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Annie: You dirty bird, how could you? It can't be! Misery Chastain cannot be dead!

Paul: [...] Misery's spirit is still alive.

Annie: I don't want her spirit! I want HER! AND YOU MURDERED HER!
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So there's a character on a work, but he or she ends up leaving the cast roster. Maybe he/she got killed, maybe he/she got Put on a Bus, maybe the writers just lost interest in him/her.

But wait, what's this? The fans have begun clamouring for the character's return. The writers, either because they're moved by the dedication to the character or another reason, decide to grant the fans' wish and bring back the character. This is how a character gets saved by the fans.

When this happens to an entire franchise or show, it's been Un Cancelled. This may be because the fans told each other to Keep Circulating the Tapes.

Compare with Breakout Character. May result in an Author's Saving Throw.

Examples of Saved by the Fans include:


Anime and Manga

  • Jeremiah Gottwald from Code Geass, who was originally meant to be killed off early in the series. However, he proved popular enough that the creators not only had him survive, but made him a more important character than originally intended.
  • Abdul from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is a subversion: he got brought back only to be killed later.
  • Grell in Black Butler only ever made one appearance in the manga (albeit an important one), but gained such fan support that she was brought back constantly in the anime and now she's in the musicals. Also, the girl came back in the recent zombie arc... and she's infatuated with "Seba" ("Seba-chan"), as usual.
  • Priss from Bubblegum Crisis was going to die in Episode 6 and be replaced by Vision, until the fans changed Artmic's mind.
  • Supposedly, Vegeta in Dragonball Z was to be killed by rampaging Gohan in the climax of his battle on Earth, but he was so popular Toriyama decided to spare him up to Namek, where Frieza killed him. That death was supposed to stick, but he was brought back and survived until he died in one of the most awesome sacrifices in history against Majin Buu, and that was supposed to be his end. And then he was brought back again. This last one is a big source of debate as to whether or not it was a good idea, since his previous sacrifice was so well done that bringing him back seemed to cheapen it.
    • Even Goku got this treatment. Toriyama's original plans had him stepping into the background and leaving Gohan to become The Hero. Obviously, that never happened.
  • This is suspected to be the reason that Bunbee of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 was not only allowed to survive the first season, but had a major role in the next. Being a middle-aged man and therefore unmarketable, he's the only member of any Quirky Miniboss Squad to survive a finale and not join the Cures (although the Kiryuu twins did both and were cute girls, and Toei hates them), but he was surprisingly popular and allowed to live, and his final Heel Face Turn is what allows Milky Rose and the mascots to save the titular heroines before the final battle.
  • GoLion had an odd case of this. Shirogane's death in Go Lion was Bowdlerized to Sven being badly injured in the American version. Later on, outcry from Japanese fans of the character prompted the makers of Go Lion to bring in Shirogane's identical twin for a few episodes. In Voltron, Sven had simply finished healing up.

Comic Books

  • Batman provided an interesting example of this: Fans were called on to decide the fate of a key character and voted via 1-900 number. They voted 5,343-5,271 to kill off Jason Todd's Robin. Jason would later be resurrected by DC, meaning he was saved by the Editor.
    • Played straight with Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, who had multiple fan groups dedicated to having her either honoured or returned. Within a few years, she was back and eventually gained the Batgirl mantle and a solo series.

Fanfic

Film

  • Scrat was originally going to be killed off after his brief scene in the opening of the first Ice Age movie, but the overwhelming response to advance footage led the filmmakers to add more scenes with him.

Literature

Live Action TV

  • During Season 5 of Mission Impossible, the producers tried to write out the strongman character Willy (who had been around since Season 1 but was increasingly out of place on the cerebral show) and replace him with a doctor named Doug, played by Sam Elliott. Fan outcry resulted in Doug going away and Willy not only remaining but getting a bigger role.
  • According to rumors, Power Rangers have tried to off Tommy in the same fashion as his predecessor Burai. However, the combination of this trope and the fact that Power Rangers is Lighter and Softer most of the time, they just depowered Tommy, enabling him to come back many, many times. This was actually used to try and save Burai, but Toei refused, trying to instill the aesop of "Even heroes CAN die."
  • Inverted by Lost. Nikki and Paolo were loathed by fans. The writers were very much aware of this, and soon had them killed off with extreme prejudice.
  • Carson Beckett from Stargate Atlantis. So much that fans mounted a protest outside the studio near Vancouver, BC and ended up making the local news. And it worked.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was going to last only five episodes, but proved so popular that he was spared and went on to become the show's Breakout Character.
  • Helo from the remade Battlestar Galactica was only supposed to appear in the pilot episode and get left behind on Caprica. Fan response to the character ensured that he began a main character in the series, to the point of being part of one of show's most important Story Arcs.
  • Methos from Highlander the Series was only supposed to be around for part of season 3, but the fans liked him so much he was kept.
  • Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows was brought in only as a temporary villain to attempt a revival of the show's ratings. He became incredibly popular with fans, went from Jerkass to Badass (or sometimes Woobie or even Jerkass Woobie) and is essentially now the face of all permutations of the franchise.

Video Games

  • If he hadn't been so wildly popular, Shadow would still be dead by now. He showed up in Sonic Adventure 2 as a Criminal Doppelganger and became a Dragon with an Agenda to Dr Eggman. He was also a badass who pulled a Heel Face Turn and sacrificed himself to save the world. Then, Sega brought him back and split the fanbase again.
  • Axel from the Kingdom Hearts series was supposed to die at the end of Kingdom Hearts II's prologue. But he had a lot of fans (including many members of the development team) and he wound up surviving and taking a small role in the main storyline of the game.
  • In Baldur's Gate, Bioware originally planned for Imoen to become Brainwashed and Crazy due to Irenicus' torture in Shadows of Amn, forcing CHARNAME to Mercy Kill her. When this information was leaked, fan outcry convinced them to spare her.
  • Once fans of Tekken heard that Kazuya had been killed in the third game's backstory (the game hadn't really come out yet at this point, mind you), clamors for his restoration apparently began very quickly, very strongly. Ultimately, Namco acceded to this demand by revealing Kazuya's continued existence in Eddy's ending for the Playstation version. Then he returns full blown in Tekken 4 and has been a mainstay again.
  • Mega Man X was going to be the villain of the first Mega Man Zero game instead of a copy. This concept was scrapped during the last month before release because the developers thought X becoming a villain and being killed by Zero wouldn't sit well with the kids who played his games and thought he was a hero.
  • The end of The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess has Midna return to the Twilight Realm and break the mirror of Twilight so the portal can never be opened again. But Eiji Aonuma was surprised by the fans' love of her, and responded in an interview that if there is a sequel she may somehow come back.

Web Comics

  • Subverted in 8-Bit Theater. Not only does Brian make it clear that Black Belt is dead forever, he does so in a thinly veiled, particularly spiteful Take That against his fans demanding his return.
  • In College Roomies from Hell, during the Blue Mushroom arc, Dave's soul was stolen by the devil. Fan outcry on the forum was so great that the cartoonist invented the Miraculous Shotgun in order to save him.

Web Original

  • Mottis, the creator of Bunny Kill, has stated this to be one of the possible ways Ruby can return.
  • The Cinema Snob created Eighties Dan as a one-off gag for his Caligula review, but fans really took to him, and he ended up appearing in an episode of Brad Tries...
    • Eighties Dan has his own show now.

Western Animation

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