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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Rosy Bloom: I think this trope should be named Mostly Dead in honor of Wesley from The Princess Bride. New: Can this include the character reappearing as a ghost (Carnivale, Six Feet Under)? God, I hate that.

Devil's Advocate: Is there a meaningful difference between Not Quite Dead and No One Could Survive That? Seems to me they could be combined.

Ununnilium: Not Quite Dead is more of a Not so Fast, Bucko! - the antagonist returns later in the same episode. No One Could Survive That resolves the current plot, but leaves the door open for the antagonist to be a Recurrer. The entries probably need to be rewritten to make that distinction clearer. There's probably room for a group trope here that also includes Never Found the Body and Left for Dead.

Gus The rewrite could be done in Mostly Dead, then swapped for all the ref's to Not Quite Dead, if anyone is in the mood to do the rewrite;-)

Looney Toons: Might I suggest a slight alteration in name, to Only Mostly Dead?

Morgan Wick: What about protagonists that are presumed dead but then return, having never actually died, usually still a protagonist but sometimes turned evil (and occasionally with a different actor playing him, if enough time has passed and the original actor has moved on to other things). The current form of No One Could Survive That actually indicates it happens more often to good guys, yet it seems absent from both rewrite proposals. (In the case of the proposal for Not Quite Dead, though, it could be argued that if the return occurs too soon after the "death", Contractual Immortality applies for protagonists.)

Caswin: A lot of these seem closer to No One Could Survive That, or something similar. At any rate, many of the examples here describe characters "dying" and coming back an appreciable amount of time later, while the page is ostensibly about characters "dying" and bouncing right back into action.

Caswin: Okay, this page is going way off-track. Removing the following items:
  • Presenting, the man who puts a smile on your face whether you want it or not, THE JOKER!!! Seriously, the Joker defines this trope, having survived explosions, getting shot, the electric chair, among others, to the point where Batman doesn't ever consider that the Joker might not be dead if they don't know where the body is (which they never do).

  • Baxter Stockman in the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is the undisputed king of Not Quite Dead. Throughout his long tenure on the show he has survived: getting his eye gouged out with a drill, getting his right arm and both legs pulled out and his back broken, decapitation, being reduced to a Brain in a Jar, and numerous drownings, explosions, and electrocutions. Of course, he is Mad Scientist to the Evil Overlord, and such dismemberment comes with the territory. This is Lampshade Hung in the fact that Baxter takes notice of this, in fact, his catchphrase is, for a time, "Once again Baxter Stockman has cheated death!"
    • Not that his boss the Shredder is any slouch either; he's been blown up, beheaded, and had a water tower fall on him, only to return in perfect condition. This was justified when it was revealed that he is an alien in a robot body.
  • A heroic example: Superman, whose much-touted "death" turned out to be a Not Quite Death.
  • In 1980s Doctor Who in particular, The Master would frequently fall into an inescapable death trap at the end of one episode... only to reappear a few episodes later without a scratch or a convincing explanation as to how he managed survive. Davros also had this happen to him a couple of times.
    • Paul Cornell's New Who scripts also hint at several Time Lords, such as Romana, being Not Quite Dead—particularly in the scenes with the watch in Human Nature/The Family of Blood.
  • Murdoc on the TV show MacGyver was well known for Not Quite Dying repeatedly.

  • Optimus Prime and Starscream (two "Red Robots don't die" characters) are killed in the Transformers movie. Both come back in the later seasons (Starscream as a ghost, Optimus Prime as a half-alive zombie-robot-thing, then later back to full health and working order) Starscream dies again, only to show up millions of years in the past to take over the body of Waspinator from Beast Wars.
    • Prime dies again in the Japanese Headmasters series, but comes back in the Return of Convoy (that's his name there) manga.
    • In the Marvel comics, Optimus Prime and Starscream each die and come back three times, and Megatron pulls this off twice.
    • The entire cast of Beast Wars, Waspinator especially.
      • Again in Beast Wars, Optimus Primal dies ad the end of Season 1, and comes back early in the second season.
        • He dies again at the end of the 1st season of Beast Machines and comes back the next episode.
          • Then he dies again in the Grand Finale, only to come back in the Transformers Universe comic book.
    • In Transformers Animated, Optimus Prime dies in the third part of the series premiere, but is brought back 75 seconds later.
  • Zero from the Mega Man series. He can die, turn evil, be put into stasis, and still be a playable character in the next game.
  • This editor is astonished no one's mentioned Voldemort yet.
    • Possibly because Voldemort never had a Not Quite Dead moment - which is to say, appearing to have been killed, then bouncing back in the space of a minute or so for another crack at Harry. Not that that seems to have stopped many of the examples on this page.
    • And when he was in his pre-Goblet of Fire ghost-like state ("Vapourmort"), he was Only Mostly Dead.
  • At the end of Portal GLaDOS despite having individual parts of it/her incinerated and the rest detonated in an explosion that wipes out the whole room, returns in the end credits to explain that its/shes "still alive" through the medium of computer voice generated song
...and that's just the ones I'm familiar enough with to be sure of; there are definitely others. I'm sure there's a place for many of these entries. If not, then there's probably another Death Trope page waiting to be made. As it is, many of the examples on this page, and the majority of references to it, aren't fitting the very specific and quite common scenario described in the opening paragraphs.