Nothing says "epic destiny" like a huge prophecy. When a hero hears a mystical-ish person intoning that he or she is destined to set everything right, that's when adventure comes a-calling. But sometimes these things don't quite work out. Here are 10 heroic prophecies that weren't quite what people had hoped.
Warning: Spoilers for old stories ahead...
In this 2006 romance manga, Yuuhi is an ordinary student when a talking lizard comes to him and tells him that he's actually a knight, and he's destined to rescue a princess, and to save the entire world from an evil wizard. Too bad Yuuhi kind of hates the world and isn't interested in saving it — and it's even worse, when it turns out that the princess, too, hates everything. They end up teaming up to destroy the world, instead of saving it.
In this fantasy trilogy, there's a huge prophecy about the Hero of Ages, who will defeat the Deepness. The Hero of Ages supposed to take power from the Well of Ascension and then give it up again. Hero after hero tries to fulfill these prophecies — but it turns out they're actually completely falsified, and the real Big Bad has used them to manipulate people to its own ends.
There's much ado about the prophecy that Kai will destroy His Divine Shadow, but in the end this is accomplished by a cluster lizard larva named Squish instead, although at least Kai is present when this happens.
To be honest, I'm still unclear on how Benjamin Sisko, the Emissary, stopped the Pah-Wraiths and saved the Prophets — but it's pretty clear his prophesied role isn't as clear-cut as it first appears. For one thing, he's not someone who was just chosen to fulfill this prophecy, because we eventually find out his mom was actually hijacked by a Prophet when he was conceived. But also, one thing Sisko doesn't do is bring about the Reckoning, the great battle between the Prophets and the Pah-Wraiths — in which his son, Jake, is supposed to die for the cause. The main prophecy about Sisko seems to be that he'll make this happen, but thenthe Reckoning gets borked and he still gets to defeat the Pah-Wraiths a different way.
In this classic arc, the precog judges predict that Mega-City One will be destroyed, unless Judge Dredd can find a certain special mutant child with an eagle on his forehead, who will save everybody. Too bad the Judge Child is kind of a psycho, huh? It turns out that the Judge Child will actually destroy everybody, not save everybody. Oops.
Will Norrington, a cunning thief, is prophesied to be the hero who will save everybody — until he dies halfway through the trilogy. Oops.
As Greg Pak points out, Metis prophesies that one of Zeus' children will overthrow him, and this is probably Athena. And usually in Greek mythology, prophecies are ironclad, and will come to pass no matter what you do. But this time around, Zeus completely escapes this prophecy, which never comes to pass — at least not in Greek mythology. In both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, Zeus has gotten overthrown, including in Pak's own Incredible Hercules. Although maybe comics aren't canon as far as mythology goes?
In the Matrix movies, Neo is The One, who's supposed to defeat the machines and save everyone — except that the Oracle who tells him this prophecy is actually a program, and the prophecy is sort of a fake. He's actually supposed to reboot the Matrix, as the previous iterations of The One have done before him. At least, that's what Colonel Sanders seems to be saying in that one lengthy scene with the video screens. In the end, Neo does sort of save people, but he doesn't free everyone from the Matrix and both he and Trinity have to die.
Angel has this prophecy that he (or maybe Spike) would save the world and either die or become human as a reward. Instead, Angel becomes an evil law firm's middle-manager, brings the apocalypse to LA (but only LA), turns into a masked serial killer, has such terrible sex with Buffy that he creates a whole universe and then kills poor Giles.
Anakin is prophesied to "bring balance to the Force" — and he actually does this, by killing all the Jedi including a ton of kids. And causing the death of his wife. And blowing up Alderaan. And killing countless others. Although, is a situation where Luke is the only Force-user in the galaxy really "balance"?
Additional reporting by Emily Stamm. Thanks also to Emma C. Moore, Greg Pak, Tarin Towers, Nicholas Slayton, June Weiss, Tim Carmody, Jamie Wyman, and everybody else who helped. Sources: Giant in the Playground Forums, NaNoWriMo, AbsoluteWrite, The Escapist