Kaladin: I'm putting it all on the long bet. If I die, then they'll come out, shake their heads, and tell themselves they knew it would happen. But if I live, they'll remember it. And it will give them hope. They might see it as a miracle.While the word "messiah" has different meanings in different cultures and there have been dozens of claimants to the title according to Wikipedia, for most Western intents and purposes, the term has been Hijacked by Jesus, with Jesus becoming the Trope Maker. In media, the Messianic Archetype is a character whose role in the story (but not necessarily personality) echoes that of Christ. They are portrayed as a savior, whether the thing they are saving is a person, a lot of people or the whole of humanity. They endure a sizable sacrifice as the means of bringing that salvation about for others, a fate they do not deserve up to and including death or a Fate Worse Than Death. Other elements may be mixed and matched as required but the Messianic Archetype will include one or more of the following:
Syl: Do you want to be a miracle?
Kaladin: No. But for them, I will be.
Syl: Do you want to be a miracle?
Kaladin: No. But for them, I will be.
- The Chosen One
- True Companions who follow him
- Betrayal by one of those followers
- Persecution by nonbelievers
- Crucified Hero Shot (or other parallels to the Passion Play)
- Figurative or literal resurrection
- A Second Coming
- The initials JC
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Anime and Manga
- The most obvious example of this in AKIRA is, of course, the titular character, a godlike psychic mutant child whose extraordinary power could mean the end of the world as easily as its utter salvation; in the end, he 'dies' to create a new universe to contain his own and Tetsuo's man-made superpowers. Bonus points for his frothing-at-the-mouth cult following and his short resurrection in the movie.
- More subtly, Kaori also fits the archetype nicely; she's a quietly suffering All-Loving Hero who offers her forgiveness to the resident Satanic Archetype Tetsuo, consistently preventing The End of the World as We Know It in doing so, despite the constant mistreatment she suffers from him; she's quite literally shot in the back by traitors and Tetsuo temporarily brings her spirit back, but it doesn't last. For the rest of his time in the manga, he carries her in his arms and mourns; her death incites the Superpower Meltdown that allows him to finally be defeated.
- This is being rather horrifically subverted in the Berserk manga; the people of Midland are suffering. The plague is decimating the populace. Bandits groups — the remnants of mercenaries left without livelihood because of the end of the Hundred Years War — are preying on the people. The heart of Midland, the great capital city of Wyndham, itself has been assailed by the horrible demonic Kushan Empire. The Demon Emperor Ganeshka of the Kushan Empire has the Princess Charlotte captive, and intends to marry her to legitimize his conquest. However, a dream is had in common every night by the entire nation, of the Hawk of Light, the White Hawk which burns away the darkness, and is acknowledged as a miracle and an omen even by the Holy See. When the White Hawk finally does arrive, he is both beautiful and powerful, rescuing the princess from the Demon Emperor of the Kushan Empire, and saving the forces of the Holy See from being utterly annihilated with his great Band of the Hawk, which consists of both Apostles, superhuman soldiers which can each destroy legions single-handedly, and of the common men. The heroes and the common people both support him, for his deeds are both kind and miraculous. One problem though; the messiah is really Griffith, now named Femto, a demonic demigod, the aforementioned Apostles are demons as well, and it was established earlier in the manga that he is going to save the world just to drop it even further into darkness (if that is even possible). To make it even worse, it's implied that he is the legitimate Messiah as well.
- Guts, however, is becoming a straight example. Farnese decides to follow Guts after seeing his strength of will during the events at Albion, where he fought off a horde of demons while everyone else simply panicked. Isidro admires Guts' martial skill and strives to be as much like him as possible. Schierke grows a crush on him and her experiences with him change her misanthropic viewpoint that humanity is not worth saving. Even Serpico, who is initially a rival of Guts', slowly grows to admire him.
- Chrono and Rosette of Chrono Crusade share duties for this, in a way. Chrono falls in love with a women known as Mary Magdalene and after her death sleeps in her grave for 50 years until he's woken up by Joshua and Rosette. Rosette, on the other hand, is spending her lifespan to give Chrono his powers and in the manga does eventually die from it...but comes back to life partially through sheer force of will and partially with the help of Mary's soul. In the anime this is made even more obvious when Rosette receives stigmata marks that allows her to heal people and harm demons. Both her and Chrono die in the end of the series and don't come back to life...although Aion does.
- Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass often compares himself to a Messiah who produces miracles (through his Magnificent Bastardry) and can be seen as a Messianic Archetype at the end of the series. Or more accurately, a Dark Messiah. He redirected all the entire world's hatred upon himself so that the world may be united against him as a common enemy, causing peace.
- Death Note: L gets this when Light is about to kill him.
- Light is a failed Messiah. His death causes everything he's worked for to collapse. The lyrics to the first OP (full version) even include the line "Am I a broken Messiah?"
- Son Goku of Dragon Ball. The guy came to Earth from the stars, saved the world three times before he turned twenty. Gave his life twice for the Earth and is described as like an angel by his friends and family. This is more evident in the English dub. During the Frieza Saga, Goku refers to himself as "Justice, peace, light, and truth". This isn't present in the original manga, however.
- Fist of the North Star
- Toki. When given the power of the Hokuto arts, he uses them for healing instead of harming, and often performs miracles for sick people. When he has to kill, he uses a technique that causes the victims to experience great euphoria as they die.
- Shu; he bears a cross of stone to his death for the sake of one hundred innocents.
- Yuria, who bears the Star of the Mother, heals the villain's troops and bandages the villain, and voluntarily agrees to die when Ken-Oh wants to kill her.
- Fushigi Yuugi: As the long-awaited Priestess of Suzaku, Miaka is definitely this to the people of Konan. Also, in the prequel, Takiko is this to the people of Hokkan when she becomes the Priestess of Genbu. She doesn't think she's worthy of it, though.
- Hanyuu from Higurashi: When They Cry is an interesting example. She used to be a Messianic Archetype, to the point where she had her daughter ritually sacrifice her as atonement for the sins of the inhabitants of Onigafuchi, but has since come to reject her former philosophy. She now believes that people cannot atone for their sins through the sacrifice of others.
- I'm Gonna Be an Angel!'s Noelle. She even has a halo and is in fact an angel, or more accurately, a 1/3 of an angel.
- Etienne from Innocents Shounen Juujigun is designed to be this. The whole story is about his adventure as God's chosen child, and he goes on said adventure with an intentionally chosen twelve "disciples". Later, he is betrayed by one of said disciples, decreed a heretic by the church, captured and executed (after many failed attempts at killing him), and has his body mounted on a stake and displayed as an example. He also reincarnates as his own son, and goes on to play a major part in ending The Crusades.
- Shiro, the Silver King in K - he doesn't strike one as the type to fill this role at first. As his follower, Kuroh, says, he is "just hopeless, lazy, irresponsible, cowardly, and lacks commitment... yet, I find myself wanting to stand by his side and fight for him." He mostly fills the "salvation" and "resurrection" elements of this. Like Lelouch, he's an All-Loving Hero except to those who threaten the ones he loves the most.
- Elenore in Madlax tragically becomes one.
- Monster: Tenma, who takes him upon himself to save everyone around him through great personal sacrifice. Justified, in that the Big Bad of the series, Johan, really is the worst person ever, and is sometimes referred to by other characters in the series as the Second Hitler, The Antichrist and the Devil himself.
- Tragic of Mythic Quest is believed to be this by the Church of the Seeker, which was founded on this belief alone, despite his quite publicized decision to Save The Girl Screw The World.
- The titular character from Naruto. Let's count his Messiah credentials... He is The Chosen One by prophecy. He has a number of devoted followers. He's persecuted for most of his early life for being a Jinchuriki. He's technically dead with Kurama extracted from him and is about to be revived to save the world and most especially he is the reincarnation of the youngest son of the Sage of Six Paths, AKA the God of Shinobi, who was chosen as the Sage's successor.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Yui Ikari (especially if you ask Gendo), Rei Ayanami who was a clone of Yui and Kaworu "He Died For Your Sins" Nagisanote . Shinji also has some Messianic elements, but really doesn't want to be one of these, but ended up acting as the channel for all the souls of humanity, along with Rei and Yui who had let herself be trapped in Eva-01. The parallel goes as far as Shinji forgiving everyone and deciding to redeem them, despite all the shit the world put him through.
- As in Rebuild of Evangelion, this is definitely Kaworu more than ever: a crown of thorn analogue, Mark 06 Bible reference, walking on water (the game spin offs of Rebuild), literally carrying Shinji's sin and representing the hope for salvation and redemption. There's a song of Shinji's mindset that compares our protagonist to Judas hilariously.
- Himeno, as the White Prétear, falls into this archetype at the end of the series. She puts her heart and soul into saving the Dark Magical Girl, and accomplishes it by feeding all of her life energy to the demon that Fenrir created. This causes her to fall into a deep sleep, but since this is based loosely on "Snow White", True Love's Kiss wakes her up.
- In the prologue of Princess Tutu, we're told a fairytale about a good Prince and an evil Raven who were locked in a furious battle. The fairytale was unfinished because the writer had died in the middle of writing the tale, but the Prince and Raven escaped the story so as to finish their battle. In the end, the Prince used forbidden magic to stab himself in the heart and shatter it, which sealed away the Raven at the cost of the Prince's personality and emotions. The story revolves around the Prince—Mytho—having his heart restored piece by piece by the titular magical girl.
