When we are first introduced to our Hero he or she is an unknown, a new recruit, a rookie, or a peasant from a recently destroyed village
, but destiny is calling
and he or she has answered. After many adventures, our Hero has accomplished great things. So much so that in the sequel he or she has become a legend, Famed in Story
throughout the land.
When a sequel is being made, writers, directors, or game-makers like to take the protagonist from the original work and turn them into a legendary figure. This can be a way to help complete denouement from the original work which often gets truncated, or as a way to pander to fans of the series who like to see their favorite character be recognized.
This trope is when the protagonist from a prior series or movie has become a legend in the sequel. They can be the protagonist themselves, a side character, long dead, or trapped in a time warp; what matters is that In-Universe
they are now regarded as a legend.
May or may not be Shrouded in Myth
. Compare and Contrast with: From Nobody to Nightmare
, Took a Level in Badass
. The reverse is Uniqueness Decay
, where once-legendary things have become commonplace in sequels.
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Anime and Manga
- Mai-Otome: An odd example since the sequel exists in another universe, but regardless Mai from Mai-HiME is a legendary Otome in the sequel
- DieBuster: The mystery behind the term "Nonoriri" is that it is an homage to Noriko from GunBuster.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- The original Yugi Moto of Yu-Gi-Oh! becomes a legend in later series for being the best at the card game (and saving the world).
- Despite Gin being a normal puppy in Ginga Nagareboshi Gin, he's the son of Riki, the leader of Ohu. In the Sequel Series Ginga Densetsu Weed, he's already a bigger legend than his dad after defeating the demon bear Akakabuto. And when Weed meets a new dog, that dog would remember how Gin was a kind and legendary dog. Even Hougen's three generals quit being his sidekicks when Gin shows them great kindness.
- Amuro Ray and Kira "Jesus" Yamato in Gundam Multiverse sequels.
- Kamina becomes one in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann after the Time Skip, though he enjoyed the status almost immediately after he died. It's just the nature of his character that he's most effective as a spiritual paragon.
- The five main Bronze Saints of Saint Seiya are referred to as the "Legendary Saints" in the Saint Seiya Omega spinoff, with their amazing feats in the classic series being recognized and respected, even though they're still Bronze, with the exception of Seiya, who's been promoted to Gold Saint.
- Although an alternate Bad Future and not a true sequel, Fallout: Equestria takes place hundreds of years after Equestria has been blasted into a ravaged hellscape. The Mane Six, heroic but largely unknown civilian ponies in the series, are still recognized for what they did in the years of the war prior to the apocalypse. Although not all are remembered fondly. With good reason for some. Justified as not only were they all bequeathed powerful administrative positions by Princess Luna, there are technologies, buildings, weapons, and even factions they created that still exist. Not to mention individuals and groups that choose to model themselves after the ideals they represented such as Velvet Remedy, Pinkie Bell, and Calamity this applies to all Dashites. The fact that there are ghouls that are still alive that may have even met them doesn't hurt either.
- Anytime a member of the original Harry Potter cast gets picked up in the (largely OC-driven) Absit Omen universe, their deeds of derring-do from the books usually net them significant praise, respect, and occasionally stalkers from the wizarding world.
- James Bond is an unknown in his first film but in The Man with the Golden Gun the villain challenges him because of his reputation as the best.
- The Mariachi from Robert Rodriguez's Mariachi Trilogy takes on this status in the sequels. Especially the third.
- Kevin Flynn in TRON: Legacy had become this. At one point at the end of the bar fight, one of the programs kneels down and prays to him.
- In the real world, Flynn played this trope straight, going from a relatively minor celebrity to the leading pioneer in computing. In the computer world, he is both figuratively and literally God to the programs, from day one.
- Played straight and subverted by the discredited Tron 2.0. Several Programs mention Tron as a great hero who mysteriously vanished after his victory over Master Control, and one NPC wistfully wishes he would return to help fight off the Datawraiths. (In a strange way, though, they did get his little brother...) However, no one there seems to remember Flynn.
