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This game employs a trite little plot twist that the Japanese seem to love, but I fucking hate. I'm speaking of course of the old 'Good Guy Who You Thought Was Dead But It Turns Out He Was Still Alive But Then He Dies Five Minutes Later' angle.

A sort of middle-ground between being Put on a Bus and Dropped a Bridge on Him. A few regular characters leave the show, usually for Creative Differences, then later come back for the sole purpose of dying.

Contrast with Bus Crash, in which the actors do not return, and we are told of their off-screen deaths some seasons later, complete with a failure of their bodies to appear, at least in an intact state.

A number of reasons may exist for this: perhaps the actor has agreed to return, but insists on being killed to give the character closure. Or perhaps, now that such characters have been gone for a while and there's no clear sign of needing them again, the writers decided to do something nasty to the characters that they'd previously been afraid to do something irrevocable to. Or it could just be a way to kill someone off for real with the impact of killing a major character without the plot inconveniences this usually causes. Occasionally it's because they need a character they previously Killed Off for Real briefly, so they pull a Not Quite Dead or Back from the Dead followed by another death. And sometimes it just seems like they do it for no discernible reason other than to change how a character leaves the show.

Compare Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome and A Death in the Limelight.

This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Smiling Titan, who killed Eren's mother in Attack on Titan makes an appearance in Chapter 51, by killing Hannes who wished to atone for his inability to save Eren's mother. The Titan was dispatched within seconds by an enraged Eren by commanding other Titans to devour it.
  • In the final arc of Bleach, Robert Accutrone is introduced (although not by name) in volume 56, and gets into and survives a fight with Kyoraku. He then vanishes, and reappears in volume 67...only to be vaporized in order to give strength to Yhwach's elite guard.
  • In D.Gray-Man, General Cross is brought back — only to end up dead or missing forever.
  • Digimon:
    • Played straight with Leomon when he returns in the latter half of Digimon Adventure and Chuumon (already devoid of his partner Sukamon) and Piximon at the start of the Dark Masters subplot.
    • Averted in Digimon Data Squad. Daimon Suguru is your typical shounen Disappeared Dad, whose fate is left uncertain for most of the series. However, it's revealed that Suguru's body is possessed by Yggdrasil, and his consciousness inhabits the group's mentor, BanchouLeomon. In the end, it seems Suguru is destroyed body and soul, but after being defeated in his true form, Yggdrasil resurrects Suguru and returns him to his family.
  • Freeza was apparently killed by Goku at the end of the infamous Namek fight in Dragon Ball Z. He returned to get his revenge a few episodes later. Then Trunks came in and proceeded to slice him up into little bits...
    • The Great Demon King Piccolo arc does this for several of the characters that appeared way back in the first Tournament arc, most notably Giran who is actually murdered on panel/screen by Tambourine. Unlike most uses of this trope though, they all get revived thanks to the show's MacGuffin.
  • Happens to Nappa in Dragon Ball GT. He's brought back to life, only to encounter Vegeta who is waiting for him. Vegeta kills Nappa again.
  • Captain Ginyu of all people returns in Dragon Ball Super in the Freeza Revival arc, stealing Tagoma's body and making a grand spectacle of his return to a proper body. Then Vegeta shows up and finishes what he started back on Namek.
    Vegeta: Well, too bad for you. I don't think you'd have died if you stayed a frog.
    Vegeta obliterates Ginyu with a single ki blast.
    • Tragically, this fate befalls Future Bulma, who is killed by Goku Black in the new Future Trunks arc, giving Future Trunks even more reason to defeat Black, and it also gives Present Vegeta a strong motive to help his son.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro's thought-to-dead fiancee Yuria is revealed to be the Last General of Nanto, which was followed by a rather extensive retcon of her previous death scene which explained how she survived and why Shin lied to Ken about her death. However, we later find out that Yuria is suffering from a terminal illness and even though Kenshiro is reunited with her, we later find out in the next story arc that Yuria has passed away in the years afterward.
  • After running out of regeneration power, Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist is absorbed into Father during Volume 14. In Volume 21, he returns... only to be killed off by Pride by the end of the Volume.
    • Bido is the only one of Greed's chimera allies to survive Bradley's attack on their base. He's not seen again until much later when he runs into the new Greed, who killed him, causing him to regain the previous Greed's memories.
    • Yoki in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), who shows back up after his first appearance just long enough to be skewered through the head by Lust and spark a riot.
  • Gauron in Full Metal Panic!! The Second Raid. Kinda a weird example, since Gauron had been "assumed dead" at least 3-or-4 times in the past (and twice in the first season) before the second season. Every time he and Main Character Sōsuke cross paths, something happens that should have killed him (for example, the first time Sōsuke shot him in the head), only for him to reappear later with some excuse as to how he survived (He had a metal plate in his skull from an earlier wound). However, Sōsuke kills him for good in the second season.
  • Gundam:
    • Yurin L'Ciel in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE appeared a little early on. She then comes back for a while, and quickly gets killed off.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Hayato only appears in 2 episodes for this series. The first is a brief cameo while the second (and only major appearance) ends with them dying.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Pokkle and Ponzu from the first Hunter Exam, who didn't appear for over 150 chapters, and them finally show up only to be brutally murdered by Chimera Ants in the beginning of their arc. Ironically, Pokkle was one of the seven people who were awarded the hunter license in his year, but that didn't prevent him from dying before doing anything else relevant in the story. And unlike many of the other Chimera Ant victims, they didn't get eaten and were simply left to rot, denying them the opportunity to reincarnate as Chimera Ants themselves.
  • Ryoufu in the Ikki Tousen anime. She dies in the first series, is revived, gets Laser-Guided Amnesia, ends up Brainwashed and Crazy, and dies again.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders:
      • Muhammad Avdol is seemingly killed off by the Hol Horse/J.Geil Combo. Araki eventually brought him back... only to participate in only two fights (neither of which have him as the focus) and then swiftly die again at the hands of Vanilla Ice.
      • Noriaki Kakyoin is put out of commission for a good while during the Crusaders' time in Egypt (even though we know he isn't dead... yet). When he does return to the group, he dies two arcs later, but at the very least gives out a Dying Clue that helps Jotaro win against DIO.
    • Another character from Part 3, Jean-Pierre Polnareff, returns in Golden Wind. He is only in a few episodes before being swiftly killed by Diavolo. Ultimately subverted, however, as his soul ends up living on in the turtle named Coco Jumbo via a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
    • In Stone Ocean, Part 3's main character, Jotaro Kujo, tragically falls victim to this. After spending most of the part in a coma and unable to do much in the story, he finally comes back for the final fight... only to be effortlessly killed by Big Bad Enrico Pucci in the very next arc. However, like with Polnareff in Part 5, this is ultimately a subverted case. As the universal reset via Pucci's demise reincarnates the main characters of Part 6 and gives them different names, designs, and lives, Jotaro included.
    • In Steel Ball Run, Mountain Tim is around for two and a half arcs, then retires from the race. Some time later, he returns to save Lucy Steel from Funny Valentine and his thugs, only to be shot in the head after refusing to reveal her location.
  • Neji Hyuga in Naruto. After being one of the most important genin before the time skip, he is rarely seen afterwards and has practically no effect on the plot after his fight during the Sasuke Rescue Arc. He doesn't get any real screen time until the Ten Tails Revival arc, where he gets killed off over the course of two chapters.
  • In Sakura Wars: The Movie, the Eisenkleids previously used by Orihime Soletta and Leni Milchstraße in Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die appear during the second half of the film, only to get destroyed shortly before the Final Battle with the Big Bad, Brent Furlong.
  • In Super Dimension Century Orguss Sley, the protagonist Kei's rival in love, is presumably lost in battle about mid way through the series, with it left unknown whether he survived or died. Some time later, Sley reunites with the crew and, within that same episode, performs a Heroic Sacrifice to allow the heroes to get away from the enemy.
  • In To Your Eternity, Tonari returns after a 40 years long Time Skip, now as a middle aged woman. Only to die soon after.
  • In Transformers: ★Headmasters, Ultra Magnus appears in the first few episodes, then drops off the radar as the action moves away from Earth. When he reappears, it's only to be killed by Sixshot in the appropriately titled episode "Ultra Magnus Dies!!".
  • Pegasus and Yugi's Grandpa in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time. Good thing that this is a story about time travel.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • One audio drama reveals that Adric, of all people, survived and created a... mental universe full of math scorpions which is even weirder than it sounds, and then dies for real at the end of the story to give the Doctor his missing TARDIS back.
    • Sort of happens to the Burned Master, the version Big Finish uses the most (for various reasons). After many, many, many false goes, he's apparently killed during "Ravenous" series 4. The end of "Day of the Master" has three future versions of himself reviving him, and giving him a new regeneration cycle. He's up and around just long enough to freak out before the regeneration kicks in. Which is about half a minute.
  • In We're Alive Angel was last seen stranded on the roof of the collapsing Tower and was presumed dead at the end of Season 2. In season 3 he is revealed to be in the hands of the Mallers and in horrible shape. After some attempts at interrogation by Scratch, she promptly shoots him in the head.

