->''"Ha ha ha! Final episode stunt casting!"''
-->-- '''Phil Ken Sebben''', ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw''

When a character who has left the series returns for the GrandFinale, or the final film in the series.

A subtrope of TheBusCameBack.

Not to be confused with LastEpisodeNewCharacter. When ''everybody'' comes back, it's a ContinuityCavalcade. Can overlap with ChekhovsGunman, if the returning character previously had a very minor role in the plot but ends up playing a large part in the climax of the story, or ClimacticBattleResurrection.


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/GreatMazinger'': Nearly all ''Anime/MazingerZ'' characters were PutOnABus in the end of the last episode of the series. However, three of them -TheHero Kouji Kabuto, ActionGirl Sayaka Yumi and TheProfessor Yumi- returned during the final arc of the sequel to help to take down the Mykene Empire.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', many of [[TheHero Ash's]] pre-Sinnoh Pokémon show up for the Sinnoh League, [[spoiler:including his newly-evolved Quilava.]]
** Earlier, Ash calling upon his original Pokémon team (apart from Pikachu, Butterfree and Pidgeot[[note]]Pikachu was right there from the start, while [[PutOnABus the other two were released in the original series and never mentioned again]][[/note]]) for the ''Battle Frontier'' finale.
* During the final chapters of ''Manga/DragonBall'', virtually ''every single character'' who ever appeared in the entire series is shown giving Goku their energy for the final [[CombinedEnergyAttack Spirit Bomb]]. Except Launch, because Akira Toriyama had forgotten she existed.
** The anime rectifies this by giving Launch a cameo.
** In the finale of ''Anime/DragonBallGT'', everyone in the ''universe'' contributed to the [[CombinedEnergyAttack Spirit Bomb]].
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' plays with it - [[spoiler:Kamina comes BackFromTheDead]] late into the series to give some encouraging words to Simon, but he doesn't stick around after he leaves the Multi-Dimensional Labyrinth. However, in TheMovie, he's reincarnated in the form of the team's ultimate mecha, the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
* Fran's dream in the final chapter of ''Manga/FrankenFran'' has every single character (even the whale girl and the Flying Spaghetti Monster) attending a party.
* The final episode of the MegaManStarForce anime has all the characters at one of the main characters' concerts. While looking around with his SeeThruSpecs, Geo sees all of the [=FMians=] from the first season of the show in the background, watching along with their former hosts. This would make much more sense if ''they weren't all dead, already.''
** Even more mind-boggling is that one of the characters, a GHOST ([[EpilepticTrees who may or may not have been reanimated by one of the [=FM-ians=] cross-fusing with his corpse]], only to plummet to the bottom of the sea), appears. This is so weird because the only appearance the character actually makes prior to this is actually that same [=FM-ian=] in disguise. In short, the character ''comes out of nowhere.''
* Yugi (from the original ''Anime/YuGiOh'') shows up to play Jaden for the last duel of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''.
** For that matter, in the original manga, Kaiba, who'd been written out after Battle City, returned for a cameo in the final chapter.
* ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' Part 2 has Speedwagon (who was recovering after his unfortunate run-in with ThoseWackyNazis), Smokey Brown (who was caring for Joseph Joestar's grandmother while he was away), and Stroheim (who got badly damaged during an earlier fight with Kars) appear to help Joseph fend off an army of vampires while he fights [[BigBad Kars]].
* Toward the end of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'', Faye sees one of the hosts of the recurring ShowWithinAShow ''Big Shot'' (which had announced its cancellation in an earlier episode) in an airport.
* Kaiba shows up at the last page of the ''Manga/YuGiOh'' manga, after he had not appeared since the end of the Battle City arc.
* The human cast of ''TransformersArmada'' appeared in the last episode of ''TransformersCybertron''...
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}} Next'' ends with, among other things, the wedding of Martina and Zangulus. Vrumugun, one of a set of sorcerer copies who aided Zangulus in battle in the original series, can be seen in the audience. Without a gem on his forehead, suggesting that he may be the original.
* The final episode of ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' features several cameos from some of the one-shot character--mostly as hapless victims for the Raven.
* ''Manga/BlackButler'': After the battle of London is over: Prince Soma, Agni and the cook who accidentally poisoned people with Kali Mah, all return to hand out Curry to the survivors.
* In the final episode of ''Anime/JungleKingTarChan'', the entire Corgan family shows up for Tar-chan's wedding as well as Zhou, Renhou, Li Gong, Blue Clan, Helen and Alice. Impressive, considering Pedro had only a day or two to send out invitations.
* Kuwabara returns for the final episode of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' after being written out early on in the final arc.


[[folder: Comic Books]]

* The final issue of ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' vol. 3 (fittingly enough, issue #100) has a large number of former Titans showing up for the GrandFinale battle against Superboy-Prime. A number of characters who'd been written out of the book such as BlueBeetle, Miss Martian, Aquagirl, Bombshell and Damian Wayne were among those who showed up for the battle.


[[folder: Film]]
* Disney's ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' features a climactic trial with characters from throughout the movie appear as witnesses at Alice's trial for [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotHeinous "making the Queen lose her temper"]]; this being Wonderland, of course, none of the testimonies are particularly helpful. The scene ends with all of these characters forming a huge mob and [[ChasedByAngryNatives chasing Alice out of Wonderland]].