- In the original Alien, Ellen Ripley is a lowly Warrant Officer serving onboard a mining ship. By the time Alien: Resurrection rolls around, her Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the third film is well-known, and more than one individual on the Auriga references how she died to prevent the spread of the xenomorphs throughout the galaxy (the novelization makes this clearer: Call discusses Golic's report on the events of the third film, and how Ripley died for what she believed in).
- In the first National Treasure film, Ben Gates and the entire Gates family are the laughingstock of the scientific community for their belief in the Templar treasure. In fact, when Ben and Riley go to see Abigail for the first time, he introduces himself as "Mr. Brown", knowing she wouldn't believe him as Ben Gates. In the sequel, everybody knows about the treasure (although it's been a few years, so the novelty has worn off), and the Gates family is looked at with much more respect, to the point where the film starts with an ancestor of their being posthumously honored as a hero for stopping a treasonous plot via Heroic Sacrifice just after the Civil War. Of course, that just wouldn't do, so the film's Big Bad produces a document that makes the Gates ancestor appear to be a traitor himself. Once again, the Gates name is exonerated by the President himself, especially since the Gates family once again finds a major historical site. The third film will see if it sticks.
- Earl and Valentine become somewhat famous - as do the Graboids - by the second film.
- At the beginning of the third film, Burt has been called on for assistance with Graboids in Peru.
- In the Dragonlance series, most of the main characters from the original Chronicles trilogy are referred to as "The Heroes of the Lance" in the later books and everyone seems to know their stories.
- Already rather famous among the Alliance by The Empire Strikes Back, in the post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker is a legend. The first new Jedi in a generation, a general at 24, the man who destroyed the first Death Star and defeated Darth Vader in single combat—and he only gets bigger. This is thoroughly examined in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor.
- While his reputation as Warhammer 40,000s HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!' is part of the series, the first Ciaphas Cain short stories and novels are set in in his early days where he's a wet-behind-the-ears commissar who's just began gaining a false reputation for heroism. Plus the novels are in Anachronic Order, so he has varying levels of fame (depending when in his life it's set) in each.
- In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, you see Hari Seldon transform from an Ignored Expert to a legendary figure. The prequel novels reveal that young Seldon was a low-level mathematician from a backwater world whose presentation about the theoretical possibility of psychohistory attracted the attention of The Emperor (in fact, the whole thing was masterminded by a Ridiculously Human Robot, who inspired Seldon to continue his work and turn it from theory into practice).
- More Asimov examples from Robot Trilogy:
- Double subverted with Susan Calvin, one of the first robopsychologists. She had plenty of fame in her time, and by the Robot series, she's a mythical figure… in the spacer worlds. Back on Earth, she is barely another name on the history books (the fact they don't like robots on earth doesn't help matters). In later series, she gains a mythical status on all the worlds.
- Also from the Robot Series, there is Elijah Baley. In the second and third books, his abilities gained him respect even among the spacers (who do not like the Earth people much in the first place), and by the time of Robots and Imperium, he was so famous that even they named one of the new colonized planets after him.
- Mistborn: The Original Trilogy:
- Kelsier is revered as a god in the second and third books, after he dies and has a shapeshifter appear to his followers afterward.
- By the time of the novel The Alloy of Law which takes 300 years after the original trilogy, pretty much all the main characters from the original have become legendary, and some have formal religions following them.
- Played with in The Chronicles of Narnia. In Prince Caspian, for instance, the four children from the first book return to Narnia, only to find to their great surprise that it's a thousand years in the future (thanks to Narnia Time). They're regarded as legends if not fairy tales, and their return is considered much the same as if King Arthur returned to modern-day Britain. Trumpkin is also dismayed to find that they've come back as kids, since they were adults when they left.
- Averted, much to Jim's chagrin, in the Tennis Shoes adventure series. Despite having saved the lives of some very important people, and aiding in the assassination of the evil king, very few people remember 'Jimawkins', so when he tries to show off for his kids, they are less than impressed.
