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Disney Death / Disney

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The Trope Namer's examples of Disney Death are many, as one might expect.

Since this trope requires both a death and an ending, be wary of large, unmarked spoilers.

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Straight examples

    Asian Animation 
  • Simple Samosa:
    • In the episode "Chutney Dam", Vada gets the idea to jump into the chutney lake from the Chutney Dam after Samosa tells him that he used to dive into the lake from there. He doesn't emerge from the lake for several seconds, leaving his friends worried... but then he emerges perfectly fine a second later.
    • A later episode called "Space Snax" has Samosa's gang travelling to space to revive the sun. When Samosa exits the rocket, he is given help by Doctor Goti Sodawala and a friend of his, both of whom were stuck in the sun, but is held off from returning to his group by the sun flames. Samosa's friends and all the townsfolk grieve over him, assuming the worst... but then he hits a rocket window, not really that hurt.

    Comic Books 
  • In the revival of Darkwing Duck, GosmoDuck (Gosalyn in the GizmoDuck armor) pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Big Bad Taurus Bulba, but after blacking out for a few moments, she turns out alright.
  • Fables. The more popular fairy tale entities gain this ability. Storywise, Disney is -causing- these Disney Deaths (at least for the characters they write about). For example; Toto is seemingly eaten by a lion. This infuriates his captors (It Makes Sense in Context) not because he is dead, but only temporarily dead and thus will return in some form out of their territory.
  • In Swordquest: Waterworld, Tarra believes Torr has been killed after finding a sunken skeleton wrapped in bits of his armor.
  • In Last Days of the Justice Society, the members of the Justice Society of America who were killed off in the battle of Ragnarok are resurrected to join in the final fight against Surtur the fire giant.

