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"Remember Bilko? He disobeyed orders, and now Lord Sador's wearing his foot."

A character, usually a villain, is injured on multiple occasions and each time will have a prosthetic added, be it mechanical or wooden. In order to qualify as this trope, a character must lose at least two body parts on two separate occasions. The prosthetic can range from a simple eye patch and peg leg to the character becoming a full-blown cyborg. Can become a Running Gag if used for comedic effect. Bonus points if the wounds are self-inflicted.

Compare We Can Rebuild Him, in which a single devastating injury or death necessitates all new body parts in one go.

Examples of Serial Prostheses include:

Comic Books


  • In the Star Wars prequels, Anakin Skywalker loses a hand in Attack of the Clones, and then loses most of his remaining limbs in Revenge of the Sith. He re-loses some of those limbs, as seen in Literature, and of course in Return of the Jedi Luke cuts off his arm again.
  • The space tyrant Sador from Battle Beyond the Stars has a fondness for replacing his own body parts with ones taken from defeated enemies. This turns out bad for him when his soldiers capture a Nestor clone (Nestor being a Hive Mind consisting of its entire race, who joins the heroes with a group of clones because it wants new experiences). After the clone is killed by torture, Sador claims its arm... and then discovers that Nestor can still control it. His goons manage to cut it off before it successfully chokes him to death, unfortunately.
  • The traveling Con Man that the main character hooks up with in Little Big Man looses several minor body parts over the time that he knows him, usually to the Angry Mob. When he meets him a few years later, he comments that there isn't much more he could loose.


  • The backstory for the Tin Man of Oz.
  • Goldeneyes Silverhand Dactylos, one-off character from Discworld (the first book, in fact). His backstory consists of him inventing marvels for various royals, only for his employers to mutilate him so that he couldn't repeat the invention for anyone else. When his latest employer asks why he didn't just give it all up and try flower arranging, he replies "I'm good at it."
  • This was the eventual fate of "The Man Who Was Used Up". It's played for bleak laughs when he is shown to be a squeaking heap without his protheses, and his manservant "assembles" him piece by piece in front of the narrator.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In the X Wing Series, Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron had once been treated with spoiled Bacta that caused him to become alergic to the extremely efficient regenerative substance. Unwilling to retire from frontline service, he subsequently loses a large number of body parts and has them replaced with cybernetic implants and prostheses to be able to fight again. Despite his cheerful appearance, he is actually a Death Seeker, convinced to continue fighting until it finally kills him.
    • Mara Jade, in The Thrawn Trilogy, mentions that the Emperor had Vader's right arm removed for his failure to save the Death Star. Splinter of the Minds Eye has Luke hack off Vader's right arm in a lightsaber duel.
    • Luke's gone through some of this. He's only ever lost his right hand, but it's been taken off more than once. There was the original, in the movie. A one-off comic has it get infected with technological parasites, and he cuts it off himself. In Dark Empire the Emperor Reborn had it removed and replaced with one more like his father's. Years later it's destroyed in Legacy of the Force. Each time, he has it replaced again.
  • Mad Magazine published a collection of parodies of famous novels. The parody of Moby Dick had this happening to Captain Ahab, with him having a wooden prothesis added every time he lost a body part in pursuit of the whale. By the end of the story, his entire body was wood except for his nose; which was iron because the carpenter had run out of wood.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Bill the Galactic Hero; none of the implant replacements for his lost foot will ever stick (we saw he was using a mechanical prosthesis in the Distant Finale to the first book, near the end of his career) but he gets a new one every book.


  • Not the song itself, but the filmclip to Broken Bells' "The Ghost Inside" is this trope to a nightmarish degree. Also a Downer Ending.

Video Games


  • Yuri from Spacetrawler becomes a cyborg, loses some limbs (gets some PTSD), gets some mechanical replacements, engages in some violence, then gets some alien organ transplants and some more mechanical augmentation. She's currently been forcibly downgraded back a step from her form as a laser-wielding mech-spider back to her basic bipedal form.
  • Clarice from A Girl and Her Fed is already a cyborg when first appearing, but later starts adding more cybernetic implants between run-ins with the protagonists.
    • The titular Girl is shown to have kept the robotic-arm she ripped off in one violent encounter as a trophy on her mantel at home.

Western Animation

  • Baxter Stockman in the 2003 Ninja Turtles cartoon, thanks to Shredder's attitude towards failures. He loses an eye, a hand, and ends up in a wheelchair before trying to take his revenge in a Mini-Mecha. When that fails, he's reduced to a head attached to a robot. It gets worse from there.
  • Major Bludd of G.I. Joe: Renegades appears to be heading this way. He lost an eye the first time he ran into the Joes, and his arm the second time. If this keeps up (and if the series continues beyond the first season), he'll practically be a robot down the line.
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