A dead person
who is brought Back from the Dead
because their skills are needed to accomplish some grand mission (perhaps because it's too difficult for any living hero, or because someone officially dead is required for it, etc.).
This trope is not
about heroes being resurrected after getting killed mid-series. See Disney Death
for that. This trope is for when resurrection is used in a premise of the story
See also Comic Book Death
and We Can Rebuild Him
This is a Death Trope
, at least in the case of sequels. Spoilers ahoy!
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Anime and Manga
- The Impure World Ressurection from Naruto is a jutsu used to bring back dead ninja who were especially skilled or powerful.
- Urasue tries to resurrect Kikyo and command her. It doesn't work out so well.
- Naraku later resurrects the Band of Seven and Saint Hakushin to keep Inuyasha's crew distracted while he upgrades himself in Mount Hakurei.
- Dragon Ball Z features a lot of Disney Deaths, but the straightest example of this trope is probably the second time Goku is revived. They tried to revive him after he was killed by Cell, but since he realized he, and by extension his friends and the world would eventually be targeted by new threats he refused to be resurrected. Seven years later, Gohan is the only warrior who hasn't been killed or absorbed by Majin Buu, and he can't beat him, so Goku has to be revived to help him.
- Then it gets played with a bit: the powers that be in the afterlife get desperate and decide to offer Vegeta, who previously sacrificed himself in a vain attempt to destroy Buu, another chance to take on the demon. He accepts, and they send him back to the world of the living... but they don't actually resurrect him. He's still dead, he just has a physical body so he can fight again. And if he dies while already dead, he'll be rendered Deader Than Dead...
- Downplayed in case of Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell. She was resurrected as a cyborg after a plane crash that nearly claimed her life and is now working as a law enforcer/cyber commando; but that accident happened when she was 10-years old or so. Having to live in a cyborg body (only her brain is organic) led her to mastering it, and thus her current job.
- Universal Soldier. After being killed, soldiers are brought back to life via cyborgization and used on missions too dangerous for regular soldiers.
- Billy Butcherson from Hocus Pocus.
- Captain Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, brought back to life by Tia Dalma so that he can sail to hell and get Jack out.
- This also goes for Jack himself. He even pokes fun at this trope:
Jack: Did anybody want me back just because they missed me?
*two or three of the crew raise their hands*
Jack: Ah, I think I'll stand over there with them.
- Brittany Murphy's character in The Prophecy II is resurrected because Gabriel needs a human familiar with modern technology to help him search for the mother of a Nephilim and prevent its birth.
- Freddy Krueger brings Jason Voorhees back to life in Freddy vs. Jason, as a part of his plan to renew his reign of night terror.
- Occurs several times in the Godzilla films.
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah has the Japanese attempt to nuke a Godzillasaurus in order to mutate it into Godzilla and stop King Ghidorah. The problem is that Godzilla was already mutated by the nuclear subs at the bottom of the Bering Sea (where he was transported pre-mutation) so nuking him again only made him bigger and more powerful.
- Later, King Ghidorah is ressurected as Mecha-King Ghidorah to stop Godzilla from destroying Tokyo.
- Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! features three gods (Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah) being ressurected/awakened from their eternal slumber in order to save Japan from Godzilla.
- Likewise, Godzilla himself is ressurected by the vengeful souls of the forgotten soldiers who died in WWII to punish the Japanese for forgetting them.
- 'Pham Nguyen' is brought back from some 'deaders' in A Fire Upon the Deep, and becomes a true hero.
- Happens to Agrus Kos in the Magic: The Gathering novel Dissension after his death in Guildpact.
- In Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series, the protagonist is a hero who is magically resurrected, as different people, on different worlds to wage war. He is VERY good at it.
- In The Heroes of Olympus, the Doors Of Death have opened, meaning that no one stays dead for long. While this can be good (as when Gwen gets speared during a combat exercise) it also means that Gaea can resurrect deadly monsters and giants to help her defeat the Olympians.
- Hazel was apparently brought back to help in the fight against the giants.
- Kevin Landwaster is brought back in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant to fight Lord Fowl. It turns out to be a really, really bad idea.
- Not precisely "resurrected" (since he exists only as a computer personality construct), but the first phase of the plot in Neuromancer is bringing back the Dixie Flatline for One Last Job.
- The Zin-carla spell from The Dark Elf Trilogy. Only used every few centuries, and requiring hundreds of people praying every day for months, but usually worth it. Assuming the caster manages to maintain control, of course...
- The Dresden Files novel Ghost Story plays with this trope. The person in question would have died (having been shot through the heart). However, the person is kept from death due to a Deal with the Devil made in an earlier novel, solely to perform the job agreed to in the deal. Also, the other party was Genre Savvy enough to know the person would try to back out of the deal.