* George (Jeffrey Weisman) and Lorraine [=McFly=] (Lea Thompson), and Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), all return for one of the final scenes of ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'', although Thompson and Wilson had played their characters' ancestors in 1885 for most of the film.
* The Creator/AdamSandler comedy ''Film/BigDaddy'' ends with a celebration at a restaurant for Sonny Koufax's birthday party attended (or at least visited by) no fewer than nine of Sonny's friends and foes throughout the course of the movie; this includes a surprise final appearance by Vanessa and Sid, who have not appeared on screen for about an hour and have been barely even referred to in the film's dialogue since. There had also been a slightly earlier scene set in a courtroom featuring even more minor characters appearing as witnesses in Sonny's trial after he defrauds the New York social services department, with the prosecuting attorney [[LampshadeHanging pointing out]] that Sonny is "parading his buddies" through the courtroom instead of summoning credible witnesses.
* Spoofed (and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded by the creators in the DVD commentary]]) at the end of ''Film/BubbleBoy'' when almost every single human and animal character from the movie's entire running time gets shoehorned into the final scene, including a random vulture.
* Fredericks from ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'' fits the description. In the first movie, he was a minor supporting character played by Chris Nolan's uncle, notable for remarking that "the apple has fallen very far from the tree, Mr. Wayne." While he appeared in one of the viral "Gotham Tonight" videos, he was absent from the second movie. He returns for the final part of the trilogy, though, and his role is a bit more pivotal than before.
* Lampshaded in ''Film/FlagsOfOurFathers'', one of the generals complains about how everyone in the army wants to get to Tokyo for the "big finish".
* Dr. Lawrence Gordon comes back for ''Film/Saw3D''. He hasn't been seen since the original ''Film/SawI'', six movies ago.
* ''Film/SpyKids 3: Game Over'' brought virtually all the characters who appeared in the last two movies.
* [[CreatorsPet Wesley]] reappears in ''Film/StarTrekNemesis''. Albeit only briefly, and only in the widescreen version. He was originally supposed to have a short scene with Picard and Dr. Crusher explaining how he's going to serve on a new ship (the Titan), but it was cut very early in the editing process. Wil Wheaton has the full explanation on his blog.

[[folder: Literature]]
* ''Literature/AlexRider: Scorpia Rising'' sees the return of [[spoiler:Julius Grief, Alex's clone introduced in ''Point Blanc'']].
* Near the end of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', many of Harry's allies gather at Hogwarts just before the final battle with Voldemort and the Death Eaters.
** The whole book itself would qualify: it's easier to list the characters that ''don't'' come back to make an appearance in this book. [[spoiler: Even if they're dead.]]
* ''Literature/TheLastBattle'', the final book in the Narnia series, sees just about every character ever mentioned in the entire series showing up for the climax.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/AllyMcBeal'': Billy, big love of Ally's life who deceased unexpectedly.
* ''Series/TheAmazingRace'' has all the eliminated teams at the Finish Line to cheer on the Final 3.
* Happens several times in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStory'':
** In ''Coven'', Stevie Nicks returns in the ColdOpen of the finale after last appearing in episode 10.
** In ''Freak Show'', [[spoiler:Edward Mordrake and his craven coterie, now including Twisty the Clown, reappear in the finale after their last appearance in episode 4.]]
* ''Series/AshesToAshes'' brought back Nelson, who owned the Railway Arms in ''Series/{{Life On Mars|2006}}'' [[spoiler: as some sort of St Peter figure who guides all the dead coppers to heaven]]. The series creators also considered bringing back John Simm as Sam Tyler, but it was decided that his presence might detract from Alex Drake's (Keeley Hawes) story, and they wanted the focus to be on her.
* Several characters from the first seasons returned for the GrandFinale of the Peruvian TV series ''AsiEsLaVida'', to rescue the current protagonists that had been kidnapped by the BigBad.
* Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian) appeared in the finale of ''Series/BabylonFive'', after being absent for the entire final season. However, this was because a shooting schedule shuffle when the possibility of a fifth season was uncertain due to network issues. B5 got the season, but Christian didn't return for the final season.
* Lt Buck Compton in ''Series/BandOfBrothers''.
* In the finale of ''Series/BarneyMiller'', Barney flashes back to scenes with Nick, Chano, Fish and Wentworth.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven'' brought Blake back for the final episode, and [[spoiler:had him bloodily shot dead. This was because the actor was fed up with the part and wanted it to be unambiguously the last time he would have to play the role in case the show got UnCancelled]].
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' brought back Zack for the season 4 finale.
* In the series finale of ''Series/BreakingBad'', Walt tracks down [[spoiler: Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz]] and forces them into an elaborate plan to [[spoiler: get his drug money to his children]]. He also enlists [[spoiler: Badger and Skinny Pete]] for the plan, after they had all but vanished from the show.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Angel appears in the first and last episodes of ''Buffy''. He departs both episodes in the same way, smiling and vanishing into shadows.
