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So, you have a big idea for a Legacy Character you're really itching to try, but there's just one problem: the original character is still active in your continuity, and shows little inclination to retire.

Well, then. We'll just have to do something about that, won't we?

Contrast You Kill It, You Bought It when a character in-story, instead of a writer, kills another character to take on his job or MacGuffin.

This trope is similar to The Obi-Wan from an in-setting standpoint, but differs significantly as a trope in that The Obi-Wan exists only to die so the hero can replace them; victims of this trope, on the other hand, are always established characters in their own right.

May invoke Take Up My Sword.

Beware: This is an easy way to create a Replacement Scrappy in some fans' eyes.

Examples of Dying to Be Replaced include:


  • Dragon Ball: Goku was killed by Cell because the author wanted to replace him with Gohan, but his popularity made him return.


  • The original (Charlton Comics) Blue Beetle was mortally wounded in the line of duty, and had to hastily pass the mantle (though not the Applied Phlebotinum behind his powers) off to Ted Kord.
    • Who was killed off much later to introduce a third completely different version of Blue Beetle. Really, if they'd given the characters different names, it wouldn't have been such a problem, considering they all have different power sets.
    • Though according to Word of God, the third Blue Beetle was created AFTER Ted's fate had been decided. So despite popular belief, Ted was not killed in order to introduce Blue Beetle III.
  • The original Question, reporter Vic Sage, became a primary character in Fifty Two as mentor and supporter to Renee Montoya. Throughout the series he trained her in meditation, martial arts and learning to deal with her own inner demons (And boy, does she have some demons), until he died of lung cancer and Renee took over the mask and title of The Question.
  • Ronnie Raymond, the original Firestorm, was impaled on a magic sword and exploded, directly becoming the Freak Accident that turned Jason Rusch into the next Firestorm. They recently brought back the original Firestorm and decided to merge him with Jason, which then resulted in Jason's partner Gehenna being killed off to make room for Ronnie. It's now been retconned so that Ron never died and he and Jason became Firestorm at the same time.
  • Sabbac, an enemy of Captain Marvel Jr., was reintroduced to the Post-Crisis DC Universe in Judd Winick's Outsiders title... just long enough to be sacrificed by a mob boss to steal his powers.
  • The Batman foe Spellbinder was shot by his girlfriend after turning down an offer for demonically enhanced powers during the Underworld Unleashed storyline, so she could receive them (and his identity) instead.
  • Neil Gaiman killed off the original Black Orchid, Susan Linden-Thorne, in order to replace her with his own creation Flora Black. Flora later got this treatment herself in order to be replaced with the third Black Orchid, Suzy.
  • Barry Allen, the Earth-One Flash, was killed off in Crisis on Infinite Earths so that Kid Flash, Wally West, could inherit his superhero identity. Oddly enough, an even older Flash, Jay Garrick of Earth-Two survived the Crisis.
    • Wally's successor as The Flash, Bart Allen, was killed at the end of his own 13-issue series, paving the way for Wally's return to the role. In a bit of Lampshade Hanging about the tendency of comic book characters to not stay dead, Batman actually expected Barry to show up instead of Wally and his family.
    • Subverted in Barry's return to comics, which didn't kill anyone. The line of succession so far has been: Jay being written out of existance to make way for Barry (Jay got better) who was killed to make way for Wally, who was Put on a Bus to make way for Bart, who was killed to make way for Wally (Bart got better) who discovered Barry was really alive. Really it just means that being the Flash makes you reality's Butt Monkey.
  • Holly Granger, the second Hawk (of the Hawk and Dove duo), was killed during Blackest Night so that Hank Hall (her deceased predecessor), could return to life and join the Birds of Prey.
  • The Teen Titans Terra 2 was killed off in battle, seemingly abruptly, without knowing her true origins. She was later replaced with a Terra 3, due to the fact the writers wanted a new Terra.
  • Tempest, the original Aqualad, was recently killed mere months before DC introduced the new Aqualad from Young Justice into their continuity.
  • Peter Parker of the Ultimate Marvel Universe died from his injuries suffered in a fight with the Sinister Six & taking a bullet meant for Captain America, all in the space of a night. This was done partly to boost sales, but mostly so Marvel could introduced a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager as the new Spider-Man, with the half-baked explanation that they couldn't introduce a new Spider-themed hero without killing Peter.
    • Well, the idea seems to have been to show how much of an impact he had on the world. His death inspired others to good for the sake of good, which kind of vindicated him as The Paragon. Given the state of the Ultimate Marvel universe, some form of validation was kind of necessary.
      • According to a number of interviews, the idea of killing Peter predated the creation of Miles Morales. It was born from a combination of wanting the Ultimate Universe to be different from mainstream Marvel and to tell stories that couldn't be told in mainstream Marvel. A permanent death for Peter Parker fulfilled both criteria.
    • It should be noted that Peter's successor, Miles Morales, has been fairly well-received. Origin stories always tend to be popular (and hence profitable).
    • The fact of the matter is that Peter's death had been planned since around the Ultimatum crossover. They were waiting to do it so that they could get a successor's character and story sorted out. Brian Michael Bendis designed Miles Morales in the meantime, inspired by a combination of President Obama's election and Danny Glover's campaign to play Spider-Man, and subsequently fell in love with him as a character. Miles creation and Peter's death were pretty disparate events that were brought together by circumstance.
  • The original Hobgoblin was recently reintroduced after ten years of being Put on a Bus, only to be easily killed off by a Z-list ex-superhero-turned-villain named Phil Urich who took up his mantle. The fans were not pleased, not just Hobgoblin fans, but Urich fans as well. Urich was popular because he was an over-his-head, Z-list hero who really, really did not want to be hero (going so far as trying to call the Fantastic Four to deal with a villain). Turning him into yet another insane Goblin villain robbed him of his uniqueness and was vastly out-of-character. Many fans consider what happened to be non-canon and are eagerly awaiting a retcon.
    • Given the original's habit of using proxy Goblins, not to mention the fact that he has a freaking twin brother, such a retcon wouldn't be too difficult.
    • On the other hand, Urich went insane before he became the Hobgoblin, and he's actually filled the boots pretty well.
  • In addition to Miles Morales, the Ultimate Marvel universe contains a few other examples. A boy named Ray Connor became the new Daredevil after the death of Matt Murdock, while Wolverine was succeeded by his illegitimate son Jimmy Hudson. The original Wasp was also killed and replaced by Petra Laskov, a Darker and Edgier version who works as an assassin for Nick Fury.

