Chosen Ones are all over pop culture and even religion, from Jesus Christ to the Dalai Lama. They’re characters of destiny, often foretold by prophecy to become great leaders or bringers of profound change to the world,. In some cases their scope even reaches out to have galactic consequences.
Often, they are not born into greatness. They come from humble beginnings (so they’re relatable to the audience) to achieve profound prominence, most often to save the world or galaxy from some great, oppressive force of evil. They usually follow the Campbellian “hero’s journey,” being called to action, facing challenges and temptations, gaining great power through transformation, and ultimately succeeding. More often than not, they’re men, but, refreshingly, creators are giving us more and more women rising from unlikely beginnings to become profound heroes, and many are represented on this list. And just a warning: there will be some spoilers here because we have to discuss each hero’s complete journey.
It’s time to fulfill your destiny and read about the 15 Best Chosen Ones Ever.
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15. JAKE SULLY, AVATAR
For 2009’s mega-blockbuster Avatar, director James Cameron went to great lengths to show the humble beginnings from which his hero, Jake Sully, began. He wanted to use a generally unknown actor and purposely cast Australian Sam Worthington (whose beginnings were so humble that he was living in his car at the time) because he seemed like someone you’d want to have a beer with; someone relatable.
Sully starts off as a paralyzed military veteran and wasn’t even meant to be part of the Avatar program, but replaced his dead twin brother. The military leader in charge of his mission as an avatar on Pandora warns him that the indigenous Na’vi people are a problem, but in his avatar form, as a Na’vi, he learns to respect and defend them, even becoming one of them in a spiritual ceremony. But he faces his trials when he’s arrested by the humans for treason, while also losing the trust of the Na’vi. But he gets himself back into the tribe’s good graces and leads them to victory over the humans, then being named the tribe’s leader. It’s a rare case of a Chosen One leading a group of “others” to victory over humans, and it has actually been criticized for its use of a white male character as the Chosen One of another race, as though they couldn’t be saved without the white male human.
14. ARAGORN, THE LORD OF THE RINGS
One path to being a Chosen One is being an heir to a throne, and that’s the case with The Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn. Like so many Chosen Ones, though, he did not know who he really was for most of his young life; he was shielded from the truth for his own protection. And he wasn’t just any old heir. He was descended from Elros, the first king of Numenor. That was a big deal.
The path to his destiny began when he met a group of hobbits and helped them on their quest to destroy The One Ring, a powerful bit of jewellery coveted by the evil Sauron, who would use it to dominate Middle-earth. He had mentors of sorts in Elven leader Elrond, who had informed Aragorn of his true identity, and the wizard Gandalf. Along the way he had supernatural help, as Chosen Ones often do; calling an army of the dead to join him in battle. Thanks to his help in defeating Sauron’s army, the hobbit Frodo was able to destroy the ring, and Sauron along with it. This paved the way for Aragorn to ascend to his destined place as king, reuniting the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.