Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: When someone who no longer fights on the front lines, perhaps because they got promoted to a desk job, or decided that they were Getting Too Old For This
and retired. A sister-trope to He's Back
, although that trope specifically applies to when the hero is out of action because of a Heroic BSOD
Related to 10-Minute Retirement
, the main difference being that in this case, the retirement or promotion typically won't happen in the same story arc as the return to the action. Also, this trope includes being Kicked Upstairs
or being made into a Desk Jockey
in addition to retiring or quitting.
If a group is involved, may require Putting the Band Back Together
- Independence Day: President Whitmore is possibly the Most Triumphant Example, getting back in the cockpit to rally the surviving military forces after they have been on the wrong side of a Curb-Stomp Battle in order to Save The World.
- Quite a few of the other pilots were long-since retired, including Russell, who hadn't flown since the Vietnam War.
- Space Cowboys. A team of retired test pilots are called into action to repair a faulty satellite.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Captain Admiral Kirk, who's been working a desk as Chief of Naval Operations for several years, uses the V'Ger crisis to get himself returned to the Enterprise. This is a subverted example in that Admiral Kirk is not in fact in command of the Enterprise, but rather is in command of the mission the Enterprise is on. Captain Dekker has the responsibility (and arguably, the fun) of commanding the ship itself.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Doctor McCoy implores Admiral Kirk to get out from behind the desk and get in another starship, "before you really do grow old."
- Admiral Kirk initially tries to insist that Captain Spock, the ship's commander, stay in command of the ship in the mission, as Captain Dekker did in the previous film, but Spock insisted that the Enterprise rightfully belonged to Kirk. Maybe because he knew what happened to the last guy.
- And of course, in Star Trek: Generations, Kirk gives Picard a piece of cautionary advice to never let himself be put behind a desk.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Return of the Fighting 69th". A long retired bomber pilot and the rest of the crew from his squadron are called back to duty because they're the only ones who can navigate a treacherous asteroid belt.
- Stargate SG-1 has had General Hammond coming to The Squad's rescue on a number of occasions. The most noteworthy case probably being when he showed up with his Big Damn Gunship in the Season 7 finale.
- General O'Neill got to pull one of these in a later season when The Squad finds an Atlantean Puddlejumper, which he uses to save the day because he is one of the few people they know of who can operate one.
- From METAL WOLF CHAOS we have MICHEAL Wilson, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, who fights for BURNING AMERICAN JUSTICE after being betrayed by his Vice President RICHAAAAAAARD Hawk.
- In Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake
gets back to business is kidnapped and forcibly recruited after retiring to raise sled dogs in Alaska.
- In Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne has long-since retired from being Batman due to old age and a crippling heart condition. He now mentors and acts as the Voice with an Internet Connection to the new Batman. However, on two occasions he's taken up the fight again. On the first, he did it with the aid of Powered Armor. On the second, he was returned to a younger age through the use of a Lazarus Pit. Both times, his heroic theme from Batman: The Animated Series plays for him. Both can be conveniently watched here.
- Wing Commander Academy: In one episode, the Tiger's Claw is attacked while most of her fighter wing is away. Because his remaining pilots are badly outnumbered, Commodore Tolwyn decides to climb into a fighter to personally take part in the fighting.