    Films — Animation 
  • The first instance of this trope is the death of Disney's Snow White. The scene is dragged out so that you still feel like she's dead even but if you've been paying attention, you know she's really only asleep.
  • In Lady and the Tramp, Trusty gets crushed by a wagon after freeing Tramp. Jock is seen mourning his "death" and such. However, it is revealed that the only injury he received from the accident was a broken leg. It's worth noting that Trusty was originally marked for death; however, Disney spared Trusty at the insistence of the film's songwriter Peggy Lee, who argued that killing him off would just lead to a repeat of the "Bambi's mom" hullabaloo that had taken place a decade earlier (see the Disney exceptions section).
  • In 101 Dalmatians, one of the initial litter of puppies (Lucky, although in the original book it was Cadpig) appears to be dead, but is resuscitated by Roger rubbing him. Yes, a Disney Death moment for a character that's only just been born.
  • Played for laughs in The Jungle Book (1967): after Baloo is knocked unconscious by Shere Khan, Bagheera gives him a touching eulogy. Turns out Baloo was alive all along and enjoying all the nice things Baggy was saying about him.
    Baloo: Hey, don't stop now, Baggy, you're doing great! There's more, lots more!
    • Disney seem to be fond of doing this to Baloo. He had a Disney Death in the live action adaption as well and at least a couple odd times in the TaleSpin series.
  • The Brave Little Toaster ends with Toaster jumping inside an industrial conveyor belt in order to save The Master. It was virtually crushed to pieces, but within a few minutes is repaired by The Master.
    • Earlier in the film, Lampy used himself as a lightning rod to recharge a battery, and appeared to "die" in the process. He appears fine in the next scene outside a somewhat charred nozzle and nasty cough.
    • Even earlier the Air Conditioniner short-circuited as a result of his immense rage at being stuck in one place on the wall. Thankfully the Master, repairs him much later in the film.
  • In Robin Hood, Robin "dies" in a hail of arrows while swimming across the moat, sinking under the water and the bubbles slowing until there are none. It turns out Robin had a reed, which he breathed through until it was safe to surface.
  • One especially notorious Disney example is The Fox and the Hound. Chief falls down a cliff, bounces off about 6 or 7 rocks on the way down, and... he's dead. But wait! After a terrifying chase scene for Todd, Copper goes back and it turns out that Chief just has a broken leg. He fell down a cliff and he gets away with just a broken leg.
    • Even the makers of the film argued over whether he should have really died. The supporters for his death even cited that as well as falling off a cliff, he was almost hit by a train. One excuse for his survival was that they'd never killed a character onscreen in a Disney movie before and weren't going to start with him. Apparently, the one who made that claim had forgotten about Bambi's mom, though to be fair, Bambi's mom's death is not nearly as onscreen as Mufasa's death in The Lion King.
  • Gurgi sacrifices himself to the cauldron to stop its evil power in The Black Cauldron. While Taran wishes for his life back in exchange for the cauldron, he initially still appears to be gone. He gets better.
  • When Basil is thrown off of Big Ben in The Great Mouse Detective, he disappears into the mist, presumably having plummeted to his doom along with the villain. The characters mourn for a moment, expecting the worst, but then Basil turns out to be okay and good times are had by all. (This could be a reference to the source material, as Holmes fell off Reichenbach Falls and was presumed dead — and was intended to be — along with Moriarty. Of course, back then it took three years for him to reappear.)
  • After the climactic chase scene in Oliver & Company, Dodger appears carrying a lifeless Oliver in his mouth. He and Jenny believe him to be dead; he thankfully was just unconscious.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast must find love before the last petal falls off of an enchanted rose. As he succumbs to a mortal injury at the villain's hand, Belle declares her love for him just before the last petal falls. This breaks the curse upon him, so he's revived as the human he originally was — the wound may be deadly, but when you have magic, why not?
  • There is one from the first Aladdin sequel, The Return of Jafar: Iago goes through this as part of his Heel–Face Turn coupled with a Heroic Sacrifice. This one makes perfect sense in context, though. Genies can't kill people, "but you'd be surprised what you can live through".
  • A similar situation to Basil's example happens in A Goofy Movie; Goofy falls down a waterfall into the mist of censorship. There's a pause and some tense music, but then it's revealed that his son Max has caught him by the britches with a fishing hook. Well...Goofy cartoons never do run on logic.
  • In Pocahontas, John Smith is wounded when he takes a bullet meant for the heroine's father. It turns out that it isn't going to be fatal, but to be fully tended to he must return to England, resulting in a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame lies unconscious from smoke inhalation. But she's not really dead. (In the original novel and in the German and American musicals she really does die.)
  • Hercules:
    • In the middle of the film, it happens twice in the same scene during the epic fight between Hercules and the Hydra; first he gets devoured, but decapitates the Hydra from inside.note  Just minutes later, Herc crushes the Hydra with a landslide; however, being held in the Hydra's hand, he is able to escape relatively unscathed. It still plays it up like he got crushed along with the monster.
    • Another example later on plays with the trope, but nonetheless leads to the same result. After Megara performs a Heroic Sacrifice to push Herc out of the way of a falling pillar, she gets crushed under that same pillar and genuinely does die from her injuries. However, Herc travels to the Underworld to reclaim her soul, and manages to retrieve it, bringing Meg Back from the Dead.
  • Fantasia 2000 does a rather nightmarish variant in its Firebird segment: after getting brutally attacked by the eponymous Firebird that it woke up on accident, the Sprite is nowhere to be found in the remains of the forest until the Elk breathes on a small patch of the ground, revealing the sprite, who is still alive - only now, she's a fraction of the size she was at the start of the segment, and is initially too traumatized to try and restore the forest.
  • Finding Nemo plays with this three times:
    • When Dory is lying on top of a turtle seemingly unconscious when she suddenly springs up and starts a game of Hide and Seek.
    • When Marlin arrives at Sydney to find Nemo floating upside down in a plastic bag appearing to be dead. He was actually pretending to be dead so that he could escape from the clutches of the dentist, and while the audience already knew that at this point, it was a few more minutes before Marlin finds Nemo alive and well in a heartwarming scene.
    • Nemo looks like he might have died after getting caught in the fish net at the very end of the movie.
  • The Teacher's Pet Finale Movie ends with the now-human Spot taking a blast from Dr. Ivan Krank's crumbling animal-transforming ray and being turned to dust. This upsets Leonard so much he kicks the machine, causing it to give one more zap that resurrects Spot and restores him to his canine form.
  • Disney did this in the interquels to its own movies, at least twice (The Little Mermaid III and Bambi II). It's hard to get involved in The Great Prince mourning Bambi's demise when the first movie reveals that Bambi grows up happily to have fawns of his own.
  • More Robot Disney Death in Meet the Robinsons: Doris skewers Carl through the chest, leaving him splayed across the grass, showering sparks. The next morning, he's good as new.
    • Wilbur also gets a Disney Ret-Gone at one point, due to the future being rewritten by the movie's villains, resulting in him disintegrating and disappearing into a time vortex. In the end he is restored along with the timeline.
  • Clever variation in WALL•E. The title character is almost crushed to bits in the climax, but EVE knows how to fix him; the real tension is that once she has, he doesn't remember anything about the 700 years of his life, including her. His acquired sentience appears lost. He gets it back a few minutes later...but only after she "kisses" him.
  • Played with in Toy Story 2 when Zurg falls off the elevator shaft then comes back alive moments later. He's last seen having a good time with New Buzz as father and son, just to show there were no hard feelings between the two. The writers were originally going to have Zurg dead for real (or, at least, New Buzz assuming that's what had happened) and New Buzz's reason for staying behind being "I must bury my father and fill out the proper forms", but they must've decided that either Zurg really being dead might be disturbing to the kiddies (remember one of the reasons why its sequel doesn't have a perfect 100 on Rotten Tomatoes?) or they wouldn't be convinced Zurg might be still alive after hearing the aforementioned line and changed it so that Zurg is unambiguously still alive. The original outcome of the elevator shaft drop can be found in the junior novelization.
    • Played straight with Buzz and the Little Green Men in Toy Story 3.
  • In Mulan 2, Shang takes a terrible fall and everyone believes he is dead, but he turns out to be just fine. (These films can be quite unrealistic.) Also, one of the tracks on the film's soundtrack is called "Shang Lives".
  • In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Gets a Glitch, Stitch dies because of his body being unstable. He gets better. The movie even admits that this is technically impossible!
  • In Tangled, Flynn gets stabbed by Mother Gothel and gives up his chance to be healed with Rapunzel's hair by cutting it, which kills Gothel. Luckily it turns out that Rapunzel's tears can heal too (magic flowers are convenient like that). Cue emotional kiss and "Happily Ever After" ending montage!
  • Gnomeo and Juliet: Gnomeo and the racer. Averted with Gnomeo's dad.
    • Also, both Gnomeo and Juliet at the end. Slightly annoying for those of us who know the original story.
  • Happens to Mater in the Pixar animated short El Materdor as a result of the bulldozers (resembling bulls) burying him in the sand at one point, as if they were burying him in a grave and sticking a piece of wood with a poster of him on it, giving it the appearance of a tombstone.
