Top Ten Breakout CharactersA "breakout character" is a character initially envisioned as a side character, but eventually becomes as, if not more, popular than the main character.
Snoopy is the most iconic example, although he appeared as quickly as the third strip, and within only a month, was established as Charlie Brown's pet, but, the thing was, Charlie Brown was intended to be the main character, but alas, Snoopy became the literal Creator's Pet.
Porky Pig was originally intended to be the Plucky Comic Relief to Beans the Cat, but Avery and the execs realized people weren't coming for the cat, but they were coming for the pig, and so... history was made.
You like the Sesame Street episodes with Elmo? Well, none of them are in the first fifteen years. Elmo was introduced as a crowd shot filler in the early 80s before becoming a supporting character starting in 1985 leading up to super-stardom, which hit by the late 1990s, outclassing the previous mascot, Big Bird.
He used to just be one of the many background characters, who knows what made them decide to make him more main.
Porky would soon be outclassed by a duck the pig once tried to hunt. Unlike many other characters, Daffy was basically set in stone by his first short, he was wacky, kooky, goofy, obviously daffy, he jumped around, and said "whoo-hoo-woo-hoo!" a lot, only thing that wasn't set was his name and protagonist role, both of which would come within a year.
Bugs started out as "Happy Rabbit", who was a thinly veiled Expy of Daffy Duck, but as a rabbit, but Tex Avery took ahold of the rabbit, named him after one of the animator's nicknames he gave, which was "Bugsy" and made him fight Elmer Fudd.
People forget that when The Simpsons started Bart was the main character.
All the merchandise at the time centered on Bart, the song "Do the Bartman" was a sensation even early video/arcade games had Bart as the playable character. However down the line, Homer became the star with his shenanigans.
In terms of movies, literally everyone but Spider-Man was this for a time.
I'm not sure about this one. I think Garfield is considered far more memorable than Odie ever was. That being said I do like Odie.
A wild-card example, and downplayed, Stacy was originally intended as "Candace's conscience", but a season after, due to gaining a cult following, she would gain multiple spotlight episodes.
Huh it honestly never occurred to me that she was Candace's conscience but that makes a lot of sense.
Smurfette was originally intended as a one-off character, hence why she was only really seen in one comic issue and one episode of the 60's TV adaptation, until Hanna-Barbera adopted the character as a supporting character for female-aimed merchandise.
Really intended as a "B-character" that would come after Huckleberry Hound, but like with Porky Pig, kids weren't turning the dial for the dog, they were turning the dial for the BEAR. He would gain a spin-off, a few movies and campgrounds, some of which still operate today.
On the topic of teenage girls, we have Daria. Also a conscience-type character (this time to Beavis and Butt-head), she would earn a spin-off called Daria, and soon became arguably more popular than the two original main characters until 2011 when their show returned.
Many of her iconic attributes were never seen in the Peter Pan film. Oh, remember the Tinker Bell spraying magic to transition to the next scene? That NEVER happened in Peter Pan, not the play, not even the film, that was a concept introduced for Walt Disney's television show he made for ABC.