    Comic Books 
  • This is ridiculously common during big Crisis Crossover events in superhero comics. Almost every single one features a scene where some forgotten character who hasn't shown up in a comic since forever gets killed just to establish how dangerous the villains are. The other heroes will of course react as if the deceased was a major player who had been around all along. The most infamous example probably comes from Marvel's Civil War crossover. Early advertising for the storyline implied that many beloved heroes would die. In reality, only one established hero died: Bill Foster - alias Black Goliath, a character who hadn't done anything of note since the 1970's. C-List Fodder is a Sub-Trope dedicated to the Crisis Crossover variation. Further examples of this type go there.
  • Batman:
    • James Robinson's "Face to Face" storyline, in which various supervillains who had fallen into obscurity were brought back to be murdered by a new serial killer (the Tally Man under Great White's orders). The victims, some of whom had appeared more recently than others, were The Ventriloquist I, Magpie, KGBeast and Orca.
    • In late 2010, DC came out with a Batman Beyond comic mini-series (canon to the DC Animated Universe and Darker and Edgier). A villain escapes from Cadmus, supposedly Hush. He kills some former Batman villains (Bruce-era) in the style of other villains. At one point, we cut to Armory, one of Terry's villains, who only was a villain once. This is the first time since "Armory" we've seen him. Him, his wife, and his high-school age step-son (who is a friend of Terry and Max) are promptly killed by Hush.
    • One early example would be Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman; she had been written out after Batman was revamped in 1964. She briefly came out of retirement to guest star in several several issues in the late '70s (over a decade later!) only to be killed off for dramatic effect by the League of Assassins after several appearances.
    • In the mid-80's a villain called Film Freak was introduced, who committed crimes based off movies. After the 3-part arc with him he did not appear again for years until the storyline Knightfall, where he's reintroduced in the very first chapter, and then is immediately beaten to death by Bane.
    • Jeph Loeb also seems fond of this trope, as he's dug through various characters to use as murderer fodder in his murder mystery storylines. The Long Halloween and its follow-up Batman: Dark Victory were originally made to show what happened to the mobster characters from Batman: Year One. The Long Halloween brings all of the mobsters shown or mentioned as well as two characters from Two-Face's origin story to be killed off by the Holiday killer and/or Two-Face himself (although to be fair some of them, like Falcone himself, get actual storylines before dying). Dark Victory gives the same treatment to pretty much every cop character that had been named in Year One as well as a modern counterpart of Chief O'Hara. His later storyline Hush is lighter in comparison murder-wise, although long absent Batman ally Harold (the deaf-mute who acts as a mechanic for the Batmobile) was brought back to serve as one of Hush's victims.
    • Armand Krol, who was mayor during Knightfall, was briefly written out of the books at the end of Batman: Contagion, where among other things, he contracted the Clench himself and screwed up handling the crisis so badly, the governor went ahead and inaugurated Marion Grange as mayor early. The plot of the sequel, Batman: Legacy is kicked off by the reveal that the Clench was merely rendered dormant, not cured — by the fact that it flared back up in Krol's body and killed him just as he was preparing to run for governor himself.
    • Vesper Fairchild, a character from the latter part of Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant's time of the Bat-books (before both the character and the writers left in the lead-up to Batman: No Man's Land), returned shortly before Bruce Wayne: Fugitive just for her death to kick off that storyline.
  • Justice Society of America: James Robinson's run began with several magical heroes who had fallen into obscurity, such as Kid Eternity, being killed by Mordru.
  • In 2010 Marvel released The Death of Dracula. This was Dracula's first appearance after he died in Captain Britain.
  • A feature of Diabolik: to avoid the creation of a large cast that could potentially steal the attention from the three main characters, new characters introduced after the first three issues rarely return, and if they do they are almost always killed off (some have survived, but given that Anyone Can Die in this series they're not safe yet). Most notable was "Revenge Has a Long Memory", where two characters who had appeared only once each many years earlier appear just to die in one panel.
  • Issue 8 of Halo: Escalation, released in 2014, marked the first appearance of Black Team since their last appearance in 2010's Halo: Blood Line. Said appearance happens to be our heroes coming across their dead bodies.
  • Infinite Crisis: The Freedom Fighters return and get totally wrecked.
  • During the infamous Iron Man storyline The Crossing, D-list former Avengers Yellowjacket and Gilgamesh returned to the team just so that they could be killed off. This then started a subplot about Hawkeye being framed for their murders.
  • The Golden Age Kid Hero Toro was plucked from obscurity for a guest spot in Sub-Mariner #14, which ended with him dying after a battle with the Mad Thinker.
  • Obscure superhero character Blind Justice (first appearing in Solo Avengers #8) was brought back in Marvel Comics #1000 with an origin retconning him to be Professor Jerome Hamilton from a Fantastic Four storyline and connecting him to the Masked Raider from Marvel Mystery Comics before getting murdered. This murder would instigate a 2020 Avengers story.
  • The Justice League Axis, the previously established version of Earth-10's Justice League from Countdown to Adventure, appear as corpses in Overman's dream in Mastermen #1.
  • The Outsiders: During Judd Winick's run on Outsiders (2003), the old Shazam! foe Sabbac (who hadn't been seen in years) showed up just long enough for a Russian gangster to kill him and steal his powers.
  • Spider-Man:
  • Star Wars: Republic: "Into the Unknown" follows original Jedi characters Dass Jennir and Kai Hudorra during the Great Purge; the latter decides to stop being a Jedi while the former goes on to star in Dark Times. In "A Spark Remains", Dass seeks Hudorra's help again, who then performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Secret Wars (2015): Hyperion of Supreme Power died in New Avengers Vol 3 #24, and is brought back, only to be killed again.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Towards the end of the "Underbase Saga", a whole bunch of characters who haven't been seen in years of real time come back in order to be killed by Starscream.
  • Ultimate Marvel:

    Comic Strips 
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip:
    • The Twelfth Doctor's "1970s Earth" arc surprisingly brought in the Delgado Master as the final villain, and ended with what was implied to be his death and attempted regeneration.
    • "The Clockwise War", the Twelfth Doctor's final arc, brought back Count Jodafra, the memorable villain of an Eighth Doctor comics arc that had never been completed due to the Eighth Doctor strips being ended by the revival of the TV show, only to immediately kill him off as a Sacrificial Lion.

    Fan Works 
  • Forum of Thrones: An in-universe example happens with Rayden. After being out of his life for many years, he encounters Clayton again just hours before he is killed, by the very same man nonetheless.
    • Lyria doesn't appear at all in Chapter 7, giving her a several month-long break. She returns as a Point-of-View character in Chapter 8, which features her brutal death at the hands of Wolfius.
    • While he appears in the chapters, Torvin, originally one of the most major Point-of-View characters, doesn't have any parts of his own in Chapter 6 and 7 and is overall Demoted to Extra. He returns as a major Point-of-View character in full force in Chapter 8. However, at the very end of it, he is killed by Edward Anturion.
  • In Old West, Tomson disappears from the story after the first three chapters and returns for a minor role in the 18th chapter. At the end of said chapter, he's shot by his boss for bringing news of another setback.
  • In the Robotech fanfic Marque and Reprisal, Hermes, who was a friend of the protagonist of Dire Straits, sails his ship to bring a resistance group from Egypt to Greece. He is killed by the forces of the Invid Regency, even singing "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley as his last words.
  • In Ruby and Nora
    • After The Fall of Beacon, Flynt Coal and Neon Katt don't appear again until the events of Cold, where they are fighting against Jacques Schnee's dictatorship in Atlas. During the story, Katt is killed by Cardin Winchester while Flynt is killed after being sucked into the vortex created by Void.
    • Velvet also disappears after The Fall Of Beacon, only to reappear in Cold having been lobotomized and later killed by being sucked into Void's vortex.
  • To Infinity has Romeo and Kilo-5 killed off in the seventh chapter.
  • Total Drama: Battle of the Generations: Staci is eliminated first, just as she is in Revenge of the Island.
  • A good description of the appearance of Prue Halliwell (Charmed (1998)) in "Lost and Found", when Paige Matthews basically joins the Avengers after Thanos's Snap kills the rest of her family (Avengers: Infinity War). When Paige takes part in the mission to Voromir to retrieve the Soul Stone, she summons Prue's spirit to her for help, but Prue confirms that the only way to retrieve the Soul Stone is for a soul to sacrifice itself, and volunteers herself for the task to save Paige, Clint and Natasha even though she has never met the Avengers and only watched Paige from the afterlife.
  • Lieutenant Commander T'Var was a supporting character of StarSword's one-shot The Universe Doesn't Cheat before leaving the crew of the USS Bajor in chapter two of Bait and Switch to take her first command. She reappears with her USS Olokun in chapter 2 of The Wrong Reflection, only to die Taking the Bullet for her old CO, Kanril Eleya, in the next chapter.
  • In The Weaver Option Constantin Valdor, first Captain-General of the Custodes, returns to the Imperium for the first time since the Horus Heresy but sacrifices himself in the same chapter to ensure Slaanesh's destruction.
  • Young Justice Titans features the return of the Riddler after a 2 season absence. The author tries to treat his fics as serious continuations of the series, so Riddler finally reappears onscreen, only to be murdered ON SCREEN by fellow Batman villain, the Scarecrow.

