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 "...'Others'? Wait, you're telling me that there are people out there who have supernatural powers just like me?"

"Well... yeah. I mean, are you kiddin me? There's thousands, we're an entire organization. What, you thought you were 'special'?"

"...Yes."

Basically, being The Chosen One doesn't mean being The Only One.

A hero may find they've stumbled on a powerful artifact, or awaken Magic and Powers that set them apart from everyone else they know. Only they don't. Not only is there another, but a whole bunch of them. While similar to Send in the Clones, these fellow heroes have been organized and operating long before the hero ever came on the scene, and all have the same power set and usually quite a bit more experience using them under their belt. Bonus points if it turn out the hero's stylistic, "unique" costume that might've come with the powers turns out to be nothing more than a standard uniform.

In narrative terms, this discovery can go down in various ways:

  • Often the hero's peers are condescending towards the hero due to his inexperience and lack of "proper" training, leading to an episode where their base gets attacked by the corporation's arch nemesis and our hero has to save all of them. At that, those peers slowly realize that this rookie will become the greatest of them all.
  • The less extreme version of the above is that the newbie hero will enter some sort of training period and then have to pass a test in order to become a full-fledged member of the society, probably one that involves Die or Fly or a staged Training Accident (or the test goes bad for real...)
  • Other times, the hero will be underwhelmed when their peers prove to be less than morally upright, either taking advantage of their powers for personal gain, or being Lawful Stupid in general. In these cases, they'll have to make an effort to give their group a Conspiracy Redemption "light".
  • The world is thrown into peril by a powerful force that can only be stopped by the combined abilities of each and every last member, main character of the story included of course. If the characters come from diverse backgrounds, the special is invariably used to promote teamwork and world unity and good stuff like that.
  • A lighter method is for the organization to simply be holding an annual tournament/picnic that all members are invited to attend, allowing them all to come together, rub shoulders, and basically just enjoy a nice day to themselves. Inevitably, it's disrupted by one of the previous examples about halfway in.
  • Another positive way this trope can be used is in the Super-Hero Origin story where the hero is recruited in haste and he finds himself over his head, struggling to control his weapon/powers, feeling like a total incompetent and having no one to turn to in this strange situation. Finally, he meets a comrade of The Chosen Many who leads him to the headquarters where he learns he is not alone, but actually part of a larger world with new friends and mentors ready to help him.
  • An additional way to utilize this is to have the protagonist find an Amulet of Concentrated Awesome only to find out, he's not the only one to have one.

A lesser-used variant is to for the protagonist to be either partially or fully aware that he's part of some large organization or race right from the get-go, but the story is intentionally written in such a way that the hero or those around him never have to bring this up and the audience is led to believe otherwise for a period of time. When its finally revealed, it's usually treated as You Never Asked on the viewers' part.

If a character is in a place where he always knew that getting superpowers was common and expected of everyone, however, then it may be Everyone Is a Super.

Compare There Is Another, Send in the Clones, Legacy Character, and Heroes Unlimited. Contrast Last of His Kind.

Examples of The Chosen Many include:


Anime and Manga

  • At first, it seems like Sailor Moon is the only magical girl of her kind. Then eight others show up, one for each planet in the Solar System, fair enough. In the fifth series, it's revealed that every single heavenly body that ever existed has a Sailor Senshi that it powers. They number in the septillions, and yes, asteroids do count.
    • It started that way in the original story, Codename: Sailor V: while in Sailor Moon you know since the beginning there's Sailor V and thus exists at least another Sailor Senshi, in Codename: Sailor V Minako at first seemed the only one, and she learned about (some of) the others only in the final chapter.
  • Arguably, Ichigo from Bleach, although his Shinigami powers do not awaken until after they've made contact with him.
    • Less arguably happens again with the Vizards, which pretty blatantly follows variation one.
  • Dragonball Z, when Goku learns that he is an alien and that there are others like him. Piccolo is a closer fit, as his planet is still around there's a lot of Nameks still alive.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 expands the Digidestined far beyond the three new guys. Each part of the world has at least one Digidestined team, complete with an Obi-Wan who's identical to our heroes' mysterious sometime-helper Gennai. They eventually come into play by helping out during the World Tour arc and the Finale.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has the main charater turning into a magical girl. Then her rival, another magical girl turns up, which surprises her. Then the Time-Space Administration Bureau, an entire police force of people using magical powers, arrive. Nanoha eventually pursues a career as a part of their numbers, becoming a Captain of their Air Force and the head Tactical Instructor.
  • The first story arc of Fist of the North Star centers around the rivalry between The Hero Kenshiro, the chosen master of Hokuto Shinken, and the Big Bad Token Motivational Nemesis Shin, a master of the rival Nanto Seiken style. After Shin dies, it is revealed that there are actually over 108 schools of Nanto Seiken in existence, with Shin's style being just one of them. And then, later on in the saga, it's revealed that Kenshiro has brothers who also know Hokuto Shinken...
    • However the introduction of Kenshiro's brothers is also a subversion since the rules of Hokuto Shinken state that only one student may inherit the art's secrets and that those not chosen must renounce their pursuit of the art or risk having their fists crushed or memories erased. Still the introduction of other Hokuto styles in later works, like Hokuto Ryuken, Hokumon no Ken and the Hokuto Sankaken branches from Fist of the Blue Sky (which the Ryuken style is a part of), are more direct examples of this.
  • Yumeiro Patissiere: Vanilla chooses Ichigo as her partner, then she meets the Sweets Prince's partners, Tennouji's partner Honey, and finally Maron partners with the Heiress. Then all of them go to Paris and discover that every team member on the Cake Grand Prix has a spirit partner, even Henri-sensei.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: It's eventually revealed in conversation that the school Shinji attends is a front organization for the powers that be, and that all of Shinji's classmates (if not the entire school) are potential Children candidates.
    • Though they're still just Mauve Shirts, as the greatest power that be intentionally engineered reality to make Shinji the "Chosen One". In all the wrong ways possible, actually.
  • The Dex Holders of Pokémon Special. It's a common event for a Big Bad to think that there's only one... maybe two... possibly three... wait why are there thirteen kids here?

Comic Books

  • The DCU's Green Lantern Corps, made up of thousands of members from all over the universe and this trope's original Trope Namer. Being an Earth-based Green Lantern is doubly non-impressive, because there are five human GLs already, though they tend to be among the best in the Corps. However, this has varied over the years, as the Corps has wavered between a pure police/military outfit and a 3600-member super-hero team where everyone just happens to have the same power. Today, it's somewhere in between: All Green Lanterns have the same power and order is strictly enforced, but individual members can have highly distinctive costumes and styles of using said power. For instance, John Stewart has a fairly standard costume but his ring constructs are highly-detailed pieces of engineering, whereas Guy Gardner has a very unusual costume but just blasts things with his ring, and honorary member Alan Scott's costume is bright red and purple and his ring constructs appear covered in spectral flames (however, he's technically not a Green Lantern).
    • Ironically, despite there being thousands and thousands of members, the usual standard-operating-procedure for members of the Corps is to act solo or with one partner. Though patrolling the entire universe does tend to spread things a bit thin. (Even downsizing the scale to a galaxy, as is sometimes suggested, would give each GL a little less than a second on average to devote to each solar system in his sector in a given year-- assuming zero travel time and that he/she/it doesn't need to sleep, eat, or maintain a secret identity. No wonder they aren't supposed to also routinely help with some other sector's problems.)
      • That depends on what percentage of each sector is actually inhabited. It's easy to keep the peace in a given region if no one's living there.
      • The current vision seems to be there are 7200 active corpsmen (two for each sector) but there are like 20 corpsmen acting as reserves.
      • And if any members die in the line of duty the rings are automatically programmed to seek out a worthy replacement. Recently they've had to this pretty often.
    • Ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths back in the 1980s, it has been DC canon that most of the universe is lifeless, and those solar systems which can and do support sapient life tend to be clustered together. The official number of such planets given at that time (in Marv Wolfman's 1986 History of the Universe) is not so large that 7200 Green Lanterns couldn't handle them. Thus far, no one has provided a different number than that given in 1986, nor has the book been removed from official DC canon.
      • It's also held that most sectors have a lot less going on in them than Sector 2814 (Earth's sector), which is considered the "bad neighborhood" of the universe. Which is why it was the first sector to be assigned two Green Lanterns, before the expansion from 3600 to 7200 members made that a standard arrangement.
    • Not only isn't Green Lantern unique, but more recently the Green Lantern Corps isn't unique; Sinestro and Star Sapphire have formed parallel Corps (Yellow/Fear and Violet/Love), and theres also the Red, Blue and Indigo Lanterns for Rage, Hope and Compassion.
      • Subverted in that up to now the Orange Lantern Corps (of Avarice) only had one member, Larfleeze, who hogged all the rings for himself. Lex Luthor became member #2, and as expected they've got issues with sharing.
      • Technically the Orange Lantern Corps has lots of members...it's just that none of them are alive. Whenever Larfleeze kills someone he steals their soul and turns them into a ring construct. Larfleeze's prolonged contact with the orange light has caused him to become one with it, and he has the power to summon thousands of Orange Lantern Constructs at a time.
  • Marvel's Nova fits this category.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy in the third Paperinik New Adventures series.
  • Captain Britain is part of the Captain Britain Corps in the Excalibur series, where each different Britain in the Marvel multiverse has one to defend the country. Most of them are different versions of Brian Braddock, but this isn't always the case. Since there's one for almost every reality, not every Captain Britain is Caucasian, male, or even good for that matter.
  • Ghost Rider now fits this trope. Every nation and every religion has its own Spirit of Vengeance (it's pretty cool actually).
    • Subverted: They killed them all, except for Johnny and Dan.
      • Well, sort of. A power such as Zadkiel's can't truly erase a Rider from existence, as was seen in the last issue of Heaven's on Fire when every Rider in history showed up to take him down.
  • In All-Star Superman, Superman is seen teaming up with Supermen from other times (essentially, his descendants) to fight threats against time. The organization is led by Superman himself from a little over a million years in the future.
  • In Immortal Iron Fist, Danny Rand discovers not only is K'un Lun not the only capital city of heaven, but each city has its own Immortal Weapon, its own protector and representative like him. Also, he learned that there were lots of other Iron Fists throughout history, including the terminally awesome Wu Ao-Shi, the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay.
    • And also when he first met his archrival, the Steel Serpent, he learned that K'un Lun housed another sacred and ancient power that rivaled the Iron Fist: The Serpent Sting.
    • There are seven main colored Lantern Corps in DC and seven Immortal Weapons, so there's that too.
  • The situation with the original Green Lantern is specifically pastiched in Nineteen Sixty Three, where Hypernaut, during a time travel adventure, meets with a Golden Age counterpart. While the two compare notes, the Golden Age Hypernaut is dumbfounded at the idea that there is an entire cosmic order of others like him.