- Inverted in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword which tells the tale of how a plucky orphan girl, Angharad "Harry" Crewe, became the first woman to wield the famous blue sword, Gonturan, since the legendary Lady Aerin. Its prequel, The Hero and the Crown tells how a young girl named Aerin came to take up the blue sword to save her people from a dragon and a sorcerer.
- Parodied in Eric: during the events of Sourcery (some books back), Rincewind the Wizzard managed to defeat the Sourcerer and close the rift to the Dungeon Dimensions, and the surviving wizards considered building a statue to remember him. In Eric it turns out that they then decided it should be a plaque, and then a commendation in the university's history, and then a reprimand for being improperly dressed (he defeated the Sourcerer using a half-brick in one of his socks). In fact, they try to avoid even mentioning him, and are very cool towards the idea of bringing him back, because he's just a terrible wizard, and not (for example) in case he (mistakenly) thought he saw them on the Sourcerer's side.
- Played straight, though for some Late Arrival Spoilers, Sam Vimes and Captain Carrot become WORLD REKNOWNED for being the straightest coppers ever. Sam arresting his own Patrician, beating up Werewolves, and Carrot stopping a warbattle by arresting everybody and having once tried to arrest a DRAGON spread around the disc quickly. Vimes as an ambassador beats up a couple of thugs and guesses (justified) the rumour will grow that he beat up 41 armed men and a dog. He's spot on.
- In her first appearance in Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax is a cunning witch, but not portrayed as anything out of the ordinary. A few books later and she is the most respected and feared person in the entire Ramtops, and entire cultures have nicknames for her which basically translate to "Avoid at all costs".
- Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings sequence: At the end of the Farseer trilogy, Fitz has come back from the dead after his execution in the second book, but prefers to let most people continue to think he's dead. In the later Tawny Man trilogy, he comes back to court fifteen years later under an assumed name, and is made acutely uncomfortable by the near-mythical status he's attained.
- By the fourth book in the Uglies trilogy, the protagonist of the first three books, Tally Youngblood, has exposed a dark secret (and done other stuff) which has created a cult of followers for her.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse the Huanni race were introduced in the novel The Last Roundup, in the person of cadet Skalli Jksilli, who wanted to be a diplomat. When a new Huanni character shows up in the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch, set a century later, mention is made of the august career Skalli has enjoyed, becoming a great diplomat.
- In Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, Alanna the Lioness becomes famous even before the end of Song of the Lioness thanks to becoming the first Tortallan lady knight in over a century, bringing back the Dominion Jewel, and helping to stop a civil war in its tracks. Her accomplishments are a direct inspiration to Keladry of Mindelan, the protagonist of Protector of the Small who becomes the first openly-female page.
- Kellen and Idalia are the heroes of The Obsidian Trilogy. A thousand years later, in The Enduring Flame Trilogy, they're the figureheads of the setting's main religion.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek:
- Captain Kirk is regarded as a legendary captain in all of the sequels and spin-off series (except for Enterprise, of course). In fact, in the semi-reboot by Abrams, the time-travelling Romulan immediately recognizes Kirk as having been Starfleet's greatest captain.
- As are some of his peers. Spock and Sarek (and Scotty) are regarded in awe by the characters when they show up in The Next Generation.
- His Klingon rivals Kor, Kang, and Koloth are also legendary warriors when they appear on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- An inversion occurs regarding T'Pau. When she appears in The Original Series, she's considered a legendary figure by Kirk. Forty years later, in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, we meet the young rebel as she takes her first step into Vulcan's leadership.
- The relaunch of Doctor Who has made much more of the Doctor's fame (or notoriety) both on Earth and in the rest of time and space, to the point of making Ascended Fanon of Steven Moffat's own theory that the word "doctor" in all languages comes from the Doctor, not the other way around, and that in one language it translates not to "healer" or "scholar" but to "mighty warrior," and that as a result an entire religious movement has formed with the sole intention of killing him so he can't do any more damage. The Eleventh Doctor subsequently "went underground" in order to remedy this.
