Older and Wiser

This character was one of the original protagonists. They hung out, had adventures, and had the Grand Finale with the rest of the cast once the show was cancelled. Now the show has had a Sequel/Revival, and the character's back, with a twist — they're a generation older than the new cast, and they've come back specifically to help the people who are in the same situation they once faced. This role can also be filled, in a Long Runner, by a character who leaves and comes back after a significant span of time.

See also Precursor Heroes.

Related to The Mentor, though they're less likely to die. (Of course, there's always the possibility of a nasty refrigerator accident...)

Not an Inversion of Younger and Hipper.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Second Try, Shinji and Asuka are mentally in their early 20's after they return to the past. However, they have the emotional maturity of a person at least 10 years older than that.


  • Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife managed to be an Older and Wiser mentor to himself.
  • Used in each subsequent Tortall Universe series by Tamora Pierce.
  • Done interestingly in Robin Hobb's works with Fitz, protagonist of the Farseer trilogy. He's still the narrator and protagonist when he returns fifteen years later for the Tawny Man trilogy, but the heart of the story is his attempts to guide and mentor the adolescent offspring of his old friends. So, for once, the Older and Wiser character remains the main character!
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has Ferus Olin, who was a contemporary of Anakin in the Jedi Quest series as a teenager, was a young adult and the main character of the Last of the Jedi series, and returned in the Rebel Force books to serve as on-again-off-again mentor to Luke and Leia. He does indeed have a Heroic Sacrifice and a genuinely moving death scene.
  • The Hunger Games: Cressida, and she uses this knowledge to try and help Katniss any way she can.
  • Eskarina Smith, previously seen as a determined young witch in Equal Rites, returns in I Shall Wear Midnight as an advisor to the determined young witch Tiffany Aching.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • As an Elder God who hasn't been active for a few millennia, K'rul may not be up to date with the running Malazan war effort, but he has the knowledge to aid his human proteges when the empire tries to set free an age-old Jaghut Tyrant in Darujhistan. He specifically aids Kruppe in assembling the people needed to fight back.
    • Apparently, spending several hundred thousand years suffering a Fate Worse Than Death mellowed Draconus out a bit. All who knew of his legendary cruelty feared his return to the world, but among the first things he does when he comes back is making friends with the mentally challenged Ublala Pung.

    Live Action TV 
  • Sarah Jane Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Explicitly shown in "Turn Left": In the Doctor-less alternate universe, Sarah Jane takes the Doctor's role in averting a disaster he stopped (or would have stopped) in the episode "Smith and Jones", though she dies in the process.
  • Tommy in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, who returns to superheroing as the team mentor figure after taking seven years off for college, graduate school, a doctorate program, and wildly successful research on superpowered dinosaur cyborgs. It is unknown, but doubtful, if the character slept between his departure in 1997 and return in 2004.
  • Barney Collier from Mission: Impossible appeared in some episodes of the revival series, while his son was one of the main characters (and their actors were father and son, too).
  • Steed in The New Avengers
  • Although Welcome Back, Kotter didn't have any prior show, the character Gabe Kotter was a former student who comes back to his high school alma mater to teach an often unruly group of remedial wiseguys known as the "Sweathogs", of which he was a founding member.
  • Colonel Samantha Carter is promoted from a member of the Five-Man Band in Stargate SG-1 to the leader of the Atlantis Expedition in Stargate Atlantis. The timespan is a bit shorter, but the concept is the same.
  • When Faith first appears in Buffy the Vampire Slayer she's a cynic, a Blood Knight and especially because she is a Slayer she can have and do whatever she wants. Now she tries to teach other Slayers that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility and With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, is on the lookout for those who might go Knight Templar, and is insightful enough to know that Angel created monsters, and tears himself up over having to live with them.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When The Murder City Machine Guns first stopped by Ring of Honor, it was technically an example of this for Chris Sabin, who hadn't done much of anything in the promotion till but they still amounted to pests to the Briscoes and The Kings Of Wrestling. But four years in the promotion and nine years in the business total saw them quickly become leaders of the locker room when they returned ROH in 2016 and the younger talents of promotion really needed help rallying against Bullet Club.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has lots of monsters that are older versions of other monsters, and it's kind of hard to list them all. Some notable examples:
  • In long-running Tabletop RPG games, this is a common fate for player characters when a GM starts a new campaign in the same setting: even if the new game has the same players, the original characters show up as grizzled veterans, wise mentors or literal gods.
  • Warboss Ghazkull from Warhammer 40,000 made his first appearance in a first-edition supplement in the early 90s as a generic Warboss for the Goff clan. A few years later, he's at the head of the biggest Waaaagh! in the galaxy, has ravaged the planet Armageddon repeatedly, formed a one-sided Friendly Rivalry with Commissar Yarrick, and believes himself to be on a mission from the Ork gods.
  • A handful of variants and one Heel–Face Turn'd villain exhibit this in Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The Eternal Haka is Haka as the last surviving human at the end of time. His base power is Haka of Knowledge (as opposed to his base form's Crush), and his card art has him reading in a library.
    • Team Leader Tachyon, from a Bad Future where Legacy has become the tyrant Iron Legacy, has streaks of grey in her hair, and her base power is to support her allies as opposed to fueling her own abilities.
    • As the villain La Capitan, Maria Helena roamed the time stream to loot and plunder however she wished. Eventually, though, a much older version of hers realizes what she's done and seeks to atone as La Comodora.

