What is a Deuteragonist in Film? Meaning, Definition & Examples


Definition: In film, a deuteragonist is a secondary character who plays a significant role alongside the main protagonist in the story. While not the central focus, the deuteragonist often has its arc and contributes to the development of the plot, providing support, conflict, or a contrasting perspective.

A deuteragonist is often the second most important character after the protagonist and is closely involved in the main plot.

While the deuteragonist supports and interacts with the protagonist, they have distinct arcs and character development.

See the difference between the protagonist and the main character in a movie.

Famous Deuteragonists from Movies

Here are some examples of deuteragonists from famous movies. Notice that a movie can have more than one deuteragonist.

  1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series: While Harry Potter is the protagonist, Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson, is the deuteragonist.

    She is instrumental in helping Harry throughout his journey, providing wisdom, intelligence, and loyalty.

    Check out the best Hermione quotes from the Harry Potter films.
  2. Ron Weasley – Harry Potter series: Another character from the Harry Potter series, Ron Weasley, played by Rupert Grint, serves as the deuteragonist.

    Ron’s friendship with Harry and Hermione, comedic relief, and bravery in times of danger make him an important secondary character.

    See the most romantic Harry Potter love quotes.
  3. Samwise Gamgee – The Lord of the Rings trilogy: Frodo Baggins is the protagonist on the quest to destroy the One Ring, but Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin, is his faithful companion and the deuteragonist.

    Sam’s unwavering loyalty, bravery, and support are vital to Frodo’s success.
  4. Han Solo – Star Wars original trilogy: Luke Skywalker is the main protagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy, but Han Solo, portrayed by Harrison Ford, is the deuteragonist.

    Han’s charismatic personality, piloting skills, and reluctant hero arc greatly contribute to the story.

    Check out the best Han Solo quotes.
  5. Chewbacca – Star Wars saga: In the Star Wars saga, Chewbacca, the Wookiee co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, acts as the deuteragonist.

    While the main focus is on characters like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Chewbacca’s loyalty, strength, and companionship make him an essential part of the story.

These examples illustrate how deuteragonists contribute significantly to the narrative, enhancing the protagonist’s journey and often becoming beloved characters in their own right.

Summing Up

The deuteragonist is a crucial supporting character who often complements or challenges the protagonist.

They contribute depth and complexity to the narrative, adding a layer of intrigue and allowing for dynamic storytelling.

Up next: Antagonists in Film. Meaning, Definition, and Examples.


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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