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Resurgent Empire

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No matter how crushed and utterly destroyed the power, structure and lands of the evil empire were, they will be back to almost full strenght in a few decades.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
JohnnyElRed on Dec 4th 2018 at 6:14:44 AM
Last Edited By:
JohnnyElRed on Dec 10th 2018 at 10:40:31 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

In some stories, the fall of The Empire is so devastating that no one expected there would be a sequel or continuation. Either their home planet exploded, their armies got annihilated, their population nearly genociced by a Weaponof Mass Destruction of their own design that backfired, or the Evil Overlord acting as pilar of their ideology died, leaving no one valid to replace him. So, when the franchise and its bad guys seem to be too popular, the creators decide to make a sequel with the previous fallen empire as the enemies again.

But since the end of the last game/movie/book was so devastatingly crushing for the aforementioned bad guys, with the complete disappereance of their overwhelming power, a explanation is needed to justify how the new faction, based on the values of the old empire, came to prominence, and especially, military hegemony, after so many devastating loses. Because its not only that they are back. They are back only after a few decades, and almost as military powerful as before, but from very limited resources.

Maybe the key was that for some reason, normally fear of prolonging or reigniting the war, The Republic or The Good Kingdom didn't took all their weapons and military resources when they surrendered. Maybe they hid under the crushed remnants of their land, being able to move vast quantities of food, workers and resources from outside to rebuild their armies without anyone in the highly watched frontier noticing through bribering or hidden means. It doesn't even matter if now their population is starving and the authority of the good guys still keeps an eye on them. Sometimes, they even will hide and build an even bigger Doomsday Device than decades before, and use it on their unsuspicious old enemies.

Depending on the work and the circunstances, the in universe explanation for this happening can go from somewhat believable, to completly justified, or to terribly convoluted.

Similar to Joker Immunity in a bigger scale and with some manner of justifiable explanation. Also, most of the times, the individual leaders and primary villains never came back, because most of all of them died when the previous empire colapsed. Compare with As Long as There is Evil, and with The Remnant or Vestigial Empire for cases were said back to prominence never happened, and simply remained as a shadow of what it was before.


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Examples

     Comic Books 
  • The Skrull Empire, from Marvel Universe. After their homeworld was devoured by Galactus, most of their milions of planets were slaughtered by the Annihilation Wave. Their division was only made worse when their last ditch effort to claim new capital homeworld in Earth failed spectacularly. But even with all of that, for the time the Builders came, causing the loss of even more worlds, the united Skrull factions fighting force was equal or surpased the one of their Kree and Shi'ar counterparts, that while also had been trough rough times, hadn't been as badly decimated as the Skrull.

     Film - Live Action 
  • The First Order in Star Wars. Even if after the Emperor death there was no central authority to keep in check the corruption of the Empire, and all imperial factions and warlords starting annhilating each other in their own civil war for supremacy, making the job of the Rebellion for them, 30 years later, their sucessor state, the First Order, is the hegemonic military power on the galaxy. How? Well, the New Republic didn't made a proper check of surrendered imperial resources, giving many imperial officials time to escape with their armies and military ships to the Unknow Regions. Then, the Republic completly demilitarized itself, and somehow, got all of their central authority completly annihilated by a Planet Destroyer weapon bigger and more powerful than the Death Star. Even thought it was stated several times that the First Order was not even near of having the industrial might or pool of resources of the Empire.

     Video Games 
  • The New Helghan Republic, in Killzone : Shadow Fall. After a weapon of their own design burned the surface of their home planet of Helghan, killing most of their population, the few survivors were moved to Vekta as refugees. For some reason, they were permited to keep their leftover military ships and weapons, and organize their own government on the half of the planet delivered to them, giving rise to another fanatical militarist government, but hidden under a pretense of legitimacy. Giving them still effective capacity to make war, and being a menace to the galaxy. But not only that. Later in the game, is revealed that most of the surviving population didn't move to Vekta. Instead, they remained hidden under the cracks of their broken planet, somehow rebuilding a enormous military fleet of the size they were capable to operate in the times of the Helghan Empire. Even thought their activities were always watched by the UCN, their economy was failing and their population was starving due to lack of resources.
  • Stellaris has "Fallen Empires" that are in a state of decay when first encountered, but will eventually "Awaken" and attempt to conquer the galaxy, frequently annihilating many of the conventional empires before they're stopped, or succeed. Of course, even while "Sleeping" they are more than a match for most players up until mid-game, which is when they'll usually Awaken.