** Faith returns for the last five episodes of ''Buffy'' following her redemption arc on ''Angel''.
** The ''Buffy'' season 2 finale "Becoming" brought back every major character from the first 2 seasons who wasn't dead... And a couple who were.
** Giles returns for the Season 6 finale of ''Buffy'', after his departure in episode 8 of the season. (Creator/AnthonyStewartHead was spending too much time away from his kids and got a little freaked out.)
** Some of the former regulars are in season 7 of ''Buffy'' in spirit. Oz got a casual mention from Xander, and Cordelia (who had been shifted to ''Series/{{Angel}}'') appeared in a piece of footage from "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered".
** Oz's final on-screen appearance is in Willow's dream in the season 4 finale of ''Buffy'', "Restless".
** The First Evil, an incorporeal body which can only inhabitant the dead, takes the form of each Big Bad we've encountered thus far in "Lessons": Master, Adam, Glory, etc. One of them, Harry Groener, reappears as the Mayor to taunt Faith in "Touched."
** Sarah Michelle Gellar offered to return as Buffy for ''Angel''[='=]s series finale, but Joss Whedon turned her down because he wanted the finale to be about Angel and the gang, not about Buffy. However, the finale did bring back Lindsey and Connor.
** Spike makes an unexpected return at the end of the ''Buffy Season 8'' comic season.
* The SeriesFinale of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' had recurring characters Victor Bennet, Grams, Future Wyatt, and Patty return along with old leads Leo and Future Chris. Shannen Doherty did not return though, because of a [[WordOfGod variety reasons]] but most notably 1) Because she was too expensive and 2) She said no.
* [[spoiler: Diane Chambers (Shelley Long)]] returned for the Grand Finale of ''{{Cheers}}''.
* ''Series/TheDailyShow'' brought back all of the past correspondents for Jon Stewart's last show. Every last one. [[spoiler: Including the previous host [[ThePeteBest Craig Kilborn.]] ]]
* ''Series/DesperateHousewives'' brought back Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delaney, who had her own series at the time) for the finale, along with many characters who were killed on Wysteria Lane over the seasons.
* Walter was brought back for the finale of ''Series/ADifferentWorld'' just in time to see Dwayne and Whitley off to their new life in Japan, but not Denise, Stevie, Lettie, Maggie, or Millie.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''
** The ''New Who'' series 4 finale brings back [[spoiler:Harriet Jones, Sarah Jane Smith (and her son and living computer), Captain Jack (and his ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' co-stars), Martha Jones, Rose, Jackie, Mickey, Davros and Dalek Caan.]]
** And in the 2009 Christmas specials that finished the Davies/Tennant era, they brought back [[spoiler:the Master and the Time Lords, including Rassilon. The Doctor also takes the time to visit all of his regular companions from that incarnation before regenerating, and the bar he finds Jack at contains most of the aliens introduced in the new series.]]
** In the series 5 finale, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens"]] / [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E13TheBigBang "The Big Bang"]], everyone from [[spoiler: [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E2TheBeastBelow Liz Ten]] to [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E3VictoryOfTheDaleks Winston and Bracewell]] to [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E10VincentAndTheDoctor Vincent]] to [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E8SilenceInTheLibrary River]] [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E4TheTimeOfAngels Song]]]] is back for the finale.
** The series 6 finale brings back characters from earlier in the season (Dorium), the previous season (Winston Churchill and the Silurian Malokeh), and a one-episode star from back in ''2005'' (Charles Dickens).
** The 2013 Christmas special that [[spoiler:finished Matt Smith's run as the Doctor]] brought back [[spoiler:Amy Pond, as a hallucination in the Doctor's mind, wishing her Raggedy Man goodnight]].
** Spinoff ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'''s season 2 finale brought back [[spoiler: Captain John Hart, as well as Jack's brother Gray, previously seen only in flashback]].
** The ''Doctor Who'' audio range features the return of the Valeyard in the Sixth Doctor's final set of stories, given the umbrella title of [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWhoSpecialTheLastAdventure The Last Adventure]].
* Ray Vecchio returned for the two-part finale of ''Series/DueSouth.''
* The GrandFinale of ''Series/EarthFinalConflict'' brings back [[spoiler:Liam Kincaid, who was missing for the whole final season and presumed dead]], just in time to help stop the season's BigBad Howlyn from unleashing a powerful [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Atavus]] warship and an army of Atavus warriors on the unsuspecting Earth. Surprisingly, no one else came back.
* A number of old characters made appearances in the last few episodes of ''{{ER}}'', including, most notably, Drs Carter, Corday, Weaver, and (via flashback) Greene.
** Dr. Ross (George Clooney) and Nurse Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) also made an appearance together in an episode the last season.
** Corday, Benton, and Lewis also returned for the final episode (and Benton even managed to appear in an episode before that). In addition, Romano returned in the same flashback episode as Greene (this due to Romano also being KilledOffForReal in Season 10).
* The series finale of ''{{Series/Eureka}}'' brought back Jordan Hinson as Zoe Carter.
** Brought back Matt Frewer as Taggart as well. Even had him chasing down the dog Lojack.
* "The Peacekeeper Wars", the WrapItUp for ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', brought back departed regular character Jool, only to kill her off as a KickTheDog moment for the villains.
