Obsolete Successor YKTTW Discussion

Obsolete Successor
A popular character\'s successor loses his job (maybe even his point) when the original returns.
(permanent link) added: 2011-10-28 10:38:27 sponsor: Jhimmibhob (last reply: 2014-04-03 23:01:58)

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(Formerly "The Wally West Zone")

This trope is usually a comic-book phenomenon, but can occur in other episodic media.

A classic character passes the torch to a successor, who starts putting his own mark on the character, and eventually gains a fandom of his own. In time, though, someone decides to reintroduce the original character--maybe out of nostalgia, maybe to shake things up. In stirring fashion, Hero #1 makes his return!

However, Hero #2 is now in an awkward fix. With the original back in the house, that torch he supposedly passed has reverted. Suddenly, Hero #2 is out of the spotlight, and it's often unclear what to do with him. The solutions vary--comic-book creators usually choose one of the following tactics:
  • Put him on a bus, or worse
  • Reinvent him, maybe shifting his name or focus
  • Leave him as is, but decrease his appearances and importance to the plot

Even in the latter two cases, these one-time successors may prove difficult to use in stories. With their original reason for existing gone, their place in continuity can be unstable and awkward.

Several recent cases have come about through nostalgia for The Silver Age of Comic Books. Oddly, Silver Age heroes are usually immune to such dangers at the hands of Golden Age heroes--Hawkman may constitute an exception.

{{Comic Books: DC}}:

{{Comic Books: Marvel}}:

Live-Action Television:
  • On The Dukes of Hazzard, replacements Coy and Vance were supposed to hang around after the return of the original stars, but they vanished after the first returning episode.

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