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When we are first introduced to our Hero he or she is an unknown, a new recruit, a rookie, or a peasant from a recently destroyed village, but destiny is calling and he or she has answered. After many adventures, our Hero has accomplished great things. So much so that in the sequel he or she has become a legend.

When a sequel is being made, writers, directors, or game-makers like to take the protagonist from the original work and turn them into a legendary figure. This can be a way to help complete denouement from the original work which often gets truncated, or as a way to pander to fans of the series who like to see their favorite character be recognized.

This trope is when the protagonist from a prior series or movie has become a legend in the sequel. They can be the protagonist themselves, a side character, long dead, or trapped in a time warp; what matters is that In-Universe they are now regarded as a legend.

May or may not be Shrouded in Myth. Compare and Contrast with: From Nobody to Nightmare, Took a Level In Badass. The reverses are Everyone Has a Power Ring and Novelty Decay, where once-legendary things have become commonplace in sequels.

Examples:


Anime and Manga

  • Mai-Otome: An odd example since the sequel exists in another universe, but regardless Mai from Mai-HiME is a legendary Otome in the sequel
  • Die Buster: The mystery behind the term "Nonoriri" is that it is an homage to Noriko from Film/Gunbuster.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • The original Yugi Moto of Yu-Gi-Oh! becomes a legend in later series for being the best at the card game (and saving the world).

Fan Fic

  • Although an alternate Bad Future and not a true sequel, Fallout Equestria takes place hundreds of years after Equestria has been blasted into a ravaged hellscape. The Mane Six, heroic but largely unknown civilian ponies in the series, are still recognized for what they did in the years of the war prior to the apocalypse. Although not all are remembered fondly. With good reason for some. Justified as not only were they all bequeathed powerful administrative positions by Princess Luna, there are technologies, buildings, weapons, and even factions they created that still exist. Not to mention individuals and groups that choose to model themselves after the ideals they represented such as Velvet Remedy, Pinkie Bell, and Calamity this applies to all Dashites. The fact that there are ghouls that are still alive that may have even met them doesn't hurt either.

Film

  • James Bond is an unknown in his first film but in The Man with the Golden Gun the villian challenges him because of his reputation as the best.
  • The Mariachi from Robert Rodriguez's Mariachi Trilogy takes on this status in the sequels. Especially the third.
  • Kevin Flynn in Tron: Legacy had become this. At one point at the end of the bar fight, one of the programs kneels down and prays to him.
    • In the real world, Flynn played this trope straight, going from a relatively minor celebrity to the leading pioneer in computing. In the computer world, he is both figuratively and literally God to the programs, from day one.
  • In the original Alien, Ellen Ripley is a lowly Warrant Officer serving onboard a mining ship. By the time Alien: Resurrection rolls around, her Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the third film is well-known, and more than one individual on the Auriga references how she died to prevent the spread of the xenomorphs throughout the galaxy (the novelization makes this clearer: Call discusses Golic's report on the events of the third film, and how Ripley died for what she believed in).

