When a series deliberately references an event from its own past. This goes a bit deeper than a Call Back
or Continuity Nod
: An internal homage recreates images, lines, or even entire scenes from the franchise's past. These homages are generally not recognized by the characters in-story (save for, perhaps, a Deadpan Snarker
or other Fourth Wall Observer making it clear for the audience
). Similarly, it's distinct from History Repeats
in that the recreation of the scene isn't important to the plot (the scene itself may be important, but not the fact that it's happened before). In general, an internal homage is a treat for longtime fans of the series to catch.
A subtrope of Mythology Gag
. Book Ends
(and by extension, Here We Go Again
) are a manifestation of Internal Homage. Expies
, especially of the Generation Xerox
variety can be used to this end as well. Continuity Reboots
and otherwise alternate-continuity stories will often use Internal Homages to appease fans of the franchise's past. Extreme cases do this Once an Episode
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- Digimon kills off at least one Leomon or otherwise lionlike mon in every continuity from Digimon Adventure onward (thus exempting the earlier Digimon V-Tamer 01). The degree of relevance or tragedy varies. Adventure 01: A Leomon that was friendly to the main characters - tragic; Adventure 02: a generic SaberLeomon; Tamers: Jeri's Digimon partner, murdered by Beelzemon - Most tragic of all of them; Frontier: A twofer, an IceLeomon was part of Sakakkumon's internal defense, defeated by Takuya: Koichi was killed (again) at the end by Lucemon, and his Beast Spirit was called KaiserLeomon (in the original Japanese, anyway)
- The beginning of chapter 424 of Bleach is a reversed homage to the beginning of the first chapter. After we again are given Ichigo's "profile" altered to note that he cannot see ghosts anymore we're then shown a color spread which is like the first one except Rukia isn't there and all the people with portraits in the background are turning away.
- The first Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS involved a dispatch mission that was a homage to the early episodes of Season 1, what with it involving a Lost Logia that landed on Earth which created a Monster of the Week that the rookies had to defeat via sealing, much like Nanoha did on her first outings as a Magical Girl. Given a Lampshade Hanging after the mission was over, with Fate mentioning to Nanoha how the entire thing reminded her of the past and Nanoha thinking of sending an email to Yuuno about the entire thing afterwards.
- Following the mid-series time skip, One Piece returned with a color spread mirroring the very first, only with added crew members and post-time skip designs, as well as a volume cover mirroring also the very first, with updated crew members.
- Quite a few Superman covers reference the cover of the Action Comics issue in which Supes first appeared (the page image is from Infinite Crisis, with Superman from Earth-2/Kal-L striking regular Superman/Kal-El). Superman Returns even staged it in live action.
- DC Comics character Blue Beetle II, Ted Kord, died in Countdown to Infinite Crisis on his knees, with a gun to his head. In Blue Beetle #24 (2006 series), Blue Beetle III, Jaime Reyes, breaks out of an alien prison and scavenges clothing and equipment off the aliens he dispatches that end up putting him in something that greatly resembles Ted's costume. Then he's re-captured by the Big Bad, who puts him on his knees and puts a gun to his head in an obvious callback to Ted's fate. The cover made it explicit, showing the scene with Jaime repeating Ted's last words ("Rot in Hell!").
- In the Flashpoint miniseries "Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown", the title character's first lines upon awakening are almost exactly what he says upon awakening in the present day in his Seven Soldiers miniseries, even though history's been changed in Flashpoint so that, among other things, he wakes up 60 years earlier.
- Rainbow Dash's nightmare in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) #6 is basically a re-telling of the events of her micro-series comic if she failed to stop the Cloud Gremlins. They even make a cameo!
- Detective Comics Vol. 1 #387 (the 30th anniversary issue), Detective Comics Vol. 1 #627 (the 600th issue since Batman showed up) and Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27 (the 75th anniversary issue) all contained updated versions of "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate", the first Batman story from Detective Comics Vol. 1 #27.
