->"''Hey, no one can be a [[Comicbook/{{Robin}} Boy Wonder]] forever.''"
-->-- '''[[ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} Dick Grayson]]''', ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries The New Batman Adventures]]''

In SuperHero ComicBooks, the StatusQuoIsGod. It might not seem like that at first, what with all the [[KilledOffForReal deaths]], [[BackFromTheDead resurrections]], [[FaceHeelTurn Face Heel Turns]], [[HeelFaceTurn Heel Face Turns]], and whatnot. It's a rare year -- honestly, a rare month -- where comic book readers aren't gravely informed that NothingIsTheSameAnymore.

Yet, take a look at the major characters of Franchise/TheDCU or the Franchise/MarvelUniverse today and five or ten years ago. Things will be different, but not ''that'' different, and most of the major changes will seem to have happened recently. The companies that own these characters, like all large corporations, are conservative (in this case meaning wanting to maintain a status quo), and all these dramatic changes have a noticeable tendency to cancel out in the long run. Once a character establishes an iconic status quo, or becomes part of another character's iconic status quo, it can be extremely difficult to change anything major about that character.

There is, however, one category of change that's an interesting exception: the "graduation" of {{Sidekick}}s to become independent heroes in their own right, or [[LegacyCharacter assume their mentor's mantle]]. Perhaps it is only because this tends to be accompanied by [[ComicBookTime finally aging the character from a teen to an adult]], and even in the RetCon-happy world of comics, reversing that without breaking the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief is hard (with the possible exception being large-scale Reboots, since everything for the most part is turned back to square 1).

Still, it also seems that negative fan reaction to these changes is also much, much rarer than with the average change. What little of it there is tends to occur [[LegacyCharacter when another character's mantle is taken by the graduating sidekick]], with [[ReplacementScrappy fans of that character being understandably upset at the displacement]], rather than desire to see the sidekick remain a sidekick. When that sort of thing happens, it's most often remedied by simply having the character graduate ''again'', creating their own hero identity and handing the LegacyCharacter baton back to its proper holder.

The real life version is probably soldiers, politicians, artists or sportsmen initially apprenticing under experienced [[TheMentor mentors]] who may or may not be big names before proving their worth and becoming equally famous in their own right.

See also KidHeroAllGrownUp.



