Putting the Band Back Together
"We're putting the band back together."
This nifty little scenario is common in sequels, especially after a Time Skip
, but it also happens at the beginning, which basically just means that the original 'Band' existed prior to the beginning.
'Back then', the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
were kicking ass and taking names all over the place. Alas, the golden days came to an end, and they split up, took ordinary jobs, started families
But now a new threat looms
! And there's only one team that can solve it, so it's time to put the old band back together. There are two possible ways to do this: One is that the old leader
picks up where he left off, seeking out his old friends and convincing 'em to join up with him again. But just as often, the old leader isn't available - may be dead, or may have retired, or may have simply disappeared. Or maybe he's just not interested at all. (In that case, he's the first one they visit, only to get turned away, but he'll probably show up anyway just when the rest of the crew has been gathered, or later, in the nick of time to save the day.
) Anyway, if it's a former minor character who's gathering the band, that means that he or she will probably be the new leader.
Either way, various things will happen during this episode. A member may be reluctant, and require our heroes to jump through hoops to get him onboard. Several may be working jobs that are oddly appropriate, or ironically inappropriate, to their former role. Extra characterisation will occur by showing what kind of activities are taking up their free time, or what kind of family they've started. A former big-shot is likely to have become completely washed-up, turned into a drunk and/or bum, and the heroes will have to revitalize his burning spirit to bring him back to his old glory.
Compare with Avengers Assemble
, Everyone Meets Everyone
, & Order Reborn
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Anime and Manga
- Martian Successor Nadesico: Prince of Darkness, in which Ruri reunites the old Nadesico crew after a Time Skip.
- A strange version in Bubblegum Crash — Sylia calls everyone together to announce that they're reuniting; Nene thought they were being called together to announce that they were breaking up.
- After BECK break up temporarily, Koyuki tries to reunite everybody from the band, though he has great troubles finding Ryuusuke, who went road-tripping in America.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon, Yoko, Rossiu, the Black Siblings and Viral put the Gurren Brigade back together to fight the Anti-Spirals.
- Pre-timeskip part of 20th Century Boys fits this trope really well. When Kenji realizes that disasters he and his gang imagined about during their elementary school years are happening in reality, he contacts his old friends who made up the prophecy together to stop 'Friend' who is from the old gang from elementary school.
- So do both post-timeskip parts really. Although there isn't a moment where they all meet together until the very end, a lot of time is devoted to the friends trying to reunite with each other after 15 years apart.
- Also happens literally, with Kenji's band getting back together for a reunion concert after "Bob Lennon" becomes an underground hit in Friend-ruled Japan.
- The first volume of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force has Commander Hayate reconstructing the Riot Force Six task force from Nanoha StrikerS so they could resolve the Hückebein and Eclipse case before it could grow into a serious incident.
- This happens in One Piece. After Kuma scattered the crew to the four corners of the world, Luffy gives them an appointment to meet in Sabaody after two years, after they have powered up, to put the band back together.
- An unusual variation in The Disappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya, where Kyon reassembles the SOS Brigade... or at least their alternate universe counterparts.
- The Legend of Black Heaven: Oji Tanaka needs to get his old band back together to operate an alien superweapon, which is powered by rock music.
- Ultimately subverted in the latter part of the Golden Age Arc in Berserk.
- In the second episode of Strike Witches, the original witches of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing all return to face the new Neuroi threat.
- Happens near the end of Tenchi in Tokyo - despite all of their brand-spanking new jobs and hang ups, the girls comes running back to Tokyo when Yugi makes her move, kidnapping Sasami and starting to crystalize the rest of the world.
- The Bladebreakers were seperated before the start of V-Force, since all members either returned to their homeland or moved to their other parents. When the Saint Shields and Team Psykick show up, the former team beat Takao, Rei and Max in solo battles while Kai is fought to draw, so they reunite their team.
- At the beginning of G-Revolution, the Bladebreakers are disbanded because neither Max nor Rei nor Kai want to stand in Takao's shadow. In the last arc, the members reunite to fight the BEGA's Justice Five. The Bladebreakers take the name G-Revolutions from there on. It should be mentioned that the G-Revolutions have a fighting member more (Daichi) than the original Bladebreakers.
- Captain Metropolis tried to do this in a flashback in Watchmen only for it to fall completely flat.
- The trailers to the movie try to make it seem as if this is the plot proper in true Never Trust a Trailer spirit.
- However, some of the team members do get back together again as stimulated by Rorschach.
- The original X-Factor comic started with Jean Grey doing this to her old teammates upon coming Back from the Dead.