- Incredible Hulk #393, another 30th anniversary issue, revisited the site of Banner becoming the Hulk, and answered the question of what happened to Igor Drenkov, the undercover Commie agent who didn't call off the test explosion of the gamma bomb when Banner ran out onto the field to rescue Rick Jones. The cover◊ was also an homage to the first issue's cover◊.
- The opening scene of Muppet Snow White, in which Gonzo as The Narrator introduces himself and Rizzo as The Brothers Grimm, and Rizzo/Wilhelm doubletakes at the idea, is an internal homage to the opening scene of The Muppet Christmas Carol, in which Gonzo as The Narrator introduces himself as Charles Dickens, and Rizzo doubletakes at the idea.
- Toy Story 2 has several homages to the first movie, including a recreation of the shot of Woody discovering Buzz Lightyear, but with Buzz and the newest version of himself.
Film (Live Action)
- Harry Potter: Ron to Hermione, Book One: Are you a witch or what? Six books later, Hermione says to Ron: Are you a wizard or what?
- Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts, in the book The Guns of Tanith, had Gol Kolea rescuing Tona Criid and getting shot in the back of the head afterward, losing his memory and personality. In Sabbat Martyr, the same thing happens. One of the Ghosts who had been present the earlier time recognises this happening and pulls Kolea to safety before history fully repeats.
- Gregory McDonald has sections from earlier books in Son Of Fletch, mostly to emphasize the difference in character attitudes towards racism.
- In Ender’s Game, Ender instructs his Space Cadets that, in the zero-gravity environment of the Battle Room, the enemy's gate is down. In Children of the Mind, Peter and Wang-mu are trying to disable the Little Doctor, and he helps her orient herself by telling her: "The device is down. You're falling toward the device."
Live Action TV
- The first episode of Homicide: Life on the Street begins with Detective Lewis and his partner searching for a shell casing in an alley, followed by Bayliss entering the homicide department, full of wide-eyed naivete, with his possessions in a file box. In the final episode, Bayliss repacks his possessions into the same file box and leaves the department (having just murdered a suspect), at which point we cut to Lewis and his current partner in the same alley, again looking for a shell casing. They exchange exactly the same dialogue.
- Then, in the reunion/finale movie, when Gee dies, he finds himself in an afterlife police station, where he plays cards with the two regular characters who had been Killed Off for Real (allowing all the previous regulars to appear for the reunion) as a number of past victims of unsolved crimes from the show's history wander the department.
- In "Nearer My God To Thee" (episode 14), Munch issues a cynical monologue about TV and technocracy; in "Kaddish" (episode 73), a Whole Episode Flashback, a younger John Munch delivers the same monologue, but with a hopeful tone.
- In the 1996 US-made Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie, the newly regenerated Doctor, after waking up naked in a morgue, looks through several lockers for clothes, finding several items which were associated with previous incarnations of the character, such as a long striped scarf.
- Similar scenes followed the regenerations of the fourth, seventh, and tenth Doctors, although these all take place in the TARDIS's wardrobe room and it is consequently rather less remarkable that the Doctor should encounter clothing similar to that worn by his earlier incarnations.
- Also in the movie, one of the other characters, while trying to cover for the Doctor, claims that the Doctor's name was "John Smith", unaware that the Doctor had used this as a pseudonym previously.
- Seeing as pretty much everyone who works on New Who is a childhood fan (including the Tenth Doctor!), there are many, many internal homages to Classic Who across the series, some subtler than others.
- "Day of the Doctor" opens with an Homage Shot to the very first episode of Doctor Who ("An Unearthly Child"), displaying the old logo and showing the shadow of a policeman against a brick wall in black and white. It then fades into colour and we cut to the current assistant working at the same school that the two first companions, Ian and Barbara, taught at.
- There's a blink-and-you-miss-it shot in a Time-Compression Montage in "A Christmas Carol" where the Eleventh Doctor shows up wearing a garter-stitch scarf very similar to the Fourth Doctor's, but adjusted for Eleven's general colour scheme (it's grey, plum and green).
