For years Elmo was a minor character on Sesame Street, appearing the background of scenes that called for large numbers of ‘monsters’. However, after Kevin Clash took over the role popularity of Elmo skyrocketed, to the point of becoming the most popular regularly occurring character on the show.
3. Phil Coulson
Originally hired for three lines as a favor to his friend, Clark Gregg has now appeared in four Marvel movies (including a pivotal role in The Avengers) and his character has now expanded to the animated television series and the comic books.
4. Harley Quinn
Originally a one off henchperson for The Joker on the animated series, her popularity led to her becoming a recurring character and eventually transitioning to the comics, becoming the first animated series character to transition to the comic books in DC history.
5. Brittany S. Pierce
Originally hired to teach cast members the dance moves to “Single Ladies”, Heather Morris impressed producers with an amazing ability to deliver deadpan lines, and was immediately made a recurring character and quickly became one of the shows breakout stars.
6. Boba Fett
George Lucas didn’t anticipate how popular this bounty hunter character with next to no lines would be, otherwise we doubt he would have been killed in Return of the Jedi.
7. Mrs. Landingham
Mrs. Landingham was a minor character on The West Wing, rarely having more than a few lines on the program. However, her characters loving and motherly ways, combined with fantastic performances from Kathryn Joosten, propelled her character to admiration that transcended the program. Mrs. Landingham is probably one of the only fictional characters to have a tribute to her read on the floor of Congress.
10. Aaron Pierce
Originally a background character in a few episodes of Season 1, Glenn Morshower’s Aaron Pierce character would eventually become of few reliable cast members on 24’s ever rotating cast, appearing in seven seasons, the most of any non-Jack Bauer character.
11. Leonard Rodriguez
One of Community’s greatest assets is the expansive number of background characters that populate the show. Perhaps none greater than Leonard, the grumpy, bitter old man who proves to be both a foil and occasional ally of the main characters, while delivering some of the show’s funniest lines.
Of course there are countless more examples, so who are some of your favorite minor characters?