The Remnant

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Quintus: People should know when they are conquered.
Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?


"Although the Clone Wars were over, some people didn't seem to get the message."

Unknown 501st stormtrooper, Star Wars Battlefront 2

A (usually) villainous version of La Résistance, The Remnant are a group of enemy soldiers who are continuing to fight a war that their side has already lost. They may be using irregular military tactics, but they will probably still be dressed in their old uniforms (or the remnants thereof). Unlike a General Ripper, The Remnant no longer hold an official position in the armed forces, often because their government has ceased to exist or has been replaced. In a number of cases, this happens because nobody on either side has yet been informed that the war is over. The losing side then becomes The Remnant by default after the fact.

This is sometimes Truth in Television, as guerrilla forces and paramilitary can be the scourge of entire countries, with no regard to the life of those they claim to defend.

For a more short term 'bigger brother' concept of this, see Dragon Their Feet. In fact, the Dragon in question may end up leading these guys. May be the Vestigial Empire. The government they're trying to overthrow is likely The Federation.

This tends to be a case of Moral Dissonance or out-of-universe Moral Myopia, and all-too often, How the Mighty Have Fallen. Good guys who do this are Determinators and La Résistance and extra heroic for fighting in the face of near-impossible odds. Bad guys are just, well, bad. See also Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters.

Not to be confused with the planet on which RWBY is set.

Examples of The Remnant include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Principality of Zeon, from Mobile Suit Gundam, has scads of these; there are at least five separate groups that appear in the animation, and it's implied that there are more. The single largest one fled to the asteroid base Axis and became the first Neo Zeon movement in Zeta Gundam; the others include the Delaz Fleet, Cima's marines, and the Kimbareid force (all in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory), as well as Rommel's force (in Gundam ZZ).
    • The furthest extension of this appears in Gundam F90, centering on Zeon remnants who've been hiding on Mars for nearly fifty years before making their move.
    • The second Neo-Zeon movement in Chars Counterattack isn't really composed of remnants from the Principality of Zeon but is rather composed of ex-AEUG and other spacenoids who have took a radical bent, it gets its own remnant in Gundam Unicorn.
  • The Millennium Group from Hellsing is a single battalion of Nazi soldiers who have voluntarily undergone artificial vampirification in their mission give World War II another go.
    • Though they're a variation on the usual type, since they're not fighting for Nazism, but because they really like fighting.
  • Many antagonists of Pumpkin Scissors are this type.
  • The character Grenadier (no relation) in the Leiji Matsumoto series Cosmo Warrior Zero starts off as one of these, despite being a mercenary soldier hired by La Résistance; blame Honor Before Reason, a group of refugee children to protect, and an open-ended contract.
  • There are three in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. Kadaj uses Jenova's head to temporarily become Sephiroth
  • The last prime minister of Japan in Code Geass is treated somewhat like this trope... But he never got to go through with it because Suzaku killed him. It's heavily implied that Brittania would have eradicated Japan utterly if he had.
  • Fate Averruncus of Mahou Sensei Negima. Manga only though, the anime renders this impossible for plot altering reasons. Fate was second in command of a group called Cosmo Entelecheia, a group that was trying to bring about the end of the world A.K.A. "The Ritual To Return The World To Nothing". The group was lead by someone who was only known as "The Life Maker" and "The Mage of the Beginning". They fueled a war in order to accomplish this. It was the war and the defeat of The Mage Of The Beginning that made Nagi Springfield (Protagonist's father) a legend. After that he was known as "The Invincible Thousand Master" or just The Thousand Master for short. Fate hasn't given up.
    • Or he might be the newest version of the second in command of Cosmo Entelecheia.
  • The Kiheitai in Gintama is a revolutionary army that seeks to violently drive the Amanto aliens out of Japan, even if it means that Japan will be destroyed in the process. In fact, the complete and total destruction of Japanese society under Amanto influence seems to be the desired goal of this group's leader, Takasugi, who has shown both a willingness and a creepy enthusiasm to do the destroying himself. Then again, Takasugi is also a Nietzsche Wannabe and seems solely interested in destruction and avenging his teacher's death.
  • Hegemon Heidi Ingvalt of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is a subversion. Nove assumes her reasons for wanting to fight Vivio and Ixpellia is because to her the wars of Ancient Belka never ended, but Einhart denies this saying she only wants to prove the superiority of her Kaiser Arts. Once she actually meets Vivio, she quickly becomes The Rival and doesn't hold any grudges against her.
  • In SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next, taking place roughly in our time, an old man living under Tokyo still believes WWII continues, and is obsessed about the mission given to him. Other underground dwellers consider him dangerously crazy, but he is quite likeable.
  • Viral in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fits this role early on after the Time Skip, although subverted in that while being classified as a terrorist and gets told several times that his fight is pointless, he still insists that he does it for a noble goal. It is later revealed that he did, in fact, fight for a good cause, as he was aiming to keep the population underground to prevent the activation of the Anti-Spirals' annihilation program. He does grow out of this role when he joins up with the heroes, and eventually ends up as the supreme commander of the galactic federation fleet.
    • He doesn't really know about the Anti-spirals though. What he's doing is fighting so that the people who want to stay underground can do that, at least in this particular instance. Lordgenome wanted them underground, they want to be underground, and Viral is pretty much all that's left to fight for that goal. It's hard to not feel bad for Viral finally getting arrested because Enkidu has seen SO MANY HOPELESS BATTLES that it finally just breaks down. Viral even apologizes to it.

