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A sort of middle-ground between being Put on a Bus and Dropped a Bridge on Him. A regular character leaves the show, usually for Creative Differences, then later comes back for the sole purpose of dying.

Contrast with Bus Crash, in which the actor does not return, and we are told of their off-screen death some seasons later, complete with a failure of their body to appear, at least in an intact state.

A number of reasons may exist for this: perhaps the actor has agreed to return, but insists on being killed to give their character closure. Or perhaps the writers have just grown a pair and decided to do something nasty to the character that they'd previously been afraid to do something irrevocable to. Or it could just be a way to kill someone off for real with the impact of killing a major character without the plot inconveniences this usually causes. Occasionally it's because they need a character they previously Killed Off for Real briefly, so they pull an Not Quite Dead or Back From the Dead followed by another death. And sometimes it just seems like they do it for no discernible reason other than to change how a character leaves the show.

Compare Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Back for the Dead include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Super Dimension Century Orguss Sley, the protagonist Kei's rival in love, is presumably lost in battle about mid way through the series, with it left unknown whether he survived or died. Some time later, Sley reunites with the crew and, within that same episode, performs a Heroic Sacrifice to allow the heroes to get away from the enemy.
  • In the D.Gray-man manga, General Cross is brought back -- only to end up dead or missing forever.
  • In Transformers Headmasters, Ultra Magnus appears in the first few episodes, then drops off the radar as the action moves away from Earth. When he reappears, it's only to be killed by Sixshot in the appropriately titled episode "The Death of Ultra Magnus".
  • Gauron in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. Kinda a weird example, since he was already assumed to be dead at the end of the first series.
    • Gauron had been "assumed dead" at least 3-or-4 times in the past (and twice in the first season) before the second season. Every time he and Main Character Sōsuke cross paths, something happens that should have killed him (for example, the first time Sōsuke shot him in the head), only for him to reappear later with some excuse as to how he survived (He had a metal plate in his skull from an earlier wound). However, Sōsuke kills him for good in the second season.
  • Averted in Digimon Savers. Daimon Suguru is your typical shounen Disappeared Dad, whose fate is left uncertain for most of the series. However, it's revealed that Suguru's body is possessed by Yggdrasil, and his consciousness inhabits the group's mentor, BanchouLeomon. In the end, it seems Suguru is destroyed body and soul, but after being defeated in his true form, Yggdrasil resurrects Suguru and returns him to his family.
    • However, this is pretty much what happens to Leomon when he returns in the latter half of Digimon Adventure.
      • Eh, at least Leomon got two episodes and managed to take out MetalEtemon. The beginning of the Dark Masters saga, on the other hand, saw two in one episode--first Chuumon, already devoid of his partner Sukamon, shows up at the beginning of the episode and gets in front of one of Piedmon's attacks in order to protect the Digidestined, and then Piximon shows up and allows them to escape the Hopeless Boss Fight against all four Dark Masters...and then tries to hold the Dark Masters off despite being a lone Ultimate against four Megas.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro's thought-to-dead fiancee Yuria is revealed to be the Last General of Nanto, which was followed by a rather extensive Retcon of her previous death scene which explained how she survived and why Shin lied to Ken about her death. However, we later find out that Yuria is suffering from a terminal illness and even though Kenshiro is reunited with her, we later find out in the next story arc that Yuria has passed away in the years afterward.
  • After running out of regeneration power, Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist is absorbed into Father during Volume 14. In Volume 21, he returns.....Only to be killed off by Pride by the end of the Volume.
  • Yoki in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, who shows up just long enough to be skewered through the head by Lust and spark a riot.
  • Ryoufu in the Ikki Tousen anime. She dies in the first series, is revived, gets Laser-Guided Amnesia, ends up Brainwashed and Crazy, and dies again.
  • Yurin L'Ciel in Gundam AGE appeared a little early on. She then comes back for a while, and quickly gets killed off.
  • Frieza was apparently killed by Goku at the end of the infamous Namek fight in Dragon Ball Z. He returned to get his revenge a few episodes later. Then Trunks came in and proceeded to slice him up into little bits...


