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Changing of the Guard

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Jonathan Frakes: We have an idea for a sitcom, half-hour: The Rikers in space, their wacky Uncle Data, and their little dog Worf, on, like, the Titan, probably... We're married, and we're carrying on the Prime Directive. Because Patrick's too, uh—
Marina Sirtis: Old.
Star Trek: Nemesis featurette, "Reunion With the Rikers"

Story's over. The Hero and the Love Interest have married, settled down, have no further interest in adventures - and, besides, who would look after the kids while they saved the world? Or maybe he was Put on a Bus or perhaps - gasp - he died and stayed dead.

And yet the powers that be still want a sequel. What's a writer to do?

Why, promote the Sidekick of course. Or an ally. Or a brother or child. They haven't married and settled down yet. The Hero and his Love Interest can serve as supporting characters (and prove that they are Happily Married as a sidenote). Or the Heroic Bystander, or the Heroic Wannabe - any character that wasn't the lead can fit, if only they are promoted to lead. A Sequel Hook about their story helps, but is not required. Even new characters who have plausible relationships to the old story, such as the children The Hero and Love Interest could have - or the child the Love Interest is about to have, even if she wants to make sure he doesn't Turn Out Like His Father.

Any story is possible; the Changing of the Guard may be invisible to the characters, behind the fourth wall. However, a Changing of the Guard can be noticeable. It could be subtle, such as when a character snarks about the precursor settling down because earlier in the series, when heart-whole and fancy-free, he had mocked lovers. However, it's often a bit more overt. When it is, it usually falls into one of these subtropes:

Compare with Legacy Characters. When done for the right reasons, an excellent way to avoid Plot Leveling. Then, it may be dictated by real life, if an actor refuses to return, has become too old for the role, or even to increase merchandizing opportunities. These are generally less fortunate. Can lead to Generation Xerox, which is usually not done for the right reasons. Contrast Old Hero, New Pals. Not to be confused with Decoy Protagonist, which happens mid-story and does not necessarily need to resolve the previous focus character's story. Compare B-Team Sequel, which is where the creators, but not necessarily the characters, change between installments.

See also The Modern Gods, Rotating Protagonist, Demoted to Extra, and Ascended Extra.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure 02 picked up where the first left off by having the two youngest kids team up with a whole new group, while the older heroes served as mentors.
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]: Half of the participants in the fifth Holy Grail War are the children of those who battled in the fourth.
  • Gundam:
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure passes the torch to a different Joestar every new series, although they usually wind up in conflict with Dio (even indirectly) at some point. It's also common for supporting characters in one series to show up in another, like Polnareff's involvement in Golden Wind.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • After The Final Problem arc off Moriarty the Patriot, Louis takes on the role of "M" and head of the supporting cast/crew that worked under William, as Albert is in The Tower and William is presumed dead.
  • My-Otome changes the main character from Mai to Arika in both versions, but the nature of Mai's eventual reappearance is very different between the two adaptations.
  • The Record of Lodoss War OVA switches halfway through from Parn to Spark as the main character. Of course, he's actually just being badass offscreen, and returns just in time for the Final Battle.
  • Similarly, the second season of Superbook had Gizmo team up with a young friend of the main characters of the first season, Joy and Chris. They kept in contact with them through a communication screen in Gizmo's stomach (he's a robot).
  • The first few episodes of Transformers: ★Headmasters moved the main characters from The Transformers out of the spotlight to focus on the Headmasters. Something similar happened between Masterforce and Victory.
  • Dragon Ball: Akira Toriyama intended to switch the focus from Goku to his son Gohan at the end of the Cell Saga, but switched the main focus back to Goku because he decided that Gohan wasn't fit for the role.
  • In the universe of the franchise, Love Live! Sunshine!! exists as a time skip 5 years after Love Live! takes place, showing the legacy the µ's girls left behind and how they set the standard for the Love Live competition. In the real world, Aqours exists because not only were the µ's voice actresses contracts set to expire in 2016, but also due to Yoshino Nanjo's knee injury that caused her to sit out on a majority of µ's public appearances in 2015. Love Live in general was bringing in too much money merchandising wise to let it die out after µ's went on hiatus, so Aqours was created as a remedy to keep the hype for the brand alive.
  • With every new arc and region of Pokémon Adventures comes new protagonists, with the old ones occasionally providing backup. The best thing about this is that since the focus isn't on one character all the time, nobody suffers from Badass Decay.
  • In Attack on Titan, after the destruction of the old Special Operations team led by Levi, a new squad of the remaining 104th Trainees is formed. Eren notes the similarities between the two with visible sadness.
  • Part One of Tokyo ESP focuses on Rinka and Azuma, who go missing so Part Two features new protagonists Jun and Zeusu.
  • Aikatsu! has Ichigo train a fan of hers, Akari, in the idol business, clearing the way for when Akari and new group of friends take over the main character roles in season 3.
  • PriPara shifted focus from Lala Manaka to her temporary roommate Yui Yumekawa in Idol Time Pripara.
  • Since Kemono Friends was revealed to be a Shared Universe in its anime, the protagonist position rotates over time. Mirai of the Nexon game gave way to Nana of Welcome to Japari Park!, who would give way to Kaban in the anime and Kyururu in season 2.