* The series finale of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' brought back Anthony LaPaglia as Simon, Daphne's brother.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' brought back Lincoln and Altlivia in the first hour of the two-part finale. The various means the team uses to battle [[spoiler: the Observers]] is also a greatest-hits collection of prior Fringe events.
* Steve, DJ's boyfriend in ''Series/FullHouse''.
* ''Series/GossipGirl'' had [[spoiler: Jenny and Eric returning for Serena and Dan's wedding]]; the finale also saw [[spoiler: Juliet, Vanessa and others]] in cameos finding out [[spoiler: Dan]] was Gossip Girl.
* Carol Seaver on ''Series/GrowingPains''; the actress who played her suffered from anorexia, and while she was being treated her character was PutOnABus to London to explain her absence. But she was allowed to come back for the series finale.
* The ''Series/HappyDays'' finale had Richie and Lori Beth turning up for Joanie and Chachi's [[WeddingDay wedding]].
* ''Series/HeadOfTheClass'': precocious pre-teen Janice, who was already several years ahead in school, had left high school early to attend college, returned for Graduation.
* The final two-part episode of ''Series/HighlanderTheSeries'' featured the returns of Tessa and Richie, as the episode took place in a world where Duncan [=MacLeod=] never existed.
* In an alternate ending, ''Series/TheHills'' saw the return of Lauren Conrad, who had left the show two seasons prior.
* The series ending movie of ''{{Homicide Life on the Street}}'' included every single regular the series had, including those who had been killed off.
* ''Series/{{House}}'' brought back Cameron, Stacy, Masters, Dominika, and Chase (who admittedly hadn't been gone for very long), though some of them were cameos of the "hey look, there's X in the third row" variety. [[spoiler:Kutner and Amber also reappeared as hallucinations.]]
* During the last season of ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', most of the minor characters came back for a cameo or WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue moment. Many were done in a 30-second montage in the penultimate episode before the finale (Ted even remembers BlahBlah's name, finally.)
* The final episode of ''{{Series/Hustle}}'' features the return of Stacie. [[spoiler: Also of Danny, but we don't find that out til the end]].
* Before the final battle of the original ''Series/IronChef'', every previous challenger from the entire series entered Kitchen Stadium one last time. [[BadExportForYou A scene sadly cut from the Food Network version.]] Out of over three hundred competitors, the only one who didn't appear was the late Rory Kennedy (from episode 504, "European Pigeon"). Before the final tournament began, all seven past and present Iron Chefs took the stage together, including former Iron Chefs Japanese Rokusaburo Michiba and Koumei Nakamura and original IC French Yutaka Ishinabe.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble''[='s=] summer movie brings back several VictimsOfTheWeek, who cheer Double on during his FinalBattle with Eternal and give him his movie-exclusive EleventhHourSuperpower.
** The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' franchise has an odd version of this with the annual ''Movie Wars'' film, which acts as either a GrandFinale or a [[PostscriptSeason Postscript Movie]] for last year's Rider and has the cast CrossOver with the heroes from this year's series.
* The season 4 finale of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' brings characters from as far back as season one. Nate's father Jimmy Ford plays a very prominent role in it. His ex-wife Maggie is gathered to help with the con along with, Hardison's EvilCounterpart Chaos, Eliot's Not-as-EvilCounterpart Quinn and Parker's adoptive father Archie. The villain is [[spoiler:Victor Dubenich, the series ''very first'' VillainOfTheWeek]].
* The sixth season of ''Series/{{Lost}}'' had the flash-sideways timeline, which allowed for dead or disappeared characters to return. The actual series finale brought back [[spoiler:Shannon, Boone, Juliet, Daniel, Charlotte, Libby, Charlie, Christian, Rose, Bernard, Penny, Dr. Chang, Eloise Hawking and John Locke.]] (The rest of the final season also saw the return of [[spoiler:Arzt, Frogurt, Alex, Danielle, Roger Linus, Keamy and Omar, Ana Lucia, Anthony Cooper, Helen, Nadia, Michael, George Minkowski, Mikhail, Marshal Mars and Ethan]])
** [[spoiler:Walt]] shows up in the epilogue.
** [[spoiler: Mr. Eko]] was also supposed to appear in the final episode, but contract talks with the actor broke down.
* ''Series/{{Luther}}'' brings back Alice Morgan for the Series 3 finale after she'd left in the middle of Series 2.
* ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'' finale had appearances from Rhoda and Phyllis, both of whom had long since departed for their respective spinoff shows. They even appeared in the end credits curtain call.
* Although not a series regular, Major Sidney Freedman (Alan Arbus) returned for the ''Series/{{MASH}}'' finale and was a major (sorry) character in it.
* The third season finale of ''{{Series/Merlin}}'' brought back [[spoiler:Lancelot, Elyan, Leon and Gwain]] as future knights of the Round Table. Also returning was[[spoiler:Excalibur and Freya, the Lady of the Lake]]. Among the villains [[spoiler:Cenred and Morgause]] made their appearances.
** Merlin's mother Hunith return in the first part of the two-part fourth season finale, after a three year hiatus.
** And for the series finale, [[spoiler: Balinor reappears as a spirit.]]
* In a subversion, Sharona Fleming from ''Series/{{Monk}}'' is supposed to 'fly in' during the last episode of the sixth season. Then the problem resolves itself, and she never shows up.
