Created By: Glucharina on July 20, 2012

RetBack

Time travel / alternate reality bring back dead people

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Trope
I feel like Back from the Dead can be split into subtropes

Inversion of Ret Gone and often a side effect of it. Long dead characters come back from the dead after someone go back in time and prevent them from dying. Or they turn out to be alive in alternate universe, where their killer fails, refuses or doesn't exist at all.

Godwin's Law of Time Travel is when entire Third Reich experience that. Compare Reset Button when recent death is canceled in the end of the same story.

Examples

Film
  • Stargate Continuum: Ba'al has Earth Stargate program erased from history. As a result many villains come back from the dead, as they never died in this timeline. Most prominently Qetesh, who died off-screen in original timeline, and Ra.

Live-Action TV
  • Warehouse 13 has Christmas special, where Pete sees what world would be like, if he never was born. Season 1 Big Bad would be alive and well and main antagonist.
  • Fringe: After Peter was erased from the history in season 3, season 1 villain whom he killed (David Rober Jones) comes back to life.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • July 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer: In "The Wish" Cordilia wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. She gets her wish: the Master (who Buffy killed in the first episode) is alive - or undead - & well and controlls the town. Most people are vampires. Cordilia gets eaten. But at least there's no Buf...oh wait, she shows up at the end of the episode.
  • July 20, 2012
    ChrisLang
    This can probably be seen as a subtrope of Back From The Dead.

    Hmm...

    If we had to list all the examples from DC and Marvel, we could be here for a LONG time...
  • July 20, 2012
    ChrisLang
    But yes, comic books have plenty of examples. Once this trope becomes launched, those examples will fill at least half the page.
  • July 20, 2012
    Astaroth
    Doctor Who: In one dimension, Pete Tyler is killed in a car accident and leaves his wife, Jackie, a widow, and in another, Jackie is transformed into a Cyberman while her husband is spared. The doctor reunites the surviving members of the couple through a bit of interdimensional travel.

    Prince Of Persia Sands of Time trilogy: The ending of Warrior Within undoes the events of Sands of Time, including the Prince's defeat of the Vizier. He returns as the Big Bad in Two Thrones.
  • July 20, 2012
    NightNymph
    Supernatural: In the Titanic episode, the angel Balthazar alters history by saving the Titanic. In addition to a lot of people being born who weren't before, this set off ripple effects which resulted in a reality where Ellen and Jo had not been killed and where Ellen had married Bobby.
  • July 20, 2012
    JonnyB
    In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, "Yesterday's Enterprise", an earlier ship also christened "Enterprise" comes through a time vortex, creating an alternate timeline in which Tasha Yar never died.
  • July 20, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Is it really back from the dead if they didn't actually die there?

    Alive In This Timeline? And would being dead in that timeline be a sister trope?
  • July 20, 2012
    Duncan
    In Lawrence Watt Evans' short story "An Infinity of Karen", a grieving husband goes from alternate universe to alternate universe looking for one in which his wife didn't die.
  • July 20, 2012
    Glucharina
    @Dragon Quest Z It is. From the audience's perspective they were dead, now they don't
  • July 21, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    That is not what that means. It means the actual dead character, not another version that didn't die.
  • July 21, 2012
    Rognik
    Whether or not it's really Back From The Dead is immaterial. This trope is bringing back a character that died or was otherwise written out back for an episode (or longer). The character is back after being killed off, even if they aren't necessarily the same person.
  • July 21, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Just while "back" works in the name, "ret" implies a retcon, which this trope is certainly not.

    I could tweak my suggestion. Alive In Another Timeline.
  • July 22, 2012
    Glucharina
    It was supposed to be play on Ret Gone, which isn't Ret Con ether.
  • July 22, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That actually is a form of a retcon, in that something is changed. This doesn't change things, just adds another element.
  • July 22, 2012
    MorganWick
    Wait, hold on, what is this trope? The description seems to describe two different tropes, and I don't think one of them is what was intended, because it says "someone go back in time and prevent them from dying", which sounds like something else entirely. The other is basically pulling someone from an alternate timeline to stand in for the original, and my impression is that what may have been meant by the time travel bit is what this is in the spirit, if not the letter, of:
    • Sluggy Freelance: After the "bROKEN" arc, Zoe is left in a comatose state on the brink of death and Riff finds himself in a Dystopian future. The setting has Nanomachines that repair any damage to the body, and if the damage is too much to repair, "reboot" them, completely restoring them to a prior saved state at the cost of resetting their memory to that state as well. The nanomachines succeed in restoring Zoe's body, but her mind is a blank slate and she is reduced to a vegetable. At the end of his time in the setting, Riff travels back to the day before the climax of "bROKEN" and takes an image of her, thus giving the nanomachines something to imprint her with, so she ends up with all her memories up to that point but no memory of the events of the climax of "bROKEN".
    (Feel free to tighten the phrasing, especially towards the end.) But DQZ's latest title proposal makes me think of Blink from the X-Men, who died, but then an alternate universe version started prancing around with the Exiles. It almost sounds like something more oriented to the fans than anything else, something that allows them to say "hey, we have our character back!" without actually allowing them to resume their role in the story.

    His last reply also seems to imply that the character doesn't come back back, that the character that's brought back shouldn't even be treated like the same character, which kind of defeats the point of what this trope seems to be going for. I can see that he's trying to draw some fine distinctions and so I may be over-interpreting what he's saying, but... yeah. (Hey, it's late.)
  • July 22, 2012
    reub2000
    • In Chrono Trigger after the death of the main character, the surviving members of the party use a chrono trigger to go the moment before his death and switch in a doll where he was thus bringing him back from the dead.
  • July 22, 2012
    isk2837
    In Smallville Clark visits an alternate world where Lionel Luthor found and raised him instead of the Kents. Jonathan Kent and Lionel are both alive in the alternate world, while being dead in the main Smallville universe.
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