    Comic Books 
  • In a controversial decision, the folks in charge of Ultimate Spider-Man allowed Peter Parker to be killed off. A successor named Miles Morales took up the mantle, despite being younger, smaller, and afraid of his powers.
  • Astro City: Given the long line of legacy heroes in the 'verse, this happens fairly often.
    • The first Jack-in-the-Box was killed in action, although his family knew only that he vanished without a trace. It wasn't until years later that his son discovered a hidden cache of his costumes and equipment, and decided to become the second Jack-In-The-Box and avenge his father's death.
    • Jack-In-The-Box II had a two-issue story arc on his succession. Jack is confronted by nightmarish futuristic versions of his son, who blame Jack for their fate — in their Alternate History, Jack died before they were born, and was therefore unable to be a father figure in their lives. When Jack later discovers his wife is pregnant, he has to decide between giving up his super-hero identity or risk leaving behind a twisted offspring. The problem is resolved when Jack passes his super-hero identity to an acrobatic gang member, whom he aids from his home basement with remote-control spy cameras and microphones.
    • The mantle of The Confessor is passed on when the original Confessor is killed and his sidekick chooses to take over the role.
    • Played with in the case of Quarrel, a male villain whose daughter inherits his title and equipment, but ends up becoming a hero instead — just as he wanted.
    • Comes up in the story of Starfighter as well, in a different way. As his powers begin to fade, he wonders what he's done wrong... only for the entity that grants said powers to explain it just wants him to have a peaceful retirement. It then presents him with a list of several worthy candidates to take on the mantle, one of whom is his daughter.
  • In Fables, Rose Red is pretty explicitly handed the Designated Heroine role after her sister marries and settles down.
  • In Superman story The Death of Superman (1961), the Man of Steel gets killed off by Lex Luthor permanently, and his younger cousin and pupil Supergirl takes over his duties.
  • X-Men: The All-New, All-Different era begins with most of the original X-Men declaring they've grown up and graduated, and no longer want to stay at the Institute. Only Cyclops stays behind because of his Power Incontinence, allowing the new writer to focus on the new team. That said, Jean Grey came back soon enough, as did Havok and Lorna Dane when they caught a bad case of Brainwashed and Crazy.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Short Circuit 2, sure it's still Johnny Five but now Guttenberg has been replaced with his quirky not-really-Indian sidekick.
  • The Tremors series passes the "hero torch" from Val (gets married) to Earl (opens a theme park) to Burt (stays at it until his heroic sacrifice in movie 7).
  • Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 with Snowman dressed as The Bandit.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull introduces Indy's son Mutt, who was seemingly being set up to take his father's place. Even so, the film ends with a pointed subversion of passing the torch as Indy's trademark hat is blown off its rack and Mutt picks it up. He's about to try it on when Indy snatches it back. And in 2023, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was released, with Harrison Ford still in the lead.
  • Rocky Balboa had a perfectly good opportunity to pass off his Best Boxer EVAR mantle to a young man named Steps (who did not have any other purpose to the story). He doesn't, although Creed shows him training the son of his old rival.
  • A meta-version of this occurs in the beginning of The Rundown when The Rock enters a club and passes Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wishes him a good time as he's leaving the club.
  • An odd example occurs with the Van Wilder series. The first movie focuses around its titular character. The second movie then shifts focus to the sidekick, Taj. The third movie then returns to Van, the main character from the first movie.
  • Bruce Almighty starred Jim Carrey as Bruce... and as a supporting character, Steve Carell as newscaster Evan. Steve's character would then get promoted to the lead role in the sequel, Evan Almighty.
  • James Bond:
    • Skyfall does this for the Bond series' supporting cast. By the end of the film Judi Dench's M has died, been replaced by Ralph Fiennes' male M. We are introduced to a quartermaster, or Q (Ben Whishaw), for the first time in a Bond movie with Daniel Craig. At the end we learn that Eve (Naomie Harris) was named "Moneypenny" all along, when she decides to give up being a field agent for a desk job.
    • At some point, a Spin-Off of Die Another Day was in the works, starring Jinx (Halle Berry) as the main character, and would have had Pierce Brosnan doing a cameo appearance as James Bond. Wai-Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies was also rumored to have her own movie. In the end though, the Bond producers decided it wasn't worth it and stuck to making Bond-centric movies. They reiterated this by the time of the release of No Time to Die about twenty years later.
  • The first four entries of the X-Men Film Series featured Wolverine as the main protagonist, but X-Men: First Class has Magneto and Professor X as the two lead characters.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, by the film's end, several of the original Avengers lineup have retired, left to attend to other matters or just plain disappeared. A new team is unveiled in the final moments: Captain America, Black Widow, War Machine, the Falcon, Scarlet Witch and the Vision.