    Films — Animation 
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Sephiroth, the Big Bad of the original game doesn't "physically" appear in the movie until the end, where he then delivers an ass-whipping to Cloud before being destroyed... and by destroyed, we mean slashed a grand total of 12 times with a more powerful version of the sword shown on the picture for BFS. Sephiroth does imply, however, that he cannot truly die, and can continue to return.
  • Justice League Dark: Apokolips War features the return of many characters, including the Teen Titans, the Suicide Squad, and more — only for many of them to be killed by Darkseid and his forces over the course of the story.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes: Charlton Heston agreed to be in the sequel only on the condition that his character dies at the beginning. He actually dies at the end.
  • The Bourne Series: Marie Kreutz dying in the beginning of The Bourne Supremacy is an interesting subversion in the fact that it happens so early in the film and while there's some warning, still happens at a point when you think the character's safe.
    • Albert Hirsh from The Bourne Ultimatum appears again briefly in The Bourne Legacy only for his character to be given a poison-induced heart attack offscreen.
    • An egregious example comes in the form of Nicky Parsons in Jason Bourne. The way the character was presented in the advertising and shown to not be given much to do alerted fans almost immediately that she was gonna die fairly early and without fail, that's what happened.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • The Suicide Squad brings back Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flag from the first movie, only to have Boomerang get shredded by an exploding helicopter within the first 12 minutes. Flag survives much longer, but then gets stabbed in the heart by Peacemaker during the third act.
  • Clear Rivers from the original Final Destination was intended to survive to the third installment, but due to legal issues she appeared in the second movie and was killed off.
  • One of the most iconic dinosaurs from the original Jurassic Park, the Brachiosaurus, was conspicuously absent from Jurassic World. It did not reappear until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where it was shown as one of the dinosaurs killed by the eruption on Isla Nublar. Word of God says it was the very same Brachiosaurus that we saw in the famous "Welcome to Jurassic Park" scene.
  • The opening of For Your Eyes Only features James Bond visiting his wife's grave and then being captured by a bald man in a wheelchair who has a white cat. Bond eventually gains control of the helicopter, picks up the wheelchair man and throws him down an industrial smokestack.
  • Of the five characters who came back for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Duke dies. Part of the reason for the delay (advertised for a 2012 release, came out summer 2013) was that test audiences weren't happy that there wasn't much development of the relationship between Duke & Roadblock before Duke's death early in the film.
  • Dobby in the Harry Potter films. As a result of his role in the fourth, fifth, and sixth books being cut, he appears in the second film and then doesn't show up again until Deathly Hallows Part 1 so that he can die on schedule.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Lt. Gillette, who unlike Lt. Groves did not appear in either of the first two sequels (despite having had a somewhat bigger role than Groves in Curse of the Black Pearl) and had been assumed dead by many of the fans, returned only to be killed off rather unceremoniously in the final battle.
  • The Brontosaurus from King Kong (1933) shows up once more in The Son of Kong - as Skull Island sinks below the waves in a massive earthquake, struggling not to drown. The beast is shown rising above the waves one last time (near the lifeboat containing the human protagonists), before going under.
  • Spectre has the character of Mr White from the earlier Daniel Craig Bond films, who returns for a single scene a little ways into the film, at the end of which he commits suicide.
  • Captain Kirk's appearance in Star Trek: Generations actually named another trope, but it's an example of this one too. You can almost hear the plotlines straining as he is dragged from retirement and maneuvered awkwardly towards a heroic on-screen death. Ironically, the first "death" was only shown in the beginning of that film. If they hadn't "killed" him to begin with, he wouldn't have been anywhere near to be killed again later.
  • Star Wars:
    • Count Dooku is a pivotal figure in Attack of the Clones and any Clone Wars-related media (such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as the one leading the Separatist movement. His appearance in Revenge of the Sith? Shows up on the bridge of General Grievous' ship, engages in a short battle with Obi-Wan and Anakin, loses both hands then killed off by having a cranial-ectomy in almost no screentime.
    • Han Solo makes his final return to his beloved ship, the Millenium Falcon, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His journey from skeptic to believing in the Force is made known when he confesses to Rey and Finn that "it's all true", but unbeknownst to everyone, Han's time with his allies is limited, and after a melancholy reunion with his wife, General Leia Organa, Han accompanies Rey and Finn to Starkiller Base. In the Oscillator Shaft, Han confronts his son, Ben (a.k.a. Kylo Ren), urging him to turn back to the light. Ren ultimately kills his father with his lightsaber, and Han falls off the bridge into an abyss.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Scorponok, who disappeared early in Transformers (2007) after being badly damaged, pulls a Dynamic Entry in the climactic desert battle and guts Jetfire, only to have Jetfire throw him to the ground and pound him into scrap with one blow.
    • The third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Barricade make a return appearance after disappearing inexplicably during the end of the first (although with tie-in comics explaining what happened to him). He appears rounding up the Autobots as prisoners, before executing Wheeljack/Que, and then angrily berating a few Decepticon troops after Bumblebee seizes an opportunity for freedom and kills Soundwave. His eyes are then shot out by human snipers before his legs are destroyed with boomsticks and is then finished off whilst crippled. Though it's subverted as the subsequent sequel Transformers: The Last Knight reveals he has somehow cheated death yet again, and in The Last Knight he escapes unscathed.
  • Miguel survives the first Tremors only to be killed midway through Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse gives Havok, who had just a brief scene in the previous movie, more screentime, specially regarding the relationship with his brother Scott (aka Cyclops) as he joins the X-Men. Halfway through the movie he dies destroying Cerebra and causing a massive explosion that levels the X-Mansion.

