All five of the Robinsnote . All of them have been sidekicks to the same guynote Also...
"Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts,' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.' Then he explained the name is the important thing to inspire the necessary fear. You see, no one would ever surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley."
A Legacy Character is a character whose identity is passed down to them from an older character in the form of a title, job or persona for the newer character to assume. There are many ways this can come about:
- A mentor may pass their mantle on to their sidekick.
- A sidekick is written out of the story and the mentor choses a new person to take on the sidekick's mantle.
- A character learns of their predecessor's legacy and is inspired to take up the mantle on their own.
- The character is a Chosen One in a long line of similarly Chosen.
- The legacy is a title or code name passed along to every person to hold the position regardless of relation, and the title becomes their primary identity.
Outside of the work, Legacy Characters are especially popular as superheroes
and action heroes, or any job that involves a Secret Identity
. Long Runners
that span multiple generations of characters are the most likely to use them, but they can also be created as part of a back-story, such as a Secret Legacy
Adaptations of a work with Legacy Characters to other media often only reference the current or best known holder of the legacy, only referencing other incarnations as a Mythology Gag
. Younger heroes carrying the mantle often get a Rogues Gallery
to match their predecessors, either via villains having kids of their own
(much to the parent's chagrin
), or younger villains "honoring" their own villainous legacy.
This may become Generation Xerox
if everyone around the Legacy Character is also
a Legacy Character. If the Legacy Character is a descendant (probably because Lamarck Was Right
), you've got yourself a Spin Offspring
. If he's a former sidekick, it's Sidekick Graduations Stick
. If an already existing superhero takes the legacy, it may end up as a Second Super Identity
Many involve a formal moment of Passing the Torch
, when the older character hands over responsibility to the younger, or a Take Up My Sword
moment, if the older character dies. This is also convenient in creating change without actually fundamentally changing a title character's book. If people within the universe don't realize that there's a new man behind the mask and thus start spreading rumors he can't die, he's got Legacy Immortality
In recent years, passing the torch to a minority character
has become a popular choice.
Subtrope of Eternal Hero
See also Dying To Be Replaced
. Compare The Nth Doctor
. If the young character, parent, and grandparent each make a unique name for themselves instead of passing down a persona it's Three Successful Generations
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Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon :
- Chibi-Usa, being in training to become the next Sailor Moon, although she only ever appears in-series as a Bratty Half-Pint Sidekick with a cute addition to the name.
- By the same token, Usagi is destined to become the next Queen Serenity.
- .hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet:
- The plot starts when the male and female lead win the in-game characters of the male and female lead from the original .hack games; as well, Mirelle uses the account of Mistral, also from said games — the original Mistral being her mother.
- In addition, Kite's character design has been used by no fewer than four characters to date: Kite himself, Shugo, Azure Kite, Sakuya from .hack//Quantum, and Sora from The Movie.
- In the manga Magic Kaito, the title character discovers his father was a thief, the Kaitou Kid, and takes on the job, to finish what his father started before he died.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Kaiser: after the previous owner of the title, Marufuji Ryo, did a Face Heel Turn and defiled the title, his brother Sho begins waxing and waning in his desire to take it up himself and restore it to its original prestige. He's finally given the mantle (and subsequent deck) by Ryo after Ryo's brush with This Is Your Brain On Evil, and Sho proved himself worthy of the honor by using the deck to successfully defend against a rival bent on eradicating all trace of the Cyber-Style dueling method that made the title of Kaiser so famous.
- Ban and Ginji are the third generation of the Get Backers.
- The eponymous character of Kino's Journey took the mantle of the person who "enlightened" her after he died. Amusingly, she got the idea by accident — at least in the anime version. Hermes mistook her mourning the original Kino for saying her name, and she just ran with it.
- In xxxHOLiC after the disappearance/death of Yuuko, Watanuki made an agreement to live without aging or leaving the shop while he runs it, waiting for her to return.
- Hinted at in the end of Captain Harlock': Endless Odyssey. It's noted in the beginning that Harlock has taken to space with the expressed purpose of looking for a place to die. The end of this series saw him and Tadashi Daiba locked in a Mexican Standoff after Harlock gave Tadashi one of his guns and said, essentially, "Kill me before I kill you. The credits rolled before anyone shot, but it sure looked like a "Dread Pirate Harlock" ending...
- At the very end of Code Geass Suzaku takes over the role of Zero permanently, at the request of Lelouch (the original Zero). Which is actually kind of messed up, given the first thing Lelouch asks Suzaku to do as Zero is kill him.
- In Death Note, L becomes one of these; Light and later Near adopt his persona and identity, though the "mask" is only a letter on a computer screen. Also played with in that everyone Light passes the mantle of Kira to is just a fall guy.
- In the Universal Century (UC) timeline, the various Gundams (Mk II, Zeta, Double Zeta, Nu etc.) created after the end of the One Year War are all Legacy Machines, named in honor of the original RX-78-2. The GM (itself an example of this, being a mass-produced version of the Gundam) and the Zaku have also had their fair share of similar-looking and similarly-named successors as well. The tradition carried on to other timelines, in which the Gundam's successor is usually identified by the familiar white, blue, red color scheme.
- While Char Aznable has had no shortage of expies in other non-UC series, Gundam Unicorn's Full Frontal is (chronologically) his first in-universe Legacy Character.
- Another would be Haro... every UC main story happens to have a Haro about as many times as there is a Gundam. This is also something that has be coming back into vogue, but only in the AU stories. The Cosmic Era, Gundam 00, and Gundam AGE all feature the small mechanical toy.
- Four years after the death of Neil Dylandy aka Lockon Stratos in the season 1 *final battle of Gundam 00, his Backup Twin Lyle took over his codename (as well as his orange Haro).
- Cosmic Era has the Flaga clan, being of superior nature through natural D.N.A, has the habit of being cloned, preserving their powers, ambitions, and devilishly good looks.
- Gundam Wing's sequel Frozen Teardrop does this with Duo and Trowa, both of whom train protégées to pilot Gundams and give them their old names, Duo becoming Father Maxwell and Trowa "Doktor T", which he says stands for Triton, his birth name. Quatre's younger sister Catherine likewise becomes a pilot, but retains her own identity.
- F-Zero Falcon Densetsu has Captain Falcon himself pass down the title of Captain Falcon just before the Falcon Punch.
- 20th Century Boys has a villainous example: after Friend dies, an impostor takes his role.
- Pretty Cure hinted at this in previous series, but it was not until HeartCatch Pretty Cure! that an actual legacy character was included, with Tsubomi's grandmother having been a former Precure.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, 'Seijuro Hiko' is not the name of Kenshin's master. It was the name of the first master of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, and since then, every master (except Kenshin) has taken that name as an alias so that they cannot use their style to seek glory for themselves. Kenshin's master is the 13th person to use that name.
- D.N.Angel plays this straight and subverts it, since every Niwa male is the phantom Thief Dark, but Dark is also a separate being from them.
- Gravion has one in the form of Raven, who was originally Sandman's assistant and passes on his memories through his mask to each successor, allowing each one to benefit from the accumulated knowledge and experience. It also apparently disguises them quite well, since Ayaka was quite capable of passing herself off as a slender bishonen despite her curves. Somehow.
- In Baccano, the name of Felix Walken is passed around from one assassin to another. The current Felix Walken is Claire Stanfield, who purchased it off "a really hot thirty-year old dame" so he could have a legal identity to marry Chane with.
- In Saint Seiya Omega, Kouga takes Seiya's place as the new Pegasus Saint, so does Ryuuhou taking Shiryu's place as the Dragon Saint.
- Yomiko Readman of Read or Die is the nineteenth person to use the codename "The Paper". Her immediate predecessor was her lover/mentor Donnie Nakajima.
- Pandora Hearts
- The identity of "Glen Baskerville" is taken up by those who are chosen by the golden lights of the Abyss. Currently, Levy, Oswald, and Gilbert are the only characters known to have held this position (although the latter was never actually fully realized), but in the manga's present timeline, Leo appears to be next in line to inherit the title.
- Alice inherits the title and powers of B-Rabbit in order to protect Oz, the original B-Rabbit.
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure is split up into different parts (eight so far,) each focusing on a different member of the Joestar family (usually being the son or grandson of a previous protagonist) whose name can be shortened to JoJo (or GioGio in Giorno's case). It's not an official title in-universe (as the nickname is usually just given by random people,) but it's treated as such in the meta sense (to the point that if two JoJos are in the same scene, the newest JoJo is referred to as such, while the older one just goes back to being called by his real name).
- Black Owl, a Golden Age superhero from Prize Comics, was the oldest comic example of this trope. During World War II, the original Black Owl joined the army, passing his costume to Walt Walters, father of Yank and Doodle, the superhero twins (and fellow Prize Comics characters) he once teamed up with.
- James Robinson's Starman:
- May have been the book responsible for the revival of the Legacy Character concept in The Modern Age of Comic Books. It introduced Jack Knight, the son of the Golden Age Starman and reluctant holder of the mantle, as well as grouping together all the unrelated characters who had used the name "Starman" over the years — apparently simply due to the coolness of the name — in a Myth Arc filled with atmosphere and scintillating characterization. One version even appears to have been inspired by the Ziggy Stardust song of the same name (complete with a Lampshade Hanging saying it was the other way around), which the original character preceded by about thirty years.
- After the series ended, Jack Knight handed off his Cosmic Rod to Courtney Whitmore, AKA Star-Spangled Kid and Stargirl, who was a product of a different legacy — her stepfather was Stripesy, the adult sidekick of the Golden Age Star-Spangled Kid. (Though the Star-Spangled Kid had used a variant of Starman's rod, a Cosmic Belt, during the '80s in Infinity, Inc.. The JSA's legacy connections are complicated.)
- When the JSA was rebooted following Infinite Crisis, a new Starman joined the team. It was eventually revealed to be the Legionnaire Starboy AKA Thom Kallor, who had previously spent time on Earth-22. While all he shares with the other Starmen is the name and the ability to fly, Thom has the power of density manipulation and schizophrenia... and his suit is a map of The Multiverse and can function as a portable Cosmic Treadmill to allow easy multiversal travel.
- In the 1960s and 1970s, Marvel Comics had a character called "Captain Marvel" (not to be confused with the one who shouts "Shazam!"); he died from cancer in one of the first large-format graphic novels. In the 1980s, a Coast Guard officer from New Orleans named Monica Rambeau gained energy powers and took the name "Captain Marvel". Eventually, she traded hero sobriquets with the genetically engineered son of the late original Captain, who then operated under the name "Captain Marvel". He was killed, and succeeded as "Captain Marvel" by his younger sister. (This third one came back, but took a different name, Photon — that Monica Rambeau had also used.) The original came Back from the Dead as a Shapeshifter Mode Lock Skrull. In 2012, Carol Danvers (formerly Ms. Marvel) took on the Captain Marvel name herself.
- The ultimate legacy character is Marvel Comics' size-changing hero Doctor Henry Pym; Pym has used five different superhero identities over the years (Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and the Wasp), and no less than six people have adopted his discarded identities at various times.
- Scott Lang and Eric O'Grady have both used the Ant-Man identity (O'Grady is currently using it).
- Rita DeMara the Yellowjacket one.
- Bill Foster both the Giant-Man and Goliath names.
- Clint Barton and Erik Josten the Goliath name (the latter being an interesting case, as he first used the name as a villain, before eventually doing a Heel Face Turn. And in Clint's case, he was Goliath after Josten but before Pym).
- Similar to the case of Clint Barton as Goliath, one of Pym's superhero identities is the Wasp, a name originally held by his ex-wife Janet van Dyne. After being mocked by foes such as Absorbing Man and realizing he needed to move on, Pym discarded the Wasp identity in favor of retaking the Giant-Man identity.
- What's more, both Scott Lang and Bill Foster have inspired their own legacy heroes: Scott's daughter Cassie is currently the superhero Stature, while Foster's nephew Tom currently uses his Goliath identity, thus bringing the total number of Pym legacy characters to eight. Tom wanted to be Black Goliath, but people kept getting the name wrong.