Comic Books

  • The Serenity comic book introduces the Dust Devils, extremist former Browncoats continuing to wage a terrorist war against the Alliance, and reveals that Zoe was once one of their number.
    • From the point of view of the Alliance, Mal Reynolds could be seen as The Remnant, though he mostly resorts to brigandry like his 19th Century counterpart Jesse James.
  • Pointed out in the first X Wing Series comic.

Tycho: "Wait, slow down. A week ago, Wedge vaporized the Emperor and half the Imperial High Command - I know that Imperials tried to stab us in the back after The Truce At Bakura, but isn't the war basically over? Why won't the Imperials just surrender?"
Luke: "Would you stop fighting if Wedge was killed? Or me? Or Senator Organa? The Battle of Endor will always be a turning point in this war, but there are millions of Imperials scattered across the galaxy, and we can only assume that they will fight to the end. And they probably have orders to do just that."

  • Colonel Quantrill in B.A.'s Cattlepunk campaign in Knights of the Dinner Table.
  • The Fort Charlotte Brigade from Jonah Hex (although they also have a personal axe to grind with Jonah).
  • Colonel Augustus Barton and his renegede Confederate buswhackers in The Lone Ranger and Zorro: The Death of Zorro from Dynamite.
  • In "The War That Never Ended!" in Adventure Comics #255, Green Arrow and Speedy are stranded on a Pacific island that is still inhabited by Japanese soldiers who do not know that WWII is over.



  • The Brotherhood without Banners, the pro-Robert splinter cell encountered in A Storm of Swords. An interesting case as they start off as La Résistance, but become The Remnant after their principled leader dies and they get a vengeance crazed replacement.
  • Once you get past all the Sweet Polly Oliver spoofing, the main protagonists of the Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment discover that they almost qualify as this trope.
    • They then use this discovery in a very effective ruse involving a press release.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, the Empire (referred to as the "Imperial Remnant" by the new government) continues to be the major antagonist despite the Emperor himself dying in the Battle of Endor. (When people wonder why in various Expanded Universe stories, it's pointed out that if the entire ruling council of the New Republic was killed in an attack...they'd be replaced by people who probably wouldn't be as good at the job; hardly a crushing blow.) Fifteen years later, they are reduced to less than a hundredth of their former strength, and there are still politicians and commanders who refuse to give up—even though the Supreme Commander notes that the average Imperial citizen probably realized it years ago, and decides on his own to arrange for Peace Conferences with the New Republic so that the Empire could survive to rise again, one day.
    • That day came many years later, long after the Vong Invasion. At some point the Empire reformed and the Republic became The Remnant, and as the entire galaxy had become rather darker by that point, that Empire doesn't come off as too evil.
      • Of course, by this time the Empire has softened considerably from the days of Vader and Sidious—the Emperor is very strongly hinted to be a descendant of Han Solo and Leia (through their daughter, Jaina—admittedly, being called Solo isn't an anti-dark side guarantee); the anti-alien doctrine is gone to the point where you have Devaronian stormtroopers and Kel Dor admirals; and the new version of the Royal Guards are basically Jedi whose first rule is that if the Emperor goes to the dark side, they kill his ass. Then, of course, the Sith perform a coup and this Empire becomes a second Remnant, locked in an Enemy Civil War with a Sith-run Empire where it's pretty much back to the old business of maniacal cackling and sneering at opponents. The Fantastic Racism is still (mostly) gone though.
    • In a much smaller example, there were two separate soldiers who crashed on two different essentially uninhabited jungle planets and didn't hear that their war was over for some twenty years. The first, apparently based on the Real Life Japanese soldiers, was a TIE pilot on Yavin IV who was found by the Solo twins, antagonized them, eventually helped them, and went back to living alone in the jungle, then aided them again against the Vong. The second, chronologically the first, was Able 1707, a clone trooper whose troop transport crashed. The other troopers died - most clone troopers age at twice the normal rate - leaving him to wait until Imperial and Rebel forces skirmished near him, when he had to try and figure out which side was his. He eventually ended up as a rather Badass and slightly antiheroic commando for the Rebellion, only to be transformed into a rakghoul monster. Sigh.
      • Oddly enough, while individuals like Qorl (that'd be the aforesaid TIE pilot) happen quite often, the Imperial Remnant is never The Remnant - they remain a full-function government, albeit with less territory every year.
      • It is also worth noting that, depending on the time period, it is not always a united Vestigial Empire as much as a series of rival factions. During his life, the Emperor deliberately tore down the bureaucracy of the Old Republic, replacing it with something akin to a feudal system, with regional governors having direct control over their territories, all of whom were loyal to him, with the military might of the Empire to enforce it. When the Emperor was killed, those factions had no supreme leader holding their allegiance anymore, and many different regional governors had different ideas about succession and policy. After Thrawn's and the reborn Emperor's deaths, the Empire disintegrated as a unified force and spent the next decade or so in an off-and-on state of civil war, with former governors and high military officers setting themselves up as despots. This lasted until Admiral Daala resurfaced and brought together most of these leaders to hash out an Imperial alliance that could strike back at the Rebellion. This failed, and she simply had them all killed and took over the whole shebang pretty much by default. When her latest master plan failed, she turned over leadership to Admiral Pallaeon, who ruled the still-unified Empire in a kind of military junta with a group of civilian Moffs as an advisory council, a situation that carried all the way through the Vong wars and most of the new Galactic Civil War.
  • Captain Nemo, the villain/AntiHero of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island is an exiled Indian prince continuing to fight the Sepoy Mutiny.
  • The democratic rebellion from Nerh ûn. Granted, they'd be more like The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, if only they were the good guys.
  • In the Miles Vorkosigan novel Brothers In Arms, the villain is one of these for the Komarran resistance, rather to Miles' frustration:

Galen: The revolt must not die.
Miles: Even if everybody in it dies? 'It didn't work, so let's do it some more'? In my line of work, they call that military stupidity. I don't know what they call it in civilian life.

  • In the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, a remnant of the former Galactic Empire remains for several centuries after the true empire collapses, maintaing the styles and iconography of it's previous incarnation. Because the Empire was so huge, a government in control of twenty planets is only a tiny remnant of the real thing.
  • In David Eddings' Belgariad, the country of Arendia has been torn by civil war for millennia, largely due to their race's absurd devotion to Honor Before Reason. The Asturians continue to mount pointless insurrections against the crown, despite the fact that the Mimbrates won the war long ago and the Asturian Duchess is also the Queen.
    • The main problem with the Mimbrates and Asturians, aside from the Mimbrates treating their landed gentry opposite numbers as no better than serfs, is that neither side will talk to the other. When, after some outside prodding, they do, and the point of the queen also being Asturian nobility is mentioned, tensions ease noticeably.

Queen: "You mean that there have been centuries of strife over a technicality?"
Noble: "... It is rather Arendish, isn't it?"

  • The plot of the J. T. Edson Western The South Will Rise Again.
  • In the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Relaunch, a small fleet of Jem'Hadar warships, led by Kitana'klan, continue to wage war on the Dominion's rivals for several months after the peace treaty is signed. Ashamed of their species' failure to take the Alpha Quadrant, they're determined to renew the fighting even against the will of the Founders. Three months after the conflict's conclusion, they attack Deep Space Nine, destroying the starship Aldebaran with all hands and damaging the starship Defiant. They are in turn attacked by the loyal Jem'Hadar Taran'atar, who was en route to Deep Space Nine as an envoy on the orders of Odo. He defends the station with his own warship, and eventually foils a secondary plot by Kitana'klan to destoy the reactor core.
  • In Andre Norton's The Beast Master, the villains turn out to be a detachment of the same aliens who found out too late that nuking Terra into radioactive sterility wouldn't save them from Terra's colonies. The war's been over for a year or so, but they're trying to make new trouble on a colony planet.
  • Saruman from Lord of the Rings qualifies in a round-about sense, in that he is a former 'Evil Overlord' , but reduced to a pathetically small scale after his armies are routed and he is cast out from Isengard. He spends the remainder of the book running the Shire into the ground, turning into a sort of bandit leader with a mob of 'ruffians'. He is stabbed in the back (completely literally) by his servant at the end.
    • It's also said that after Sauron's defeat, his human allies such as the Haradrim and the Easterlings continue fighting against Gondor, although its less out of loyalty to their old boss and more out of fear and hatred of Gondor.
    • Sauron himself qualifies, being the erstwhile right hand of Morgoth.
  • In Years of Rice and Salt, although Western civilization is all but destroyed, a few fragments remain such as Georgia and New Norway.