- Madoka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a selfless omnibenevolent and pure Moe girl who suffered temptation under the Incubator, and would always try to put her friends before her own life, but Homura, the analogue of St. Peter, kept preventing her from doing so to make her continue to live for herself ("Get thee behind me Satan"). In the finale, Madoka takes all the multiplying Debt of Despair and suffering of all Magical Girls at every point in Space and Time into herself, preventing their mutation into the very abominations they fought against, and then becomes a Goddess of hope and compassion but at the cost of her eternal punishment of absorbing the despair of the Universe with her own hands. Made more effective by the fact that the Ending was premiered on the Real Life Good Friday 2011. However, unlike the classical depiction of the Messianic Archetype, which depicted the Messiah vanquishing the Satan figure (Incubator) to annihilation or eternal torture, Madoka recognized that the Incubator gave mankind civilization, and without them, we would still be naked and living in caves, which was why, despite not liking it herself, she let them exist while she bore the fallout of despair created by their civilization into herself. There are also alternative timelines in the series where she assumes a Messiah role from the very start especially if you ask Homura.
- Oscar de Jarjayes in Rose of Versailles. She even has a December 25th birthday,has 12 "disciples" and dies at age 33.
- Usagi Tsukino in Sailor Moon. Who is even called the Messiah in Sailor Moon S and for the duration of that series possesses an item called the "Holy Grail." All of this was naturally censored from The '90s US dub, though only by removing religious names and not the actual plot elements.
- The ending of season 1—She uses the silver crystal to defeat Metalia, dies, and makes a wish on the crystal that she, Mamouru and the other senshi be returned to life as normal people. That doesn't last long...
- Yoh Asakura from Shaman King is practically Jesus Christ in human form. He is extremely kind, has a heart of pure gold, believes in the goodness of everyone, and always puts EVERYONE above himself, even his enemies. His example is so strong that he literally changes practically every villain in the show, no matter how evil, into a good guy.
- D-boy or Takaya Aiba from Tekkaman Blade is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold version this combined with Fantastic Racism and being treated as nothing but mere weapons and experimental subject by the military. Although, when you actually see his backstory, his Jerk Ass tendency is VERY justified.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina died for our sins! And Simon follows in his footsteps once he starts power-leveling in badassery. By the end of the series, the entire universe is calling out his name in joy, and while he doesn't die, he chooses to become a nameless hermit.
- Ulysses in Ulysses 31. The original Ulysses from The Odyssey may not have necessarily been a Messianic figure, but this one certainly is.
- Yugi Mutou of Yu-Gi-Oh! is a clever deconstruction of this. Everyone who knows him agrees that he's pure light and they would do virtually anything for him, but against the world as a whole, he's a tragically misunderstood innocent—his pacifism gets him beaten up by school bullies on a regular basis, for example.
- Pharaoh Atem could also with the trope. Seeing as he sealed his soul away in an 'unsolvable' puzzle for 5000 years (or 3000 years depending)in order to save the world from being consumed by the shadow realm.
- Watashi no Messiah-sama : Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Sistine Chapel:
- Since The Last Judgement depicts Christ's resurrection, it's only natural for the painting directly above it to depict a figure seen as foreshadowing Christ: the prophet Jonah, who is sitting back as if to large for his portrait.
- The handsome young man dressed in white in The Temptations of Christ is a stand-in for Christ. His interaction with a Moses-looking Jewish priest emphasizes one of the larger themes of the Sistine Chapel's artwork, that the Old Testament and New Testament are continuous with each other.
- From the DC Universe, Superman. He is also Moses.
- Jor-El (God) cast Zod (Satan) out of Krypton (heaven) and into the Phantom Zone (hell). Kal-El arrives in a star-shaped spaceship (Star of Bethlehem) and is found by the infertile Martha Kent (Virgin Mary).
- Superman also has this role in Legion of Super-Heroes, being the inspiration of the heroes of that century.
- It's an especially big element in the Animated Adaptation (see Western Animation).
- Also in Smallville (see live action television).
- Let's not forget the movies too (see Film below)!
- In the Marvel Universe, Him a.k.a. Adam Warlock, especially in the Counter-Earth saga, to the point of acquiring the Fan Nickname of "Space Jesus".
- Prince Fly Catcher of Fables.
- Cable in Cable & Deadpool, so much so that he tries to sacrifice his life to show humanity that they can rise above war and prejudice. But, that doesn't mean that he is above a little violence to get things done.
- X-Men has four big ones, all from the same Tangled Family Tree:
- The first and best-known is Jean Grey, who as Phoenix saved the entire universe from extinction and then committed suicide to keep herself from blowing it up...then got better.
- Second came Cable, as mentioned above.
- Third came Nate Grey, who basically was Cable from an Alternate Universe without the virus holding his powers back and took it upon himself to be a mutant shaman, helping out ordinary people with his powers. He also, naturally, died and came back from the dead at least twice, both times sacrificing himself for others - in the latter case, for the entire world. Sound familiar?
- He's so much this trope that on his grand return in Dark Reign when he's looking to take Norman Osborn down by force all by himself (and he very nearly succeeds), he stops and informs a HAMMER Agent that she should go for that UNICEF job she was considering.
- And now we've got Hope Summers, the first mutant born after the Decimation, prophesied to be the last hope of mutantkind. What this means at this point is still anyone's guess, but she's become kind of a walking MacGuffin for everyone with ideas regarding the future of mutants. To really drive the point home, when she gets back to present and must save the Mutant Race, the story arc is called Second Coming.
- Magneto, on the other hand, can very easily be called a Dark Messiah Moses, fighting for the freedom of his people. (Bonus for the Moses parallel: he's Jewish.) Is killing a few humans that much worse than unleashing plagues and locust swarms?
- And to round off the Messiahs of the X-universe, in the nineties when Magneto was pushed from Dark Messiah to A God Am I territory he was given a messianic Mouth of Sauron in Exodus, who... well, the name's a little on the nose, isn't it? Despite not being pushed as hard in the messiah role since the 90s ended, he manages a traditional messianic feat that none of the above messiahs can claim — raising the dead.
- J'on from The Great Power of Chninkel is a deconstruction of the Messiah. He's the only survivor of the endless war that is being fought between three tyrants before he is tasked by God himself to free his enslaved species, the Chninkel, from bondage or it will destroy the world in three days. He's only picked to be the Chosen One because he happened to be in the right place at the right time and finds himself thoroughly unsuitable for the role destiny has seen fit for him. He ends up sentenced to death, when it turns J'on's sacrifice was all done for the sake of God's vanity to secure eternal worship. God destroys the world out of spite and J'on's story is lost to the sands of time.
- The Silver Surfer is one twice over: First, he accepted the role of Galactus's herald to save his home planet from being destroyed, then defied Galactus to save the Earth from the same fate and was stripped of much of his cosmic power and exiled to Earth to be shunned by the very people he gave his freedom to protect.
- Paulie from Circles. He was a very kind and wise soul, he had many followers, many people looked up to him, he brought a change to his part of the world, and many regarded him as a pure person. He had a huge influence on so many people, that nearly the entire city of Boston knows Paulie and brought him gifts and visited him when he was bedridden at the hospital. He has a very meaningful death and his absence leaves a huge impact.
- Child of the Storm has Harry as a somewhat reluctant and much more mercurial example than most: he's the son of a god, he tends to associate with those that others reject and he even comes back from the dead. He's instinctively nice and kind, protective of those without power and judging on outward appearance is completely alien to him. However, his temper and his hatred for injustice lead to comparisons to Magneto and with good reason, meaning that he borders on being a Dark Messiah at times.
- Played with in Ultraman Moedari. Moedari is apparently killed when Lunaram kicks the moon into his face, but his connection with Jake saves him, and gives him his Trinity Form. The motif is a circle with a triangle with three circles inside of it with triangles inside, ect, and the finisher is cross shaped. Ultimately subverted.
- Empath in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf. Lampshaded by Tapper in "Smurfed Behind: The Passion Of The Smurfs".
Tapper: "You sacrificed an only begotten son that you loved dearly and smurfed a much greater family, Papa Smurf. That's what God did with Jesus. He smurfed us His best from heaven so that we too could become part of His family through the blood of His only begotten Son."
- In Diamond in the Rough (Touhou), Shinki tells this to Brolli in Makai, that he might die in order to save Gensokyo. Brolli doesn't want that, but You Can't Fight Fate.
- The protagonist of Fallout: Equestria, Littlepip, fits this trope. From obscure and humble beginnings, she sets out to fix a broken world, gaining followers and battling corruption along the way. In the ending, there are many clear parallels to the story of Jesus: Pip endures a figurative death and rebirth by Spike's fire, sacrifices her freedom for the sake of Equestria, and ascends to the SPP tower where she takes Celestia's side in watching over the ponies and controlling the weather, having been given a greatly extended lifespan—perhaps immortality—through mutation. The afterword even refers to the preceding story as an in-universe text: the 'Book of Littlepip'.
Films — Animated
- Anna in Frozen. She sacrifices herself and saves her sister, then comes back to life—the parallels are detailed here.
- Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III from How to Train Your Dragon possesses these traits in allegory. He possesses a higher knowledge that could enlighten those around him (dragon-training), is considered a criminal and punished in his efforts to educate others (disowned by his father), sacrificing himself to save others from their own ignorance (nearly dying from his and Toothless' battle with the Red Death, which he tried to warn his father about), "dying" and then "resurrection" (waking from a coma) with signs of his sacrifice apparent on his body (his prosthetic leg) and not only "saves" his people but creates a new dawn for mankind (one of peace between the Hooligan Tribe and dragons) that is violently opposed or taken advantage of by those who disagree (The Outcasts and the Berserkers). Sound familiar?
Films — Live-Action
- The Matrix:
- The Matrix: Neo, the prophesied savior known as "the One" bears a close resemblance to Jesus. He came before, but was prophesied to come again, and resurrects close to the end. On the other hand, he's far more violent than the Christian depiction, but perhaps would be closer to Jewish views of the Messiah as a warrior king. Morpheus may also resemble John the Baptist, Trinity Mary Magdalene, and the Oracle the various prophets who are believed to have foretold Christ.
- In Reloaded, there's a kiosk of religious pictures and statues and symbols that Neo passes by on his way to another adventure.