- It gets weirder. Pym also created the robot Ultron, who rebelled and created two more robots (Vision and Victor Mancha) who both rebelled from him and joined The Avengers and the Runaways, respectively. The Vision was programmed using brainwave patterns from Wonder Man. Vision married Scarlet Witch, and had two children with her who were killed but their souls (and thus powers) were placed in the bodies of Wiccan and Speed (members of the Young Avengers; we'll get to them in a minute). Vision was then destroyed in the "Avengers Disassembled" story line. In the aftermath, a young Kang the Conqueror uses his own shapeshifting power armor and data copied from the Vision's remains to become Iron Lad, another Young Avenger. Kang eventually goes back to his own time, but leaves the Iron Lad armor behind, which has now gained sentience thanks to the Vision program and has become a legacy character to Vision I. Whew!
- The Wasp identity is also a legacy mantle in the Ultimate Marvel universe. Following Jan's death during the critically panned Ultimatum crossover, former villainess Petra Laskov was given a similar costume and abilities by S.H.I.E.L.D., and joined the Avengers under the name Red Wasp.
- Wiccan, Speed, Iron Lad, Vision II, and Stature have all been members of the Young Avengers, which is composed entirely of Legacy Characters. But there's the twist that some members' apparent legacies differ from their actual ones: Hulkling is actually Captain Marvel's kid; and while Wiccan looks like he takes after Thor (he started out as "Asgardian"), his powers actually come from the Scarlet Witch.
- Green Lantern :
- Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, turned out to have unconsciously taken the name of the universe-spanning special forces group known as the Green Lantern Corps. His powers are even (indirectly) connected to theirs, revealed as the excess magic removed from the universe by the Corps' bosses, the Guardians. The Silver Age Green Lantern, who begat the Corps, was the revival style of legacy, notable for not quite being a legacy in-character.
- The Corps also makes legacies the standard practice, as when a Lantern dies his/her ring seeks out a suitable replacement. Two notable legacies within the Corps include the Korugarian Lanterns, where Katma Tui and later Soranik Natu have had to live down the reputation of their predecessor Thaal Sinestro; and the Rrab family, as Arisia Rrab is the fourth member of her family in a row to become a Lantern.
- The Trope is deconstructed with Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?, in which it's revealed all of the various Batman incarnations are real. All of them.
- The five Robins, of Batman fame, are somewhat of a special case, each the sidekick of the same unchanging character.
- Dick Grayson, who went on to become Nightwing, left the job to Jason Todd.
- Jason Todd was killed by The Joker.
- Tim Drake figured out Dick's and Bruce's identities, and when he went to persuade Dick to become Robin again he found himself stepping into the position.
- At one point, Tim had a 10-Minute Retirement, leaving the space open for Stephanie Brown, formerly a solo heroine known as the Spoiler. She then died in a Story Arc that shook up Gotham City and readers pretty badly and caused Tim to return to the job.
- The fifth Robin is Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's son. In this case however, he started off as Robin to Dick Grayson while he was Batman, before becoming Bruce's new sidekick once Dick became Nightwing again after Flashpoint. The "Robin" codename itself is sometimes said to be a reference to Robin Hood.
- In Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis actually takes up the Batman identity. The show also has a biker gang calling themselves the Jokers. They paint their faces and dress-up like clowns but are otherwise just an ordinary gang. When the real Joker returns, he doesn't much care for them.
- Elseworld story Dark Knight Dynasty reinvented Batman as a Legacy Character, creating both an ancestor of Bruce's called Sir Joshua of Wainwright who wore bat-motif armour, and a descendant named Brenna Wayne who became a 25th century Batwoman. All three of them faced Vandal Savage.
- Dick Grayson also served as Batman while the latter was recovering from an injury, and returned to the role when Batman "died."
- The Red Hood:
- Jason Todd stole the Red Hood identity from The Joker (making him a Legacy Villain) and also wore the costume of Red Robin, an alternate reality Dick Grayson - a costume now worn by Tim Drake. In at least one alternate future, Tim Drake himself will become Batman, and in another, Damien Wayne will. The Bat Family is less about legacy than clothing fetishes.
- The Killing Joke depicts the Red Hood identity as a sort of extra-disposable Legacy Character shared by the members of a criminal gang, who foisted the hood on whichever accomplice they'd recruited for a specific job and didn't want to risk being seen with. Whether that's right or not depends on which Multiple-Choice Past you prefer for The Joker.
- Nightwing is also a legacy character: the first Nightwing was actually none other than Superman himself, Kal-El/Clark Kent, who needed to become a Batman-like vigilante when he was in the Bottle City of Kandor. He later allowed his cousin Van-Zee (who had an Uncanny Family Resemblance to the Man of Steel) to use the identity to fight crime in the bottle city after Superman left. The best known Nightwing, former Robin Dick Grayson, then decided to adopt the name after he left Batman as a homage to both him and Superman. After One Year Later another former Robin, Jason Todd, became a more sociopathic version to mock Grayson, and a woman named Cheyenne Freemont became a heroic version to help Dick. When Power Girl went to Kandor she also adopted the Nightwing persona. There is also an unrelated superhero called Nite-Wing who got his name from a deli he frequented. The mantle was briefly passed to Chris Kent, the adopted son of Superman. Sometime after poor Chris was trapped (seemingly forever) in the Phantom Zone, Dick Grayson retook the Nightwing identity following his lengthy tenure as Batman.
- Nightwing’s sidekick Flamebird was originally none other then Mr. Action himself, Jimmy Olsen. After he left the bottle city the former Elastic Lad gave the title to the new Nightwing's son-in-law Ak-Var. Post Crisis the original Bat-Girl Bette Kane took the name to impress Nightwing and is probably the best known Flamebird. Supergirl took the identity when she went to Kandor. Even though the first 2 were male the name is now associated with female characters so much that when Superman retook the Nightwing identity, Lois Lane and not Olsen was his sidekick, and the sixth Flamebird Thara Var is the wife of the second Flamebird (who apparently no longer exists). Thara was eventually killed, and in a completely unrelated storyline, Bette decided to take up the Flamebird identity again in order to fight crime with the new Batwoman, her cousin Kate.
- Batman's other sidekick, Batgirl, is also a legacy character. Betty Kane was the original Bat-Girl introduced in the 1950's, but she was retconned out of the DCU history and then brought back again as a minor heroine called Flamebird. Barbara Gordon became Batgirl, the "first" Batgirl in current continuity since Betty Kane never existed, and held the role until The Killing Joke, when The Joker shot and crippled her. The first actual legacy transfer occured when the Batgirl mantle was picked up years later by Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress, when she realized the crooks were more afraid of Batman than they were of her. This only lasted a short while however, since Batman never gave her his consent or blessing. Eventually the costume passed to Cassandra Cain, an "official" Batgirl with the consent and partnership of Batman. Cassandra unceremoniously gave up the identity in the Batgirl 2009 series and took on the new moniker of Blackbat. The cowl was picked up by Stephanie Brown, previously the Spoiler and the fourth Robin (See also Robin entry above), who starred in an acclaimed but short-lived solo series before having the Batgirl mantle returned to Barbara Gordon.
- Batman and Robin's British counterparts aren't exempt, either. The original Knight and Squire were the Earl of Wordenshire and his son Cyril. The Earl was killed by one of his archenemies, and Cyril sank into depression, ending up in the gutter, where he was found by Beryl Hutchinson. Cyril took up his father's codename, becoming the new Knight, and Beryl became the new Squire.
- Phantom Lady was originally Sandra Knight in World War 2. Then because time passes she gave the mantle to her Neice Dee in the eighties. Because time still passes on, Dee died passing it on to her Sandras Grandaughter Stormy Knight in 2006. In 2012, the New 52 introduced the latest Phantom Lady, Jennifer Knight. The prior Phantom Ladies have all presumably been retconned out of existence.
- Clayface, one of the Batman villains, has had no fewer than six entirely different people take the name and powers. In an odd divergence, the original Clayface didn't actually have any powers — until he arranged to duplicate those of his three "heirs".
- This trope is played with in the beginning of Gotham Central, dealing with the actions of Firebug, an arsonist villain who has just returned to Gotham after a long absence. The Gotham City police Department eventually managed to rack down Joseph Rigger and arrested him after him tried to escape out the window, only for him to reveal that he sold the damn suit two years ago after it almost killed him. The real culprit is deduced and arrested, and it turns out to be an upper-class twit who bought the suit and runs around burning down banks for the adrenaline rush.
- After decades as Aquaman's sidekick and a member of the Teen Titans, Garth, the first Aqualad, graduated to the Tempest identity and was ultimately killed off. Following his death, a new Aqualad named Kaldur'ahm (human name Jackson Hyde) appeared and became Aquaman's new sidekick. This Aqualad was initially created for the Young Justice animated series before being brought over into the comics.
- Aquaman also had a replacement when he became the Dweller in the Depths. This proven to only be temporary, and the replacement Aquaman underwent Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Then have also been two Aquagirls (not counting a pair of one-shot characters that took the name for a single issue). The first Aquagirl died, but seems to have recently come back while the second has vanished.
- Archie Comics had published a superhero comic dubbed "the Mighty Crusaders" (Long story!) Well, currently, their teenage children have taken their place to become the New Crusaders.
- Supergirl is an odd case. Suffice to say, there have been several different Supergirls Post Crisis; see the entry for details.
- Rachel Summers, of the X-Men, is the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from an alternate future. She has taken on both of her "mother"'s identities, as Phoenix and currently as Marvel Girl.
- Alan Moore referenced this in Watchmen, his deconstruction of the superhero genre, creating Legacy Characters in the context of a contained story. The "original" Silk Spectre retired early in this world's history and started training and stage-mothering her daughter to succeed her, while Nite Owl I handed over his mantle to an admirer.
- During The Death of Superman arc, there were four vigilantes that took up the mantle. One actually admitted that he wasn't Superman from the start, and another is actually the villain.
- Played with in Neil Gaiman's rendition of The Sandman, where his version of the character, instead of being the latest in the line, is presented as the original of which the earlier characters are merely imitations. Used straight as well: the original Dream dies at the end, passing on his powers to a successor.
- In Gaiman's version, the Sandman is Morpheus, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Dream, and a being who is more powerful than most gods. In 1988, as Gaiman's series began, he escaped from a seven-decade-long imprisonment, which not coincidentally put him out of the way during the years in which the earlier Sandman characters had been operating.
- The original Sandman was a 1930s fedora-and-gasmask-wearing hero with a "gas gun" that knocked out criminals, leaving them for the police to pick up the next morning. In Gaiman's Re Vision, it was explained that this Sandman was (without being consciously aware of it) symbolically filling a gap left in the world by Morpheus' imprisonment. A later series with him, Sandman Mystery Theatre, revealed that he was originally driven by Prophetic Dreams, caused by said imprisonment.
- DC also published, in the 1970s, a superhero called the Sandman who lived in a dream dome and patrolled people's dreams with his wife. In Gaiman's Re Vision, the dream world he patrolled was only a small part of the total Dreaming, staked out by a pair of rogue nightmares during Morpheus' imprisonment; the nightmares posed as his comic-relief sidekicks while manipulating this Sandman's actions to their own ends.
- The Sandman's former sidekick, Sandy Hawkins, drew from both Sandmen when he joined the JSA; he took on the gas mask and sleep gas of Wesley Dodds, and the prophetic dreams that connected him to Dream. He was also briefly ensnared by the aforementioned rogue nightmares and forced to play out the adventures of the '70s Sandman.
- In Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories, the Cobweb and her sidekick Clarice are descended from a line of heroines and villainesses dating back to the 16th century, when their ancestors discovered the secret of parthenogenesis.
- Marvel's MC2 alternate future has a slew of these, the most famous being Spider-Girl, Spider-man's daughter. There's also a new Green Goblin, the original's grandson Normie, though he eventually hands the role back to former heroic Goblin Phil Urich. Many other Marvel heroes have MC2 counterparts, as well as teams, such as the Fantastic Five, the X-People, and Avengers Next, the last of which includes American Dream, a Distaff Counterpart to Captain America.
