book, Peeta could be considered this as he has some agenda and his own adventures with the Career Tributes. We find out about some of these actions later after he has revealed his true colors.
    • The Avox Girl, who apparently had an entire adventure before she ever crossed paths with Katniss.
    • Bonnie and Twill. Katniss hears the first half of their story but is left wondering what happened to them.
  • Wrath of the Lemming Men has General Sir Florence Young (sic), who at the conclusion of the book is being knighted for winning a critical battle which (from the central characters' perspective) was fought completely off-stage.

Live-Action TV

  • This trope used to be named after Colonel Makepeace, the leader of SG-3, from Stargate SG-1. Makepeace was even briefly put in charge of SG-1 after O'Neill's Ten-Minute Retirement as the highest-ranking officer in SG teams — right before he was exposed as The Mole. The new leader of SG-3, Colonel Reynolds, picked up the trope after that, and held it longer than Makepeace ever did.
    • Colonel Makepeace gets his Crowning Moment of Awesome when he leads an assault team composed of half a dozen SG teams to rescue SG-1 from Hathor. Of course he fails, the rescuers being rescued in turn by Bra'tac, Teal'c, and General Hammond (in one of his rare off-world trips).
      • Speaking of Bra'tac, as a leader in the Jaffa Rebellion, he could also could as this, as could other rebel leaders such as Ishtar.
    • Stargate Atlantis also features such a character, Major Lorne.
      • The cast of SG-1 is actually sometimes this for SGA. It's understood that they're still doing big important things that we just don't see. (Especially while their show was actually still going on. There'd often be references to the SG-1 plot - nothing too detailed, but... y'know, just in case you forgot that the Ori and Baal are bad.)
      • Also showed up on Stargate Universe more than once; in the first episode, we see a number of starships (one of which is being captained by Samantha Carter of SG-1), who then slide out of focus as the main plot kicks into gear. They're alluded to a few times afterwards, and a few episodes in the second season involve characters from the previous two series working to get SGU's cast home.
  • On The 4400, we have Jed Garrity, another NTAC agent who seems to be the only other person in that department. Incidentally, he's played by the same actor who played Lorne over on SGA
  • Supporting characters on Doctor Who often choose to stay behind on Earth, or similar, in order to have their own adventures. Sarah Jane (twice) and Captain Jack got their own spinoffs. These "adventures" are often referenced when the character returns to the main show.
    • According to the two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", the Brigadier still takes assignments to Peru in his old age. After years of frustrated fans clamoring "Come on! Nicholas Courtney's not getting any younger!" he finally appeared on TV for the first time since 1989 in series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • The various incarnations of Star Trek have more than a few heroes:
    • Captain Erika Hernandez of the Columbia in Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • Another example from Enterprise is Shran. They run into him several times, and he tends to take the focus when he does appear, because he's always got his own problems. He even gets to swoop in and save the Enterprise in one episode.
      • The writers were even planning on making Shran a main character if the show got a fifth season. This is probably why they destroyed his ship in the fourth season: that pretty much ended his story and forced him to join the main story.
      • The Enterprise that became a generation ship had plenty of adventures after the crew went back in time. No wonder the Xindi accused the main timeline's Enterprise of having sister ships (before any were completed).
      • There's also Daniels, who fights in the Temporal Cold War to protect the Federation.
    • TOS tended to suggest that the other Constitution-class starships generally did have their own 'only ship in the sector' and 'stumbled upon a dangerous mystery while exploring' incidents off-screen whenever other Constitution-class starships showed up. No specific individual served the Hero of Another Story role well, though.
    • Admiral Ross in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fits here in that he is the a competent (somewhat) admiral who actually does something useful,so Sisko doesn't have to do all alone. Also we have Martok, who flies attack runs against the Dominion.
      • Also Dukat, during his time as a guerrilla on a stolen Klingon bird-of-prey. Until he went through yet another Face Heel Turn, that is.
  • The day shifts on Homicide: Life on the Street and CSI.
  • Detective Profaci on Law & Order, who was eventually a casualty in a Tonight Someone Dies episode (not killed, but arrested for corruption, and exited stage left just the same).
  • Curtis on 24, plus several other less notable CTU agents, who lead tactical teams whenever Jack Bauer can't be there for plot reasons.
