A typical HeelFaceTurn comes with a fair amount of buildup. Maybe TheHero had to [[DefeatMeansFriendship beat it into them]]. Maybe they sat through a WorldOfCardboardSpeech, or maybe they discovered that they're NotSoDifferent.

A Heel-Face Return is a complete aversion of this. In this case, an antagonist leaves the scene showing no sign of redemption. At any rate, the next time you see him, he's gone through some off-screen redemption, and is suddenly siding with the heroes. His reason for this will likely be explained later on, but it generally takes awhile to earn the heroes' trust, though it may be a mere [[EnemyMine necessary alliance]].

Simply put, this is an odd variation of a ChekhovsGunman with a dose of HeelFaceTurn. This trope almost always applies to a [[EliteMook noteworthy but technically minor antagonist]], or occasionally to a DiscOneFinalBoss.

This trope [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant does not refer to]] switching [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor back to the good side]] after a FaceHeelTurn.

The inverse of SuddenSequelHeelSyndrome.

!!'''Warning: by their very nature, all examples of this trope are technically spoilers. Therefore, spoilers will be unmarked.'''


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* Ryoko Asakura pulls one of these in the tenth installment of ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', serving as a BoxedCrook. This is the same girl who tried to kill Kyon simply to get a reaction out of Haruhi.
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', when Natsu and his friends return from a mission, they suddenly discover that [[{{Jerkass}} Gajeel]] has joined their guild. They are not amused.
** We do get a flashback that explains the details about why he went from enemy to a member of Fairy Tail, though, but he does play the trope straight by having some problems making the others trust him.
* Loki from ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' was once a leader of the antagonistic group Ragnarok, and an all-around unrepentant {{jerkass}}. In a later arc, he was shown spying on Yomi for Nijima.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'': Hiei gets caught by Yusuke for stealing from his boss, but he returns a couple arcs later as an AntiHero AloofAlly, and stays that way for the rest of the series. In this case it's explained early on that he's been assigned to help Yusuke as a condition of his parole. Refusal to do so would have meant jail time.
* The finale of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' features Goku fighting a boy named [[SdrawkcabName Uub]] in the World Martial Arts Tournament. As it turns out, Uub is the reincarnation of [[EldritchAbomination Majin Buu]], the final and most powerful villain in the series. However, Uub is not fighting Goku out of revenge, but because he entered the tournament to try and support his village with the prize money, and Goku just happens to be his opponent; Uub doesn't even ''remember'' his life as Majin Buu! Goku sees enough physical & emotional strength in the kind Uub that he trains him to become his successor as the guardian of Earth. Majin Buu's reincarnation as Uub was a favor granted by King Enma to Goku, though Goku doesn't actually know this.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Happens to Fidget the bat in a sequel comic based on ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective''.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'', this happens when [[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Grover, Annabeth and Clarisse]] return in "Threat Of Satanic Commonism," on the side of the Prayer Warriors, despite having served the Greek Gods in "The Evil Gods Part 1". To make matters worse, all three of them had been killed before, [[DeathIsCheap and Grover died more than once]]. Similarly, in "The Titans Strike Back," [[HarryPotter Ginny Weasley]] returns from the dead and willingly converts to the Prayer Warriors' side.

* In ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'',
** In ''Film/TheTerminator'', Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger plays the main villain. In ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', his [[BackupTwin seemingly otherwise identical character]]'s goal is to protect John Connor against the main villain. This is because the second T-800 was captured and reprogrammed by the human resistance.
** Sort of happens in the [[Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines third film]] as well (although the "heel" part was off camera) since the Terminator had killed John in the future before it was reprogrammed and sent back.
* Barbossa from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' does this when he returns unexpectedly as one of the good guys at the end of the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest second movie]]. Also, to a lesser extent, Pintel and Ragetti at the beginning of the same movie, for no real reason other than to serve as comic relief.
* Gunnar Jensen spends most of ''Film/TheExpendables'' as one of the main villains, before disappearing at the end of the second act. He reappears in the final scene and is forgiven by the heroes, and he spends the rest of the film series as a hero himself.
* Cecil and his cohorts in the third installment of ''Film/{{Night at the Museum}}''.