Comics

  • This is ridiculously common during big Crisis Crossover events in superhero comics. Almost every single one features a scene where some forgotten character who hasn't shown up in a comic since forever gets killed just to establish how dangerous the villains are. The other heroes will of course react as if the deceased was a major player who had been around all along.
    • The most infamous example probably comes from Marvel's Civil War crossover. Early advertising for the storyline implied that many beloved heroes would die. In reality, only one established hero died: Goliath, a character who hadn't done anything of note since the 1970's.
  • In late 2010, DC came out with a Batman Beyond comic mini-series (canon to the DCAU and Darker and Edgier). A villain escapes from Cadmus, supposedly Hush. He kills some former Batman villains (Bruce-era) in the style of other villains. At one point, we cut to Armory, one of Terry's villains, who only was a villain once. This is the first time since "Armory" we've seen him. Him, his wife, and his high-school age step-son (who is a friend of Terry and Max) are promptly killed by Hush.
  • In 2010 Marvel released The Death of Dracula. This was Dracula's first appearance after he died in Captain Britain. And yes, being killed in Marvel is equivalent to being Put on a Bus.
  • Towards the end of the Underbase Saga in Marvel's Transformers comic, a whole bunch of characters who haven't been seen in years of real time come back in order to be killed by Starscream.
  • One early example would be Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman; she had been written out after Batman was revamped in 1964. She briefly came out of retirement to guest star in several several issues in the late 70s (over a decade later!) only to be killed off for dramatic effect by the League of Assassins after several appearances.
  • Jeph Loeb also seems fond of this trope, as he's dug through various characters to use as murderer fodder in his murder mystery storylines. The Long Halloween and its follow-up Dark Victory were originally made to show what happened to the mobster characters from The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween brings all of the mobsters shown or mentioned as well as two characters from Two-Face's origin story to be killed off by the Holiday killer and/or Two-Face himself (although to be fair some of them, like Falcone himself, get actual storylines before dying). Dark Victory gives the same treatment to pretty much every cop character that had been named in Year One as well as a modern counterpart of Chief O'Hara. His later storyline Hush is lighter in comparison murder-wise, although long absent Batman ally Harold (the deaf-mute who acts as a mechanic for the Bat-Mobile) was brought back to serve as one of Hush's victims.
  • Another Batman murder mystery storyline example was James Robinson's "Face to Face" storyline, in which various supervillains whom had fallen into obscurity were brought back to be murdered by a new serial killer (the Tally Man under Great White's orders). The victims, some of whom had appeared more recently than others, were The Ventriloquist I, Magpie, KG Beast and Orca.
  • One of Spider-Man's villains, the original Hobgoblin was absent from the main Spidey titles for more than a decade. The writers eventually bowed to fan demand and brought him back...just in time for him to be killed and his murderer to take his stuff and become the new Hobgoblin.