- Mr. Carpenter in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
- E.T. in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, right down to the resurrection and the Michaelangelo touching of fingers between man and the Divine. So blatant was the parable it was spoofed on The Simpsons:
Rev. Lovejoy: I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens, he came in peace and then died, only to come back to life, and his name was... E.T., the Extra Terrestrial. (cries) I loved that little guy.
- The titular character in Schindler's List
- Chance the Gardener in the film Being There subverts this by appearing noble, wise, compassionate, and brave—to everyone except his former co-worker (and the audience), who can see that he is actually The Fool—until the Twist Ending, which implies a more literal form of the trope.
- Aurora in Babylon A.D. fits this trope to a T, but that's because she's actually been genetically engineered by the Noelite sect who hope to create a real-life 'miracle' in order to become the Number One religion in the world.
- Dennis Quaid's character Willis Davidge in Enemy Mine is a Messianic Archetype and dies halfway through the movie. Fortunately, he gets better.
- Kevin Flynn in TRON. In the world of Tron the Programs see Users in a divine light. Plus, as Jesus was God who became man, Flynn was a User who became Program...to save them from the Anti Christ.
- Joe Kenehan from Sayles's Matewan. He's a charismatic leader who's also an Actual Pacifist, his first action when coming into town is to heal someone and he dies at the end.
- Bruce Wayne/Batman of The Dark Knight. He's motivated by an unflagging belief in the essential goodness of the people of Gotham. Twice he takes a bullet for someone else (albeit while he's inside his car), first intercepting Joker's bazooka, then protecting Mr Reese from that guy in the big truck (even though Reese had been trying to expose Bruce less than an hour before). And then at the end, he takes Harvey Dent's sins upon himself. The Dark Knight Rises plays this up even further, with Bruce even descending into a metaphorical hell in the form of Bane's prison and ascending once more (and leaving a rope for the wrongfully-imprisoned prisoners to escape with) before returning after his "death" at Bane's hands to save Gotham. And at the end, he seems to sacrifice himself to carry away the fusion bomb (except he didn't).
- Subverted by Monty Python's Life of Brian. (He's a very naughty boy).
- The 1995 film Powder (not to be confused with the video game), which either replicates the story of Jesus Christ, or replicates the story of ET. Either way, someone deserves some royalties for the story of a boy whose mother was struck by lightning when she was pregnant, leading to an outcast son with incredible intellect and human empathy, who can raise the dead by his touch, only to be raised to the heavens when he is struck by a bolt of lightning when refusing to bow to the laws of society... or something like that.
- Even though some elements of this are present in the comic book, the Superman movies take it much further:
Jor-El: Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.
- Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars is The Chosen One conceived by the Force itself. His character is a good example of why you generally want The Chosen One to be paired with this trope.
- To a certain extent, Luke is as well. He is The Chosen One—the one whom Obi-Wan and Yoda train to become a Jedi. He gains a group of devoted followers (the Rebel Alliance, though mostly Han, Leia, Chewie, C3P0 and R2), and gallivants about spreading good and performing miracles like blowing up the Death Star. At the end of the sixth movie, he refuses to fight or resist his fate, then is zapped by the Emperor's lightning (his "death" scene). He manages to redeem evil while he's at it.
- Ironically, other Jedi expected both of them to bring balance to the Force. Perhaps they did, but it took a Prophecy Twist (Anakin having kids and turning evil) or two to get them there.
- To a certain extent, Luke is as well. He is The Chosen One—the one whom Obi-Wan and Yoda train to become a Jedi. He gains a group of devoted followers (the Rebel Alliance, though mostly Han, Leia, Chewie, C3P0 and R2), and gallivants about spreading good and performing miracles like blowing up the Death Star. At the end of the sixth movie, he refuses to fight or resist his fate, then is zapped by the Emperor's lightning (his "death" scene). He manages to redeem evil while he's at it.
- Oddly enough, Tony Stark in The Avengers has very strong (albeit incomplete) elements of this. He has a confrontation with a Satanic villain (Loki) who tries and fails to make him fall to The Dark Side, he is betrayed by the WSC, who ruthlessly orders the entire island of Manhattan to be nuked, he carries the nuke on his back through the city, saves the island and everyone on it by sacrificing his life to haul the nuke into space—by rising up through a wormhole into deep space, dies (temporarily, when his heart and lungs fail), falls back to earth, and then comes back to life. The reason his archetype is incomplete is because he's not the only hero in the film: most prominently, the person who actually saves the world is Natasha, the very non-Messianic Guile Hero who turns Loki (who is something of a Shadow Archetype for her)'s weapon against him to close the portal, and the person who actually leads the forces of good is Steve Rogers, who also has some messianic stuff going on, some of which is carried over from his solo movie where he was The Chosen One, and also with his status as a legend and source of hope who sacrificed himself and has had a "second coming" by getting unfrozen from the ice.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rogers continues this concept a fair bit with the betrayal element being the main plot of the movie. His near death in the end also fits this rather well, as he truly was dying for the sins of SHIELD.
- X-Men Film Series: Professor X's role is reminiscent of Christ. Xavier is an All-Loving Hero who suffers greatly to be a savior of mutants and humans alike, even though the latter persecute him. He is the leader of his True Companions, who live by and defend his philosophy, and he is betrayed by one his followers.note Charles is literally resurrected in The Stinger of X-Men: The Last Stand. This association also extends to imagery, where he takes Jesus' position in a Pietà Plagiarism (X-Men: First Class), is briefly given a Holy Backlight and a Crucified Hero Shot (X-Men: Days of Future Past). When he has a beard and lets his hair grow long, he even Looks Like Jesus. For X-Men: Apocalypse (which deals directly with religious themes), Bryan Singer has made a reference to a figurative resurrection in this snapshot by calling it "Xavier reborn." The director explicitly says that Professor X is analogous to Christ in the franchise.
"I've gotten to explore Professor X when he was an older, bald, wise man, when he's insecure, when he's defenseless, when he's powerful. He's more of a Christ figure. He chooses to be a teacher. He could go inside Cerebro and rule the world, but he chooses not to. He chooses to teach and preach and hope that people follow his message: peace and unity. And I've gotten to see him as a drug addict and a loser, and in this movie, you're going to get to see him prosperous and almost blindly optimistic, and how he changes."
- Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels. He is the "saviour" of the Apes, conceived from a miraculous birth (the only ape born intelligent rather than artificial brain modification) gives all Apekind the gift of Intelligence (ALZ-113) and leads them to an exodus away from the Human oppressors to the "Promised Land" of the forests where they can live in peace. Everyone, even Koba, looked up to him as a sort of God-Emperor but despite all this he retained an overwhelming sense of compassion, understanding, and tolerance to all sapient life — human and ape alike. He follows a strict self-imposed morality of Ape Shall Not Kill Ape, seeking to avoid war whenever is possible, though if you cause him trouble, he definitely knows how to kick your ass. Of course, no Ape version of Christ can be complete without a catastrophic betrayal caused by his most trusted "brother": Koba, who "killed" him, dismantled all of Caesar's work and led the Apes to immoral brutality and persecution of both humans and Caesar's remaining apostles. Caesar even metaphorically "rose from the dead" when Malcolm found him, brought him back to Heaven (Will Rodman's house), and returned to Apekind injured but stronger, ending in the apes "repenting" and Koba's damnation into Hell. His personal symbol, the sequin-like window of Rodman's house even became the universal symbol of Ape liberation ala the Chi-Rho of early Christians.
- Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman is both this and the Apocalypse Maiden.
- Max himself in Elysium. In his childhood, the nun that he lives with states that he's bound to change the world. He ends up on a quest to save humanity by hacking Elysium to make everyone its citizens, gets "crucified" with exosuit parts drilled into his body, willingly sacrifices himself at the end, which enables all the people on Earth get access to Elysium's medical facilities, basically giving them access to heaven.
- Will Caster by the boatload in Transcendence. He was persecuted and then murdered for heresy, allegedly for the greater good but more for the benefit of the persecutors. He rises again from the dead and starts working miracles, starting with healing a dying man, a blind man and a lame man (in that order) before eradicating pollution, purifying all of Earth's freshwater and who knows what else. He is then killed again by those afraid of his gifts. It's later hinted he may rise again in the future, too.
- RoboCop: Believe it or not, Robo's the American Jesus.. Paul Verhoeven said he wanted to make a film about an "American Jesus" and there are multiple allusions to this, like Murphy being mocked and tortured before he's killed (and the Impaled Palm scene), his dying and being resurrected, and a scene where it looks like he's walking on water. He even gets pierced in his side with a spear.
- In a twisted way, The Man with No Name from the Dollars Trilogy. A tough-as-nails anti-hero, yet willing to help those in need. In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, he is referred to by Angel Eyes as a "golden haired guardian angel", resigns to Tuco's attempt on his life in a passive, Christlike manner, and offers the final judgement on Tuco's soul, which was sparing his life and undoing his "crucifixion". In A Fistful of Dollars, his beating reflects the flogging of Jesus while the party outside is staged to look like The Last Supper. He rides into town on a mule, and during the final duel he appears to "resurrect".
- Enzo in Reality is seen by Luciano as a Messianic figure. There's even a sequence in which Enzo is suspended over a crowd with lighting suggestive of artistic depictions of Christ's Transfiguration, with his arms spread as if he is being crucified.
- Selene in Underworld is a rather twisted example of this trope since she is a vampire anti-hero, but she qualifies: she is viewed as a traitor by fellow vampires and persecuted, but over the course of the movies she manages to perform "miracles" such as resurrect the dead using her blood, comes back to life and stronger than before and effectively becomes revered as her race's leader.
- Bright: Jirak is the orc equivalent of this trope. 2,000 years ago, he united the Free Peoples and defeated the Dark Lord to save the world and is revered by orcs as their messianic figure. Ironically, most orcs had sided with the Dark Lord and because of this, are victims of racism and prejudice today for their ancestors' actions, nevermind it was one of their own that saved the world from the setting's ultimate evil.