  • In The Little Mermaid, after Ariel saves Prince Eric from drowning Scuttle declares him dead (it doesn't help that he is listening for a pulse in Eric's foot), but Ariel sees him breathing and realizes he is only unconscious.
    • Ariel herself gets hit with this in Ariel's Beginning, though since this is a prequel movie, some may be more fooled by it than others.
  • Kida at the end of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, right after separating from the Crystal. Adding to this was the fact that her mother, the Queen, never returned to this world after she merged with the Crystal at the very beginning of the film. The novelization explains that the Queen "died" because the disaster that forced her to be bound to the Crystal was borne of the Atlanteans' hubris, but Kida was bound to the Crystal in an effort to stop a similar tragedy from playing out and thus allowed to return to this world once the land was saved.
  • Kenai from Brother Bear 2 gets this after being pushed off a cliff by Nita's husband-to-be. He even looked like he had died from the fall, but he gets better.
  • Played with in Fun and Fancy Free during the "Bongo" segment. Bongo and rival Lumpjaw both wind up going over a waterfall during their confrontation, leading Lulubelle to start crying after it looks like Bongo's been killed. However, unlike most examples here, the audience clearly sees Bongo manage to escape the waterfall to safety, so only the characters in the film assume he's dead.
  • Variation in Brave, where instead of physically dying it looks like Elinor has permanently become a bear in addition to her mind becoming bestial. Of course, everything turns out okay at the end thanks to The Power of Love.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph:
    • The eponymous character attempts to sacrifice himself into a molten (cola) volcano that will erupt when he crashes all of the mentos stalactites into it, making the resulting geysers kill both the Cy-bugs and Big Bad Turbo, thus saving Vanellope's game-world, Sugar Rush. However, as Vanellope is a glitch, she uses her glitch-warping abilities to save him instead.
    • Rare villain example: Turbo made two games unplugged, including his own, and nobody saw him since, so everyone thinks he died with his game. Guess who the Big Bad is under the disguise.
  • Another variation in Frozen (2013) — rather than a conventional death, Princess Anna magically freezes solid in the process of making a Heroic Sacrifice. This is undone as the sacrifice was "an act of true love" for her sister, the one thing that could reverse the magic.
  • In Frozen II, Elsa goes too deep into Ahtohallan and winds up freezing, much like Anna did in the first film. And without Elsa's magic to sustain him, Olaf dissolves into lifeless snow in Anna's arms. Anna is able to bring Elsa back by destroying the cursed dam that her grandfather built, and Elsa and Anna later rebuild Olaf and bring him back to life.
  • At the climax of Big Hero 6, Baymax sacrifices himself to save Hiro and the person they're rescuing. He's lost forever in the void—except he gave Hiro the chip containing his programming, memory, and consciousness, so Hiro can build him a new body and bring him back.
  • In Pinocchio, during their escape from Monstro, Pinocchio sees Geppetto losing consciousness as he starts to slip into the sea, all the while pleading for his son to save himself and swim for shore. Pinocchio instead goes after his father and pulls him to safety, but at the cost of his own life. However, because of his Heroic Sacrifice, he had proven to the Blue Fairy that he was, in fact, "brave, truthful, and unselfish," so she brought him back to life, and turned him into a real boy.
  • In Raya and the Last Dragon, this happens twice:
    • Sisu dies after Namaari accidentally hits her with her crossbow. She comes back to life when the pieces of the dragon gem are combined.
    • When the dragon gem loses its power towards the end, everyone combines the pieces together and turns into stone one by one, seeming like they all made a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world. But when the gem's power is restored, everyone is brought back to life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey has two Disney Deaths. First, Sassy the cat goes over a waterfall and is presumed dead; she is found by a kindly human and nursed back to health. Second, at the end, the old golden retriever Shadow falls into a ditch and tells the others to go on without him. They make it back to their owners without Shadow, and everyone assumes he's dead, but guess who then comes over the ridge? (In slow motion...)
    • In the sequel, Chance appears to be run over by a truck, but is then shown to have ducked just in the nick of time.
  • Tom in Babes in Toyland, although it was hoaxed.
  • Flubber. Weebo is smashed but fortunately, to go with the happily-ever-after ending, the professor manages to build a "daughter" robot based on designs that Weebo herself put together and informed him of in her dying moments. Still, the movie doesn't entirely play the trope straight, as the professor makes it clear that Weebo's personality is lost forever, and the daughter robot has a completely different (and somewhat annoying) personality to the original.
  • Underdog: Underdog/Shoeshine flies so high that he ends up in space, falling down and catching fire like a comet and crash-landing on Earth, and wakes up a moment later.
  • Used twice in G-Force, first with Speckles the mole who ends up being The Mole in another sense and then later with the guinea pig Hurley.
  • In The Christmas Toy, any toys caught out of position will be "frozen forever". This happens to Mew Mouse, but he gets better.
  • Mr. Stubbs the chimp in Toby Tyler is shot and seemingly dead, but later shows up with a bandaged limb.
  • Disney's version of Johnny Tremain gives one to the title character, possibly to make up for Rab not being dead like in the novel. Following the battle scene, Cilla sees Johnny lying in straw, assumes he must be dead and reacts accordingly even though she had absolutely no reason to not think he was just resting.
  • In Disney's Affectionate Parody of its own canon, Enchanted, Giselle takes a bite of a poison apple and "dies". The only way she can be resurrected is through True Love's Kiss, and before the clock strikes 12. Prince Edward happily goes over to kiss Giselle, but it doesn't work. It takes Robert's kiss to wake her. But there's still a climactic battle before the movie ends.
  • The 1998 Mighty Joe Young gives the title character one.
  • In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Balthazar does die, but Dave refuses to accept that and uses his powers to revive him.
  • In Not Quite Human 2, we get a Robot Disney Death when the android Roberta seemingly "dies" in Chip's arms from a lack of power. In her case, this means that she will lose all her memories and return to her original state. After Roberta's "death", Chip reveals that he read all of her data with his magnetic finger and saved it to a floppy disk, preserving Roberta's memories and personality.
  • In Inspector Gadget, John Brown is fatally injured when Sanford Scolex blows him up with a victory cigar. Brown is then turned into a cyborg to save his life. Later in the film he gets a Robot Disney Death when Claw crushes his chip, only for Brenda and Penny to locate him in the junkyard on the outskirts of Riverton and for Brenda to kiss him back to life, proving he didn't need his chip to survive.
  • In Fright Night (2011), Charlie seemingly dies after bringing Jerry's victims back to normal with a special stake through Jerry's heart. However, it turns out he just passed out after burning Jerry alive with the stake.
  • The film of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has Lucy seemingly being swept away by a raging icy river, before showing up seconds later unharmed.
    • Happens with Aslan the Lion as well. Having been murdered at the stone table, Lucy and Susan mourn over his lifeless body, but the Deeper Magic brings him back.
  • Chloe gets a brief one in Beverly Hills Chihuahua that is more played for laughs if anything. She appears to have been taken down after squaring off against the antagonist's dog, but reveals herself to be ok when Poppy begs her to not to leave while showering her with kind words of love.
  • TRON: Legacy: The climax of the film involves Sam Flynn attempting to return to the real world along with a computer program named Quorra. Since a program had never before crossed into the real world, there was some question about whether the process would actually work. We see Sam and Quorra dematerialize together from the virtual world. Shortly thereafter, it cuts to Sam standing alone back in the real world, looking sad as he downloads information onto a memory stick. There's a short scene with him conversing with another secondary character, no mention whatsoever about Quorra's fate. Then he goes outside, still alone, and finally we hear Quorra's voice from offscreen - she's been waiting for him next to a motorycle. Then they go riding off into the sunrise.
  • John Carter is revealed at the end of the film to have actually faked his own death when he ambushes and kills a Thern that came to destroy him. Then he reenters his mausoleum to return to Barsoom, but not before giving some final advice to his nephew. It's worth noting that the circumstances of his death and burial should have aroused enough suspicion from the start: he instructed that his body be entombed directly in the mausoleum, which can only be opened from the inside, upon discovery—no embalming, no open casket, no funeral.
  • George of the Jungle hangs a lampshade on it, plays the trope straight, and takes it to a blatantly over-the-top extreme bordering on Nigh-Invulnerability. In one of the first scenes, for example, one of the guides falls at least 400 meters from a Rope Bridge over a cliff, at which point the Narrator reassures the audience: "Don't worry — nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos." Cut to the guide covered in bandages.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (2017), not only does this happen to the Beast, as in the animated version, but to all the Enchanted Objects, as they turn into ordinary inanimate objects after the last petal falls from the enchanted rose. But as with the Beast, they all revive and turn human again when the spell is broken.
  • Another deviation from the original in Lady and the Tramp (2019). Tramp is the one who is seemingly crushed by the wagon after the chase scene rather than Trusty. Like Trusty in the original film, he is revealed to be alive albeit with a broken leg.

