Created By: Koveras on February 8, 2013 Last Edited By: Koveras on April 29, 2016

Missing Protagonist

The protagonist of the previous title mysteriously disappears in between installments.

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Trope
When The Hero of the previous installment goes missing before the start of the next one, and his disappearance becomes a Plot Point: e.g. the new protagonists have to search for him (or are just wondering where the heck he went) or the evil he defeated is encouraged to return by his absence, etc. The duration of said absence can vary from brief (he is found by the new cast or just comes around on his own and joins them at some point) to indefinite (where he is never found or heard from again).

Out-of-universe, writers often do this because the previous protagonist has grown so powerful on his adventure, that his involvement in a new conflict would either end it too quickly or drive the stakes too high. Instead, he is removed from picture to let the less experienced new hero sweat and bleed in the new conflict.

Subtrope of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and Put on a Bus, and often leads to Changing of the Guard. Compare Series Minus Series Core and It's a Wonderful Plot. Not to be confused with Rogue Protagonist or Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome, where the old hero turns proactively evil. Contrast also Previous Player-Character Cameo.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the sequel movie to Martian Successor Nadesico, Prince of Darkness, both Akito and Yurika have mysteriously vanished since The Original Series, so Ruri has to take the helm of Nadesico and go searching for them.
  • The protagonist of Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro Ray, is nowhere to be found in the beginning of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. When the new leads track him down and try to recruit him, he reveals to be still suffering from the trauma of the previous war and refuses to return to piloting mecha, leaving the new guard and the returning old cast to fend for themselves. He does return to the field in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, however.
  • Downplayed in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: pretty much the entire main cast of the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED who aren't Athrun is still present in the series but refuses to take any part in the new conflict until about half-way into the season, believing they would do more harm than good by involving themselves again.
  • Subverted in Kiddy GiRL-AND. In the opening shots, Eclair and Lumiere, the heroines of Kiddy Grade, are apparently killed and the exact nature of their predicament seems like it would become relevant to the plot later... but it's simply never brought up again.

    Literature 
  • One of the Super Mysteries in the new version of the Nancy Drew series is centered on this. The title is ''Where's Nancy?"
  • Percy Jackson, eponymous character and hero of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, disappears during the months-long timeskip between that and its sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus. He is absent during the first book (aptly titled "The Lost Hero"), during which searches for him are going on in the background; however this is used as an opportunity to introduce three of the new heroes for the sequel series. He reappears in the second book, but has lost his Curse of Achilles, and the stakes are even higher this time.
  • Between book five and book six of The Chronicles of Amber, the original protagonist Corwyn mysteriously disappears, so the spotlight shifts to his son Merlin. Merlin's search for his Disappeared Dad is a recurring subplot in the remaining five books, until he finds him imprisoned by Merlin's own mother and frees him in the last book.

    Video Games 
  • In the Ace Combat series:
    • The Ghosts of Razgriz of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War purposefully disappeared after the war, because a) they have been officially dead for several months before the war ended and b) revealing them to the public would inevitably uncover the sheer amount of incompetence and corruption in both Osean and Yuktobanian governments. As the title suggests, their involvement in the later stages of war is classified by the Osean government.
    • Cipher from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War disappears at the end of the game. The whole Framing Device is basically a particularly obstinate Intrepid Reporter trying to uncover the truth of who he was ten years later.
  • The protagonist of Knights of the Old Republic, Darth Revan, is inexplicably absent from the second game, and its own protagonist eventually goes off to search for him... and also disappears. Star Wars: The Old Republic reveals that their sacrifice postponed the Sith Empire's attack on the Old Republic by 300 years.
  • A repeated pattern in the Dragon Age setting, with both the Warden(-Commander) of Origins and Awakening and Hawke of Dragon Age II mysteriously disappearing soon after their arcs are over. It is strongly implied that their disappearance is tied to the on-going Myth Arc of the series, although Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals this as a Red Herring: the Warden has actually gone on a solo quest far to the West, while Hawke left Kirkwall in hopes of preventing an Exalted March against the city and shows up again to help the Inquisition to defeat the Elder One. Still, their disappearance is a major plot point, since by the epilogue of DA2, the Chantry is frantically searching all over for one of them to lead the restored Inquisition... which is why an utter nobody ends up in charge of it in the next game.
  • King of Fighters '99 had recurring protagonist from prior games, Kyo Kusanagi, go missing without a trace. Instead, the main protagonist was K', a man who happens to have the genes of Kyo thanks to experimentation. It's revealed that Kyo was being used for a clone experiment, whose results include playable characters Kyo-1 and Kyo-2, in order to take over the world. He eventually breaks out, and can even be fought against as a Bonus Boss if you score high enough.
  • In the Donkey Kong Country series, Donkey Kong himself was only playable in the first title, despite being the title character. In the second game, Donkey went missing and his sidekick Diddy had to look for him with his girlfriend Dixie. In the third game, both Donkey and Diddy go missing, so Dixie and her cousin Kiddy have to find both of them.
  • In Pikmin 3, the player controls a new trio of space explorers on their own quest to the Pikmin planet. But once there, they discover secret messages left behind by a mysterious Captain Olimar, the protagonist of the first two games and their fates become intertwined. By the end of the game, they have to rescue both Olimar and Louie, the two heroes from Pikmin 2.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2 one of the protagonists of the first game, Milla, has gone missing. Though you do find an alternate reality version of her early on, she's not the real Milla.