- Both Cable and Domino do this, at different times, with their old mercenary band, the Wild Pack / Six Pack.
- This trope is invoked by name in the new Darkwing Duck revival comic book. Only in this case, it's the villains who are getting their band back together, while the hero is still sulking his way through a forced retirement.
- This trope is said word for word in Generation Lost. Maxwell Lord decides to bring Booster Gold, Ice, Fire, Captain Atom and the new Blue Beetle and Rocket Red back together to reform the Justice League International. Of course, Max Lord is a villain this time around, and none of the heroes are too happy about being reunited against their will.
- Specifically invoked by Green Arrow at the start of Brad Meltzer's Justice League run. Unusually, it's not him that they've come to recruit...
- A Growing Affection: During the Invasion of the Sound, Tsunade forces the old team Hizashi; Iruka, Anko, and Yugao, to work together again. By the end of the mission, they have worked out the issues that caused them to break up (except, of course, Hizashi death).
- Windfall is about the Mane Six, who had since gone their separate ways as their lives moved on, coming back together for the birth of Fluttershy's first child.
- The Trope Namer is The Blues Brothers, in which Jake utters the line "We're putting The Band back together!" several times while gathering the old members of their band for one last performance to save their old orphanage.
- Happens again in Blues Brothers 2000, with a few extra additions, though it would've been harder if the band had known why Elwood was getting them back together that time.
- The movie Once Upon a Texas Train has it happen twice: once with a band of train robbers and once with a group of retired Texas Rangers recruited to stop them.
- Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys — because they are the only astronauts who know COBOL.
- An odd subversion of the trope appears in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (parts 1 and 2), which sees Uma Thurman's character visiting each member of her once-lethal team of assassins in their new lives and attempting to kill them all rather than reuniting them.
- Star Trek
- Star Trek The Motion Picture. Kirk had to do some string pulling to get Spock and McCoy back.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was slated to feature a similar sequence, with everyone either preparing to retire or move on to other jobs, but they scrapped it and just had a bit of dialogue before the briefing starts.
- For the audience, though not the characters, Star Trek, the 2009 movie, is essentially this trope as well.
- In I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, John Slade reassembles the team of black heroes who once took down Mr. Big.
- The first Scooby-Doo movie had the group disband at the beginning, and then rejoining for another mystery.
- The Mighty Ducks sequels. What was egregious about this is that each film also resets them to total incompetence so they can be retrained. Never mind that they won The Big Game in each previous film.
- Justified by the explanation in the second film that they haven't stayed in practice during the off-season and they're playing at a national level instead of regional, so they need to take time getting back up to their previous level of skill, as well as figuring out how to incorporate the new members (as well as compensate for the members they've lost) with each new film.
- Armageddon arranges for this. NASA wants Bruce Willis's character to help their team; he'll only go if he can take all his own band of oil drillers. They have split up across the country — that's what they do when they're on leave. Government force is gently used to put them back together.
- The Robert Rodriguez film Desperado. El Mariachi is reuniting his former bandmates, and tells them to bring their guitars, but not to play music.
- In Shaolin Soccer, the protagonist must convince his old training buddies to reunite and begin practicing kung fu again — in order to play soccer. Many of them are of the "unmotivated wash-up" variety, although there's also one who's a businessman comfortable with his new life.
- Happens in Uncommon Valor when a wealthy businessman finances a raid to rescue POWs from Vietnam.
- A meta-example in the The Hobbit films in which Peter Jackson brings back former Lord of the Rings cast members. Frodo, Gandalf, Elrond, Gollum, Saruman, Legolas, Galadriel, and the elderly Bilbo are all featured in the films.
- Still Crazy features almost every last element of this trope and plays it straight- a minor member of the band instigating it (Tony Costello the keyboardist played by Stephen Rea), the reluctant lynchpin who has since become a family man (Les Wicks the bassist played by Jimmy Nail), the member who's since found unusual employment (Beano Baggett, the drummer played by Timothy Spall, now working in a nursery; 'not with children?' their groupie turned manager exclaims- she's right, it's a plant nursery) and the washed up lead singer who's lost his mojo (Bill Nighy in a forerunner to his better known turn as Billy Mack in Love Actually). It even has the member believed dead but returning in the nick of time to save the day (Brian, the band's former lead guitarist played by Bruce Robinson). A textbook case of this trope.
- Sort of in Stand Up Guys where former bank robbers Walken, Pacino and Arkin meet up after 28 years and keep telling each other "It's just like the old days", while Pacino adds "It's better" because they appreciate it more now. Though they didn't get together to pull another job they do find a couple of missions as the film progresses.