  • Agent Pendergast:
    • William Smithback, Jr. suffers this. He is a recurring character in the books, and after the events of Book of the Dead (2006), he does not appear at all in the next novel, The Wheel of Darkness. He then returns in the novel after that, Cemetery Dance, only to be killed in its very first chapter.
    • Additionally, it's subverted for Margo Green. She was actually the main character in the very first two books, The Relic and Reliquary, and did not appear again until the sixth novel, Dance of Death, which had her attacked and apparently killed by Diogenes Pendergast barely halfway through the novel. The very end of the book reveals that Pendergast saved her life.
  • In the non-canon Blake's 7 continuation novel Afterlife, Tarrant is mauled to death by a snow leopard a few pages after he appears, giving him just time enough to have no bearing on the plot whatsoever.
  • The Beginning After the End:
    • Volume 6 features the return of Sebastian, the former court conjurer of House Glayder who coveted Arthur's bond Sylvie during the 10th Annual Helstea Auctions back in Volume 2 and subsequently lost his position for it, having been reduced to being a slave trader operating in Arthur's birthplace of Ashber. He gets killed by Olfred by being encased in magma when the latter reveals his and his master Rahdeas's collusion with the Vritra.
    • Volume 9 sees the return of Taci, Arthur's former sparring partner during his time training with Kordri back in Volume 5, who gets sent by Kezess to purge the Dicathian resistance for turning against him and injuring his pride. After brutally defeating the Lances and slaughtering his way through much of the resistance, he is only stopped by Arthur's timely return to Dicathen, who proceeds to take him into the aether realm to safely finish him off. In addition, after not having been seen since the attack on Xyrus back in Volume 4, Feyrith Ivsaar III reappears to enlist Eleanor's aid in exposing Kezess's attempts to manipulate the Dicathian resistance, only for the start of the next volume to reveal that he was one of the casualties of Taci's rampage.
    • Volume 11 has the return of Diane Whitehall and Jarrod Redner, minor characters last seen in Volumes 2 and 4 respectively, who are escorting a refugee caravan that gets attacked by Perhata's squad of Wraiths. The former gets her face melted off and the latter gets a hole in his chest for trying to listen in on the Wraiths' plans.
  • In Brothers of the Snake, Inquisitor Mabuse is introduced in one story, then disappears for some time, and shows up for another story, just in time to get shot by Chaos cultists.
  • Codex Alera: Aric is introduced in Furies of Calderon as the only good member of Kord's household, helping the heroes escape his father and even getting to marry his sweetheart at the end of the book. In Academ's Fury, he gets Taken by the Vord and his body most likely destroyed in the ensuing battle.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Downplayed. Fletcher, Sheyenne's old boss, shows up in Slimy Underbelly for his first in-person appearance since the first book and is killed by a sewer monster. However, he quickly returns to life as a ghost.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The plot of Wrecking Ball is kicked off by the death of Great Aunt Reba, a minor character who only appeared in The Last Straw.
  • This is ludicrously common in Doctor Who spinoff novels, where the Doctor's previous companions meet horrible and utterly gratuitous ends. The most egregious example is in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Eternity Weeps, where a random scientist with no plot importance is given a nametag that reads Liz Shaw just in time to be killed off by the Monster of the Week.
  • In The Dresden Files Susan Rodriguez leaves in book 5 after being half-turned into a vampire. She goes to South America to fight a Great Offscreen War for 6 books and about 9 years. She finally comes back in Changes where she is sacrificed at the climax to kill the entire Red Court and end the war.
  • Forest Kingdom: In book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon), the sorcerer Gaunt returns for the first time since the end of Hawk & Fisher book 1, this time commanding a zombie army, and ends up dead at Fisher's hands when it's clear there's no reasoning with him.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr, Agun Soric is taken by the Black Ships as an untrained psyker. Four books later, in Only in Death, he returns as a sanctioned psyker. The man who turned him over to the inquisition in the first place is so horrified by what has happened to him in the intervening years that he administers a Mercy Kill.
    • This trope basically drives the plot of Traitor General, with the eponymous traitor being eventually revealed a mind-locked General Sturm, whom Gaunt had arrested (back in Necropolis, 5 books ago) for desertion, cowardice in the face of the enemy, and attempted murder. The Ghosts have to try and execute/assassinate Sturm before he gets his memory back and starts spilling his secrets to the Archenemy.
  • Halo: New Blood featured the Rookie's first appearance in several years. He ends up being killed by Insurrectionists (who are the weakest of Halo's bad guy factions). It was particularly shocking because the Rookie was Halo 3: ODST's main viewpoint character.
  • L.A. Confidential opens with a surviving character from one of the previous books facing a Bolivian Army Ending, drawn through to its logical conclusion. Notable for giving Moment of Awesome to both the character and the Big Bad.
  • Zigzaged with Aaron in The Magisterium. He gets killed, but he's brought back in the next book using chaos magic and a piece of Call's soul. At the end of the book, he gives Call back the piece of his soul and dies again. He is brought back again at the end of the last book in the series.
  • Happens a few times in Skulduggery Pleasant:
    • Jaron Gallow, a major antagonist from book three, returns in book six offering to help China bring down the Church of the Faceless Ones after losing his faith. She goes to meet him for a list of important names, but she finds that the Church got to him first and killed him.
    • Springheeled Jack, a recurring antagonist from books two and four, and Black Annis, from a short story taking place after book three, both return in the side novel "The Maleficent Seven" (set between books seven and eight) to join Tanith's team to find and destroy the God-Killer weapons. Jack is killed by Tanith so his corpse can be used as a distraction, and Annis gets killed by a Cleaver.
    • Melancholia St. Clair is put in a coma at the end of book six to stop her experimentally-enhanced magic from going out of control. She's brought out of the coma in book nine in order to help in the final fight against Darquesse. Valkyrie promises to help Melancholia find a way to become normal again after the battle, but Melancholia proves no match for Darquesse and is killed.
    • Saracen Rue, after last appearing in book nine, returns in book thirteen as part of the team that travels to the Leibniz Universe to stop an invasion from that universe's version of Mevolent. He gets bitten by a draugr and mercy-killed by Dexter Vex before he can turn.
  • Hollyleaf in Warrior Cats. After being presumed dead for four books, she returns to ThunderClan in The Forgotten Warrior, only to be killed by Hawkfrost in the next book, The Last Hope.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • David Palmer was dropped as a regular character at the end of season 3 and made only a brief appearance in season 4. He returned in the premiere of season 5, only to be assassinated after less than a minute of screen time. Dennis Haysbert was not happy about it.
    • Milo Pressman returns in season 6 after disappearing midway through the first season. In a variation, he survives most of the season only to die three episodes before the season finale.
    • Similar to Milo, Audrey returns in the miniseries 24: Live Another Day after being absent since the sixth season and winds up getting killed in the finale. It also counts for Cheng Zhi as well, as he returns in the final three episodes of the miniseries and is finally killed by Jack.
  • The third appearance of Wholesome Crossdresser Beverly Lasalle on All in the Family ended with her being beaten to death offscreen by a gang.
  • The writing staff of Amar en tiempos revueltos seems to have as a personal goal doing this to whoever has ever been Put on a Bus.
  • After a rather unpopular character arc which had eventually seen her Put on a Bus via a coma the previous season, Cordelia returned to Angel for "You're Welcome", which was seen by some fans as an Author's Saving Throw. The character's return to previous form and upbeat exit was undercut by a coda at the end of the episode which reveals that she has been dead all along. This did serve to give her a good send-off, and allow her to work as a mentor one last time.
  • Arrow:
    • Played with in regards to Sara — it's believed since the pilot that she's been dead since the Queen's Gambit sank, only to turn out to be alive and well in Season 2, during which she's an important secondary character. At the end of the season, she leaves town, only to return midway through the Season 3 premiere... and is killed in the closing moments. Heavy fan backlash resulted in her getting brought back to life using the Lazarus Pits a season later (with John Constantine helping to recover her soul), and she's currently in charge of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits gallivanting across space/time.
    • Played straight with Malcolm Merlyn, who is absent for most of Season 5 (he was busy with Thawne and Darhk) and comes back in the penultimate episode, only to be (apparently) killed in a Heroic Sacrifice/Taking You with Me moment. Ditto for Digger "Captain Boomerang" Harkness, who hasn't been seen since Season 3, and is apparently killed by Merlyn stepping off a landmine in his immediate vicinity.
  • Inverted on Babylon 5: Lyta Alexander, who, along with Dr. Kyle and Lt. Commander Takashima, had departed the station in the fallout of the attempted assassination of Ambassador Kosh, came back abruptly in the second season as a member of the Mars Resistance, warning the crew that one of them was a Manchurian Agent. The agent turns out to be Talia Winters, Lyta's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, and the Trigger Phrase that reveals her original personality also destroys the cover personality, effectively killing off Talia. Not long after that, Lyta joined the main cast for the rest of the show.
    • Ambassador Kosh died midway through season 3 though part of his essence lingered by being inside Sheridan, who later told him to jump into an abyss in the season 3 finalé. He returned in his true form in season 4 to combat his malevolent successor Ulkesh and they both die.
  • Bates Motel Had Bradley, who was literally Put on a Bus. The Bus Came Back only for her to be killed very shortly thereafter by Norman's "Mother".
  • Blake's 7:
    • Blake returned in the last episode and was killed off there by Avon, because Blake was too stupid to explain his real motives, leading Avon to think Blake was a traitor. Definitely a Fanon Discontinuity moment for diehard fans. Blake's death was apparently a condition for Gareth Thomas (Blake) to appear in the episode, his death included blood to make sure that he was really dead. Seeing as it ended up being the final episode, it didn't really matter anyway, especially as just about everyone else ended up dead by the end of the episode anyway.
    • The deaths of the other characters was left deliberately ambiguous so that they could return if the series was extended.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: Bounty hunter Cad Bane from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Bad Batch makes his live-action debut at the end of Chapter 6. He's killed by Boba in Chapter 7.
  • Bones: In season 11, Booth's brother Jared is killed, and initially mistaken for Booth after his body is discovered and in season 12, Booth's friend Aldo Clemens.
  • Boy Meets World had a Yank the Dog's Chain example. Shawn's father reappears for the first time in about a year and a half and promises that he will stay around this time. He promptly dies from a heart attack.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Joyce Summers.
      Kristine Sutherland: I was not around much in the fourth season, which was my choice, and when I let them know that Joss Whedon said, "Please, you must be around for the fifth season because I need to kill you."
    • Slayer Kendra survives her two-parter introduction in season 2 but is then murdered by Drusilla in the penultimate episode of the season.
    • Warren's ex girlfriend Katrina gets murdered by him in her second appearance.
    • The canon Season 8 comics do this with Ethan Rayne. After last being seen in season 4, he appears in the first arc of Season 8 only to be shot through the head after two issues.
  • Call the Midwife: Barbara leaves with her husband, Tom, to go work in Birmingham and it looks like they've left the series at the end of season six, they return for three episodes in season seven just so Barbara can die of meningitis.
  • Castle:
    • Mike Royce, Beckett's former mentor from "Under the Gun", is murdered in "To Love and Die in L.A.", prompting Beckett to go to Los Angeles to find his killer.
    • Beau Randolph, the proprietor introduced in "Head Case", is murdered in "Death Gone Crazy".
  • Chuck:
  • Aiden was fired from CSI: NY for tampering with evidence; she returned some time later as a charred corpse and in Necro Cam flashbacks.
  • In the thirteenth season of Degrassi Adam comes back after being missing for an entire block of episodes only to die seven episodes later in surgery after getting into a car accident caused by texting and driving. The official reasoning being that the actress' contract was up. In the two-part season 2 finale, Craig's father returns— trying and failing to mend things with Craig after hitting him again —only to be killed in the same episode.
  • Dexter has Frank Lundy, a lead character of season 2 who was Put on a Bus at the end of said season. He returns in season 4 to hunt down Trinity, only for him to be shot to death by Trinity's estranged daughter.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Seventh Doctor's debut story, "Time and the Rani", is ironically a subversion; the Sixth Doctor appears long enough to regenerate, but was played by Sylvester McCoy in a wig, as Colin Baker had already been fired from the show.
    • The old series nearly had a example of this, as the Brigadier — a regular during the '60s and '70s who was last seen as a guest star in 1983 — was almost killed off in 1989's "Battlefield" (behind-the-scenes lobbying resulted in his life being spared).
    • The made-for-TV movie did this to the Seventh Doctor, who appeared for the sole purpose of getting shot and then regenerating into the Eighth Doctor.
    • Similarly, the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor" (here) features the return of the Eighth Doctor. He suffers fatal injuries in a spaceship crash trying to save a woman who refused his help. The ones who pull him from the wreckage bring him back long enough to be able to choose his next regeneration and enable him to end the Time War, which gives us the War Doctor.
    • Subverted in the Series 9 finale, "Hell Bent". Clara, who had been Killed Off for Real two episodes earlier, returned in a storyline that saw the character removed from time an instant before her death by the Doctor in an effort to save her life. As his Tragic Dream unravels, the episode hints that Clara will just end up dead again by the end. Ultimately, while Clara must still someday meet the fate set out in "Face the Raven", until she chooses to die she is free to roam the universe indefinitely as a functional immortal.
  • Earth: Final Conflict has William Boone, the protagonist for the first season, being killed off in the season finale by the Big Bad Zo'or (to spite his rival/parent Da'an). Zo'or himself is killed at the end of the fourth season by overdosing on energy. Most of the way through season 5, the show's Dragon Ronald Sandoval revives Boone (revealing he was Only Mostly Dead) in order to bait the new protagonist Renee Palmer and also revives Zo'or (same justification) in order to kill Boone and Renee. Zo'or is promptly turned into an Atavus and gets defeated by Boone, frozen by Sandoval just in case. Boone disappears, shows up in one more episode, and is mentioned by Ra'jel to have been killed off-screen (yes, the protagonist of the first season doesn't even get the honor of a screen death). Zo'or himself is brought back from the freezer only to be killed for good by Renee. Surprisingly averted with Liam Kincaid, the protagonist for seasons 2-4, who mysteriously disappears at the end of the fourth season. He reappears in the Grand Finale and makes it through to the end.
  • Earth 2 - Commander O'Neill "died" in the pilot, then literally comes back from his grave only to be murdered by the end of episode 2.
  • EastEnders:
    • While this is open to dispute, the return of Dennis "Dirty Den" Watts could be considered a very drawn out example of this. When actor Leslie Grantham wanted to move on, Dirty Den was hit by gunfire on screen, but deliberately not shown to be dead. Den subsequently returned 14 years later, and died again, this time for real, 18 months after that. Leslie Grantham states in his autobiography that this was how it had been planned when he agreed to return: that the character would be killed off permanently after no more than 18 months.note 
    • Ethel Skinner - after a 3 year absence from the show, she reappeared in Albert Square as part of a storyline on euthanasia.
    • Peggy Mitchell - After leaving the show on a regular basis in 2010, she returned for a couple of guest stints (of one episode) in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She then returned for another episode in January 2016 where she revealed her cancer had returned, and then returned for a week in May with the sole purpose being to kill her off.
  • In Farscape, Jool leaves the regular cast four episodes into the fourth season. She reappears (with a rather different Jungle Princess characterisation) in the Wrap It Up miniseries "The Peacekeeper Wars", and is fairly rapidly killed along with a whole lot of other people to give the Scarrans an extreme Kick the Dog moment.
    • The "Liars, Guns, and Money" trilogy brought back a bunch of villains from the first season, with almost all of them biting the dust. The most notable casualty is Rygel's Arch-Enemy Durka, who, in the first season, had been the most recurring antagonist outside of Crais and Scorpius, but is quickly killed off by Rygel here, who was savvy enough to bring a weapon to a meeting with Durka.
  • In Foyle's War, Milner's estranged wife reappears after an absence of several seasons, and has just enough time for a blazing row with Milner before being found dead in an alley.
  • All of the surviving Cortexiphan kids from Fringe were brought back and killed in one episode.
  • Full House: Jesse's grandfather debuts in the Season 4 episode "Greek Week". He returns in the Season 7 episode "The Last Dance", which centers around Jesse and Michelle's trouble coping after he passes.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ser Dontos avoids execution in season 2 thanks to Sansa, then returns in season 4 and is soon killed by Baelish's mooks after he delivers Sansa to him. He had appeared in the season's previous two episodes, but had very little screen time overall.
    • Several characters from the Harrenhall scenes in Season 2 show up in Season 4 to be dispatched by Arya and the Hound (Polliver in the season premier has a brief appearance and subsequent Karmic Death and Rorge and Biter appear in Episode 7, with Biter getting less than 5 seconds of screentime before being killed).
