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There is The Other Darrin, where a character is recast with a new actor due to various circumstances (death, legal, scheduling or backstage issues). This is the opposite, where after a prolonged period of time the character is played by the same actor.

This tends to come as a surprise that they were able to get the actor back, just because of the length of time involved and scheduling issues. Generally, this should be about relative extremes such as not showing up for 3-4 years and not just the following year.

Compare Regular Character, Recurring Character, Remake Cameo and Back for the Finale.

Examples:


Anime

  • Dragon Ball Kai got together most every possible voice actor who worked on the original series to voice the same character in the Re Cut, both Japanese and English versions. Masako Nozawa and Sean Schemmel voice Goku and Christopher Sabat voices Vegeta. It provided a marked example of Vocal Evolution.
  • Inverted in the Japanese version of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, where most of the roles were recast despite only a few years passing after the first anime finished. The English and Latin-American Spanish dubs, by contrast, use almost the exact same cast as the 2003 adaptation.
  • Spike Spencer was brought in to reprise his role as Shinji Ikari in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, even though he's now a West Coast VA and FUNimation is located in Texas.
    • And Tiffany Grant still voices Asuka in the second film, though she had already been doing some work for FUNimation since ADV Films closed down.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross features a bizarre variation. For the role of Lynn Minmay in their English dub of the show, ADV cast Mari Iijima--who had voiced the character in the Japanese version more than 20 years prior.
  • The major part of the English dubbers for the Fruits Basket 2001 series returned for the 2019 reboot, save for counted exceptions - ie, Colleen O'Shaughnessey replaces Chad Cline as Akito, since this series will feature The Reveal in its second season.

Film

  • The Toy Story series managed to have the same actor (John Morris) who played Andy as a kid, adolescent and young adult through all three films, with the third movie being made 11 years after the second movie. The characters grew up in approximate real time, 15 years have passed in real life and Andy aged about 12 years. All of the main characters are also voiced by the same actors, with only one (Slinky) being recast due to Jim Varney's death.
    • As with everyone in Cars 2 except for Fillmore, who is given a new voice actor due to the death of George Carlin; Red, who stopped speaking altogether due to the death of Joe Ranft; and Doc Hudson.
  • One of the biggest accomplishments of the Harry Potter movies was keeping all of the same actors who played various parts in the same role over the course of a decade and 8 movies. The only exception is the recasting of Dumbledore due to Richard Harris' death.
  • Jeff Bridges reprising the role of Kevin Flynn in Tron: Legacy after more than 25 years.
  • One of the more impressive feats of getting the Star Trek movies was all of the original series characters being played by their original actors. Various bit characters played by bit actors also appeared in the movies, such as Yeoman Rand and Lieutenant Kyle.
    • Leonard Nimoy reprising Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film, after not having played the character since 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. This is somewhat ironic, as he almost didn't show up in the original movies due to not being interested in playing Spock anymore. He ended up playing his character longer than anyone else.
  • Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, reprised his role in the live-action Transformers films, And the Fandom Rejoiced. Seriously. It may be the only thing they agree on.
    • The filmmakers considered offering Megatron's original voice actor, Frank Welker, the chance to reprise his role, but ultimately decided against it as the voice that Welker had used in the original cartoon would not fit with the redesigned look of the movie's version of Megatron and they felt that it was too iconic of a voice to ask him to change it. Welker did join the voice cast in the second and third movies to reprise the role of Soundwave, the other major Decepticon that he had voiced in the original cartoon, though his voice didn't have the heavy modulation that the original went through.
  • When Charlie's Angels was revived as a film two decades after the series ended, the same actor returned to play Charlie.
  • Quite a few Star Wars actors from the original movies showed up again for the prequels. Probably the most impressive example is Ian McDiarmid; having played the Emperor under heavy aging makeup in his mid-30s, he ended up being just about the right age to play the younger version with no makeup at all by the time the prequels rolled around. Anthony Daniels also returned as C-3PO. As a respect to the actor who portrayed the shakes and movements of R2-D2, Kenny Baker, they credited him in the prequels although by that time R2 was largely motorized or CG.
  • Despite the length of time from the first to the fourth, Bruce Willis played John McClane of the New York Police Department in all the Die Hard movies.
  • Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in the first three movies (1981, 1984 and 1989), and then reprised the role in the fourth movie from 2008. Karen Allen also reprised the role of Marion Ravenwood from the first movie.
  • Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West in Beyond Re-Animator. Explaining in an interview that West had been in prison for 13 years, the interviewer asked Combs if he'd be wearing aging make up. The answer was no, he was actually 13 years older.
  • Everyone in The Hunchback of Notre Dame II except Laverne the gargoyle, due to the death of actress Mary Wickes.
  • After George Lazenby's only role as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Sean Connery came back as James Bond for Diamonds Are Forever before Roger Moore took over in Live and Let Die.

Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer pulled off a rather impressive string of actors reprising their characters in a single scene in the 7th season opener, with all previous Big Bads being impersonated by the new enemy who can take on the appearance of anyone dead or once dead. While one of them, Spike, had become a regular character on the series all of the others were reprised by the same actors.
  • As a long-runner, Doctor Who has done this several times. The 2005 revival includes Elisabeth Sladen reprising her role as Sarah Jane Smith in "School Reunion", and later in spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, which also featured appearances from Jo Grant and the Brigadier, while Peter Davison reappeared as the Fifth Doctor in "Time Crash".
  • Smallville: Michael Rosenbaum was brought back as Lex Luthor for the Grand Finale, despite having been Killed Off for Real several seasons earlier.
  • The Pilot of Star Trek the Next Generation featured a cameo of Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy played by DeForest Kelley under heavy makeup.
    • Zephram Cochrane was played by James Cromwell in Star Trek: First Contact, and reprised the role 5 years later in a video cameo that bridges the events of that movie with Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • Carolyn McCormick playing a memorable holographic character named Minuet in a first season episode, then reprised the role in a very brief but pivotal cameo 2 years later.
  • The 200th NCIS episode "Life Before His Eyes" featured cameos from main and minor charaters from previous seasons, even the dead ones. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale reprised their roles from the original Perry Mason series in the TV movies, 19 years later.
  • Power Rangers was known for bringing back older characters into later series as semi-regulars. For example:

Video Games

Western Animation

  • While it was obvious that Peter Cullen would once again voice Optimus Prime in Transformers Prime, the biggest surprise was that they also got Frank Welker back as Megatron.
    • Transformers Animated brought an interesting perspective. While Corey Burton became the voice of Megatron, he would also reprise his role as Spike Witwicky(Though in a short scene) and Shockwave
      • Also joining him was Susan Blu as Arcee, John Moschitta as Blurr and Judd Nelson for Rodimus Prime
  • The Looney Tunes Show brought back Jeff Bergmann from Tiny Toon Adventures and early 90s Looney Tunes Shorts for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety and Foghorn Leghorn. Jim Cummings is back as Taz, Bob Bergen is back as Porky and June Foray is back as Granny. Sadly, due to her aging voice, she was unable to voice Witch Hazel(Now Witch Lezah)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series brought back the entire original cast from Star Trek: The Original Series, with the exception of Walter Koenig(Interesting, his character doesn't show up at all.). In addition, 2 new characters were added: Lt. Arex(Voiced by James Doohan who played Scotty) and M'Ress(Voiced by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who voiced Nurse Chapel)
    • To add to this, Walter Koenig wrote one episode for the series: The Infinite Vulcan
  • Batman The Braveandthe Bold featured a Pre-episode short called Space Safari, which was a crossover between Batman and Space Ghost. To sweeten the deal, Gary Owens, the original voice of Space Ghost, returns to reprise his role.
    • The Super-Batman of Planet X episode was more of an interesting point as it featured Kevin Conroy reprising his role as Batman, though a different Batman: The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
  • While Ryan Drummond provided the voice of Sonic in Sonic Adventure in 1999, Jaleel White, AKA The Urkel Kid would reprise his role of Sonic in Sonic Underground. Furthermore, he also provided the voice of Sonic's two siblings: Sonia and Manic
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