  • Tao the cat in The Incredible Journey.
  • In the Disney-published The Heroes of Olympus, this is pulled twice:
    • Percy appears to fall off a cliff... but he falls into water.
    • Invoked in Blood of Olympus. Over the course of the series, it hangs over the heroes that one of the seven will die - and by the seventh book, the narrow it down to just the pyromantic Leo. The heroes obtain the physicians cure to defy that part of the prophecy, however it appears that their plans are quashed when Octavian's attempts to take the glory for himself and his clothes snag on the shot. The reader knows otherwise that Leo survives (thanks to the Physician's Cure) but the characters don't, although chances are they will find out after the book ends.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Once Upon a Time Regina bakes up a "special" apple turnover (she's the Wicked Queen from Snow White) to get rid of Emma, the biological mother of Regina's adopted son, Henry. Henry prevents Emma from eating it, and succumbs to the effects. Cue both his mothers freaking out and making a truce to try and save the kid... which doesn't work. In the end, Emma's farewell kiss brings the kid back and breaks the curse holding the entire town, as True Love's Kiss is the most powerful form of magic.
    • Happens to "August" (Pinocchio) as an adult. Because of him neglecting his responsibilities, he gets turned back into wood and is mortally wounded after getting attacked with a villain's taser. However, his attempt to redeem himself before his "death" ("Selfless, brave, and true" actions) allow the Blue Fairy to turn him back into a "real boy" and he gets a second chance at life, though as a child again.