- Probably the craziest example in The DCU is The Joker's Daughter. Appearing in the mid-70s Batman titles, she claimed to be the daughter of a different Bat-villain each time, with a costume to match. She was eventually revealed as Two-Face's daughter, who rejected her and her mother because he wanted twins. She then joined the cast of Teen Titans as "Harlequin" until that title's cancellation not long after. Afterwards, she mostly disappeared, cameoing Post Crisis as a mental patient and staying that way until the run-up to Infinite Crisis, which had her gleefully claiming to be the daughter of everyone from Doomsday to Punch and Jewelee, until she was killed for shock value and retroactively revealed as the daughter of the Mirror Universe heroic version of The Joker, the Jokester.
- Wildcat in Justice Society of America, upon discovering a hitherto-unknown son with conveniently catlike powers, says the son should use the same codename, with a bit of Lampshade Hanging regarding all the other legacies out there. Unusually, this leads to both the original and the legacy being active on the same team with the same codename.
- A similar problem resulted when Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, came back from the dead... thereby putting him in conflict with his illegitimate son, Connor Hawke, the current Green Arrow. The two shared the title for a few years, but then, probably for ease of use, Connor Hawke was shot and declared brain-dead.
- The Human Torch was originally a Golden Age character from Timely Comics, who was on the cover of the first issue of their flagship title ("Marvel Comics"). He was a Frankensteinian android who could catch fire and fly. When Timely became Marvel in the 60's and Stan and Jack created the Fantastic Four, they reused the Torch's design, this time making him a young human. Eventually, Marvel started bringing back their Golden Age characters, which inevitably led to the two Torches involved in a Let's You and Him Fight situation.
- Young Avengers' Vision isn't the second, but the third. The first is an alien cop called Aarkus. He can fly, create illusions of himself, generate cold, and teleport (but the destination must have smoke! Why? Because he's from a dimension called Smokeworld, duh.) Visually, the android Vision looks like an update of him, but they're quite different characters beyond that.
- Ka-Zar as he is known today is not the first; the Golden Age character is another Tarzan wannabe accompanied by a lion (not a saber-toothed tiger.) He was last seen in The Forties, alongside the first Human Torch. The current Ka-Zar does not seem to have a connection to him.
- Spider-Man's Electro is the third. The first was a robot hero without electrical powers, and the second was an electrical supervillain with the Dirty Commies and fought Captain America.
- Jubilee is the second to have the name and the power set. She seems to be a "we wish we could use that character but can't, so let's make a new one" case: the first Jubilee was part of the Bratpack, a group of kids brainwashed, empowered, and turned into adults by Mojo. They haven't been seen since pulling the plug on the plan reverted them to normal kids and the de-aged Captain Britain (and some others) to his true adult self. Some time later, the X-Men encounter an unrelated girl in a mall with the same powers and codename, and she even introduces herself similarly. The original one, while using her 'fireworks' to attack, said her name was Jubilee, whose every move is a celebration. The more familiar one, while using her 'fireworks' to show off, said her name was Jubilee because with her, every day is a celebration.
- Thor and Loki guest-starred in Venus' solo comic. It's a bizarre case of being the same folks and yet not being them. All were depicted as actually being the mythical characters just like the current ones, so they're the same... but the portrayal was completely incompatible with the current ones, so they can't be. The Norse and Greek gods apparently coexisted in Olympus, and Loki had been exiled. Both looked completely different from the way they do now as well. In Venus' case, there is also a modern version portrayed very differently in the pages of Hercules' comic, but we know what happened there: The Golden Age Venus is a siren (but a good one) who took on the identity and is not the goddess herself as previously thought. The actual goddess is the one from Hercules and insists on being called by her Greek name, Aphrodite, while the one from Venus remains Venus. That she knew a Thor and a Loki who were nothing like the current ones hasn't been addressed.
- Ronnie Raymond, the original Firestorm, was killed off in the controversial Identity Crisis storyline and had his powers passed on to teenager Jason Rusch. Several years later during the events of Blackest Night, Ronnie was resurrected and merged with Jason. In the wake of the DC relaunch, a new Firestorm series was launched that retconned Ronnie and Jason into being teenaged contemporaries who both became Firestorm together after being caught up in the same nuclear accident.
- Firestorm's Arch-Enemy Killer Frost is also a legacy. The original Killer Frost was Crystal Frost, who died and was replaced by her protoge, Louise Lincoln. A third Killer Frost named Loren Fontier was introduced in the DC relaunch.
- The first Atom was Al Pratt back during the 1940's, but the title was made most famous by the second bearer, Ray Palmer, in the 1960's. Palmer briefly passed on the identity to teenager Adam Cray during the 1980's, but became the Atom once again after Cray's murder. In 2006, Palmer was succeeded by Ryan Choi, but was again forced out of retirement after Choi was killed just a few years later during the Brightest Day event. Following a massive racial controversy over Choi's death, it was announced that Palmer would be retired yet again while Choi would be resurrected and restored to the Atom identity in a relaunced Justice League book.
- The Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman Continuity Snarl began as a well-intentioned attempt to turn the Silver Age Hawks into in-story as well as revival Legacy Characters of the Golden Age ones. Since the originals were humans with a mystical origin and the second set were alien Space Police, and since several contradicting origin stories had been given for both pairs by writers who couldn't be bothered to give a rat's ass about continuity, this eventually snowballed into a tangled mess which resulted in all the various characters with "Hawk" in front of their names being merged into a giant crazy hawk-god thing and Put on a Bus.
- Though Hunter Rose was the first and the most well-known to take on the persona of Grendel, after him there was Christine Spar, Brian Li Sung, Eppy Thatcher, Orion Assante and eventually Jupiter Assante. Unusual in that it wasn't entirely by choice that this particular identity was passed on; most successors to the Grendel role had never even met their predecessors, and are separated in time by decades if not centuries.
- The original Amazing-Man was Will Everett, a member of the All Star Squadron. Decades later, the identity was taken up by his nephew, Will Everett III, who was a member of the Justice League and Extreme Justice. After his death, the identity was taken over by his cousin, Markus Clay, who was a member of the Justice Society of America. In the wake of the New 52 relaunch, a new Amazing-Man named Rocker Bonn has been introduced as a former agent of Checkmate.
- 52 :
- Infinity, Inc. gives this a passing mention, denigrating then-Titans Zachary Zatara and Little Barda as "blood brats," heroes who never actually earned their powers. The term "legacy powers" is also used, making this trope's title more or less canon, in a slang sort of way.
- The Infinity Inc. seen in 52 also played this trope straight. They had new versions of Nuklon, Skyman, Jade, and Fury, all of which were mantles that belonged to members of the original team.
- In a rare inversion of the Affirmative Action Legacy trope, the Chinese villain Radioactive Man (no, not THAT Radioactive Man) was replaced by a Russian named Igor Stancheck after making a Heel Face Turn. The new guy didn't last long.
- Following the death of Peter Parker in the final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man (which takes place in a seperate timeline from the mainstream Marvel universe), the Spider-Man identity was taken up by Miles Morales, a young boy with similar abilities.
- Miguel O'Hara, better known as Spider-Man 2099.
- Ben Reilly, Peter's clone, who took over as Spidey for a short time in the 90's.
- What's more, there was an Initiative trio known as the Scarlet Spiders, named for Ben's alter ego, and using suits based on the "Iron Spider" suit Tony Stark created for Peter during Civil War; only one is still alive, but he's still active as the Scarlet Spider.
- But wait, there's more! During Identity Crisis, Spidey was wanted for murder, so Peter adopted not one but FOUR alternate identities, each of which he passed on to another hero after returning to the webs. There's Ricochet(Johnny Gallo,) Dusk (Cassie St. Commons,) Hornet (Scotty McDowell, who preceded Peter, and Eddie Mc Donough,) and Prodigy (Ritchie Gilmore, who has used the identity ever since.)
- Peter Paker's daughter May "Mayday" Parker, takes up the role of Spider-Girl, a female variation of the Spider-Mantle, to fight crime. Later she's aided by a new Scarlet Spider (The Black Cat's daughter) and her own clone (who becomes a toss-up between a traditional Spider-Girl crusader and a homicidal Venom-like avenger).
- Ben Reilly himself inspired a legacy. Before he became the second Spider-Man, Ben went by the name of Scarlet Spider. Years after his death, the Scarlet Spider identity was adopted by Kaine, another clone of Peter Parker.
- There have been at least three different women to use the Spider-Woman mantle; Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, and Mattie Franklin. Drew currently has the title again, and operates as a member of The Avengers.
- Julia Carpenter took up the new identity of Arachne after Jessica began calling herself Spider-Woman again. She now goes by the name Madame Web, a mantle she inherited after the death of the original.
- When Marvel's Squadron Supreme returned to their own universe, they found another Nighthawk operating, the original being dead. The new one was the biological child of the original's worst enemy, and became the original's adopted son after the original Nighthawk had killed his father.
- The various Great Lakes Avengers/X-Men/Defenders comics have been parodying this with the Grasshopper. The first joined the GLA and died less than seven seconds later. Three other Grasshoppers have appeared in the team's comics, and neither of them have had the same longevity as the first.
- Green Goblen/ Hobgoblin: One interesting twist Marvel has also used is for someone to steal the villain's identity and technology and use it for themselves. Norman Osborn was one of the most common victims as the Green Goblin, as his weapons and goblin motifs were repeatedly stolen.
- They were discovered by his son Harry Osborn first.
- Then by Harry's psychiatrist.
- Then by the first Hobgoblin.
- Then by the second (who stole them from the first Hobgoblin), then by Daniel Kingsley brother of the first Hobgoblin,
- And then yet again by Phil Urich, who had a short-lived career as a superhero in the Green Goblin guise, who later took on the Hobgoblin name.
- The pattern seems to be repeated in the current Spider-Man comics with the new villain Menace.
- It got so bad that the first Hobgoblin had to come out of retirement to personally kill off the fourth Hobgoblin for being such a pathetic villain it made the original feel bad.
- Venom is becoming this, as four hosts have now bonded with the same symbiote and taken the Venom name: Eddie Brock, Angelo Fortunato, Mac Gargan (Scorpion), and Flash Thompson. Unlike most legacy examples, the newer incarnations have come from chronologically older characters: Gargan was introduced decades before Brock, and Thompson was introduced in the first issue of Spider-Man. Fortunato is the only exception, as he is the newest character chronologically, but the second Venom. Incidentally, his stint as Venom is the shortest, hence most people forget about him.
- Captain America
- His return in The Avengers came with the backstory that he became a Human Popsicle near the end of World War II, and his sidekick Bucky wasn't so lucky. But since Cap and Bucky kept appearing well after WW 2, how'd that happen? To the Retconmobile! Turns out 50s "Commie Smasher" Cap was another guy named William Burnside (later the villain known as the Grand Director) and his Bucky was not Bucky Barnes (the real one's dead!) but Jack Monroe (later Nomad.)
- It is later established that before Burnside's debut in the 50's, there were two previous Captain Americas who tried to succeed Steve after he was declared MIA near the end of WW 2. William Naslund (formerly the Spirit of '76) held the title for a brief time before his death, after which the Cap identity was passed to Jeffrey Mace (formerly the superhero known as Patriot). Confused yet?
- After Cap was defrosted, he had two incidents where he took a different name, and others took the costume and name of Captain America. None of them lasted very long. With Cap dead, the name and shield passed to his Back from the Dead ex-sidekick; when Cap finally came Back from the Dead himself, he decided to let Bucky keep the title and adopt a different name again.
- This gets a little complicated at this point, but stay with us. One of the guys who replaced Cap after he disappeared was the Patriot, a name that would later be used by the grandson of the real original Captain America, Isaiah Bradley. Meanwhile, one of Cap's alternate identities, Nomad, the Man Without a Country, was adopted by Jack Monroe — formerly the fake Bucky of the 50s, and later by Rikki Barnes, the female Bucky from Heroes Reborn's Counter-Earth. John Walker wore Cap's "The Captain" costume to become USAgent, and during his tenure as Captain America was partnered with Lemar Hoskins as Bucky.
- This is the backstory to DC's Inferior Five: Each of the titular five half-rate superheroes was the son or daughter of one or more competent, and somehow familiar-looking heroes.