* This happened to Hollyleaf in ''Literature/WarriorCats''. When last seen in Sunrise, she tried to murder her mother and confessed another murder she'd committed. She returns in The Forgotten Warrior as a friendly cat who helps defeat real villain Sol and a potential candidate for the fourth cat in the prophecy. A short story was later released to explain this change.
* In ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'', this was [[WhatCouldHaveBeen originally set to happen]] with one of the villains, but the author eventually decided that this would be skirting too close to an AssPull, and so wrote the ''Literature/{{Edgedancer}}'' novella to defy this trope.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Faith from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', unless you saw her arc on ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
* Lytton does this in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "Attack of the Cybermen", as (possibly) does the Master in "The Five Doctors". The latter eventually gets so sick of nobody believing him that he just gives up and decides to kill everybody anyway.
* In ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' Epitaph 2, Alpha is one of the good guys, having experienced some redemption during the ten years between episode 2.12 and the first Epitaph, despite having been a psychopathic serial killer throughout the duration of the show.
* ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'' plays with it with Kuroto Dan, who acts as the BigBad for the first half of the show but immediately joins the heroes upon his revival. He hasn't, however, actually turned ''good'', and remains totally unrepentant for his actions as a villain: it's just that the new antagonists are worse than he is.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This happens a lot when a Heel (Wrestling/TripleH or Wrestling/KurtAngle come to mind) leaves due to injury; when they come back they get a giant pop and likely as not are treated like Faces, at least until they do something Heelish - [[WildCard and maybe not even then]].
* Wrestling/JohnCena arranged for a ''double'' Heel Face Return in August 2010. Wrestling/ChrisJericho and Wrestling/{{Edge}}, who had been unrepentant Heels up until then (Edge had had an earlier Heel Face Return when he'd won the Royal Rumble in January, but he'd subsequently turned heel again after failing to win the World Heavyweight Championship and attacking Randy Orton.) were persuaded by Cena to join him in a coalition consisting mostly of faces (Wrestling/BretHart, Great Khali, Wrestling/JohnMorrison, and R-Truth rounding out the group) after they were all individually attacked by Wrestling/TheNexus. Edge quit the group out of parnoia, while Jericho's egotism and desire to be the leader of Cena's army led to a match between the two that he lost and left due to the match stipulation. However, they eventually decided to fight beside Cena at ''[=SummerSlam=]'' after all. However, both promptly turned heel ''again'' at the actual event (granted, it was largely due to a misunderstanding on Cena's part); Jericho remained a heel for what remained of his WWE career, while Edge turned face for a ''third'' time that year after a confrontation with the ''RAW'' General Manager shortly afterward - leading to his final run prior to his untimely retirement.
** Then when Chris returned in 2012, he managed this and turn heel in the span of ''ten minutes''. And he did it by saying nothing instead of a return promo and basically trolling to the crowd while shouting out things like "Yeah, baby!" for those ten minutes, for the sole purpose of turning the crowd against him. When he finally spoke on the February 6, 2012 episode of RAW, fully completing a heel turn, he outright admitted that he [[{{Troll}} trolled]] the entire audience and called them all Jericho wannabes.
* It doesn't always take an especially long absence, either. [[Wrestling/RonKillings R-Truth]], who was in a tag team with Wrestling/TheMiz, fell victim to Miz's ChronicBackstabbingDisorder. Miz gave him a sneak [[FinishingMove Skull Crushing Finale]], which almost ''did'' (in Kayfabe) crush his skull. Truth was out with a concussion for an even four weeks. (Because the Miz remained a heel, it was R-Truth who was likely turning.) At his next appearance a month later, his wrath had turned on the Miz. And "Little Jimmy" - his apparent ArchEnemy during his heel run - [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} was now his imaginary friend and spiritual advisor.]]
* Wrestling/JeffHardy in 2011-12 is an example of how a wrestler returns as a face and [[ReformedButRejected still gets heat for their past actions]]. Not only did he [[FaceHeelTurn align himself with Immortal]], but also [[DrugsAreBad fell terribly short on his performance at Victory Road 2011]]. So a few months later, Jeff returns and becomes TheAtoner, apologizing to the fans and the locker room for his unprofessional behavior, yet the locker room wasn't receptive to this matter until a few months later. At Bound For Glory 2012, Jeff won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, thus completing his road to redemption.
* Wrestling/CMPunk did it without changing his characterization at all. He just came back and people cheered him -- though returning at a PPV in Chicago and ditching Wrestling/PaulHeyman probably helped.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Rufus Shinra is a major antagonist in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', who is last seen apparently being killed. In ''[[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Advent Children]]'', he shows up again and explains he's seen the error in his ways and is working to undo the damage he did. His repentance kind of makes sense in that the consequences of Shinra Company's activities were extremely dramatic by the end of the game, and nearly were [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt even worse]].
* Levi the Slasher, Fate's EvilTwin from the ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable'' games. In all the routes of the first game, ''The Battle of Aces'', she DisappearsIntoLight while cursing the name of her opponent, remaining an unrepentant AxCrazy OmnicidalManiac until the end. However, when she appears in the ''The Gears of Destiny'' sequel, she's a more friendly and child-like BoisterousBruiser ChallengeSeeker. Her explanation is that her first appearance wasn't her real personality, since she had just woken up from her sealing and was thus acting in a sort of half-sleep state. In addition, there was apparently another route that the players did not see, where she was able to face Fate and got a HeelFaceTurn out of the meeting (In the actual game, Fate confronted a [[IHatePastMe past copy of herself]] at the end of her route instead of Levi).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Franchise/{{Ben 10}}
** Kevin was a recurring antagonist in [[WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}} the Original Series]], but becomes one of the [[PowerTrio main three protagonists]] in ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce Alien Force]]''. The explanation for his change was eventually explained in ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien Ultimate Alien]]''.
** Gwen's ArchEnemy [[EvilSorcerer Hex]] appeared in the first three series as an antagonist, but, when he returned in ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse Omniverse]]'', was revealed to have reformed offscreen. Which was particularly odd given that he was generally depicted as being more evil and with less justification than his niece Charmcaster, Gwen's trapped-in-the-HeelFaceRevolvingDoor rival, although she too would have applied for this trope [[WhatCouldHaveBeen if Gwen's college spin-off had happened.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'' episode "Upstanding Yuck", Yuck once came back as this but Ying and Yang [[ReformedButRejected rejected him so many times]] he decided to go bad again.
* This happens to both Man Bat and the original Clayface in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman''. With Clayface, this is contradictory to what was shown earlier in the series unless you read an issue of the comic series ''The Batman Strikes'' which sets it up.