    Video Games 
  • The Kingdom Hearts series is rife with these. In an interview with Nomura, he says that "there is no concept of death in Kingdom Hearts." If one's Heartless and one's Nobody is destroyed, then if the two halves meet in the Realm of Darkness, they become complete beings again. Which means that everyone in the KH universe gets a Disney Death. Even the villans. Yes, even Master Xehanort.
  • TRON 2.0 zig-zags this a few times. Mercury makes a Heroic Sacrifice fighting off a horde of corrupted Programs in order to get Jet, Ma3a, and Byte to safety, and is de-rezzed by a hard drive reformat. She is later restored from back-up, but her personality is completely gone to the point where she doesn't even recognize Jet, aside from knowing her User wants to talk to him. It's only later, after Alan restores her code, that she truly returns. Also zig-zagged (to an extent) is Lora (who was killed off in this timeline). It's heavily implied that part of her mind still lives in Ma3a. It's given a aversion with Byte and I-No however.
  • Disney Infinity; technically, your character is a toy, so instead of 'dying', your figure just falls apart before your character respawns again.

    Western Animation 
  • Disney Deaths also sometimes come up in the company's TV shows as well. The Darkwing Duck episode "Dead Duck", in which Darkwing seemingly dies when he crashes through a brick wall, stretches this trope out to the whole episode's plot. It then turns out at the end that it was All Just a Dream.
    • Prior to that, there's the climax of the pilot, which is not only a Disney Death for Darkwing, but also, as later revealed in the second season, the episode's villain, Taurus Bulba.
    • There's also another moment fitting this trope in one episode where Negaduck blasts Darkwing with a ray that gives him superspeed, but at a cost: if he uses it, he ages dramatically, Darkwing temporarily cures himself by running backwards causing his aging to reverse, but Negaduck blasts him with the ray again and this time it causes him to age so much he apparently crumbles to dust. However, moments later Darkwing reappears alive and well; when Negaduck fired the ray again Darkwing simply sped out of the way then made his way over to a science lab to completely cure himself.
  • Near the end of the final episode of Teamo Supremo, the Gauntlet throws a statue on Teamo, seemingly crushing them, but then Crandall lifts up the statue a few seconds later.
  • Kim Possible briefly experiences this by being turned to stone in the Post-Script Season episode "Oh No! Yono!" At the end of that same episode, recurring villain Monkey Fist got Killed Off for Real.
    • She later seemingly gets blasted by a laser cannon in the Grand Finale, causing her archenemy to mourn her with these words:
      Drakken: You were a worthy foe. You were indeed all that. Farewell, Kim Possible.
      Kim: [appearing behind him] Hello, Drakken.
  • Phineas and Ferb go through this after being stepped on by a giant boss monster based on Buford in the episode "Gaming the System". Since they were inside a video game at the time, they merely lost one of their extra lives.
    • In "Summer Belongs to You", their plane falls of a cliff while only Candace was out of it. She claims "How am I gonna explain this to mom?", but after some seconds they show up with the plane flying showing that they had survived.
  • Even actual historical figures are not immune to the Disney Death. Railman Casey Jones died in the massive railroad crash that made his name a legend. Yet somehow in Disney's animated version of the story, Casey managed to survive the crash.
    • Averted in the John Henry short.
  • In the episode "Future Tense" of television series Gargoyles, almost the entire cast is slain in a struggle against a deranged Lexington and his Xanatos program. The events are ultimately revealed to be part of an illusion cast upon the protagonist, Goliath, so he'd give Puck the Phoenix Gate, as the rules of The Fair Folk say Puck can't just take it.
    • Numerous other episodes in the series, including the season 3 finale "Hunter's Moon", showcase other seeming deaths (or near-deaths) of primary characters.
  • In the episode, "Nearly Departed", Timon & Pumbaa once got bitten by a bug that they read had poisonous venom that couldn't be cured, and so they spent the next 24 hours making the most of their last day (Pumbaa goes on a shopping spree and goes sky-diving, while Timon gives away his possessions). At the end, they end up not dying because it turned out the bug's venom has no effect on meerkats and warthogs.
  • There was an episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers that had a fortune teller predict that Chip would have a trunk fall on him. They spend the episode trying to keep Chip away from a stuffed elephant head, but the trunk is actually a treasure chest. Everyone thinks Chip dies, but it turns out he took cover in a depression in the ground.
  • The other Rescue Rangers were also subject to this trope at various points throughout the series:
    • Shortly after he and Zipper met Chip and Dale, Monty was apparently drowned while trying to recover the trunk he lived in, which Fat Cat had jettisoned. Moments later, however, he resurfaced alive, though most of his possessions were lost.
    • In a later episode, Gadget became caught in a kite string and, while the other Rangers were trying to get her down, Monty suffered one of his trademark "cheese attacks". As a result, his friends were unable to keep hold of the kite, which crashed. On arriving at the crash scene, they found no sign of Gadget and, as a result, assumed she was dead. Filled with remorse, Monty vowed never to touch cheese again. However, Gadget was very much alive, having landed safely in a nearby tree.
    • Another episode saw Chip and Dale trying to outprank each other. However, this led to Dale (who had been tricked into thinking he could make himself invisible) being captured by Fat Cat's gang. When Dale was apparently killed during an attempt to rescue him, Chip lamented the loss of his friend with the words "if only I hadn't played that stupid joke." It turned out that Dale was safe inside a large oyster shell and he had, to quote the episode, "got Chip last".
  • Believe it or not, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has one. Long story short, Rabbit adopts a baby bird, as she cannot fly yet. Sometime later, he lets Tigger take her out for a walk, or rather, bounce, and she dares him to bounce up a tree. This tree happens to be on a cliff, and is unstable. It falls over with Tigger and Kessie still on it. Rabbit hears Kessie's cries for help and comes to help, asking Tigger to throw her up to him, catching her. Barely. She then falls from his grip. There's about half a minute between the next sound playing, which is her screaming for help, and Rabbit ready to jump to save her, Tigger then stops him, saying, remorsefully, "She's... She's gone." Owl catches her and brings her back to Rabbit.
    • Also, in the Piglet Movie, both Piglet and Pooh seemingly die when a rotten log they are on plummets down a giant waterfall. It later turns out they really had hidden inside a hollow part of the log that stayed attached to the land. (this is a bit similar to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy goes off the cliff in a tank)
  • XR from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command was intentionally created for purposes of the robotic version. He was designed to be virtually impossible to truly destroy so that he was utterly expendable. XR even stands for "eXpendable Ranger."
  • DuckTales (1987)
    • Launchpad McQuack is introduced this way in "Three Ducks of the Condor". Gyro and Scrooge think he's died in a firey airplane crash, but Launchpad walks out of the wreckage with no more damage than his scarf smoldering.
    • In the episode "Merit-Time Adventure", a sea monster winds up eating a sailor at the very beginning, and later in the episode it makes off with Scrooge. Later on, it turns out that the "sea monster" is really a mechanical crane attached to a submarine, and that the sailor was actually a criminal who faked his death and used the "monster" to steal cargo and Scrooge was taken hostage when he started snooping too much. Thus this counts as a Disney Death for both of them.
    • Additionally, Gizmoduck receives this trope in the 5-part Super Ducktales. Scrooge, Launchpad, and Gizmoduck head onto a planet of robots to recover the Money Bin after they steal it for its metals. Gizmoduck has Scrooge and Launchpad escape while he fights the robots. As Scrooge looks back on the robotic planet and the whole thing explodes. Later on the robot's ship chases after Scrooge and Launchpad, but turns out it's actually piloted by a battered but still alive Gizmoduck with Money Bin successfully saved. The cause for the explosion was because he'd pressed all the buttons on his suit (which as shown earlier in the episode, results in a pretty crazy attack).
    • Speaking of Launchpad, in "Hero for Hire" he seemingly commits suicide by crashing his helicopter into a bridge when the Beagle Boys set him up to look like a criminal and had taken Doofus hostage to blackmail him into not revealing the truth. However, he had actually set it on the automatic pilot, as he wanted to fake his death so the Beagle Boys would assume he was dead and that way he could rescue Doofus on his own.
  • Happened in Gravity Falls when the Gideonbot exploded on the railway, seemingly killing the twins, but Mabel's grappling hook saved them. It's also worth mentioning that Dipper previously said that it "literally hasn't helped [them] once."
  • One of the earliest cases comes from Goofy's very first solo short, "Goofy and Wilbur." Wilbur, Goofy's pet grasshopper, is eaten by a frog... then the frog is eaten by a stork! Goofy is completely crushed, only for Wilbur to emerge alive and well from an egg the stork laid before flying off.
  • At the climax of the final episode of Tangled: The Series, Rapunzel and Cassandra defeat Zhan Tiri, but Cassandra is killed in the process. Rapunzel refuses to accept this, though, and uses the powers of the Moonstone and Sundrop to revive her.
  • A non-lethal example occurs in the The Owl House: In "Agony of a Witch", Eda the Owl Lady uses all of her magic to save Luz causing her to succumb to her curse and seemingly turn into the Owl Beast for good, with no trace of her regular self apparently left. However, in the next episode, Emperor Belos restores Eda's mind, albeit still in her Owl Beast form and for his own, nefarious purposes.

