Movies That Use The Chosen One Trope

For decades, the idea of the “chosen one” has been a popular trope in fiction, telling the story of characters who are unwitting subjects of prophecies. These films focus on ideas of fate and destiny, building towards long-awaited realizations of the characters’ full potential, both for better and worse. While some characters embrace their supernatural roles, others have their stories defined through trying to avoid them at all costs.

The idea of the chosen one continues to be popular in fiction, especially thanks to how it can elevate seemingly ordinary characters into great heroes, sending them on fantastical adventures. These stories often take the shape of tales of responsibility, and have been a classic vehicle for the hero’s journey. The chosen one trope continues to entertain fans across mediums and genres and, despite often being supernatural in nature, can lead to relatable character development.

10 Scooby-Doo

Release Date

June 14, 2002


Raja Gosnell


Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini & Rowan Atkinson

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Though he isn’t exactly known for being a chosen one figure, Scooby-Doo was revealed to be Earth’s one true pure soul in his 2002 movie. This made him a target for an island-based cult who, through ritualistic sacrifice, planned to unleash a horde of monsters upon the world — led by Scrappy-Doo.

Scooby-Doo followed a fractured Mystery Incorporated when, after each being invited to the mysterious Spooky Island resort, realized they were pawns in the mystical plot. The movie’s final act, where Scooby naively embraces his “chosen one” status, saw the gang finally come together to save their friend, and Shaggy regain his friend’s love after a fight.

9 Hellboy

Release Date

March 30, 2004


Guillermo del Toro


Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Karel Roden, Rupert Evans & John Hurt

Based on Mike Mignola’s iconic Hellboy: Seed of Destruction miniseries, 2004’s Hellboy follows the return of Rasputin to the world, where he plans to raise an other-dimensional monster. The film’s titular hero was revealed to be a central part to the villain’s plan, revealed to be the rightful King of Hell, Anung un Rama.

Hellboy drew to the ultimate showdown between Rasputin and his allies, where the hero realized his full potential, regrowing his horns and almost providing the key to Armageddon. However, with his good nature returning to the fore, Hellboy became one of few chosen one heroes to rebuke his destiny, breaking off his horns and saving his friends.

Hellboy (aka Heckboy) Ron Perlman

8 Van Helsing

Release Date

May 7, 2004


Stephen Sommers


Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Will Kemp & Kevin J. O’Connor

Van Helsing took one of fiction’s greatest monster hunters and placed him at the heart of an ensemble monster movie, one that combined Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster. Here, the hero was sent by the Vatican to Transylvania, so that he could save the last surviving members of a Romanian family who had dedicated their lives to fighting Dracula.

Van Helsing played on the idea of its hero having no memories of his earlier life, revealing him to be not only immortal, but the Earthly incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel. After he was bitten by a werewolf, he became the only living being capable of ending Dracula’s reign of terror, as was foretold in an ancient prophecy.

Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing wielding a weapon

7 Dogma

Release Date

May 21, 1999


Kevin Smith


Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Bud Cort, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman & Chris Rock

Kevin Smith’s fun play on the Catholic Church, Dogma follows Bethany, an abortion center worker struggling with faith, when the mighty Metatron appears before her to send her on a holy quest. Alongside Jay, Silent Bob, a secret thirteenth apostle and a living muse, Bethany is charged with preventing two fallen angels from undoing the word of God.

Along the journey of her quest, Bethany learns that she is the last scion, the only surviving descendant of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Metatron selected her to prevent the angels, Loki and Bartlebee, from using a loophole in Catholic doctrine to contradict a commandment of god. Dogma is a hilarious road trip-style story, with plenty of plays on religion and fantastic banter between characters.

Rufus holds an Uzi in Dogma

6 Terminator 2

Release Date

July 1, 1991


James Cameron


Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton & Robert Patrick

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Terminator 2 doesn’t play to the supernatural idea of the chosen one, but rather the idea of destiny in the Conners’ place in history. The story follows a plot from the future of robotic Terminator soldiers sent back in time to kill John Conner in the hopes of preventing him from taking his place as the leader of the Resistance in the future.