- The ending of "Asylum of the Daleks", when the Dalek Oswin attacks the Doctor, uses an Homage Shot to the famous cliffhanger from "The Dead Planet" where Barbara is cornered at the end of a passageway by a Shaky P.O.V. Cam Dalek represented only by its plunger.
- When the Ninth Doctor is being tortured via Agony Beam in "Dalek", there's a direct Homage Shot to the Victim of the Week who was being tortured in the Sixth Doctor story "Vengeance on Varos".
- The opening shot of "Rose", of the Earth hanging in space, is an Homage Shot to the Third Doctor serial "Spearhead From Space", which has a lot in common with "Rose" (both the first stories after a hiatus, both presenting a dramatic increase in production values as compared to the show before, both starting with a new Doctor, new companion and new setting, both being written as entry points for newcomers, both being about the Autons).
- Used again for the 'Trek verse, though in different series'; amusingly, both had Scotty present.
Alien: What is it?
Scotty: -looks at liquid- It's...it's, uh... -sniffs it- It's green!
Scotty: What is it?
Data: -looks at liquid- It is...it is, ah...-sniffs it- It is green!
- In the Supernatural episode "Mystery Spot", Sam repeats Dean's mumbled, little-boy-lost line of "He's my brother" to The Trickster. In "All Hell Breaks Loose", Dean thought nothing of the fact that Sam might be in a better place and in this episode, Sam thinks nothing of the fact that Dean was (from his point of view, anyway) was getting tortured in hell. Both of them just wanted their brother to be with them again. Oh, boys. Selfish, co-dependent, fucked up boys.
- The pilot episode gets a host of specific homages. Sam recreates the 'Take your brother outside...' line in 'Home'. His final line in the pilot is repeated by Dean at the end of series 2 and a twisted version used at the end of 'Lazarus Rising', and in 'What Is and What Should Never Be', Dean, after they've just recreated the fight, cheerfully repeats his lines as well.
- The end of the season 4/volume 5 of Heroes has Claire ONCE AGAIN killing herself on camera, complete with the line, "My name is Claire Bennet, and this is attempt number..." She is doing this to a whole bunch of news cameras though, in an attempt to bring the truth out in the open.
- She also jumped off the same structure earlier in the series, to bring her memory-wiped friend back up to speed. "As far as you know, this is attempt number one."
- The Colbert Report's 100th episode saw the return of the show's first guest.
- Jeopardy!'s 3,000th episode's first round features the clue categories from the first episode.
- Grange Hill opened its 26th season with a new batch of first year students...who all bore vague similarities to the first year students of its very 1st season, including their names and general behavior. Plotlines and characterizations diverged significantly after that first episode, however.
- It is very common for the Heisei Kamen Rider series to have one monster who is grasshopper-based (scarves are optional), and an obvious tribute to the original Kamen Rider 1. Examples include the Arch Orphenoch from Faiz, the Batta (grasshopper) Yummy from OOO and Zu-Badzu-Ba from Kuuga.
- The Grasshopper Yummy was an even bigger homage than just having the design: Yummies are spawned from the desires of the Victim of the Week. In this case, it was the desire for justice (which was warped into a Knight Templar sorta thing.) So you had a grasshopper monster who fights for "justice" and makes a "toh!" sound when jumping like any good Toku hero from The Seventies.
- Interestingly, the Hopper Dopant was not a homage to the old-school Riders. She was a scarily psychotic villainess whose monster form was disgustingly insectoid. However, her belt does have a prominent red circle that could be seen as a homage to the fan design on Rider-1 and Rider-2's drivers (which collected wind energy to power them up.) But she sure wasn't the expected "oldschool rider but a bit monster-y."
- Then there are the more subtle ones. Kamen Rider Kuuga, the first series of the revival, has a spider and a bat as the first Monsters of the Week, like the first series overall. Kamen Rider Agito, the second series of the revival, has a trio of feline monsters and trio of turtle monsters as the first Unknowns seen, homaging Turtle Bazooka and Scissors Jaguar, the first monsters of Kamen Rider V3, the second series overall. Agito also has a scorpion monster with a design and weaponry very similar to the crab-based Doktor G, The Dragon of V3, and both debuted in episode 13.
