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"If this is a war, I'll need an army. Or a really good team."
—Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 2
A Dream Team is spectacularly good at what they do. They are the absolute best-ever people in some field, gathered to tackle a problem. After all, if the most super-skilled person is good, a team of them must be even better, right?
To get a Dream Team, sometimes the constraints of time and space are relaxed. What if Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Lew Archer and Lord Peter Wimsey teamed up to solve crime? Answer: detective Dream Team. What if Superman, Batman and Spider-Man teamed up to save the world? Answer: Superhero Dream Team (See The Randomverse for a version of this).
A good Dream Team has members who, while having majored in the same field, all minored in different specialties. Expect a Plot Tailored to the Party.
Dream Teams create a dramatic problem since it is difficult to find a worthy enemy. Typical opponents include nature and inherently difficult tasks. It is much easier, for example, to commit a crime than to solve one. Occasionally, an opposing Dream Team or Big Bad may be invoked; this is a classic approach for superhero Dream Teams, since by definition a best-ever supervillain is the complement of a best-ever superhero. Additionally, Dream Teams can be their own worst enemy, with egos and infighting over approaches limiting their potential effectiveness. There is often a teamwork Aesop here.
Anime and Manga
- The Prince of Tennis: Konomi Takeshi has stated that the soon to be published continuation of will deal with the formation of a "dream team" chosen from amont the hundred or so best junior tennis players in Japan.
- One Piece:
- Luffy teamed up with Buggy, Mr 3, and Mr 2 Bon Clay, which was plain awesome.
- The thought of Iva-san, Inazumi, Jinbei, Crocodile, and Luffy teaming up to save Ace from execution is definitely squee-material.
- Also, Luffy's crew consists of people whose ambitions are largely to become the best at what they do. Though they're typically the best among their current peers when Luffy recruits them.
- The manga Karakuridouji Ultimo, a joint project written by Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei, and frickin' Stan Lee.
- Averted in Airmaster. The light-headed protagonist is portraying a generic Mook on a theme park, fighting some Sentai heroes. She beats the shit out of them without a thought, just by reflex. To avoid stopping the show and making sad their public, every member of the filming crew comes to the stage wearing costumes of an army of Kamen Rider-like old heroes. The dads of the children start cheering their youth idols. Airmaster then proceeds to kick every ass that gets too close to her.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As features a semi-villainous Dream Team in the form of the Wolkenritter; ancient, immortal, reincarnating combat programs who are very good at their jobs.
- StrikerS brings us Riot Force 6, which has such a ridiculously large portion of the firepower at the disposal of the Time-Space Administrative Bureau that they have to be placed under limiters before being allowed to operate together.
- Special Service Section 6 from the Force manga takes Riot Force 6, removes the limiters, and adds a large number of the Combat Cyborgs (who managed to actually challenge Riot Force 6) to the roster.
- In Naruto we have the five Kages teaming up to fight Edo-Madara. Killer Bee and Naruto might also count as well, Sasuke and Itachi certainly do.
- Kakashi and Gai during Orochimarus attack on Konoha and in the current arc definitely count. On the evil side we have the Akatsuki, who are divided into dream teams (with some lacking in teamwork for some of the pairings). Itachi and Kisame stand out among those as the most badass team.
- Nana Mizuki and Minami Takayama as Tsubasa and Kanade, respectfully, performing together in the opening of Senki Zesshou Symphogear. These two are some of the biggest names in J-Pop, except it was Too Good to Last since Kanade bites it at the first episode's prologue. She still pops up here and there in Tsubasa's mind though.
- Kuroko's former team in Kuroko no Basuke was considered the Generation of Miracles, each member being a total prodigy and together they won the middle school basketball championships three times in a row. Sadly, the fact that they were a Dream Team turned most of the members into jerkasses when playing basketball, so Kuroko left the team, the team fell apart, and they all went to different schools to play against each other.
- The Justice Society of America was the original dream team of superheroes.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The League members are all either super powered or Badass Normal heroes of Victorian literature.
- Necronauts: Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Fort and Harry Houdini team up.
- Watchmen: Deconstructed twice. In "Under the Hood" (a book-within-a-book written by the first Nite Owl chronicling his time as a superhero) Nite Owl said that "it takes an extreme personality to put on a costume and fight crime and the chance of eight such personalities getting along is a million to one." Later when Captain Metropolis (a member of the last dream team, "The Minutemen") tries to form another Dream Team, "The Crimebusters", Rorschach complains that "...a group this size seems more like a publicity exercise, somehow it's too big and unwieldy." True to form, the group never gets beyond the initial meeting stage, as the personality clashes cause it to implode.