    Marvel Entertainment 
  • Defenders of the Earth has the following examples:
    • In "Hall of Wisdom", Rick is hit by laser fire outside the titular Hall; Jedda thinks he's dead, but the Hall's caretaker revives him. And, when Ming uses his new molecular-disrupter beam on a disabled Defender ship, he thinks he has killed all those on board, namely Mandrake, Lothar, Kshin and Zuffy. However, they managed to bail out in time and are next seen, alive and well, on a nearby asteroid.
    • In "The Ghost Walks Again", the Phantom is seemingly killed while fighting to protect the reclusive Fallu from troops working for a hypochondriac who has turned to Ming in his desperation to obtain the Fallu's magical health elixir. Jedda, in addition to dealing with her grief, must decide if she is ready to take over her father's duties; in the end, she decides it is something she has to do and returns to the Fallu village as the new Phantom. However, it turns out that the Phantom actually survived and he and Jedda are soon reunited.
    • In "The Deadliest Battle" (the last of three Very Special Episodes in the series) Rick turns to drugs in an attempt to deal with the pressure of trying to live up to Flash's reputation. This leads to him neglecting his duties, enabling the super-charged Ming to break into Monitor, where he zaps Kshin with his new powers. Kshin (subject to both Plot Armor and Improbable Infant Survival) survives, but it's clear from Rick's reaction that he initially fears the younger boy is dead; this incident opens his eyes to what Kshin has been trying to tell him throughout the episode, that Drugs Are Bad.
  • A Fantastic Four episode has the Thing seemingly being killed in a brutal fight (or as Doctor Doom put it, an "athletic little Donnybrook") with the Hulk. He stays "dead" for a good couple of minutes, with nobody being able to get a pulse from him — later revealed to be due to his rocky exterior.
  • In Iron Man, Iron Man orders Pepper to overload the giant arc reactor, in order blast Iron Monger. Pepper exclaims that the blast could also kill him, but he tells her to try it, anyway. Iron Man gets knocked unconscious in the explosion, his chest arc reactor (which didn't have much power left to begin with) flickering on and off...then it stays on right before the scene change, after which Iron Man seems fully recovered.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • In the episode "Ultron-5", Ultron appears to disintegrate The Mighty Thor during a battle, much to the shock of the other heroes. Actually, Amora the Enchantress teleported Thor to Asgard less then a second before Ultron's beam could hit him. The next episode has the remaining Avengers hold a small funeral and swear to avenge Thor, although he returns well before the episode's end.
    • In "Operation Galactic Storm", Black Panther appears to burn when the Falchion flies into the sun, but "Live Kree or Die" reveals that he teleported out of the ship in time.
  • In the first Thor, the currently mortal Thor offers a Take Me Instead to Loki to keep him from destroying the rest of New Mexico and everyone in it, and receives a fatal punch from the Destroyer as a result. It gets really weepy for a copule minutes, and then his sacrifice makes him worthy to wield his hammer again, which instantly returns to him and restores both his life and power.
  • The Avengers:
    • Iron Man apparently exhausts his systems and life support in the climax of the film, and both Cap and and Thor lower their heads in honor of his sacrifice. However, a roar from the Hulk shocks old Shellhead awake.
    • As revealed in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Coulson was out for all of eight (or 40, depending on who's telling the story) seconds after being run through by Loki, and Nick Fury faked his death and sent him on vacation in Tahiti. At least, that's the version he was told. In reality, it took an unspecified number of days and extensive brain surgery for him to come back, and as he had lost the will to live, the Tahiti memories were implanted, and they vaguely echo what really happened, except the context is completely changed.
  • In Iron Man 3, Pepper Potts apparently falls to her death when old Shellhead fails to catch her. Some time later, she shows up again to destroy Killian, who Iron Man had already torched by destroying the Mark 42 suit with Killian himself inside it.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, after the second or third largest Tear Jerker in a film only 112 minutes long, Loki dies in Thor's arms, but then reappears in the final scene incognito, after surreptitiously usurping the throne.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
    • Colonel Nicholas J. Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier, and it's given out that he had died after a botched surgery (he's even seen in the hospital morgue with a sheet over him). After Agent Maria Hill intercepts a SWAT team commanded by Pierce and looses Cap and his allies, guess who turns out to be alive and well in the bunker to which Hill takes them? That's right. Oh, and the serum that was injected during said surgery? That was a drug apparently meant to simulate death for an unspecified amount of time.
    • The Winter Soldier becomes revealed as Bucky Barnes, who everyone previously thought died by falling off a train and into a chasm in Captain America: The First Avenger.
    • Then there's Cap himself, who was out cold after his final fight against the Winter Soldier, who ended up being the one saving him before leaving to find his own identity.
  • In Doctor Strange (2016):
    • Wong gets crushed while defending the Hong Kong Sanctum from Kaecilius and the Zealots. When Strange turns back time with the Eye of Agamotto, Wong's demise becomes undone along with some collateral damage.
    • When Strange comes to bargain with Dormammu, Dormammu quickly kills him. However, Strange rewinds with the Eye of Agamotto, and re-appears alive. Dormammu and Strange then go through a loop, until Strange promises to end it if Dormammu will leave the Earth alone.
  • Thor: Ragnarok ends with Korg admitting that he stepped on Miek, then started carrying around his lifeless body, out of guilt. Immediately afterwards, Miek reveals himself as alive.
  • Black Panther (2018) has Killmonger fight T'Challa to the death for the throne of Wakanda. However, T'Challa eventually undergoes a process that revives him.
  • This is done, in a sense, in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. At the end of Infinity War, Thanos accomplishes his goal of killing half of all life in the universe, which of course includes the vast majority of the heroes. However, in Endgame, this is reversed and everyone he killed is resurrected.

