10 Leading Film Characters That Didn’t Really Go Anywhere

Top billing for 10 minutes of screen time is great for an actor, but terrible for a character.

Warner Bros.

Films are filled with characters that are developed to try and make both the protagonists and (hopefully) the audience feel something. However sometimes movies are populated with characters who play key roles that actually end up not doing much at all.

In the worst cases, this can run all the way up to the leading cast. For instance, a character may seem pivotal but really, on reflection, they do not do anything much at all and simply serve as a simple plot device.

This can be particularly infuriating if a decent actor is cast (and wasted) in that role or if the audience has come to expect more from a specific character, only to see their hopes dashed right before their eyes onscreen.

It is especially dismaying when the character is one of the top-billed cast members, with the studio happy to sell the movie on their inclusion, only to reveal they have a minor, sometimes inconsequential role in the actual story. It's a frustrating practice, and one that sadly doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

So, let's delve deeper to see 10 examples of this happening in movies.


I started writing for WhatCulture in July 2020. I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I have contributed to several short story competitions and I have occasionally been fortunate enough to have my work published. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I also started reviewing films on my Facebook page. Numerous friends and contacts suggested that I should start my own website for reviewing films, but I wanted something a bit more diverse - and so here I am! My interests focus on film and television mainly, but I also occasionally produce articles that venture into other areas as well. In particular, I am a fan of the under appreciated sequel (of which there are many), but I also like the classics and the mainstream too.