- In Camouflage, Danilo starts off as a beligerent closet case, but as the novel progresses his actions become selfless to the point that he is remembered as an aspect of Jesus to the gay men he saved from execution.
- Owen Meany from A Prayer for Owen Meany. He even quotes Jesus directly with John 11:26 when he is dying.
- Jesus Christ from The Bible. No further explanation needed.
- While most modern Messianic Archetype characters are explicitly or implicitly likened to Christ, Jesus himself was likened to various Old Testament figures—most explicitly King David and the obscure priest-king Melchizedek—of whom several took on messianic undertones . Some Jews even believe Melchizedek, or a Second Coming thereof to be one of four literally Messianic figures (usually alongside Elijah, the Son of David and the Son of Joseph) who between them will usher in the Messianic Age.
- Mc Murphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
- Paul "Muad'dib" Atreides in Dune plays on this by manipulating people into thinking he's a Messiah to achieve his own goals. He genuinely does have several amazing powers, but the one that really ruins his whole life is his clairvoyance.
- Pacifica Casull, the eponymous Scrapped Princess, follows this trope to the letter.
- Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, aka Talking Lion Jesus, and/or Combat Jesus.
Susan: But Aslan, how?Aslan: Because I'm Jesus!
- As That Guy with the Glasses put it in his 5-second version:
- John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, complete with a Crucified Hero Shot as he's enduring Electric Torture at the hands of the villains. Subverted, since he's not acting out of altruism.
- Arguably Galt is an inversion of at least some components of the trope. His plan of going on strike in order to bring economic activity to a halt, and thus causing civilization to collapse and rebuild itself involves witholding a "salvation" and forcing society to confront the actual consequences of its morality of Comtean altruism (the morality which is at the core of the Messianic Archetype). Applying Fridge Logic to his plan's obvious consequences (i.e. lots of people die as a result of civilization's collapse) had led to some readers seeing Galt as a Dark Messiah instead of a Messianic Archetype.
- Brutha in the Discworld book Small Gods.
- Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov is a mix of the Messianic Archetype and The Mentor.
- Rand al'Thor (AKA "The Dragon Reborn", the "Car'a'carn", the "Coramoor", "He Who Comes With the Dawn"...) from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, a Chosen One in a never-ending reincarnation cycle. Prophecy states that his blood will be spilled to free mankind from the Dark One, most people think that means Rand must die, including himself. He does, but he comes back in another body due to Synchronization with the Nae'blis (he's actually that body's third inhabitant). Since prophecy also states that he will "break" the world, he is not always popular. He spends much of the series lamenting his status as the Chosen One, but ends up an All-Loving Hero by the end.
- Harry Potter. To finally vanquish Voldemort, Harry realises that he must sacrifice himself in order for the Horcrux within him to be destroyed. However, once he has "died", he chooses to come back to life to finish the job and kill Voldy in person. Phew—it is a tad complicated!
- Bemossad in the Ea Cycle. And Estrella.
- In Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen:
- Coltaine of the Crow Clan in Deadhouse Gates. A hero to the Wickans whom they follow without questions and whom they almost worship, who leads tens of thousands of refugees he has no other connection to aside from being a Fist of the Malazan Empire across an entire continent, all while being under constant attack from religious fanatics. He then dies on a cross, his soul — too big to be taken in by one crow as would've been normal for his people — taken away by thousands of crows, and is reborn again on the Wickan Plains of Quon Tali.
- Anomander Rake is the great hero of the Tiste Andii race, who took it upon himself to lead and guide his race after their goddess, Mother Dark, had turned away from them. In book eight, Toll the Hounds, he sacrifices himself in order to bring back Mother Dark, thus bringing redemption to the Tiste Andii. Does this remind you of anyone?
- In R. Scott Bakker's The Second Apocalypse, "Inrithism" is a Crystal Dragon Jesus version of Christianity. Anasûrimbor Kellhus learns to exploit the tropes of the religion to become exactly what Inrithi followers would see as a messiah. He preaches to the people and attracts thousands of followers until the people in charge feel threatened and convict him of heresy. He's hung up to die in a manner called "circumfixion," but comes back even stronger, now with the circumfix as his symbol. It's all just a means to an end for Kellhus, however.
- Ender Wiggin in the Speaker for the Dead series, who connects three alien races together in peace, and always (with the exception of his unknowing xenocide as a child in Ender's Game) answers violence with love, stating that to vanquish an enemy, you have to know him, and in knowing him, end up loving him. An easy example is in Ender in Exile when he lets Achilles' son beat the shit out of him to prove that the boy is Bean's son, but refuses to fight back.
- The White Prophet AKA the Fool in Robin Hobb's The Tawny Man trilogy.
- Playing around with this trope is one of the main threads of the book. A prophecy exists which refers to a figure called the Hero of Ages, but the prophecy has been tampered with by Ruin, the primordial god of entropy and destruction, who wants to trick the Hero into freeing him. As a result, several characters are identified as the Hero (and believe it) who really aren't. Most notably this includes Alendi, a legendary figure from the backstory, the Lord Ruler alias Rashek, the man who betrayed and killed Alendi and who is the current Evil Overlord, and the heroine, Vin. Ultimately, though, the Hero turns out to be Sazed.
- Kelsier deliberately invokes this trope about himself in order to inspire rebellion, but is unconnected to the Hero prophecy. It helps that he knew he was going to die, so hired a shapeshifter to impersonate him and inspire the people briefly after he was gone.
- Jim Conklin from The Red Badge of Courage. His initials are J.C., too.
- Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. The scene where he is shot goes into great detail about how he bears his pool mattress on his shoulder to the pool, analogous to Jesus bearing the cross on his shoulder.
- Aenea, from Dan Simmon's Endymion—referred as Messiah throughout the novels. Besides other supernatural attributes, clearly shows Messianic touch and gathers a large following throughout the galaxy in a short period of time. Willingly lets herself be tortured and burnt to death by... the Vatican.
- Jim Casy from The Grapes of Wrath — a preacher whose name abbreviates to J.C. His last words are: "You don't know what you're doing."
- Female example: Doyler's mother in At Swim, Two Boys. Among other things, when she's doing laundry, much is made about the transfer of the stains from the dirty clothes to her own apron.
- Simon in Lord of the Flies.
- Several examples in The Lord of the Rings, each fulfilling a different aspect of the Christ figure.
- Played straight in Gandalf as the prophet, who is a divine being (Maia) in human form. He sees the virtues in little "children" (hobbits), leads the fellowship, drives the hypocrite from the "temple" (Wormtongue from King Théoden's court), and comes back from the dead. However, when critics began drawing straight lines between Gandalf and Jesus, Tolkien stated explicitly that Gandalf is not meant as a Christ analogue.
- Played with in Aragorn as the king; except for his ancestry, he is a normal human. He is the hidden descendant of a royal line, harrows hell (the Paths of the Dead), and restores the kingdom.
- Frodo fulfills the role of high priest and sacrifice (or alternatively, the One Ring is the sacrifice and Mount Doom is the altar), a hobbit who bears a terrible burden and constant temptation through the darkness of Mordor, suffering for the salvation of all good things. He also suffers a symbolic 'death' at the hands of Shelob. Subverted in that he is the Unchosen One, and in the end, he fails, and only with the intervention of Gollum does he achieve his mission.
- From the The Silmarillion:
- Subverted with Fëanor. He was the mightiest, most skilled, most puissant of all the elven race... and the source of their greatest woes. The ultimate case of You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good.
- Played straight with Eärendil. All the Elven and Human kingdoms had been destroyed by Morgoth. He realized that only the might of the Valar could save what was left of them. He finally managed to reach Valinor (which only The Chosen One could do); and then Eärendil asked the Valar for pardon and aid for all the besieged survivors in Beleriand, even the exiled Noldor, and they granted it, finally defeating Morgoth and casting him from the world. His ship, bearing the Silmaril, was put up into the sky as a star, as a sign of hope for all in Middle-Earth. He quite literally saved the world. Also, like Jesus had human and divine parentage, Eärendil is one of the Half-Elven. Another point is that when he is a child he escapes death, the Fall of Gondolin.
- Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (both novel and film, though the novel makes this more explicit) is sent to Earth to save his people by masquerading as a human businessman, amassing a fortune through his homeworld's technology, and using the profits to build a rescue craft; not only will his people be saved, but humanity will benefit for their presence when they start new lives on Earth. He sacrifices, he suffers, he's betrayed...and in the end, it's all for nothing, as he can't complete the mission, leaving him a despairing alcoholic.
- The Counselor in The War of the End of the World.
- The main plot of Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult is about a little girl named Faith who starts showing signs of being the Messiah after her parents divorce. It starts when she begins reciting Bible passages, even though the only religion she was exposed to was Judaism (and not very much at that). She then starts seeing her "Guard" (a female God), brings her dead grandmother back to life, heals an AIDS sufferer, and develops stigmata (holes in the hands where the nails went into Jesus' hands on the cross). However, after custody is given to her mother Mariah, all of her messianic acts stop, making it seem like they were just ploys for attention. But it is left ambiguous as to whether she still gets visits from her "Guard".
- The Conciliator (Severian) in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is this, very likely as an Invoked Trope brought about by the 'powers from above the stage'.
- Even aside from the films, Luke Skywalker is especially this in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. It's a year after Return of the Jedi and Luke has lost much of his youthful idealism. He's been worn down towards despair and only becomes moreso during the book. Still, he's savior many times over and in many ways, he sacrifices a lot and quite willingly, he's the Hope Bringer for many characters, he's entombed in stone and experiences a severe And I Must Scream but rises again, he has a great many followers and numbers former enemies among them, some followers (unwillingly) betray him and in the end he is alone... Also, he has a good dose of the personality, one who suffers greatly and still has great compassion. It's actually partly manipulated by the Big Bad, but here's a line-
"My lord! Forgive me, I did not know you!"
- Matt from The Power of Five. Both of him.