  • Commander Turner was the most visible of several JAG officers who served this purpose on JAG.
  • In Dad's Army, whatever assignment the series regulars weren't handling tended to be handed off to Private Sponge.
  • Supernatural did this in its first season, alluding to other hunters associated with the Winchesters, most notably Pastor Jim and Caleb, each mentioned in multiple episodes before a demon who was hunting down the boy's contacts killed them. This same storyline introduced Bobby, who they were able to warn in time, and who has become the longest-living recurring character of the show.
    • Early season six has an episode focusing on Bobby, with the brothers only appearing briefly.
    • Also in Supernatural, since the Apocalypse arc came to an end, Castiel is becoming this. A focus on his story would frankly be too effects-heavy for the show.
  • Many allies of the Power Rangers who aren't members of the team fit, giving a clear impression that they had heroic careers elsewhere. These include:
  • NCIS
    • FBI Agent Fornell
    • Special Agent Paula Cassidy.
    • And Lt.Col. Hollis Mann.
    • E. J. Barrett.
    • Special Agent Chris Pacci, before he was killed in season 1.
  • A number of examples on Babylon 5, notably Captain Maynard and the EAS Cortez notably featured, a huge exploration ship which served the more traditional Star Trek role of exploration. It's indicated that they spend so much time out exploring, that most EarthForce personnel will be fortunate to see one in person once.
    • And to hammer the point home, much of Maynard's time spent visiting Babylon 5 had him and Sheridan trading stories about what they'd done over the years since they last met.
  • The cast of Friends includes a great number of minor characters and guest stars who serve as love interests for the main characters, but only a handful last more than an episode or two. Of all the secondary characters, only Mike (Paul Rudd) convincingly suggests a character whose life does not revolve around the main characters. Although one of the stars, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) also repeatedly implies that she has a very strange life going on off-screen.
    • Pete Becker, the billionaire thirtysomething software tycoon and Monica's short-term love interest also had a lot going on off-screen, given the small snippets of his real life that we see.
  • Special agent Lundy from Dexter has had a long and very successful career catching serial killers. That would make a great TV show.
  • After the Smallville season 6 episode "Justice", Oliver Queen's Justice League was frequently made mention of (usually by Chloe) as they travelled the world dismantling Lex Luthor's secret metahuman labs. Every so often a Leaguer (or combinations thereof) would return for a guest appearance, and during the season 9 finale multiple heroes (including those from the Justice Society) provided cameos via the Watchtower's monitors to establish Zod's threat as a global one.
  • Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer touched upon this. Xander gets left behind as the characters take on a world-shaking threat. He himself has to deal with a clearly homicidal school bully. It gets much, much worse. Xander's story only briefly intersects with the 'Let's stop the world from ending' the other cast members are involved with...but if he had failed, the bully would have interfered with the aforementioned world-saving, triggering fun times.
    • Over the course of the show, Riley, Oz, and the entire cast of Angel becomes this.
    • Buffy is, of course, the latest to fill a position that dates back to prehistoric times; likely all of her predecessors qualify.
  • In Angel, the entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is this from the very start.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Stella (Sarah Chalke) guest stars as Ted's love interest for several episodes. Her character has a child from a prior marriage, which initially makes her reluctant to date Ted. In the end, she leaves Ted to reunite with her former husband. Ted's final voice-over narration observes:

Ted : It was the perfect ending to the perfect love story, it just wasn't mine.

  • Community: Meta Guy Abed sees his life as a collection of tropes. In one episode he remarks that "we did lean on that pretty hard last week. I could lie low for an episode." He doesn't have many lines in the rest of the episode but he can be seen in the background of another scene delivering a baby, which gets a call back in the next season when Troy asks if he just always has his own little adventures, which include ticking off a list of the "quintessential list of college experiences," a list of college film tropes. In another episode we learn he became the mask during an trip to the set of Cougar Town and had several imaginary adventures. Presumably, other characters like Annie's Boobs have active off-camera lives.
    • There's another study group on campus that apparently features Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Starburns.
  • The 2004 Battlestar Galactica does this to some extent - there are many, many recurring characters who clearly have a lot going on that doesn't impact on the main plot, such as the ever-busy Doc Cottle and some of the pilots such as Racetrack (who, as of the end of series 3, had been a recurring character since the beginning but had never had a Day in The Limelight) or Hotdog, who had been a supporting player from his introduction in series 1 up until the point in series 4 when it was revealed he was baby Nicky's real father.