[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Wally West, aka ComicBook/TheFlash, '''is''' the greatest example of this trope, even after the attempts at a subversion. After the second Flash, Barry Allen, died in the ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths, Wally stepped up from the role of Kid Flash to Flash. Then Barry came back, ''Comicbook/{{Flashpoint}}'' happened, and in the ''ComicBook/{{New 52}},'' Wally has been {{retgone}}'d, along with most of his supporting cast. Later on, they introduced him as a [[AgeLift 12 year old]] [[RaceLift troubled biracial child]] to get back him down to his Kid Flash role again. This faced a [[InternetBacklash massive backlash from the fans]] and the overall decline in interest resulted in ''ComicBook/DCRebirth'', where the original version of the character returned in a grand fashion and was given his title and legacy back (with the other younger Wally West revealed to be the original's cousin, both named after their great grandfather, allowing both characters to remain and the younger Wally to have a chance to carve his own path). After the one-shot, Flash:Rebirth tie in had Barry re-crowning him to mantle again, essentially making them equals. Out of all {{Legacy Character}}s who held their mantles for short periods of time only to [[StatusQuoIsGod revert back to their previous positions]], Wally West '''earned''' to become The Flash.
-->'''Barry Allen:''' "You are no longer Kid Flash. You are a ''Flash'' now."
** Bart Allen is a subversion. Originally Impulse, then Kid Flash, then the Flash, then dead, then back to Kid Flash. After the ComicBook/{{New 52}} kicked in, his time as Impulse & the Flash was erased and now he's a ''different'' Kid Flash.
* Franchise/{{Batman}}'s sidekick Dick Grayson became ComicBook/{{Nightwing}}, and has never returned to being Comicbook/{{Robin}}; unlike many characters with successors, he's never referred to as the "real" Robin, just the first. (Although his counterpart in the original [[AlternateUniverse Earth-2]] never gave up the Robin identity.)
** One exception: in the storyline following "Knightsend", he became Batman briefly, then returned to being Nightwing. This was, however, always intended to be temporary.
*** And then he became Batman an a more permanent basis with Bruce Wayne's 'inconveniencing' in the event ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis''. Fans guessed this would be reverted as soon as Bruce got back, but it actually stuck around for a little while with ''both'' men operating as Batman - in fact, Bruce started ''franchising'' and appointing even more Batmen worldwide. Dick's promotion was eventually reversed by the ComicBook/{{New 52}} relaunch, where he went back to being Nightwing.
** The second Robin, Jason Todd, graduated once he came back from the dead. Except instead of becoming his own hero he became a ''villain''. Or a [[NinetiesAntiHero really dark]] AntiHero or something; it's complicated. He's tried to hijack the Batman and Nightwing names a couple times, but for the most part he's taken over the pre-existing name the Red Hood.
*** Also, in an AlternateUniverse where he didn't die, he becomes the second Batman.
** [[ComicBook/RobinSeries Tim Drake]], the third Robin, altered his identity into ''Red'' Robin. And yes, this counts as a full graduation, as Damian Wayne has taken over being original-style Robin.
* The original Speedy has long since moved on from being ComicBook/GreenArrow's sidekick, becoming first Arsenal, then Red Arrow, then Arsenal again.
* Donna Troy stopped being ComicBook/WonderGirl, and started being... [[ContinuitySnarl well, we won't get into that]]. Almost nothing's stuck without having [[ContinuitySnarl new layers of convoluted continuity]] added on, but she's still not Wonder Girl again. She's a really unique case. Both the confusion and Donna's subsequent promotion stem partially from the fact that Wonder Girl was originally supposed to be WonderWoman as a young girl who occasionally interacted with her adult self via TimeTravel. A writer saw the cover for one of these stories and got confused when he was writing the Teen Titans.
* Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, "graduated" to replace Tim Drake as Robin. It lasted only a few issues, and she then returned to being the Spoiler... but only for the BatFamilyCrossover that [[StuffedIntoTheFridge ended with her death]]. Later played straight when Stephanie reappeared (she had been [[HesJustHiding Just Hiding]]) and graduated again, this time to [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2009}} Batgirl]]... At least until the ComicBook/{{New 52}} relaunch, where Barbara took the mantle of [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2011}} Batgirl]] back. It wasn't until Rebirth that she turned up again as The Spoiler.\\
While Barbara Gordon showed no signs of abandoning her role as Oracle to become ComicBook/{{Batgirl}} again, there was substantial -- though far from universal -- desire to see that happen. This is likely due to the changeover being connected with her being [[StuffedIntoTheFridge paralyzed]]. However, there was just as substantial support for Babs to stay as Oracle, as she was a rare example of a handicapped hero whose concept doesn't rely on a DisabilitySuperpower or on being InspirationallyDisadvantaged.\\
As for the other major [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2000}} Batgirl]], Cassandra Cain, she stepped away and gave the role to Stephanie. She was eventually appointed as the "Batman" of Hong Kong, using the code name "Blackbat". Then changed again in Rebirth to become *Orphan*.