* ''Series/MurphyBrown'' brought back Phil for the series finale despite the fact that ''he had died'': his death was retconned as having been faked by the CIA due to Phil knowing too much about Whitewater.
** While Phil is the most surprising example, the finale also brought back Miles and Eldon, both of whom had been absent for some time.
* The fourth season of ''Series/MyKitchenRules'' introduced the "Comeback Kitchen", where previously eliminated teams are brought back to the show and must compete each other for a spot in the final.
* A strange, extended version of this trope was used in the series finale of ''Series/{{Newhart}}.'' For the series finale, they actually brought back Bob Newhart's wife from ''TheBobNewhartShow.'' This was used to reveal that the entire series was AllJustADream.
** And in a TV special about that show, in which Bob is shown dealing with this dream, at the very end he meets a trio of elevator repairmen who introduce themselves by saying, "Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Daryl ..."
* Medavoy came back for a minute in the last ''Series/NYPDBlue'' after retiring an episode or two before.
* ''Series/TheOfficeUS'' spread this out over its entire final season. [[spoiler: Roy, Jan, David Wallace, and Gabe]] came back during the final season.
** Also, [[spoiler: Ryan and Kelly]] came back for the finale, after leaving at the beginning of [[spoiler: Season 9 due to the actors' commitments to ''Series/TheMindyProject''.]]
** [[spoiler: Steve Carell]] returns as [[spoiler: Michael Scott]] in the finale to be the best man at Dwight and Angela's wedding.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': The season one finale brought back the Huntsman and Maleficent in the fairytale world. Belle also returns, in Storybrooke. (Maleficent's [[ScaledUp other form]] appeared in Storybrooke as well but she herself did not.)
* Robert Leckie, despite being one of the three protagonists of ''ThePacific'', is absent for several episodes in the series' latter half and reappears only in the finale.
* ''Series/ThePractice'' ended with [[spoiler: Eugene Young being on trial for being an AmoralAttorney, and Bobby Donnel returning to defend him.]]
* ''Series/PrisonBreak'''s broadcast finale does this to the point of ContinuityCavalcade - and to the point where it makes the absence of the few major characters who DON'T return really, really noticeable. [[spoiler: Sucre, C-Note, Kellerman, Sofia and Felicia all make an appearance, with Kellerman's being the most notable since he had been dead for two seasons and provided the DeusExMachina.]]
* During the reunion shows for ''Series/TheRealHousewives'', controversial side characters are brought back for confrontations with the main cast.
* The Sheriff of Nottingham and Marian came back for the final episode of ''Series/RobinHood'', the former after a NotQuiteDead situation, and the latter for a TogetherInDeath scene with Robin.
* ''Series/{{Roswell}}'''s penultimate episode saw the return of Tess, who bore Max's child in season two. She doesn't stay for the last episode, and is only there to quickly close the main arc in season three.
* Hilda returned for Sabrina's wedding in the finale of ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'', which to be fair is certainly a good reason to return... except that it drew attention to all the people who ''weren't'' making a cameo (like Valerie).
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', via a JD-fantasy.
** There were some notable absences. Lisa the gift shop girl and Franklyn the lab tech weren't allowed to come back by the show's former network NBC. Jordan's siblings were both absent, as were Dr. Molly Clock, Dr. Kevin Casey, and Dr. Miller, and recurring patient Harvey Corman. But the most inexplicable absence was Doug the mortician, who had appeared earlier in the season and had no known conflicts.
* The final episode of ''{{Seinfeld}}'' had many minor characters on the show coming back to testify against them. Creator/LarryDavid, who was the {{showrunner}} until season 7 and wrote many episodes also came back to write the finale.
* The ''ShowWithinAShow'' in the final episode of ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' had The Professor show up and save everyone.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s final season has featured the returns of [[spoiler:Jonathan Kent, Brainiac, Lionel Luthor, Chloe Sullivan, Kara Kent, Zod, and Martha Kent. Along with ComicBook/LexLuthor, Chloe Sullivan, Lionel Luthor, Martha Kent, and Jonathan Kent return again in the actual finale.]]
** Aaron Ashmore also reappears as [[spoiler:[[{{Retcon}} Henry James Olsen's little brother]]...the ''real'' Jimmy Olsen]].
* The final episode of ''Series/{{Spooks}}'' has a brief appearance by [[spoiler:Tom Quinn]], one of the few major characters to get PutOnABus instead of KilledOffForReal when leaving the show.
* It's pretty clear that ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' brought back everyone they could get from [=SG1=] and [[Series/StargateAtlantis Atlantis]] for the series finale (one can only assume that Richard Dean Anderson was unavailable).
* The last episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' saw the return of recurring villain/ally Q, Lt. Tasha Yar and Miles O'Brien, who was by then a regular on ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' and had not appeared since season 6.
** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager's'' finale featured a cameo by Neelix, as well as a couple of other recurring characters including Admiral Paris, and Lt. Barclay, as well as the Borg Queen, played by Alice Krige herself.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' had everyone who was ever a recurring character on the show back, most out of makeup in the Sisko / Vic duet scene. The only glaring absence was Terry Farrell, who didn't even appear in archive footage.
