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"I'm too old for this shit."
Roger Murtaugh, Lethal Weapon

An old franchise comes back after many years, but, of course, now the actors are all old. Instead of recasting or making the actors up to look younger, it's decided to acknowledge how much time has passed and just have the characters be that much older.

The writers may Lampshade Hanging this by having the hero make a comment like "I'm getting too old for this."

Compare with Role Reprisal.

Examples of Character Aged with the Actor include:


Film

  • The first Star Trek movie, made 10 years after the series ended, attempted unsuccessfully to cover up how much the actors had aged. The next installment, however, plunged full-force into this, even making it a major plot point (to the point where William Shatner has admitted he absolutely did not like the idea at first and "had to be dragged in kicking and screaming"). This wasn't emphasised quite as much in the later films, though they continued to make no effort to hide the actors' ages. This makes a certain amount of sense, as advanced medical technology would likely extend human lifespan (and probably working lifespan) significantly.
    • Fandom seems to be agreed that although advanced medical technology has extended lifespans (as is shown in the first episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, when a 137-year-old McCoy -- by current estimates this is older than a human is biologically capable of living -- is given the grand tour), strictly cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery have fallen out of favour -- with the notable exception of hairpieces.
    • It's also actor Brent Spiner's rationale for Data's death in Nemesis; in that case, of course, the actor's aging couldn't be handwaved or worked into the plot, since Data is an ageless android.
      • Remember Data's offscreen spoken line over the comm in the Enterprise finale? They wanted him to appear on screen but he refused because he felt he was too old to look like Data anymore.
      • However, in the last regular episode of Star Trek TNG, the Data of the (possibly no longer valid) future had had some gray added to his hair to simulate aging just to 'try it out.' The perfect explanation should they ever want to bring Data is already established. Of course, it wouldn't have worked for an episode explicitly set during season 7.
    • The age of the TOS characters was directly referred to by Ensign "Mister Adventure" in the third movie, leading to Uhura's Moment of Awesome.
    • During the climax of Insurrection (which has aging as one of its major themes) Picard is acrobatically climbing about in the innards of the Son'a collector and fighting the Big Bad Ru'afo all by himself. At one point he tells Ru'afo that they are getting too old for this. (And with reason: According to the Star Trek wiki Memory Alpha, Picard would be around 70 at that point!)
    • Note that between Kirk being shown in the command chair for the first time as a young and eager captain and what could be regarded as the end of his active service (Star Trek VI), there is about a quarter century in William Shatner's life. This seems about right for a young and aggressive captain (in a service which regularly takes lethal risks and consequently offers opportunities for command promotion) advancing to the rank of a senior admiral on the brink of his retirement.
    • The second through fifth films are set, at most, within a few months of one another.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • Rambo
  • Lethal Weapon 4, to the point where Riggs and Murtaugh use "We're not too old for this shit!" as a Survival Mantra.
    • All the Lethal Weapon movies, really, since non-fatal Retirony is part of the premise.
  • Rocky Balboa
    • And Rocky 5.
  • Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Ghostbusters 3 is to retain all the old cast from the original Ghostbusters.
  • The later part of Clint Eastwood's career has been him playing the over-the-hill, but still extremely badass, hero. For a more concrete example, he noticeably ages throughout the Dirty Harry series (and it's lampshaded).
    • Indeed, Clint has stated that there won't be another Dirty Harry movie, because at his age, Harry would be retired.
  • Toy Story 3, though only one human character has aged significantly: Andy. The toy characters are toys, and thus don't have biological systems that feel the effects of aging. The only Doylist reason for this is that the kid who provided Andy's voice doesn't exactly have that little voice anymore. This is basically just the plot of the movie; it wasn't forced.
  • The Road To Hong Kong
  • Tron: Legacy, which was also notable for featuring both old Jeff Bridges as Flynn and CGI-made young Jeff Bridges as his program.
    • Not to mention hiding the title character behind a mask, and generally sidelining him on top of it, because Bruce Boxleitner might have been too old (he did return to reprise his human character, and do a single voice-over line as Tron).
    • Mind you, even in the first film, Tron was neither the main character nor the hero.
  • At the start of Beyond Re-Animator (2003), Herbert West has served 13 years in prison since Bride of Re-Animator (1990).
  • This ended up being the case Harry Potter, which wasn't a major issue since the characters were getting older in each book and film.