  • Raymond E. Feist's The Riftwar Cycle. While most of the powerful magicians are long-lived, supporting characters in the later books are typically descendants of the original protagonists. Famous examples are the descendants of Duke Borric and Jimmy the Hand.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien wrestled with the idea of having Bilbo have more adventures after The Hobbit, but quickly decided on having a son or other relative have them instead, although it took him a while to decide on Frodo.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs played with this in his Mars books. After the third book, he began writing about a larger stable of viewpoint characters, as John Carter's own romance arc had been completed and he needed new princesses to rescue and heroes to rescue them. John Carter remained a central figure and The Hero throughout the series, however
  • Andre Norton:
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga began with Shards of Honor before going on to be mostly about the son of that novel's protagonists.
  • Piers Anthony's works:
    • Done constantly in the Xanth series. What generation of Bink's family are we on now?
    • In the Apprentice Adept series, this is played with. The main characters in Book 4 and 5 are from the second generation, but in Book 6, the first-, second- and third-generation heroes all get equal screen time and are equally relevant to the plot.
  • Older Than Steam: Done repeatedly in the sequels to the Chivalric Romance of Amadis of Gaul.
  • Heralds of Valdemar does this, but just as often in reverse, recounting the experience of past generations rather than future ones. And then the children of past generations take the torch, but still in the past. And then their great-great-great-grandchildren show up in the present novels.
  • Terry Brooks' Shannara series does it regularly. The grandchildren of the characters of previous book typically become the protagonists of the next. Suffers from Generation Xerox somewhat.
  • Redwall:
    • There's a new set of characters is almost every book. The only constant is the the Abbey itself.
    • And there are a few novels that predate the construction of the Abbey, so not even that is entirely constant.
  • Dragonlance Chronicles has Tanis as its lead character but its sequel Legends set shortly after has the twins Caramon and Raistlin take the spotlight. The next book set years later has the children of the heroes from Chronicles as the main cast.
  • The last few Anne of Green Gables books are mostly about her kids.
  • The Sacketts series by Louis L'Amour has this built-in and happening over and over. As the title suggest, the series is meant to be about the Sackett family, not one particular hero.
  • Every new one of The Chronicles of Narnia has a new changing of the guard: First, there were the 4 Pevensie siblings. Then there were two and a cousin. Then the cousin and a friend... The prequel even established a minor character from the first published book as the major character in a previous adventure.
  • In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy books, the first trilogy is narrated by Phedre. The second is by her adopted son, as Phedre is semi-retired from adventuring by the time he's an adult. (The third is by a distant relative of theirs a century or two later.)
  • The Edge Chronicles features a new set of characters across almost every book. The whole series has three trilogies, each with a different central protagonist.
  • The sequel series to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus focuses on a new group of kids. Percy and Annabeth are the only old characters who are part of the seven main characters.
  • X-Wing Series:
    • The first four books had Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron, but the primary focus was unmistakably Corran Horn. Those four books ended with the Rogues, including Wedge and Corran, deciding to help a planet's defenses build up after "killing" the Big Bad. The next three books were to be written by another author, who wanted to write from the POV of some of Wedge's friends creating a new squadron. Executive Meddling nixed this, so Aaron Allston had Wedge leave the Rogues for a while and create a new squadron himself. Some other characters are in common, but in different or reduced roles.
    • Mercy Kill, the 10th X-Wing novel, happens after a 20 year Time Skip, and a new generation of Wraiths are introduced. Several of them are the children of the original cast.
  • The first series of the Warrior Cats books started off with Firestar as the main character. He was then replaced by Brambleclaw, his former apprentice, in Warrior Cats: The New Prophecy, as well as his daughters Squirrelflight and Leafpool. In Power of Three, Brambleclaw turns into a background character like Firestar, and is replaced by his adopted children Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf. Omen of the Stars has Ivypool and Dovewing, two younger cats, as its main focus, with the Power of Three characters still in tow. And then in A Vision of Shadows, Bramblestar and Squirrelflight's kit Alderheart is the main focus, with Ivypool and Dovewing as background characters. In The Broken Code, the focus is on Ivypool's daughter Bristlefrost and Dovewing's son Shadowsight, with both of them as background characters.