- The World's End: This is said nearly word for word when Gary is gathering everyone up.
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Ron Burgundy has to put his old crew back together after being offered a job at a 24 hour news network.
- Twenty Years After, the sequel to The Three Musketeers, is both an example and a subversion. Cardinal Mazarin asks d'Artagnan to find his three old friends, who have left the service long ago, and convince them to join back and help the Cardinal against his enemies. But only Porthos Jumped at the Call; Athos and Aramis excuse themselves... and we find out several chapters later that the reason is that they are already involved with the other side.
- Happened in the Discworld book Thief of Time. It was played straight, in a Discworld book! Anyway, what happens is that the world is about to end, and so Death tries to round up the other three members of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They all refuse, but later come just in time anyway and decide to start kicking Auditor butt instead of heralding the end of the world. This includes the fifth horseman, Kaos, who also joins just in the nick of time.
- In Iain M. Banks's Against a Dark Background, one character brings together her old army unit to help her search for the Lazy Gun.
- In a rather unusual use of this trope, Kyon does exactly this in the 4th Suzumiya Haruhi novel. Of course, it's a Alternate Universe, and no one knows about "the band".
- In Warrior Cats, chosen cats from the second series reunite in Outcast to help Tribe again.
Live Action TV
- Several times on Supernatural could be considered this. In the Pilot episode, when Dean breaks in to Sam and Jessica's house to tell Sam their father is missing and that they have to find him. Of course, Sam thinks it's a one time thing. And then Jess dies.
- Again in Season 4, when Dean returns from hell and is reunited with Bobby and Sam, as well as introduced to Castiel.
- At the the start of Season 6, when Sam gets back from Hell and gets Dean after Dean has taken up residence with Ben and Lisa.
- In Season 7 after Castiel's sanity is restored, Team Free Will with the edition of Meg get together to take down the head leviathan, Dick Roman.
- And finally again in Season 8 when Dean escapes purgatory, joining up again with Sam and Kevin. And then Castiel comes back from Purgatory via Angel Express and Team Free Will is briefly reunited for a few episodes.
- In Season 9 of Stargate SG-1, Cameron makes multiple mentions of 'getting the band back together'.
- And when Colonel Carter returns in episode 6, she asks, "but who's the new backup singer?" about Vala.
- The Return of The Man From UNCLE: The Fifteen Years Later Affair
- The 2002 revival of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet begins with the surviving members of the old gang (last seen in 1986) getting together for another member's wake. It turns out that he's not really dead, but arranged his wake as a stunt specifically to reassemble the old team. They soon learn that another of the old gang has died — not surprisingly, since the actor who played him had died in 1986.
- The second season of Phoenix Nights begins this way.
- A season premiere of Bones happens this way, with Brennan, Booth, and the Squint Squad reuniting to help Cam with what was thought to be one case (which turned out to be two). And by the way, CAM is really the lynchpin personality.
- Sharpe's Waterloo begins with Sharpe, Harper, Harris and Hagman, the last of the Chosen Men, coming back together from France, Ireland and wherever the other two have been to see Napoleon defeated once and for all.
- NCIS: Vance disbands the entire team in a season finale, but Status Quo Is God, and naturally they put the band back together in the season premiere.
- Lt. Daniels spends most of Season 2 of The Wire putting the Barksdale detail from Season 1 back together as the new Sobotka detail, which he hopes to eventually turn into a permanent Major Case Unit.
- The whole point of the Disney XD show I'm In The Band.
- Used as a theme with the ensemble in Leverage. The running gag is that, while each of them used to work solo as criminals, they've gotten hooked on helping people
- The plot of comedy-drama Hunting Venus revolves around an early eighties new romantic band getting together again for a reunion twenty years on. Unfirtunately they can barely remember how to play their instruments, the lead guitarist has had a sex-change, and nobody can recall how the hit single went.
- The trope is mentioned by name but otherwise averted in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Nothing Personal"; following SHIELD's official dissolution, Maria Hill, now working for Stark Industries, tells Coulson, "We're not putting the band back together."
- The opening two-parter of Robin of Sherwood season 3. The new Hooded Man, after finding that the call knows where he lives, has to reassemble the outlaws to rescue Marion.
- Truth in Television: All the many, many literal bands who have reformed "for one last tour (seriously, this is it, we promise)!"
- The (then) three surviving members of the Fab Four got back together for The Beatles Anthology and finished two of John Lennon's home recordings. "Free as a Bird" required an entire bridge...