- In Metal Gear, Snake is a rookie sent in because the Big Bad expected him to fail. Snake is regarded as a legendary soldier in Metal Gear Solid from his exploits in the 8-bit era. This becomes a major theme in Metal Gear Solid 2, where it's deconstructed by the slightly pathetic protagonist.
- In Pokémon Red and Blue, and its remakes, you are just an eleven year old rookie trainer. By the end of the game you've beaten every gym leader, singlehandedly brought down a mafia, and become champion of the Indigo league. By the sequels you are now held with high regard as the boy who brought down Team Rocket.
- By Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Red is still considered a legendary champion and as a possible bonus boss. It should be noted that these games are in-universe almost a decade later.
- Game Freak has actually encouraged players to invoke this trope with Red. When it was discovered that Barry's levels in Platinum surpassed Red's, HeartGold and SoulSilver corrected that by making Red's levels higher.
- The protagonist of Pokémon Black and White seems to be one of these but unlike Red it's never specified which protagonist is the hero. The games themselves imply both are the hero depending on which character you play as, Hilda for Nate and Hilbert for Rosa.
- The protagonist from Fable II is recognized as a great hero in Fable III.
- Played with in the case of the protagonist from Fable 1. His legend is inscribed on the walls of the Sanctuary, but he otherwise receives no specific mention.
- In the Mass Effect series, Shepard is generally seen as a legend to humans from the very beginning of the first game, hence being chosen as the first human Spectre. His/her legend has just grown exponentially by the second. By the time of Mass Effect 2 thanks to his/her exploits in the Mass Effect 1, Commander Shepard is now seen as a galaxy wide legendary hero. Through each installment, Shepard is unquestionably regarded as one of the biggest badasses ever seen in the galaxy, by practically all races regardless of their relations with one another, thus being a unifying figure like no other, to the point that the final scene in Mass Effect 3 is a grandparent telling a child about "The Shepard", who at this point has become a semi-mythic figure (thus justifying all the different choices in various playthroughs as a case of Unreliable Narrator and/or Legend Fades to Myth).
- Link, from The Legend of Zelda, due to reincarnating (along with Zelda herself) each game.
- By the time the story in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker begins, the events of Ocarina of Time have been passed down for generations and is considered a myth. Despite this, the people of Outset Island have a custom where boys are garbed in green, when they come of age (twelve), in the hopes they'll find courage like the Hero of Time. There's also a statue of him in Hyrule Castle.
- The legend carries over to Twilight Princess as well, which occurs at roughly the same time as Wind Waker, due to the split timeline. After the events at Death Mountain, wherein Link restores Darbus' sanity, Renado remarks how Link's actions are reminiscent of the Hero of Time's.
- This continues in A link Between Worlds where the events of the previous game A Link to the Past are shown as a series of paintings in the entry way inside Hyrule Castle.
- A minor example, but in Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the current hero Jake, sees Andy, a hero from the previous game, as a legend.
- The Warden in Dragon Age: Origins is regarded as a great hero in Dragon Age II, due to stopping the blight in Ferelden before it could spread to other nations, making it the shortest Blight in the entire history of Thedas.
- This is what has happened to Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. He was a Book Dumb, often reckless kid in the original. But having defeated so many villainous forces, and leading the way in changing the two worlds, Lloyd is praised in many places as "Lloyd the Great"- to the dismay of new protagonist Emil Castagnier.
- Jazeta, the hero from Turbografx-16 Zelda-clone Neutopia becomes a legend for defeating Dirth. His son must save him after he is captured in Neutopia II, with the folks around the kingdom telling him more about his famous father.
- In the second BioShock game Jack has several cults devoted to him.
- In the Fire Emblem Tellius continuity, Ike starts the first game as the son of the commander of a relatively obscure mercenary company. By the sequel, both Ike and the Greil Mercenaries have become heroes and household names across the continent.
