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Anime and Manga
- In Gatekeepers 21, several of the heroes from the original Gatekeepers, now grown up, are around as commanders, mentors and even parents to the new cast, and one of them has become the new series' Big Bad.
- Miwa "Micchi" Uzuki, The Chick in the original Kotetsu Jeeg, becomes The Captain in the revival, Koutetsushin Jeeg.
- The original cast in the Record of Lodoss War TV series after the time skip.
- A variation occurs in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam where the The Rival of the previous series, Char Aznable plays the mentor role to Kamille Bidan.
- This is subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, wherein the previous cast end up in direct conflict with the new and still idealistic protagonists. They are older, and they are wiser, but it certainly doesn't do them much good when it comes to trying to convince the new cast of that.
- In addition to Char, Amuro Ray, the protagonist of the first series, gets this as well in Zeta Gundam, but is a bit more angsty about it. Also in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, he seems to have once again matured to a steel-willed veteran.
- Another example of it happening backwards is in Mahou Sensei Negima!, where some members of Ala Rubra, who saved the world 20 years ago, show up to help Negi on his way. Especially Jack Rakan. He's certainly Older. Wiser? Not so much. Well, he actually is, but Negi finds that out the hard way
- The Digimon Adventure cast to the Digimon Adventure 02 cast. Fournote years separate the two.
- And Taiki and Shoutmon from Digimon Xros Wars return to Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time as the smart mentors. Yuu himself returns from the previous series now matured as one of the main cast.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, almost the entire cast of the first two seasons returns as Older and Wiser mentor figures to the newcomers in StrikerS. Nanoha specifically designs her training programs to prevent them from making the same mistakes that she did when she was younger.
- Any characters that are around for longer then one arc in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Notable ones include Joseph Jostar, Jotaro Kujo, Speedwagon, Dio Brando, and even Polnareff.
- Rad, Carlos, and Alexis from Transformers Armada return aged ten years older to play supporting roles in Transformers Energon.
- Also, Hot Shot has gone from the Kid-Appeal Character to one of the new Bumblebee's trainers (and is actually idolized by him for the first few episodes.)
- Every new generation of Dex Holders in Pokémon Special will eventually be backed up by the older ones.
- Smith in Ginga Densetsu Weed.
- Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Mahou Sensei Negima! appears in the Stealth Sequel UQ Holder! where she now goes by the name Yukihime, having become a teacher at a school and acting as a Parental Substitute to the main character. Interesting, because in previous series she's practically the poster girl for Immortal Immaturity.
- 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.
- Don Diego Vega (Anthony Hopkins), the original Zorro, returns to train Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) in The Mask of Zorro.
- Frenchie from Grease returns to high school (yes, as a student) to be mentor to the next decade's New Transfer Student Michael Carrington in Grease 2.
- Though only a few years older, Nancy from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) embodies this trope when she trains a new batch of imperiled kids to fight back against Freddy in Dream Warriors.
- Star Wars:
- Obi Wan Kenobi over the course of the films, who starts off as an apprentice to Qui Gon Jinn, but becomes more of a wise and experienced Jedi master, culminating in him teaching Luke, his former padawan's son, about the Force in the beginning of A New Hope. Luke goes through a similar development going from a naive teenager in episode IV, to a wise, up-and-coming Jedi master himself in Return of the Jedi.
- When we first met Han Solo in A New Hope, he was highly skeptical of the Force and the Jedi Knights. By the time of The Force Awakens, he's basically mellowed out with age, accepting the Force and its universal power.
- In The Hustler, Fast Eddie is an upstart hotshot who is mentored by the older and wiser Bert Gordon. In The Color of Money, Fast Eddie is the older and wiser mentor to the upstart hotshot Vincent.
- 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.
- Alanna (Song of the Lioness) appears as a parent and veteran warrior in The Immortals, Protector of the Small and Daughter of the Lioness. By the time of the last, she's middle-aged, as is her husband George.
- Prince Jon of Song of the Lioness is young, naive, and haughty. King Jon in Protector of the Small is a firm and progressive ruler who makes pragmatic compromises and instills a sense of royal responsibility in his descendants.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ryu and Ken in Street Fighter III.
- Terry Bogard in Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, since he'd become so Badass that it could no longer be constrained by the limits of gameplay.
- The Moon Angels in Galaxy Angel II.
- Dekar of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals joins the party in Lufia: The Ruins of Lore, but calling him wiser may be a bit of a stretch...
- Bleu (Deis) from the Breath of Fire series, especially in Breath of Fire II (provided that you can find her...) where she proves to be one of the best spellcasters in the game.
- Averted in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn in which the cast of Path of Radiance all make appearances as major characters and despite some maturity still have their own problems and issues to deal with.
- Finn and Oifey, from Genealogy of the Holy War, are straighter examples ; you had them in the first generation as young apprentices, in the second generation they are back as mentors to Leif and Nanna, and Seliph and the other children at Tirnanogue respectively. Shanan also serves as a mentor to Seliph as well his much younger cousins, Larcei and Ulster. Lewyn, who comes back as Seliph's strategist, also counts, though this may be because of his resurrection and Laser-Guided Amnesia
- But played straight in Fire Emblem Awakening where Tiki, who was just a dragon child in Fire Emblem Akaneia, reappears as a dragon teen who takes up a mentor role towards Lucina and, in the DLC, her Junior Counterpart Nowi. And she can even be romanced by a male Avatar.