Literature

  • In the Dragonlance series, most of the main characters from the original Chronicles trilogy are referred to as "The Heroes of the Lance" in the later books and everyone seems to know their stories.
  • Louis Wu in David Niven's Known Space books.
  • Already rather famous among the Alliance by The Empire Strikes Back, in the post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker is a legend. The first new Jedi in a generation, a general at 24, the man who destroyed the first Death Star and defeated Darth Vader in single combat--and he only gets bigger.
  • While his reputation as Warhammer 40000s HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! is part of the series, the first Ciaphas Cain short stories and novels are set in in his early days where he's a wet-behind-the-ears commissar who's just began gaining a false reputation for heroism. Plus the novels are in Anachronic Order, so he has varying levels of fame (depending when in his life it's set) in each.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, we see Hari Seldon transform from an Ignored Expert to a legendary figure.
  • More Asimov examples from Robot Trilogy
    • Double subverted with Susan Calvin, one of the first robopsychologists, while with enough fame for her time in the Robot series, she's a mythical figure… in the spacer worlds. Back on Earth, she is barely another name on the history books (the fact they don't like robots on earth doesn't help the matters). In later series, she gains a mythical status on all the worlds.
    • Also from the Robot Series, we have Elijah Baley. In the second and third books his abilities gained him respect even between the spacers (who do not like the Earthens in the first place), and by the time of Robots and Imperium, he was so famous that even they named one of the new colonized planets after him.
  • In the Mistborn series, Kelsier is revered as a god in the second and third books, after he dies and has a shapeshifter appear to his followers afterward.
    • Also by the time of the novel Alloy of Law which takes 300 years after the original trilogy, pretty much all the main characters from the original have become legendary.
  • Played with in The Chronicles of Narnia. In Prince Caspian, for instance, the four children from the first book return to Narnia, only to find to their great surprise that it's a thousand years in the future (thanks to Narnia Time), they're regarded as legends if not fairy tales, and their return is considered much the same as if King Arthur returned to modern-day Britain.
  • Averted, much to Jim's chagrin, in the Tenis Shoes adventure series. Despite having saved the lives of some very important people, and aiding in the assassination of the evil king, very few people remember 'Jimawkins', so when he tries to show off for his kids, they are less than impressed.
  • Inverted in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword which tells the tale of how a plucky orphan girl, Angharad "Harry" Crewe, became the first woman to wield the famous blue sword, Gondoran, since the legendary Lady Aerin. Its prequel, The Hero and The Crown tells how a young girl named Aerin came to take up the blue sword to save her people from dragons.
  • Parodied in Eric : In Sourcery (some books back) Rincewind the Wizzard managed to defeat the Sourcerer and close the rift to the Dungeon Dimensions, and the surviving wizards consider building a statue to remember him. In Eric it turns out that they then decided it should be a plaque, and then a commendation in the university's history, and then a reprimand for being improperly dressed (he defeated the Sourcerer using a half-brick in one of his socks). In fact, they try to avoid even mentioning him, and are very cool towards the idea of bringing him back, because he's just a terrible a wizard, and not (for example) in case he (mistakenly) thought he saw them on the Sourcerer's side.
  • Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings sequence: At the end of the Farseer trilogy, Fitz has come back from the dead after his execution in the second book, but prefers to let most people continue to think he's dead. In the later Tawny Man trilogy, he comes back to court fifteen years later under an assumed name, and is made acutely uncomfortable by the near-mythical status he's attained.
  • By the fourth book in the Uglies trilogy, the protagonist of the first three books, Tally Youngblood, has exposed a dark secret (and done other stuff) which has created a cult of followers for her.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse the Huanni race were introduced in the novel The Last Roundup, in the person of cadet Skalli Jksilli, who wanted to be a diplomat. When a new Huanni character shows up in the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch, set a century later, mention is made of the august career Skalli has enjoyed, becoming a great diplomat.

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: Captain Kirk is regarded as a legendary captain in all of the sequels and spin-off series.
    • As are some of his peers. Spock and Sarek are regarded in awe by the characters when they show up in The Next Generation.
    • His Klingon rivals Kor, Kang, and Koloth are also legendary warriors when they appear on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • An inversion occurs regarding T'Pau. When she appears in The Original Series, she's considered a legendary figure by Kirk. Forty years later, in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, we meet the young rebel as she takes her first step into Vulcan's leadership.