  • Most of the main good guys from the first three Emberverse books have a lot of authority in the new nation-states by the time the second series rolls around. This would put a crimp in their ability to go haring off to find the Sword of Plot Advancement when such a trip would take several years - a fact the resident Tolkien geek deeply laments - and so the task falls to the previously established Chosen One, his childhood friend, and seven more characters who either could be missed by blinking in the first three books or are completely new. While they're away, we do get the occasional glimpse of the old guard struggling to stave off the new Big Bad.
  • The Legacy of Dhakaan, set after The Dragon Below with some of the same characters, promotes Geth, Ashi, and Ekhaas to center-stage since Dandra and Singe have their happy ending and the Marcher crowd are too busy at home.
  • Discworld
    • Mort and Ysabell's story ended with them Happily Married. So for the next novel that needed a young clueless human to take on Death's role and mess things up, their daughter Susan was introduced.
    • Lords and Ladies also ends with Magrat, the Maiden of the Lancre coven, getting married. Luckily, the same novel introduces a coven of young girls messing about, one of whom — Agnes Nitt — actually has some talent and becomes Third Witch (eventually) in the next coven novel. Arguably, the Tiffany Aching novels mark a Changing Of The Guard for the entire witches series, with Tiff becoming the main character while Nanny and Granny fade into support roles.
    • Guards! Guards! starts off being about Carrot Ironfounderson, the secret heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork who joins and breathes new life into the night watch and turns his boss Captain Samuel Vimes around from being a burned out alcoholic into a capable watch commander again. Subsequent "watch" stories focus almost entirely on Vimes as the grizzled veteran.
  • After a while, the Thoroughbred series stopped focussing on Ashley and her friends and timeskipped a few years to focus on their kids instead.
  • The first three books of The Black Company series are narrated mainly by Croaker, Annalist of the Black Company, who then passes the duty to his successor Murgen, who ever only gets mentioned once in the third book, and while Croaker stays an important character, we don't get his point of view anymore. Murgen in turn passes the annalist duties on to his understudy Sleepy, who in turn is implied to be succeeded by Shukrat and Arkana, Croaker's adopted daughters. It's worth noting that according to company tradition the annalist tends become the standard bearer and eventually rise to being captain, so each of those follow the previous one in more than one role.
  • The first half of the Sector General series follows the medical adventures and advancement of the young Doctor Conway. At the end of the sixth book, he is promoted to the highest ranks of the hospital staff, which means far less work with individual cases and definitely no missions away from the hospital. Accordingly he is retired as a protagonist, and the next six books all focus on different characters.
  • After Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series, she started TodHunter Moon, where the Septimus characters are only minor roles. The heroine fo the first book becomes Septimus's apprentice at the end.
  • In Mavis Doriel Hay's first detective novel Murder Underground, two of the viewpoint characters are Betty Watson and her fiancé Basil. The protagonist of the sequel, Death on the Cherwell, is Sally Watson, who in due course is revealed to be Betty's younger sister.
  • The Anderssons: When the series starts out, Elin is clearly the protagonist. But after two installments, that role is naturally given to her daughter Rebecka instead. And then, it is moved around between different girls in their family.
  • The Tales of the Magic Land cycle is divided into two parts: Ellie–Toto–Fred/Charlie era and Annie–Arto–Tim era. The third book ends with Ramina the Mouse Queen predicting that Ellie would never return to the Magic Land, but it didn't stop the fans from crying for more. The writer then quickly introduced Ellie's little sister Annie and Toto's grandson Arto to throw them into a new adventure.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inspector Morse's sidekick, later the star of Lewis.
  • Power Rangers did a lot of this in its early seasons: when old actors left or started getting too old for their roles, they transferred their powers to new ones and went off to do stuff.
  • War of the Worlds (1988) did this when it switched into a Darker and Edgier season, throwing out decayed villains and immediately establishing the threat of the new ones with the death of two of the ensemble. Their mourning was short-lived due to the addition of Adrian Paul as an Anti-Hero.
  • In M*A*S*H this happens to several major cast members: Henry's tour of duty ends, he gets killed on his way home, and is replaced by Sherman Potter. Trapper goes home as well, in comes BJ. Frank breaks down, and is replaced by Charles. When Radar leaves, Klinger takes over his role as the company clerk.
  • Agent John Doggett replaced Fox Mulder as the male lead after the latter was abducted by the aliens in the eighth season of The X-Files. In the ninth season, Monica Reyes replaced Dana Scully as the female lead, completing the guard change.
  • Happened frequently in Law & Order; probably could have gone on forever if the network hadn't pulled the plug.