Live Action TV

  • In the third season of Heroes new villain mastermind Arthur Petrelli supplants the villain of the second series, Adam Monroe by stealing his ability which inexplicably ages him four hundred years in a few seconds. The difference is, while Adam was a human character with sympathetic motivations if not sympathetic objectives, Arthur had no apparent plan or motivation other than being evil due to the uneven writing that plagued season 3.
    • This trope also applies to Maury Parkman, one of the lesser (but no less lethal) villains of Season 2, who Arthur unceremoniously killed off shortly after he did in Adam Monroe.
      • Come to think of it, Season 3 was one big clearing house of all the villainous characters introduced since Season One. Which is a shame because by the time Season 3 was over, most of the fans were rooting for the villains over the so-called "heroes".
  • Smallville saw Lionel Luthor, the man who could easily be considered the Big Bad of the first five or six seasons, get shoved out a window by his own son, Lex Luthor, who would remain the series villain until his death by exploding truck in season 8. The final season featured a Lionel doppleganger (played by the same actor of course) from an Alternate Universe and Lex's resurrection via cloning.
  • Stargate Atlantis killed off Elizabeth Weir so they could replace her with Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1 which was ending.

Western Animation

  • Non-comic example (initially): Optimus Prime may have survived getting blasted in the internals on an operating table by Laserbeak in the original Transformers series, but he dies after a lengthy duel and several "gut shots" in the 1986 animated movie to make way for new leader (and new toy) Rodimus Prime.
    • He's not the only one; much of the movie is largely an exercise in killing off old toys characters to make way for new ones.
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