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Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresteam, poly, gen, multi-pairing, (something that means living together?)
Related articles on Fanlore.

An ensemble is a group of characters, usually at least four, though the exact number varies. It is sometimes referred to as an ensemble cast. Ensemble canons generally contain a large number of major characters, in contrast with, for example, buddy shows or rom coms, where the lead pair dominates. Similarly, ensemble fanworks focus on a group of characters, though those characters may not have been major characters in their original canons. They are in contrast to pairing-centric works and character studies.

What defines the ensemble is its focus on a group dynamic or on several characters, regardless of what romantic relationships may or may not exist in the work. Ensemble fanworks might be gen, or contain a pairing that is not the main focus of the work, or they might be multi-pairing or poly works, or any combination of these choices. However, ensemble is sometimes used to denote specifically non-romantic gen works. Ensemble fanfiction is often long, to give the various characters time to interact and develop.

Anna S describes the ensemble trope as including elite teams of explorers, spies, law enforcement figures, etc; sentai; military squadrons; skilled teams operating like clockwork, such as when pulling off a heist; bands of rebels; families; surrogate families; outcasts, e.g., freaks and geeks; carnival troupes; motley characters thrown together by fate; alternatives to society e.g., Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.[1]

Some fanwork awards have a category for ensemble works, for example the Mithril Awards for Tolkien fanfiction and the Nummy Treat awards for Buffyverse vids.

Fandom Examples

Ensemble fanworks tend to be more common for ensemble canons. For example:

Example Fanworks



  1. ^ eliade: List of Fan-fiction Kinks, Tropes, and Clichés (accessed 21 November 2012, dead link as of 15 Dec 2022)