Film

  • Planet of the Apes: Charlton Heston agreed to be in the sequel only on the condition that his character dies at the beginning. He actually dies at the end.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Scorponok, who disappeared early in the first film after being badly damaged, pulls a Dynamic Entry in the climactic desert battle and guts Jetfire, only to have Jetfire throw him to the ground and pound him into scrap with one blow.
    • The third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Barricade make a return appearance after disappearing inexplicably during the end of the first (although with tie-in comics explaining what happened to him). He appears rounding up the Autobots as prisoners, before executing Wheeljack/Que, and then angrily berating a few Decepticon troops after Bumblebee seizes an opportunity for freedom and kills Soundwave. His eyes are then shot out by human snipers before his legs are destroyed with boomsticks and is then finished off whilst crippled.
  • Captain Kirk's appearance in Star Trek Generations actually named another trope, but it's an example of this one too. You can almost hear the plotlines straining as he is dragged from retirement and manoeuvred awkwardly towards a heroic on-screen death.
    • Ironically, the first "death" was only shown in the beginning of that film. If they hadn't "killed" him to begin with, he wouldn't have been anywhere near to be killed again later. And then the expanded universe immediately resurrected him, putting him in Next Generation / Deep Space Nine era stories that he couldn't have appeared in if not for his temporary death in Star Trek Generations. Bringing him back only to kill him actually revived his career and popularity.
      • It should be pointed out that the Kirk "return" novels were written in part by William Shatner himself...
  • Dobby in the Harry Potter films. As a result of his role in the fourth, fifth, and sixth books being cut, he appears in the second film and then doesn't show up again until Deathly Hallows Part 1 so that he can die on schedule.
  • Pegasus and Yugi's Grandpa in the Yu-Gi-Oh Tenth Anniversary Movie. Good thing that this is a story about time travel.
  • Clear Rivers from the original Final Destination was intended to survive to the third installment, but due to legal issues she appeared in the second movie and was killed off.
  • Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Sephiroth, the Big Bad of the original game doesn't "physically" appear in the movie until the end, where he then delivers an ass-whipping to Cloud before being destroyed...and by destroyed, we mean slashed a grand total of 12 times with a more powerful version of the sword shown on the picture for BFS.
    • Sephiroth implies that he cannot truly die, and can continue to return.


Literature

  • This is ludicrously common in Doctor Who spinoff novels, where the Doctor's previous companions meet horrible and utterly gratuitous ends. The most egregious example is in the Virgin novel Eternity Weeps, where a random scientist with no plot importance is given a nametag that reads Liz Shaw just in time to be killed off by the Monster of the Week.
    • One Doctor Who audio drama reveals that Adric, of all people, survived and created a... mental universe full of math scorpions which is even weirder than it sounds, and then dies for real at the end of the story to give the Doctor his missing TARDIS back.
  • L.A. Confidential opens with a surviving character from one of the previous books facing a Bolivian Army Ending, drawn through to its logical conclusion. Notable for giving Crowning Moment of Awesome to both the character and the Big Bad.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr, Agun Soric is taken by the Black Ships as an untrained psyker. Four books later, in Only in Death, he returns as a sanctioned psyker. The man who turned him over to the inquisition in the first place is so horrified by what has happened to him in the intervening years that he administers a Mercy Kill.
  • Hollyleaf in Warrior Cats. After, being presumed dead for four books, she returns to ThunderClan in The Forgotten Warrior, only to be killed by Hawkfrost in the next book, The Last Hope.
  • William Smithback, Jr., suffers this in the Agent Pendergast series of novels. He is a recurring character in the books, and after the events of Book of the Dead he does not appear at all in the next novel, The Wheel of Darkness. He then returns in the novel after that, Cemetery Dance," only to be killed in its very first chapter.
    • Additionally, it's subverted for Margo Green. She was actually the main character in the very first two books, Relic and Reliquary, and did not appear again until the sixth novel, Dance of Death, which had her attacked and apparently killed by Diogenes Pendergast barely halfway through the novel. The very end of the book reveals that Pendergast saved her life.