  • Happened just as frequently on ER; final scene has Carter (once a young intern, now in charge of the shift) saying the exact same thing ("You coming?") to the now near adult daughter of the now deceased doctor who was in charge when Carter was said intern.
  • In the last season of JAG it looked like they were preparing for this—the General replacing the Admiral, and the two younger lawyers being introduced.
  • Babylon 5: This was a theme of the fifth season, beginning with Captain Elizabeth Lochley being assigned to replace Captain Susan Ivanova as commander of the station. Through the course of the season, most of the established characters would retire, take on new jobs, deal with the fact that they didn't have their old jobs, and generally pass the torch to a variety of minor or supporting characters from previous seasons who were similarly moving on from their old roles in life. With the penultimate episode, Sheridan and Delenn depart Babylon 5 and the audience is treated to a shot of all of the replacement characters standing at the Command and Control viewport in the style of the first season's intro.
    • This also happened to a smaller degree in the second and fourth seasons. Commander Sinclair was reassigned to Minbar after the first season (due to the actor suffering from medical problems) and replaced with Captain Sheridan. In the fourth season, Garibaldi goes missing, then takes a leave of absence, then resigns, and throughout all of this, Zack Allen ends up with his job. Sheridan goes on the warpath against Earth and Susan Ivanova takes over as commander of the station for most of the season.
  • Blake's 7: Blake is only a regular on the first half of the show's run, with Anti-Hero Lancer Avon being elevated to the role of main character for the second half.
  • After the second season of GARO, a movie was released to wrap up the story of the hero Kouga; after this, the third and fifth seasons focused on Ryuuga (a future Garo user) and the fourth on Kouga's son Raiga.
  • Zigzagged in Tiere bis unters Dach. The first two seasons center around Greta , her sister Lilie, and her friends. At the beginning of season 3, she realizes that she's gotten too old for adventures, and her younger cousin Nellie moves in and becomes the new main character, while the previous child cast pretty much disappears. In season 4, the now teenaged Greta and Lilie once again become prominent recurring characters, and Greta's old friend Celine also shows up from time to time, though Nellie is still the main character.
  • House of Anubis: Nina Martin was the protagonist of the first two seasons. Due to her actress leaving in the third season, she was replaced by Eddie Miller and the new character KT Rush, who led Sibuna in her place.
  • One Tree Hill: Protagonist Lucas Scott (and his wife Peyton Sawyer) left the show after Season 6 (though he returned for an episode in the final season). Lucas' half-brother and Deuteragonist Nathan is then promoted to the protagonist role in Seasons 7 and 8. When Nathan's actor only joined the final season as a part time regular, his wife Haley becomes the show's final protagonist.
  • The Walking Dead Season 9 features The Hero Rick Grimes getting Put on a Bus early on. His Lancer Daryl Dixon, resident Action Mom Carol Peletier, and Rick's wife Michonne became a Power Trio to fill the role Rick left in subsequent episodes.
  • The White Queen has Elizabeth Woodville as the main protagonist marrying Edward IV, the head of a rival dynasty. Jacquetta of Luxembourg is the Queen's mother smoothing her ascent to power - and teaching her the use of magic. Cecily Neville is the King's mother, resentful of the newcomer displacing her. Margaret of Anjou is the exiled Queen fighting to put her teenage son on the throne and Margaret Beaufort is a distant relative quietly plotting her own progeny's accession. In The White Princess Elizabeth of York becomes the main protagonist and marries the newly-crowned Henry VII, while Elizabeth Woodville inherits Jacquetta's role. Margaret Beaufort replaces Cecily Neville, who sort of takes up Beaufort's role in scheming to install either Perkin Warbecknote  or Edward of Warwicknote , aided by another Margaret from her seat in Burgundy. While their political positions are not the same, a similar character arc is shown with Anne Neville and Maggie Pole, who start off shy and submissive but gradually become more assertive, yet still end up losing everything.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 would periodically write off and replace members of its small cast, which would be reflected by changes to its title sequence. In order: Dr. Eckhardt was Put on a Bus between Seasons 1 and 2 and replaced by TV's Frank; Joel escaped the Satellite of Love midway through Season 5 and was replaced by Mike; Frank died at the end of Season 6 and was replaced by Pearl; Dr. Forrester was Killed Offscreen between Seasons 7 and 8, with Pearl taking over as Big Bad and bringing in Professor Bobo and Brain Guy as her assistants; and as the Bots are the only characters brought back in the Season 11 revival, Mike and Pearl's group are all replaced respectfully by Jonah, Kinga, and Max.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder: The trailer depicts an older Timmy Turner (the original series' main character) personally passing Cosmo and Wanda down to his cousin Viv, thereby cementing that she's the new protagonist.

