10 Minor Movie Franchise Characters Who Became Leads

10 Minor Movie Franchise Characters Who Became Leads

Content Warning: The following article contains clips with profanity and graphic violence.

Jurassic World: Dominion has just hit theatres, and it again sees the return of Dr. Henry Wu, who only had a minor role in Jurassic Park. In fact, the whole Jurassic World trilogy gave the character an arc that nobody would have expected to see in 1993, but this isn’t the first time a minor character has been thrust into the limelight.

Though it’s rare, smaller characters have sometimes been given the weight of a franchise and become main characters, whether it’s in the highest-grossing series of all time or in a continuation of a romantic comedy smash hit. And the results range from surprisingly exciting to bitterly disappointing.


Dr. Henry Wu (Jurassic Park)

BD Wong as Dr Henry Wu in the Jurassic Park franchise

Dr. Henry Wu literally has one scene in the original Jurassic Park, and he’s hardly even the focal point, as he simply delivers expositional dialogue to Alan and the gang about the dinosaur’s genetics. But 23 years later, Wu returned as the primary antagonist of Jurassic World, and the character’s personality traits have changed drastically.

Instead of being a thoughtful geneticist, Wu has become an evil genius with the park almost acting as his villain’s lair. Wu continued his villainous plans in the follow-up, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, though he somewhat redeems himself in the newly-released Jurassic World: Dominion.

Amanda (Saw)


While Saw ended up becoming a franchise that focused more on torture porn than having an overarching narrative, it did try to tell a story, even if it was way too convoluted. Surprisingly a lot of the eight movies (not including the recently released reboot, Spiral) center around Amanda, who acts as the Jigsaw killer’s sidekick.

Amanda was only in a couple of very brief scenes in the first Saw movie, as she was one of Jigsaw’s very first victims. But in Saw II, it’s revealed that she’s in on the whole plan and acting as a mole, as she’s partaking in Jigsaw’s warped house of fun. The reveal that Amanda was behind it the whole time was the catalyst for so many of the series’ plot holes, but nobody saw the twist coming in the sequel.

Vision (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

WandaVision Still Of Wanda And Vision In Classic Costumes

Paul Bettany is best known for playing Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the character’s role in the universe has gotten consecutively bigger ever since he was created in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character was even the co-lead of the Disney+ series WandaVision. Vision is often the most emotional crux of the movies and series he appears in, whether it’s his death in Infinity War or his bargaining with Wanda over their imaginary children.

And between “Well, I was born yesterday” and almost anything he says in WandaVision, Vision has given some memorable dialogue in the MCU too. However, while many might not have noticed, the actor has been in the MCU ever since the franchise’s very first movie, Iron Man. Bettany voiced JARVIS, Tony Stark’s user interface computer program.

Jay & Silent Bob (ViewAskewniverse)

Jay and Silent Bob have become the characters who tie the whole ViewAskewniverse together. The two stoners first appeared in Kevin Smith’s microbudget directorial debut, Clerks, as they hung around outside the Quick Stop, but they had such minor parts and Silent Bob didn’t have a single line of dialogue.

However, each consecutive movie in the franchise has given them more screentime, and Silent Bob seemingly has the longest, unbroken monologues out of any other character. The two got their own movie in the universe in 2005 with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and then a sequel in 2019 with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. And they’ll even be returning later this year in Clerks III.

Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Johnny Depp As Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean

Jack Sparrow wasn’t exactly a minor character in The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, but the movie wasn’t about him. The film centers around William and Elizabeth’s relationship and how they get caught up in a war between pirates, and Sparrow is a supporting character, but as the franchise went on, his presence grew.

By the third installment, Johnny Depp was the only actor on many of the movie’s marketing materials, including some posters, even though Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley were both bankable stars at the time. As for the fourth and fifth movies, Jack Sparrow is very much the sole protagonist of them, which is bittersweet, as most audiences only watch them for the iconic pirate, but each subpar entry into the series is damaging the character’s legacy.