    Lucasfilm Ltd. 
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indy is on top of a tank that is sent flying over a cliff that no one could survive. Naturally everyone assumes Indy is dead, only to experience a touching moment when they realize he survived after all. Could be considered a parody/subversion since Indy seems more confused than touched since, at first, it looked to him like his comrades were mourning the Nazi Colonel who did go over the cliff.
  • In Strange Magic The Bog King performs a heroic sacrifice by holding up a falling castle so that everyone else could get away. It takes all of 5 minutes for him to fly back up with only an injured shoulder.


Exceptions: (including Subversions and Aversions)

  • Averted multiple times in Paperinik New Adventures, the series about a superhero version of Donald Duck (it was a big hit in Italy. Serious.) where a number of secondary characters AND a main one get killed fighting or sacrifice themselves for the greater good. But it's still a Disney comic after all, so whenever violence against intelligent enemies is depicted in the foreground it is slapstick and cartoonish.
  • Don Rosa had trouble in deciding how to show the readers that Scrooge's father had passed away, mostly due to Disney's censors. As Scrooge and his sisters leave their home castle for the (not quite) last time, they see Fergus and Downy (They don't recognize her, as she had already passed away years earlier). At this point, the viewpoint switches, and we are shown Fergus, Downy and one of their long-dead ancestors discussing and leaving through the bedroom wall, and the final shot shows Fergus still lying on the bed, having died in his sleep.

    Films — Animation 
Disney itself isn't always stuck on this syndrome.