    • The standalone features Razor and The Plan tell the other stories: in Razor the protagonist is an officer on the Pegasus, while The Plan retells events from the Cylons' viewpoint.
  • In The Walking Dead's first season the protagonists meet a group of what at first they think are gangbangers who turn out to be protecting a bunch of senior citizens too fragile to be moved. We never find out what happens to them. Likewise Morgan and his son.
  • The series From the Earth To The Moon was produced by director Ron Howard and lead actor Tom Hanks from Apollo 13, retelling the story of NASA and the different missions going to the moon. The episode focusing on Apollo 13 was this, as instead of showing the astronauts (as the film had already done that) it instead focused on the media's coverage on the incident.
  • In the first Lexx movie Thodin the Arch-Heretic was almost the hero of the story, but then he and his compatriots all got killed and we ended up with three losers and an undead assassin.
  • Sherlock writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat mentioned in the commentary for "A Study in Pink" that they cast Rupert Graves because he played the character of DI Lestrade as though he could be this to Sherlock and Watson.
  • A second season episode of Andromeda reveals an alternate timeline where Rhade, Dylan's second in command in the first episode, kills Dylan in their fight in that episode. It results in him taking the role of trying to revive the Commonwealth, and showcases a few important episodes of Season 1 with him in command. In the end, Harper mentions that he seems like a scumbag, and Dylan replies "everyone is the hero of their own story."
  • Blake's 7 featured the System, a cybernetic civilization that built the mysterious starship Liberator; they were the villains of another story.
  • 30 Rock does this occasionally. Entire storylines will be mentioned in passing, often to Liz's relief.
  • Fusco from Person of Interest was this for one episode when Reese was in jail. While the primary plot was just extracting Reese, Fusco was involved in some kind of exciting, mysterious and romantic job saving a beautiful foreign model from something the audience only saw brief snippets of.
  • The miniseries Band of Brothers could largely be considered the 101st's "version" of the D-Day landing.

Tabletop Games

  • Banedon the wizard in the Lone Wolf gamebooks. Pops up to help the main character at several points in the series and gains power and prestige at the same rate as Lone Wolf. He's a more prominent character in the Legend of Lone Wolf novelizations.
    • In the Mongoose Publishing Remakes; each book has a 100 page mini-story about one of the characters who shaped the plot of that book; either taking place before or after said book. One character, the Noble Zombie Dire from Captives of Kaag; is also the mini-story character in "The Legacy of Vashna."
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure books by Edward Packard, one gets the impression that recurring guest character Dr. Nera Vivaldi doesn't just show up only in adventures that happen to involve you.

Video Games

  • The first Super Robot Wars Original Generation game gives you the choice of stoic gambler Kyosuke or Hot-Blooded Ascended Fanboy Ryusei. For the first half of the game, they play this role in the other's storyline.
    • Similarly, other games in the Super Robot Wars series will have Route Splits, where the player can choose one of two or three different paths for a few missions. Whichever one the player picks, the rest of the team fulfills this trope and takes care of business on their own.
      • One such split in W can actually put the player into this role: While trying to track down Kaname and Tessa in Orb, the Mycene Empire attacks all over the world. After fighting off the monsters sent to attack Orb, you rush off to Paris to help your other teammates there, and arrive just in time to see Mazinkaiser, Great Mazinger, and Shin Getter Robo finish off Ankoku Daishogun.
        • With the completely awesome and true symbol of Hot Blood, Final Dynamic Special!
          • Alpha 3 has "extra stages" which are independent missions that can be accessed from the scenario chart in the options menu. These detail some of the goings on in the story that the Alpha Numbers aren't present for, specifically. 1. What the Raideen and Dancougar people were up to during Alpha 2 (which were notably absent for) 2. Ditto for Gunbuster, and Macross. 3. Ryusei getting his confidence back when he was recovering for the first half the game. 4. the Debut of Ratsel's Aussenseiter. 5. Rai Mai, Sanger and Ratsel and the Tesla lab crew hurrying to roll out Banpreios 6. The villains (now allies) of Voltes V and Daimos defending the refugees of their people from the Balmar and getting their affairs in order in prepartion for a take back of their planets.