* An unusual example: ComicBook/MoonKnight reluctantly took on Midnight--the son of one of his enemies--as a sidekick. Eventually Midnight was [[FaceHeelTurn "promoted" to villain status]], after [[WeCanRebuildHim becoming an evil cyborg]]. This graduation stuck until Moon Knight recently [[KillHimAlready euthanized his old charge]].
* ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'' and his friends have gone through this multiple times:
** At one point, Steve Rogers was forced out of the role by the US government and replaced by John Walker. When Steve came back, John continued as a hero called the U.S.Agent.
** After ''Comicbook/CivilWar'' Steve was killed and was replaced as Captain America by ComicBook/BuckyBarnes, his WWII sidekick. You thought Bucky was a DeadSidekick? It's a long story... Anyway, when Steve came back, they decided that Bucky should be the one to continue on as Cap, as it helped his CharacterDevelopment. Steve instead operated sans codename as a super-agent not unlike ComicBook/NickFury. Like other examples here, his was eventually reversed: after [[NotQuiteDead supposedly dying]] during ''ComicBook/FearItself'', Bucky decided to go back to his prior identity of the Winter Solder to pursue black-ops missions, [[FakingTheDead using his "death" as a cover]].
** Jack Monroe and Rikki Barnes, the [[LegacyCharacter third and sixth]] Buckies, eventually each took up the Nomad identity that Steve once used and became a solo act (Rikki doing so after Monroe's death). Later on, Steve's adopted son, Ian Zola (whose real father is Arnim Zola), took up the role of Nomad.
** Lemar Hoskins, the [[AffirmativeActionLegacy fourth]] Bucky, became the solo hero Battlestar after a stint as the sidekick of John Walker.
** Prior to ''ComicBook/{{AXIS}}'', Steve Rogers had his Super Soldier Serum deactivated, reverting him to an 80-year-old man. Due to this, he hand-picked his new successor, Sam Wilson, the Falcon. Steve eventually got his youth back and returned to superheroics, but he and Sam are now ''sharing'' the title of Captain America.
* {{Comicbook/Miracleman}} saw his sidekick, Kid Miracleman, grow up and become...a homicidal lunatic who horribly tortured and killed millions of people. Sometimes these things don't work out like you'd hoped.
* Subverted in ''ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk''. With Bruce Banner safely locked away in a military base and unable to turn into the Hulk, a new, ComicBook/RedHulk (called "Rulk" by fans) shows up from out of nowhere. Who is he? All signs pointed to Rick Jones, the original Hulk's old sidekick, having graduated into the role...which just made it all the more shocking when we learn that Rick has graduated, but NOT into the Red Hulk...instead, he's become a creature called A-Bomb, strong enough to fight Rulk on his own level. [[spoiler:Rulk was eventually revealed to be General "Thunderbolt" Ross, having teamed up with the Leader to take down the Hulk, making this an example of HeWhoFightsMonsters.]]
* [[Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} Aqualad]] was the last of the original Comicbook/TeenTitans to get a new name. When it happened, though, he got an entire miniseries in which, as well as the name Tempest, he got new [[MakingASplash water-shaping powers]].
* The current Knight (the "Batman of Britain") is the original Squire. Admittedly, the Knight and Squire hadn't appeared anywhere for about fifty years until this version showed up, so it was less a change in the status quo and more the introduction of a might-as-well-be-new character...
** Similarly, the Ranger of Austalia was killed during his reintroduction, and his sidekick Scout took over. Chief Man-of-Bats' sidekick Little Raven went the more Nightwingy route of creating his own adult identity (Raven Red). Man-of-Bats still tends to call him Little Raven, though.
** An issue of ''Batman Incorporated'' had the current Knight be killed and the current Squire become the new Knight with a completely different person becoming ''her'' sidekick.
* Similarly, DC brought back [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Scarlet Mr. Scarlet]], an old Golden Age hero, except now the role is taken by the original's sidekick, who was called Pinky, the Whiz Kid. (Yeah...the Golden Age was a sillier time, wasn't it?)
* A ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' mini-series staring Tails showed how Tails went from TagalongKid to a full-fledged member of the Freedom Fighters. The ''[[WesternAnimation/SonicTheHedgehog Saturday Morning cartoon]]'' would do the same thing for him, but with different events. Amy Rose would get a few stories showcasing her own rise to Freedom Fighter status.
* Though more of a DistaffCounterpart than a proper sidekick, Carol Danvers finally left behind the ComicBook/MsMarvel identity and became [[ComicBook/CaptainMarVell Captain Marvel]] proper in the wake of ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen''. The Ms. Marvel identity has since passed to a [[AffirmativeActionLegacy Muslim teenager named Kamala Khan]].
* Inverted in ''Comicnook/{{Hawkeye}}''. Kate Bishop started out as the new Hawkeye before eventually partnering up with the original Hawkeye, Clint Barton. She still retains the Hawkeye moniker though (shared with Clint) and they tend to act more as partners than the traditional sidekick/mentor dichotomy. It helps that Clint has admitted that Kate is a better archer than him.

