''Not'' ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin[[note]] [[CaptainObvious unless the character is literally getting on a horse]][[/note]]: When someone who no longer fights on the front lines, perhaps because they [[KickedUpstairs got promoted]] to a [[DeskJockey desk job]], or decided that they were getting too old for this and [[RetiredBadass retired]], returns to battle, either out of boredom or necessity. Can often apply to TheCaptain, a FourStarBadass, or maybe even [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent The President]] or [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething the King]].

Related to TenMinuteRetirement. In the case of BackInTheSaddle, the retirement or promotion typically won't happen in the same story arc as the return to the action. This trope also applies to being KickedUpstairs or being otherwise made into a DeskJockey.

A sister-trope to HesBack, where the hero is out of action because of a HeroicBSOD or otherwises loses his groove.

If a group is involved, may require PuttingTheBandBackTogether.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* An unusually young example, but... in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'', Amuro Ray - the AcePilot from the original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' - is retired, and living in virtual house-arrest, since the Terran Government suspects that he might have spacer sympathies. As it turns out, they're right - after an encounter with the new hero, Kamille Bidan, he decides to join up with the AEUG, and jump back into the pilot-seat of a HumongousMecha. (Though, sadly, he didn't retrieve the original Gundam [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece from the nearby museum]] as many probably had hoped.)
* In the final few episodes of ''{{Macross7}}'' both [[CoolOldGuy Max]] and [[CoolOldLady Miria]] retake their positions as Valkyrie pilots and it is glorious.
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[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* Both ''ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' and ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' feature superheroes coming back from retirement.
** And in ''The Dark Knight Returns'', Franchise/{{Batman}} gets in a saddle.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''HotShotsPartDeux''. After Topper Harley's IWillFightNoMoreForever retirement from the military, he's called back to duty when his old boss is captured while on a rescue mission.
* Film/IndependenceDay: President Whitmore, getting back in the cockpit to rally the surviving military forces after they have been on the wrong side of a CurbStompBattle in order to SaveTheWorld. Foreshadowed earlier in the film with discussion that he was elected as the youthful war hero, only to be seen as being too young to be an effective politician.
** Quite a few of the other pilots were long-since retired, including Russell, who hadn't flown a military jet since the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar.
* ''Film/{{Predator}}''. Dillon, who at one time been one of Dutch's comrades but ended up a pencil pusher at the CIA. He went along on the mission to save his CIA friends.
* ''SpaceCowboys''. A team of retired test pilots are called into action to repair a faulty satellite.
* ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture''. [[strike:[[TheCaptain Captain]]]] [[FourStarBadass 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 ''[[JurisdictionFriction command]]'' [[JurisdictionFriction of the Enterprise]], but rather is in command of the ''mission'' the Enterprise is on. Captain Decker has the responsibility (and arguably, the fun) of commanding the ship itself.
** ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'': 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 during the mission, as Captain Decker did in the previous film, but Spock insisted that the Enterprise rightfully belonged to Kirk. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Maybe because]] [[GenreSavvy he knew what]] [[HeroicSacrifice happened]] to the [[MauveShirt last guy]].
** [[RuleOfThree And of course]], in ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'', Kirk gives Picard a piece of cautionary advice to never let himself be put behind a desk. It's also averted at the beginning of the film when Captain Harriman offers to let Kirk take command of the ''Enterprise-B'' during a crisis, but Kirk says that Harriman's place is in the center seat.
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers''. Rico's teacher Mr. Rasczak retired from the Mobile Infantry and became a school teacher, probably because he lost part of his left arm. After the start of the Bug War he rejoins the Mobile Infantry with the rank of Lieutenant, with a cybernetic replacement on the stump of his arm. There's also Drill Sergeant Zim, who is so eager to get back on the front lines that he deliberately gets himself demoted to Private to do so.
** Happens to Rico himself in WesternAnimation/StarshipTroopersInvasion. Long since promoted in the now years long war he returns to duty when the mission needs more help.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', two characters do this:
** Commissioner Gordon hasn't had much to do since Gotham City became (mostly) peaceful. He gets back into the swing of things when Bane comes to town.
** Batman has been retired for years at the beginning of the film, but he gets so antsy that he's back in the Batpod's saddle within thirty minutes.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Mad Eye Moody is retired but is called back to active service by Dumbledore when Voldemort comes BackFromTheDead.
* In the ''Literature/{{Deathstalker}}'' series as part of Owen's plan to overthrow Empress Lionstone they plan to recruit Jack Random, the "[[RebelliousSpirit professional rebel]]". To their surprise, Random is now an old, world-weary retiree who, after one defeat too many, has taken up janitorial duties. They manage to bring him back in and he proves to still have a good bit of fight in him.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'' 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.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' has had General Hammond coming to TheSquad's rescue on a number of occasions. The most noteworthy case probably being when he showed up with his BigDamnGunship in the Season 7 finale.
** General O'Neill got to pull one of these in a later season when TheSquad finds an [[NeglectfulPrecursor Atlantean]] [[CoolStarship Puddlejumper]], which he uses to save the day because he is one of the [[BornWinner few people]] they know of who can operate one.
* In ''Series/UpstairsDownstairs'', James Bellamy is given a staff job when his views on the battle of Mons in UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne are made public by Tory sympathisers. Later on, due to the frustrations of being away from the real fighting, and with the help of Hazel, who pulls a few strings for him, he returns to the front as a Major.
* ''[[{{Series/Mash}} M*A*S*H]]'' had a subversion when an old friend of Colonel Potter's shows up wounded at the 4077th. Potter initially thinks he transferred from the rear because he wanted to be useful again, but his friend tells him he only accepted a front-line command to earn his Combat Infantry badge (which would mean a promotion and a better retirement). The men under his command tell Potter he was utterly hopeless in the field and nearly got them all killed.
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* In ''VideoGame/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar'', Dietrich Kellerman, the legendary Belkan AcePilot-turned-VeteranInstructor (and you have to be really good to become a legend of the [[BadassArmy Belkan Air Force]]), is sent back to the frontlines during the Belkan War to boost the troops' morale.
* In VideoGame/MetalGearSolid, Solid Snake [[strike:gets back to business]] is kidnapped and forcibly recruited after retiring to raise sled dogs in Alaska.
* 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.
* This gets Lt. General Raul of ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'' killed in one of many [[FissionMailed false]] [[BadEnding bad endings]].
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'', 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 VoiceWithAnInternetConnection 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 PoweredArmor. On the second, he was returned to a younger age through the use of a [[AppliedPhlebotinum Lazarus Pit]]. Both times, his [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome heroic theme]] from ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' plays for him. Both can be conveniently watched [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqRATvE-gXo here]].
* In ''ThePowerpuffGirls'', the decrepitly old Captain Righteous and Lefty are brought out of retirement because of their reputation in the past of being the only ones able to stop the Ministry of Pain. The Ministry themselves are also decrepitly old and have gone senile. They could have easily been stopped by the Powerpuffs, though Blossom insists that Righteous and Lefty be allowed to do it because the girls needed to respect their elders.
* ''WesternAnimation/WingCommanderAcademy'': In one episode, the ''[[TheBattlestar 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 [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking personally take part in the fighting]].
** Also {{inverted}} in at least one episode, where Tolwyn has Maverick stay aboard the ''Claw'' and supervise from the bridge while the rest of the fighter wing goes to fight the Kilrathi, in order to teach the cadet what it [[AnAesop means to be in command]], knowing that [[TheChainsOfCommanding others might die following your orders]].
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