Live Action TV

  • A famous example is Max Fenig, a fan favorite from an episode of the first season of The X-Files. After being abducted at the episode's conclusion, he reappeared in the teaser at the beginning of a fourth season episode...as a dead body in the wreckage of an airplane. The rest of the two-parter dealt with reconstructing how this came to pass and dealing with its implications.
    • There's also the Cigarette Smoking Man, who was killed off at the end of the seventh season. Two years later he was revealed to still be alive in the series finale, and then proceeded to get blown up by a missile.
  • Star Trek the Next Generation gave Tasha Yar a pretty crummy death in Season 1's "Skin of Evil". The character returned in the alternate timeline episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" to die in a Heroic Sacrifice, which would reset the timeline to the one in which she was dead anyways. She actually survived the intended Heroic Sacrifice and had a Half-Human Hybrid daughter Sela with a Romulan before being executed for trying to escape. Sela surfaced as a villain and looked just like Mom, other than being half-Romulan.
  • The character of Carey from Star Trek Voyager is a weird example of Back for the Dead. After appearing in most of the first season, he stopped appearing except in time travel episodes, leading fans to believe he had died off-screen. After 6 seasons of being used as a "Hey look! We're back in the first season. See? There's Carey!" marker, he showed up alive four episodes before the end of the series and got killed off (as a Red Shirt). The writers intended to have a guy the fans know die for the shock value. But the problem was that his lack of appearances outside of time travel episodes made people already think he was dead, so the shock was more "wow, he's still alive?" then "GASP! They killed Carey!"
    • The writer of that episode wanted to kill someone off, and was given the choice of Vorik or Carey. He thought Carey would have more impact, since fans would relate to a human more than a Vulcan. Bad choice. He was obviously unaware of how much fans liked Vorik, and of how fans already thought Carey was dead. Furthermore, rumour has it that Carey's odd treatment was because the writers were for a long time confusing him with Lt. Hogan, who had indeed been killed off in Season 2.
  • Lieutenant Ford from Stargate Atlantis was almost killed by Wraith and managed to leave hopped up on the Wraith enzyme (a nasty drug) in the season 1 finale. In the season 2 midseason two-parter Ford comes back, and ends up on a Wraith vessel as it explodes.
  • Similarly, in Stargate SG-1, Martouf was a frequently recurring character in season 3, representing the Tok'ra in dealings with the SGC (along with Jacob/Selmak). In season 4, there is a new representative and Martouf is not seen until the episode of his death.
    • Martouf did come Back for the Dead again this time having the symbiote die instead of the host.
  • In Stargate Universe, everyone who was left behind on Eden suddenly showed up with bodies that had been "improved" by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. It turns out that the improvements were only temporary. One by one, each person reverted back to the state they were in when the aliens found them, i.e., dead.
  • Charlie DiSalvo from Highlander falls into this. Charlie gets sort of Put on a Bus: he falls in love with a revolutionary and leaves everything to fight for her cause. He returns for one episode, where he describes how they were set up by an immortal arms dealer who intentionally sold them defective weapons and killed his girl. Charlie comes hunting for revenge, but as he doesn't know about immortals and his opponent is one, he winds up dying.
  • David Palmer in Twenty Four was dropped as a regular character at the end of season 3 and made only a brief appearance in season 4. He returned in the premiere of season 5, only to be assassinated after less than a minute of screen time. Dennis Haysbert was not happy about it.
    • The return and subsequent death of Milo Pressman in Season 6 has oft been referenced as an example of this trope, though he did survive for almost the entire season.
    • Additionally, the character of Tony Almeida was injured in an explosion that left him in a coma for the first half of season 5. He was brought out of it midway through only to get killed off an episode later. Although eventually subverted in that he was later revealed to still be alive two seasons later, he was dead for all intents and purposes for the rest of the fifth season.