- The bat/spider monster homage is seen many times. Now, most monsters in the franchise are animal based so there's nothing special about many instances of a bat and/or a spider being somewhere. However, Kamen Rider Black has a bunch of spider monsters as the first threat Black faces, followed by the debut of a bat monster who will serve as a spy, air support, and general go-fer for the bad guys almost all year. Kamen Rider ZO has Doras send two pieces of itself as monsters to halt the hero. Naturally, one is a bat and one is a spider. Doras itself falls into the old-school-rider-like villain category. Kuuga: see above. Kamen Rider Ryuki has a spider as the first monster; the bat is the second if we can count Kamen Rider Knight's Bond Creature. Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, using Ryuki footage, has it even better: in addition to this, you've got one hero an Unlucky Everydude in red with a black version of his suit representing (at least initially) his temptation toward darkness, and another who's bat themed and scary even to the people he protects and flashbacks show him as a loner who fights at night. Any of this sound familiar? Kamen Rider Kiva has a spider as the first enemy (becomes a recurring nuisance enemy) and a bat as the last enemy (what else would the Big Bad of a race of vampire-like enemies turn into?) Kamen Rider Double starts the tradition of cute little robotic helper gadgets; the first are a bat (turns into a camera) and a spider (used as a grappling… thing.) Even better, a prequel movie shows Kamen Rider Skull, Shotaro's mentor, becoming a Rider for the first time. He fights an actual Spider and Bat Dopant, meaning if we go by in-universe chronology, the first villains in Double were indeed a bat and a spider.
- The first Barbie and Ken dolls came with a zebra stripe swimsuit and red swim trunks, respectively. As an homage, Barbie's 50th anniversary saw the release of a doll with a zebra stripe bikini. Ken's 50th anniversary a few years later coincided with Mattel's announcement that he and Barbie finally decided to become an Official Couple again, so a giftset of the two dolls in updated versions of their original swimsuits became available.
- Happens quite often in console role playing games (which admittedly don't last as long): the background music of climactic moments, such as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and the Amazing Technicolor Battlefield, can incorporate elements from previous tracks or games. This is another possibly coolest thing ever.
- Some Castlevania games have repeated references to past games in the series and even the original Dracula novel. A specific example comes from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, at the end of Julius Mode. When the player confronts Soma Cruz, he throws his wine glass at the player after taking a sip and starting the fight, which is what Dracula did in the previous games before the final battle. In addition, the song played during the fight and the boss' second form are both from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) had several of these, as the game is a Milestone Celebration.
- Sonic Generations, being another Milestone Celebration, also features a healthy amount of these, though not the fact that the entire game is levels from previous games (the plot explicitly states this as time travel and is technically not an example). Instead, the levels get several redesigns, causing them to homage levels and songs from other games either by visual appearance or by recreating actual segments of gameplay and level design.
- Frequently seen in some Mario games.
- The entire point of Super Smash Bros.. Several Nintendo franchises are represented through playable characters, stages, trophies, and other features.
- The Metal Gear games love doing this; Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 are full of them. In fact, much of the "point" of MGS2 was that the entire hostage situation was a recreation of the events of MGS1, in an attempt to control history itself.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Princess Zelda is one of seven sages who are responsible for placing a seal on the Sacred Realm. In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Princess Zelda (a different one) and six other girls are descended from the seven sages who sealed that realm — but the twist here is that Link to the Past came out first. In addition, five of the other sages are named Nabooru, Saria, Darunia, Ruto, and Rauru. These are also the names of towns that Link visits in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link — which was the second game in the series, but chronologically after both OOT and LTTP.