    • Season 6 has had this happen to a couple characters - Osha, Rickon, and Hodor - who sat out Season 5 and 4, in case of the first two due to their storylines having no relevance to that particular season. Osha was last seen at the end of Season 3, where she left to take Rickon to the Umbers. These characters came back for brief appearances in Season 6 before being dispatched. Rickon, in particular, only appeared for two scenes: his reintroduction and his death at Ramsay's hands. Osha is unceremoniously murdered by Ramsay in only her second scene.
    • The Lord of Bones returns solely to be killed.
    • Myrcella returns in Season 5 after being Put on a Bus for two whole seasons.
    • Balon Greyjoy finally returns in Season 6 after a two season absence, only to get killed in the same episode.
    • Almost all of the above are a result of many scenes featuring these characters in the book, between their introduction and their death, being cut for the series.
  • Grimm: Angelina got away after being shot by Nick in her first appearance and was killed when she reappeared exactly a season's worth of episodes later.
  • Heroes:
    • Adam Monroe, former immortal, was buried alive at the end of season two, but he was let out briefly in the following season apparently for the sole purpose of being Killed Off for Real in a rather egregious manner. Maybe they were saving him for this. (His death basically created the new Big Bad.)
    • A variation happened earlier in season two for DL. The second season starts by skipping months ahead, and we're told that DL is dead, presumably from his gunshot wound in the season one finale. But no, he appears in a flashback only to get killed by some random guy who was hot for his wife. The entire exercise seems completely pointless.
    • Done with Emile Danko at the beginning of Season 4. As the Big Bad of Season 3, he survived that season only to be brought back for two episodes for a somewhat contrived reason during Season 4 only to be killed off immediately by the new villains.
  • Charlie DiSalvo from Highlander falls into this. Charlie gets sort of Put on a Bus: he falls in love with a revolutionary and leaves everything to fight for her cause. He returns for one episode, where he describes how they were set up by an immortal arms dealer who intentionally sold them defective weapons and killed his girl. Charlie comes hunting for revenge, but as he doesn't know about immortals and his opponent is one, he winds up dying.
  • Hollyoaks:
    • Clare Devine returned only to be killed when Mercedes pushes her in front of Dr Browning's car.
    • Tegan Lomax's baby was delivered by an eccentric midwife named Mariam. A year and a half later, it emerged that Mariam was actually drunk on duty at the time, and had mixed up Tegan's baby with Diane O'Connor's. Mariam returned - only to fall victim to a serial killer at the hospital.
  • Chloe Richards returned to Home and Away in 2005 in the lead up to the show's 4000th episode after leaving in 1999. Meanwhile, promos for the 4000th episode promised that a beloved character would die as a result of events happening in that episode. Who died as a result of that episode's car accident? It was Chloe of course.
  • House of Cards (US): Rachel escapes at the end of Season 2 and runs away to start a new life for herself. She doesn't appear throughout all of Season 3 (though Doug spends most of the season searching for her) until the last episode, when she finally reappears onscreen only to be murdered by Doug.
  • For the first several seasons of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall's father is a minor character who rarely appears. Come the Season 6 premiere, not only do we start seeing him more often, but his role in Marshall's life is bigger — apparently the two of them are very close and Marshall tells him everything. His death at midseason is still a surprise, but only because this show rarely kills characters off. If you start watching Season 6 knowing someone will die, it's easy to guess who.
  • Lost: arguably, Michael's return in episode 4x07 and death in episode 4x13. Later on, a named background character wound up reappearing only to be killed off by a flaming arrow. This may also be the case with Daniel Faraday.
  • MacGyver (1985): MacGyver's female friend Mike from "Jack Of Lies" returns in the first scene of "The Widowmaker"... just long enough for her to have a climbing accident, and for the rope to break before Mac can save her.
  • The Mandalorian's season 2 ends with Boba Fett and Fennic Shand return to Jabba's Palace on Tatooine to find Jabba's old majordomo Bib Fortuna (who was assumed to have either died on Jabba's skiff or fell into the Sarlacc pit in Episode 6) having taken over Jabba's cartel... long enough for Boba to make it clear he wasn't going to go back to being an underling before the bounty hunter puts a blaster shot in his chest.
  • A strange example from Merlin involving Lancelot. In the two-part opener of series 4, he heroically sacrifices himself by stepping into the veil between the worlds and thus closing the rift that is causing deadly spirits to roam the earth. Later in the same series, Morgana brings him back from the spirit world in order destroy Arthur and Guinevere's impending marriage. Once he's achieved this, she orders him to kill himself. So essentially he dies, is brought back as a well-preserved zombie, and is then killed off again.
  • Monk: Adrian Monk's neighbor Kevin Dorfman disappeared for a while and then returned near the end of the seventh season, where he wound up being the murder victim of the episode.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles does this when Dom is Not Quite Saved Enough.
  • NCIS: After appearing in three episodes in Season 9, Agent Ned Dorneget doesn't reappear until the three episode finale of Season 12 where he is killed in the line of duty.
  • NUMB3RS: Simon Kraft who first appeared in the season two episode "Mind Games". He is killed when h returns in the season five episode "Trouble in Chinatown", when he is run over a car, which he predicted would happen.
  • One Life to Live's Sarah Gordon was presumed dead in a plane crash, only to resurface at husband Bo's wedding. She and Bo reunited, but Sarah was being played by a new actress who failed to catch on with viewers and as such, was soon killed off for real in a car accident.
  • Keith from One Tree Hill leaves after his disastrous wedding. He comes back more well-adjusted and proposes to Karen, only to be killed by his brother Dan. At least she has Someone to Remember Him By.
  • On Passions, the character Grace Bennett was written out of the show by having her move to England with her supposed first husband, David. Viewers knew that David had never really been married to the amnesiac Grace. Years later, the ruse was revealed by Grace's daughter Kay in a phone conversation; Grace appeared onscreen and was enraged at the (offscreen) David, and decided to return to her real family. She was promptly killed when her bus to the airport exploded; series antagonist "The Blackmailer" feared her psychic abilities would expose him.
  • In the Grand Finale of Power Rangers in Space, Zordon, Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Goldar, the Machine Empire, and Divatox are all vaporized or turned human after essentially not being relevant to the show since Power Rangers Zeo - Except for Divatox, of course, but even she had barely been in the show since Power Rangers Turbo ended.
  • Jarod's brother, Kyle, in The Pretender. He appeared to die in an explosion, only to reappear a few episodes later to save Jarod, only to die in the end.
  • Fans of Pretty Little Liars were thrilled when Maya was brought back to the show in the second season after being Put on a Bus halfway through the first, only to be disappointed when her corpse is found in the season finale.
  • On Riverdale Miss Grundy makes a cameo at the end of the Season 2 premiere which makes it clear she's up to her old tricks. When the student she's been with leaves, the masked man who shot Fred Andrews sneaks up and strangles her with a baseball bat.
  • Scrubs:
    • Parodied during one of J.D.'s daydreams: Turk and Carla have a son, but due to a mix-up they misplace him and end up with a pumpkin instead. They decide to raise the pumpkin as their child, and we're treated to a lengthy growing-up montage. Then, on the day the pumpkin is graduating from college, the son reappears. "Mom? Dad?" "Son?" He starts to run towards them for an embrace... and is hit by a bus. Cue Big "NO!".
    • Played straight however with Ben Sullivan and Jill Tracy.
  • On Sisters, second-oldest sister Teddy finally found true love with a local detective, only for him to break her heart when he left her to reconcile with his ex-wife. He returned several episodes later to beg for her forgiveness. They married, allowing Teddy about five minutes of happiness before her heart was broken again when he was killed by a Car Bomb by a drug lord he was preparing to testify against. (the backstory on this is that cop's portrayer, George Clooney, had left to film the pilot and first few episodes of ER and returned to wrap up the storyline)
  • The seventh season of Skins brought back Naomi for little plot-related reason other than to have her die of cancer.
  • Smallville in general loves this trope with its guest characters. If a one-shot character returns in a future season they pretty much had a death sentence written.
    • Alicia is slightly different from the usual version because she was a one-shot character. In season 3 she was obsessed with Clark, but she was presented as having had a breakdown and being somewhat sympathetic, and some viewers liked her as a love interest for Clark. She was brought back in the next season just to be killed off, permanently ending the possibility of being a love interest.
    • Whitney also qualifies: We see him die on-screen before the shapeshifter shows up.
    • If Alicia counts, so do several other characters, including but not restrained to the above mentioned shapeshifter.
  • Lieutenant Ford from Stargate Atlantis was almost killed by Wraith and managed to leave hopped up on the Wraith enzyme (a nasty drug) in the season 1 finale. In the season 2 midseason two-parter Ford comes back, and ends up on a Wraith vessel as it explodes. Subverted as the later novels reveal that he survived his 'death', but remained on the run for years until he was caught by the Wraith and surrendered to Atlantis as part of a new peace treaty.
  • Similarly, in Stargate SG-1, Martouf was a frequently recurring character in season 3, representing the Tok'ra in dealings with the SGC (along with Jacob/Selmak). In season 4, there is a new representative and Martouf is not seen until the episode of his death. Martouf (to be more exact, his symbiote Lantash) did come Back for the Dead later on, this time having the symbiote die instead of the host.
  • In Stargate Universe, everyone who was left behind on Eden suddenly showed up with bodies that had been "improved" by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. It turns out that the improvements were only temporary. One by one, each person reverted back to the state they were in when the aliens found them, i.e., dead. Seemingly the whole plot was so the main characters could have another shuttle (after they destroyed the last one).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation gave Tasha Yar a pretty crummy death in Season 1's "Skin of Evil". The character returned in the alternate timeline episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" to die in a Heroic Sacrifice, which would reset the timeline to the one in which she was dead anyways. She actually survived the intended Heroic Sacrifice and had a Half-Human Hybrid daughter Sela with a Romulan before being executed for trying to escape. Sela surfaced as a villain and looked just like Mom, other than being half-Romulan.
  • Joe Carey from Star Trek: Voyager is a weird example of Back for the Dead. After appearing in most of the first season, he stopped appearing except in time travel episodes, leading fans to believe he had died off-screen. After 6 seasons of being used as a "Hey look! We're back in the first season. See? There's Carey!" marker, he showed up alive four episodes before the end of the series and got killed off (as a Red Shirt). The writers intended to have a guy the fans know die for the shock value. But the problem was that his lack of appearances outside of time travel episodes made people already think he was dead, so the shock was more "wow, he's still alive?" than "GASP! They killed Carey!" The writer of that episode wanted to kill someone off, and was given the choice of Vorik or Carey. He thought Carey would have more impact, since fans would relate to a human more than a Vulcan. Bad choice. He was obviously unaware of how much fans liked Vorik, and of how fans already thought Carey was dead. Furthermore, rumour has it that Carey's odd treatment was because the writers were for a long time confusing him with Ensign Hogan, who had indeed been killed off in Season 2.
  • Star Trek: Picard
    • There are two examples of this in "Stardust City Rag." The first sees Icheb mercy-killed by Seven of Nine after having his Borg parts harvested by a black-market dealer. He was last seen in "Endgame" on Voyager, 19 years before. Bruce Maddox also reappeared only to get murdered, after appearing in one episode of The Next Generation, "Measure of a Man", from 1989, over thirty years earlier!
    • The same fate befalls Ro Laren and Elizabeth Shelby in the third season.
  • Supernatural:
    • An odd example with Jo and Ellen Harvelle, two characters from season 2, who were let go at the end of the season for budgetary reasons and did not appear in seasons 3 or 4. They were brought back in season 5, and survived their return episode, only for both of them to be killed off in their next appearance.
    • Another example is Anna from season 4, a character who was central to a two part episode. Like the above, she survives the return episode and then is killed off her next episode in season 5.
    • Played straight with Lenore, played by Amber Benson. She was a vampire from early on in the second season who avoided drinking blood from humans and ultimately wound up getting saved by the brothers. She then returns four and a half seasons later where all the recent demon activity has caused her thirst to become uncontrollable, so she asks Sam and Dean put her out of her misery. While they waffle about the morality of this, Cas does as she asked.
    • After an increase in importance in the season 7 finale, Meg is captured by Crowley and disappears for most of season 8, until she is rescued in episode 17 and killed off in the same episode.
    • The episode "Clip Show" does this for a couple characters from early in the show's run. A few are the victim of the Bus Crash variety, while Sarah from the first season episode "Provenance" comes back to become one of Crowley's victims.
    • In season 10, Amelia Novak (a character from season 4) returns and is killed off in the episode "Angel Heart".
    • Tessa, a minor character in seasons 1, 4, and 6, reappears in the S9 episode "Stairway to Heaven" and is swiftly killed by Dean.
    • After infrequent appearances for 4 seasons and disappearing for most of S9 and S10, Death himself reappears in the S10 finale and is killed with his own scythe.
    • The Trickster/Gabriel, a minor character in S2 and S3, after disappearing for S4, survived his return episode in "Changing Channels" only to again be killed off by Lucifer in his next appearance in "Hammer of the Gods". As it turns out in season 13, he had only faked his death (again). He sticks along for a few more episodes, only to be killed off yet another time by a parallel universe version of Michael.
    • Missouri Mosely, a psychic from season 1 returns in season 13 and gets killed by a wraith early in the episode.
    • Mosely's impressive record is broken by Jenny, a young woman from season 1 episode "Dead Man's Blood" who returns in the very last episode. It turns out that she has been since turned into a vampire and then Dean decapitates her.
  • In the series finale of Two and a Half Men, it is revealed that Charlie, who was originally thought to be killed by his love-stricken wife, was actually not hit by a train (the goat he had been having sex with took the hit for him), but instead was held captive by her in a dungeon-pit for the past four years. After teasing at him making an appearance throughout the entire episode, they finally show him from the back walking up to the house's front door and ringing the bell, only to be crushed by a helicopter-suspended piano immediately afterwards. The show's creator, Chuck Lorre, is shown sitting in front of the set where he is killed by another piano soon after.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Morales returns in the first half of Season 8, having allied with Negan and the Saviors... only to be killed by Daryl in the episode following his return.
    • After having not been seen since the previous season, Frankie returns in "Scars" and is killed off in the following episode as part of Alpha's mass decapitation of the community residents.
    • Beatrice is absent from early Season 9 until late Season 10. She's killed in the same episode she finally returns, simply to give the heroes a somewhat notable casualty in their current mission.
    • After a season-long absence, Luke and Jules return for three episodes only to die in the first ten minutes of the Series Finale.
  • Daniel Dickinson in Warehouse 13 was initially part of the primary cast. After the first season ended, he disappeared until the ninth episode of the second—in which he was murdered before the opening credits rolled.
  • The X-Files:
    • A famous example is Max Fenig, a fan favorite from "Fallen Angel". After being abducted at that episode's conclusion, he reappeared in the teaser of "Tempus Fugit" aboard a passenger jet… that gets shot down after he gets abducted again mid-flight. The rest of the two-parter, "Max", dealt with reconstructing how this came to pass and dealing with its implications, including another abductee who claims to be Max's sister.
    • The Lone Gunmen are killed off after their standalone series is cancelled. There's a few swipes taken at the demise of their show ("What better things do we have to do?"). The episode is even named "Jump the Shark". In the Season 10 comic continuation, in which popular characters like the Cigarette-Smoking Man or Krycek are resurrected as clones and copies, Joe Harris explicitly rewrote the ending of "Jump the Shark" to reveal that TLG had actually faked their deaths, which goes to show how controversial the original episode was. It also speaks to the cynicism as the heart of X-Files by this point; the characters were killed off because the show was about to end and TLG weren't planned to be used in any of the films, then magically resurrected for the comic book line.
    • There's also the Cigarette Smoking Man, who was killed off in "Requiem", the seventh season finale. Two years later, he was revealed to still be alive in "The Truth", and then proceeded to get blown up by a missile. The 2016 miniseries brings him back again in "My Struggle", and he gets a few appearances in before dying in "My Struggle IV", this time for real (we think).
    • Scully's mother Margaret returns in Season 10's "Home Again" where she suffers a coma-inducing heart attack. Scully finds that her mother's last request is to speak with Charlie, her long-lost brother. While she and Mulder stay at Margaret's bedside, Charlie calls Scully which stirs their mother awake. She says a single sentence to Mulder, pointing out his and Scully's given-up son, before she immediately flatlines.
      Margaret Scully: My named William, too!