Deadpool (The X-Men Universe)

Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson in Deadpool 2 opening monologue

Long before 2016’s Deadpool, the Merc with the Mouth was hugely popular. The superhero was a favorite amongst comic book readers, and he had such a big fanbase that a 2013 Deadpool video game was released and wasn’t actually a tie-in to any movie. However, Wade Wilson showed up in the X-Men universe in a relatively uneventful way in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He briefly shows up in an elevator to bicker with Logan, then returns an hour later as a mutated henchman.

While some fans think Origins is the best X-Men movie, sewing Deadpool’s mouth shut was unforgivable. But when audiences thought Wade would never return in film, especially with Ryan Reynolds in the role, both the character and actor returned in one of the most faithful movie adaptations of a comic book ever. Ironically, the two Deadpool films are the highest-grossing releases in the X-Men franchise.

Irving Zisman (Jackass)

Johnny Knoxville as Irving in Bad Grandpa.

For the most part, the Jackass series sees the MTV crew performing outrageous and dangerous stunts. But there’s one sequence in each film that follows the fictional character, Irving Zisman, a vulgar old man who’s simply Johnny Knoxville in make-up.

Irv’s stunts range from convincing kids to smoke to crashing bikes through car windows, and Knoxville and the producers thought the character had much more potential. 2013 saw the release of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, which sees Irv up to his old tricks but actually has a narrative. The film is equal parts Little Miss Sunshine parody and hidden camera hijinks, and, surprisingly, it works well.

Aldous Snow (Get Him To The Greek)

Get Him To The Greek Jonah Hill Russel Brand Car

Aldous Snow is the typical hateable new boyfriend who appears in almost every romantic comedy, the guy who the romantic lead is with instead of the protagonist. However, Forgetting Sarah Marshall flips the trope on its head, and Aldous ends up winning audiences over and becomes rather loveable. He was so loveable that a spin-off movie even followed.

It’s almost like Get Him to the Greek is set in a different reality, as the character of Aldous Snow connects the two films, but his life is entirely different in both of them. And though Jonah Hill appears in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as a hotel employee, he’s a record label executive who has never met Aldous before in the 2010 movie.

Evan (Bruce Almighty)

Evan (Steve Carrell) only really had two scenes in Bruce Almighty, but they were two of the funniest, as the news anchor bombs on live television. Based on those two scenes, on paper, a spin-off following Evan could have outdone the original movie. But though fans wanted a Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.

The 2007 movie focused on Evan as he built an ark to prepare for the worst, and it was essentially a family-comedy retelling of Noah’s Ark. But that was why the movie was so unsuccessful, as its predecessor was so original and creative. And though Carrell is one of the finest comedy actors working today, he couldn’t keep Evan Almighty from sinking.

Boba Fett (Star Wars)

The Book of Boba Fett Finale

The Star Wars franchise is so huge and expansive with thousands of different characters, and not all of them can have as much screen time as fans would like. The Bounty Hunter was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, and if it wasn’t for Han Solo, he’d be the coolest character in the movie, but he only has a couple of lines of dialogue and less than 10 minutes of screen time. But since then, the character has been more exposed, appearing in more films and other forms of media, including comic books and his own Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett.

However, Boba is one of the best examples of a character’s limited screentime helping its legacy. The big appeal of Boba Fett was that he was a mystery, and many think the character has been oversaturated over the years and devalued as a result. Unfortunately, the Disney+ series didn’t live up to expectations, and with each episode of the show being so short and empty, it was less like The Book of Boba Fett and more like The Brochure of Boba Fett.

NEXT: 10 Episodes Of Star Wars Shows That Were Clearly Meant For Prequel Era Fans

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About The Author

Stephen Barker
(1316 Articles Published)

Currently residing in Madrid, Stephen Barker has been a staff writer at Screen Rant since 2020. Since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies in 2014, he has written for numerous movie and music websites. Stephen has been obsessed with movies since he first watched Jurassic Park on VHS, and with a deep interest in screenwriting, he loves 70s character-driven movies. But he’s just as much of a defender of Batman & Robin, The Fast and the Furious, and Small Soldiers.

Visit Stephen’s personal blog, Quaranste, where he writes about guilty pleasure movies, his latest musical discoveries, and how he stays creative during global pandemics, or contact him directly: Quaranstine@gmail.com.

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