- Much of the Wally West Flash's Rogues Gallery consisted of successors to the original — in one case a son, but usually just another criminal who somehow got hold of the original's gear.
- This was taken to the point of parody with Chillblaine, an identity taken by a succession of dumb but good-looking crooks with Captain Cold's gear, all "recruited" by Cold's sister, Golden Glider. Eventually she made the mistake of choosing someone who was actually dangerous and he killed her. Cold came out of retirement to avenge her, and ended up back in the role of the Rogues' leader.
- This was actually inverted in one case, with the Reverse-Flash. The first (second if you count Jay Garrick's own Evil Counterpart, The Rival) Reverse-Flash to be shown in the comics is Eobard Thawne, a time-traveling criminal from the 25th century. However, the next Reverse-Flash to be shown, Hunter Zolomon, was born in the present day and took on the identity of Zoom after being inspired by a discussion he had previously had with Wally West about Thawne. When Thawne himself eventually shows up again via his usual Time Travel antics and sees Zolomon in the Zoom getup, he's quite amused.
- During the 90's he was briefly succeeded by a man named Eric Masterson, who soon took on the identity of Thunderstrike after the Thor mantle was returned to the original. Thunderstrike was later killed and now his son Kevin operates as the new Thunderstrike and a member of the Avengers Academy.
- Thor was also recently replaced by Tanarus, who has taken over as the new god of thunder.
- During his battle with alcoholism, Tony Stark was briefly replaced by his buddy James "Rhodey" Rhodes, who became popular enough that he developed the heroic identity of War Machine after returning the Iron Man mantle to Tony.
- Arn Munro of Young All-Stars is a weirdly recursive example; he was loosely intended as a replacement for the Golden-Age Superman, who was retconned out of existence when Arn was created, but in-story he is the son of Hugo Danner, the protagonist of Gladiator, a 1930 novel that was an influence on Superman's creation.
- Grant Morrison played with this when he created a new version of the Shining Knight. Apparently the entire King Arthur story repeats itself every so often. The original Shining Knight, Sir Justin came the anachronistic 5th century of La Morte D'Arthur, and ended up in World War II. The third Knight, Sir Ystina, is the same character's counterpart from a much earlier Camelot which has more of a "Celtic twilight" feel, who ended up in the 21st century. This is parodied in the new Demon Knights series, when Jason Blood and Xanadu, both refugees from the anachronistic Camelot, are accosted by Ystin, who insists that they're lying about being survivors of Camelot. But because her accusations are in Welsh, none of them understand her. Jason shrugs and advises his companions to smile and nod.
- Several other characters created by Morrison for Seven Soldiers qualify as well. As well as the Spin Offspring Gimmix, I, Spider and the Whip III, there were:
- Boy Blue, sucessor to Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.
- Dyno-Mite Dan, successor to T.N.T and Dan the Dyna-Mite (he bought a knock-off of his predecessors' rings on E-bay).
- The Manhattan Guardian, sucessor to the Guardian (the paper he works for bought the rights to the name and image when the secret government project the Guardian worked for went under).
- Bulleteer, sucessor to Bulletman and Bulletgirl and descendant of Aurakles, the first superhero.
- There have been three Blue Beetles. Unlike most other examples, all three are significantly different: Dan Garrett was a world adventurer who could use some of the Blue Beetle scarab's powers. Ted Kord, a wealthy industrialist, was a kind of light-hearted version of Batman, and the scarab never worked for him. Jaime Reyes is an Ordinary High School Student who's fully bonded with the scarab, giving him a Power Suit which acts as a sort of Do-Anything Robot.
- Wolverine's nemesis Silver Samurai is one example. The original was a guy named Kenuichiro Harada, who was replaced by his son Shin after his death.
- A rarer villainous example is Lady Bullseye (Maki Matsumoto), a Distaff Counterpart to the Daredevil villain Bullseye. In a parody/inversion of the idea of heroic inspiration, Bullseye by complete accident "rescues" her from her Yakuza captors by slaughtering them all on an unrelated errand. Already pretty foregone psychologically at that point, she was inspired to become an assassin by his example.
- In a unique villain-to-hero example, Rose Canton, the Golden Age villainess Thorn, was eventually replaced by Rhosyn "Rose" Forrest, a feminist vigilante. Like her predecessor, Rhosyn suffers from a split-personality disorder, but possesses none of the superpowers held by the original. Though not an outright villain like her predecessor, the modern Thorn frequently uses lethal force and has found herself as both an ally and enemy of the Birds Of Prey.
- The original Swamp Thing was Alex Olsen, who appeared in one House Of Secrets story, before the more famous Alec Holland incarnation was created. The Swamp Thing mythology created by Alan Moore and his sucessors would make both incarnations part of a lineage of Erl-Kings that dated to before humanity.
- Marvel Comics' Immortal Iron Fist was Ret Conned to being a legacy character, with a lineage stretching back hundreds of years. This is why Iron Fist is immortal: the position will never die, only its occupants. This is also true of the other immortal weapons; there will always be a Dog Brother #1, always a Cobra Warrior, etc.
- Power Man is a complicated example. The first Power Man was a villain named Erik Josten before the name passed to its most famous holder, Luke Cage. Luke currently goes by his civilian name and no longer wears a costume, so the identity has since fallen to Victor Alvarez, an Afro-Latino teenager who fancies himself a "hero for hire."
- Black Knight is another odd duck. The original was an actual Arthurian knight named Sir Percy who had his mantle taken up hundreds of years later by his decesendent Nathan Garrett, who became a villain. The mantle then passed to Nathan's nephew Dane, who famously became a hero and a member of The Avengers. A new short-lived replacement named Augustine du Lac was later introduced, and he has now been succeeded by an unnamed female teenage incarnation, who like Nathan, is a villain.
- Unknown to Fastback of Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew, his uncle Merton McSnurtle is actually the long-retired Golden Age superhero the Terrific Whatzit, who like his nephew also possessed super-speed powers (plus several other abilities Fastback lacked).
- 'Star Wars: Legacy'':
- Averted; except for his weirdness with his half-sister and Force powers, including some time on The Dark Side (Cade's still there. And he can raise the dead.), Cade Skywalker is nothing like his ancestor.
- Played straight with Darth Wyyrlok. Darth Krayt's dragon and advisor is always named Darth Wyyrlok; as of the time of the series he's on Wyyrlok III, son of the previous Wyyrlok and grandson of the original, with Wyyrlok IV (the current one's daughter) in training.
- Marvel's Imperial Guard has several legacy characters in its ranks.
- This is played with in the War of Kings crossover — on his way to the throne of the Shi'ar Imperium, Vulcan kills the Guardsman Smasher. Later, as Emperor, he's reviewing the Guard, and comes to Smasher. His reaction is: "Didn't I kill you?" Smasher explains that he's a new guy in the same uniform. Then he gets killed a short time later. Yet another Smasher then appears, and spends half an issue thanking Imperial Guard commander Gladiator for choosing him to fill the uniform. Then Gladiator kills him. A new, female Smasher is part of the Marvel NOW Avengers relaunch. Here's hoping she has better luck than her predecessors.
- Over the Shi'ar Imperium's long history, this has apparently added up to a LOT of Guardsmen. When Neutron is killed (and replaced), we see the vault where he's buried - and it seems to be filled with thousands of caskets.
- Immortal Man in Darkness of The DCU's Great Ten is not actually immortal; the technology that gives him his powers will eventually kill him, and they simply keep replacing him. The "Immortal" name is a publicity thing. When one dies, there's a whole set of guys waiting in the wings to replace him. "You are immortal now!" And yes, pilots line up for the privilege to fly the Dragonwing even after being informed that it will be the death of them; the latest describes the first time he saw the craft as "love at first sight".
- The Accomplished Perfect Physician, who is the seventeenth to bear the title and wield the powers of the greatest medical mind on the planet. Sort of subverted in that he's not the guy who was supposed to succeed the title; he was a soldier sent to beat back Tibetan dissidents and inadvertently killed the actual successor before being strongarmed into taking his place.
- Originally, Johnny Blaze seemed to be the first and only Ghost Rider. This was later shown not to be the case.◊ Wherever injustice reigns, a Spirit of Vengeance will rise to punish the wicked...
- DC's Spirit of Vengeance, The Spectre, got retconned into a legacy with the John Ostrander series. The Spectre itself has existed almost since creation began, but has been compelled to take mortal hosts following the Crucifixion.
- Trick Shot, Hawkeye's mentor, fits this. After he died, the Trickshot identity was taken up by Barney Barton, Hawkeye's older brother and a member of the Dark Avengers.
- Black Panther is a title granted to the ruler of the fictional nation of Wakanda. The most iconic bearer of the mantle, T'Challa, became the Black Panther after the murder of his father T'Chaka. T'Challa briefly passed the mantle to his younger sister Shuri before reclaiming it. The title was also briefly inherited by Kasper Cole before he abandoned it in favor of taking on the White Tiger identity (see below).
- The White Tiger is a somewhat confusing case. The first White Tiger was Hector Ayala, who was replaced by an unrelated female White Tiger who was in reality an actual Bengal Tiger who was given human form. The third White Tiger was Kasper Cole, a mixed-race police officer. After Cole faded into obscurity, another new White Tiger was introduced in the form of Angela Del Toro, a Latina cop and Hector's nephew. She eventually died and was resurrected as a villain before being freed and apparently stripped of the mantle. The title now rests with Ava Ayala, Hector's previously unmentioned teenage sister, who currently attends the Avengers Academy.
- The Angelus entity passes on to a new host when the previous host dies, The Darkness entity is passed from father to son, the holy power of The Magdalena is passed from mother to daughter, and The Witchblade is passed from owner to owner.
- Black Canary is an interesting case, having become her own legacy character. Originally there was only one Black Canary; however, as she was tied to WWII it eventually got to the point where she was clearly decades older than she had ever looked (and considerably older than her lover Green Arrow). This was "fixed" with the retcon that she was actually inhabiting the braindead body of her previously unmentioned daughter. Crisis simplified this creepy idea by simply establishing that there were two Canaries, assigning the Golden Age stories to the mother and the Silver Age ones to the daughter.
- Iron Man:
- The Crimson Dynamo was an Iron Man villain initially, but since the original died there have been no less then TWELVE wearers of the Crimson Dynamo armor. As of World War Hulk, Crimson Dynamo suits are apparently available for purchase on the black market to criminal and terrorist organizations around the world; the Gamma Corps takes on a few of them(rather easily) in their first offical mission.
- Boris Bullski was the first Titanium Man, another Russian villain for Iron Man with a legacy. The Gremlin was the second Titanium Man who operated while Titanium Man I was still alive, and was killed during the Armor Wars. After Boris Bullski (Titanium Man I) got killed, a third Titanium Man cropped up during Civil War, though it's unclear whether it was indeed another man using the armor or if it was a somehow revived Boris Bullski.
- There have been several Two-Faces in the Batman comics including the first Two-Face Harvey Dent, his butler Wilkins, Paul Sloane, an actor, George Blake, a petty criminal and Harvey Apollo, another actor.
- The original Paperinik has Donald Duck accidentally inheriting the legacy of Gentleman Thief Fantomius, a spoof of violent anti-heroes like Diabolik. While Paperinik is treated more as a Batman spoof these days, the origin is kept, and becomes a plot point in modern versions where Donald has to deal with old allies of Fantomius who assume he is Robin Hood-style criminal as well. Including a woman who was in love with the old chap, and thinks Donald is him in a new mask...
- Vandal Savage from DC Comics eventually became Genre Savvy enough to figure out this trope and decided to go wipe out a few 'hero lines'. He got a couple but failed some as well. A steel-based villain was sent to kill Commander Steel's family. He was stabbed in the mouth, bleeding ensued and that gave steel powers to the man's grandson. Way to go, Savage.