Live Action TV

  • Col. Emmett Anderson (played by Kurtwood Smith) in the pilot episode of The Magnificent Seven TV series, "Ghosts of the Confederacy," who leads a group of ex-Confederate soldiers who roam the west preying on isolated towns.
  • In the Star Trek:The Original Series "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", the crew encounter an alien fugitive with the right side of his body colored white and the left colored black. Eventually his pursuer, who has the same colors but reversed arrives to capture him for causing "race riots". Eventually, the pursuer hijacks the Enterprise to try to return the fugitive to their home planet to face trial only to find that the planet had destroyed itself in the race war. Despite being offered a place to live by Kirk, both of them blame each other's race for what happened and start fighting, eventually taking their fight to the destroyed planet below.

Sulu: But the cause they fought about no longer exists. Does it matter now which one was right?
Spock: All that matters to them is their hate.
Uhura: Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?
Kirk: No, but that's all they have left.[dejected] Warp factor 4, Mr. Sulu. Starbase...4.

  • In Star Trek: Voyager, a member of the Maquis used a plan too complicated to describe here (Brainwashing was involved) to cause the Maquis members of the Voyager crew to mutiny.
  • Doctor Who: In "Remembrance of the Daleks", the Seventh Doctor persuades a lone Dalek to kill itself as it has "no superiors, no inferiors, no reinforcements, no hope, no rescue!"
    • When he attempts a similar tactic on another lone Dalek in "Dalek" however, he only succeeds in making it angrier.

Then I shall follow the Primary Order! The Dalek instinct to destroy, to conquer!

  • In Torchwood, the Torchwood Institute was once a massive organisation with access of powerful aliens weapons and talking about rebuilding the British Empire. After 2007 it's half a dozen people in a Elaborate Underground Base under Roald Dahl Plass. It became defunct in 2010, when Jack left Earth, and by 2011, it was four people on the run, basically running under Torchwood as a codeword. With the death of one of its remaining four members, its status as of the end of Torchwood: Miracle Day is unclear.
  • In the MacGyver episode "Humanity", MacGyver tangles with the K-Force, a group of Praetorian Guard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant Ceauşescu.
  • The Machine Empire Remnant in Power Rangers, which attacked in the Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red", four years after the Empire (and other forces of evil) was destroyed at the end of Power Rangers in Space.
  • In Firefly, Malcolm Reynolds, on the losing side of the Independents' revolt against the Alliance, still believes that he was on the right side, and ekes out an existence on the outskirts of civilization with a few like minded comrades.
    • Everyone thinks that Mal is The Remnant, ready to take the fight to the Alliance again on behalf of the Independants (see "Bushwhacked"), but really he just wants to forget the Alliance exists and live his own gorram life.
    • Note that for a while, he was The Remnant—it's mentioned in various sources that he fought on at Serenity Valley with his troops for quite a bit longer than the Independents actually allowed, what with surrendering and all..
  • An episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea dealt with a Japanese holdout (see Real Life examples below).
  • The crew of the Battlestar Pegasus in Battlestar Galactica continued their war against the Cylons long after (as far as they knew) the government was completely wiped out and their warship was the only human fighting force left in the galaxy.
    • The Galactica herself is also an example, though for the most part, they tended only to fight the Cylons when escaping wasn't immediately possible. They do spend most of the Miniseries trying to figure out who is in charge and getting the ship re-armed so they can get back into the fight, it isn't until the end that Roslin convinces Adama that running away is the better option.
  • One episode of The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot had a remnant of the Roman colonial government of Britain hiding behind a section of Hadrian's Wall, pretending to be ghosts.
  • Kamen Rider Decade: Super Shocker in Final Chapter is the remains of what was left of Dai-Shocker's massive Monster of the Week army following the really big fight at the end of All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, rebanded under Narutaki (whose hatred of Decade has evolved from trolling to outright villainy) and a revived Doctor Shinigami.
  • Northern Exposure featured one of these guys in one episode, from when Japan controlled the Aleutian Islands.
  • The first episode of Rutland Weekend Television has a sketch about a group of British soldiers who remain unaware WWII is over... and who are stationed on the Isle of Wight, a couple of miles off the English coast. It also has a Major who has been told the war is over, but is incapable of understanding the concept.



Pilot: I stand by what I said! We shouldn't be doing this at all, Sir! All this flying out and crashing into British and American ships - It's all wrong, sir!
Commanding Officer: Wrong, Simpkins? Give me one good reason why it's wrong!
Pilot: Well - The war ended thirty-two years ago, Sir!