  • Flint Paper in Sam and Max. When you first meet him in "Ice Station Santa", Sam asks why he hasn't been seen all year. He replies by listing a series of adventures remarkably similar to the plots of Season One. Max then asks why can't they do "cool stuff" like that.
  • The Warden of Dragon Age Origins fills this role in Dragon Age II.
    • Bethany/Carver also become this if they end up becoming Grey Wardens, or Circle-Mage/Templar. What they did in the last 6 years before Act 3 is left vague.
    • Also Zevran after the end of Origins. He shows up in the sequel but only as a side quest (and can help during the final battle).
  • Luigi in the second Paper Mario game. He's been going on his own adventures and getting his own party members on his own time (even getting a book series adapted). While he and the books claim to be going on a truly epic adventure, his (usually beleaguered) party members state that Luigi's exploits are just one Epic Fail to another Epic Fail and it's usually up to them to pull him out.
  • Ace Combat XI: Skies of Incursion takes place during the same war as Ace Combat X; the player character this time is the leader of Falco Squadron, another Aurelian unit.
  • Dr. Marie Delacroix of System Shock 2 is another SHODAN-assisted agent aboard the Von Braun, always just one step ahead of the player. While the player doesn't interact with or even see her until you find her corpse, the player finds her audio logs throughout the game. Late in the game SHODAN abandons her and leaves her to die.
    • BioShock 2 has Mark Meltzer, the hero of the viral marketing storyline released before the game. The player can track Meltzer's progress through Rapture through audio diaries he leaves and eventually kills him without even thinking about it.
    • Bianca Schuler was this in the first System Shock game. SHODAN hated her so much that she imprisoned her in a cage next to her main memory bank so she could watch her die.
  • A humorous example. As of TES: Oblivion, Jiub of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has become known as "Saint Jiub" for clearing the cliff racers out of Vvardenfall. And there was much rejoicing!
    • Fridge Brilliance: Just as your character was being transported to the island because you are the messiah-like Nerevarine, fate sent Jiub there to clear it of Goddamn Bats.
  • Crowe in Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a perfect example, traveling the universe and having adventures with his own ship and later serving as The Cavalry several times for the main party.
  • Near the end of Persona 3 Portable, you can talk to a man at Club Escapade in the endgame, who talks about his problems but states that they've got nothing to do with you. The man (named Vincent) is an Early-Bird Cameo from a game called Catherine, where he is a main character.
  • Both, Felix and Isaac's group in both Golden Sun games. In the first game, Felix is on a quest with the antagonists to unleash Alchemy on the world and you hear a few people mention about him and his group as you travel. In the sequel, you take over Felix's role while occasionally hearing tales about Isaac's group as you travel. Isaac and Felix's parties finally meet at one point and they team up to finish Felix's quest.
  • Many of the characters you encounter in Time Splitters Future Perfect are this.
    • An interesting twist occurs in some of the cutscenes, in which YOU are the aforementioned hero, thanks to a Stable Time Loop.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The protagonist, C.J. sees his insane girlfriend run off with a quiet racing competitor. Said quiet man is the main character, Claude, in the (chronologically later, though earlier release) Grand Theft Auto 3.
  • Acting Chief Engineer Jacob Temple would have made a good protagonist for a Dead Space DLC. The only real difference between him and Silent Protagonist Isaac Clarke is that Isaac's girlfriend was in Medical - Jacob's was in hydroponics. Through the game, you find logs on the same path as Isaac's, with Temple literally doing all the things that Isaac does, only failing. But, hey, at least he found his girlfriend alive.
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives us Vulpes Incluta, a spy who manages to beat the Courier to Nipton, The Strip, and The Fort, no matter how fast the Courier travels. He is involved in many covert operations, and it's implied that when you don't see him, he's wreaking havoc in NCR territory somewhere.
    • Also, any of the NCR Rangers. They have spies everywhere, even at all the Legion bases. You even meet a drug dealer who turns out to be one. Imagine how many are out there.
      • Also, the Legion doesn't really know if you help the NCR in the beginning, so long as you don't go against the Legion, until you get very overt about your NCR aid, they have no idea. But if you help the Legion, Rangers WILL know, and they will find you.
    • Marcus really gives this impression, being among those responsible for taking down the Enclave.