- Sonic The Hedgehog:
- The Echidna demigod Enerjak. First, there was Dimitri, who accidentally absorbed the power of multiple Chaos Emeralds and was driven power-mad by it. He was eventually Brought Down to Normal by Mammoth Mogul, but a few years later his descendant Knuckles was tricked into absorbing the Master Emerald's power and taking up the mantle, before the spell placed on him was broken and he was returned to normal. There was also an Alternate Universe version of Knuckles who willingly became Enerjak and proceeded to devastate the world. He was eventually Brought Down to Normal (in the same manner as Dimitri) by his daughter, who became the new Enerjak and broke tradition by using her powers for good (undoing the damage her father had wrought). Oh, and on top of all of this, Dr. Finitevus implied to Knuckles during their last encounter that Enerjak's legacy actually predates Dimitri (though considering who we're talking about, that statement is questionable at best).
- Dr. Robotnik himself, as the original version of him was defeated and then replaced by a Robotnik from another universe.
- Jeff Terrell was the original Shaft from Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, but ended up being replaced by a government-appointed successor immediately after quitting the team. Jeff's former teammates take great pleasure in referring to the newbie as "Not-Shaft" in order to get under his skin.
- The original Nova was Richard Rider, who was depowered after the cancellation of his series. The title passed to the unrelated Frankie Raye, who ran with the identity until her apparent death (years later she was revealed to be alive in the Heralds mini-series). Rider regained his abilities and the Nova identity until his death during the Thanos Imperitive storyline, and has now been replaced by Sam Alexander, a new teen Nova.
- In Astro City, Zachary Jackson, Jack-in-the-Box, took the name and the equipment from his late father, who had died fighting crime. After encountering two horrific future versions of his unborn son (both of whom took the legacy much too far), in addition to a much better-adjusted version whose life was still shaped by his father's untimely death, Jackson passed the title on to Roscoe Jones, head of a street gang that sought to imitate Jack-in-the-Box via Le Parkour.
- In the comic version of W.I.T.C.H., it's shown that there's always been Guardians - five in a team, wielding a certain element and all of them female. Even when Nerissa Face Heel Turned, they insisted on keeping it that way. The cartoon also implies this.
- The original Ray, Lanford Terril, had his identity taken up by his son, Ray Terril, who in turn had the identity briefly taken over by a man named Stan Silver before returning to the mantle once Silver was revealed as a traitor. In the wake of the New52 reboot, a new Ray named Lucien Gates was introduced. While his origin story acknowledges that he took his name from an existing hero, it is unknown exactly which, if any of the other Rays are currently still considered canon.
- X-Men villain Apocalypse was recently revealed to be a Legacy Character, with the gray-skinned Egyptian En Sabah Nur in fact being the eighth Apocalypse charged by the Celestials with advancing evolution on Earth. When Uncanny X-Force killed En Sabah Nur, the mantle was passed on to the Horseman Death - who also happened to be their teammate Archangel. Cue Archangel becoming the new Apocalypse.
- In Death Of The Family, it turns out Harleen Quintzel isn't the first Harley Quinn. She is, however, the first one to escape with her life.
- In Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World, Robynne becomes the new [[Hottie]] after the 1st Hottie, Alison Cole, takes a hiatus from fighting the Big Bad.
- This is the premise of several Death Note fanfics, like Kira Is Justice.
- In the Gundam SEED fanfic Chaotic Cosmos, this trope is subverted; Blue Cosmos' new leader, Cervantes, manages to convince his right hand man to pretend to be the pilot of the Freedom Gundam in order to win support from Orb (which Kira Yamato, the real Freedom pilot, saved in the previous war). Since no one had seen who the pilot actually was, all they needed was a fake Gundam so that Asmodeus could fill Kira's shoes.
- In the Fallout/My Little Pony fanfic Fallout Equestria, at least 5 ponies have taken the title DJ Pon3, in addition to the original.
- Pony POV Series:
- Twilight is implied to be descended from the G1 Twilight, whose family line also helped Celestia and Luna during Discord's reign.
- Also Spike is actually the seventh Spike and a descendant of the original G1, all of whom operated along side Equestria's heroes. Applejack's also descended from the original G1 Applejack.
- The "Where in the World is Harry Potter" trilogy by nonjon makes Nicolas Flamel one of these, furthermore when Harry Potter takes up the name, he also keeps his own, maintaining two identities with the help of a time turner.
- In Saw, Jigsaw trains someone to do his job after he dies. Four people, actually.
- In The Santa Clause, the job of being Santa was passed down whenever the old Santa died. To whoever got the Santa suit.
- Ernest Saves Christmas has a similar premise, but the passing down of the job is due to the need to "recharge" Santa's mystical capabilities, which gradually fade as someone carries out the job. No dying necessary, but on the other hand, it puts Christmas in jeopardy.
- Another similar example, Aardman's Arthur Christmas has the job of Santa be passed down from father to son.
- In the James Bond film series, Q's associate (nicknamed "R" by James) played by John Cleese from The World Is Not Enough succeeds the late Desmond Llewelyn's Q in the followup film Die Another Day. Skyfall ends with Ralph Fiennes' character Gareth Mallory becoming the new M.
- The James Bond character himself is a Meta Example now on his 6th incarnation after 20 movies over 50 years.
- Zorro in various adaptations, from the 1925 movie Don Q: Son of Zorro, through Antonio Banderas role as Diego de la Vega's adopted son, to the Present Day-set cartoon Zorro: Generation Z.
- Godzilla Vs Destoroyah ends with Godzilla's death, with the massive energy let out from the Super Power Meltdown reviving his son and turning him into a full-grown Godzilla. However, this was never followed up on, as the next movie was an Alternate Continuity.
- A copyright issue forced the retconning of The Invisible Man into this in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That, and the original character (Griffin) was an Ax Crazy psychopathic rapist, which would've been harder to squeeze into a heroic role than the film's formula-stealing burglar.
- The Princess Bride: The Dread Pirate Roberts, the former Trope Namer and Trope Codifier.
- Several exist in the Star Wars universe. Perhaps most notable are Jango Fett and Boba Fett, who becomes the best bounty hunter in the galaxy just like his genetic dad was twenty years prior.
- After the original Chatterer was killed in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, two new character with similar attributes (Chatter Beast and Torso) showed up, with a new Chatterer (dubbed Chatterer III, even though Chatterer II was just the original with enhancements) eventually appearing.
- In The A-Team film, when the CIA operative who calls himself "Lynch" is introduced, one character remarks that he once knew someone who used the same moniker. At the end of the film, when Lynch is being taken away, another character also introduces himself as Lynch.
- The 2000 version of Shaft features the titular ex-detective, played by Samuel L. Jackson, getting a pep talk from his uncle, the original "bad mother...shut yo' mouth!" played by Richard Roundtree.
- Unlike most slasher movie villains, Ghostface from Scream is killable; the trouble is there's more than one. In order, they are: Billy and Stu in Scream 1996, Mrs. Loomis and Mickey in the second, Roman in the third, and Jill and Charlie in the fourth. Despite being several different people, they use voice masking when talking to their victims over the phone; the same actor does the phone voice throughout the series, and retains a similar personality, despite the various personalities the killers display when not in costume.
- In the 2006 movie Beerfest, When the character of Landfill is killed, his identical twin brother, Gil, appears, stating that he has the same knowlege of beerdrinking as Landfill would like to take his place, and would be honored if they would refer to him as Landfill in tribute. It's as if he never left...
- Jason Voorhees almost became one in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, but poor reception forced him to return from the dead in the next sequel.
- Frankenstein in the Death Race movies.
Live Action TV
- In Help I'm A Teenaged Outlaw, Tom inherited the role of the highwayman Swiftnick from his mother, who inherited it from her father (who might have been intended as the historic Swift Nick).
- Star Trek: The various incarnations of the Enterprise NCC-1701. In fact, many ships in Star Trek: The Original Series have counterparts in Star Trek: The Next Generation, though not all are similar to the originals in design. The Enterprise NCC-1701 is widely assumed to be the only ship in Starfleet to have its serial number recycled consistently, which is a testament to the importance of Kirk's five-year mission and subsequent voyages in Federation history. At least one possible future - and probably all of them - has a ship named Enterprise with the serial number NCC-1701-J (in this particular future, a ''Universe''-class ship in operation in the 26th century), which means the serial number has been carried on for three hundred years and borne by eleven different vessels. Holy shit.
- Directly referenced in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise where Captain Archer and Shran look at a his office wall with images of past vessels named Enterprise, with Shran mentioning his ship was named after the first ice-breaking ship to travel around Andoria. They then go on to wonder if future ships would be inspired by their adventures. It is implied that the NCC-1701 Enterprise was inspired by the NX-01 Enterprise, and that is part of the reason the name has been the traditional Federation Flagship.
- Lampshaded at the end of Star Trek: Generations where Riker remarks that he doubts that the wrecked Enterprise-D will be the last ship to bear the name Enterprise.
- Weyoun in Deep Space 9 is continuously cloned to be the right-hand man of the head Founder. Five "different" Weyouns appeared over the course of the series.
- Doctor Who is probably the most famous Meta example with the regeneration Plot Device being used to carry the same in universe character across multiple real life actors. Used for The Doctor and other Time Lords, like his Arch-Enemy The Master the show has been running for half a century and is on its 11th Doctor. Being chosen to portray The Doctor is, in some circles, akin to being chosen Pope.
- In Dead Like Me, each Reaper has a quota (unknown to themselves); when they collect enough souls, they go on to the real afterlife, and the last person collected becomes a Reaper.
- In an episode of NCIS, a forger is discovered to have passed his title onto another man. Complete with a Lampshade Hanging/Shout Out to The Princess Bride!
- Kamen Rider avoided having legacy characters until the franchise's revival in the 2000's, when each season was set in a self-contained continuity:
- In Kamen Rider Kuuga, Godai Yusuke is actually the second Kuuga, with the original having been active only 2000 years ago. Onodera Yusuke later inherits the role in Kamen Ride Decade.
- In Kamen Rider Ryuki, all the Riders were chosen by Kanzaki Shiro except for Shinji and Miyuki - both of them got their Rider Decks after the original Ryuki and Raia died respectively.
- In Kamen Rider Decade, Hibiki passes his powers onto his young protegee Asumu when his own Oni powers go berserk, making Asumu the second Hibiki.
- This is, in fact, carryover from the original Kamen Rider Hibiki, in which it's common for new Riders to take the name of their retiring mentors (though just as common for them to create their own name). We don't actually see it happen though; at most we hear Zanki occasionally reminiscing.
- Shintaro Goto inherits the mantle of Kamen Rider Birth after the first one, Akira Date, retires from the post.
- Done in the Red Dwarf episode "Stoke Me a Clipper" when the main universe's Rimmer was passed on the torch of "Ace" Rimmer, one of many parallel universe counterparts of Rimmer, the first of which the crew met in the episode "Dimension Jump". Each Ace donned the wig and flight jacket and took on the mantle after the previous Ace died, or had their post-mortem hologram's projector destroyed.
- Many of the Power Rangers series have used this trope; the powers (and suits) can usually be passed from person to person. Examples include Jason, Zack and Trini (and later Kimberly) making way for Rocky, Adam and Aisha (and Katherine) in Mighty Morphin, Jason briefly inheriting the mantle of the Gold Ranger from Trey in Power Rangers Zeo, the entire Turbo team (except for Justin) swapping out mid-season and Kendrix and the Magna Defender passing their powers to Karone and Mike upon their deaths in Lost Galaxy. This became rarer in the subsequent seasons, once they adapted Super Sentai's tradition of changing characters and costumes every year.
- The Super Sentai franchise also replaced a few of its warriors during its early seasons, as a result of some of the actors leaving mid-series:
- The Ki Ranger identity was transferred from Daita Ōiwa to Daigorō Kumano in Himitsu Sentai Goranger. However, Daigorō was only added so that the actor playing Daita the character could participate in a play he was asked to do. Daigorō's spot on the team only lasted ten episodes before he was Killed Off for Real, allowing Daita to return.
- In Battle Fever J, two of its members were replaced. The actor who played Gensaku Shiraishi, the original Battle Cossack, wanted to leave the series to spent more time with his new wife, so his character was killed off and replaced by Gensaku's friend Makoto Jin. A few episodes earlier, Diana Martin, the original Miss America, was injured in combat and was replaced by Maria Nagisa.
- In Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, the actor who played Ryūsuke Ōwashi, the original Vul Eagle, could only do the first 25 episodes of the series due to a previous contract he had on another project which conflicted with his work on Sun Vulcan. His character was sent away to the US to work for NASA and replaced by Takayuki Hiba.