Tabletop Games

  • In the Eberron setting of Dungeons & Dragons, some warforged (sentient soldier-golems) act like this after the end of The Last War has left them without a place in the world. All the sides are technically at peace, but one of the main aspects of the setting is that the peace is so fragile that any kind of major incident (which the player characters will no doubt get involved in) could start another war. The biggest Remnant among warforged is led by the charismatic Lord of Blades.
    • Also in Eberron is The Order of The Emerald Claw, Karrnathi zealots that were once the pride of Karrn's military but have now been branded outlaws and terrorist. This is also a Subversion, as the Order is actually the military arm of the Blood of Vol and are used as spies, saboteurs, and agents provocateur throughout Khorvaire.
  • The Deadlands supplement South o' the Border includes the San Patrico Battalion: a group of Americans who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War who now roam the badlands of the Confederacy and northern Mexico.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Chaos Space Marines, who after losing the Horus Heresy continue to wage war against the forces of the "False Emperor" ten thousand years later. And because many of them took refuge in the Eye of Terror after losing the civil war, some of the veterans of the Siege of Terra literally have been fighting the Long War for millennia on end.
  • The Kraken Fleet from Fifty Fathoms. Their only city has been destroyed, their once proud navy is down to one Great Ship, and their leader, Grand Admiral Caspian, was crippled in the last fight against the Big Bad. It hasn't stopped the remaining Kraken from trying to fight ways to fight the Big Bad, and win this time.
  • In Planescape, the Keepers are odd beings who are believed to have been created by a Guvner who somehow figured out how to create entire worlds simply by dreaming them up; he thus dreamed up a world where the Keepers lived, and brought them to his world, and then used them as servants towards his goal, uncovering forbidden knowledge. However, he got sloppy, and told them "make sure nobody ever discovers how you got here," and they obeyed, by killing him. Most believe that, ever since then, the Keepers are still following whatever orders he had given them, searching for Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, or silencing anyone else doing so, having no idea why or what they would do with it.