- Creation Man And The Messiah by poet Henrik Wergeland has a divine Messiah, presented as the most divine of the celestial beings. He intervenes to inspire the earthly Jesus in his task. This presentation was so controversial it cost the author his priesthood (he wrote it while still a student). In 1845 he rewrote the work and renamed the being Akadiel.
- Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games has shades of this. Beginning with almost sacrificing herself for her sister, she becomes a Hope Bringer for the nation through her actions and choices in the Games. She is all but legally persecuted by President Snow and the Capitol government, and endures more physical and emotional trauma over the course of the trilogy. And there's a scene in Mockingjay of her in a makeshift hospital that echoes scenes of Jesus surrounded by desperate but adoring believers. The Catching Fire movie really hammers the point by having Katniss in a Crucified Hero Shot as she's being lifted from the arena.
- Jake Chambers from The Dark Tower. He's an innocent boy who has the JC initials (although there's no proof that this was intentional). In the first book, he has to die for Roland to be able to catch the Man in Black and find out about the Tower, and he later "comes back to life" through a time paradox that prevents him from originally being sent to Roland's world. In the "argument" sections where the earlier books are summarized, Jake is referred to as a "symbolic son". And in the last book, Jake jumps in front of the van to save Stephen King, thus sacrificing himself to save all existence from being destroyed.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has several in-universe examples that have yet to be confirmed in the books, which have led to many Epileptic Trees among the fandom.
- The Targaryens believed in the Prince That Was Promised, a hero from their family line who would revive the dragons. Jaehaerys Targaryen married his sister and forced his children to marry each other because a woods-witch prophesied that the Prince would come from their line. Rhaegar Targaryen was heavily invested in this prophecy, initially believing he was the Prince but then comes to believe that it was his son Aegon. Aemon Targaryen believes that Daenerys is the Princess That Was Promised because she actually did bring three living dragons into the world after they had been extinct for a century.
- The followers of the Lord of Light believe that Azor Ahai, a legendary hero from thousands of years ago, will be reborn and save the world from the Second Long Night and the Others with a Flaming Sword called Lightbringer. Melisandre, a red priestess, is currently backing Stannis Baratheon, whom she believed to be Azor Ahai reborn but other members of her faith seem to believe that Daenerys is Azor Ahai reborn.
- The Dothraki believed that Daenerys and Drogo's unborn son was to be the Stallion Who Mounts The World, the greatest khal of khals. Then subverted when Rhaego was stillborn. But since khals are known for war, conquest, and general brutality, he may have been a Dark Messiah had he lived. Although, some fans speculate that, you guessed it, Daenerys was the Mare Who Mounts The World all along.
- Jon Snow, unlike the aforementioned examples, isn't connected to any prophesies in-universe, but he has all the classic messiah traits. He's heroic, honourable, good-hearted, is an outsider as the illegitimate son of a noble raised with a young lord's upbringing, learned to lived humbly when he was with the Night's Watch and wildlings, suffers from Chronic Hero Syndrome, is trying to save everyone from the threat against humanity (the Others), and was stabbed by his own men. Since his last chapter in A Dance For Dragons ends in a cliffhanger, many fans think he'll survive or be resurrected. Another popular fan theory is that he's actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, which would put him in the running for the Prince That Was Promised, and since he's one of the few characters actually doing something about the Others, many fans believe he might be Azor Ahai reborn.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull is about a seagull who discovers that the true purpose of life is to learn to fly as fast and as high as physically possible, then transcends his mortal existence and learns that his true path is to return in spirit to the world and teach others to do the same.
- Lissa Dragomir from Vampire Academy, is a charming, beautiful and naturally regal princess who heals the wounded, inspires the common people and brings back Strigoi to their original state.
- Myssia, in The Will Be Done, was a potential messiah. It doesn't work out, to put it mildly.
- The Way of Kings (first book of The Stormlight Archive): Kaladin invokes this trope when he's strung up in a Highstorm by telling his men he'll survive, despite knowing the chances are unbelievably low.
Kaladin: I'm putting it all on the long bet. If I die, then they'll come out, shake their heads, and tell themselves they knew it would happen. But if I live, they'll remember it. And it will give them hope. They might see it as a miracle.
Syl: Do you want to be a miracle?
Kaladin: No. But for them, I will be.
- In The Testament Of Jessie Lamb, in a world where a disease kills every single pregnant woman in a slow and painful way, Jessie Lamb decides that she wants to volunteer for carrying a frozen fetus that has been vaccinated against the disease, to term. Which means that she will lie in a medication-induced coma for nine months while the disease destroys her brain, then be allowed to die, while her child might possibly live. She does it so that mankind can live on. Her name is also quite symbolic.
- Enjolras from Les Misérables. He leads a band of loyal friends/followers in a doomed attempt to fight the injustice of the monarchy, and when it becomes clear that he has no hope of succeeding, he chooses to Face Death with Dignity and ends up 'nailed' to the wall with bullets. His angelic beauty and Incorruptible Pure Pureness give off Too Good for This Sinful Earth vibes.
- Darrow from Red Rising. Over the course of the trilogy, he gathers a group of friends who willingly follow him even after discovering his true origins, is betrayed by one of them in the second book, and has part-literal, part-figurative resurrections in books one and three.
- A giant griffin represent Christ in The Divine Comedy. The griffin has two natures (lion and eagle) that mirror the two natures of Jesus (human and divine), it mightily denies to eat from the corrupting Tree of Knowledge, and the griffin guides a Sun-bright chariot that represents the Church. The griffin also is a mixture of three colors: gold and white to highlight its divinity and blood-red to make light of Christ's suffering in his death.
Live Action Television
- Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is set up this way, what with the noble nature and the mysterious parentage and the possibly being the only hope for a good future for the common folk and the looking like Jesus. And, of course, the whole "being betrayed by his followers and then brought back from the dead" thing.
- In Smallville, this is brought Up to 11 for Clark Kent. Where to even start...
- He had a crucifixion pose at least twice ("Pilot", "Salvation"; yes, we are aware of the allusion in the second episode title).
- In "Hidden", he is pronounced dead, covered by a sheet then the body disappears and is resurrected by his father.
- All the talk about him being the "light" in "Finale".
- Jordan Collier in The 4400 believes he is sent to guide his people, dies and is resurrected. His initials are, unsurprisingly, J.C. His temporary replacement, Shawn, also demonstrates Christ-like qualities, as he heals the sick and befriends drug-addicts. In a slight subversion, Collier is presented as more sinister than most Messianic archetypes, and is not above using terrorist tactics in his quest to improve the world. Is it any wonder he's a Dark Messiah? It is also worth noting he really was chosen to guide humanity by what are implied to be the closest thing to good guys from the future to save the world, and for all his sinisterness, the alternative is apparently worse in the long run.
- Subverted with Brother Justin in Carnivàle; he's an outwardly saintly Methodist preacher with a "special destiny"... who turns out to be the Antichrist. It takes him, and us, a while to realize that.
- Laura Roslin on Battlestar Galactica could very well fall into this category — she is believed to be the "dying leader" destined to bring her people to Earth, and it doesn't get too much more messianic (specifically, Moses-like) than that. However, she tends more towards the morally grey end of the spectrum than most other messiahs, and that's before the recent revelation that her prophetic dreams are being shared by Cylons.
- Also in Battlestar, the Number Threes see themselves as Messiahs who will find the Final Five Cylons. After proving that they consider themselves "above" the group consensus of the other Cylons, the line is deactivated.
- This is all before the final season where Gaius Baltar, whose always had religious overtones to him, gains a cult and starts saying there is only one true God. It's a Jesus symbolism overload, seriously. D'Anna would have destroyed the fleet had she not proven susceptible to his religious urges in the past and subsequently backed down.
- Star Trek:
- The Vulcan philosopher Surak is more of a Space Confucius than a Space Jesus (right down to his major work being titled Analects), but we still have him saving a people from themselves through his teachings (despite those teachings having been misinterpreted, per Star Trek: Enterprise), acquired a cadre of followers, and died a violent death before his work was completed (specifically a nuclear detonation that gave him radiation poisoning). There was also a group that rejected his teachings, who became the Romulans.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jean-Luc Picard was necessary for Earth's survival. Without him becoming Locutus, Earth would have been assimilated by the Borg.
- The Klingon have a Kung-Fu Jesus archetype called Kahless. Everything relating to his backstory builds him up as a godlike warrior. Before his death, he promised to return in the future and help restore peace and honor to his people. In "Rightful Heir", a clone of him is made, sparking a controversy between the Klingon.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko is the Emissary of the Prophets, the messiah figure in the Bajoran religion. It turns out that the Prophets even used their knowledge of the future to orchestrate the events of Sisko's birth. Sisko is initially put off by the idea of being a messiah, but eventually embraces the role.
- There is a strong suggestion that Lost's Locke is the All-Loving Hero to the Others or the island itself. The Others have suggested they've been waiting for him, because he is very special. Also, as seen in season 4, he dies, and must be returned to the island. Season 5 update: he appears to have resurrected and gained new knowledge and confidence (as you might expect a person to in such a circumstance), but it turned out to be nothing but a trick, with him still dead after a miserable life and some ancient...power, masquerading as him
- Season Six Jack seems to have taken over Locke's role in this archetype.
- An episode of Kingdom Hospital involved the Reverend Jimmy being found crucified, followed by a series of miracles re-enacting those of the New Testament. Unusual in that his Messianic Archetype status only becomes evident after he's died.
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode "Last of the Time Lords", Martha Jones walks the world alone for a year after The Master successfully takes over and reduces the planet to a living hell hole in preparation for his plan to go on to conquer the universe. She becomes something of a legend, considered to be a savior who will defeat the Master. Martha's means of saving the world however involves spreading stories about the Doctor "no weapons, just words", as well as leaving an instruction, and insisting the whole time that the Doctor is the actual saviour.