*** Justified; the ''character'' persisted thanks to [[BizarreAlienBiology being a Trill]], she just acquired [[TheNthDoctor a new body]]... and apparently [[InNameOnly a different personality]]. (Somehow, ItMakesSenseInContext.)
**** Also no archive footage of Jadzia was allowed because of ScrewedBytheLawyers.
* LiveAction/TheColbertReport has on Stewart and nearly a couple of hundred guests who had appeared the Report show up for the curtain call (including Smaug, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster), along with every member of the show staff.
* Carey, Kurt, and Arwin were brought back for the finale of ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOnDeck'', but not Marcus
* Eric left ''{{That 70s Show}}'' after the end of the seventh season, and Kelso left four episodes into the eighth. Both return for the final episode (or rather, final ''scene'' in Eric's case). Counts in-universe too, as the series finale was New Year's Eve 1979.
* Jimmy Doherty (Eddie Cibrian), Kim Zambrano (Kim Raver) and "Doc" Parker (Michael Beach) returned for ''ThirdWatch's'' finale, although only Doc had lines.
* ''Series/UglyBetty'' starts this early, with Gio and Christina coming back in the third to last episode, Henry in the penultimate ep, and Connor for the finale.
* The Season Four finale of ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' contains several flashbacks with characters who had died earlier in the season, including [[spoiler: [[IDidWhatIHadToDo Karen]], [[IncurableCoughOfDeath Patrick]]]], and especially [[spoiler: [[HandicappedBadass Herschel]]]].
* This trope can apply to whole networks too. [[OneFroggyEvening Michigan J. Frog]] returned for the final week of Creator/TheWB before the launch of Creator/TheCW, having disappeared from The WB's imaging two years earlier.
* In ''Series/TheWestWing'', one of the final episodes was Leo [=McGarry's=] [[MeaningfulFuneral funeral]], which was attended by a number of characters that hadn't been seen for a long time.
** Sam Seaborn also returned to the series for the last few episodes. There was some talk of Creator/AaronSorkin coming back to write the final episode, but the idea fell through.
* ''Series/TheWire'' pulls this off spectacularly over the course of its final season with every living major character and many minor ones making cameos across the season. Surprisingly, all of them feel natural and don't interfere a bit with shows realism as most of the characters return for about 1 or 2 seasons and most of the previously departed characters had not been said to have ever left Baltimore making it all rather plausible.
* Fox Mulder (Creator/DavidDuchovny) from ''Series/TheXFiles'' left the show at the end of season 7, returned for the second half of season 8, and for the last season only appeared in the finale. Alex Krycek, Marita Covarrubias, Gibson Praise, Jeffrey Spender, Knowle Rohrer, Mr. X, all three of the Lone Gunmen, and the Cigarette-Smoking Man also returned. Notably, about half of those characters were already dead.
* Chase, who got PutOnABus, for the finale of ''Series/Zoey101''.
* The series finale of ''Series/{{Glee}}'' brought back almost every former member of New Directions for one final performance, with the exception of Finn, Marley, Rory, and Myron. Finn's actor was deceased, and Marley and Rory's had scheduling conflicts. The actor who played Myron filmed the final number but was edited out since he wouldn't realistically be able to portray an 18 year old in the DistantFinale - though he does appear earlier in the episode. The final season also worked to bring back several non-glee club recurring characters, including some who had been PutOnABus earlier in the series, such as Will's ex-wife Terri, former bully Karofsky (as Blaine's brief boyfriend), Jesse St. James (who later [[spoiler: marries Rachel]]), and Sue's mother Doris.

* [[TomboyPrincess Yuri Zahard]] from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' for the first season finale.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Happens at the end of every ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' game. The first game has Larry, the second Lotta, the third Edgeworth, the fourth Kristoph, and the fifth Apollo. That's not even counting the credits montage that's each character talking to Phoenix/Apollo in turn.
** The Phoenix Wright examples go further, with Will Powers appearing at the end of JFA and Larry appearing in T&T (Adrian Andrews appears as well, but only on Case 2 and in the post-credits).
** Additionally, Wendy Oldbag from ''Phoenix Wright'' games 1 and 2 appears in a brief PostCreditsSequence at the end of T&T.
** Further, Mike Meekins, from case 1-5, appears in the flashback case in the 4th game, and in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'', along with the aforementioned Wendy Oldbag and Larry Butz.
* All the ghosts of the dead characters in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' appear briefly at the end in the castle. In the bonus "Dawn of Souls" mode in the GBA and PSP rereleases, you control all the dead people on a quest through the afterlife to defeat the game's BigBad one last time.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', every party member and ally you've met in the game reappears to wish you well [[spoiler:and heal you from Zeromus's TotalPartyKill attack]]. Even the dead ones.
* Larax, the protagonist of ''Imperivm'', returns at the third installment of the saga (the last one in terms of gameplay) to assist Viriathus in his fight against the city of Saetabis.
* In ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', Donald and Goofy have steadily had smaller and smaller roles as the series has gone on, to the point that ''3D'' lampshades it with Goofy asking "Do ya think we'll ever get to do something important?" In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII'' they once again join Sora as the main party members; the last time the three of them worked together was ''II'' in 2006.