    Multiple Media 
    • Though not "alive" in a strict sense, the robotic Exo-Toa armor suits used in the climax of the 2002 story were revealed to be autonomous when returning in the 2003 arc, only for the Bohrok-Kal to immediately destroy them.
    • In the novel Time Trap, Karzahni reappears in a twist, having survived its own death as a tiny tree shoot four novels earlier and grown back to full size. It's also allied itself with Vakama, mostly to get revenge on its creator Makuta for leaving it to die. Karzahni does help out Vakama, but Makuta kills it for good by cutting it off from the world in a bubble of shadow.
    • The actual Karzahni, namesake of the plant monster, was locked in a cell in the 2007 story after Makuta shredded his brain, leaving him in a vegetative state. In the 2011 story, Karzahni returns as one of the victims of a mystery serial killer.

  • Parodied in Welcome to Night Vale. Intern Maureen is often pronounced dead by Cecil, only to show up perfectly fine in the next episode when she is killed again. Her family are getting tired of mourning.
    Cecil: To the family and friends of Intern Maureen... [exasperated] ...Et cetera.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Marya and Mori'sul return only to die relatively quickly in the Godslayer era. The former ends up setting the stage for a power-hungry prince's return to the political stage of Maar Sul before committing suicide out of guilt, the latter is crushed by a collapsing temple while saving the heroes from certain death.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, Achyls was a minor character in V1, working as one of the technicians for the terrorists. However, he vanished inexplicably afterwards with no explanation. He returned for V4, and seemed set to have a bigger role from before, then was abruptly killed not long after his redebut.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown memorably brings back President Vincent Harling—a major character in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, where he was the President of the Osean Federation. Taking place nine years after his last appearance, the game depicts him as a revered former President using his high profile to work for world peace and international cooperation. He dies suddenly in the fourth mission when his plane is seemingly shot down by friendly fire, kicking off the game's main plot: the player character is falsely charged with his murder, leading to them being drummed out of the military and assigned to a ragtag fighter squad made up of convicted felons.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Players are first introduced to Norman Polk through his audio recording in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, we see him in-person because he's become an ink monster known as the Projectionist. He shows up again in Chapter 4, only to be killed by Bendy. If Player Character Henry killed him in Chapter 3, this overlaps with Back from the Dead. Interestingly, this might be averted if Henry goes back for the secret bacon soup gun and shoots the Projectionist with it - the body may disappear by the time Henry returns to the spot he "killed" him. It's unclear whether this is because Norman has gotten up and left on his own or if Bendy moved the body, but the lack of inky drag marks suggests the former.
    • There's also Sammy Lawrence, who showed up in Chapter 2 and was presumably killed by Bendy. In Chapter 5, he comes back for his own Boss Battle.
  • Blasphemous II: Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony, a late-game boss who turns important ally in the True Ending of Blasphemous, makes a brief appearance in the intro of the sequel, seemingly being killed off by the Archconfraternity's leader; Eviterno, First of the Penitents..
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops: Dimitri Petrenko returns from World at War and is revealed to have survived the final mission... until he dies during Kravchenko's Nova 6 test in a horribly brutal fashion.
    • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Sgt. Kamarov (the Russian Loyalist who rescued Soap and Price during the final level of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) returns, and dies a couple missions later when Makarov's men kidnap him and use him as bait to keep Captain Price in one place so a bomb can kill them both. Price catches on when Kamarov tells him he's sorry, and manages to get out of the blast zone before Kamarov is killed. Earlier, Wallcroft and Griffin (the two main supporting characters who assisted you in "Crew Expendable" from the original MW) reappear as they respond to a terrorist bomb threat in London, and in the process of chasing the train carrying the bomb, Griffin is killed when his truck crashes.
  • In the Castlevania series, Dracula always seems to reappear just for a member of the Belmont Clan to "kill" him again.
  • Robo from Chrono Trigger, or at least his program (as he is a robot), show up for approximately two minutes in Chrono Cross just to be immediately deleted. He didn't even get to keep the name we knew him by. One has to wonder if it was done in order to make you actually have a beef against FATE, who apart from that was only doing what it was programmed to.
  • Ortega, the hero's father in Dragon Quest III is missing and presumed dead for the bulk of the game. In the very last dungeon, you encounter him fighting one of the penultimate bosses and watch him get killed.
    • He can be wished back to life after beating the Optional Boss, though.
  • Final Fantasy II is a game where the Arbitrary Headcount Limit of the game's party is maintained by Plotline Death, with three exceptions: Fynn's royal aide Minwu, who goes back to his duties after crutching the party for a while, Kashuan prince Gordon, who stays around just enough to get over his self-worth issues, and Sea Scourge Leila, who escapes an ambush where your main party got captured by the skin of her teeth, but then sticks around with the rest of the rebels, which your team is part of, by the time the group returns... And then Minwu plays this trope straight, by offering his life in exchange for unsealing the tome with the ultimate spell, necessary for fighting back against The Emperor's hostile takeover of the lands.
  • Johnny Klebitz, protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, shows up in Grand Theft Auto V to argue with new protagonist Trevor over his ex-girlfriend Ashley Butler (also a returnee). Trevor promptly kicks him to death. In the mission that immediately follows, Trevor can also personally kill off Ashley if the player desires so. If you do spare her, well, the radio will state later in the game that she dies at a crack party anyways.
  • Jul 'Mdama from Halo was a significant character in Halo: Glasslands, Halo: The Thursday War, Spartan Ops, and Halo: Escalation, but is killed by Locke in the first mission of Halo 5: Guardians.
  • Subverted in House of the Dead 2. In the first two minutes of the game, you rendezvous with Agent G from the previous game, who's been gravely wounded. He urges you to go on without him and stop the bad guys and the first boss you encounter taunts you with the infamous line "Suffer like G did?", at which point you'd naturally assume he's toast... but nope; the Golden Ending has Rogan (also returning from part 1) showing up to tell you that G is fine and helping to clear out the remaining undead in the city, but even if that ending isn't canon for whatever reason, G's return as a playable character in parts 3 and 4 certainly settles it.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Kara's pet pig, Hamlet, gets separated from her early on in the game, namely when Kara decides to leave her castle, but later manages to join up with the party. However, very soon after, the party is captured by cannibals, and are only saved when Hamlet sacrifices himself to be food for the cannibals instead of the party.
  • Nameless was introduced in the Unlimited Match Updated Re-release of The King of Fighters 2002 as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for K9999, which most chalked up to the latter being Screwed by the Lawyers. But then, in The King of Fighters XV K9999 returned as Krohnen, and SNK, having by then consigned Nameless to Dream Match Game limbo, must have felt that he had served his purpose. So the 2002 Story of The King of Fighters All Star - Nameless's first appearance outside of Unlimited Match - ends with him pulling a Heroic Sacrifice and subsequently bleeding out in a self-destructing base as he is spirited away to the afterlife by his dead love interest Isolde.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Axel's appearance was originally meant to be this at the very end of the prologue compared to Chain of Memories, but his popularity as a character convinced the developers to keep him around later in the story.
  • Bill in Left 4 Dead 2 was supposed to appear with his other fellow survivors in The Passing campaign to aid the new survivors. Due to Bill's voice actor, Jim French, not being available to provide voice lines, Valve opted to kill the character off. Later on, The Sacrifice DLC was released (taking place before The Passing) and it brings Bill back along with newly recorded voice lines for the new campaign, only for him to be killed in the end. Canonically, Bill is the one that sacrifices his life at the end of the campaign, but players can choose a different character if they wish.
  • In Legend of Dragoon, Lloyd apparently gets a bridge dropped on him after the revelation that 'Emperor Diaz' is in fact Zieg and trying to destroy the world. Later, after Zieg is defeated and it turns out that he was possessed by Melbu Frahma all along, Lloyd suddenly reappears... only to launch a reckless attack on Melbu and get promptly Killed Off for Real. He does bring you the Divine Dragoon Spirit and the Dragon Buster for the final fight, though.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, every time Ganon somehow manages to break the seal on his can or to come Back from the Dead, he apparently only does so he can receive one additional stab-wound from Link and go right back to where he came from (which is, most times, apparently death).
  • Lost Odyssey features this early in the game. Throughout the first segment of the game, the amnesiac protagonist Kaim has flashes of a little girl throwing herself/falling off a cliff. Eventually, Kaim reunites with this child, his daughter Lirum, only for her to almost immediately die of a long illness.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Both Destroyman and Letz Shake from the original No More Heroes return despite having seemingly been killed off (and the latter not even getting a proper boss fight). Travis makes sure Letz Shake's sticks this time, but it takes until No More Heroes III when Travis kills Destroyman for real. Bishop also gets upgraded from being an NPC at Beef Head Video to actually getting a cutscene with voice acting, just in time for his death to spark Travis' Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • This can happened to the hero of Mafia II, Vito Scaletta, in Mafia III if the player has Lincoln screw over Vito or decided to have Lincoln kill all his lieutenants in the end.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • The Virmire survivor (Ashley/Kaidan) is Demoted to Extra in the second game, but returns in 3 to fight alongside Shepard in the first mission after the tutorial... only to immediately have their skull nearly crushed by a cyborg sent by the Illusive Man. However, they're still alive. Which may or may not change later on midway through the game depending on what actions Shepard has taken as well as how strong Shepard's Reputation/Paragon and Renegade meter is.
    • Grunt and Kasumi, assuming you won their loyalty in 2 are both apparently killed onscreen and only survive if they're loyal.
    • Played straight with Legion and Thane, however - the only real way for them to not die in 3 is for them to have died in 2, and while you get a few conversations with them beforehand, most of their presence is setting up for their death scenes. Mordin is also guaranteed to die outside of a very specific set of decisions.
    • Conrad Verner, assuming he's still alive at this point, will take a bullet for you unless an apparently unrelated sidequest was completed way back in 1. This isn't even counting people who get taken out offscreen.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Big Boss, who was thought to be dead, is revealed to be alive and then promptly dies after providing a truly epic 45 minute Infodump.
    • Happens again in Ground Zeroes, to Paz Ortega, who was MIA after the events of Peace Walker and looks like she's been rescued during the ending of Ground Zeroes, only to realize that she had a bomb inside of her for the purpose of blowing up Big Boss. And when he gets that bomb out of her, she reveals there's another one inside of her, and with no time to operate and remove the second one, she's forced to pull a Heroic Suicide.
  • In the original Ninja Gaiden the protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa, is fighting to fulfill a quest left behind by his father, Ken, who in the game's prologue fought and lost in a ninja duel. After defeating the fifth boss, Ryu learns that his father is alive, and eventually discovers Ken Hayabusa as a mind-controlled slave of the villain the Jaquio. As soon as he is freed Ken is killed by the Jaquio and dies in Ryu's arms.
  • PAYDAY 2 had Hector, a contractor that went AWOL for an extended period, then came back only to be killed by the Payday gang for causing the events that led to Hoxtons' incarceration, in the appropriately named Hoxton Revenge heist.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has Latios and Latias make their first appearance as major characters in the sub-series since Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team halfway into the main plot only to be turned to stone by a malevolent force minutes after their reintroduction.
  • In the Resident Evil series Brad Vickers is brought back in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis solely to be killed and infected by The Nemesis to establish the creature as a Hero Killer sent to eradicate the S.T.A.R.S. as well as to explain the events that led to his zombified self wandering the Police Station in Resident Evil 2 (Half of Nemesis takes place a couple of days before 2, while the other half takes place a day after).
  • In Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die, Aoi Satan/Shinnosuke Yamazaki returns to fight the Flower Division in Chapter 1, only for him to be defeated and ultimately killed off by the Demon King/Kazuma Shinguji.
  • Star Trek Online does it to Tasha Yar (see Star Trek: The Next Generation above) again in episode "Klingon War", mission "Temporal Ambassador". The Enterprise-C crew, including Yar, ended up getting captured by the Tholians and dragged into another Alternate Timeline along with the Player Character, and they have to fight their way free so they can go do their Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In the Nathema Conspiracy storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic, a number of characters from the original storylines can show up near the to end up sacrificed to the new villain. Who shows up depends on what class you've chosen and the decisions you've made in the game (typically ones involving the ending of Act III of the original story).