Film

  • In Jumper, David Rice believes he is the only person in the world capable of teleportation, until he meets Griffin, who signifies this trope with the line "What, did you think you were the only one?"
  • The Jedi Knights in the Star Wars prequels. Except that Luke and Anakin were both well aware that the order existed before either started their training, and with Luke he was the only active Jedi at the time, considering Yoda and Obi-Wan had effectively retired while the rest of the Order had been murdered by The Empire.

Literature

  • A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore features the protagonist as the newest Grim Reaper, one among many.
  • The Lensmen in Lensman. The original Trope Namer (Green Lantern Corps) was inspired by Lensman.
  • Woof! is a children's book (and TV series) about a boy who turns into a dog. At the end of the book, he meets several other people who are the same, and they suggest that there are others all over the world.
  • Although if they are heroes is relative (and Harry has more then a few words to say on the subject) the White Council from The Dresden Files fits the trope very loosely. Many magic users who've just discovered their powers get a visit from a Warden telling them the Seven Laws of Magic. The Council itself defends wizards and muggles against the nastier supernatural threats via its wardens.
    • Why Harry would debate their heroic status-- many magic users don't get that visit from a Warden, but the Laws of Magic apply to them anyway. The penalty for breaking ANY Law in ANY degree is death by beheading. Several Laws are NOT intuitive-- for instance the one against mind control also forbids perfectly benevolent psychic surgery like attempting to cure addiction, albeit with reason.
  • In Young Wizards, after Nita takes the Oath and gets her power, she gradually learns that there are wizards among every living species on Earth, and every alien race we know of.
  • In Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs, the main character finds out she is a demigod and finds out that there is a whole school of them in Greece.
  • In Wearing the Cape, Hope Corrigan gains Atlas-type powers, making her one of dozens (although she is A-class--in the top 10% and therefor a hot commodity). After trying to dissuade her from taking up a superhero career, Atlas offers to train her and she joins the Sentinels as a probationary member while working on her certification.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, Mara Jade had been the Emperor's Hand, a personal enforcer to the now-deceased Emperor Palpatine, and believed that she was the sole Emperor's Hand. At one point, Admiral Thrawn informed her that Palpatine had granted the title of "Emperor's Hand" to many people, who each believed they were the only one. This revelation that the Emperor lied to her and regarded her as a tool and not a person began her slow but sure Heel Face Turn.