- X Japan did this in 2007, finally accomplishing it completely in 2010 with the full return of Toshi and the selection of Sugizo as permanent lead guitarist in place of the late hide, and the one-show return of now-late bassist Taiji Sawada.
- The quartet of Elton John, guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson, along with lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon, helped create Elton's most critically and commercially successful period (Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy). Elton broke the band up in 1975, which led to a Dork Age in Elton's career which was only halted when Elton rehired Johnstone, Murray and Olsson in the band, hired Taupin full-time and made the Too Low For Zero album in 1983. The album was critically and commercially successful, and thanks to MTV videos like "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues", led to a Career Resurrection in the mid-eighties.
- Happened with both Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin at Live Aid - was supposed to happen to The Beatles as well (with Julian Lennon standing in from John Lennon), but alas, that one didn't come together... Also the only time Sting ever performed Money For Nothing with Dire Straits after the song's original recording.
- A better example for Led Zeppelin would be their 2007 reunion concert, documented in the film/CD Celebration Day.
- Pink Floyd later re-reunited one last time at Live 8 in 2005. It now seems likely to *really* have been the last time, owing in large part to the 2008 death of keyboardist Rick Wright.
- All five members of country-pop band Restless Heart reunited in 2003 for one more album, and they tour sporadically to this day. They pretty much broke up in 1993, save for four of them reuniting temporarily in 1998 to make new songs for a Greatest Hits Album.
- Luna Sea and Phantasmagoria reunited for the hide memorial summit in 2008, Luna Sea also for a christmas concert in 2007. Of course, then they reunited for real in 2010.
- At Motorhead's 10th anniversary concert (documented in the album/video The Birthday Party), Lemmy had ALL of the former members of Motorhead onstage for the finale.
- In a weird and appropriate example, Tenacious D parody and exaggerate (MASSIVELY) their own break-up and reunion as seen here.
- Having had more different line-ups than an Italian coalition government, and at least thirty-five different members over the years, Dave Brock attempted to create the Hawkestra, bringing together everyone who had at one time or another played with space-rockers Hawkwind. Alas, it only served to remind everyone as to why the band had broken up and reformed with new members so many times. The exercise broke up in disastrous acrimony, with people reviving old arguments, grievances, grudges, vendettas and blood-feuds, placing the blame on each other, but almost universally at that bastard Brock. Division of the revenues from the poorly-received Hawkestra gigs caused even more rows, and the repercussions simmer on today.
- Blue Öyster Cult brought back Albert and Joe Bouchard, and Allen Lanier for their 40th anniversary show in November 2012. This ended up being the last ever performance featuring all five original members due to Lanier's death in August 2013.
- A meta example in Donald Fagen's song H Gang, about an "orphan girl with that crazy red hair" putting her old band back together after she gets out of jail.
- This is essentially what happened with Cult Leader. After Gaza broke up (primarily due to rape accusations aimed at Jon Parkin; while nothing has ever been confirmed or denied, it has been strongly hinted that they were completely genuine), Anthony Lucero, Mike Mason, and Casey Hansen decided to continue on under a new name, and after drafting in Sam Richards on bass and having Lucero switch to vocals, Cult Leader was born.
- How The Mike O'Meara Show got started as a podcast. Mike, Robb and Buzz ran it as a radio show until CBS fired them. About a year later Oscar Santana, another fired radio personality, convinced them to bring the show back as a podcast, and Mike brought Oscar along as a new cast member.
- WCW: After Kevin Nash lost a "Loser Retires from Wrestling" match Nash & Scott Hall were spotted in the audience one Nitro. When asked by the Roving Reporter what's going on since retirement Nash said "We're putting the band back together." Nobody could figure out what he meant by that until a few weeks later when the new nWo debuted.
- For those unfamiliar with wrestling, Hall and Nash were longtime best friends and had worked together in WWE as Razor Ramon (Hall) and Diesel (Nash).
- Hall and Nash like this trope. They've reformed the Outsiders in TNA a couple times, and as of 2010, have formed "The Band" with fellow Kliq member Sean "X-Pac" Waltman.
- Recently, The Authority has reformed Evolution with Randy Orton, Triple H, and Batista. Though in this case it's somewhat of a miracle they can function as a cohesive unit considering that neither Orton nor Batista are rookies anymore, but stars on par with Hunter himself, with a lot more experience. Add in the fact that the egos of all three are gigantic, and it makes you wonder why they bothered to reform at all. It doesn't help that, unlike Hall and Nash, none of the members of Evolution have the best history with each other; Randy is the most notable example, considering that his ousting from the original Evolution back in '04 was his Start of Darkness, an event that took him years to get over.