- The RTD era is a subversion as "The Waters of Mars" thoroughly demonstrates that once the Doctor starts thinking of himself as a saviour or god, he becomes more of a Dark Messiah and that, ultimately, all the messiah metaphors scattered throughout Series 1-4 aren't meant to indicate anything good. In the post-S4 specials, the Tenth Doctor receives notice of his own death, undergoes a final temptation (and succumbs, which Adelaide Brooke soon corrects him on), has an Agony in the Garden plea after he hears Wilf knock, and then finally — angrily, but lovingly — agrees to sacrifice himself, though it will be prolonged and painful and in the end he'll be alone. Hello allegory!
- Tom Baker (a former Catholic monk who thus tends to relate everything to religion) has commented that he found the Fourth Doctor to resonate with him as a messianic figure—he described the Doctor as a 'perfect man' with superhuman understanding and boundless magnanimity, who descends from the sky to defeat evil and save people with faith and love. In fact, the messianism is one of the aspects of the Doctor's character that the seriously Lost in Character Baker struggled to live up to in his real life, to the detriment of his mental health. So that's the performance then; as for the writing, "The Ark in Space" casts him as a figure removed from humanity bringing chosen people back from the dead after the end of the world; "Genesis of the Daleks" pits him against a Dark Messiah; "The Masque of Mandragora" put him in a church-like TARDIS with a mirror as its centrepiece; "The Deadly Assassin" has a significant scene of being dunked under a river in a billowing white shirt; "The Face of Evil" has him acquiring a companion who is explicitly his disciple and saving her from being tortured with thorns in his name; and there are many other incidental scenes throughout the rest of the Hinchcliffe era. Note also that Baker makes a point of pronouncing "Gallifrey" to sound as close as he can make it to "Galilee". It's a lot more subtle than with the Tenth, though, and heavily lets up when Graham Williams takes over as producer.
- "The Face of Evil" also has him wipe the mind of an evil godlike computer using a crown-of-thorns-like device that fries his brain and leaves him unconscious for two days, leaving him to revive on the third day...
- The Steven Moffat era plays the Doctor-as-Messianic-Archetype concept straight until Series 9, when he undergoes another dark period in the three-part finale: In "Face the Raven" he is betrayed by someone who owes him his life — specifically, he brought her back to life — and to make matters worse it accidentally gets his beloved Clara killed. Clara tells him he can't let his resultant anguish change him, even though he's being sent to a place where he'll have absolutely no one to help him. In "Heaven Sent" it turns out to be a torture chamber that torments him with his own nightmares, and he is Driven to Madness, ultimately undergoing a cycle of, effectively, death and revival billions of times over until he's free. Having effectively been forsaken by the entire universe, in "Hell Bent" he becomes a vengeful, heartsick Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who chooses to risk the safety of the universe on the Tragic Dream of saving Clara, which violates a fixed point in time, feeling he is owed this after all he's done for it and that he is no longer accountable to anyone. But he is ultimately convinced of the wrongness of these actions and not only repents, but loses her and his key memories of her so he can return to his best self. The villains do not get the punishments they deserve (they get off lightly compared to their crimes or escape it altogether), and he sacrifices personal happiness in favor of continuing to serve the greater good — even though he knows the universe will never make up for the horrors he's faced in this Story Arc alone, much less reward him for all the good he's done.
- Stefan Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries. Stefan is depicted as a heroic, noble and selfless saviour and protector.
- Not to mention that his last name means "Savior" in Italian.
- Jack Harkness of Torchwood: Betrayed by his team and killed, rose from the dead, sacrifices himself to basically stop the devil from killing everyone in the world, dies again, and comes back after exactly three days to tell his killer that he forgives him. That's just the series one finale. The second one does so a little bit too but then the third series utterly and totally subverts it.
- Dean Winchester from Supernatural. While he drinks, cheats, steals, and enjoys the company of loose women (at least in the first three seasons), he's also got a tendency to sacrifice himself and would do so to save a stranger's life without hesitation. He starts off as the only member of the Winchester family who hunts for the sake of saving people instead of revenge and is also the most selfless and martyr-like individual on the show. By Season 4, however, this becomes nearly Word of God as after he's sent to Hell, an army of angels descends to Hell to save him and resurrect him, complete with crucifix imagery as he claws his way from his own grave. The title of the episode this happened in brings even more religious allusions: Lazarus Rising.
- In season 5, the angelic plan is revealed, as Dean is "destined" to be the human vessel for the archangel Michael, the only angel powerful enough to stop Lucifer.
- Sam also has his own share of Messianic imagery, as season 5 ends with him in the crucifixion pose, sacrificing himself to seal away both Lucifer and Michael who were to bring about the Apocalypse. This becomes even more ironic as thanks to his demonic destiny that's alluded to throughout the seasons—to be the vessel for Lucifer, he's also set up as an Antichrist.
- In season 5, the angelic plan is revealed, as Dean is "destined" to be the human vessel for the archangel Michael, the only angel powerful enough to stop Lucifer.
- Captain Sheridan of Babylon 5 is referred to messianically several times, particularly after his return from the dead (following an intended Heroic Sacrifice) at the beginning of season four. Whether or not he's a true Chosen One is up for argument. (He is often referred to as simply "the right person, in the right place, at the right time.") However, he does amass a loyal following, something necessary for his role as leader in both the war against the Shadows and La Résistance against Earth's totalitarian government. President Clark, his most important single enemy, was apparently "obsessed with him," and promoted vicious smear campaigns against him. Many people treated him like he was divine, and though he did try to dissuade them from that belief, it still influenced his soured relations with Michael Garibaldi, one of his most trusted friends, who eventually betrayed him for personal gains (though it turns out he was a Manchurian Agent.) When he sets the trap to capture Sheridan, he even comments, "I think the last guy got thirty pieces of silver for the same job." Flashforward segments in the episode "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars," show that 100 years later, academics are analyzing Sheridan's life in much the same way people today analyze the mythology surrounding Jesus, and 500 years later a group of monks are shown with an illuminated text, in which Sheridan is said to have "risen from the dead" and then "ascended into Heaven." Slight exaggerations in this case, but not entirely untrue.
- It is suggested that the Minbari also think this of Delenn, since she is one of the foremost spiritual and political leaders of her people, but is vilified by members of opposing clans. Once she proves herself willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save their people, however, she is widely lauded as a hero. In fact, at one point a human who is plotting to kill Delenn comments that the Minbari "think she's like the Second Coming", and the reveal of her rebirth after the beginning of season two is accompanied by G'Kar reading a Yeats poem entitled "The Second Coming". Perhaps not a coincidence. The flashforwards mentioned earlier also indicate a similar mythology surrounding Delenn developing in the centuries following the events of the show.
- For the Minbari, Valen is a sort of Messiah. He appeared suddenly at a time of great need, accompanied by angelic beings, sometime around Earth year AD 1300. After saving the Minbari from the Shadows, he then reformed their society and government, taught them philosophy, and eventually vanished without a trace. There is belief among the Minbari that Valen will come again, and as is revealed in the course of the series it's true, but not in the way they thought. Valen is actually Jeffrey Sinclair, who traveled through time to save the Minbari and transformed himself into one of them.
- To add to the messianic parallels, these three characters are referred to collectively as The One, because of the way they all play a crucial role in the defeat of the Shadows and the union of the Minbari and Human people. (Again, whether that definitively makes them Chosen Ones is up for discussion, depending in whether one considers fate to be involved.)
- G'Kar, as well, whose self-sacrifice for the Narns leads to a religion being formed around him - he even gets 39 lashes.
- The titlular character of John from Cincinnati (note the "J.C.", although his actual surname is Monad) might be Jesus, or perhaps an angel or some other supernatural being, but the short-livedshow never got around to giving a straight answer to that question, if indeed the creators ever intended to.
- It takes watching every episode of Key West produced to realize it, but JoJo Nabouli is a Messianic Archetype. Everywhere he goes, good things happen to people who follow his advice. He hates no one and supports everyone. He always has a message to teach, even to people who don't think they need to learn. He is fortunate enough that, even when he falls ass-backward into piles of manure, he comes out spotless with a rose in his teeth. And when a friend needs a hand, he gives it without question.
- In Hannibal, Will Graham serves as this vis-a-vis Hannibal's satanic archetype. He's tested by a Satan figure (Hannibal), persecuted by Freddie Lounds, betrayed by one of the men he trusted most, and unjustly punished. In his daydreams in season 2, he's shown standing in a stream, as if to invoke the image of baptism. In "Hassun", Hannibal likens himself to Peter and Will to Jesus, telling Jack that that he cannot deny Will a third time, a reference to Matthew 26:69-75.
- The main character Tendou in Kamen Rider Kabuto. Born with amazing natural talent, trained to be the best in everything, told all his life that he will one day save mankind, and acts insufferably smug and superior as a result of it all.
- Emma Swan of Series/Once Upon a Time is known across several realms as "The Savior" a role which defines her destiny as breaking the Dark Curse and restoring happy endings. She has redeemed wicked souls, even in Hades through love and mercy. Emma choose to absorb the power of the Dark One in a selfless act to prevent its evil from corrupting any other soul. Her mother Snow White is renamed Mary Margaret under the curse. Her father David was a shepherd. (Jesus was born in the House of David and is called the Good Shepherd) If that was not enough, at the end of season six Emma has dinner with her friends and family which becomes an illustration that closely resembles The Last Supper in the story book.
- Appears in a number of David Bowie's songs, most famously in the form of Ziggy Stardust. Also spoofed in "We Are Hungry Men," where the "messiah" is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and his teachings are completely ignored. Interestingly, Bowie's first major film role was as the title character in the movie adaptation of The Man Who Fell to Earth (see Literature). And then came "The Next Day"...