Examples that need more context to qualify:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Ghost in the Shell movie duology, Motoko Kusanagi is the star of the first movie but goes missing before Innocence, where Batou is instead paired with another agent. Motoko makes a brief appearance towards the end of the second movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • xXx: State of the Union: Vin Diesel's character from the original movie disappears and the designation xxx goes to another agent.
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control: Jack, the hero from Speed, is missing but the girl he resuced is back.
  • U.S. Marshals, practically a remake of The Fugitive, has Tommy Lee Jones return as an Inspector Javert with a new person to hunt instead of Richard Kimble.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the beginning of the second season of Babylon 5, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair is abruptly transferred to the post of Ambassador to Minbar and replaced with John Sheridan, who proves better suited to handle the events of the new season. Sinclair makes a few more guest appearances in later seasons, but never returns as a regular again.

    Video Games 
  • A staple in The Elder Scrolls series.
  • In Chrono Cross, Crono and Marle, the co-protagonists of Chrono Trigger, have both disappeared, and we hear that their kingdom, Guardia, has been destroyed. Only a few vague hints and references gives you any clue as to what happened. This is extremely upsetting for many fans because it's only been twenty years since the previous game. Although the DS release of Chrono Trigger pretty much tells you that they were killed off by a relatively minor villain from the first game.
  • Zigzagged in X3: Terran Conflict. X3: Reunion's Player Character Julian Brennan is nowhere to be found for the first two-thirds of the game. During the Aldrin Expansion plot he turns up in Terran Unknown Sector 3, but after that he's never heard from again.
  • Done in the MOTHER series. In Earthbound, Ninten, the protagonist of the previous game is completely absent and is never mentioned whatsoever, but in MOTHER 3, the protagonist of Earthbound, Ness, is mentioned a few times and shown on a film playing in a theater, however he does not appear physically.
  • In most of the Pokémon franchise, the hero of the last generation's games is never seen.
    • Played with in Gold and Silver, the hero is often referenced but their whereabouts are unknown. Eventually, in a now discredited spoiler, they're revealed as the True Final Boss atop Mt. Silver.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is a direct sequel to Pokémon Black and White but the (now famous) previous protagonist is nowhere to be seen. Everyone else from the previous game, even your True Companions and mother, but the protagonist is nowhere to be seen. There were rumors early on that Hilbert appeared if you played as Rosa, and Hilda if you were Nate, but those were shot down... However in-game data shows both characters were Dummied Out from the World Tournament and unlike Red they weren't Heroic Mime's.
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent (the second game of the series), the story starts with Grey/Ashe and the Hunters guild, without any mention of the Vent/Aile and the Guardians of the previous game. Vent/Aile do appear, though, 2/3 into the game.