Video Games

  • Abundant in the Warcraft universe - enemies are never fully killed off, they periodically return after slowly rebuilding. Arthas, of all people, lampshades this at one point by complaining "Doesn't anyone stay dead anymore?"
    • The early missions of Warcraft III feature orcish holdouts from the Second War, clinging to "dying traditions" and using armies evocative of Warcraft II. Later expansions, including World of Warcraft, turn the tables by featuring a xenophobic Alliance admiral campaigning against the (reformed) orcs even after a truce between the Alliance and the Horde.
    • The upper reaches of Blackrock Mountain are ruled by the remnants of the "Dark Horde," the few ogre, troll, and orc clans that fell under the rule of Rend Blackhand decades ago, and who feel that the Second War has never really ended. What makes this self-proclaimed "true Horde" dangerous is that they know their ongoing battle is largely hopeless, but they keep fighting anyway.
    • The Amani, Gurubashi, and most trollish tribes for that matter once existed as mighty empires. Now, thousands of years later, their old capitals are mostly ruins, their (cannibalistic) culture and technology are primitive compared to the rest of the world, and until recently the trolls fought amongst each other as much as they did with anyone else.
    • After Arthas' death, Bolvar Fordragon becomes the new Lich King in order to keep the Scourge in check; the Plaguelands are still plagued by factions of the Scourge who have apparently not gotten the order to stop fighting.
  • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, the remnants of Team Rocket from Giovanni's sudden disappearance in the last game are the main antagonists.
    • Platinum also has Team Galactic turn into this after their leader Cyrus is beaten.
    • A small group of Rockets post-disappearance are fought in the remake of Red and Blue called FireRed and LeafGreen as part of Extended Gameplay.
  • The opening mission of Star Fox Assault has you destroying the last remnants of the Venom army before you move up in the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.
  • The Divine Crusaders in Super Robot Wars Original Generation show up again in the sequel as the Neo DC, and then again in the Gaiden Game. It helps that the Divine Crusaders are a walking Shout-Out to Zeon, and that they had help from another faction.
  • The Fallout series features the Enclave, members of the pre-war U.S. government who rode out the apocalypse in their bunker before emerging to retake the wasteland. Responsible for unscrupulous projects such as the F.E.V. and Vault Experiment, over the course of Fallout 2 they try to kill everyone that doesn't match their criteria of "pure" human, which is pretty much everybody except themselves and Vault Dwellers. They get defeated. So when you encounter them in Fallout 3, you're fighting the remnant of The Remnant, and then in the Broken Steel expansion you fight the remnants of that. As of Fallout: New Vegas the Enclave is all but extinct, but you can convince a handful of survivors to rally for one last hurrah at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, where they'll become the stuff of legends.
    • After the defeat of The Master's super mutant army, hundreds of mutants yet survived. By the time of Fallout 2, the smarter ones have settled in peace in the city of Broken Hills, while the dumber ones either fled to the north, east, or still remain in the region, fighting anyone who they find in the area between New Reno and NCR. As the first game happens eighty years before the second, you can imagine how much time they spent there. They're universally loathed by (Iron Man) players who just came out of New Reno, possibly because they are armed with Rocket Launchers, Miniguns and Laser Rifles which can make mincemeat of even end-game players.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel technically qualifies, as they're descended from a group of former United States Army soldiers. In a twist, it's revealed in the first game that the soldiers were mutineers and the Brotherhood was effectively a secessionist movement. Unlike most examples on this page, they're relatively heroic.
    • Also in Fallout 3 is the Chinese Remnant - ghoulified Chinese infiltrators from before the Great War, still lurking in the ruins of Washington D.C.
      • The Point Lookout DLC has Desmond Lockheart and Professor Calvert, two feuding high ranking Pre-War intelligence officers who keep fighting each other despite the interests they represent no longer existing. And it's stated that there are even more of them, still playing the "Great Game".
  • In Fire Emblem 6, defeating King Zephiel with all legendary weapons available and intact unlocks the chapters leading to the true ending of the game. The very first of these, "The Ghost of Bern", pits Roy against The Remnant of the Bern army, led by the final Wyvern General under orders from her deceased king.
    • FE 7 has this as well with Eubans' mercenaries, who fight Eliwood and Hector despite being completely aware that the lords have already killed their employer.
    • Fire Emblem 8: The Sacred Stones- has it again: After the defeat of Grado, by Prince Ephraim, you'll continue fighting them, however, they are now called "Remnant". Of note, Grado's Prince is still alive, and is giving the orders.
    • 'Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance also has it in the bonus maps you obtain after completing the game. There are also remnant mercenaries that fight even after Daein Keep falls, however Ashnard is still alive, but they don't seem to know that, if I recall correctly.
  • In the Tau campaign of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, when the Imperial Guard are defeated, the narrator mentions that many of the survivors continued to stage guerilla attacks against the aliens. Also, in the actual game, the forces remaining in any enemy-controlled province after their main headquarters on the Risk-Style Map has been captured probably count.
  • The Eruseans from Ace Combat do this twice. The first time, after sacking their capital Farbanti and splashing the V-22s carrying their military leaders in the penultimate mission of Shattered Skies, a group of officers and the last 15 members of their pilot corps takes over the last trump card, Megalith, prompting the final Airstrike Impossible. The second is covered in the Arcade Mode of Unsung War, where Free Erusean forces attempt an uprising. The Leasath also do this after their commanding officer is defeated, though our Intrepid Reporter narrator notes that they shouldn't last long.
  • From Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Colonel Barnesby and his Confederate remnants are undaunted by the end of the American Civil War, and start up a gun-running operation in the hopes of putting together enough money to finance a second rebellion.
  • In the Star Wars games set after the Battle of Endor, the remaining Imperials are literally known as the The Remnant. That's what happens when you cut off the head of the snake...
  • The Godfather: The Game counts an enemy Family as wiped out once you bomb and take over their Compound, but any Legitimate Businessmens Social Clubs that you have yet to take over still shows as under their control, plus in certain spots even in Corleone turf you may still find pockets of enemy mobsters.
  • In Dungeon Keeper 2 the Sylvan Elves formerly under the command of Lord Ronin continue to fight against Keeper Asmodeous. Interestingly, and very unusually for this trope, if left to their own devices they'll actually win. Granted it won't resurrect their commander, but they'll get their territory back. Of course, the mission objective is to kill Asmodeous yourself in order to prevent this, with the assumption being that the player has destroyed the remaining Elves in the process. Later, the remainder of Lord Bramble's forces don't give up either, but they're more interested in surviving in what remains of his fortress than actually aggressing against the two Keepers in the area.
  • The Reptites at the Giant's Claw in Chrono Trigger, crossing over into Lost World.
    • Actually, a lot more than them. Pretty much every past period evil force has remnants in the present.
  • Many un-updated Random Encounter zones can produce an effect similar to this after external plot changes, such as The Empire's troops in South Figaro's secret tunnel after the Floating Continent in Final Fantasy VI.
  • In StarCraft, the Confederacy just won't seem to go away after being defeated by Arcturus Mengsk. One remnant group joined the United Earth Directorate shortly after they invaded the sector.
    • The Confederacy appears in a cool map, Deception, having made strange alliances.
    • Ironically, there are UED remnants left in the K-Sector after their defeat, some of them serving as mercenaries; In fact, a lot of the remnants of old Terran factions appearing as mercenaries that can be hired in the Star Craft 2 Campaign Wings of Liberty.
  • In Skyrim the two criminal organizations the Dragonborn can join have both fallen into hard times. The Dark Brotherhood has only one Sanctuary in all of Tamriel in a remote forest in Skyrim and the Legion already knows its location and could wipe out the Brotherhood at any time. They also don't have a Listener, so they can't even pick up the contracts that reach the Night Mother via Black Sacraments and are forced to rely on the rumour mill to find jobs. The Thieves' Guild is reduced to a tavern in a sewer, their connections are all but gone, and they are considered little more than petty hired thugs with a veneer of civility. The Guild's sorry state is due to Mercer Frey's betrayal. He stole Nocturnal's Skeleton Key (draining the Guild's luck since this upset their patron Daedra Nocturnal), embezzled the Guild's fortune using the Key, and murdered the Guild's charismatic leader Gallus when he got too close to the truth (which cost the Guild all of Gallus' connections).
  • In Alpha Protocol, though not outright stated, it is strongly hinted that G22 is actually the remnant of a previous iteration of Alpha Protocol known as G19.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III: After the peace accord is signed between The Empire and the Principality of Gallia, the Imperium's all-Darcsen Calamity Ravens legion become this. The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, and they go to extreme length for a chance to establish a Darcsen nation by attempting to activate a Valkyrian Pointless Doomsday Device as their trump card. This will inevitably shatter the fragile peace if they succeed. Stopping the attempt is the Final Battle in the game.