  • Lost: arguably, Michael's return in episode 4x07 and death in episode 4x13. Later on, a named background character wound up reappearing only to be killed off by a flaming arrow. This may also be the case with Daniel Faraday.
  • Aiden was fired from CSI: NY for tampering with evidence; she returned some time later as a charred corpse and in Necro Cam flashbacks.
  • After a rather unpopular character arc which had eventually seen her Put on a Bus via a coma the previous season, Cordelia returned to Angel for a one-episode guest appearance seen by some fans as a Author's Saving Throw. The character's return to previous form and upbeat exit was undercut by a coda at the end of the episode which reveals that she has been dead all along.
    • This did serve to give her a good send-off, and allow her to work as a mentor one last time.
  • Arguably, Bryce Larkin from Chuck.
  • Heroes: Adam Monroe, former immortal, was buried alive at the end of season two, but he was let out briefly in the following season apparently for the sole purpose of being Killed Off for Real in a rather egregious manner. Maybe they were saving him for this. (His death basically created the new Big Bad.)
    • A variation happened earlier in season two for DL. The second season starts by skipping months ahead, and we're told that DL is dead, presumably from his gunshot wound in the season one finale. But no, he appears in a flashback only to get killed by some random guy who was hot for his wife. The entire exercise seems completely pointless.
    • Done with Emile Danko at the beginning of Season 4. As the Big Bad of Season 3, he survived that season only to be brought back for two episodes for a somewhat contrived reason during Season 4 only to be killed off immediately by the new villains.
  • Chloe Richards returned to Home and Away in 2005 in the lead up to the show's 4000th episode after leaving in 1999. Meanwhile, promos for the 4000th episode promised that a beloved character would die as a result of events happening in that episode. Who died as a result of that episode's car accident? It was Chloe of course.
  • Blake returned in the last episode of Blakes Seven and was killed off there by Avon, because Blake was too stupid to explain his real motives, leading Avon to think Blake was a traitor. Definitely a Fanon Discontinuity moment for diehard fans.
    • Blake's death was apparently a conditon for Gareth Thomas (Blake) to appear in the episode, his death included blood to make sure that he was really dead. Seeing as it ended up being the final episode, it didn't really matter anyway, especially as just about everyone else ended up dead by the end of the episode anyway.
      • The deaths of the other characters was left deliberately ambiguous so that they could return if the series was extended.
  • In Foyle's War, Milner's estranged wife reappears after an absence of several seasons, and has just enough time for a blazing row with Milner before being found dead in an alley.
  • While this is open to dispute, the return of Dennis "Dirty Den" Watts in Eastenders could be considered a very drawn out example of this. When actor Leslie Grantham wanted to move on, Dirty Den was hit by gunfire on screen, but deliberately not shown to be dead. Den subsequently returned 14 years later, and died again, this time for real, 18 months after that. Leslie Grantham states in his autobiography that this was how it had been planned when he agreed to return: that the character would be killed off permanently after no more than 18 months.
    • Another instance of this on Eastenders was Ethel Skinner - after a 3 year absence from the show, she reappeared in Albert Square as part of a storyline on euthanasia.
  • Earth 2 - Commander O'Neill "died" in the pilot, then literally comes back from his grave only to be murdered by the end of episode 2.
  • Mike Royce in Castle
  • Keith from One Tree Hill leaves after his disastrous wedding. He comes back more well adjusted and marries Karen only to be killed by his brother Dan. At least she has Someone to Remember Him By.
  • Joyce Summers, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 Kristine Sutherland: I was not around much in the fourth season, which was my choice, and when I let them know that [[[Joss Whedon]]] said, "Please, you must be around for the fifth season because I need to kill you".