     Real Life 
  • Germany. After World War I ended in 1918, Germany was decimated both militarily and economically. Yet about two decades later, they were able to rebuild their country to such an extent that they were able to start World War II. How did this happen? Political unrest in Germany led to the rise of Adolf Hitler, whose Nazi Party was able to assume control over the country. They managed to rebuild their military and openly occupied lands that were taken from them following the war. European leaders were not willing to go to war with Germany again, so they made concessions to Hitler in order to appease him. But ironically, in trying to avoid war, they allowed Hitler and Germany to become so powerful that war was brought about anyway.


Feedback: 14 replies

Dec 4th 2018 at 6:47:14 AM

Didn't I tell you that this is Joker Immunity?

Dec 4th 2018 at 7:25:00 AM

Well, throwing in a bomb since someone added a hat. Even if this wasn't covered already, at two examples, this is not ready to launch. Someone fundamentally doesn't understand how TLP works.

Dec 4th 2018 at 11:49:05 AM

  • Stellaris has "Fallen Empires" that are in a state of decay when first encountered, but will eventually "Awaken" and attempt to conquer the galaxy, frequently annihilating many of the conventional empires before they're stopped, or succeed. Of course, even while "Sleeping" they are more than a match for most players up until mid-game, which is when they'll usually Awaken.

Dec 4th 2018 at 12:16:24 PM

I like this one, but let's call it Resurgent Empire.

Dec 4th 2018 at 3:43:52 PM

Real Life

  • Germany. After World War I ended in 1918, Germany was decimated both militarily and economically. Yet about two decades later, they were able to rebuild their country to such an extent that they were able to start World War II. How did this happen? Political unrest in Germany led to the rise of Adolf Hitler, whose Nazi Party was able to assume control over the country. They managed to rebuild their military and openly occupied lands that were taken from them following the war. European leaders were not willing to go to war with Germany again, so they made concessions to Hitler in order to appease him. But ironically, in trying to avoid war, they allowed Hitler and Germany to become so powerful that war was brought about anyway.

Dec 4th 2018 at 4:09:09 PM

Let me help with the namespacing

Dec 4th 2018 at 6:35:21 PM

As it is, this does feel a little too much like Joker Immunity + The Remnant. I think it could work as a trope, but it needs to lose the sarcastic tone and expand on how it's a successor to The Remnant or Vestigial Empire.

Dec 5th 2018 at 10:30:33 AM

Dialing down the snark kinda makes it not seem like a trope, though.

The only reason this is notable is because of the Joker Immunity aspect of it. Every example I can think of (Neo-Zeon from Gundam, the Daleks from Doctor Who) are first and foremost Joker Immunity that happens to be The Empire.

Dec 5th 2018 at 1:00:09 PM

I guess I'd been looking at the trope as meaning "The Vestigial Empire recovers from its rough patch" or "The Remnant reestablishes The Empire", while downplaying or ignoring the Joker Immunity aspect.

Dec 5th 2018 at 2:37:32 PM

^ If the draft focuses less on the "improbability" part of it (as certain cases of resurgent empires can actually logically work), this can be separate from Joker Immunity.

Dec 10th 2018 at 10:40:31 AM

Video Games:

  • A number of starts and achievements in Crusader Kings II encourage this. Some of the more common ones:
    • You can play as the Byzantine Empire and restore the former borders of the Roman Empire, and, as of 2.9, even restore Hellenic paganism as its state religion.
    • In the Middle East, you can play a Zoroastrian Persian ruler under Islamic rule and reclaim the former Sassanid Empire, and even proclaim yourself the Saoshyant.
    • In India, you can start as basically anybody and conquer the subcontinent, merging all three de jure empires into the Empire of India to gain the Samrat Chakravartin title (essentially declaring yourself to have reclaimed the empire of Ashoka).

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