- Halleluiah, or Holly, follows a Christ-like arc in music by the Hold Steady. In the album "Separation Sunday," she wears a cross and reads bible stories but falls into a downward spiral of drugs and bad decisions. She joins some locals in being "born again" by taking a hit of nitrous oxide and being dunked underwater, a parallel with baptism. Shortly afterwards, she blacks out and disappears, and finally wakes up in a confession booth during Easter mass where she asks, "Father, can I tell your congregation how a resurrection really feels?"
- Tommy by The Who: Tommy is convinced that his experiences gained from his self-imposed exile from reality have given him some sort of spiritual insight into reality and gathers a small cult about him. His family tries to make money off of his cult, and his followers largely miss the point and ultimately reject his message.
- Hero, who is basically Jesus with a Divine Race Lift in a Setting Update.
- Poets of the Fall:
He takes on the world all in a stride, and your wounds will be his scars
- In the video for "Carnival of Rust, this is Invoked by Zoltar, the Carnival's fortuneteller, during a Tarot reading, as he pulls "The Star" (a hopeful savior figure) and "The Nine of Swords" (despair, entrapment) in succession, and in his chorus, demands she love him so that he might be free of the Carnival. His attempt is Subverted when she is taken aback, and ignores his advances in favor of visiting other attractions, then leaving.
- Played Straight in "The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper" a Western inspired Ennio Morricone Pastiche about a self-sacrificing, Reluctant Warrior lawman who's mission is "to keep your peace"
So won't you remember when the night comes
He will need your open arms
For to be invincible, he needs your love.
- In Akiko Shikata's song "Infelious Rhaplanca. Ten no Inori ~Rhaplanca~/Chi no Aganai ~Maoh~," from her Ar tonelico based album Utau Oka ~Ar=Ciel Ar=Dor, Rhaplanca transforms herself into stone to stop a giant dead tree from falling, allowing the people of her city to climb it and escape the wrath of their god.
- Osiris from Egyptian Mythology. The oldest son of the primordial gods Geb and Nut, he came down to earth to live as the first Pharaoh who taught Humanity agriculture and civilization. However, he was betrayed by his jealous brother Seth, who mutilated and scattered his body to rule as a tyrant. After his son Horus took revenge upon Seth, Osiris was pieced back together by his wife Isis (except his penis, which got eaten by a fish), and assumed the role of judge of the dead.
- In Norse Mythology, Baldur, who like Christ is loved by all, is betrayed by one of his companions (Loki), and who will eventually return to rule the Earth after the End of the World as We Know It. Unlike Christ though, he didn't get better—at least not yet. C. S. Lewis (and his friend Tolkien) actually proposed Baldur was a Norse-friendly version of Jesus.
- It is believed that the introduction of Christianity to Germany/Scandinavia led to a re-write of many of the myths of Norse Mythology (Thor's wedding, for one, is believed to have been written after said introduction as a way of mocking the old gods). It is possible the myths about Baldur were written or re-written to better fit the Christian faith, as was the part where Odin hung himself and was impaled by a spear much like Jesus.
- Quetzacoatl—martyred, will rise again. Unfortunately for the Mesoamericans, they thought he had. What they got instead were just Sufficiently Advanced Spaniards.
- Herakles—Born of god and man, martyred.
- The Arthurian legends are, to a great extent, a retelling of the David story from The Bible, complete with the idea that Arthur will return to save Britain in her greatest hour of need.
- A similar myth exists about Frederick Barbarossa, who was a real historical figure, and a number of others, some real, some altogether legendary. A more extensive, but no doubt still partial list, can be found under the King in the Mountain entry at the other wiki.
- Mithra, ancient Zoroastrian god of covenant and oath.
- Zoroastrianism is very much still alive, and Mithra isn't a god, he's essentially an Angel. Zoroastrianism is monotheistic in nature and quite similar to the Abrahamic religions. Zoroaster/Zarathustra himself would probably be a better candidate for a messianic archetype.
- Chris Hero, who has a beard and long hair like the popular image, claims to be the savior of CZW. His personal theme, "Chris Is Awesome" is a remix of El Mesías AAA theme even. He at times compares himself to other figures such as David, saving CZW from larger "Goliath" companies like ROH.
- For "God So Loved The WEW" he gave us light in a dark place by giving us T.H.A.I.
- Chris Jericho in 2007, when he returned to save the noble land of WWE from the tyranny of Randy Orton. But you people, who cheered that no good, lying cheat Shawn Michaels! You hypocrites don't want to be saved, you don't deserve to be saved!
- Warhammer 40,000: The God-Emperor of Mankind, also known as the New Man and the Omnissiah (an incarnation and/or messenger of the Machine God).
- Seastian Thor, one of the God Emperor's many saints, has the distinction of being one of the few examples of a Badass Pacifist in the setting.
- Abel in Anima: Beyond Fantasy, who's an Manga/Anime Ersatz of Jesus note complete with Apostles and a crucifixion.
- Urza from Magic: The Gathering is very far from being an All-Loving Hero, but he went though a whole lot of awful things and led a group of other planeswalkers to destroy Phyrexia.
- Claude from Hair, more of a follower than a leader, but serves as kind of an emblematic persecution sink for the hippie movement, and, in most productions, is implied to have Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence after being killed in Vietnam.
- The Lord of the Dance from...well...The Lord of the Dance.
- Fei from Xenogears. This is hardly surprising, as he is the messiah of the setting, and is loosely based on the Gnostic interpretation of Jesus
- Shyna in Silhouette Mirage, to the point that she is called Messiah by Har.
- Crono, from Chrono Trigger. He even dies. And comes back to life. His casting pose is eerily reminiscent to crucifixion.
- The main character of Persona 3. Just to hammer the point home, his ultimate persona is Messiah. True to form, he sacrifices his life to seal up Nyx at the end of the game. In the epilogue of The Answer, his reason for doing so is revealed; he sacrificed his life to seal Nyx from Erebus, the collective sin of all of humanity. Just to hammer the point home, his life essence is shown crucified, guarding the door to Nyx — he literally dies to save humanity from its sins. His Evil Counterpart Takaya serves as The Antichrist.
- Colette is set up for this role due to her duties of The Chosen One during the first third of Tales of Symphonia. It gets kind of subverted after that, when Lloyd takes the centre stage in the story.
- Gordon Freeman, of Half-Life fame: "And yet unsophisticated minds continue to imbue him with romantic power, giving him such dangerous poetic labels as the One Free Man, the Opener of the Way." There's even an Easter egg scene showing him in a stained glass window, complete with crowbar.
- Further similarities include a Second Coming and being betrayed by a woman named Judith.
- StarCraft: Tassadar compromised his pursuit of the guilty in order to spare the innocents, sided with the outcasts, was condemned for his mercy, accomplished miracles, and died for us all. En taro Tassadar, Executor!
- More than that, it turns out that he has survived in a different form. Or so we are led to believe; "Tassadar" turned out to be the projected avatar of Ouros, last of the benevolent Xel'Naga, in a form & voice Zeratul & Artanis would recognize and trust.
- Zeratul also counts : he discovers a terrible truth about the possible end of the Universe no one will believe, gets alienated and considered a criminal and a heretic by every Protoss faction, has a very limited number of allies he can trust and rely on, and finally Artanis, his most precious ally, kills him while under the influence of Amon, and his death inspires every protoss and Artanis in particular to fight back and defeat Amon for good.
- Final Fantasy:
- Aerith of Final Fantasy VII—Half-human, half-supernatural, the planet is ultimately saved through her prayers and her death, and humanity is kept alive. In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, she cures Geostigma from beyond the grave, which is effectively cancer. The disease is notably uncurable by any other means.
- Yuna from Final Fantasy X. Worshiped and loved by everyone around her? Check. Heroic Sacrifice? Check. Walking on water? Check.
- Final Fantasy XV's protagonist, Noctis Lucis Caelum, fits this trope to a T. He's chosen by the Crystal to bring an end to the Starscourge (a disease which is very similar in both name and appearance to the aforementioned Geostigma) by fulfilling the Calling of his royal line, seeking the favor of the Astral gods, and using the power of the Crystal. Near the end of the game, he learns of his true purpose — he must give his life to call forth divine Providence if he is to destroy the Accursed and end the Scourge. And so, the game ends with his ritual sacrifice on his throne, after which he and his dead fiancee's spirits are shown appearing as if at their wedding. He's sometimes referred to by titles like "King of Kings" or "the Son" to make sure no one overlooks the connection.
- The orcs of Dungeon Crawl are still looking for their messiah. If playing as an orcish priest of Beogh, you can (usually violently) convert the numerous orcs into loyal followers by convincing them you are that messiah. And Beogh will eventually grant powers up to and including, yes, walking on water. You don't HAVE to die, as per the original Messianic Archetype, although the rest of the dungeon makes this the most likely outcome.
- Kingdom Hearts: Sora, who has always been an All-Loving Hero, but is heading this way as of the secret ending to Birth by Sleep.
- Mass Effect: Commander Shepard. Chosen to save the galactic population from imminent genocide? Check! Has a small group of loyal followers (twelve in the second game)? Check! Brought Back from the Dead? Check! And in the worst ending of the second game, s/he performs a Heroic Sacrifice in order to destroy the Collector base. It's not canon, but it's still there.
- And, as the trailer for Mass Effect 3 indicates, everyone is now waiting for Shepard to return to Earth and save them all...
- Depending on Shepard's decisions, the end of Mass Effect 3 can see him/her potentially sacrificing him/herself to stop the Reapers for good, by taking the Reapers down with them in the Destroy Ending (though Shepard can survive this), sacrificing themselves to create a new form of life in the Synthesis Ending or uploading themselves and becoming the new AI governing the Reapers in the Control Ending.
- The epilogue reveals that "The Shepard" is venerated far into the future, their life having become Shrouded in Myth.
- And, as the trailer for Mass Effect 3 indicates, everyone is now waiting for Shepard to return to Earth and save them all...
- Sol Badguy from Guilty Gear.