[[folder: Literature]]
* Tony Foster, hero of the ''Literature/SmokeAndShadows'' series by Tanya Huff, was previously the sidekick of vampire Henry Fitzroy in the ''Literature/BloodBooks''. Now, the tables have turned, and Tony is the hero, while in an astonishing reversal, Henry becomes Tony's [[OlderSidekick Older Sidekick]].

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor and his companions aren't exactly superheroes and sidekicks, but three of his companions have gone on to have major roles in holding down the fort in modern-day Earth: in ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures,'' Sarah Jane Smith and the [[YouMeddlingKids meddling kids]] solve weirdness they're alerted to by "Mr. Smith," Sarah Jane's ultra-supercomputer. Jack Harkness is the leader of TheMenInBlack in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}.'' Martha Jones doesn't have her own {{spinoff}} (yet) but she TookALevelInBadass in ''The End of Time'', saving the world freelance.
** The only reason Rose Tyler isn't holding down the fort in modern-day Earth is because she's doing the same on a parallel version thereof. Mickey did it as well during series 2, though he eventually moved back to his own Earth. (In fact, there was originally supposed to be a Rose Tyler-based spinoff called ''Rose Tyler: Earth Defence,'' which got pretty far into pre-production before being cancelled by Russell T. Davies on the grounds that a spin-off would kill the emotional impact of her departure in ''Doomsday.'' Between what information we know and how she appeared in later episodes like ''Turn Left,'' it appeared to be something of a proto-''Torchwood.''
** This seems to happen to everyone the Doctor takes on as a companion in the new series; they all grow from their time with him and become heroic alien-fighters in their own right.[[spoiler: Except Donna. Poor, poor, Donna. Although even she qualified, before she got her memory wiped.]] Davros brought this up during the season four finale, although he put a rather dark spin on it.
** Jo Grant is probably one of the best examples in the classic series. When she was first introduced she was a [[TheDitz bumbling, clumsy young girl who kept messing things up]] and only stuck around because the doctor couldn't bring himself to upset her by saying she wouldn't make a good assistant. By the time she left, she was able to escape from several dangerous situations on her own, had explored half the universe, and was the only person in the Jon Pertwee era to successfully resist being hypnotised by the Master.
** In The Sarah Jane Adventures it's revealed that she hasn't slowed down, and is now a major environment defender, traveling from problem to problem so fast, even the Doctor can't keep up.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' who gets his own show in another city after having been [[Series/BuffytheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'s BattleCouple partner.

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* In Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG Montoya started off practically as little more than a sidekick to Trigger in a flashback. However, in an interesting twist, seeing as Trigger was already a ReplacementScrappy, many players found themselves relating closer to Montoya due a more personal connection and it got to the point where [[spoiler: Montoya became a much more independent character after Trigger was killed]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Vayne Aurelius, '''#2''' of ''VideoGame/ManaKhemiaAlchemistsOfAlrevis'' becomes "Alchemy Man" to combat his {{Mentor}}, '''#1'''/"The Flay", [[FaceHeelTurn when he became]] an EvilOverlord, the "'''Flay'''vor of Evil".
* The ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series has a few cases of this, some played straight, some subverted. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', of all the original surviving party members, only Tali and Garrus rejoin Shepard, as Wrex has become the leader of the Krogans, Ashley/Kaidan works for the Alliance and is unable to accept the hero joining up with a terrorist group, and Liara is preoccupied with work under the Shadow Broker. However, Liara and Ashley/Kaidan return as party members for ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''. Wrex plays this trope straight, though, as do the other party members from Mass Effect 2 besides Garrus and Tali, as they're all focusing their efforts on other responsibilities.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sidekicks}}'' this is major plot point. Sidekicks strive to become superheroes in and of their own right, and when they do, it sticks (unless they get demoted by the Committee). [[spoiler:Only Lamia has been seen to go from sidekick to superhero over the course of the story.]]
* In ''Webcomic/SonicTheComicOnline'' Sonic's former KidSidekick and TheChick of the Freedom Fighters Tails has now taken Sonic's role as [[TheHero The Hero of Mobius]].

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In the [[Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Silver Age campaign]], a now-adult former KidSidekick Tailgunner (who tagged along behind [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] hero Barnstormer) had come into his full powers and [[LegacyHero become the second Barnstormer]].

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'':
** Just like in the comics, Dick Grayson leaves the mantle of Robin to become Nightwing.
** Barbara Gordon going from Batgirl to [[WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond Police Commissioner]] could count too.
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'':
** ''Young Justice'' has one of these pretty early on with Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy [[RageQuit Rage Quitting]] and later coming back as the new hero, Red Arrow.
** As of season two, Robin is now Nightwing, with Tim Drake taking up the Robin identity.
** In a blending of this trope with DecompositeCharacter [[spoiler: the ''real'' Speedy becomes Arsenal.]]
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' had Robin, fed up with being the sidekick, finally graduate into his own hero, Nightwing (again). Unlike other versions, this one was quite amicable, with Batman giving him the codename (apparently, Dick had another in mind, but preferred his mentor's parting gift instead). Another episode shows an imaginary tale where Dick ends up becoming Batman and Bruce and Selena's son, Damian, becomes Robin. At the end, we see that Damian's taken up the Mantle in the future with ''his'' son becoming Robin.