- In Choudenshi Bioman, Mika Koizumi, the original Yellow Four, was killed off ten episodes into the series after the actress playing her abruptly left the series, necessitating the need of her replacement, Jun Yabuki.
- Like its Power Rangers counterpart, Hyūga inherited the identity of the Black Knight in Seijuu Sentai Gingaman once BullBlack was killed off. Unlike the above examples, BullBlack's death was actually a planned event in the story.
- A more traditional example occurs in the finale of Gosei Sentai Dairanger: 50 years after the defeat of Gohma, the grandchildren of the original Dairangers inherit their powers when Gohma returns.
- The main characters of Ninja Sentai Kakuranger are implied to have inherited their powers from their ancestors as well.
- On Human Target, the identity of Christopher Chance seems to be a Dread Pirate Roberts sort of deal; in the first season finale we meet the previous holder of the name (played by Lee Majors) and he explains that he picked it up from another guy. The current Christopher Chance used to be an assassin, and it's implied that the one before him was one as well.
- Both the BBC Robin Hood and the 1980s ITV Robin of Sherwood feature the death of the real Robin Hood and a new figure taking up the name and tasks of Robin to continue the legend.
- The Onion News Network features Tucker Hope, which is actually a position on the news crew filled by various men who go through Tucker training in order to fill their role. One Tucker Hope was even fired on the air after having a breakdown and declaring that his name was Peter. When the episode came back from the commercial break, a new Tucker Hope was already present.
- Once Upon a Time:
- Technically, The Big Bad Wolf of all characters is this. Red's grandmother was turned into a werewolf by Red's grandfather, and both Red and her mother were passed the lycanthropy curse.
- Also, Aurora's mother was the original Sleeping Beauty.
- Buffy is but one of generations of Slayers stretching back probably to the Stone Age.
- There was an interesting twist in Padre Coraje, a telenovela about a Costumed Non Super Hero who moved into the village of La Cruz posing as the new priest Juan. He was not, the real priest was killed in the countryside and Coraje could not save him, and replaced him instead to have a Secret Identity in the village. The problem was when he was shot and forgot everything. The people told him that he was the priest (because that was what they thought), and he believed that. The whereabouts of Coraje were unknown for everyone: he must have died, or left, or gave up, or whatever. And one day, after a conflict with the mayor, an union leader told him:
Man: The people need a leader, a hero. They need Coraje.
Juan: But Coraje is gone. Nobody knows what has happened to him, or heard about him in months.
Man: That is not important. The people does not know who is behind the cloak. If Coraje is gone, he won't mind for someone else to put on a similar cloak and be the new Coraje.
And so, the priest became a Legacy Character... of himself.
- In a somewhat controversial move, the rock band KISS has passed the makeup characters of the Spaceman and Catman on to new members (Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer respectively) following the departures of original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in the early 2000s (Frehley left in 2002. Criss departed in 2001, returned in 2003, and left again in 2004, replaced by Singer both times). This move is in contrast to the pair's original exit in the early 80s, when their replacements (Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr, respectively, with Singer taking up his first drummer stint with the band after Carr died in the early 90's) were given unique personas.
- The Phantom is possibly the oldest Legacy Character in all of comics and possibly the originator of this for comic books in general. He has no powers but gives the illusion of immortality because the mantle of the Phantom is passed down from father to son in an unbroken line dating back to the 1500s. This was so creator Lee Falk could do stories involving Pirates, Mobsters, and everything in between. The sheer depth of history and number of Phantoms (over twenty in the 1930s alone, with some writers attempting to continue the history into the present day) marks him as possibly the best example.
- In Japanese Professional Wrestling (or puroresu, as the cool kids call it), both Tiger Mask and his arch-rival, Black Tiger, have been played by four different wrestlers, and this is framed as the handing-down of a legacy. Tiger Mask is always a Japanese wrestler, and Black Tiger is always a foreigner. (Also the real identity of Black Tiger is publicly known, while Tiger Mask is kept secret).
- This is also popular in Mexican wrestling (or lucha libre), due to the preponderance of masked wrestlers there. To name just one example, WWE's Rey Mysterio was known in his early career as Rey Misterio Jr. because his uncle, the original Rey Misterio, handed the mantle down to him (and had to seek special permission from said uncle in order to drop the Jr. from his ring name).
- Another Lucha Libre example is El Hijo del Santo, who inherited his mask from his father, the legendary El Santo, shortly before the latter died.
- And the original Rey Misterio's son is now wrestling as El Hijo de Rey Misterio.
- Doink The Clown is an identity that has been donned by various wrestlers through the years
- There have been no less than 11 men to take up the identity of Lord Humongous.
- When La Parka (Adolfo Tapia) starting working for WCW, AAA in Mexico created La Parka Jr. with Jesus Escobedo donning the mask. In 2003, AAA decided to enforce their trademark of the original character and Escobedo dropped the Jr. and Tapia became L.A. Park.
- Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, Nature Boy Ric Flair, Nature Boy Buddy Landel and some guy who was a manservant in glow.
- In the original radio series, The Green Hornet was said to be the nephew of The Lone Ranger. The 1990s NOW comic, which did not have the rights to the Ranger, could only allude to this, but established that the Hornet identity was itself a legacy, featuring the nephew of the TV Hornet, who in turn was revealed to be the nephew of the radio character.
- Red Panda Adventures had the Red Squirrel, the Flying Squirrel's great-great-granddaughter, who came back in time because one of her Rogues Gallery was trying to wipe our heroes out and prevent her from existing. (She may or may not also be the Red Panda's great-great-granddaughter...)
- In the Australian Football League, the "father-son rule" is designed to make it easier for clubs to recruit the children of former players.
- The roleplaying game 7th Sea has the Dread Pirate Reis. In this case, there's a lot more emphasis on the Dread part of the equation.
- Every time an Eldar Phoenix Lord in Warhammer 40000 dies, their soul is absorbed into the armor they wear. The next wearer of the armor adds their expertise to the knowledge and skills of all the prior Phoenix Lords, back to the first one whose name they still bear. No wonder these people can take on armies all by themselves.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- Set "Future Sight" introduced a cycle of five legacy characters, each holding the title of a former legend from Magic history. The five "future" legends (and the ones they descend from) are Korlash, Heir to Blackblade (Dakkon Blackblade), Tarox Bladewing (Rorix Bladewing), Baru, Fist of Krosa (Kamahl, Fist of Krosa), Oriss, Samite Guardian (Orim, Samite Healer), and Linessa, Zephyr Mage (Alexi, Zephyr Mage).
- Also, Tetsuo Umezawa (from the Legends expansion set) is apparently an official descendant of Toshiro Umezawa from the much later Betrayers of Kamigawa set (and of Jitte fame among players). This may qualify more as a Shout Out, though, since the characters (or at least their cards) seem to have little in common beyond the family name and their legendary status.
- As well, from the Unhinged FAQTIWDAWCC entry on Fraction Jackson (scroll down):
This card's name and flavor text imply he is a singular person. Why isn't he a legendary creature?
Because there isn't just one Fraction Jackson. There is a Golden Age version. There is a Silver Age version. There is the Modern Age version, of course. There is the African American version that showed up in the seventies when the Silver Age version was briefly incapacitated. There, is of course, the alien version that retroactively predated the Golden Age version. There is the female version that briefly wore the costume during the scandal of Secret Crisis Conflict. Well, you get the idea.
- In Galactic Champions from Hero Games, the powered-armor hero Defender is the direct descendant of the powered-armor hero Defender from the main Champions book. One could argue the Legacy Character status of the first Defender; James Harmon IV was the child, grandchild, and great-grandchild of heroes, but none of them ever donned a mask (or Powered Armor).
- The Freedom City setting for Mutants & Masterminds has plenty. Johnny Rocket, Lady Liberty, Bowman, Arrow...actually subverted with Daedalus, who likes to let people think this is the case but actually is the original character. From Greek myth. There are also deliberately "open" legacies, such as the Scarab, enabling the PCs to take these roles.
- In Arthaus's first 3E Gazetteer for the Ravenloft setting, the narrator speculates that Harkon Lukas may be an example of this trope, as references to a bard with that name appear over and over throughout the oral history of Kartakass. Subverted in that they're either false history or all the same guy, who's been the domain's unaging darklord since it was created.
- Crimson Banner Executioner in Exalted is a Sidereal whose reincarnations take up the magical armor and same name as their predecessor when they Exalt, and not only that, they are mentored by the spirit of their previous incarnation, which inhabits the armor.
- The Bounty Hunter in BattleTech - a series of mercenaries who all wore a LosTech suit of Powered Armor, and piloted neon green battlemechs covered in cash signs. The Bounty Hunter hunts down notorious criminals on the battlefield. In-universe, the Bounty Hunter is also the subject of a bunch of action movies with gratuitous amounts of violence
- The Legend of Zelda :
- There is a new and not-very-different Link in nearly every game, with the same green tunic, Master Sword (or some other sword with potent magical properties), various other mainstay items, and left-handedness (except in Skyward Sword). This was explicitly referenced in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, where the Links are fully aware that they are taking up the mantle of the previous hero, and Super Smash Bros Brawl references it in one of Snake's codec conversations. Each release usually features a new Zelda, too, and in later games, this can approach Generation Xerox levels, with even minor characters like Malon and Beedle getting new incarnations. The book Hyrule Historia makes note that only some of the Links are related to each other, but brings up the possibility that a number of them carry the blood of the Hylian Knights.
- Apparently, while it had always been common to name Hylian princesses "Zelda" in honor of the one from Skyward Sword, it wasn't until much later when the name became mandatory. The brother of the Zelda from Zelda II The Adventure Of Link grew jealous of her power, but his plan to take her power wound up with Zelda in an "eternal" sleep. Feeling guilty, he made a royal decree that all princesses of the Hyrule line shall be named "Zelda."
- Impa, Zelda's nursemaid/bodyguard, actually looks different in each of her incarnations, having been everything from a feeble old woman to a muscular warrior.
- Hyrule itself is a Legacy Country in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
- Ganondorf is the only character in the series to have been the same individual in each of his appearances. However, now that the official timeline has been released it's known that Ganondorf has reincarnated at least once, during the Time Skip between Twilight Princess and Four Swords Adventures. Word Of God is he's dead for good in the Wind Waker timeline, but he could also potentially come back in the Link to the Past timeline... Or between Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time, since it's never explicitly stated that the Ganon introduced in Ocarina of Time was the first one.
- Jack of Blades in Fable is not one man, but a series of men who have all been deceived into wearing Jack's Mask and becoming possessed.
- While the original Metal Gear Solid already established that Solid Snake and his genetic brothers (Liquid and Solidus) were clones of Big Boss, it was Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater that revealed that Big Boss used to go by the codename of Snake before any of his clones did. Since then, the shorthand "Snake" has been used interchangeably for both: Solid Snake and Big Boss. While Big Boss' full codename back in FOX was actually "Naked Snake", he is simply referred to as "Snake" most of the time and even seems to be a bit embarrassed of his "Naked" codename in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker . Solid Snake on the other hand, is the only one of his brothers who is referred by everyone else as "Snake" and never as "Solid".
- The indie game I Wanna Be The Guy has a ridiculous example of this; the titular "The Guy" that your character wants to be is a mantle that was handed down through several well-known 8- and 16-bit video game characters... and whose latest proprietors include your character's father and grandfather, the former of whom killed the latter for the title, and who you have to kill to acquire it.
- Castlevania's Belmont Clan epitomizes this trope.
- The version of Donkey Kong that first appeared in Donkey Kong Country is the grandson (or possibly just son, depending on who you ask) of the giant ape who antagonized Mario (Jumpman) in the original arcade game. And, in fact, the original Donkey Kong appears in that game as "Cranky Kong", an elderly ape complete with long white beard and cane.
- Anarchy Reigns has one with Blacker Baron being a copycat for Black Baron from MadWorld.
- If Buriki One and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum have anything to say about it, Mr. Karate is a legacy character, in this case the title of the current master of Kyokugenryuu Karate (Takuma Sakazaki in AOF, his son Ryo later on.)