  • Doctor Who has two examples in the new series: Harriet Jones, and Lucy Saxon, who dies in what's basically her only scene in The End of Time. The old series nearly had a example of this, as the Brigadier-a regular during the 60s and 70s who was last seen as a guest star in 1983-was almost killed off in 1989's Battlefield.
  • Alicia in Smallville is slightly different from the usual version because she was a one-shot character. In season 3 she was obsessed with Clark, but she was presented as having had a breakdown and being somewhat sympathetic, and some viewers liked her as a love interest for Clark. She was brought back in the next season just to be killed off, permanently ending the possibility of being a love interest.
    • Whitney also qualifies: We see him die on-screen before the shapeshifter shows up.
      • If Alicia counts, so do several other characters, including but not restrained to the above mentioned shapeshifter.
  • The writing staff of Amar En Tiempos Revueltos seems to have as a personal goal doing this to whoever has ever been Put on a Bus.
  • All of the surviving cortexifan kids from Fringe were brought back and killed in one episode.
  • Supernatural has an odd example. Jo and Ellen Harvelle, two characters from season 2, were let go at the end of the season for budgetary reasons and did not appear in seasons 3 or 4. They were brought back in season 5, and survived their return episode, only for both of them to be killed off in their next appearance.
    • Another example is Anna from season 4, an character who has a two part episode central around. Like the above, survives her return episode and than is killed off her next episode in season 5.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles does this when Dom is Not Quite Saved Enough.
  • Inverted on Babylon 5: Lyta Alexander, who, along with Dr. Kyle and Lt. Commander Takashima, had departed the station in the fallout of the attempted assassination of Ambassador Kosh, came back abruptly in the second season as a member of the Mars Resistance, warning the crew that one of them was a Manchurian Agent. The agent turns out to be Talia Winters, Lyta's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, and the Trigger Phrase that reveals her original personality also destroys the cover personality, effectively killing off Talia.
    • Ultimately averted, as not very long after that, Lyta joined the main cast for the rest of the show.
  • Parodied on Scrubs during one of J.D.'s daydreams: Turk and Carla have a son, but due to a mix-up they misplace him and end up with a pumpkin instead. They decide to raise the pumpkin as their child, and we're treated to a lengthy growing-up Montage. Then, on the day the pumpkin is graduating from college, the son reappears. "Mom? Dad?" "Son?" He starts to run towards them for an embrace... and is hit by a bus. Cue Big No.
    • Played straight with Ben Sullivan.
  • For the first several seasons of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall's father is a minor character who rarely appears. Come the Season 6 premiere, not only do we start seeing him more often, but his role in Marshall's life is bigger -- apparently the two of them are very close and Marshall tells him everything. His death at midseason is still a surprise, but only because this show rarely kills characters off. If you start watching Season 6 knowing someone will die, it's easy to guess who.
  • Daniel Dickinson in Warehouse 13 was initially part of the primary cast. After the first season ended, he disappeared until the ninth episode of the second-in which he was murdered before the opening credits rolled.
  • Boy Meets World had a Yank the Dog's Chain example of this. Shawn's father reappears for the first time in about a year and a half and promises that he will stay around this time. He prompty dies from a heart attack.
  • In Farscape, Jool leaves the regular cast four episodes into the fourth season. She reappears (with a rather different Jungle Princess characterisation) in the Wrap It Up miniseries "The Peacekeeper Wars", and is fairly rapidly killed along with a whole lot of other people to give the Scarrans an extreme Kick the Dog moment.