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney invokes this in Trials and Tribulations. Misty Fey is an incredibly important character in the backstory, who finally appears in the third game's last case, only to be murdered fifteen minutes later. It's not even revealed that it was that person until much later.
  • Danganronpa:
  • In Memory's Dogma Sorano Mizunashi, who was stated to have died almost a month before the story began and whose death kicks off the plot, is revealed to be alive in a lab under the Connect Center, albeit in a vegetative state. Upon Kuroda Renjuro's death, Sorano dies for real after becoming disconnected from Kuroda's mind.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: It's not uncommon for combatants in the show to survive one battle and lose another or, even worse, lose another battle.
  • Sans in Glitchtale is killed at the end of Dust, then Came Back Wrong at the end of Love Part 2. While he is purged of the HATE that Big Bad Bete Noire put into his soul, it leaves him Fallen Down. When Gaster tries to inject him with Determination, it just guarantees he’ll be fully awake to experience his death, and this comes to fruition when he uses up the last of his magic in a Beam-O-War with Bete and promptly melts, his soul shattering for good measure.
  • Happens to the original Paper in the 200th Strong Bad Email from Homestar Runner. The Paper actually died in Email 173, and later replaced by the New Paper. When New Paper produced a rival's Homestar's E-Mail address, The Paper cut him off making things right. He then gets burned by an errant spark from the computer of said Rival which Strong Bad is refreshing. With heavily-caffeinated soda.
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Blue Team's former leader Captain Butch Flowers died prior to season 1, but returns near the season 5 finale... only to get sniped out of nowhere when he's about to reveal how to beat the Red Team to Tucker. It was an Accidental Murder on the part of a time-travelling Tucker, who was messing around with the sniper rifle.
  • In RWBY Starter Villain Roman Torchwick continuously returns and disappears throughout the first two volumes. After getting arrested at the conclusion of Volume 2, it seemed that he would be put aside for good. However, he returns in Volume 3, Episode 9 to cause a lot of damage before facing down Ruby one last time and ultimately get eaten by a Griffin Grimm in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers:
    • Greg the Alien, who first appeared in "Mario Raids Area 51" and had brief cameos in a couple other episodes, returns in "Stupid Mario Arcade", where he's in one of the Space Invaders ships shot down by Mario, dying in his arms right after. SMG3 later uses undoing Greg's death as a motive to get Mario to help him steal the Youtube Remote.
    • Pizza Delivery Spider-Man, who first appeared in "Little Penguin Lost", reappears in "If Mario Was Spider-Man", only to be fatally injured by Mario falling on him.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In Blood Runs in the Family, Nale (who had been absent for a whole arc) and Zz'dtri (who had last been seen in the very first arc) return. Nale in particular gets some character backstory before his father Tarquin murders him in cold blood. Zz'dtri gets a bit more characterization beyond being a Drizzt parody, but his characterization is lesser compared to Nale's.
    • Crystal and Bozzok, Haley's former co-worker and boss turned enemies appear in the Utterly Dwarfed arc. In Crystal's case, she had died before but Bozzok resurrected her as a flesh golem, leaving her alive but constantly in pain. Bozzok is disposed of when Crystal murders him in revenge for making her constantly feel pain. Crystal is killed by Haley in return when she offers Crystal a chance to live a life without Bozzok and go on a quest to figure out how she can ease her own pain, but Crystal refuses because she feels less pain when she is killing other people.
  • Tina's Story: After being absent for more than 30 chapters, Sean reappears in Chapter 98. And promptly hangs himself. We find out later in the chapter that he had late-stage cancer and decided to end it rather than waste away.