- In Robert Reed's short story, The Hoplite, the characters were all long-dead, but their bones were dug up, used to clone a new body, and their memories retrieved using a device called the quantum-dilutor. All of the characters come from empires known for either their brutality or their cunning - Nazi Germany, Mongol Empire, Aztec Empire, Roman Empire, etc. The characters are then given a suit of Powered Armor and are used to subjugate rebellious regions.
- It is mentioned in the Earthsea Trilogy that one wizard used to summon souls of ancient kings and wizards for royal council. It ended up with him being exiled, since, apparently, the advices of the dead are of little use to the living.
- Angel Abaddon is resurrected by the God immediately after being executed at the beginning of Polish novel Siewca Wiatru (Wind Sower, from "who sows the wind, will reap the whirlwind") by Maja Lidia Kossakowska.
- Przemko Łabędź is killed with a thunder and immediately resurrected by god Swarożyc to kill king Mieszko II at the beginning of Polish novel Kiedy Bog Zasypia (When the God Falls Asleep) by Rafal Debski.
- A related concept appears in Charles Sheffield's story "Out of Copyright" — past geniuses are cloned and recruited as research scientists. Under the "copyright" rules referenced in the title, only people dead for seventy-five years may be cloned and only one clone per person may be created, leading to a corporations competing for their services in a manner resembling a sports draft.
- Kay Dutch in Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium is killed at the beginning of the novel by teenager as revenge for accidentally killing the boy's sister. While Death Is Cheap (as long as you can afford the price) in this 'verse, Kay has not yet paid for his resurrection (must always be done up-front). He is amazed to find himself alive and finds out that it's because of this trope. The owner of the aTan Corporation (who has the monopoly on resurrection) brings Kay back to life in order to escort his son and heir to a remote planet on a secret assignment. The guy was specifically looking for a professional bodyguard who dies without paying for a resurrection.
Live Action TV
- In the new series of Doctor Who the Time Lords try this with The Master, thinking his underhanded deviousness would make him a great soldier. However they forgot his natural tendency towards self-preservation and he legged it.
- Also Word of God for why the Lord President in "The End of Time" is called 'Rassilon' — the same thing was done with him, and that didn't work out any better.
- And the same thing happened with the dying Eighth Doctor, who was given a potion by the Sisterhood of Karn to regenerate into The War Doctor to fight the Time War. They did give him a choice, though, and he chose the Warrior potion.
- Dean is brought back to life so that he can help avert the apocalypse in Supernatural after he was sent to Hell.
- Rimmer in Red Dwarf was woken up to keep Lister sane. He was deemed fitter for this one purpose than anyone else, even the captain, because Lister got such a kick out of winding him up. He succeeds in this mission spectacularly.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- In the Ravnica Cycle, Agrus Kos's partner is murdered, then brought back from the dead to help solve his own homicide.
- In the sequel, Dissension, Kos himself is resurrected by an Azorius contract, much to his chagrin—the job he's been brought back for is incredibly dull and consists mainly of standing around on guard duty.
- In Scourge, Kamahl recruits Ixidor from the dead to help defeat Karona.
- This is often the case for the Arisen in Mummy: The Curse. If they haven't woken because some asshole has plundered their tomb or because the world has entered a Sothic Turn, then either their cult or their Judge (the divine authority they pledged their soul to) has need of them.
- At the very start of Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard is killed but brought back to life by Cerberus to continue the fight against the Reapers. In the process, they spent billions of credits and invented several technologies unknown to man until then.
- Locke D'Averam from Revenant is a general from the ancient times who has been resurrected by The Kingdom to wage war on the Children of Change and rescue the king's missing daughter from them.
- Age of Wonders: The Wizards Throne does this later in the story. It turns out that Merlin had been killed, and resurrected by Gabriel, to combat the rebellious wizards.
- Homestuck: This is basically what the Kernelsprites are for. Kernelsprites, when properly prototyped, will be capable of functioning as guides to the player, as well as a Crutch Character. Prototyping is done by chucking objects into the Kernel, and by an unspoken rule at least one of these items should be the remains of a dearly departed. The resulting Sprite takes on characteristics of everything that was thrown in, but failing to include something capable of speech, or at least something sentient, will result in a largely ineffectual guide, as well as a missed opportunity to reunite with a loved one.
- Casey and Andy: Happens to Casey's fantasy world counterpart, the court wizard, who was killed while trying to take over the world. The queen decided he was a shoe-in for the job as Evil Vizier (which mandates scheming, backstabbing and attempts at usurpation).