Terminator 2 plays heavily on the idea of fate, with Sarah Conner making her famous “there is no fate but what we make for ourselves” quote, hoping to prevent the rise of Skynet altogether. In the grand scheme of the franchise, John Conner’s chosen one status becomes clear as, depending on the timeline, he leads the human resistance to victory.

Sarah Connor carrying a rifle in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

5 Excalibur

Release Date

April 10, 1981


John Boorman


Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Robert Addie, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson & Patrick Stewart

When it comes to the actual mythology of the chosen one character, few characters stand out as well as King Arthur and the legend of the sword in the stone, Excalibur. The story follows the famous legend from Uthur Pendragon acquiring the mythical sword to him burying it in the stone so that only his true heir can draw it.

Excalibur follows a faithful adaptation of the legend of King Arthur, with the honorable knight allying with Merlin and forming the Court of Camelot. However, the just king must also contend with his conniving half-sister, Morgana, as she delivers a son who would be the downfall of Arthur.


4 Dune

Dune 2021 Movie Poster featuring Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Timothy Chalanet


A noble family becomes embroiled in a war for control over the galaxy’s most valuable asset while its heir becomes troubled by visions of a dark future.

Release Date
October 22, 2021

Denis Villeneuve

Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothee Chalamet, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa

The story of Frank Herbert’s Dune has been adapted to the screen a few times, but Dennis Villeneuve’s 2021 film is the greatest adaptation. The film follows Paul Atreides as his family is empowered by a galactic empire to control the essential spice production on the planet Arrakis, also known as “Dune.”

Dune follows the clash between House Atreides and the brutal, ruthless House Harkonnen, who are intent on ending the Atreides bloodline. Amidst the war between the houses, Paul realizes he’s the chosen one of Arrakis’ native Fremen, and begins to embrace his role as the Muad’Dib.

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two.

3 The Matrix

Release Date

March 24, 1999


The Wachowskis


Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving & Joe Pantoliano

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Arguably the most iconic action movie of the ’90s, The Matrix tells the story of Neo, a man who realizes that his life has been a computer simulation in a world ravaged by a war between man and machines. According to Morpheus, one of the leaders of the free humans, Neo was a chosen one who could master the Matrix and defeat the machines.

The Matrix follows Neo as he begins to believe in the prophecy of the One, and becomes one of the most powerful beings within — and beyond — the Matrix. The film brilliantly combines martial arts, explosive action, science fiction and meta commentary of its era, delivering one iconic story of a man bringing peace to a broken world.

2 The Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter 8 Movie Collector's Edition featuring all movie art

Harry Potter

The Harry Potter franchise follows the adventure of a young boy introduced a whole new world of magic, mayhem and darkness. Traversing the obstacles in his path, young Harry’s rise to heroics pits him against Lord Voldemort, one of the most dangerous wizards in the world and all his minions.

Created by
J.K. Rowling

First Film
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Latest Film
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon

The story of Harry Potter is that of a young orphan boy raised by his neglectful aunt and uncle when he’s approached by Hagrid, and informed that he’s a wizard. From there, he leaves the hardship of his life behind and travels to Hogwarts’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets friends and learns the art of magic. While there, he faces many threats, from trolls and giant spiders to a deadly basilisk and evil wizards.

During his time at Hogwarts, Harry discovered that he was the chosen one, the only person ever to have survived an attack by the Dark Lord Voldemort. From there, he began his epic, multi-movie story of his journey to the ultimate face-off with the returned Voldemort, who threatened to conquer the world with his evil.

1 Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi

Theatrical poster for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

After rescuing Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side.

Release Date
May 25, 1983

Richard Marquand

Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Billy Dee Williams, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels

Arguably the greatest chosen one story in cinema is the “Skywalker Saga” from George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise. While the story has been continued across three trilogies, the original story of Luke Skywalker’s journey to becoming a Jedi Knight to face his father, Vader, remains the best.

Return of the Jedi is best experienced with the full context of the prequel trilogy, which sheds light on the fact that Anakin was the true chosen one. This makes the final redemption of Darth Vader and his return to the light to save his son from the Emperor all the more profound. Seeing Luke realize his full potential and place unwavering faith in the love of his father made the original finale the best execution of a cinematic chosen one prophecy.

Darth Vader loses hand in Return of the Jedi

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