Game Book

Live Action TV

  • Gary Hobson of Early Edition believed he was the only "man who gets tomorrow's paper today", till he starts meeting others. One of the first being some guy from New York who is the antithesis of everything humble Hobson is: The guy uses the paper to give him an edge in the stock market, owns a chain of fancy restaurants, and even has a hired team of people who carry out the paper's tasks for him.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, first there was Buffy the Chosen One, the "one girl in all the world who had the strength..." However, after a temporarily clinical death, it turns out that she isn't the Slayer anymore (first Kendra, then with her death, Faith) and the line no longer goes through her. Then, in the series finale, Buffy has Willow cast a spell that would activate the powers of all potential Slayers, making an army of thousands.
  • In Doctor Who, it was not until "The Time Meddler" that viewers learned that there were others of the Doctor's race with the ability to time travel.
  • Power Rangers. At first we are led to believe there's only the rangers seen on the show. Then it turns out that theres alien power ranger teams out there, and various types of Sixth Ranger. Of course this all becomes a total Mind Screw in the episode Forever Red. Given how a new show with a completely new rangers team is introduced every year, you'd be inclined to believe that within the PR universe, almost any dope with enough money, resources, and spare time can create his own Power Rangers team. Previously, it seemed that only Zordon had the means of making morphers and creating rangers. These days, almost anyone from ancient ninja/kung fu masters to modern-day pizza chefs can create their own morphers and start up their own Power Rangers team.
    • Considering the original incarnation of the team went on the 2 quests to restore lost powers, first they went to find Ninjor and then the Zeo crystal, it's become somewhat surprising how easily humans have come by the technology in later seasons (particularly, Lightspeed Rescue, Operation Overdrive, and RPM where there are no apparent alien or mystical connections).
      • By the time of the later seasons, Earth has made first contact, has reverse-engineered ranger technology for civilian weapons, and made alliances with alien planets. So it does seem a little more likely that the ranger technology would reach a point that you can just buy it, if you have the money or the right connections.
      • Linkara's theorize that the advance in technology was a side-effect of Turbo and In Space.
  • The Greatest American Hero.When Ralph and Bill finally meet one of the aliens in the ship, he discovers the secret leaders behind his superpowers with the implication that there are more like him elsewhere in the galaxy. Another episode revealed a previous bearer of the suit. He used it to become rich and it was eventually taken away.
  • Kamen Riders often cross over with each other, and while they don't all have a unified power source, they do all have similar themes (grasshoppers, riding motorbikes and kicking things until they explode). They all team up quite often in movies, not to mention half the plot of Kamen Rider Decade being Let's You and Him Fight.

Tabletop Games

  • This is the central premise of Exalted--your character is empowered by the gods of the setting to become a divinity in their own right. And so are the rest of the seven hundred Celestial Exalted, thousand or so Alchemical Exalted, and roughly twenty thousand and counting Terrestrial Exalted.

Toys

  • In Bionicle, the six Toa were first thought to be a unique group of heroes, until after three years of storyline Vakama spoke the words: "You are not the first Toa." From then on, more and more Toa were featured and there was even mention of a war in which several hundred Toa fought.