    • And finally there's Ulysses, who is gradually revealed to have visited every location explored in the DLC packs and had his own adventures there before his final confrontation with the Courier in Lonesome Road.
  • Wing Commander has this in the form of other pilots. Especially in Prophecy Maniac and some other pilots start as aces while the player is a green-horn. In missions they often lead different squads and are only heard over radio fulfilling their part of the plan.
  • In Starlancer the player actually plays this role. Especially in the beginning, the player's team of misfits is largely unknown while established aces like Klaus Steiner are often mentioned on TV. It is not until much later in the game that the player is treated as an equal.
    • The news reports certainly help to make the player feel like there's a devastating war on, instead of a series of small engagements. A war that would last another 100 years.
  • In the first of the two video game prequels to the Eureka Seven anime series, Holland (Supporting Leader} in the main series) initiates his anti-government movement while main character Sumner Sturgeon is busy dealing with his own issues.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has the player character(s) encounter many other myrrh-gathering groups, including the real main characters. You're just there to watch.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud discovers that his choppy memories are actually those of Zack, who gets his story told in Crisis Core.
  • The Spartan Captain of God of War 2 manages to get to the island of the Fates and get to the phoenix puzzle. He does this without any sort of godly powers or assistance from them, and would have gotten further if he didn't encounter Kratos in a dark room. There's also the people who were once all those corpses you see lying around deep inside each of the major locations, and the Argonauts, Perseus, and Icarus are also on their own adventures on the island.
  • Captain Marcus Walker in Freelancer is the commander of the Liberty cruiser LNS Utah. Unlike the Anti-Hero Trent, Walker is a straight shooter who takes pride in his service. He even offers to help Trent join the Liberty Navy. After helping to defend the Willard Research Station and a Liberty battleship, Walker disappears for a while, before reappearing to help Trent and the others escape from a Liberty ambush in Zone-21. It's not clear what he did while Trent was out doing his thing, but given his impressive record and his Heroic Sacrifice, it was probably something awesome. Then there's Casper Orillion, the man in charge of The Order. Actually, there are plenty of characters, including Ozu, Michael King, Lord Hakkera, and Diedrich Von Claussen, who are impressive in their own right.
  • The Signature Heroes of RuneScape, while still a relatively new concept as of the time of this statement, appear to be this to the player.
  • Everyone else at Wigglytuff's Guilde in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers. They're on their own adventures daily, and you even hear bits and pieces about them. In Explorers Of The Sky, you get to actually step into their shoes and see some of their adventures first hands.
  • Maple Story; play as one of the Explorer classes, and you'll frequently encounter Tess, Olive, and Rhondo during the main questline; almost nothing is known about them, but one can assume that when they aren't involved with you, they're involved in the same type of adventures you are.
  • The Call of Duty games often invoke this trope, particularly the ones focused on World War Two. The different characters you play as, while they never meet each other in-game, help to contribute in their own way in order to defeat the Germans on vastly separated fronts.
  • Mass Effect has Captain Kirrahe, a Salarian Spectial Task Group commando, who gives a rousing Patrick Stewart Speech to his squad telling them to Hold the Line and act as the distraction while Shepard and his team infiltrate the base and plant a nuke on Virmire. Throughout the mission we hear both the gunfire of their unseen battle and their radio chatter, reminding Shepard that in comparison, Shepard's mission is the easy one.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this extends to every surviving member of the Suicide Mission in the last game, with the exception of Garrus and Tali, who join your squad for the third time. To whit:
      • Miranda continues to fight her father.
      • Jacob is protecting defecting Cerberus scientists at a safe house.
      • Jack is mentoring biotic students at the Ascension Project.
      • Grunt is leading a crack team of krogan commandos.
      • Mordin plays a pivotal role in curing the genophage.
      • Kasumi is being tracked by a Salarian Spectre, whom she helps on a different investigation.
      • Zaeed is messing with Cerberus.
      • Thane dies of a combination of a stab wound by Kai Leng (incurred while protecting the Salarian Councillor) and Kepral's.
      • Samara is investigating an Ardat-Yakshi monastery that went dark.
      • Legion plays a pivotal role in dealing with the geth.