Community Feedback Replies: 78
  • February 8, 2013
    WaxingName
    If the previous hero makes an appearance at all, does it not count?
  • February 9, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ I am kinda torn about that point. One part of me wants to make the "disappeared completely and only the author knows where to" a requirement, but the other part thinks that it is too restrictive. Maybe the middle ground would be "the old hero may appear but cannot get involved in the new conflict in any way" (not even as a mentor)? Did you mean something like this?
  • February 9, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Not sure how this might fit, as it's also Put On A Bus:

    At the beginning of the second season of Babylon 5, We find that Commander Jeffrey Sinclair had been mysteriously transferred to the post of Ambassador to Minbar, where we don't see him (for a good while anyway). We had no indication whatsoever at the end of season one that he'd be Put on This Bus and replaced with this new Sheridan guy. (Usually we do have at least some indication of the possibility of a character "bus ride", such as the character's involvement in a cliffhanger, or an end-of-season death or departure.) But we do find that this Sheridan guy does have his own set of strengths and weaknesses, which turn out to be probably better for dealing with what lay ahead for the station, and its emerging enemies. But of course this was also Absentee Actor, in that Michael O'Hare decided to quit the show because he wasn't as comfortable with TV acting.

    So there are elements of what seems to be the reasoning of this proposed trope (new character better or more dramatically suited for the series gear-change), as well as the former's "going missing" (without warning) between the seasons--but it's also classic Put On A Bus (and the Bus Did Come Back, as we see later). So I'm not sure if this would fit what you're going for here.

    (I'm not really a gamer, so if this is mainly a gaming trope I may not be understanding this at all--my apologies if so.)
  • February 9, 2013
    Koveras
    It's not a game-specific trope, it's just that all examples I had come from games.
  • February 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Inspector Clouseau disappears in the middle of Trail of The Pink Panther (due to Peter Sellers' death), turning the rest of the film into a Clip Show. The next film Curse of the Pink Panther has an equally clumsy American detective out to find Clouusau.
  • February 12, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ I am not sure if that is an example, since the character disappears in the middle of a story rather than in-between installments. I do admit, however, that I don't know of any trope that this would fit into.
  • February 12, 2013
    chicagomel
    One of the Super Mysteries in the new version of the Nancy Drew series is centered on this. The title is ''Where's Nancy?"
  • February 12, 2013
    Chabal2
    Golden Sun: The Lost Age plays this straight at the start, where you play as Felix (the guy you'd been chasing after as Isaac in the first game). Isaac and his party are repeatedly referred to by NP Cs but never seen until about three quarters of the game in, at which point they join your party (and it is no longer possible to transfer data from the first game).
  • February 12, 2013
    StarSword
    Formatting and namespace fix to the Dragon Age example.

    Also, regarding the Champion of Cyrodiil: It's heavily implied that s/he completed the Shivering Isles questline and is the Sheogorath you meet in Skyrim.
  • February 12, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Does this trope apply when the original protagonist is absent for the entire show or if he/she is just absent at the start but appears with a major role later?
  • February 12, 2013
    Koveras
    ^^ Thanks for removing wicks from the DA example, but I intend to move the Origins page and split off Awakening, so those wicks are just a preparation for that. Read more here.

    ^ See my first comment under this YKTTW. Cabal2's example assumes the latter.
  • August 9, 2013
    Koveras
    Is this one still salvageable? This is the second time I proposed it and it didn't get much further than this on either occasion...
  • August 9, 2013
    KingZeal
    • In Chrono Cross, Crono and Marle, the co-protagonists of Chrono Trigger, have both disappeared, and we hear that their kingdom, Guardia, has been destroyed. Only a few vague hints and references gives you any clue as to what happened. This is extremely upsetting for many fans because it's only been twenty years since the previous game. Although the DS release of Chrono Trigger pretty much tells you that they were killed off by a relatively minor villain from the first game.
  • August 9, 2013
    DAN004
    If the previous hero does appear later, I think it'd be a subversion...
  • August 9, 2013
    StarSword
    Contrast Previous Player Character Cameo.

    video games:

    • Zigzagged in X3: Terran Conflict. X3: Reunion's Player Character Julian Brennan is nowhere to be found for the first two-thirds of the game. During the Aldrin Expansion plot he turns up in Terran Unknown Sector 3, but after that he's never heard from again.
  • August 9, 2013
    Koveras
    @King Zeal, Star Sword: Thanks!