- Duke Nukem Forever: "They used to tell stories of a man who saved the world. A man whose very presence sent aliens running back to their motherships. The man who disappeared without a trace."
- Both X and Zero from the Mega Man X series have become this in the Mega Man Zero series.
- In Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman has become such a legend that he is given messianic titles such as "The One Free Man" and "The Opener of the Way". To his enemies, the Combine, he is "Anticitizen One".
- Subverted in the Ace Attorney games. Between the 3rd and 4th games Phoenix had built up a reputation as a legendary defense attorney, but then had a fall from grace which caused him to lose his license and the respect of the community.
- Played straight in Dual Destinies, where Phoenix's name has been cleared and his past adventures have earned him the nickname "Turnabout Terror" for his ability to turn the tide in his favor through wild tactics and bluffing.
- Inverted in the first three Dragon Quest games. Your character in the third game becomes a legend in the first game.
- The Nameless Hero of Gothic attains this reputation among the former convicts by the time of Gothic II, particularly with Night of the Raven installed. This is partly due to bringing down the Barrier, but mainly due to simply getting favor with everyone in the first game.
- Bobbin Threadbare from the Adventure Game Loom was apparently supposed to be this in the planned but not produced sequels Forge and The Fold, and appear in an Obi-Wan-like fashion and give the new heroes advice.
- In the final mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, ISAF sends nine ace pilots to assist Mobius One. In Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (the Arcade Mode), ISAF sends Mobius One against a virtual airforce alone, because his individual effectiveness is estimated greater than an entire squadron.
- In every installment of The Elder Scrolls since Daggerfall, you can find in-game legends about the protagonists of previous games, referred to with raceless, genderless nicknames.
- The Eternal Champion (the protagonist of Arena) is indicated as being referred to as Champion in part because people don't actually know who he (or she) was — among other things, the Champion is referred to as 'forever nameless' in one the biographies about Barenziah. The Agent (the protagonist of Daggerfall) is an exception to the in-game legends thing: the Agent's involvement in the events of Daggerfall are unknown to the general public. Those few that do know about the Agent's involvement have reasons for keeping quiet about it and the Agent's identity.
- And the first NPC your character meets in Morrowind as a prisoner is Jiub, later referenced in Oblivion as Saint Juib, who drove the Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell.
- In the Baldur's Gate games you start as a random kid from Candlekeep, known only by, for lack of a better term, "family". By the second game, a few people in a nation about 200 miles south of Baldur's Gate have heard of your exploits up north. By the expansion, an entire army is sent out to kill you, an extremely powerful Bhaalspawn with an army of her own starts to panic when you come after her, and freaking Elminster says, "Nope, not fightin' ya."
- Breath of Fire III has inaccurate depictions◊ of the first game and before.◊
- Inverted in Drakengard, the "hero" of the first game becomes The Dreaded in the sequel. This isn't much of a stretch, since he wasn't a very nice guy to begin with. Or rather, "Caim" becomes known as the hero who saved the world, while "The One-Eyed Man" is The Dreaded. The fact that the One-Eyed Man is Caim seems to be kept quiet by those in power.
- In Fallout, your main character is a naive vault dweller, with zero experience with the outside world whatsoever. Fast forward to Fallout 2, the Vault Dweller has become a legendary figure, and a household name, whose actions have changed the wasteland forever.
- The heroes from the first two Golden Sun games are famous thirty years later in Dark Dawn, though whether they're remembered as heroes or not depends on who you ask -Unleashing alchemy had major consequences for Weyard and not everyone is aware of the circumstances that made it necessary for them to do so. Felix in particular seems to have gone down in history as a villain. While he did work for the bad guys in the first game, he had noble intentions in doing so, and by the end of the second game he and Isaac were on the same side.
- Technically in the same game, but still in The Stinger for a new one, In Asura's Wrath, Thanks to Adult Mithra telling the story of her father and having it passed down for generations, Asura is basically this, even hundreds of millions of years into the future.
- Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes becomes this in Desperate Struggle after becoming the #1 assassin and walking away from that title. Other assassins refer to him as "The Crownless King" and some have based their weapons on the beam katanas Travis uses.
- Three of the villains in Diablo II are actually the heroes from the first game. The Rogue has become an undead creature haunting the monastery graveyard, the Sorcerer is a mad summoner living in a pocket dimension, and the Warrior is the receptacle for Diablo's reincarnation.
- Diablo III has numerous references to the heroes from Diablo II. Most of them are generic mentions of a "band of heroes" in Deckard Cain's journals. The most specific it ever gets is when you meet a necromancer who says his mentor helped defeat the Prime Evils twenty years ago.
- In Final Fantasy X-2, Yuna has become a celebrity in Spira for her achievements in Final Fantasy X. This results in the two major factions, New Yevon and the Youth League, seeking her support. Yuna, for her part, just wants to enjoy life and continue helping people. (And save the world. Again.)
- In Lunar: Eternal Blue, Dragonmaster Alex is one of the best known Dragonmasters, and the relationship between him and Luna is considered one of the great love stories of all time. A few of other party members are also still being talked about a thousand years later: Jessica for her leadership of Meribia, Mia for taking charge of the Magic Guild and rebuilding Vane.
- Many of the NPCs and heroes from the original Guild Wars have become legendary in Guild Wars 2. As an example, Jora is revered among the Norn, and her redemption is noted on the statue that honors her: "Blood washes blood."
- Revan from Knights of the Old Republic is remembered as legendary in the Spiritual Sequel Star Wars: The Old Republic. Interestingly, the Jedi remember him as a legendary Jedi hero, while the Sith prefer to see him as the quintessential Sith. One leader of a cult devoted to him remarks that his gender is unclear in ancient texts (reflecting the fact that the player could choose either gender).
- The player character (and all of the recruitable characters) from Dungeon Siege get this treatment, but not until III: The canon player character, as seen on the box art for the original, was appointed Lady Montbarron by King Konreid after she helped save Ehb, and she and all her companions are entombed in a shrine not far from the estate that she was given. Two of the main characters are descendants of her, and a third is a descendant of Meric, one of the companions you can get in the original.
- In the series premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic the central cast are regular citizensnote who save their world from the forces of darkness. In the premiere of the second season they visit the royal palace and are surprised to see a series of stained glass windows telling the story of their battle. Strangely, they're still not often recognized or treated as heroes by the general public both before and after they save the world a second time. Though this may be due to the fact that most of the ponies of the world have long ago gotten used to weirdness that keeps popping up all over Equstria.
- Inverted in BIONICLE: in the first year, there was the Legend of Lhii, a legendary lavasurfer, on the island of Mata Nui and nothing else from that. Come 2004, a flashback, and there's a Toa named Lhikan whom was the basis of that legend.
- Ben 10:
- In the beginning of Ben 10, Ben Tennyson was just a kid with a super-powerful watch. 5 years later, he was fairly popular within circles of the alien community. By the third series, his identity became public and is now a full-blown celebrity.
- By Ben 10: Omniverse, his adventures are being taught as part of the curriculum at the Plumbers' Academy and his new partner Rook is his Ascended Fanboy.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender :
- By nature, Avatars are destined to be legendary, but Aang seems to have become this in particular in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra.
- Zuko also has a statue of himself in Republic City and is presumably even more well-known in the Fire Nation.
- Toph went on to found the Republic City police force, complete with a gold statue of herself outside of HQ.
- Sokka eventually earns an influential position on the City Council, and is commemorated with a statue outside the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Exchange Center.
- And on a hilarious note, The Cabbage Merchantnote went on to found a successful company, Cabbage Corp, which has a statue of him and his cabbages in front of the company's headquarters. Thus far, he's the only person in the series to have a statue in that city and not be a member of the main group.
- Other than Suki, the only member of the Gaang not to have a statue of themselves shown so far is Katara. Zuko is confirmed to still be alive, although he has not appeared as of yet.