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A hero or group of heroes (often oddly similar to your own Player Party) that arose in the hour of need and sealed the Ultimate Evil in its can 1,000 years ago. Often shows up in As Long as There Is Evil or similar scenario (like the aforementioned Sealed Evil in a Can) where the evil recurs. May be the sire of the hero's Heroic Lineage and original bearer of the Ancestral Weapon. Contrast Predecessor Villain.

Examples of Precursor Heroes include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Digimon Adventure it's revealed that the heroes weren't the first group of digidestined.
  • One episode of Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z showed that there were analogues to the girls in the Edo period that sealed Him away in a volcano.
  • Heartcatch Pretty Cure establishes that there were many other Cures that had their own adventures long before the four main heroines did. Only two of their forerunners were actually shown (although others appeared in the form of anonymous statues) -- the heroine's grandmother, formerly known as Cure Flower, is a mentor to the team, while Cure Angie, who was active four hundred years ago and is stated to be the first Cure in history, briefly appears in the movie.

Films -- Animation

  • The Beatles' animated Yellow Submarine has the original Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as Sealed Good in a Can. Probably suggested by the Sgt Pepper album cover where the waxwork Beatles in their mid-1960s suits are looking at the real ones in their Sgt Pepper outfits.

Live-Action TV

  • The earlier Seekers, such as Kieran, on Legend of the Seeker. Subverted when it turns out that Kieran betrayed his quest and had to be Sealed in a Can himself... though the way in which he did it (having sex with his Confessor) just makes the parallels with Richard more obvious.
  • Several Power Rangers teams turn out to not be the first like them (though they would often be the first to use Ranger powers). Details about them tend to be left pretty vague, except in a few cases.
  • On the Super Sentai side of things, the core 5 of Gosei Sentai Dairanger are distant descendants or, in the case of Ryo, not quite so distant of the five Dai Tribe warriors who originally fought the Gorma thousands of years ago. These original Dairangers were destroyed when the red one was seduced over to the Gorma side and led the others into a trap. The traitor red ventured into the human world for a while in the modern era and sired the boy who would become the red of his time, and eventually redeemed himself.
    • The previous 34 teams became precursor heroes in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. They drove the Zangyack away from Earth by sacrificing their powers to create a huge explosion. The powers were eventually collected by AkaRed, Basco, and Marvelous, before being used by the Gokaiger team.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Scribble from Order of the Stick.
  • Homestuck has a whole chain of these. The pre-Scratch trolls reset reality, thereby becoming Precursor Heroes to the post-scratch trolls both in and out of Paradox Space. The trolls themselves become Precursor Heroes to the kids by creating their reality... who they then team up with, because Paradox Space is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The kids then reset reality, becoming precursor heroes to a new set of kids.

Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • One episode began in prehistoric times, depicting a trio of Powerpuff Cavegirls who accidentally sealed the bad guy and his mammoth in ice until he was thawed out in the present day. There was a prehistoric Mayor as well.
    • And should we forget the Steampuff Girls, who battled the Mojo Kid in the Old West?
  • Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated reveals that another group of teens called Mystery Inc. existed before Scooby and the gang, until they mysteriously vanished. Fred likes the name enough to adopt it, and the main plot of the series is finding out what happened to them. As of this writing, we only know what happened to their Team Pet, Professor Pericles. He's...changed.
    • We now know Pericles and Fred Jones Senior ran them out of town by threatening their parents. Now Ricky (Shaggy counterpart) is the somewhat sinister Mr. E; Cassidy (Velma counterpart) is the current team's secretive associate Angel Dynamite; and Brad and Judy (Fred and Daphne counterparts) are Fred's real parents.

Board Games

  • The Board Game Heroquest gives the names of the 4 heroes who defeated the villain Zargon years ago, and specifically states that the players are trying to live up to the example.
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