Newspaper Comics

  • Has happened a number of times in Dick Tracy. For example, the villain Shoulders crashed a plane, but his body was never found. He later resurfaced, only to accidentally shoot himself in the head.
    • When Max Allen Collins took over the strip after Chester Gould's retirement, he brought back some characters who hadn't been seen in years. One of them was early antagonist Big Boy, who, in the strip, eventually dies of a heart attack. His death was marked by characters talking about how it was unusual that a bad guy died of a death that ordinary (lampshading the strip's usual practice of giving spectacular over-the-top deaths for its villains).

Video Games

  • In the original Ninja Gaiden the protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa, is fighting to fulfill a quest left behind by his father, Ken, who in the game's prologue fought and lost in a ninja duel. After defeating the fifth boss, Ryu learns that his father is alive, and eventually discovers Ken Hayabusa as a mind-controlled slave of the villain the Jaquio. As soon as he is freed Ken is killed by the Jaquio and dies in Ryu's arms.
  • The Xbox 360 role playing game Lost Odyssey features this early in the game. Throughout the first segment of the game, the amnesiac protagonist Kaim has flashes of a little girl throwing herself/falling off a cliff. Eventually, Kaim reunites with this child, his daughter Lirum, only for her to almost immediately die of a long illness.
  • Resident Evil: Brad Vickers, brought back in 3 seemingly solely to have a bridge dropped on him.
  • Robo from Chrono Trigger, or at least his program (as he is a robot), show up for approximately two minutes in Chrono Cross just to be immediately deleted. He didn't even get to keep the name we knew him by. One has to wonder if it was done in order to make you actually have a beef against FATE, who apart from that was only doing what it was programmed to.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, Big Boss who was thought to be dead is revealed to be alive and then promptly dies after providing a truly epic 45 minute Info Dump.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Kara's pet pig, Hamlet, gets separated from her early on in the game, namely when Kara decides to leave her castle, but later manages to join up with the party. However, very soon after, the party is captured by cannibals, and are only saved when Hamlet sacrifices himself to be food for the cannibals instead of the party.
  • Ortega, the hero's father in Dragon Quest III is missing and presumed dead for the bulk of the game. In the very last dungeon, you encounter him fighting one of the penultimate bosses and watch him get killed.
  • In Framcjose The Legend Of Zelda, every time Ganon somehow manages to break the seal on his can or to come Back From the Dead, he apparently only does so he can receive one additional stab-wound from Link and go right back to where he came from (Which is, most times, apparently death).
    • The same happens to Dracula in the Castlevania series.
  • Ace Attorney has Misty Fey: She's an incredibly important character in the backstory then finally appears in the last case of Trials and Tribulations...only to be murdered fifteen minutes later
    • To say nothing of the fact that it's not even revealed that it was her until much later...
  • Call of Duty Black Ops: Dimitri Petrenko returns from World at War and is revealed to have survived the Bolivian Army Ending... until he dies during Kravchenko's Nova 6 test in a horribly brutal fashion.
    • In Modern Warfare 3, Sgt. Kamarov (the Russian Loyalist who rescued Soap and Price during the final level of the original Modern Warfare) returns, and dies a couple missions later when Makarov's men kidnap him and use him as bait to keep Captain Price in one place so a bomb can kill them both. Price catches on when Kamarov tells him he's sorry, and manages to get out of the blast zone before Kamarov is killed. Earlier, Wallcroft and Griffin (the two main supporting characters who assisted you in "Crew Expendable" from the original MW) reappear as they respond to a terrorist bomb threat in London, and in the process of chasing the train carrying the bomb, Griffin is killed when his truck crashes.


Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Marya and Mori'sul return only to die relatively quickly in the Godslayer era. The former ends up setting the stage for a power-hungry prince's return to the political stage of Maar Sul before committing suicide out of guilt, the latter is crushed by a collapsing temple while saving the heroes from certain death.
  • Marble Hornets entry 51 combines this with Anachronic Order, jumping back years in the series timeline to reveal the fate of a minor character from the first season. It ain't pretty.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, Achyls was a minor character in V1, working as one of the technicians for the terrorists. However, he vanished inexplicably afterwards with no explanation. He returned for V4, and seemed set to have a bigger role from before, then was abruptly killed not long after his redebut.


Western Animation

  • South Park sort of played an example. Isaac Hayes, Chef's voice actor and a Scientologist, quit the show forever after the episode where Stan becomes the leader of Scientology. For quite a while, the show kept going without him, but after the fans started doubting, Chef was revived using footage and voice tracks from earlier episodes, and died horribly. Then was brought back as Darth Chef a few minutes later.
    • In a season 14 episode, Pip, who didn't have any speaking line at all since season 6, came back, only for him to deliver a Sedgwick Speech and be killed by Mecha-Streisand moments later.
      • According to southparkstudios.com, he may not be entirely gone.
  • Happens to the original Paper in the 200th Strong Bad Email from Homestar Runner. The Paper actually died in Email 173, and later replaced by the New Paper.
  • Speed Racer: The Next Generation: In "The Beginning", Speed Jr. and his friends find and restore the long-disappeared Mach 5, but it ends up truly totaled after a vicious race.
  • American Dad has a whole episode of this.
  • The Simpsons has a few examples. Bleeding Gums Murphy, the jazz man who was one of Lisa's inspirations, had not appeared in a speaking role in several seasons. Then, in Season 6's 'Round Springfield', he is given A Death in the Limelight.
    • In later seasons, this trope happens to Homer's mother, Mona, in the episode 'Mona Leaves-a'. After having faked her death in her second appearance, she returns several seasons later only to die for real.
  • In the DCAU, Professor Milo was a minor recurring villain on Batman: The Animated Series. He shows up again 13 years later in an episode of Justice League Unlimited only for Doomsday to kill him offscreen.
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