Video Games

  • In Kingdom Hearts it, at first, seems like Sora's Keyblade is the only one in existence, and he's the only chosen master (after a brief tug-of-war with Riku). Then, right at the very end, King Mickey shows up with another. The sequels add Roxas and Xion both of whom are extensions of Sora, Riku (for real this time) and Kairi, while Xigbar claims to have met Keyblade wielders before Sora. The prequel shows he wasn't kidding: at some point there were thousands of them, who went to war with each other and left behind an enormous Field of Blades. This left 7 or possibly 8 (Terra, Aqua, Ven, Master Xehanort, Master Eraqus, and Mickey. Vanitas is the maybe) before the "new generation". Sora seems to be the "main" Chosen One, for reasons that seem to have more to do with his heart than his Keyblade, but the details are still a little vague.
  • Baldur's Gate: Throne Of Bhaal does a version of this, except that the Bhaalspawn are almost all evil (possibly including you, if you built your character that way,) just like Daddy.
    • Moreover, your character isn't even the only Bhaalspawn in the party: Imoen and Sarevok can both be recruited, which makes for quite the Badass Family - especially if you use the Turnabout mod to resurrect Gorion (your foster father) or Alianna (your birth mother) for the final battle.
  • The Bards Tale: The protagonist is appointed to The Chosen One whose mission is to free the princess. Later he learns about previous Chosen Ones who died trying to accomplish this and even meets some of them, every one thinking he is the One. Of course, the Chosen Ones are all Unwitting Pawns to Caleigh, who is actually a Demon Queen posing as a princess.
  • Another interesting example: Incarnates from City of Heroes are individuals touched by the Well of the Furies, obtaining the power of the gods as a result. At first, it looks like there are only two incarnates on Primal Earth: Statesman and Lord Recluse. The Alternate Universe version of Statesman not withstanding, those were the only two we knew of. As it turns out, there are far more Incarnates out there than we realized. Half of the enemies on Mercy Island, for instance. Oh, and the Hamidon. Yes the giant amoeba. Really. Not only that, but anyone (I.E. Player Characters) can potentially attract the Well's attention, and probably will once Going Rogue comes out.
  • The Nexus Force from Lego Universe, split into four factions:
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem invokes this by name, with Ellia being told she is "One of the Chosen Many, Flesh and blood." The main characters live all around the world in different eras trying to fufil a common goal: Preventing Pious Augustus from summoning his master. It's all a Batman Gambit by the Great Ancient Mantorok to destroy all of his enemies in one stroke.
  • Implicit in Planescape: Torment: the Nameless One had led at least one previous party into the Fortress of Regrets, consisting of Morte, Dak'kon, Deionarra and Xachariah.
  • Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosens. Although The Hero / The Heroine is the one who can use the Zenithian Equipments, The team are considered chosens as a whole.


Web Comics

  • Last Res0rt has the Galaxy Girl Scouts, which fluctuate somewhere in-between being a purely female version of The Chosen Many and a Sailor Moon homage. The few scouts we've seen in action seem to be much more in line with being celebrity soldiers more than Magical Girls or superheroes, though.

Western Animation

  • American Dragon Jake Long. While it is mentioned early on that Jake's the designated dragon of the States, we really don't see this trope in full effect until this global gathering that takes place in one episode, where we meet everyone from the Australian Dragon to the Egyptian dragon. There was also an episode where one of his teachers turned out to be the Korean Dragon.
  • One episode of Time Squad reveals that there is more than one Time Squad, and Larry calls on one after Tuddrussel gets imprisoned by Kublai Khan ("Tuddrussel is not going to like this..."). Wouldn't you know it, the unit they call is led by Tuddrussel's ex-wife ("Oh, he's REALLY not going to like this!").
  • Re Boot does this with the Guardians. At the end of the second season we learn that the Guardian consul has targeted Mainframe for deletion, in the Darker and Edgier third season we learn that The Guardians have all been infected by the "super-virus" Daemon. Which serves as the plot for one of the two movies that make up the fourth season. The parallel with the Green Lantern Corp is actually pretty close, with the keytools acting as power-rings. This could almost be seen as a Deconstruction of the Green Lantern Corp, with moments of extremely questionable actions, and the arrogant way many of them view viruses. Made all the more jarring when The keytools leave after they grow complacent and are infiltrated by Daemon
    • Though to be fair each keytool is unique, and Turbo once said it was an honor to be chosen by Glitch. And the keytools only left because the infected guardians would have used them to make portals for Daemon, and came back after Daemon was beaten.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door starts out with a classic Five-Man Band who we are led to believe are acting on their own, especially as they have the first 5 numbers. Later, it's revealed that the numbers go much higher than that, and KND has establishments all over the world, and even on the moon.
    • Confusingly, the numbers are chosen by the agents themselves, rather than assigned, and are no indication of rank or seniority. Meaning that the group we follow aren't considered special, they just happened to be the only ones to choose 1-5. And in an incredibly baffling coincidence, not one of thousands of arrogant brats wanted to be Number 1 before Nigel Uno came along. Maybe because kids would rather be a higher number (like infinity plus one) than just being a measly "one", or perhaps the old Number 1 was decommissioned before the start of the series.
  • The Green Lantern First Flight movie used the first version and kind of the second version as its story. Hal being from Earth has to go to great lengths to prove himself to the Corps singlehandedly saving it and the one guy who stands up for him initially is Sinestro who is corrupt.
  • Lok from Huntik Secrets and Seekers finds an Amulet of Concentrated Awesome, only to discover that many people, called seekers, possess them, and have banded together to form the Foundation.
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