  • Although still technically the main character, Oedipus of Oedipus at Colonus has completely transformed from his portrayal in Oedipus the King and provides a contrast with the rest of the cast which is younger.

    Video Games 

  • Clark from Shape Quest, who complains that they feel he's way too old for adventuring, despite being 35.
  • Girl Genius: Apparently a biological feature of Jagermonsters; while the "young" ones (who can still be a century old) are very excitable Blood Knights with an intense love of fine clothing, the older ones seem a lot saner, with the generals still dressing well but cracking jokes about things like one of them missing a Nice Hat (when younger ones find lacking a hat themselves to be rather awful), and have no real thirst for fighting, enjoying a good scrap but having no unnatural drive; if they fight, it's because they chose to. We get a closer look at this when Captain Vole, so bloodthirsty he got kicked out of the Jagercorps, is accidentally aged hundreds of years in one sitting. While a part of it can be trauma, he finds himself utterly confused by how much his insanity waned; he used to care a lot for clothes, but not quite as much now, he doesn't really think he wants to fight anymore, and his dreams of watching Europa burn are gone; he doesn't want that anymore, and he doesn't really have another dream to replace it. And he even laments the carnage he caused, at least a little.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • A now old and retired Bruce Wayne in the futuristic Batman Beyond. Though age has robbed him of his old stamina, his fighting and detective skills are still as sharp as ever.
    • Also, a Crossover episode of Static Shock shows Static in that time period, not only Older and Wiser, but far stronger.
  • Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars was Anakin's snippy, reckless Kid Hero Padawan. In Star Wars Rebels she's become a leader in the early rebellion and has matured into a warrior and mentor.
  • Egon in Extreme Ghostbusters (while his three colleagues made a cameo Not as You Know Them).
  • A rare villainous example is Ravage from Beast Wars. One of the last surviving original Decepticons from the era of the Cybertronian Wars (a.k.a. the original cartoon), he's moved up in the world since we saw him last, and he learned a thing or two from his millenia of war.
  • In the Futurama film Bender's Big Score, Lars Fillmore is an older and more mature version of Fry who managed to get sent to the past and had his features accidentally changed to become near-unrecognizable.
  • Word of God says one reason Young Justice had a Time Skip: season one shows the Team being trained by their own mentors, while season two shows them older and training even younger heroes.
  • Zuko, Katara, and Toph all act as mentors to Korra at some point in Legend of Korra. And as Roku did to Aang in the Avatar: The Last Airbender, an older Aang acts a spirit guide to Korra, since he is now the previous Avatar.
  • Cornelius in Babar and the Sequel Series Babar and the Adventures of Badou is the oldest and wiser elephant in the cast and probably in the entire kingdom. Madam may also count as a female version.

    Real Life