* ''VideoGame/LANoire'': Rusty Galloway, one of Cole's partners from way earlier in game, shows up briefly in the final case.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' lets you re-recruit Liara and Ashley / Kaidan, who were in the second game but either had their own stuff to do or refused to work with Cerberus. Kirrahe, Dr Michel, Jenna (the undercover C-Sec agent), Engineer Adams, Balak, the Rachni Queen and other [=NPCs=] also make reappearances (assuming [[AnyoneCanDie they're still alive]]).
* The last Game Boy ''[[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Mega Man]]'' game, ''VideoGame/MegaManV'', had the original bosses from the previous four games (Enker, Quint, Punk and Ballade) return as bosses in the final level.
* Almost everyone who hasn't died in one of the previous games, [[spoiler:and several who have,]] return for the GrandFinale of the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series: ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4''.
** This aspect of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' deserves a specific mention: [[spoiler: Big Boss]] is back. The credits begin to roll on a decidedly [[DownerEnding somber note]] and then they pause on [[spoiler:"Richard Doyle - Big Boss".]] The player is given about three seconds to think, "Wait, I don't recall seeing him in -" and then bam, [[spoiler: he's standing in the graveyard with Snake.]] He comes back for the finale of the finale and [[spoiler:turns Snake's specific downer ending into more of a [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet one]]]].
** There is only one notable surviving character from the previous ''MGS'' games who never shows up: [[spoiler:Nastasha Romanenko]].
* Many characters from previous ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' games return for the finale ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV'' these include, but are not limited to:
** [[spoiler:Bruno]], Erasmus, Fenris, Sam[[note]]the beggar in part 1, the banker in part 5.[[/note]] Elsa and Toro from ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryI''.
** Nadar, Budar, Senor Ferrari, Ugarte and Julannar from ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII''.
** Rhakeesh[[note]]who was also in the second game[[/note]] and Salim from ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIII''. Rhakeesh's son, who was first mentioned there, makes his first appearance in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV''.
** [[spoiler:Katrina]] and [[spoiler:Erana]] from ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV''. Both are seen, but only one can be brought BackFromTheDead.
** Also, certain items lost in earlier games return, such as the Katta's Pin you get at the beginning of ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'' and Soul Forge, the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Paladin's Sword from the 2nd and third game]]. If you found a replacement for Soul Forge in the 4th game, Rhakeesh will keep it.
* ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction'' has this, though it's done in a rather depressing manner. [[spoiler:Yacatec]] appears in the final dungeon as [[PoeticJustice a slave]], and helps you get through said dungeon after you free him.
* Telltale's ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'':
** "Bright Side of the Moon", the finale of season 1, features returning characters from every earlier episode.
** "What's New Beelzebub", the finale of season 2, features the return of everybody from the last two seasons.
** "The City that Dares Not Sleep", the season 3 finale, features the season's only appearance of [[spoiler:Sybil, Abe, Mr. Featherly, and Satan.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' has [[spoiler:Joshua coming back after having ''[[BackFromTheDead been dead]]''. He's ''God'']], so it's okay.
** As well as [[spoiler:Shiki]] for the final battle.
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'' sees many characters from past ''Saints Row'' games return, including Benjamin King, former leader of the Vice Kings from ''VideoGame/SaintsRow 1'', the ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' version of Shaundi, KeithDavid (the voice of Julius Little, who was last seen in ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2''), and various others. In addition, Dane Vogel makes a return appearance in the upcoming standalone expansion ''VideoGame/SaintsRowGatOutOfHell''.
* All of the deceased {{Player Character}}s in ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' make a return in the FinalBoss fight, each one possessing Alex so that they can get a hit in on Augustus' ArtifactOfDoom (while Edward works to seal the Ancient that Alex summoned to fight Augustus' Ancient so it can't run amok afterwards.)
* Every single party member and completed Social Link cheers the main character on before and during the TrueFinalBoss battle of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' and [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} 4]]. [[spoiler: Even the dead ones like Shinjiro and Akinari.]]
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', [[spoiler:Porky Minch]] drops out of the plot after the Eagleland arc, only leaving behind a few taunts to the party showing that he's one step ahead [[spoiler:until his helicopter crashes in a swamp]]. Sure enough, he comes back at the very end of the game [[spoiler:as one of the Final Bosses and quite possibly the true Big Bad]]. And after that, [[spoiler:he's revealed at the end of ''Mother 3'' to be that game's Big Bad and Final Boss, as well]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/FleuretBlanc'', [[spoiler:Kant]] is PutOnABus early on, with implications that they have ties to the central mystery. They show up again on the final day [[spoiler:when Florentine infiltrates the Lounge, as, in a subversion, he never actually left but was in fact imprisoned]].

[[folder: Web Original]]
* [[spoiler:Cinema Snob]] is banished in part 4 of ''WebVideo/{{Kickassia}}'', but comes back two parts later to confront a defeated [[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic Nostalgia Critic]].
* In the finale of ''WebVideo/{{lonelygirl15}}'', Spencer shows up after over a season's absence to help Taylor.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* The final episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' brought back virtually every villain and honorary world Titan for a gigantic brawl.