Web Comics

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

Western Animation

  • The Quirky Miniboss Squad Knights of Vengeance in WITCH, at least until they try to free Phobos and end up in prison.
  • There's a DuckTales (1987) episode similar in plot to the The Magnificent Seven example given above. Re-enactments, Launchpad McQuack, and hot air balloons are involved.
  • In Exo Squad, after Terran retake Venus, some of the Neosapien garrisons become guerrillas, hoping that Phaeton would send more reinforcements to rescue them. The reinforcements never reach the Venusian surface.
    • More directly, the Exo Fleet itself, having been deployed to the Outer Planets when the Neosapiens launched their conquest of the Homeworlds, continues to carry the fight for several years after the government they were loyal to had been disbanded, despite suffering several major defeats in their early attempts to liberate Earth.
  • In an odd twist on the usual show theme, the Decepticons are the outnumbered La Résistance in Transformers Animated fighting to retake their homeland after losing the war the first time around. Combine this with the generally morally ambiguous behavior of the Autobots (especially in Season Three when Sentinel Prime goes all McCarthy) and you might almost believe them.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Southern Fried Rabbit", Yoesemite Sam was told to guard the Mason-Dixon Line and is still doing so... in 1952. On being told by Bugs Bunny that the War Between the States has been over for nearly 90 years, he responds "I'm no clockwatcher!" before trying to blast the rascally rabbit.
  • Comrade Red, Major Glory's arch-foe from Dexter's Laboratory seems to be intent on defending the ideals of the Soviet Union (his red costume having the hammer and sickle insignia, and using an actual hammer and sickle as weapons) despite the cartoon where he first appears taking place five years after the fall of the Communism and the Soviet Union becoming Russia.