- The Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha has an in-universe example; the player character, who can be given any name, is known by almost everyone in-game as "Raidou Kuzunoha", and he is the fourteenth person to take up the mantle of the eponymous Devil Summoner.
- City of Heroes has an in-universe Legacy Character in Manticore, the Alternate Company Equivalent of Batman, who took up his father's mantle after watching his murder by one of his enemies.
- The Overlord games follow different Evil Overlords in each game, with the second game following the son of the one from the first game while Overlord: Dark Legends follows one of his predecessors.
- Lutz in Phantasy Star. While he's supposed to be the same guy in the first two games, the English version renamed him Noah, leading to them being two different people who just happen to look alike and share memories and a personality. The fourth game is more straightforward. Although Lutz has been dead for ages, his successors inherit his will and memory and become the next Lutz, which is a very important secret role in Esper society, and extremely confining. This is why Rune is gallivanting around Motavia when you first meet him; he's Number Five.
- Tekken has Yoshimitsu (highly suspected to be descended from the Soul Series character of the same name), King (who is in fact King II from the third game onwards), Kuma (who from the third game onwards is the second Kuma), Asuka (who is the niece of Jun, who only appeared in the second game and is presumed killed), Hwoarang (Baek's student), Christine (Eddy's student), Roger Jr. (Roger's wife and son) and the Jack robots (who are all updated versions of the previous one). Jin is Kazuya's son and fights like him. Julia is Michelle's daughter and Xiaoyu is Wang's granddaughter. As a result nearly all of the characters fight similarly to their older characters, but not identically.
- Video Game /Soul Series:
- Nightmare has become this. After the original Nightmare was Killed Off for Real by Siegfried at the end of the fourth game, Soul Edge obtained a new host known as Graf Dumas who is implied, though not directly stated to be Raphael, who has also taken up the Nightmare identity. Siegfried even says at one point that "Nightmare" is the name given to the current wielder of Soul Edge.
- Astaroth is one of many clones that were created using the original Astaroth's heart.
- Yoshimitsu is a new man who took on the identity after slaying the original Yoshimitsu and became Yoshimitsu The Second.
- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions featured Serena Patel, the new Doctor Octopus from the year 2099. She idolized the original Doc Ock, and modeled her villainous identity after his as a tribute.
- Turok features a Navajo Warrior in the first game named Tal'Set Fireseed. Turok 2 takes place hundreds of years later and features Joshua Fireseed, Tal'Set's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandson; a modern day teenager; who is then replaced by Danielle Fireseed, his Great-Great-Great Niece in the third game.
- The Breath of Fire series has an incarnation of Ryu and Princess Nina for each of its five installments.
- Sub-Zero in every Mortal Kombat title from Mortal Kombat II onwards is the younger brother of Sub-Zero the Elder from Mortal Kombat 1, who was killed by Scorpion in that game and became Noob Saibot.
- The Ace Attorney series likes this concept.
- Shelly de Killer is the third assassin to carry the deKiller name.
- The original Mask☆DeMasque gets several imitators (since the garish costume is readily available in stores).
- Kay Faraday refers to herself as the Second Great Thief Yatagarasu, but she's really the fourth, as the original Yatagarasu was secretly a team of three. During the credits Kay says she plans on finding two people to join her to continue the team
- In Knights of the Old Republic II, the name of Darth Traya is described a title passed down to Sith Lords who "[have] been betrayed in their heart, and will betray in turn."note
- Throughout its 20+ year run, there has been one "Mega Man" for each of the seven series. The only exception, is the eponymous character from Mega Man Zero despite popular beliefs. Mega Man ZX and Advent makes up for it by having "Mega Man" as an actual title used by other characters (including the Big Bads!).
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Umbra is a very dark version of this. The name is actually of an Infinity+1 Sword enchanted by a witch to be able to devour souls. In Morrowind and Oblivion, there are characters who have named themselves after the sword. Both of them were warriors that found and used took the sword, but it had a mind of it's own and drove them insane, forcing them to kill everyone near and dear in order to sate it's ravenous hunger for souls. Only a few Umbras are known, but many more are hinted to have existed.
- Then there is the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, a demonic artifact which erases the identity of anyone who wears it and replaces it with that of the notorious master thief, The Gray Fox. The guild has been led by several people wearing the mask for at least three centuries. The player character can break the curse eventually, making it a nifty free ticket to unprosecuted crimes.
- M'aiq the Liar is a Khajiit (read: cat-person) who appears in Morrowind, Oblivion, and now Skyrim to make fourth-wall-breaking jokes about the game's mechanics and other related topics. The Skyrim's M'aiq reveals they are a bloodline of Khajiits with the same name and character.
- Champions Online has "Black Mask", the first of whom had apparently fought in the American Revolution. The current "Black Mask" is the tenth one, and the first woman to bear the title. One mission even has you fight all of the Black Mask's previous incarnations when they get revived as zombies.
- Street Fighter has a stealth one in Yun. The "Lee Brothers", Yun and Yang, are in fact Lee's nephews. Yun has the same ponytail/blue cap combo and uses the same dash punch move. Lee only appeared in the first Street Fighter game, so hardly anybody knows who he is.
- Final Fantasy, over its long history, has a few examples of this.
- Most of the summons (...most of them) share names and appearances over the series.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, almost all of the fal'Cie are named after and share appearances with previous Final Fantasy summons, often relatively obscure ones like Bismarck and Kjata.
- The most famous one is Cid. Every game has a Cid, and he always has something to do with the games' airships—to the point that he was retconned into the first game itself by the remakes mentioning him as the creator of the Airship.
- Minwu from Final Fantasy II has proven to be startlingly popular, with the result that many later games make reference in their lore to a legendary sage of great power named Minwu.
- There is only one aversion everyone agrees on: Gilgamesh, who started out as The Dragon in Final Fantasy V. Since then, he's been travelling dimensions looking for weapons and has been frequently getting involved in the other games, even remakes of games that came out before his original game. Unlike almost any other character with the same name, it is confirmed to be the same guy.
- Two more obscure ones are a dragoon named Kain from Final Fantasy IV, in which there was a child also named Kain in Final Fantasy II who came from a long line of Dragoons, and Cid's nephew Mid from Final Fantasy V had his name carried over to Final Fantasy IV: The After Years as that game's Cid's Grandson.
- There appear to have been at least three people known as "Wonder Boy" in the video game series of the same name: Tom-Tom from Wonder Boy, Bocke Lee Temjin from Monster Land and The Dragon's Trap (who may or may not be Tom-Tom); Leo from Monster Lair, and Shion from Monster World.
- The Assassin's Creed series runs on this trope, with Desmond Miles being the descendant of Altaïr Ibn La'Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze, both of whom were legendary Master Assassins (and eventual Grand Masters) of the Assassin Order in their day, and Desmond himself being trained to be an Assassin by immersion in Ezio's memories.
- A borderline example in the case of the Chosen of various gods in the Neverwinter Nights fan module Tales of Arterra. Your character is revealed to be the Chosen of the God of Death in the second module, and you meet several of your predecessors in the third.
- All of the classes from Team Fortress 2 are passed down from mercenary to mercenary.
- In Zettai Hero Project, the title of Unlosing Ranger is passed along from person to person, often done very shortly after the previous Unlosing Ranger is killed. After giving up the title to the main character, Pirohiko (the previous title holder) stays with him as a Spirit Advisor of sorts until he is able to fulfill his mission and defeat Darkdeath Evilman.
- Beatrice, the subtitular Golden Witch, is the second to have that name. The first was Virgilia. From an anti-fantasy perspective, Beatrice is the third to go by the name, although she is initially unaware of her connection to the two previous Beatrices: the first was her grandmother, and the second was her mother/sister.
- Legate Lanius from Fallout New Vegas is implied to be this by Ulysses.
- In Dragon Age II, the Legacy DLC reveals that due to the Malcolm Hawke aiding the Grey Wardens in reinforcing the seals of an ancient prison, the key to unlocking it resides within their bloodline. Due to the death of Malcolm, the Carta attempt to abduct both Hawke and their sibling, hedging their bets that one of them has to be "The Hawke".
- Leading to the bizarre situation where all three are referred to interchangeably by this title; Malcolm was "The Hawke", Hawke is now "The Hawke", while Carver/Bethany might be "The Hawke" should anything happen to their elder sibling.
- Parodied in the webcomic Supermegatopia with Captain Mayfly; since mayflies only live about 24 hours, the mantle of Captain Mayfly tends to get passed down very quickly. A relatively straight example is Rocket Bob.
- Lampshaded twice in Lightbringer. First main character thought that if he dies, there will be no one to be his Legacy Character, because he's the world's first and only superhero. Later he says to his best friend that she's only person that could replace him if he died.
- In Magellan: Bill Banks takes the identity of Victory Man II
- This thread (currently still unfinished) in Adventures of Fifine.
- Spinnerette: Green Gable is a superhero identity handed down the line of descent from the original Anne of Green Gables. The current one is the first dude in the costume, which he hasn't bothered to make even slightly manlier.
- Wonder Momo: Momoko is given an upgraded version of the Wonder Momo power suit by an alien who mistook her for the original (despite being two decades younger). Turns out Momoko is the daughter of the original Wonder Momo. Amazonia is a variant: the original Amazonia was Momo's nemesis. After their final battle, a young girl (and Momo fangirl) found Amazonia's power orb and decided she could be a new, heroic Amazonia.
- In The Gamers Alliance, Distreyd Thanadar is a hereditary name given to the high cleric of Mardük who comes from the Thanadar bloodline since the end of the Second Age. The only thing differentiating the Distreyds is adding a number after the name (e.g. Distreyd Thanadar XIII). The child of the previous Distreyd kills him and then takes over the title, becoming the next Distreyd Thanadar until their child kills them. Every Distreyd actively encourages their child to kill him and if said child fails in the task, the child as well as his or her mother is executed for being too weak.
- Due to its non-sliding timescale, the LessThanThree-Verse abounds in legacy characters, from Uncle Sam I & II (with Miss Liberty inbetween), to the three American Eagles, to Mr GL and his spiritual successor GL.
- In the Whateley Universe, the superhero Champion is like this. The original Champion (back in the '30s and '40s) rescued two kids from a supervillain and gave them part of the Champion Force to keep them from dying (according to Word Of God). They became Miss Champion and Champion Junior. When Champion died, he passed the Champion Force on to Champion Junior, who became the second Champion. They get killed eventually. The world is now on Champion number 6, with preparations already made for Champion 7.
- One SCP Foundation story (though the canonicity is unverifiable due to the nature of the site) suggests that Clef is a Legacy Character.
- Global Guardians PBEM Universe:
- The most notable example is Major Liberty. He is the tenth hero to bear that name. The original (an ancestor of the current Major Liberty), fought the British during the American Revolutionary War. Likewise, Golden Eagle is the third hero to bear that name. He is the grandson of the original and the son of the second Golden Eagle.
- The Supreme Six is a team of legacy heroes. Calculus, Photon, Omnipresent, Prototype, Stonewall, and Thunderstorm all had at least one superhero parent with whom they share names and powers.
- The Grand Lake Heroes League in Legion Of Nothing. The League was original made up of former WWII special forces soldiers who came home and kept fighting bad guys. In the Present Day, their children/grandchildren have restarted it, with many of them adopted their forebears identities, and in some cases, enemies.
- Played for laughs in Homestarrunner. In the Sbemail "original" Strong Bad mentions that "There've been like twelve King of Towns.", as well as an Original Bubs, Senator Cardgage Bubs (Senor Cardgage filling in for Bubs) Crack Stunt-Bubs (Crack Stuntman filling in for Bubs), and "fan-favorite" Onion Bubs, before the current Bubs took his place. Marzipan at the end of the email reveals that "Strong Bad made it all up".
- Beast Wars and every incarnation of Transformers since then, including several specific character homages.
- The Optimus Prime of any given series is almost always a parallel to the original, though generally in another continuity.