** "Things Change", the very last episode, features a girl who may-or-may-not-be Terra. Beast Boy tries to jog her memory of her life as a Titan, but she insists that she just wants to be a normal kid and, eventually, that "things were never the way you remember". Oh, [[spoiler: and ''Slade'' makes his one and only season 5 appearance via one of his Doombots.]]
* This happened in the last season of ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw''. After Stephen Colbert (who voiced Phil Ken Sebben and Reducto) left ''Harvey Birdman'' after ''Series/TheColbertReport'' started growing in popularity, Sebben was [[PutOnABus hit by a bus]] in one of the first episodes of the final season... only to spend most of the final episode driving said bus backwards to Sebben & Sebben.
** Reducto was hit by a bus an episode after Phil. He... didn't make it.
* The finale of every season of ''WesternAnimation/{{Total Drama|Island}}'' features every single eliminated contestant that season. Seasons 2 and 3 included all the panelists, who were contestants in the first season.
** Season 4, "Revenge of the Island," only brought back the contestants from that season, although there were "classic contestants" showing up periodically through the season.
* Martian Manhunter's return in the final episode of ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited''. And Darkseid (although he showed up at the end of the second-to-last). Come to think of it, every major character who wasn't either dead (Brainiac), not yet born (''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''), in the future (Supergirl) or ExiledFromContinuity (Bat-Embargo characters) who ever appeared in the DCAU could qualify for this, even though most of them were limited to cameos.
** The first SeriesFauxnale had the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' characters show up.
** Sadly, Aquaman was also absent due to a similar embargo, which is a real shame considering his importance in the rest of the series as well as to the comic book Justice League.
* The series finale of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' brings back some of the older characters [[spoiler:with the introduction of the White Lotus Society.]]
* For its SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', many C-list characters are brought back for the GrandFinale as part of a band at [[spoiler: Varrick and Zhu Li's]] wedding.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' during Luann's wedding ceremony, characters that only appeared in one or two episodes throughout all the seasons showed up to attend. This would make a good example of the trope, except for Fox then gave them another season, and then cancelled them halfway through it, so they never got a chance to play this trope right.
* The final episode of [[TMNT2003 the 2003 TMNT series]] had all of the Turtles' friends show up for [[RelationshipUpgrade Casey and April's wedding]]. They came in mighty handy when [[WeddingSmashers Cyber-Shredder decided to crash the party.]]
* Rita and Runt of ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', who had disappeared after the show's second season, reappeared in the series' last new segment, "The Scoring Session" (albeit with Rita being silent), and in the movie ''Film/WakkosWish''.
* The final episode of ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' ends with the Xiaolin Dragons being surrounded by [[VillainTeamUp every single villain they faced in the entire show.]] This isn't explained, but no one cares.
* ''[[XMenEvolution X-Men: Evolution]]'' has a number of characters (such as Jubilee, who had been PutOnABus in the previous season) show up in cameos during the GrandFinale.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' episode, "Lawson and His Crew", which was intended to be the series finale (along with ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut'') until the show was UnCancelled due to the success of the movie, featured almost every character who appeared in the series, even those who only appeared once.
** For the 2003 DTV GrandFinale movie, ''WesternAnimation/RecessTakingTheFifthGrade'', Miss Grotke returns after having ChuckCunninghamSyndrome in the final season, as well as Principal Prickly, Butch, and Hustler Kid.
* Several ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' characters invoked the trope in the finale: Shendu, Valmont (TheCameo), Finn, Ratso, Chow, Hak Foo and that's just counting the villains. Fortunately none of them was working for Drago in the episode.
* Five instances in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'': Kim's Nana and her Uncle Slim, Felix Renton, Zita Flores (Ron ex-girlfriend), and, unfortunately, Warmonga as villain.
** All the villains appear in the epilogue, including Monkey Fist, who was turned to stone in a previous episode, and is STILL stone in the finale.
* The 1970s animated ''WesternAnimation/FlashGordon'' ends its first season with most of the allies Flash has made in all the previous episodes gathering together for a big final battle with Ming the Merciless.
* Numerous characters from various ''WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}}'' episodes briefly turn up in the finale as [[spoiler: guests at the wedding.]]
* Numerous villains (Outside of supervillain meetings) and secondary characters from WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor appeared at the final episode.
* Unicron returns for GrandFinale movie of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** [[EnsembleDarkHorse Derpy Hooves]] makes a few cameo appearances in the [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E13MagicalMysteryCure Season 3 finale]] after practically an entire season of being absent.
** In ''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightsKingdomPart2 Twilight's Kingdom Part 2]]'', we briefly see the other key givers -- Coco, Spitfire with the Wonderbolts, Cheese Sandwich, Seabreeze, and Silver Shill.
* The last 2 minutes of the finale of SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperforceGo has almost every ally in the series make a cameo [[spoiler: to join the war against Skeleton King. Sadly, the episode (and series) [[OffscreenMomentofAwesome ends before we can see them all in action.]] ]]
* "Turf Wars", the final episode of the 2006 revival of ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars'', featured [[spoiler:Vinnie's old girlfriend Harley from the original 1993 series]] as the main antagonist.