  • Bambi is a Disney movie that stayed more or less faithful to the books from which they were made, and dead does mean dead.
  • Another exception: The Lion King. Pulling a Disney Death wouldn't make sense in a movie about the cycle of life and death (and inspired by Hamlet, which is about avenging death); as a result, Mufasa gets killed in a massive stampede near the middle of the film, and when he dies, he dies for real. Though he does come back in spirit.
    • And the scene where the hyenas devoured Scar in the fire.
    • Cue the gratuitous link.
      • In the sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kovu's brother, Nuka, is smashed with lots and lots of logs. Their mother, Zira, fell from the top of the dam that collapsed on her son and hit a raging river, where she is apparently drowned or slammed into something. But seeing as this movie is Romeo and Juliet with lions, someone had to die for real.
  • Disney's Tarzan. Not only does Clayton accidentally hang himself in the finale, when Kerchack is shot, he lives for just long enough to apologize, name Tarzan his successor, and call him "son". Plus Tarzan's real mom and dad and the Baby Gorilla. Both are offscreen deaths, but the latter REALLY is difficult to watch the reaction shots.
  • The seldom-seen Disney short John Henry stays true to the original legend by having the eponymous character work himself to death.
  • The short The Little Match Girl (Yes, that Little Match Girl), stays true to the original story by having the aforementioned match girl freeze to death. It's even more heart wrenching when you think they pulled off this trope, but it's the soul of her grandmother taking her with her.
  • The Princess and the Frog ultimately averts this trope. Ray dies and gets a funeral to drive the point home. But, he gets to be with his beloved Evangeline afterward, so he's fine.
  • In Treasure Planet, the kindly First Mate Captain Arrow gets killed-by a black hole.
  • The Jungle Book 2 hilariously subverts and averts it. It appears that Shere Khan falls into a pit of lava, but he actually lands on a small ledge, and it shows he's alive. Then the head of a statue lands on top of him. Moments later, his head pops out from an opening in it, showing he's still alive.
  • The Little Mermaid has the eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, getting basically vaporized by a stray bolt from the trident - you can even see bits of flesh, bone, and eyes after they get exploded.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, there are three notable examples. The King of Atlantis dies a slow and painful death after Rourke punches him in the stomach (implied internal bleeding, probably coupled with his old age), which results in his daughter, Kida becoming queen. Then, during the battle in the volcano, Rourke is turned into a crystal monster version of himself (It Makes Sense in Context) and is crushed up in the propellers of the flying craft he's on. Helga looks like she played the trope straight, barely surviving a fall from a great height, but we never see her again and the ending says she died ("Well, we lost her when a flamin' zeppelin came down on her").
  • Toward the end of Pocahontas, Kocoum is shot by Thomas, and is never coming back.
  • Dinosaur: All the lemurs that didn't make it off the island during the meteor shower. Many dinosaurs are shown to have died from starvation during the course of the film. Kron dies when attacked by a Carnotaur and his Dragon Bruton makes a Heel–Face Turn earlier and sacrifices himself to save Aladar and co. from the Carnotaurs.
  • Brother Bear also averts this trope with Kenai's older brother Sitka, who dies early in the film. His spirit returns briefly at the end.
  • Subverting a number of fan rumors that spread before the film's release, Tadashi Hamada really does die in Big Hero 6, trying to save Professor Callaghan from a fire. Rather, it's Callaghan who survived the fire thanks to Hiro's microbots, and he ends up being the film's main villain.
  • In Pixar's Inside Out, Riley's forgotten imaginary friend Bing Bong fades away in the Memory Dump after providing Joy (Riley's lead emotion) the means to get out of the Memory Dump.
  • In Moana Moana's Gramma Tala dies. Her dying wish is what inspires Moana to leave her island to find Maui and restore Te Ka's heart. In contrast to most Disney films that involve death, the death seems to be natural. However, Tala is reincarnated into a manta ray that follows Moana into the ocean. Tala can't reverse death, but her spirit is always with Moana, as enforced later on in the film when she comes back as an apparition and tells Moana through song that grief should not defeat her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Underthe Sea: Captain Nemo dies from a gunshot wound, as does the rest of the Nautilus crew, in a rare case of Disney doing Death by Adaptation, as their fates were ambiguous in the novel.
  • In the Bridge to Terabithia adaption, it kept true to the source material. Leslie drowns, and doesn't come back.
  • In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the kids come across an ant they dub "Anty", and use him as a steed to get back to the house. When nightfall came, a scorpion attacks them, and Anty tries to fight it off, but gets fatally poisoned in the process, which makes the kids ward off the scorpion themselves.
  • Billy Bones in Muppet Treasure Island. His actor, Billy Connolly, is even proud of being the only one to die in a Muppet movie.
    Rizzo: He died?! And this is supposed to be a kids movie!!!!
  • Artemus Bradford at the start of Inspector Gadget. His death sets the plot in motion as John Brown goes after the killers, gets blown up by a victory cigar bomb, and becomes Inspector Gadget, playing the trope straight twice in the course of the film (including once as a Robot Disney Death).
  • In Tomorrowland, the audio animatronic recruiter Athena is damaged beyond repair and self-destructs to destroy the monitor. At the end of the film, new recruiters are created, likely because she was irreplaceable in terms of design and personality.
  • Ram dies for real in TRON. What? It was a Disney movie! Add in the Betrayal comic, TRON: Evolution, TRON: Uprising, and TRON: Legacy and over two thirds of the named characters in the entire franchise are confirmed dead or de-rezzed (including Kevin Flynn and Tron, with the latter being left fairly ambiguous), and most the other third having dim survival odds. The sequel Legacy displaced, TRON 2.0, arguably has a lower death toll, despite being a first person shooter. Yet even that killed off Thorne, the Kernel, Byte, and dozens of incidental characters in a Zombie Apocalypse plot.
  • The eponymous character of Old Yeller dies, just like in the novel.
  • In The Jungle Book (2016), Akela is murdered by Shere Khan, who tosses him right off a cliff.

    Marvel Entertainment 
  • The Defenders of the Earth episode "Audie and Tweak" averts the robotic version. Audie (a Child Prodigy) has constructed Tweak out of organic circuits, rendering him immune to the disruption caused by rogue supercomputer Tycos. However, when Tweak makes a Heroic Sacrifice by deliberately exhausting his power packs in order to shut off Tycos's nerve gas, the fact that he is made from organic circuits makes it impossible for Audie to repair him.
  • In Iron Man, Yinsen gets shot by the terrorists holding him and Tony Stark hostage. Additionally, a video about Tony's life recounts him losing his parents, Howard and Maria, in a car crash.Winter Soldier and Civil War spoilers 
  • Subverted in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. After one of the main villains of the later first season episodes is seemingly killed by Deathlock, we see his dead body... only for him to be still alive. He then tries to use a machine seen earlier in the episode. His getting roboticized only lasts briefly before he is fried by Coulson.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Meredith Quill dies of cancer shortly before her son, Peter, becomes abducted by the Ravagers.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Quicksilver dies after pushing Hawkeye out of the way a turret controlled by Ultron. However, considering Aaron Taylor-Johnson has signed up for more films, it may not be a matter of if he comes back, but a matter of how and when he comes back.
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Peggy Carter dies from dementia. King T'Chaka of Wakanda also gets killed in an explosion at the Vienna International Centre.
  • In Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow sacrifices herself to give Hawkeye the Soul Stone. Hulk tries to use all of the Infinity Stones to wish her back to life, but she unfortunately doesn't come back. In the end, Iron Man uses the Infinity Stones to erase Thanos from existence, and he dies from the power feedback of using the stone, being given proper funeral and not going to come back, since Robert Downey Jr. has finished his contract.
  • After the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, T'Challa was confirmed to be yet another MCU exception. How and when he'll die, however, hasn't yet been decided.

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