    Web Videos 
  • Alien Biospheres:
    • The Isla Proxima species introduced in Episode 11 return in Episode 13 only to be driven extinct thanks to their island adaptations rendering them unable to compete with the large mainland herbivores and carnivores.
    • Several species and clades that went Out of Focus in previous episodes return in Episode 14... only to be killed off by the mass extinction.
  • Daniel of Everyman HYBRID has easily the least relevance to the actual plot despite being part of the "parody" that seemed to draw Slender Man's attention. His final major appearance consists of him getting strangled by HABIT in Evan's body.
  • Marble Hornets entry 51 combines this with Anachronic Order, jumping back years in the series timeline to reveal the fate of a minor character from the first season. It ain't pretty.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In the series finale "Come Along With Me", Maja the Sky Witch returns from her coma just to be overloaded by Betty's magic and explode.
  • American Dad! has a whole episode of this. 98 characters get killed in a bus explosion.
  • Animaniacs (2020) brings back Pepé Le Pew for a small cameo, especially surprising after the rather public announcement of him being cut from Space Jam: A New Legacy and essentially being Exiled from Continuity. Said cameo ends with him being erased from existence.
  • In the DC Animated Universe, Professor Milo was a minor recurring villain on Batman: The Animated Series. He shows up again 13 years later in an episode of Justice League Unlimited only for Doomsday to kill him offscreen.
  • In the world of Ben 10, Magister Prior Gilhil appeared in an episode of Ben 10: Alien Force where he helped Ben, Gwen and Kevin defeat Darkstar. He later reappeared in a flashback in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien only for Aggregor to kill him with an energy spear to the back.
  • In the Elena of Avalor episode "Spirit of a Wizard" , Mateo's grandfather Alakazar is released from the magic book from Elena and the Secret of Avalor, and at the end of the episode, is killed by a lethal magic blast from Ash .
  • Vaudeville performers Vern and Johnny made recurring appearances in Season 4 of Family Guy. They are shot to death in Season 5's "Saving Private Brian" by Stewie who tells the audience they won't be returning. Despite this, they are seen yet again in the afterlife in "Back to the Woods" from Season 6, where Johnny is shown to be in hell because according to Vern, "Johnny liked little boys".
  • Calculon from Futurama killed himself in an acting competition in order to try to make a death scene more dramatic. Sixteen episodes later, he's revived for a while only to die again by the end of the episode.
  • Rick and Morty has Tammy appear in "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri" after last being seen in The Stinger for "The Rickshank Redemption", leading a hunt for Clone(?) Beth, which leads her and the New Galactic Federation to Earth. She ends up being killed with a headshot from Rick about halfway through.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life movie Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, there are two minor characters brought back only to be killed off.
    • Captain Compost Heap from the episode "Zanzibar" makes a brief appearance in the beginning where he gets flattened by Rocko's house. A news crawl seen later in the special confirms that he didn't survive.
    • Filburt's Aunt Gretchen from "Sugar Frosted Frights" appears among the characters who show up to view the premiere of the new Fatheads special. She ends up getting killed after a smart phone is hurled into her water tank.
  • The fifth season of Samurai Jack has The Scotsman return as an old man, leading a vast army of tanks, rhino cavalry and his badass daughters into battle against Aku. Aku steamrolls the army and nonchalantly vaporizes him down to a skeleton in front of his mortified daughters. Literally thirty seconds later, he rises up out of the ashes as a ghost, not looking that concerned about his death, telling them to go look for Jack so they can beat Aku for good.
  • The Simpsons: Bleeding Gums Murphy returned in "Round Springfield", although he was never a regular character, as pointed out by Troy McClure in The 138th Episode Spectacular.
  • South Park sort of played an example, then had another played straight:
    • Chef's voice actor, Isaac Hayes, was thought to have quit the show in apparent protest of the anti-Scientology message of "Trapped in the Closet", though his son revealed that he lost the ability to speak due to a stroke, and that a different member of the religion quit on his behalf, even though Hayes had no intent to depart the show on his own. Chef had been pretty Out of Focus by that point anyway, so they used the season ten premiere to kill him off, cobbling his lines together (badly) from previous episodes.
    • In "201", Pip, who hadn't had any speaking line since season 6, came back to deliver a Sedgwick Speech and be killed by Mecha-Streisand moments later. Word of God says that they were tired of fans asking about what happened to him, especially since they never liked him much anyway. Although, according to, he might come back someday.
    • Mrs. Crabtree, the long-absent school bus driver, turns up in "Cartman's Incredible Gift" as the victim of a serial killer. Lampshaded by the cops:
      Murphy: Her name is...Veronica Crabtree, bus driver for the elementary school. She was considered an ancillary character, one the fans wouldn't miss much.
      Yates: I know she hadn't been in any recent episodes, but damnit, she deserved better than this!
  • Speed Racer: The Next Generation: In "The Beginning", Speed Jr. and his friends find and restore the long-disappeared Mach 5, but it ends up truly totaled after a vicious race.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "Captain Pipsqueak" brings back the Tattletale Strangler from "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", giving him a speaking role for the first time in 20 years. He's trying out to join a league of supervillains. When Man Ray picks Nosferatu instead, the Strangler shoves him out of the way and says that he would be a better candidate. Man Ray takes out a laser gun and shoots the Strangler, disintegrating him into ashes and horrifying the other villains.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "No Small Parts", Captain Dayton, former commander of the U.S.S. Rubidoux in "Much Ado About Boimler", dies aboard the Solvang when they try to escape the Pakleds.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 5 episode "The Lawless" features the return of the Cool Starship Twilight, a fixture in the series' Pilot Movie and first season, but which hadn't been seen since "Children of the Force" early in season 2. It is, naturally, in a state of considerable disrepair and eventually gets blown up.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • Morad Sumar returns in "An Inside Man" just long enough to die when Thrawn forces him to test a speeder that Sumar himself rigged to explode.
    • Titus and Slavin return after a season-long absence in the first and second parts of "In the Name of the Rebellion", and both of them die when their ships get blown up.
    • Gregor returns in the final episodes and joins the liberation of Lothal, but suffers fatal wounds during the battle and dies in his commander's arms.
  • Total Drama Island: Eva returns in the episode "No Pain, No Gain", only to be eliminated near the end of said episode. In comparison, Izzy, who is also brought back in the same episode, lasts a good while longer before her second elimination.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Jonas Venture Jr. is a focal character of the All This and Gargantua-2 special, having been totally absent for season 4 and only showing up for one episode in season 5. He ends up Going Down with the Ship (or space station, in this case) along with General Treister to save everyone else aboard.
  • In Young Justice, Prince Orm/Ocean Master returns in the season 3 episode "Home Fires" after being mysteriously absent from season two, only for Lady Shiva to slice off his head so he doesn't jeopardize their plans.


Video Example(s):


Uncle Slow

Rick Prime decides to use the Omega Device to kill all iterations of all of Rick's family members in front of him to teach him a lesson, then kill Rick himself afterwards. He "starts small" by doing this to Slow Mobius, who Rick considers him an uncle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / AndYourLittleDogToo

Media sources: