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This trope is normally associated with characters whose prophesied (or at the very least, expected) return indicates a salvation of some sort, similar to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The character in question may or may not be fully aware of the Messianic Archetype role he or she is supposed to fulfill with his or her return to a society in desperate need of a hero to either set right what once was wrong in his or her absence or to bring them to The Promised Land. The reasons for the character's absence in that society can include going on a long journey or going into self-imposed exile from the society that doesn't see any need for him or her or even accidental Time Travel into what turns out to be a Crapsack World future. Sometimes it may even involve the death of the original hero and that his or her return would come in the form of some future incarnation, like a Clone Jesus. In any case, the return of said character with whatever power he or she may display to provide deliverance will validate the faith of those patiently waiting for the character's return as they have elevated him or her to messianic status during the absence.
Related to Rightful King Returns.
Anime and Manga
- In Zero no Tsukaima or The Familiar Of Zero, the eponymous familiar, Saito Chevalier de Hiraga, is considered a wash at first, with no redeeming abilities at all, until you find out that he is actually the second coming of a legendary familiar capable of wielding any weapon, from the magic world or his own, real, world, with great expertise.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, with its last story arc being an allegory of the second coming.
- When the Senshi travel to Crystal Tokyo, King Endymion explains to them that in the early 21st century, Earth fell into an Ice Age that only ended when Sailor Moon woke up from a thousand-year slumber and became Neo Queen Serenity.
- Superman in Kingdom Come, who left Metropolis when he realized that the people desired a hero like Magog over a hero like himself, returning to deal with a generation of heroes who patterned their ethos after Magog. Pastor Norman McCay sees this return as the prevention of the upcoming superbeing Armageddon at first, but then immediately his visions reveal that Superman's presence would catalyze the coming doom, not avert it.
- King Arthur, Merlin and the reincarnated Knights of the Round Table in Camelot 3000 as they reemerge in an overpopulated future world of 3000 A.D. to fight off an alien invasion masterminded by Arthur's old nemesis, Morgan Le Fay. Arthur is awakened accidentally from his resting place beneath Glastonbury Tor by a young archeology student, Tom Prentice.
- The X-Men "Second Coming" part of the Messiah Complex trilogy follows the return of Cable and Hope from the future to the present. Their arrival sparks off action from Bastion and his allies Stephen Lang, Bolivar Trask, William Stryker, Graydon Creed and Cameron Hodge. Bastion tells them that the Mutant Messiah has returned and gives them orders to kill her.
- In The Chronicles of Wormwood, Wormwood's friend Jay is the Second Coming of Christ, although he's
not oftenentirely lucid for all of a minute at the climax of the series. Because he has severe brain damage as the result of a cop caving in the side of his head with a nightstick. Lift the dreadlocks on his right temple and you can see a three-inch scar. His daddy sent him to Earth in the freaking sixties. Police Brutality at its finest.
- In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Max is mistaken for the second coming of Captain Walker, a pilot who left children of a plane crash behind with the promise that one day he will return to take them to "Tomorrow-morrow Land," or back to civilization as it once was.
- In The Matrix, Morpheus seeks out Neo as the return of The One.
- In Legion, the pregnant woman is carrying the child who's meant to be the second coming of Christ. However, as a rather bizarre twist, God has decided he's had enough of mankind so he's sent his angels to kill the woman, prevent the second coming, and end the world. This in effect would make the child an Anti-Anti-Christ.
- The film Bless the Child was touching enough for some people in a Misaimed Fandom sort of way to take it for gospel, believing that the girl exists and is the second coming.
- In Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Jesus' second coming happens in part because God wants him to fight sunlight-immune vampires that prey on lesbians.
- King Arthur, of course. As a boy, he came back once, and later in life he was mortally wounded ... but it's also said he'll come back from the dead at his kingdom's hour of greatest need.
- In Dragons in Our Midst, the main character, Billy Bannister, is the second coming of Arthur. The entire plot is built around the Arthur/Christianity principle.
- The novel The Return by Joe de Mer features an apparent Second Coming investigated by the Vatican as a possible hoax and/or cloning of Jesus.
- The throne of the Autarchs in The Book of the New Sun is shaped like a phoenix, to symbolize their hope that the dying sun will be rekindled by the second coming of their savior figure.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko Seekers of the Sky, several characters wonder if Marcus really is the second coming of the Redeemer or the Tempter, who is to come before the Redeemer and lead the world astray.
- Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy: The followers of Zarquon the prophet await his Second Coming, and they're gently chided/mocked for their belief. He finally arrives just before the End Of The Universe.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of The Flash, Barry Allen is accidentally thrust 10 years into a future where Central City has been taken over by his brother's killer, Nicholas Pike, and where an underground group of citizens were waiting for the Flash to return in order to set things right.
- The 2003 The Second Coming Two-Part Drama by Russell T Davies, which is about Steve Baxter, an ordinary Englishman who turns out to be the second coming of Christ.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation had a Klingon religious caste try to use cloning and memory construction to recreate their local Messiah Kahless, so that they (with he as their puppet) could take over the Klingon Empire and "restore it to greatness". The episode ended with the truth being revealed, and both the clone and Klingon Society took it remarkably well: as a compromise Kahless II ends up becoming the figurehead Emperor (a previously vacant position).
- On the Misfits Christmas Episode, an evil Priest manages to acquire an array of flashy superpowers, including the ability to walk on water, in order to convince the local population that he is the second coming of Jesus (so he can steal vast quantities of money from the poor and sexually abuse women without repercussions).
- Baldur, who like Christ is loved by all, is betrayed by one of his companions (Loki), and who will eventually return to rule the Earth after the Endofthe World As We Know It. Unlike Christ though, he didn't get better - at least not yet. C. S. Lewis (and his friend Tolkien) actually proposed Baldur was a Norse-friendly version of Jesus.
- Prince Csaba, the mythical successor of Attila the Hun, took this trope to it's natural extreme, by not only staying true to his word and actually returning, but doing it no less than four times, and is believed to return yet again, when his people needs him the most. Incidentally, some believe that he is to be expected again in the near future.
- The Bible, with its prediction of Jesus Christ's return.
- In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, everyone expected the Hero of Time to return to deal with Ganondorf when he was released from his imprisonment, but he didn't, which led to the flooding of Hyrule. This didn't deter the surviving citizens of Hyrule from dressing up boys in the garb of the Hero of Time in the hope that they can one day instill the same level of courage in them to defeat evil. However, years later, a new hero who ended up bearing the Triforce of Courage was recognized by Ganondorf as "the Hero of Time, reborn". Even Hyrule Castle is seen to be honoring the Hero of Time as a Messianic Archetype.
- Aleph in Shin Megami Tensei II, an artificial Messiah created by the Messians after they got bored waiting for the real Second Coming. Needless to say, YHVH is pretty pissed at this.
- Gordon Freeman in Half Life does one better. He is seen basically as the second coming (the little bible references like Judith Mossman betraying him (Judith is the female form of Judas) don't help stopping it).
- The Maker in the Dragon Age game series is prophesied to return and make his world a paradise once the Chant of Light has been sung from all the corners of the world.
- The Life of Riley. What begins as a cheap throwaway joke about an artist who powers up a la DBZ when he works on computers, ends with same character resurrected as the second coming of the Messiah about to go toe-to-toe with arch-fiend Lillith over an artifact that can kill God.
- Karkat in Homestuck is destined to carry on the legacy of his ancestor The Sufferer, spreading a christlike gospel of peace and forgiveness and heralding the end times of their planet.
- Dreamy Smurf in The Smurfs dreams that he has been taken to the land of the Pookies, who have been waiting for his return to deliver them from the tyrannical Norf Nags. The end of the episode, however, may suggest that it was otherwise, as Dreamy trips over a crystal similar to the ones seen in his dream.
- Simba in The Lion King, who returns to the pride he left to depose his uncle Scar as the rightful king.
- Lucy of Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil hangs out with an indie DJ who just so happens to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. Ironically, most of the time, she gets "JC" to help her dad out without meaning to. Meanwhile, they are all pursued by a Church Militant faction of priests and nuns.
- Futurama had a throwaway reference to Jesus's second coming in 2148, which was not described, but was apparently very destructive. The show proper is set eight centuries later, so one can draw their own conclusions. However, the Professor occasionally swears by Zombie Jesus.