Serial Prostheses

"Remember Bilko? He disobeyed orders, and now Lord Sador's wearing his foot."

A character, usually a villain, is injured on multiple occasions and each time will have a prosthetic added, be it mechanical or wooden. In order to qualify as this trope, a character must lose at least two body parts on two separate occasions. The prosthetic can range from a simple eye patch and peg leg to the character becoming a full-blown cyborg. Can become a Running Gag if used for comedic effect. Bonus points if the wounds are self-inflicted.

Compare We Can Rebuild Him, in which a single devastating injury or death necessitates all new body parts in one go. Goes hand-in-hand with Mutilation Conga.


Fan Fiction

Films — Animated
  • The Man-Droids from Star Chaser The Legend Of Orin. They are, as their name suggest, cyborgs composed of machinery and organic body parts. Rotten organic body parts, so they get by with capturing people and robots lost in the swamp so they can dismember them and use their parts.

Films — Live-Action
  • In the Star Wars prequels, Anakin Skywalker loses a hand in Attack of the Clones, and then loses most of his remaining limbs in Revenge of the Sith. He re-loses some of those limbs, as seen in Literature, and in Return of the Jedi Luke cuts off his arm again.
  • The space tyrant Sador from Battle Beyond the Stars has a fondness for replacing his own body parts with ones taken from defeated enemies. This turns out bad for him when his soldiers capture a Nestor clone (Nestor being a Hive Mind consisting of its entire race, who joins the heroes with a group of clones because it wants new experiences). After the clone is killed by torture, Sador claims its arm... and then discovers that Nestor can still control it. His goons manage to cut it off before it successfully chokes him to death, unfortunately.
  • The traveling Con Man that the main character hooks up with in Little Big Man loses several minor body parts over the time that he knows him, usually to the Angry Mob. When he meets him a few years later, he comments that there isn't much more he could lose.

  • The backstory for the Tin Man of Oz.
  • Goldeneyes Silverhand Dactylos, one-off character from Discworld (the first book, in fact). His backstory consists of him inventing marvels for various royals, only for his employers to mutilate him so that he couldn't repeat the invention for anyone else. When his latest employer asks why he didn't just give it all up and try flower arranging, he replies "I'm good at it."
  • This was the eventual fate of "The Man Who Was Used Up". It's played for bleak laughs when he is shown to be a squeaking heap without his protheses, and his manservant "assembles" him piece by piece in front of the narrator.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In the X-Wing Series, Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron had once been treated with spoiled Bacta that caused him to become alergic to the extremely efficient regenerative substance. Unwilling to retire from frontline service, he subsequently loses a large number of body parts and has them replaced with cybernetic implants and prostheses to be able to fight again. Despite his cheerful appearance, he is actually a Death Seeker, convinced to continue fighting until it finally kills him.
    • Mara Jade, in The Thrawn Trilogy, mentions that the Emperor had Vader's right arm removed for his failure to save the Death Star. Splinter of the Mind's Eye has Luke hack off Vader's right arm in a lightsaber duel.
    • Luke's gone through some of this. He's only ever lost his right hand, but it's been taken off more than once. There was the original, in the movie. A one-off comic has it get infected with technological parasites, and he cuts it off himself. In Dark Empire the Emperor Reborn had it removed and replaced with one more like his father's. Years later it's destroyed in Legacy of the Force. Each time, he has it replaced again.
  • MAD published a collection of parodies of famous novels. The parody of Moby-Dick had this happening to Captain Ahab, with him having a wooden prothesis added every time he lost a body part in pursuit of the whale. By the end of the story, his entire body was wood except for his nose; which was iron because the carpenter had run out of wood.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Bill the Galactic Hero; none of the implant replacements for his lost foot will ever stick (we saw he was using a mechanical prosthesis in the Distant Finale to the first book, near the end of his career) but he gets a new one every book.
  • Over the course of his career as an Auror, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody from the Harry Potter series has lost a leg (replaced by a peg leg), an eye (replaced by a magical eye that can see through solid objects and in all directions), part of his nose, and possibly a buttock.
  • This is the basis of a short story by Stanisław Lem, where a man who had his entire body replaced by prostheses (including first one, then the other hemisphere of the brain) is sued for nonpayment by the prosthesis producer, who argues that since there is not a single organic part left in the man, he's just an inanimate collection of prostheses which lawfully belongs to the company.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who had this as the backstories for Davros and the Cybermen. It's absolutely chilling and heartbreaking in the Fifth Doctor audio adventure Spare Parts.

  • Not the song itself, but the filmclip to Broken Bells' "The Ghost Inside" is this trope to a nightmarish degree. Also a Downer Ending.

Video Games
  • Deathborn's bio alludes to this in F-Zero GX, to the point where the only organic part of his body is his brain. This is in contrast with another character, Mighty Gazelle, who was an obvious case of We Can Rebuild Him.
  • Most Cyborg enemies from Space Siege call dibs on your character's Augmentations; your bionic eye and arm are the two that are usually called.
  • In the backstory of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the family nemesis Clockwerk replaced his body parts as they became old and useless with machinery powered by pure hatred, and by the time Sly faces him, he's 100% mechanical, but this trope would have applied to his past incarnations.
  • Similarly, the clockwork villain Nemesis in City of Heroes replaced his body piece by piece as it was either shot off him (he lost his legs during the American Civil War) or wore out. By the start of the 21st century, he's pretty much just a brain in a robot body (or several), and one of the story arcs covers his (possibly successful) plan to replace even that.

Web Comics
  • Yuri from Space Trawler becomes a cyborg, loses some limbs (gets some PTSD), gets some mechanical replacements, engages in some violence, then gets some alien organ transplants and some more mechanical augmentation. She's currently been forcibly downgraded back a step from her form as a laser-wielding mech-spider back to her basic bipedal form.
  • Clarice from A Girl and Her Fed is already a cyborg when first appearing, but later starts adding more cybernetic implants between run-ins with the protagonists.
    • The titular Girl is shown to have kept the robotic-arm she ripped off in one violent encounter as a trophy on her mantel at home.

Western Animation
  • Baxter Stockman in the 2003 Ninja Turtles cartoon, thanks to Shredder's attitude towards failures. He loses an eye, a hand, and ends up in a wheelchair before trying to take his revenge in a Mini-Mecha. When that fails, he's reduced to a head attached to a robot. It gets worse from there.
  • Major Bludd of G.I. Joe: Renegades lost an eye the first time he ran into the Joes, and his arm the second time. If this kept up, he'll practically be a robot down the line.
  • SWAT Kats villain Shard was planned to utilize this, where he would not just get a new power in each reappearance, but he'd reference previous encounters, such as if he lost an eye, he'd have an eyepatch, and he'd look more beat up each time.