When a New Hero Joins the Establishment

First Appearance of Gambit in Uncanny X-Men

First Appearance of Gambit in Uncanny X-Men

I posted about debuting characters and introducing new ones to the group.  Various tips and information and jokes.  So I might repeat myself a bit here.  For that I apologize, but I do think I might have missed something.  Now, what can you do when you have a new hero on deck?

  1. It really does help to analyze what you have so far.  Will this new character battle a pre-existing one for the same role?  Will their personality be too similar to another or incompatible with all of them?  You can still go ahead if the answer is yes and work that into the story.  It’s just good to see the conflict in advance.
  2. A new hero doesn’t have to get along with everyone at the beginning.  It can be done, but many people like a little friction when a newcomer appears.  That feels more natural and I don’t mean flat out hate.  A little distrust or forgetting that the person is around.  Everyone has to get to know the new guy, which can take a few chapters or even several books.
  3. With a new hero, you might need a new villain or a connection to an old one.  You want the fresh face to have a stake in the main story.  It can be caused during the initial adventure or prior to the debut, but a hero needs that reason to go the distance in a story.  Otherwise, you just revealed a supporting character.  Not a bad idea, but might not be what you wanted.
  4. If this is a big impact character then it doesn’t hurt to do a little foreshadowing.
  5. Replacing an existing hero is always a possibility. Going back to #2, there will be friction if it’s a blatant replacement.  The others will be hurting and may not welcome the new guy with open arms.  Your audience might be annoyed too if it’s a popular hero.  Personally, I’d avoid doing a carbon copy or anything that could make the reader constantly compare the two heroes.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to When a New Hero Joins the Establishment

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great list! I love the scenes of distrust when the heroes are first getting to know one another. I agree–it feels more natural (like when Eomer first met Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli and almost came to blows). If they get along too readily, I always think that something is up.

    Love foreshadowing! You’ve given me a lot to think about when I return to a book I began months ago, but put aside to work on something else. I’m adding two people to the mix, so I need your list.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it. Forgot about Eomer, but it’s been a while. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for two characters to get along right away. Probably depends on their temperaments and the situation. After all, seems everyone liked Frodo and Sam when they met them.

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      • L. Marie says:

        That’s true. But the Iron Man/Thor fight of Avengers 1 seems more compelling. 🙂 Two alphas butting heads while a third tries to stop the madness. It’s interesting that they deferred to him (thus making him the alpha).
        As for number 5, do you mean something like replacing Dick Grayson as Robin with a Tim Drake or Jason Todd?

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      • Captain America tends to become the main alpha. At least from what I remember. Honestly, I couldn’t quite figure out how Iron Man held his own against Thor for as long as he did. Then again, I think everyone in the Marvel comic world has had a turn with Mijolnir, so Thor might not be as impressive as we think.

        Not so much taking up the name and guise of another hero. Probably closer to how Gohan was supposed to take over the protagonist role when Goku died. If you have a new character step into the shoes of another then you get that comparison issue. Jason Todd was weakened because he was in the shadow of Grayson. I think Drake did better because of Todd’s failure.

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  2. Another great post. I particularly agree with #2 – “A new hero doesn’t have to get along with everyone at the beginning.”

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  3. I also like when a new hero and the established hero have a rough patch and then become close.

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  4. “Otherwise, you just revealed a supporting character.” I’d suggest that, with a longer series, you’ll have a large established supporting cast already on hand. Why not let one of them evolve into a starring role? Look at JARVIS in Age of Ultron… (No more spoilers from me!)

    Among the advantages: You don’t have to introduce a wholly new character. You can build on existing relationships and/or cause the “stars” to re-evaluate their assumptions. The new hero may already have a following, leading to increased reader interest. The new hero may also have entanglements that cement them with the group.

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    • I agree. Many heroes can rise from supporting cast in a series. If the character has a following then it helps with the change in their status. Though there is an occasional downside that all of the ‘drama’ of this character joining is erased. The heroes know them and there’s never a question of their loyalties or a ‘get to know you’ phase. This isn’t a requirement, but some authors may want to play this up for an extra charge to a series. It really depends on what the reason for the new hero is. For example is it predetermined or something to revive the energy of the group dynamic?

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  5. Jack Flacco says:

    Your point, “A new hero doesn’t have to get along with everyone at the beginning,” creates instant tension in the story where the audience is never quite sure what will happen.

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