- Kingdom Come features the new Justice League, Batman's army and Luthor's army. Plus Batman and Luthor team up!
- Superman Red Son features the Amazonians, led by Wonder Woman, a Green Lantern Corps composed entirely of grizzly war vets and most of Superman's rogues Gallery led by Lex Luthor going into battle against Superman and Brainiac at the end.
- The Louisianna Gator-Boys from Blues Brothers 2000. Whatever you may think of the rest of the movie, that scene, at least, was cool - putting together a band of the greatest R&B musicians alive, just to counter the Blues Brothers Band's Power of Blues. The roster includes: B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Dr. John, Jeff Baxter and several other successful musicians — a true Supergroup.
- The Great Escape: The Luftwaffe unintentionally creates an escaper dream team. Quoth Big X:
Bartlett: The men are here to do it. The Germans have put every escape artist in Germany in this camp, you said so yourself.
- The Guns of Navarone. Each member of the team is the best at what he does: killing, explosives, mountain climbing, being lucky, etc.
- Species. The team created to hunt down and kill Sil.
- The 2012 film, The Avengers will feature Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury, all being played by the same actors who appeared in the Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies; in addition to a re-cast (again) Hulk.
- The "Super Posse" of famous lawmen hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to hunt down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In Butch and Sundance's case a "nightmare team"!
- For the Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light director Martin Scorsese assembled seven of among the best cinematographers in the industry just to operate the cameras at the Beacon Theater in NYC where the show was held.
- The Dream Team: This Michael Keaton comedy movie spoofs this trope; the four main characters are dysfunctional psychiatric patients who have to overcome their various crippling neuroses, not to mention their inherent dislike for each other, to reveal the truth after they're framed for a murder by corrupt police officers.
- The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, albeit with one member being a rookie in each line-up. They're the best samurai/gunslingers to ever be assembled.
- The Expendables is an odd case, as it only fits the trope out-of-universe. In-universe, the Expendables are a very competent team, but they are not particularly noteworthy as individuals. In Real Life, they are composed of nearly every action movie star of the past 30 years, with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who had other commitments, but makes a cameo).
- In the book Rainbow Six Rainbow is an international anti-terrorist organization composed of former members of various special forces worldwide.
- In Lord of the Rings the council of Elrond gathers a handful of members of human, dwarf, and elvish civilizations to decide what to do with the ring. Many are Royals Who Actually Do Something.
- The Fellowship is part example, part parody. There's Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimili and Legolas, which is a pretty cool team (a wizard, two human badasses, a dwarf and an elf). Then... there's the four Hobbits they're dragging around, even though they more than prove themselves later on.
- In Changes, Harry Dresden pulls together a Dream Team to storm the Red Court stronghold in Chichen Itza, consisting of himself, Thomas, Murphy, Leanansidhe, Susan, Martin, Sanya, Molly, and Mouse. Also, half-way through the battle, Ebenezzar and the Gray Council show up in a true Big Damn Heroes fashion. That accounts for pretty much every badass good guy/girl in the series and then some.
- Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible (2 Samuel 23), King David assembled an elite squad of thirty "mighty men" to be his guard. All of them had impressive achievements in battle, including one who killed 800 Philistines in one day, one who singlehandedly defended an entire field, and one who "killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day."
Live Action TV
- After they started replacing the entire cast with season seven, and up to the thirteenth season, Power Rangers would have the previous season's team return for one or two episodes to team up with their successors. Only the eleventh season wouldn't feature the previous cast return in this period.
- Additionally, the sixth season had two episodes where previous Rangers (Adam and Justin) returned.
- The tenth season had an episode where all of the previous Red Rangers (including the Red Aquitian Ranger and the Quantum Ranger) teamed up with the then-current Red Ranger. The fifteenth season featured a two-part episode where Rangers from the fourteenth, thirteenth, twelfth, eleventh and second seasons returned.
- On the other side of the pacific, Super Sentai, the Japanese franchise that provides the source material for Power Rangers, has been making crossover movies between teams starting with Ohranger vs. Kakuranger, (although there has been previous crossovers before the official Vs. movies). Usually these crossovers tend to involve the current team and the previous team, but for two of the anniversary years (the 25th and the 30th), the current team worked together with a mixed team of various past heroes instead.