    @DAN 004: Yes, pretty much. But the reappearance has to take place after some conspicuous absence to qualify. Say, an entire chronological installment.
  • August 9, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ That trope Star Sword posted said it all. :P

    Anyways I think it needs a better title. Maybe Sequel Protagonist Absence?
  • August 9, 2013
    MrRuano
    King Of Fighters '99 had recurring protagonist from ptior games, Kyo Kusanagi, go missing without a trace. Instead, the main protagonist was K', a man who happens to have the genes of Kyo thanks to experimentation. It's revealed that Kyo was being used for a clone experiment, whose results include playable characters Kyo-1 and Kyo-2, in order to take over the world. He eventually breaks out, and can even be fought against as a Bonus Boss if you score high enough.
  • August 10, 2013
    Koveras
    @DAN 004: Sequel Protagonist Absence sounds like the sequel's own protagonist is absent. :D A descriptive title would be Original Protagonist Missing From The Sequel, but that's way too long...

    @Mr Ruano: I noted your example. Just give me some time to reevaluate my write-up...
  • August 10, 2013
    Koveras
    OK, here is the deal, folks, after giving it a lot of thought, I realized that limiting this to sequels where the ex-protagonists disappears completely is too restrictive. Since Tropes Are Flexible, there is no reason why the same entry can't cover both that and cases where the old protagonist reappears after a conspicuous absence. I will rewrite the definition to reflect this and add your examples.
  • August 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • XXX: Vin Diesel's character disappears and the designation xxx goes to another agent.
    • Speed 2: Cruise Control: Jack, the hero from Speed, is missing but the girl he resuced is back.
    • US Marshals, practically a remake of The Fugitive, has Tommy Lee Jones return as an Inspector Javert with a new person to hunt instead of Richard Kimble.
  • August 12, 2013
    PsiPaula4
    • Done in the Mother series. In Earthbound, Ninten, the protagonist of the previous game is completely absent and is never mentioned whatsoever, but in Mother 3, the protagonist of Earthbound, Ness, is mentioned a few times and shown on a film playing in a theater, however he does not appear physically.
  • August 12, 2013
    acrobox
    • In the Donkey Kong Country series, despite being the title character Donkey Kong was only playable in the first title. In the second game Donkey went missing and his sidekick Diddy had to look for him with girlfriend Dixie. Again in the third game both Donkey and Diddy go missing, so Dixie and her cousin Kiddy have to find both of them.
    • In Pikmin 3 the player control a new trio of space explorers on their own quest to the Pikmin planet. But once there they discover secret messages left behind by a mysterious Captain Olimar, the protagonist of the first 2 games and their fates become intertwined. by the end of the game they have to rescue both Olimar and Louie the two heroes from Pikmin 2
  • August 12, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Koveras: "and cases where the old protagonist reappears after a conspicuous absence."

    Example?

    BTW would Chekhov MIA related?
  • August 12, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ There are several examples of the old protagonist reappearing after some time off-screen in the write-up now. As for Chekhov MIA, then yeah, very often so.
  • August 12, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Most of the Pokemon franchise, the hero of the last generation's games is never seen. Played with in Gold and Silver, the hero is often referenced but their whereabouts are unknown. Eventually, in a now discredited spoiler, they're revealed as the True Final Boss atop Mt. Silver.
  • August 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Missing Protagonist just sounds bland to me. Especially if the definition is kinda complicated...
  • August 14, 2013
    Koveras
  • August 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Perhaps that can work.
  • August 19, 2013
    Koveras
    Bumping for title feedback and hats.
  • August 22, 2013
    Synchronicity
    • Percy Jackson, eponymous character and hero of the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series, disappears during the months-long timeskip between that and its sequel series, The Heroes Of Olympus. He is absent during the first book (aptly titled "The Lost Hero"), during which searches for him are going on in the background; however this is used as an opportunity to introduce three of the new heroes for the sequel series. He reappears in the second book, but has lost his Curse of Achilles, and the stakes are even higher this time.
  • August 22, 2013
    DAN004
    Not giving hat unless the title's changed. :P
  • August 23, 2013
    Koveras
    Protagonist Disappears Between Installments is the best I can come up with. But if I put that up, I'm afraid it might cost me the other two hats.
  • November 2, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • November 2, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ That name could work.