  • Tron Evolution has the protagonist Anon, a newly rezzed Security Monitor who starts his function just as CLU triggers The Purge in the backstory of Tron: Legacy. Anon goes through all kinds of troubles to keep CLU from finishing off the last ISO, Quorra. And by the end of the game, he dies saving her.
  • When the Left 4 Dead 2 group meets the Left 4 Dead group in The Passing, each group is this to the other group.
  • In The Trail of Anguish, Chris is just a cute boy to you,, but he claims to be on some unrevealed adventure of his own.
  • Banjo-Kazooie's was this in his appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, according to the game's instructions manual.
  • Fire Emblem Thracia 776 is essentially this for Leaf, a supporting character from Fire Emblem Seisen No Keifu‍'‍s second half. The game takes place a year before the second half of Seisen no Keifu and follows Leaf in the Thracian Peninsula fighting against a smaller division of the evil cult that form the main enemies of Seisen no Keifu.
  • In Silent Hill: Downpour, the Full Circle ending implies that Howard Blackwood, JP Sater, and DJ Bobby Ricks were all Heroes of their own stories, but failed and became stuck in Silent Hill limbo as a result.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, the Player Characters are this in relation to the Knight-Captain, the PC from the first two campaigns. (SoZ takes place during or after Mask of the Betrayer, on the opposite side of the continent.)
  • A lot of the NPCs from Dark Souls are these. You'll often find them in extremely dangerous areas like Anor Londo and Lost Izalith, meaning they must be pretty Badass to fight their way there.

Web Comics

  • Homestuck has the kid's Guardians, who, though often ignored or avoided by the main characters, show up all over the place, occasionally helping the kids from the background while engaging in their own adventures.
    • Not to mention fedorafreak, who only ever appears on a Twitter Expy for three frames, and provides regular updates about, respectively, his choice of hats, his house burning down, The End of the World as We Know It, and finally, his own journey through another session of Sburb and, finally, his death, possibly on a Quest Bed (which would allow his ascension to God Tier). The forums make him a Memetic Badass.
    • The trolls' ancestors played an unsuccessful session that resulting in the Scratch, resetting their universe so our trolls could have another chance.
  • On the cast page of the web comic Precocious, Kaitlyn is described as "the central character in another strip". She literally became the Hero of Another Story later, with the introduction of the Precocious spinoff strip, Copper Road.
  • Girl Genius has Othar Trygvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! for much of the comic (as chronicled on his Twitter feed) until his story crosses with the main plot. And in his mind, he's still The Hero even when it does.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Fitting for a show with a frequent Villain Protagonist, The Venture Brothers originally had Sargent Hatred as the Villain of Another Story. He started as a catch-all for any time the writers needed to reference a villain for the Monarch's henchmen to steal from, or someone else that the Venture twins had encountered in the past. He eventually joined the show as a regular. A similar situation occurred with Captain Sunshine, a supposed hero. He does appear later on.
  • Likewise, whenever Kim Possible mentioned her exploits thwarting a different villain to the one she was this episode, it would always be Professor Dementor, who was originally He Who Must Not Be Seen, but was developed into Always Someone Better for Dr Drakken.
  • The DCAU was fond of this, especially when it entered the Justice League Unlimited era:
    • The pilot for JLU, Initiation, sets the stage as Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Captain Atom go on a mission to China. Green Arrow just wanted to go home but got dragged into the story because all the other heroes were off doing other missions. Subsequent episodes would often include J'onn J'onzz or Mister Terrific at the monitor watching and directing various heroes around the globe doingg all sorts of hero stuff that has nothing to do with that episodes plot, especially if said plot was set predominately on the Watchtower itself.
    • The Greatest Story Never Told focuses on the glory-hog Booster Gold who is busted down to directing pedestrians to safety while the rest of the League fight the Dark Lord Mordru, who is strong enough to take them all and an obviously awesomely powerful villain, and the first "Omega-Level" threat the League comes up against. We hardly get to see any of it. Booster's own story however ends up seeing him saving the world from a black hole and getting the girl while the other heroes are too busy fighting. He gets berated by an injured Batman at the end for abandoning his post.