- In Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai (the 25th anniversary movie), the Gaorangers teamed up with a Dream Team consisting of Big One, Red Falcon, Mega Pink, Ginga Blue and Go Yellow. The other past Red Rangers also made cameos as well, albeit in costume only.
- In Go Go Sentai Boukenger (the 30th anniversary movie), the Dream Team consisted of Hurricane Blue, Abare Black, Deka Break, Magi Yellow & Magi Shine and a new hero named Aka Red, who embodies the powers of all the previous Red Rangers.
- In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the 35th Sentai series, the team has the ability to transform into previous heroes. Usually the Gokaigers will all stick to rangers from the same team, but sometimes they transform into mixed teams as well, particularly when they have all have a common motif or they have the same color.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan the Movie. The combination of space pirates and space police is just plain awesome.
- Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen as well, and, within the movie itself, various Sentai teams will be partnering up with similarly-themed Riders for the big brawl.
- The team on Threshold, though it was actually called the Red Team.
- Joe 90 uses a variation of this; he can use his glasses to download the brain patterns of the experts who would be this trope. Allowing him to act as this trope despite being one person.
- Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt in a production written by Charlie Brooker? Sign me up!
- Whenever Doctor Who does a story with more than one Doctor appearing (The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors, "Time Crash"), Doctor Who is in something of a unique position in that it's essentially a 'dream team' comprised of what is essentially different versions of the same character.
- a Supergroup is the rock music version of a Dream Team.
Myth and Legend
- Older Than Feudalism: All surviving versions of Jason and the Argonauts.
- Hrolf Krakis Saga has the eponymous main character form a team of heroes to replace his earlier team of berserkers.
- The 1992 American men's Olympic basketball team was nicknamed the "Dream Team." The Americans had always been dominant in basketball at the Olympics, but a bronze medal in 1988 was embarrassing enough that for the first time professional players were selected for the 1992 team. It was almost certainly the greatest collection of talent ever assembled on one basketball team, with at least three players (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan) who were arguably the best in their positions to ever play the game. Coach Chuck Daly remarked that it was like "Elvis and The Beatles put together." They won by an average of almost 44 points; the closest game saw them win by 32 against Croatia.
- In a real life/media crossover, the "Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert" recording pulls (theoretically, and in many cases widely-accepted) the best performers for each role, from Broadway, London, and Australia, for one performance.
- You can make this happen yourself in Backyard Sports, as you choose your players (many of which are some of the best players in the leagues).
- Some of the best people from Enix hired themselves out to Square to make Chrono Trigger, along with Akira Toriyama, and actually used the name "Dream Team" for themselves in the Developer's Room. Sadly, and more than a bit confusingly, nothing similar has happened since the two companies merged.
- Most any party-based RPG ever involves this at some level. Even when they're a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, you do end up saving the world in the company of some of the best-qualified people in it.
- Meta example: For a Team Fortress 2 international cup, Team France was pieced together using the best players around, based both on team skills and individual skills. The end result was a truly magnificent dream team, composed of the cream of the French crop, which was purely unable to work as a team due to everybody having wildly different playstyles.
- Most of the plot of Fable 2 revolves around assembling a Dream Team so that a prophecy will oust a horrible tyrant. The Player Character must track down and unite the Hero of Strength, the Hero of Will, and the Hero of Skill, which is harder than it sounds.
- Inazuma Eleven , the game more than the anime. Though the anime team is made of several of the best players defected from other teams, the game explicitly encourages you to find and recruit the strongest players from any team you battle, making the ultimate team a mish mash of the cream of the crop.
- The Dragon Doctors: The best surgeon, the best shaman/therapist, the best alterist/wizard, the best science mage.
- Axe Cop is what happens when a supremely imaginative six-year-old boy's ideas are taken up by his brother, a supremely talented twenty-nine-year-old comic book illustrator.
- While Team Kimba is a Dream Team, most of the school believes this trope is in play because Phase is a teen billionaire who as a Goodkind would pull together a dream team as his personal backup. He just happens to have one of the best mages in the world, one of the best flying bricks available, one of the best (if not the best) flying blaster, one of the best martial artists anywhere, plus the Handmaid of the Tao and the Crazy Awesome Generator.
- The entire premise of Turtles Forever is based upon this - The 80s Turtles team up with the 00s Turtles and later, the Turtles from the Mirage comic book and Krang & the 80's Shredder to stop the 00's Shredder from destroying the TMNT multiverse.