- Thunder Force VI, being a tribute to the series, has this in spades. One of the unlockable ships is an updated version of the Rynex from Thunder Force IV, and one of its weapons is the Blade, also from TFIV. Stage 2 borrows many elements from Thunder Force III's 2nd stage, even going so far as to have a 1-up in a very similar fireball obstacle. For Stage 5's boss, depending on what ship you're using, the music will be a remix of either Cool's theme from Segagaga or the Cerberus's theme from Thunder Force III. Right after that boss, you fight giant versions of the player ships of past Thunder Force games, which comes with even more remixes. Finally, the first part of the last stage has the same box obstacles from Thunder Force V. There's so many references to past Thunder Force games that many believe that this game pushes them a little too far.
- Sam & Max drive to the Moon in their DeSoto in all iterations, though how they accomplish it each time changes due to the different natures of the continuities. In the comics, they fill the tailpipe with matchheads, which somehow gets them to the moon. In the cartoon, they effectively rocket jump to the moon with their car. In the game, they simply drive offscreen and reappear on the moon.
- Sector Z in Iji is filled with references to Daniel Remar's earlier games, and Hero 3D is a reference to one in particular. Hero Core pays Iji back with Annihilation mode showing you Ciretako.
- In Assassin's Creed II Memory Sequence Bonfire of the Vanities, you have to kill nine subordinates of the current villain who has the Apple before you can vanquish him. Sound like the first game to you?
- Ridge Racer has the tracks plastered with homages to previous games by Namco. Type 4, to begin with, has a Pac-Man animation on the starting line's big screen and Pac-Man World sculptures on one track, as well as Klonoa: Door to Phantomile ads on the track called Phantomile. The fifth game, meanwhile, has the logos of the megacorporations from Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere out there.
- Super Robot Wars Z2 gives one to the Nu Gundam. Its final attack is a direct call-back to the the original Gundam's famous Last Shooting◊. No wonder the community agrees that they blew the animation budget on Nu Gundam.
- Harvest Moon celebrated its tenth anniversary with two games. One of the two games, Magical Melody, featured various characters from the original SNES game.
- Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse, and later Epic Mickey, recreate the scene from the cartoon "Thru the Mirror" where Mickey crosses over into the mirror world. Magical Mirror also recreates the scene where Mickey grows and shrinks.
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game starts with an update of the "Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?" commercial from the first movie. At the end of the commercial, Peter says, "Franchises available soon...call for details!"
- Linkara's anniversary episodes always have to do with Spider-Man's The Clone Saga, because that's what his very first video review was about. He also celebrates the anniversaries of the show proper (the anniversary of his text recaps as opposed to video reviews in general) by reviewing an issue of Youngblood, his first text recap.
- The third RP of Darwin's Soldiers references the scene where Cale gets shorted-out by saline solution.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender :
- In the Season 2 finale, the sequence where Aang briefly wakes up from his brush with death is staged nearly identically to the sequence in the first episode of Season 1 when he and Katara meet.
- Less significantly, both the first and last episodes of Season 1 have Iroh offering Zuko the sage advice "A man needs his rest."
- Much later, Sokka attempts to surprise Suki with a kiss while wearing a local guard uniform (as she did him when last they met). Of course he failed to consider that while she did so while working security for a ferry terminal in the unoccupied Earth Kingdom, he was trying the same thing while disguised as a guard in the Fire Nation's most secure prison. Suki bounced him off the wall of her cell before his helmet came off.
- Transformers is forever homaging lines from the 1980s animated movie. "One shall stand, one shall fall" is popular. We get that one (at least in part) and more in Transformers Cybertron, with "Why throw away your life so recklessly?" and "Such heroic nonsense!" Sometimes it's used in a twist. For example, the first time a Megatron yelled STARSCREEEEEEAM! at the top of his vocal processor, it was begging Screamer not to throw him off the ship in deep space. Every other Megatron since has yelled it upon discovering Starscream's betrayal - before embarking on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge over said backstabbing.
- Similarly, the first use of "I still function!" was part of Megatron's plea in that scene. Every other time, it was a damaged Determinator disproving "No One Could Survive That."
- Some of the tragic Transformers Animated Waspinator's dialogue is a Dark Reprise of wacky Butt Monkey Beast Wars Waspinator's dialogue.