    • Patriot Act involves a crazed general giving himself super-powers to battle the League because he sees this group of superhumans, lording over them in a space station, as a potential threat to national security. He calls out Superman for a fight but he, and all the other genuine superhumans, are all out doing other stuff, so he ends up having to face Green Arrow and an assortment of lesser known "normal" heroes, eventually including reserve members the Crimson Avenger (who, basically, just has a gun) and Arrow's ex-sidekick Speedy (who, naturally, is just an Expy of GA himself), the only back-up available. This is the closest either two get to spending a day in the limelight, and Avenger doesn't even get dialogue while Speedy is never seen again, and that was his debut. It's interesting to note that the heroes in this episode were, in the comics, all members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, a Golden Age precursor to the Justice League.
    • In the pilot to Superman: The Animated Series, Martha Kent mentions "that nut in Gotham City". The two heroes met later, setting the stage for the DCAU.
    • The Justice League members - Superman included - become this in the two-part Batman Beyond episode "The Call". Consequently, both Bruce and Terry become this in the Static Shock episode "Future Shock".
  • Teen Titans: Speedy might've gotten the shaft (no pun intended) on Justice League Unlimited but he was set up as a recurring hero on Teen Titans as a rival for Robin, eventually forming Titans East along with other heroes who had previous appearances.
  • Recurring Character Futura from Filmation's Ghostbusters, an Action Girl with an impressive resume who leads armies against galactic tyrants and outlaws, but from a different time period than the one the main cast is from.
  • At the start of The Incredibles we see Frozone fighting a villain in a helicopter as main character Mr Incredible carries out his own string of heroic deeds.
  • Air Mater, a minor character in Cars who is the star (and Unreliable Narrator) of Mater's Tall Tales in the Pixar Shorts collection.
  • In Darkwing Duck, DuckTales (1987)' Gizmo Duck made many appearances as a hero who had much better adventures and publicity. There were other heroes introduced in the show, including his mystical girlfriend Morgana and the aquatic Neptuna. Eventually, they formed the Justice Ducks.
  • American Dad has had a couple appearances by John Mind, a quadruple amputee whose limbs weren't blown off, but "blown in, into his mind," giving him telekinetic powers. He never has more than the most minimal effect on an episode's plot, but he apparently walks the Earth, having adventures as "Mind Quad."
  • Rick and Morty has a few:
    • Bird-Person seems to have had quite a long career fighting the Federation before becoming part of the supporting cast.
    • Crossing over with the Beethoven Was an Alien Spy Trope, Ice-T is actually an exiled alien prince, although given The Stinger of the episode he appears (where he goes ballistic on his people's Arch Nemesis after they kill his father) it seems the "other story" regarding him is only starting...
    • Jaguar from "Pickle Rick" is sort of an Expy of both The Punisher and John McClane, who Rick allies with in "Pickle Rick"; The Stinger makes it clear his mission is elsewhere.
  • Daring Do from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Equestria's answer to Lara Croft (and a reputation just as controversial), she's rarely at home, most episodes involving her taking place in faraway lands (possibly the equivalent of South America) where most Ponies fear to tread. In fact, her story is actually published and marketed in Equestria, the Mane Six being fans.

Real Life

  • Strictly speaking, anybody you run into is likely the Hero of Another Story. Assuming that they (or you) aren't in fact the villain, or even worse, a Red Shirt. Then again, it's very possible that many folks you run into will just be the Butt Monkey.
    • Well, most people you meet are a Hero of Another Story: their own. They'd have to have pretty low opinions of themselves to be the the villains or red shirts of their own stories, and we all are probably the butt monkeys at some point or another.
    • It can be quite disconcerting to look around yourself in a public place and think how everyone else is also seeing themselves as "the person looking around themselves at a bunch of strangers"
      • Which is perfectly demonstrated by this xkcd comic and this SMBC one.
        • This really depends on your point of view. Someone who may be the Hero of Another Story to one person may be the villain in yours or their own. Likewise, you may consider yourself the villain, and thus the Hero of Another Story the only hero there is, and only the one story - theirs.
  • The scientists working on Ultra (the Enigma code breakers during World War II) were this for a long time to the scientists working on the Manhattan project (development of the atomic bomb). While the latter were widely recognized for their work, Ultra was kept officially secret until 1974.
  • This trope was invoked by practically everyone, on all sides of the fight during World War II (and any other war if you think about it). In their own version of this trope, both sides (Axis/Allies) were doing what they felt was right, while twisting the other side's words/actions against them as much as possible to justify their actions.