- In The Gamers Alliance, Marcus Sarillius returns to Remon 11 years after the end of the Great War and gathers many of his old comrades together so they can form the Grand Alliance of old once more to fight against new enemies.
- The Red vs. Blue Recollections trilogy begins with us being told that most of the old characters had been relocated after the end of season five and so Washington has to re-recruit some of the team members. Although, throughout all three movies, we've never had the entire team restored. Some characters have also been apparently Killed Off for Real, but we've yet to see if it sticks. Other characters like Church and Sheila seem to have been replaced with copies like Epsilon and F.I.L.S.S.
- In TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life, Eric and Dash reunite the Five-Man Band in order to rescue James.
- Kickassia, Suburban Knights, and To Boldly Flee all have The Nostalgia Critic getting large numbers of reviewers from Channel Awesome to join him on whatever zany scheme he's hit upon. He gets the job done by tricking them into getting together (or, in the case of To Boldly Flee, simply beaming them into his house against their wills) and giving a motivational speech to get them to go along with his plan.
- In Worm, the Undersiders remained active throughout the Time Skip even though Taylor, the leader, pulled a Heel-Face Turn. However, after Taylor fails to prevent the end of the world, and the remaining pockets of humanity almost immediately turn on one another, she rejoins the surviving Undersiders (Tattletale, Imp, and Bitch), along with several members that joined when she was away (Parian and Foil) and a few new faces entirely (Canary and Taylor's former Arch-Enemy Shadow Stalker), and decides to take down as many chaotic elements as they can.
- As the title character of Curveball starts to get in over his head, his old buddy Regiment says the line almost verbatim when he decides to put The Gladiators back together.
- Parodied in one Penny Arcade story arc. Tycho and Gabe briefly break up and try to do their own comic strips, but both fail miserably. They then have a conversation about "getting the band back together". They then ask their guitarist — who presumably provides the strip's music — if he wants to get back together with them.
- Necessary Monsters: Jonathon putting his team of covert monster-cops back together is part of the opening act.
- Homestuck: Meenah is trying to do this with a band who have been dead for a very long time. Sadly for her, the band in question is more or less evenly divided into people smart enough to have a better plan than taking on an invulnerable demon with a head-down charge, and people who are too traumatised, sex-obsessed, creepy, evil or otherwise dysfunctional to successfully boil water, let alone kill Lord English.
- Skin Horse: Foreshadowed in this strip, one of the creators having returned from having had a baby.
- An episode of Phineas and Ferb is entitled "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together!", in which the Flynn children try to reassemble the band "Love Händel" (a parody of 80's music) in time for their parents' anniversary. Interestingly, one of the songs from this episode got nominated for a freaking Emmy for best original song.
- Metalocalypse plays this straight, when Pickles decides to put back together his old Glam Rock band, Snakes N' Barrels.
- The Teen Titans episode "How Long Is Forever?" had Starfire disappearing until Twenty Years Into The Future. When attempting to find her friends, we discover that Cyborg's main power ran out, and so he's trapped in the tower; Beast Boy was sold to the circus (and went bald); Raven was put into an asylum; and Robin became Nightwing.
- Wolverine begins to do this in the first episode of Wolverine and the X-Men to varying degrees of success.
- Xavier met similar problems in the X-Men anime, mostly with Scott.
- Used in Extreme Ghostbusters when Egon's teammates from the disbanded Real Ghostbusters appeared in a few episodes.
- The King of the Hill episode "Bwah My Nose" had this when Hank and the gang demand a rematch by playing flag football against the team they lost against in the high school state championship who are now gloating them every year. Hank called up every teammate to participate in the rematch.
- The season finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has the gang disbanded—Fred to look for his real parents, Daphne to wallow in misery with her family, Velma to ponder what she's done (not coming forward about Angel Dynamite's real identity), Shaggy off to military school and Scooby Doo being sent to a farm. Part of season two's focus will be on Scooby's promise at the conclusion of the season one finale, to get the gang back together and track down Professor Pericles, who has two pieces of the Planispheric Disc.
- Regular Show in the episode "Exit 9B", after everyone at the park except Mordecai and Rigby are brainwashed by GBF Jr., the two end up traveling two months into the future where they have to find everyone and unbrainwash them to save the park.
- Parodied in an episode of Angela Anaconda. Angela goes to her friends to put their band back together to win a talent show. Flash Back to a shot of them as toddlers in a pretend band with Angela demanding they call themselves "Angela and her Bandacondas", to which all the rest start crying over. Her friends unanimously refuse with a Big "NO!".
- Happens in the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series with the Six Forgotten Warriors who team up again years later.