- Sometimes, it's subtler. Ironhide's trainees in a live action movie-based comic are Strongarm, Signal Flare, and Skyblast. In Transformers Energon, those were the names of the three varieties of Omnicons, and a very different Ironhide led a team consisting mostly of Omnicons.
- The Transformers Wiki has a "Transformers References" section for every episode or issue. Much of it is simply "Starscream mentions last issue's events" but you'd be surprised how many sly homages there are. After all, it's a franchise that's been going across multiple media with several countries producing original fiction almost continuously since 1984, and everything, however obscure, is some fan's favorite and some author's favorite, and some of the creators just like throwing in obscure homages for fun. The result is every single member of any crowd scene in Transformers Animated being a past character, though it may be as obscure as "That off-white Bumblebee repaint sold briefly and only in Brazil." (Aka Sedan.)
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold is all over this, especially in regards to the episode featuring Superman. In that episode alone, they are mostly homages to various comic cover shots (such as Jimmy Olsen's death trick, Superman becoming King of Earth, "Jungle Jimmy" complete with his gorilla bride, etc.), but two in particular come from the first Superman film — one where Superman puts a cat in a tree◊ (an inversion of the scene in the film where he rescues a cat from a tree), and one where he calls Luthor a "diseased maniac".
- ThunderCats (2011) contains numerous Mythology Gags, but the most iconic scene (Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats HO!) is a shot-for-shot remake of the original.
- What was intended to be South Park's 100th episode (it was actually the 97th) starts out with the events of the first episode repeating exactly as before.
- "The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!", the tenth anniversary special of... well... guess, takes its Mario Kart-homage sequence almost directly from the first Whoopass Girls short, in which the Girls race Him.
- Twilight Sparkle's first meeting with the human Fluttershy in My Little Pony Equestria Girls plays out very similarly to her first meeting with the original Fluttershy in the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, including Fluttershy's Cuteness Proximity reaction to Spike.
- Homestar Runner's 10th Anniversary saw the re-creation of the children's book the Flash-animated web series was based on (The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest) as an episode of said series.
- The first episode of Red vs. Blue ("Why Are We Here?") featured Grif and Simmons of Red team talking, and Simmons asks "Why are we here?" Grif answers with a monologue about life, God, and the universe, while Simmons meant "why are we stationed here?" In the last episode ("Why Were We Here?"), Caboose asks Church the same question in a similar situation, and Church launches into a speech about love, hate, and taking orders, while Caboose simply meant "Why are we here in the sun when we could be over there... in the shade?"
- In the first episode, Simmons and Grif were talking on top of their base while Church and Tucker were spying on them with a sniper rifle. In the final episode, Church and Caboose are talking on top of their base while Simmons and Grif were spying on them with a sniper rifle.
- A bit earlier, in the last episode of the first season there was another homage to the opening of the first episode: Grif and Simmons are talking on the roof of the base. Simmons asks, "You ever wonder why we're here?" and Grif replies, "No. I never, ever wonder why we're here. Semper fi, bitch."
- Another homage to the opening scene comes near the end of Revelations when Sarge is convincing Grif and Simmons to help him save Church and Tex. He asks them if they've wondered why they're here, with the camera then panning to show the two in the exact same position. Grif admits it something they've discussed, but Sarge instead stresses that he's asking why they choose to be here when they could have easily left a long time ago if they wanted.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse includes the following visual nods to Barbie toys:
- "Ken-Tastic, Hair-Tastic" briefly shows Ken sporting a bowl cut made of molded plastic, similar to the "hair" of Ken dolls from The Eighties.
- Episode "Closet Clothes Out" has Barbie dress in a black and white one-piece bathing suit, the first apparel she ever wore since her debut to the world.
- The dress Midge wears during her first day in Malibu looks not unlike an actual 1960s Barbie/Midge dress.
- "Doctor Barbie" seems to have a diagram of the first Barbie doll hanging in Barbie's doctor office.
- "Dream a Little Dreamhouse" has Barbie, Ken, Skipper, and Stacie try to rebuild the original Barbie's Dreamhousenote , for Chelsea to use as a playhouse.