Originally Posted by Martin Hyde
The more I've read about the end of the Western Empire the less I view Romulus Augustus as the clear "last Emperor."
A lot of people barely considered Romulus Augustus to be the Emperor even before he was overthrown.
Julius Nepos was also the Emperor at the time. He had been in power for several years. But one of his generals, Orestes, led a revolt against him in 475 and seized the capital. Orestes, who was a little more German than the average Roman was comfortable with, decided to make his teenage son Romulus the Emperor. Of course Orestes was the person really giving the orders.
Meanwhile Julius Nepos was still around but he had to relocate to an outer province (in what's now Croatia). As far as the Eastern Empire was concerned, he was the legitimate Western Emperor and all Odoacer did in 476 was overthrow a usurper. Emperor Nepos was still in power (albeit not in Italy) years after Orestes and Romulus were gone.