"Is there some sort of epic pony war in the distant future or something?"note
Kevyn: The bolted patch looks very roguish.
I don't want
'roguish,' I want 'depth perception.'
A quick way to indicate that events during a Time Skip
(or in the future
) were not all hugs-n-puppies is to have one of your heroes return wearing an eyepatch.
The reasons a missing eye is used so consistently for this purpose (instead of, for example a missing limb or massive scarring), are:
- It doesn't reduce the character's capabilities. (In real life, the lack of depth perception and vision on that side can be very troublesome, but in fiction this only comes up if the writer wants it to.)
- In a live-action production, removing an actor's arm (et cetera) is hard to fake with special effects, and scars require makeup. A patch is easy.
- Scars elsewhere on the body are less obvious, and may be covered by clothing, but a character's eyes are usually front-'n'-center.
- Eyepatches are cool.
To qualify for this trope, the eyepatch has to be unexplained
when the reader/viewer first encounters it. Any explanation must come later. This is usually a sign that they Took a Level in Badass
, and as such is a common accoutrement of a Future Badass
Possibly caused by an Eye Scream
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Anime and Manga
- In the epilogue of Hellsing, Integra is wearing an eyepatch over the eye she injured while fighting the Major.
- Asuka gained one for Evangelion 3.0, which takes place 14 years after 2.0.
- A variation is used in One Piece. After the timeskip, Zoro is in fact missing an eye, but so far hasn't been seen to use an eyepatch. How he lost his eye has yet to be explained.
- After the Time Skip in The Daughter of Twenty Faces, Ken dons one. This also marks a turning point towards Darker and Edgier for him.
- Roy showed up with one in The Conquerer of Shamballa, the movie finishing the series after a timeskip.
- Nick Fury gained his Eyepatch of Power during the two-decade time skip that turned him from a Howling Commando into an Agent of SHIELD.
- After the "Five Year Gap" in Legion of Super-Heroes comic, Shrinking Violet returns with a missing eye and a nasty scar. (But no patch, alas.)
- Jesse Custer of Preacher falls out of an airplane and is presumed dead, but mysteriously returns wearing a patch. Turns out, his eye was bitten out by God.
- The Crisis Crossover Infinite Crisis was followed by a Time Skip called One Year Later. Afterwards, Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, was sporting an eyepatch (under his domino mask, for some reason). The series 52, which occured during the missing year and filled in a lot of the gaps, explained that Alan lost his eye (And the eye he has left is not even his own) in the massive teleportation disaster that swept up many of Earths heroes at the climax of the Crisis. Creator commentary in Fifty Two reveals that they also felt that the idea of wearing an eyepatch and a mask was ridiculous.
- In the comics continuation of Gargoyles, Brooklyn comes back from his 40 year time dance with a wife, egg, kid, beast and an eyepatch. No official story on how that happened.
- Since at least 1990, Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic regularly hinted at a unpleasant future for our heroes. Most of these stories would show Raphael missing his left eye. An explanation seemingly comes in Image Comics' Volume 3, where Raph gets disfigured and eventually wears a patch, but this would later be ruled Canon Discontinuity. It would later be revealed in a 2010 Tales of the TMNT story that Shadow cut Raph's eye out during battle.
- Spike has acquired one for some reason in the short for Issue #4 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), even though both his eyes clearly work fine in the last panel. Perhaps he just felt it looked cool.
Live Action TV
- In the original 1992-3 airings of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, there were opening and closing bookends set in the present day (that is, the 1990s). These featured a wizened 93-year-old Indiana Jones (played by George Hall), who sported a patch over his right eye, and a pair of glasses over the eyepatch. He also had a long vertical facial scar trailing out from under the patch. No explanation was ever offered for how Indy had lost an eye. The "time skip" element comes into play because Harrison Ford's Indy of course still has both eyes in the film series, set in the 1930s. These contemporary bookends were later all cut out when George Lucas re-edited the show into The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones in the later part of the decade.
- In the Battlestar Galactica reimagining, Saul Tigh loses his right eye to the Cylons some time during their 4 month occupation of New Caprica.
- In Babylon 5, Sheridan's brief visit to the future in season 3 gives the viewer a glimpse of G'kar, who has for some reason lost his right eye. After Sheridan returns to the present, later seasons show how it happens.
- The future Beka from "older Trance's" timeline in Andromeda had one, along with some cybernetics and red hair.
- In Doctor Who, Amy Pond and her army appear with them after time goes wonky. Subverted in that they all have two working eyes; the patches contain tech which allows them to "remember" the Silence.
- Earlier, in "The Android Invasion," astronaut Guy Crayford returns home with an eyepatch. His story was that the Kraals reconstructed him except for one eye, but he later found out that the eye was there, perfectly intact!
- Berric Dondarion of Game of Thrones gains an eyepatch between his first appearance in season 1, when sent on a mission to arrest Gregor Clegane, and his reappearance in season 3, as a battle-scared Rebel Leader. He also changes actors between appearances (from an extra to a substantive role).
- The Papa Wolf version of Nier in the NieR Gestalt version gains one after the five-year time skip between the first and second acts.
- After an unexpected three months go by in The Order of the Stick, we return to find out the bard Elan is wearing a patch. He's only wearing it to look mysterious. He's silly like that.
- During a particularly convoluted bit of flashbacking-and-flashforwarding in Schlock Mercenary, we meet up with part of the crew after a gap of weeks, to find trusty floating robot Ennesby wearing a patch bolted over one optical sensor. It's easily fixed once they get their engineer back from the dead.
- In the Futures Trading arc of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dark Smoke Puncher has a huge scar and a glass eye after Doc jumps forward in time.
- Marsha of College Roomies from Hell!!! got an eyepatch and went crazy after a time skip caused by holes in Dave's memory.
- In S.S.D.D the future version of Norman has a prosthetic eye and is missing his signiature buck teeth. Historical footage of the early days of his revolution show him with an eyepatch.
- Used as a Running Gag in Joe Loves Crappy Movies, whenever a future version of Joe appears. Joe also did a series of bonus sketches showing possible ways he lost the eye (the most popular one being him having donated it to his wife).
- This strip of Yamara does double duty on eyepatch cliches; not only does the character's future self show up wearing one, she acquired it after going off to be a time pirate. (Well. Time privateer. Close enough.)
- Mutant Ninja Turtles Gaiden follows its inspiration by having this happen to Raphael.
- Homestuck has an interesting example. Sollux has his eyes blown out during a duel with Eridan. He then spends the rest of the act with empty eye sockets, but his appearance is otherwise unchanged. When we next see him, it's been three years in-universe, and he's sporting a fashionable pair of eyepatches.
- Even My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic utilizes this trope in the episode "It's About Time". Twilight Sparkle encounters a future version of herself sporting a skintight suit, a bandanna, an eyepatch, and a scar on her cheek (actually a Spy Catsuit, a bandage, a therapeutic eyepatch, and a papercut, respectively).
- Moe Szyslak has an eyepatch in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding" when Lisa gets her future foretold.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) series, Donatello is transported to a Bad Future in "Same As It Never Was." Among the changes are (as you might've guessed), Raphael missing an eye and wearing a patch as an intentional nod to the comics.
- Matrix, the time-skipped Enzo in ReBoot, has an artificial eye.
- Done extensively in Phineas and Ferb: The Movie.
- In Danny Phantom's second movie, The Ultimate Enemy, the future Box Ghost has an eyepatch and a hook hand primarily to show he's not as much of a pushover any more.