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.
- 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!
- Back to the Future Part III recreates the famous spinning licence plate scene as the De Lorean is destroyed.
- 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.
- The POV sequence in the Doom movie.
- Quantum Of Solace: Fields' death is a homage to the beginning of Goldfinger. The agent Bond kills by hitting his own tie is an homage to The Spy Who Loved Me.
- 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 40000: 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.
- The final words of Star Trek: Voyager's final episode are the same as the final words of its first, both times spoken by Captain Janeway: "Set a course...for home."
- 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."
- 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.
- The more recent Castlevania games have repeated references to past games in the series and even the original Dracula novel. A specific example comes from 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 Rondo of Blood.
- In Order of Ecclesia, before Shanoa goes to enter the castle, she says something a long the lines of "I am the morning sun, coming to vanquish this horrible night", or something. In Lament of Innocence, the character specifically says I'll kill you AND the Night. Internal Homage? Or just a coincidence?
- "What a horrible night to have a curse" and "the morning sun has vanquished the horrible night" from CV2 Simon's Quest might have something to do with that.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) had several of these. The game, however, was unredeemable, and as such is seen by some as a disgrace to those older moments.
- On the other hand, you can expect to find at least one of these in recent Mario games. And let's not get into Super Smash Bros....
- 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.
- The Metal Gear games love doing this; Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 are full of them.
- 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. If this wasn't confusing enough, 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 (and arguably least popular) game in the series, thus predating both OOT and LTTP. It's generally believed that the towns were named for the sages, and thus Zelda II came after OOT chronologically, but this is a good example of why fans can't agree on a definite timeline for the games.
- Actually, the order for the first 4 main games (including all those mentioned here, and excluding The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening) are rarely contested, and the backstories for all of the games seem to be in complete agreement (things get really complicated after OOT, though). Zelda 2 was explicitely a direct sequel to the first game (Ganon is dead, etc) and contained a number of towns with appropriate fantasy-style names. Zelda 3 was written as a prequel which explained the origin of Ganon in its backstory and talked about the 7 sages and featured their descendents. Zelda 5 was written as a prequel to Zelda 3 and covers the events talked about in its backstory, and as a bonus includes characters with the names of the towns from Zelda 2, retroactively causing those towns to have been named after the sages. Not TOO complicated.
- 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 Assassins 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.
- 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.
- 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.