Live Action TV

  • Degrassi the Next Generation was originally conceived as two separate projects: one a one-time reunion special for the characters of Degrassi Junior High, the other a Middle School show called Ready, Willing and Wired focused on a new group of kids. However, the producers decided that the new ongoing show would have a better chance if it carried the name of the still-popular older franchise. The original characters appear in recurring adult roles.
  • Are You Being Served sequel series Grace and Favour (known in the United States as Are You Being Served? Again!).
    • This was lampshaded in the first scene when Mr. Humphries says that the shaky elevator ride has "put 10 years on all of us".
  • The new 90210 has characters from the old... but thankfully, they're actually adults rather than adults playing high school students.
  • Red Dwarf: Back to Earth begins with a title card that reads, "Nine Years Later".
  • The Doctor Who special "Time Crash" has Peter Davison -- now rather older -- and David Tennant sharing a TARDIS as the Fifth Doctor ends up crossing paths with the Tenth. They Hand Wave it away by saying that the temporal disaster that's brought them into the same place seems to have affected Davison roughly.
    • Fanon also applies this to Patrick Troughton's aged appearance in The Two Doctors, postulating the existence of a much greater gap between the last appearance of the Second Doctor and the first appearance of the Third than suggested on screen.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures featured an older Sarah Jane Smith, who had aged very well, along with guest appearances by The Brigadier, a Badass Grandpa if ever there was one, and Jo Jones, formerly Jo Grant. Lampshaded in The Death of the Doctor when, after Jo expressed surprise that the Doctor had changed his face "into a baby's", he shot back that she looked like someone baked her.
  • Between 1987 and 1994, Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner reprised their famous Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman roles for a trilogy of TV movies. Wagner actually held up quite well over the years, Majors less so, and the second film, Bionic Showdown, actually pushed both into the background in favor of a younger "bionic woman" played by a pre-stardom Sandra Bullock.
  • In Power Rangers Dino Thunder, the character Tommy was only supposed to be 25. But because of a little Dawson Casting, and a Retcon that made him three years younger, the actor was 30 at the time of filming, so the character was played as slightly older than he should have been.

Video Games

  • Video game example: Kingdom Hearts -- which averts Dawson Casting in both the English and Japanese voice acting -- aged Sora up approximately a year between the first and third games, to allow for the voice actors going through puberty.
    • This is inverted in the U.S. remake of the Game Boy Advance game Chain of Memories (i.e., PlayStation 2's Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories). In this leg of the story, Sora has not yet aged by more than a few days, but they still use (the older) Haley Joel Osment, both for cutscene acting and in-battle cries (whereas on the GBA they used clips of Osment's younger voice; and there was no cutscene voice acting).
  • Played straight in the Monkey Island series from The Curse of Monkey Island to Tales of Monkey Island, with Dominic Armato as Guybrush, Alexandra Boyd as Elaine (even though the voice actress herself was absent in Escape from Monkey Island), Earl Boen as LeChuck (though, of course, Boen was in semi-retirement and absent only in the PC download version of Chapter 1 of Tales), and Denny Delk as Murray. Inverted in the Special Editions of The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, however, when the now-aged Armato, Boyd and Boen return to play their characters' younger selves.
    • Also inverted is that Pat Pinney (Stan) and Neil Ross (Wally B. Feed) sounded younger only in Curse; and S. Scott Bullock (Otis), Cam Clarke (Meathook), Wally Wingert (Herman Toothrot) and Jess Harnell (Estevan) sounded younger only in Escape; while Leilani Jones-Wilmore (The Voodoo Lady) sounded younger in both games. When the actors returned to voice the characters in the Special Editions of Secret and LeChuck's Revenge, however, the characters' younger selves now sound older than they were before.
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