- Beast Wars Megatron actually paid homage to this trope, with a tendency to refer to the original as "my namesake". Worth noting is that Megatron is one of the few legacy characters who, rather than being offered the mantle, decided he wanted it and just took it. Also worth noting is the fact that Beast Wars Megatron , thanks to time-travel, eventually became the very Megatron that was written about in the Covenant of Primus, the Transformer equivalent of the bible. Given the likelihood that G1 Megatron based his name from the Covenant, this effectively made Beast Wars Megatron the originator of the very legacy he joined. In effect, this is a Legacy example of ending up as your own grandfather.
Megatron: "Megatrons don't surrender, we conquer!"
- Optimus Primal, similarly, drew parallels to Optimus Prime, though less often.
- The name Prime carries with it a legacy of its own. In most versions of G1, Optimus Prime was preceded by Sentinel Prime and succeeded by Rodimus Prime. Although this works differently in Animated: Magnus is the commanding rank for all Autobots, while Prime is a lower-but-still-pretty-high rank. Thus Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime, and Rodimus Prime all exists hold the title simultaneously.
- G1 Megatron has now been established as a legacy character, taking his name from The Fallen, who was originally named Megatronus Prime.
- Cannonball, in what is almost certainly a Shout Out to the Princess Bride example, is the tenth in a line of Cybertronian pirates using that name.
- The Hunters, a family lineage of vigilantes/assassins fanatically determined to kill Demona and, by extension, any other gargoyle along the way. In a scene that was cut, the senior modern Hunter, Jason Canmore, admits that his family has been at this for so long that the exact reason for the vendetta has been long forgotten.
- Also hinted at in "Future Tense", where we see a vision of a possible Bad Future where an adult Alexander Xanatos has taken up the mantle of Fox from his mother (complete with the iconic eye tattoo) and devoted himself to bringing down his father, along with the rest of a resistance movement led by Brooklyn. Although that vision of the future turned out to be All Just a Dream, that episode took place slightly before Alex Xanatos was actually born in canon, implying that there might have been at least a grain of truth in it.
- The Shredder is made one in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toon; eventually it is revealed that the Shredder the turtles had been fighting during the first three seasons is actually the third person to take on the mantle. Eventually, Michelangelo's super-hero alter ego Turtle Titan becomes one as well.
- An episode of South Park explained that every time Kenny dies a new, identical McCormick is born bearing his name. At the time of that episode it had happened 52 times so far. It's never explained how the new Kennys age so fast. This was probably intended as a gag initially, but the subplot of the Coon vs Coon and Friends story-arc strangely confirms Kenny's immortality powers into canon, instant aging and all. His parents handwave it by saying "We should've never gone to that stupid cult meeting". It is established though that each of the babies are literal reincarnations of the original Kenny (complete with his memories), rather than simply being siblings with the same name.
- The cartoon series Batman Beyond revolves entirely around this concept.
- It focuses on Terry taking up the Batman mantle from an aging Bruce Wayne, 50 years after Batman The Animated Series.
- The series has another example in the Royal Flush Gang. In their first appearance, Bruce explained to Terry the gang's children are trained to take over the mantle once their elders retire or are sent to prison. In their last appearance, Queen complains that King can't live it up to the previous one. He even asked Terry if he knows what it's like living under someone's shadow. Terry said he did.
- The Justice League in the show plays this trope straight. Kai-Ro was Earth's new Green Lantern and John Stewart's successor, while Warhawk was the son of Stewart and Hawkgirl. Micron was also essentially the future equivalent of The Atom.
- Kim Possible both inverted and played straight this trope, both times incidentally, with the Plucky Sidekick Ron Stoppable.
- The first time was when he took the place of Timothy North as the Fearless Ferret. Sound familiar? Turns out though, that the Fearless Ferret was merely a television series.
- The second example was the Toshimoru, the original Monkey Master and the founder of Monkey Kung Fu, even though Kung Fu originated in China, not Japan. Throughout the series, Ron's enemy Monkey Fist was out to take up the mantle of the Monkey Master. In the end though, Ron was the one was the one to take up Toshimoru's sword (both figuratively and literally).
- In the original Ben 10 series, its revealed that in one possible future, Ben gives his son Ken a second Omnitrix. To further the legacy, Ken wears the same outfit Ben wore as a kid. Also, an evil example occurs with Delvin, Kevin 11's son, who has his father's powers and pretends to be him in his first attack. This ultimately ends up being an ironic legacy to both his own timeline and the Ben 10 Alien Force Timeline, he starts as a villain but joins Ben's team, the Alien Force Kevin does the same.
- The Avatar franchise does this via reincarnation. The responsibilities of learning all the elements, protecting the balance and being a bridge between the Spirit World and the physical world remain, with each successive Avatar treated as a unique being who can access their predecessors as individual Spirit Advisors, or in gestalt in a Super Mode.
- Young Justice:
- The episode "Downtime" shows Kid Flash at a birthday party for Jay Garrick, the original Flash. Wally's uncle, Barry Allen, is his mentor and the present Flash. In the tie-in comics, Wally explains that Jay was active in the 1940s and '50s as The Flash, while Barry picked up the mantle after duplicating the original Freak Lab Accident that gave Jay his powers—and Wally, in turn, used Barry's notes to replicate the "accident" for a third time.
- In season 2, Impulse uses a similar term when talking about how he and Tim Drake are both part of a heroic legacy. Jaime Reyes also mentions that he is the newest Blue Beetle, with his predecessor Ted Kord having been killed by the Light.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has a legacy of heroes known by the title of Te Xuan Ze.
- Batman The Brave And The Bold:
- There is an episode where Alfred wrote a story about a future where a new Batman had to face a new Joker trained by the original to take over the mantle. As the Joker explained, he didn't have too much time left. (The doctor gave him six months, he gave the doctor six seconds.)
- The series had more than one Blue Beetle appear.
Blue Beetle (III): Knockoff?! I prefer to think of myself as a reimagined hero for a new generation.
- Basil Karlo is introduced as the second Clayface in The Batman. His predecessor is a Canon Foreigner named Ethan Bennett.
- In the Christmastime exclusive series "Santapprentice" Santa Claus adopts an orphan named Nicholas and trains him to be the next Santa Claus. It's assumed that was the case for that Santa, and the one before him, and so on.
- On The Venture Brothers, there are heroic examples in the super science mantle of the Ventures as well as Captain Sunshine whose predecessor now acts as his butler, though still possessing superpowers of his own. On the villainous side, the Phantomos family line with the heir being the Phantom Limb as well as the Guild of Calamitous Intent passing down the Sovereign title.
Phantom Limb: Who died and made you the Sovereign?
Sovereign: That would be my predecessor, Force Majeure.
- The Simpsons "Duffman can never die... Only the actors who play him! Oh yeah!"
- Heads of State most closely fit this trope in real life, specifically those with actual influence or power. In most traditional Monarchies the royal sovereign was literally granted Legacy Character status by God and such status was passed down in perpetuity to their heirs. In Republics the Head of State can be viewed as an unchanging personification the nation and its people. Works best in a country with a fairly stable form of government where the character of state can build up sufficient gravitas. Current best examples are the British Royal Family, The Emperor of Japan and The President of the United States.
- Exemplified by the traditional announcement of a monarch's death in Great Britain "The King (or Queen) is Dead...Long Live the King (or Queen)" because the monarch technically never dies as the role immediately passes to the next qualified heir. This is also why the royal standard is never flown at half staff.
- Ships, particularly of the naval sort, frequently use the names of illustrious predecessors:
- The current oldest in-service US aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, is the eighth vessel of that name in service. Number 7 was a famous World War II carrier. Numbers 1 and 2 were in the Continental Navy. There is also the 'USS Enterprise' Recruit Barracks at the Great Lakes USN base, which is organized as a ship for administrative purposes. There's also already plans for a ninth ship to bear the name, as CVN-65 is being decommissioned.
- The Enterprise space shuttle test vehicle. It would have been the second shuttle to fly, but design changes made the refit prohibitively expensive. This is more a legacy of Star Trek than of the US Navy directly, though.
- Ark Royal has been the name of five British naval vessels, four aircraft carriers.
- There have been six HMS Victory vessels. Number six is the Trafalgar one, still in commission as a museum ship.
- Thirteen ships have borne the name HMS Swift, the last of which was renamed L.E. Orla when it was transferred to the Irish Navy.
- There have also been six ships to bear the USS Lexington moniker. The latest one was decommissioned in the 1970s and currently serves as a museum ship in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- The Dutch Royal Navy always has, by royal edict, a Jan van Speyk. Named after a naval officer who chose to blow up his ship rather than surrender to the Belgians during the Belgian War of independence.
- Likewise, The Spanish Navy always has, by royal decree, one ship called Velasco, after Luis Vicente de Velasco, hero of the 1762 Battle of Havana.
- The Australian Navy will have had 5 shipes named HMAS Sydney when the newest Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers are comissioned in 2013.
- Virtually every submarine of a new or improved type is called Nautilus, in tribute to Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
- Among cruise lines, Holland America Line is particularly fond of reusing former ship names. In particular, the current MS Maasdam and MS Statendam in the Holland America fleet are each the fifth ship to bear their respective names.
- Living Mascots often fit this trope. Chesty, the US Marine Corps Bulldog is* on his 14th incarnation and Bill the Navy Goat is on his 34th.
- Ruth Crowley wrote a newspaper advice column under the name Ann Landers, passing the name on to Esther Lederer. Lederer's sister Pauline Phillips began a competing column as Abigail van Buren, a pseudonym she passed on to her daughter. Lederer's daughter had her own column, Dear Prudence, in Slate, having taken it over from a different writer; it is now written by Emily Yoffe.
- Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the alleged leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network's Iraqi affiliate group, may be one of these. At least two different people have been identified as al-Baghdadi, and he's been killed at least once. This has led some believe it to be an assumed name that each new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq assumes when the old leader is killed, allowing foreign terrorists to pass themselves off as domestic Iraqi insurgents.
- In a way, a real life historical example is the Roman emperors of antiquity. When Octavian assumed the numerous offices given to him by the senate (who were effectively obliged to gives them to him) he took the honorary title "Augustus", the military title "Imperator" and had already taken the family name "Caesar" from his adoptive father, the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar. When he died and powers passed to his step-son Tiberius, the new emperor on being "voted" his powers by the senate took all of these honorifics to demonstrate himself both a continuation of Caesar Augustus's position in the state and member of his direct family. The Roman emperors continued to take the titles "Imperator" and "Augustus" until the 7th century AD and, even when the Julio-Claudian line descended from Julius Caesar fell from power in 69AD, the name "Caesar" continued to be adopted since it had become so associated with the position of emperor. Thus what had been a family name became a euphemism for an autocratic office.
- Actually, Caesar is a cognomen, that is a nickname-turned-family-name.
- Tsar is the Russian version of Caesar , and Kaiser the German one.
- May also apply to the Roman Empire itself. Various subsequent empires that took over / developed from former parts of the Roman Empire portrayed themselves (with varying degrees of validity) as successors to the Rome Empire. Notable exampes are the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Tzardom of Russia/Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.
- The officially-registered makeup patterns, stage names, and personas of professional clowns are passed down from mentor to student, often along family lines.
- The reason why so many Popes have numbers after their names is that they take on a new name when they become Pope. Pope John Paul II was, unusually, a legacy of the three previous Popes: John Paul I adopted his papal name in tribute to his two predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.
- Franklin W. Dixon (author of The Hardy Boys series) and Carolyn Keene (author of the Nancy Drew series) are pseudonyms; the books have been written by dozens of authors.
- Similarly, "Alex Archer", the 'author' of the Rogue Angel series of Lara Croft clone adventures, is actually several authors. Some better than others, it has to be said.
- The following Major League Baseball teams are named after minor league clubs which played in the same city before the arrival of the major league club: Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres.
- Quite a few Major League Soccer clubs are named after teams from the North American Soccer League, the only top flight league that ever existed in the United States (and Canada) before MLS: Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps.
- FC Dallas is named after a minor league club of the same name that existed in the late 1980s & early 1990s.
- Several different drivers have been The Stig in Top Gear.
- The Winnipeg Jets in the NHL - two different franchises over a decade apart, but holding the same name. Lesser known is the Ottawa Senators who, in a past incarnation, played in Ottawa prior to the Original Six era.