It goes without saying that a protagonist can make or break a movie. Get them right and they can bolster an entire franchise basically by themselves - looking at you, Tony Stark - but get it wrong and a potentially lucrative IP can crater overnight.
Sometimes the results are a little less dramatic, though, even as it's clear that the filmmakers hedged their bets on the wrong character to lead their movie and probably should've looked elsewhere.
From mega-budget blockbusters to standalone films, these 10 projects all suffered from finding the perfect protagonist... and then giving the part to another character instead.
While not all of these lead characters are terrible, they are all ultimately underwhelming compared to supporting characters who ended up playing second fiddle or, in a worst case scenario, straight-up died before the end of act one.
Had things been different and the clearly superior character were cast as the protagonist, these movies just might've enjoyed a greater degree of success both critically and commercially.
These movies all prove how underwhelming it can be to follow a main character who pales in comparison to those around them...
10. Sersi - Eternals
Though Marvel's Eternals is certainly an ensemble-led affair, the de facto protagonist is clearly Sersi (Gemma Chan).
She's an Eternal who possesses the promising ability to manipulate matter but spends far too much of her screen time trapped in a love triangle with Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Dane Whitman (Kit Harington).
Sersi isn't a bad character but she's just not a hugely compelling lead, despite a solid effort from Gemma Chan. Perhaps had more time been spent developing her complex relationship with humanity, she might've seemed a more fitting protagonist.
Ultimately the Eternals' lineup contains several more interesting and well-wrought characters, perhaps best of all Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), whose unique role in shaping humanity's development through technology gives him a direct and fascinating tether to the audience.
Then there's Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), by far the most charismatic and entertaining of the group, or Thena (Angelina Jolie), whose debilitating mental health could've made for a fascinating arc were she shunted into the lead role.
Sersi definitely wasn't the worst character to appoint as the lead, but a resolutely safe, somewhat boring choice compared to the more memorable members of the team.