- Gulcasa from the Dept. Heaven series' episode II-related games. Miracle birth? Check. Miracle worker and savior? Uh-huh. Twelve disciples? Yep, and one of them even backstabs him. Suffers in the process of saving people, and eventually attempts a Heroic Sacrifice? Check and check. The only discrepancy is in the fact that if he actually completes his Heroic Sacrifice, he'll cause The End of the World as We Know It, so you have to kill him before he can.
- The Avatar from the Ultima series. He serves as The Paragon for the eight Virtues, and is implied to have sacrificed himself at the end of Ultima IX in order to defeat The Guardian.
- Sera from Digital Devil Saga.
- World of Warcraft Cataclysm has Thrall become this in the wake of the titular cataclysm. This did not go unnoticed by fans, who lent him the pejorative moniker "Green Jesus."
- In Wrath of the Lich King we have Tirion Fordring, the Ashbringer.
- The fourth expansion, brings us the Last (pandaren) Emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao, who upon learning that the sundering was coming, decided to purge himself form his negative emotions, and "become one with the land" to make Pandaria drift away from the destruction and protect the races of Pandaria,including his enemies the Mantid. Of course, given the far eastern theme of the expansion, he's more of a Crystal Dragon Buddha.
- The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has certain elements of this. Her death, in which she sacrificed everything for her country, is what set in motion the events of the entire series from Big Boss' Face–Heel Turn to the formation of the Patriots. Plus there's her dying in a white sneaking suit in a field of white flowers that are stained red with her blood. And all this is before we get to Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker…
- JC Denton of Deus Ex loosely fits this trope, as he ultimately decides the fate of the world with his actions at the end of the game. The JC is likely an allusion to Jesus Christ, though the connection is never made explicit.
- There are a few examples in Dark Souls. The first example is Gwyn, who sacrificed himself as fuel for the First Flame to extend the Age of Fire. There's also the Chosen Undead, who can either follow in Gwyn's footsteps by sacrificing him or herself to the First Flame or let the Flame go out, becoming the lord of the Age of Darkness. Depending on your interpretation, either or both endings result in the Chosen Undead being a savior to the world.
- Also in Dark Souls is Sir Artorias the Abyswalker, who gave his life halting the spread of the Abyss. This is actually the Chosen Undead as well, as it turns out that Artorias failed in his task and was consumed by the Abyss. Due to some time travel shenanigans, Artorias got the credit for stopping the Abyss. Artorias still arguably qualifies, though, as he was able to save his wolf companion Sif by giving up his shield, thus saving Sif from being corrupted by the Abyss as Artorias was.
- Tales of Xillia's Milla Maxwell is arguably the Captain Ersatz of Jesus. Her story is that of a God in Human Form who gathers a band of followers (including a traitor), truly loves humans in spite all the things that they do, makes a Heroic Sacrifice before coming Back from the Dead—returning from a spiritual realm—and then rules the world benevolently as a compassionate deity.
- Lt. Miral Paris in Star Trek Online is this. To some of the Klingon, she's the Kuvah'Magh. To others, she's a traitor who should just be killed. Miral? She just wants to be Security Chief on the U.S.S. Kirk.
- Silver the Hedgehog in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) symbolises the Second Coming of Christ. He's here to save us all from doom!
- And just for the record, the low-born, persecuted Shadow was the First Coming. Oh, come on. You saw him in that stasis field, in the Crucifix position, blamed for something he had nothing to do with and despite being one of the protectors of humanity. And even then he told Mephiles where to shove it.
- And in a certain point of view, Sonic represents all of Christ. He died for your sins and rose from the dead!
- Eothas, god of light, renewal, and redeption, in Pillars of Eternity. He is a god particularly known for his forgiveness who took human form, walked among the poor, fed the starving, and died attempting to save mankind. In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, he is even resurrected... though is resurrection involves him possessing a gigantic adra statue, destroying Caed Nua, and leaving the Watcher near death, making him the game's de facto Big Bad.
- As told in the Opening Narration of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the Hero of Time became this to the people of the "ancient kingdom" after defeating the great evil that threatened to destroy it. Once the great evil resurfaced, many generations later, the people of the kingdom were sure that the Hero of Time would reappear to save them...and he didn't. The ancient Kingdom (Hyrule) was then flooded by the gods in an attempt to protect it from the Big Bad, Ganondorf; the world current to the game has lost all contact and has an imperfect recollection of many of the details of the ancient world.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it is Zelda herself who is this. More particularly, both Hylia and Zelda split the difference of this archetype. Hylia was worshipped in ancient times as the protector of the Triforce, but those times ended when the Demon King Demise and his horde of demons rose to the surface, slaughtering anyone in their path. Hylia was able to seal Demise but was mortally wounded in the process, leading her to take a mortal form. In the present time, Zelda is that mortal form, and she goes on a journey separate from Link's to regain her memories and power as Hylia. Eventually, she seals herself away to strengthen the seal on Demise for a time.
- In Time Squad, the online Web Animation movie of the Blockhead series, the titular character varies between this and being a Seemingly Profound Fool. He is shown to provide simple wisdom and inspiration to the other characters during their Darkest Hours and is shown as the only character that the Mad Scientist villain seems to consider his Worthy Opponent and the Red Oni to his Blue Oni since they somehow share a history together (Blockhead somehow existing in 15th century Romania and a collaborator in his mad schemes).
- In Homestuck, the story of The Sufferer has many parallels to Christ's. He lacked the kind of parent figure typical in troll society, and was instead raised by a woman called The Dolorosa* . He wandered the planet, spreading a message of an Alternia free from the Alien Blood-based Fantastic Caste System that rules their culture, attracting followers, one of whom was called The Disciple. He led a massive revolution that was ultimately crushed by the Highbloods and ended with him being tortured and killed, and his burning iron shackles became the symbol of his followers. However, The Sufferer is something of a subversion of the usual depictions of this trope, as in his last moments he undergoes what is described as a divine transformation of his compassion into limitless burning anger, and let out a Vast Expletive that served as his final sermon, and encoding his message into the fabric of existence itself for future followers to hear. This is implied to be the reason his descendant, Karkat, is so constantly angry and easily frustrated.
- In Hussie's typical "every miniscule detail is going to get a callback later" style, John and Terezi have a brief discussion about "Troll Jegus" long before the existence of the Sufferer is revealed.
- Walky from It's Walky! would certainly count as this in the end he performs a heroic sacrifice, goes to the afterlife, is resurrected and ends up saving the world.
- L's Empire: Following her Heroic Sacrifice, Indx was turned into one of these by her brother when he founded the Tribe of Darkness. She finds the sentiment creepy.
- In Templars Of The Shifting Verse, Augustus is seen a a messiah figure by many in the world. He even has three-day Resurrective Immortality.
- Optimus Primal in Transformers: Beast Machines, somewhat on the heavy-handed side. Oddly enough for this trope, it's portrayed negatively (But still not Dark Messiah). Basically, like The Doctor on a bad day (see Live Action TV) you can get too dark, alienate your allies, and come pretty darn close to relinquishing that "good guy" title when you start to see The Mission as (a) yours alone, and (b) the only thing that matters, even if your ends are just. Thing is, Primal's 'bad day' lasted for about 2/3 of the series and is a massive derailment of his Beast Wars portrayal.
- In fact, the many heroic deaths of Optimii in the various Transformers series have led to the nickname "Jesus Prime".
- The Aligned Continuity ramps it Up to 11 by revealing in Covenant of Primus that the last member of the Thirteen, named "Thirteen" in the book by his own choice, chose to be reincarnated as an ordinary Cybertronian by entering the Well of All Sparks. That Cybertronian would be Orion Pax. When he inherited the Matrix of Leadership, the humble data clerk regained his memories as one of the Primes, and retook his original name to symbolize this: Optimus Prime. It's noted that only Optimus and Alpha Trion were aware of this (the latter also being one of the Primes), with the former choosing to keep this fact to himself. As a final parallel, after merging the AllSpark with his own spark, he chooses to merge with the Well of All Sparks once more so it can create new life and bring about a new age for Cybertron.
- As above, Superman in the Legion Of Superheroes cartoon fits the trope more than ever, as the Grand Finale even comes with its own Judas: Brainiac 5's Brainiac 1-induced Face–Heel Turn leads to him giving Supes a crown of Kryptonite. Though declared dead, Superman rises again later.
- And in Superman: The Animated Series, Superman is tempted by Darkseid atop a mountain.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender. He's a Physical God, he has a love of all life, even his enemies, and is temporarily killed at the hands of Azula.
- Katara, who is sorta like Aang's mother figure, carries his lifeless body in Pietà Plagiarism style after Azula's attack. Further emphasizing his messianic status.
- Korra in The Legend of Korra fills a similar function to Aang, as she's the next Avatar after him. She, too, goes through tremendous dangers and is at one point purposely pushed into the Avatar State to try and kill her and end the Avatar cycle permanently. Luckily, she survives.
- In the South Park episode "Margaritaville", Kyle is portrayed as a Christ-like savior who makes a tremendous sacrifice to save the economy and pay off everyone's debt. A dinner he has with his friends is portrayed as the Last Supper, with Cartman taking on the role of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, while some of the South Park residents form a council againt the "young Jew spreading lies about the Economy". Played, to no one's surprise, for laughs.
- Steven from Steven Universe bares many of the criteria for this trope. He is the son of a human (Greg) and a transcendent otherworldly being (Rose Quartz) who comes into his own and learn how to control his otherworldly power, including the power to create food (grow plant life), heal the injured (healing spit) and ultimately revive the virtuous (brings Lars back to life). He befriends and converts followers of his celestial parent’s doctrines (Peridot and Lapis Lazuli) and is willing to sacrifice himself to his people’s enemy (the Diamonds) and save his world in the process. This is especially telling in the episode “Three Gems and a Baby”, where three ancient beings (Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl) come bearing gifts for Steven and his weathered human parent (Greg) in a place that is not their own (Vidalia’s house) set in December.