Video Games

  • In Metal Gear, Snake is a rookie sent in because the Big Bad expected him to fail. Snake is regarded as a legendary soldier in Metal Gear Solid from his exploits in the 8-bit era.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue, and its remakes, you are just an eleven year old rookie trainer. By the end of the game you've beaten every gym leader, single handedly brought down a mafia, and become champion of the Indigo league. By the sequels you are now held with high regard as the boy who brought down Team Rocket.
  • The protagonist from Fable II is recognized as a great hero in Fable III.
  • Mass Effect 2: Thanks to his/her exploits in the Mass Effect 1, Commander Shepard is now seen as a galaxy wide legendary hero.
    • Though technically, s/he is generally seen as a legend from the very beginning of the first game. His/her legend has just grown exponentially by the second.
  • Link, from The Legend of Zelda, due to reincarnating (along with Zelda herself) each game.
    • By the time the story in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker begins, the events of Ocarina of Time have been passed down for generations and is considered a myth. Despite this, the people of Outset Island have a custom where boys are garbed in green, when they come of age (twelve), in the hopes they'll find courage like the Hero of Time.
    • The legend carries over to Twilight Princess as well, which occurs at roughly the same time as Wind Waker, due to the split timeline. After the events at Death Mountain, wherein Link restores Darbus' sanity, Renado remarks how Link's actions are reminiscent of the Hero of Time's.
  • A minor example, but in Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the current hero Jake, sees Andy, a hero from the previous game, as a legend.
  • The Warden in Dragon Age is regarded as a great hero in Dragon Age II, due to stopping the blight in Ferelden before it could spread to other nations, making it the shortest Blight in the entire history of Thedas.
  • This is what has happened to Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World. He was a Book Dumb, often reckless kid in the original. But having defeated so many villainous forces, and leading the way in changing the two worlds, Lloyd is praised in many places as "Lloyd the Great"- to the dismay of new protagonist Emil Castagnier.
  • Jazeta, the hero from Turbografx-16 Zelda-clone Neutopia becomes a legend for defeating Dirth. His son must save him after he is captured in Neutopia II, with the folks around the kingdom telling him more about his famous father.
  • In the second Bioshock game Jack has several cults devoted to him.
  • Duke Nukem Forever: "They used to tell stories of a man who saved the world. A man whose very presence sent aliens running back to their motherships. The man who disappeared without a trace."
  • Both X and Zero from the Mega Man X series have become this in the Mega Man Zero series.
  • In Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman has become such a legend that he is given messianic titles such as "The One Free Man" and "The Opener of the Way". To his enemies, the Combine, he is "Anticitizen One".
  • Subverted in the Ace Attorney games. Between the 3rd and 4th games Phoenix had built up a reputation as a legendary defense attorney, but then had a fall from grace which caused him to lose his license and the respect of the community.
  • Inverted in the first three Dragon Quest games. Your character in the third game becomes a legend in the first game.
  • The Nameless Hero of Gothic attains this reputation among the former convicts by the time of Gothic II, particularly with Night of the Raven installed. This is partly due to bringing down the Barrier, but mainly due to simply getting favor with everyone in the first game.
  • Bobbin Threadbare from the Adventure Game Loom was apparently supposed to be this in the planned but not produced sequels Forge and The Fold, and appear in an Obi-Wan-like fashion and give the new heroes advice.
  • In the final mission of Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies, ISAF sends nine ace pilots to assist Mobius One. In Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War (the Arcade Mode), ISAF sends Mobius One against a virtual airforce alone, because his individual effectiveness is estimated greater than an entire squadron.
  • In every installment of The Elder Scrolls except for the first, you can find in-game legends about the protagonists of previous games, referred to with raceless, genderless nicknames.
    • The Eternal Champion (the protagonist of Arena) is indicated as being referred to as Champion in part because people don't actually know who he (or she) was -- among other things, the Champion is referred to as 'forever nameless' in one the biographies about Barenziah. The Agent (the protagonist of Daggerfall) is an exception to the in-game legends thing: the Agent's involvement in the events of Daggerfall are unknown to the general public. Those few that do know about the Agent's involvement have reasons for keeping quiet about it and the Agent's identity.
  • In the Baldur's Gate games you start as a random kid from Candlekeep, known only by, for lack of a better term, "family". By the second game, a few people in a nation about 200 miles south of Baldur's Gate have heard of your exploits up north. By the expansion, an entire army is sent out to kill you, an extremely powerful Bhaalspawn with an army of her own starts to panic when you come after her, and freaking Elminster says, "Nope, not fightin' ya."
  • Breath of Fire III has inaccurate depictions of the first game and before.
  • Inverted in Drakengard, the "hero" of the first game becomes The Dreaded in the sequel. This isn't much of a stretch, since he wasn't a very nice guy to begin with.

Western Animation

  • In the series premiere of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic the central cast are regular citizens who save their world from the forces of darkness. In the premiere of the second season they visit the royal palace and are surprised to see a series of stained glass windows telling the story of their battle.
  • Inverted in Bionicle: in the first year, there was the Legend of Lhii, a legendary lavasurfer, on the island of Mata Nui and nothing else from that. Come 2004, a flashback, and there's a Toa named Lhikan whom was the basis of that legend.
  • In the beginning of Ben 10, Ben Tennyson was just a kid with a super-powerful watch. 5 years later, he was fairly popular within circles of the alien community. By the third series, his identity became public and is now a full-blown celebrity.
  • By nature, Avatars in Avatar: The Last Airbender are destined to be legendary, but Aang seems to have become this in particular in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra.
    • Zuko also has a statue of himself in Republic City and is presumably even more well-known in the fire nation.
    • Toph went on to found the Republic City police force, complete with a gold statue of herself outside of HQ.
    • And on a hilarious note, The Cabbage Merchant went on to found a successful company, Cabbage Corp, which has a statue of him and his cabbages in front of the company's headquarters.
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