PROOF: I am not in this photograph.
Here are four similar examples of forgotten team members from famous groups.
I love groups. There's no better way to conceal my crappy, garbage skills and personality than by placing myself in or on a group.
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In some cases those groups are also full of crappy, garbage people, and I receive little benefit for it. But other times the group is full of talented, likable people whose success shines upon my undeserving hide. The only downside is that it's typically the group that is remembered, rather than the individuals. For example, everyone remembers the 1972 Miami Dolphins and their undefeated season, but few people have even heard of my contributions to that team.
Here are four similar examples of forgotten team members from famous groups.
For how central they are to the events of The Lord of the Rings, the wizards (e.g. Gandalf) aren't explained too thoroughly, in either the books or the Peter Jackson films. For example, someone casually watching the movies wouldn't really know what the deal with Gandalf is. How did he become a wizard? Can anyone become a wizard? Why didn't he just fly the eagle around everywhere?
Later writings would reveal that the wizards are essentially minor gods, sent to the realm of mortals to help stop Sauron from doing Sauron shit. Of the set, most familiar to us is Gandalf the Grey, the friendly old man who loves the company of children. And of course there is Saruman the White, who is seduced by Sauron's sexy flaming eye and ends up betraying his cause. And a few nerds will remember Radagast the Brown, who is omitted from the film trilogy (although he is a major character in the Hobbit octet of films). But even in the novels, Radagast is barely mentioned. Later works explain that he basically doesn't involve himself in the events of The Lord of the Rings because he is just super busy with his squirrels and whatnot.
But you have to have serious nerd-cred to know that there are two more wizards sent on the same mission, the so-called Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando. Although equivalent in power to the other wizards, they have no part to play in the events of The Lord of the Rings or any of the other works set in Middle-earth. Tolkien himself didn't seem to know much about what happens to these guys, essentially stating that they go far into the East and are never heard from again. Did they succeed? Fail? Did they ride any eagles or tell anyone they shall not pass?
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You know the Looney Toons, I'm sure. The cartoons. The ones that aren't Disney. No not Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig. Those guys. But those classic characters weren't always the core Looney Toons. Before they appeared on the scene, when Warner Bros. was just getting into animation, the first Looney Toon created was a little dude called Bosko.
Bosko was ... something. One of his creators described him as "an inkspot sort of thing." He also was a "minstrel blackface" sort of thing, though that kind of makes it sound worse than it really is. He was definitely originally conceived as a vaudeville minstrel-type character, but by the time he became a Looney Toons star, his cartoons weren't based too much on unflattering depictions of him or his race. Playing music on every object imaginable was more his thing, this being back in an era when seeing cartoons move in sync with music was a huge deal. Do not watch the following cartoon with high expectations for plot or character development.
Yeah. I don't mean to say that old people are simple, but people from the 1930s would have shat out a lung
if they saw an episode of Archer.
Bosko really was the star of the show in the early years, appearing in over 30 Looney Toons shorts in the 1920s and 1930s before he disappeared. Surprisingly, it wasn't his slightly icky character origination that saw the end of him. Bosko's rights were owned by his creators, not Warner Bros. themselves, and when they left the studio after a few years they took Bosko with them.
Later, Looney Toons would develop the characterizations and plots that made cartoons actually palatable, and Bosko was all but forgotten.
Even if you have never watched the Dukes of Hazzard, you're probably familiar with the concept. A couple dudes tear around in an orange car, bringing the ruckus. There's also crooked Southern cops, ramps, and a girl who's missing most of her jeans.
If you're curious, those boys were called Bo and Luke Duke.
Except for that one season when they weren't.
Those two jokers are Coy and Vance Duke, cousins who had never been mentioned before on the show until they showed up one day and became the stars of it. During a 1982 pay dispute, the actors who played Bo and Luke threatened to walk away, daring the producers to make the show without them. Several minutes later, Coy and Vance Duke were born. Fans tuning in at the start of the fifth season were told that Bo and Luke had decided to join NASCAR for some reason, and here's some new pretty boys, so sit down and like it.
Because they can be so difficult sometimes, fans did not sit down and like it one bit. Their primary objection was that Coy and Vance weren't even original characters, appearing to be exactly the same as Bo and Luke in terms of personality and role. And for good reason. The scripts weren't rewritten at all to accommodate the new characters, with "Coy" and "Vance" being inserted into the scripts with whatever the 1982 equivalent of cut-and-paste was.
Ratings plummeted, and after 17 episodes, Bo and Luke were brought back, probably stepping off of a flying saucer for all the fucks the producers of this show were apparently capable of giving.
The characters from the Street Fighter franchise are some of the most memorable and original creations in video game history. The eight main characters from Street Fighter II have essentially appeared in every sequel since then, and make regular appearances on the cosplay circuit, which I highly recommend you look for images of only when there's no one in the room with you.
But wait a second. Why do we start the clock at Street Fighter II? What's wrong with Street Fighter? Does that, like, not have characters? It does, just not in the same way. Street Fighter, although it has a similar "breaking faces around the world" premise, is primarily a single-player game. Notably, the player is allowed to control only Ryu (or possibly Ken). The opponent characters are also a little flimsily established by later standards, including Geki, the ninja equipped with claws; Eagle, the, uh, Englishman equipped with sticks; and Birdie, the Englishman equipped with no sticks.
So not exactly classic character design, then. Nor is the game, really, which although not bad, lacks the in-depth multiplayer mode that makes its sequels so celebrated. And the fact that it isn't multiplayer also explains a bit why the characters were all replaced; replacing NPC villains is pretty normal, and kind of the whole point of sequels. But playable lead characters that are part of a carefully balanced multiplayer game aren't something you'd throw out casually, and ever since the well-designed cast of Street Fighter II appeared, those characters have been added to and refined, but never replaced. Only their strange, slightly forgettable forebears met that fate.
For more from Bucholz, check out 5 Dumb Writing Gimmicks That Became Classic Books and How 7 Iconic Movie Characters Would Fare in a Slasher Movie.
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