Real Life

  • Japanese holdouts, also known as stragglers, were soldiers (usually stationed on small islands in the Philippines or up and down the Pacific coast) who either did not learn or did not believe that World War II was over, and Japan had surrendered. The latest confirmed holdouts lasted until 1974, a full twenty-nine years after the war's end:
    • Onoda Hiroo would not believe the news until his now-retired former commanding officer was flown in to personally order him to stand down. In 1974. When he surrendered, he still had his army sword and original issue rifle in full-working order.
    • Yokoi Shoichi held out on the island of Guam until 1972. When he returned to Japan, his official statement was "I am embarrassed that I have returned alive."
  • Jesse James and his James Gang never stopped fighting the American Civil War.
    • The last ship to fly the Confederate flag (CSS Shenandoah, a commerce raider) reached port and officially struck its colors near the end of 1866. It spent most of the intervening time getting months-old bad news occasionally whenever it would raid "enemy" shipping.
    • Robert E. Lee deliberately refused to go down this path, against the advice of several of his subordinates, and chose surrender rather than continuing increasingly futile bloodshed as bandits for years or even decades to come.
  • This was a feature of some nations' defense planning during the 20th century; in fact, during the Bush 43 administration, Donald Rumsfeld and Condi Rice used the German stay-behind "force" Werwolf as part of the justification for continuing the Iraq War. NATO, under United States direction, did much the same thing in much of western Europe as a poison pill in case of Communist invasion (the plan is best known by the Italian name, Operation Gladio); sounds sensible, right? Except many Gladio recruits were some of their nations' most outspoken fascists and thugs.
  • For that matter, the Nazis' Werwolf project itself. Originally devised as an underground network of soldiers that would conduct sabotage and guerilla warfare in those parts of Germany that would soon be occupied by the Allies forces, it was never seriously intended as a last-ditch effort to retain control over Nazi Germany. Its propaganda value far outweighed its practical use, and it is because of this that the Allies over-estimated its effectiveness and actual threat level.
  • During the Russian Civil War, there were several White warlords in the Russian Far East who were still fighting months or even years after the main White armies/governments in Crimea and Siberia were destroyed (1920). The most Determinatoriffic of these was General Pepelyaev, who led a raid on several towns in Yakutia in 1923, when the LAST White remnant in the Maritime province was already fallen. Some warlords survived even further but fled to China to fight Chinese commies.
  • Eastern Europe's non-communist undergrounds left over from WWII certainly count. Many of these organizations had been fighting for nearly half a decade or more when WWII ended, and many continued the fight after the Soviets marched in and set up their clients. They had an even more impressive- if anything- track record than the Japanese, in many cases holding out and conducting guerilla warfare until the eighties. The last Polish group of freedom fighters was captured in 1965. Allegedly some of the groups were blowing up support trains for Germans on the Eastern Front. And of course, if you want to be technical, from a certain point of view WWII ended when independent German state made peace with the independent Polish state - in 1995!
    • Just the various Anti-Soviet groups (Forest Brethen/Forest Brothers depending on translation from Estonian/Latvian/Lithuanian) in the Baltics in general. It's notable that while the Soviets moved in for good in 1944, It wasn't until well until Stalin kicked the bucket and pardons issued issued to La Résistance leaders and an end to the mass deportations of Baltic rebels to the GULAG that the region saw a decrease in the guerrilla tactics in the woodlands. Of course, some of them just stayed in the woods even after that and kept up the fight.
      • The Forest Brethren (Metsavõnnud) of Estonia. Their last fighters were crushed in 1979.
        • Just in time for the 80s and Gobachev to get everyone back in the habit of protesting those commies only to get their independence in 1991. The Determinator anybody?
    • While the Solidarity Movement wasn't actually part of the Home Army, many of their members liked to think they were. The Home Army's insignia was used as graffiti throughout the Solidarity Movement. Solidarity and Pope John Paul II soon demonstrated that neither the Soviets nor their satellite regime in Warsaw could control the Polish people, while the Soviets were struggling with their own internal problems, ultimately leading to Poland's independence.
  • Variant: The self-styled Real IRA are technically a Remnant of a terrorist movement who decided to Take a Third Option when The Troubles ended in stalemate.
  • After the Boer Wars, there were groups of Boer guerillas roaming the South African countryside; they were known as Bitter-Enders and refused to admit defeat against British forces.
  • When Mao won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, his enemies fled to Taiwan. They fortified the island and prepared for the eventual reconquest of the mainland. Chiang Kai-Shek initially didn't even bother to develop the Taiwanese economy or infrastructure; he didn't expect to be staying there long. It wasn't until 1987 that martial law was lifted. The country is still officially called the Republic of China, founded by Sun Yat-Sen in 1911 before anyone had ever heard of Mao; and to this day there are hardcore members of the Nationalist Party who hope to see China reunited under their banners.
    • There were also pro-Chiang guerrillas operating from Burma in the 50s that were sponsored by the CIA.
    • This trope is actually enforced for Taiwan: officially, the Republic of China not only claims the whole territory of the People's Republic of China, but also Mongolia, parts of Korea and Central Asia, and anywhere else even nominally part of the Empire when it fell apart (yes, including Tibet). This is because although even the hardliners have no intention of reconquering all of this territory, actually changing their definition of the Republic in any way would be an official acknowledgement of "two Chinas", and thus would be perceived as a provocative move by the People's Republic.
  • Happened during the War of 1812 due to the amount of time it took for information to travel in those days; the treaty ending the war was signed in December 1814 but combat continued into the following year. Of particular note is the Battle of New Orleans, fought January 8, 1815, as the Americans' overwhelming victory both compelled the British to abide by the terms of the treaty and propelled Major General Andrew Jackson to a successful run at the presidency.
  • Bolivia still maintains a fully functioning navy, despite the country having been landlocked since losing a war to Chile in 1884.
    • Subverted by the fact that it is a Brown Water navy. In other words: They patrol rivers and lakes. This as opposed to a Blue Water Navy, which deals with the open ocean and is what everyone assumes when one says Navy.
  • An inversion: America won the Cold War, yet there are still those who think the communists will take over any minute now.
  • Even after Franco won the Spanish Civil War, the Republican army's remnants kept trying to fight him for decades, even until the day Franco died.
  • Belarus, with its quasi-socialism, state-controlled industries, a strongarm President backed up by State Sec (which is even called KGB) and a very Soviet-looking flag and coat of arms, can be seen as The Remnant of the Soviet Union.
    • Minsk remains quite possibly the only former Soviet capital to have kept virtually all of their Commie Land monuments.
    • Most Belorussians (roughly 70%) list Russian as their primary language and it remains an official language still used heavily in education and politics.
  • Transnistria (an unrecognised but de facto independent breakaway state within the territory of Moldova) may similarly be considered a Remnant of the Soviet Union, continuing to operate a literal Soviet government (although not communist), and using the associated iconography (hammer and sickle, Lenin, etc.) on official monuments and state symbols.
  • The followers of the British King James II, or Jacobites, become this after he is ousted.
  • This is the idea behind "second strike" nuclear launch facilities (primarily submarines) which are intended to launch retaliatory strikes after their state has been consumed by nuclear fire.
  • The Principality of Liechtenstein tends to be considered a surviving remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, which collapsed during the Napoleonic Wars. The Habsburg-ruled domains meanwhile lasted until 1918 with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I.