    Compare Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome.

    BTW
  • November 2, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ But it's bland and extremely difficult to work into proper sentences as a wikiword... And I'm not sure about the Korra example, since the protagonist does not mysteriously disappear but dies, and everyone knows he is dead.
  • November 6, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    Expanding on the Pokemon example:

    • Pokemon Black 2 And White 2 is a direct sequel to Pokemon Black And White but the (now famous) previous protagonist is nowhere to be seen. Everyone else from the previous game, even your True Companions and mother, but the protagonist is nowhere to be seen. There were rumors early on that Hilbert appeared if you played as Rosa, and Hilda if you were Nate, but those were shot down... However in-game data shows both characters were Dummied Out from the World Tournament and unlike Red they weren't Heroic Mime's.
  • January 27, 2014
    Koveras
    It would seem that this one is prevented from launch only by the lack of a snappy title...
  • January 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Would this count?
    • In Mega Man ZX Advent (the second game of the series), the story starts with Grey/Ashe and the Hunters guild, without any mention of the Vent/Aile and the Guardians of the previous game. Vent/Aile do appear, though, 2/3 into the game.
  • January 27, 2014
    DAN004
    BTW this would be close with Missing Main Character
  • January 27, 2014
    Koveras
    ^ Which is yet another reason to change the title... Inter Installment MIA (and expand it to any significant character), perhaps?
  • January 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ MMC needs to be fixed, anyways.
  • March 24, 2014
    Koveras
    Just dug up my old YKKTW for this idea. It was called Vanishing Hero—how about this for a title?
  • March 24, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comics
    • Dynamite's Warlord Of Mars series had an arc that took place between the events of Princess Of Mars and Gods Of Mars, in which Dejah Thoris and Carthoris have to defend John Carter's reputation while he's considered missing.
  • March 24, 2014
    Cider
    Not seeing the point to this one. Are the other missing character trope pages getting too full or something? Don't see a single example that could not be on another page.
  • March 24, 2014
    MetaFour
    Literature:
    • In the Thursday Next novel One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, Thursday Next (the one from the "real" world, the protagonist of all the prior novels) goes missing. The Thursday from Bookworld (specifically from the real Thursday's autobiography) serves as the protagonist and searches for her real counterpart.
  • March 25, 2014
    Koveras
    ^^ Please be more specific.
  • March 25, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • The Incredible Hulk has done this a couple of times. Once when the Hulk was presumed dead as a result of a gamma bomb explosion and they had an inquest into it, but a few issues later it turns out he was just hiding in another dimension.
  • March 26, 2014
    Torchic65101
    The part of Pokemon Adventures/Special focusing on Yellow.
  • March 26, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Pulled a hat. The examples/description do not jive when it comes to what it means by "missing."

    The description makes it seem like it's specifically about the previous protagonist's disappearance being a plot point, but most of the examples are just them not being in the sequel. While I think the former is tropeable, the latter is just Changing Of The Guard.
  • March 26, 2014
    DAN004
  • December 22, 2014
    Arivne
  • February 9, 2015
    Koveras
    @Larkmarn: I see your point and agree that a protagonist simply not appearing again is not tropable in itself, unless it is a plot point, even if a minor one, like their disappearance being treated as a mystery.
  • February 9, 2015
    robinjohnson
    Nitpick: "in between installments" shouldn't have a hyphen.
    • Jeff Goldblum's character Iain Malcolm, a supporting character in Jurassic Park, is the lead character in Jurassic Park II, with no Sam Neil in sight.
    Edit: apologies - not a plot point. Carry on.
  • February 9, 2015
    Koveras
    ^ But it isn't a plot point in the movie in any way.
  • February 9, 2015
    DAN004
    How much context would you need for Mega Man Zx?

    Oh and add my related tropes plz. (My previous comment)
  • February 9, 2015
    Koveras
    Added the subtropes. The Mega Man example would have to explain how Vent/Aile's disappearance ties in with the overall plot of the game. If they were just busy elsewhere when the plot began, it's not this trope.
  • February 9, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Dunno. Vent/Aile are important to the story, yeah, but their disappearance isn't really touched upon; as in, the narrative doesn't make focus to their disappearance and how it makes impact in the story. Since they're members of the Guardians it's assumed that they're still around saving people, but in the second game we just don't see them until the Quarry stage.
  • February 9, 2015
    Koveras
    ^ Then I'm afraid they fit the revised definition of this trope anymore. A character being absent from a plot is not tropable unless said absence ties into the plot somehow, whether by presenting an additional plot goal (finding the missing person) or by simply complicating things. A character just being inexplicably absent before popping up with little explanation is not a trope.
  • February 9, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ oh, okay.
  • March 26, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump.

  • March 26, 2015
    shimaspawn
    • In Tales Of Xillia 2 one of the protagonists of the first game, Milla, has gone missing. Though you do find an alternate reality version of her early on, she's not the real Milla.
  • March 26, 2015
    Chabal2
  • March 26, 2015
    Koveras
    ^ Is Felix's disappearance a Plot Point? Also, Alex is not a protagonist, so he wouldn't qualify.
  • August 22, 2015
    Koveras
    I just found the trope called Present Absence, which I believe already covers the basic gist of my original idea and is not limited to protagonists... I think I am going to be discarding this one.
  • November 14, 2015
    MerlinSyndrome
    Bump. I don't think this should be discarded—Present Absence is more about a character having influence on a story despite not participating in it. This trope is more specific: a beloved character who we enjoy seeing *in action* is gone at the outset of a story, and this absence motivates the story. To make this clearer, perhaps change the name to In Search Of Protagonist? Find The Protagonist Plot? Missing Protagonist Plot?
  • November 14, 2015
    Chabal2
    Dawn Of War II: In Retribution, the Force Commander Player Character for the first game and Chaos Rising is nowhere to be seen and is never mentioned (though one of the previous game's Multiple Endings indicates he was sent on a crusade as penitence, yet this would also imply the game's other characters were sent as well when two of them are still present). The new Player Character is the previous one's misguided Dragon, having been enlightened to his master's true nature.
  • November 14, 2015
    DAN004
    Reading Present Absence, yeah, this is different enough.

    But how would we define the scope?
    • Is it really about when the protagonist is missing in the next installment?
    • Does he/she have to be searched?
    • Does he/she have to be found or reappear later?
    • Does he/she have to affect the story in their absence?
    • Can he/she have few token mentions?
  • November 14, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    • Yashiro, aka Adolf K. Weismann and the Silver King, the main protagonist in K, is missing throughout the (aptly named) tie-in movie sequel, K: Missing Kings, and the beginning of the anime sequel K:Return of Kings. In both the movie and early in the anime sequel, the majority of the plot revolves around his friends Kuroh and Neko as they search for him.
  • March 27, 2016
    MiinU
    Webcomic
    • Vampire Cheerleaders: Taken to literal extremes in the comic's final volume, when Stephanie vanishes right in front of her teammates. The search for their missing leader becomes the crux of the final arc, as her kid sister (Katie) and her friends embark on a journey across space-time. When they finally reunite with her, they learn Stephanie had been chosen by the Mothmen to become their new Queen, to help them replenish their dying race.
  • March 27, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    What about the Pokemon examples needs context? They seem pretty complete.
  • March 28, 2016
    DAN004
    If their absence is largely significant in the plot, this overlaps with Present Absence.

    And Koveras, plz answer my set of questions.
  • March 28, 2016
    Koveras
    I am still thinking about them.
  • March 28, 2016
    henke37
  • April 29, 2016
    Berrenta
    <Mod Hat ON>

    We still have examples that need clearing up, so it's unlaunched.
  • April 29, 2016
    acrobox
    A big part of The Force Awakens deals with Luke Skywalker being missing.
  • April 29, 2016
    acrobox
    Present Absence does seem to cover this however, but I think the name is just hard to find. It has so few examples and wicks.

    Maybe we should combine the two and make Missing Protagonist a redirect?
  • April 29, 2016
    PaulA
    It seems to me that this is a subtrope of Present Absence, Present Absence includes examples of one-off works and other works where the significantly absent character is introduced for the first time in the instalment where their absence is significant, whereas this is specifically about sequels where the significantly absent character was previously a significantly present protagonist.
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