- In Fire Emblem Fates, this applies to Laslow, Selena, and Odin, who are older versions of the second-gen characters Inigo, Severa, and Owain from Fire Emblem Awakening, having matured out of a lot of their more negative character traits, while still retaining their core personalities.
- Dante in Devil May Cry 4, it's a bit inconsistent thanks to how the games' timelines jump around but he goes from a smart-ass to a smart-ass with a lot of experience.
- Phoenix Wright in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Some argue that this transition wasn't entirely natural, however...
- The main character of Dig Dug, to the main character of Mr. Driller.
- Mayor Robert Joseph MacCready of Fallout 3 is a child with a Cluster F-Bomb vocabulary and universally unlikable attitude. Mercenary Robert Joseph MacCready of Fallout 4 is a polite man with a strong Papa Wolf mentality and a likable personality. The last decade really humbled him.
- Rydia from Final Fantasy IV. She joins the party as a child, and when the ship your party is on gets destroyed, she is taken to the Land of Monsters, where time flows faster than in the regular world. When she rejoins the party later in the game, she is a fully-grown adult, complete with additional powers.
- Auron in Final Fantasy X would fit this trope perfectly, except we see it backwards. Near the beginning, he emerges from obscurity to join the younger crew and teach them what's what, but only as the game progresses do we gradually learn what happened the first time around.
- Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series hero Kyle Katarn becomes the mentor to new player character Jaden Korr in Jedi Academy. He's also the Final Boss if you turn to The Dark Side, and actually puts up one hell of a fight.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the Hero's Shade teaches Link several advanced sword techniques, and there are multiple nods at him being a previous Link (eventually confirmed to be the one from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).
- Similarly, Ganondorf himself returns older and wiser in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, now sporting a surprisingly effective Beard of Evil, having become much more calm and calculating than he was in his youth, preferring to control events from the shadows as opposed to in everyone's face with his magic and hordes of evil. Fittingly, however, he reverts to his fury of the old days during the final battle.
- Sonny Bonds, the hero of the original Police Quest Sierra point-and-click adventure games, is your SWAT unit's commanding officer in the tactical First-Person Shooter SWAT 4.
- For the record, that means the last time we saw him, he was a Detective Sergeant in Homicide. A minimum of ten years later (due to physical SWAT requirements), he has been promoted to the rank of Captain. At least. One hell of a meteoric rise.
- Liese in Atelier Annie. Not that you'd be expected to know. She's also a kind of Trickster Mentor, since she's testing and spying on Annie for her grandfather.
- Leo Stenbuck from Zone of the Enders, returning in The Second Runner less mopey and with added levels in Badass.
- Flik and Viktor in Suikoden II.
- The Donkey Kong series has Cranky Kong, who was the Donkey Kong from the original arcade games. Unfortunately, while he's older and wiser, he's so much so that he's more Grumpy Old Man than anything else.
- Peppy Hare, from Star Fox, is seen as this, having been part of the original Star Fox Team. He even gives up piloting his arwing after Star Fox Adventures.
- Soul Calibur has at least two examples:
- Siegfried changes from an arrogant bandit from a knightly background who unknowingly murders his own father and winds up letting Soul Edge turn him into the next Nightmare to a regretful and determined paladin-like figure determined to redeem himself even in the face of horrific crimes and almost certain death.
- Seong Mi-na is the same age as Siegfried, and starts out as a naive and hot blooded girl. In later installments, Yun-Seong looks up to her as a cool big sis, and her father remarks that she has grown.
- Isaac and Garet show up for the tutorial levels of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Garet plays the trope straight, having matured from a Hot-Blooded source of Plucky Comic Relief to a more sedate parent struggling to keep a leash on his even-more-temperamental teenage son, but Isaac subverts it almost to the point of a total inversion— he's gone from a quiet momma's boy with a bad case of Chronic Hero Syndrome to a rather reckless fellow more interested in putting Matthew through obstacle courses than getting Tyrell out of life-threatening danger.
- Downplayed in Tales of Xillia 2. The cast of the previous game do show up and as party members too but as it's only been a year since then, both aspects aren't as prominent as they would be in most instances. Still, having saved the world (or got sense kicked into them in the case of Gaius and Muzet) before means they can help Ludger as he gets dragged into Origin's Trial and is forced to make some rather important and even cruel decisions in that regard.
- Clark from Shape Quest, who complains that they feel he's way too old for adventuring, despite being 35.
- Yamauchi-sensei from Greek Ninja.
- 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.
- 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.
- This frequently happens with military officers in between major wars. A few notable examples from American history include Andrew Jackson, who served as a messenger during the The American Revolution while a teenager, then went on to become a General in the War of 1812. Quite a few junior officers got their first experience in the Mexican-American War before going on to become prominent figures during the The American Civil War, including Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. The same goes for the Spanish-American War giving young officers experience for World War I, including the commander of the American forces in WW1 General John "Black Jack" Pershing. World War I also served in this capacity for World War II, giving officers like Dwight D. Eisenhower (though he trained troops rather than seeing action himself in WW1,) and George S. Patton.