  • Confession Executive Committee's Love Series centers around the students of Sakuragaoka High School, but every few years the current cast gets phased out in favor of a newer, fresher group of students. At first it focused on a group of six friends, but after a while focus shifted to the friend group of two of the first generation's younger siblings, and by 2019 focus shifted to that cast's juniors. The previous groups still do get some focus, but it mostly comes in side material and they are nowhere near the focus of the primary series afterwards.

    Video Games 
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story, has two selectable protagonists, one of which is the son of one of the protagonists in Star Ocean.
  • The ending of Neverwinter Nights was set up for another adventure, but they move on to entirely new groups of heroes in the expansions and the sequel.
  • Most games in the Castlevania series focus on a different Belmont, although sometimes they're not available due to plot purposes, like in Castlevania: Bloodlines, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
  • Later installments of the King's Quest series focus on the adventures of Graham's (the original protagonist) descendants.
  • Eternal Darkness levels end (which often involves the death, or worse of said character) although it still has a protagonist who's played in the intervals between chapters.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War skips 17 years after its halfway point, so pretty much your entire army will be replaced by the children of your units.
    • This works backwards in the Elibe games. The Blazing Blade (or just Fire Emblem outside Japan) was a prequel to The Binding Blade, so it naturally starred the parents of several of that game's characters.
  • Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. The main characters from the former are all out of the picture somehow (dead, in another time, or busy elsewhere), but before they left they set up an unimaginably complex Gambit Roulette to produce the main characters of the latter and get them to be in the right places at the right times.
  • Apollo Justice takes over from Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attorney games. Well, he technically does — the fact that the entire Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney game centres on what happened to Phoenix left some fans unconvinced. Still, Phoenix's pals were absent, to allow for a new cast. Probably as a response to this, later games fleshed out Apollo's personality and backstory to make him more distinct from Phoenix. It actually was supposed to be a whole new set of characters, but Executive Meddling caused it to include Phoenix and the writers had to make it so that Phoenix couldn't just swoop in and save the day.
  • A staple in the Dragon Age series:
    • Dragon Age II continues the history of Thedas post-Fifth Blight (which was depicted in Origins) but with a new lead character and a mostly brand-new supporting cast.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition mixes things: Hawke's gang is for the most part dispersed all around Thedas, most party members are new faces and Ascended Extras from supplemental materials but Varric, alongside Origins veterans Leliana and Cullen joins the title organization, with Hawke themselves giving a hand for a while, while other veteran characters including the Origins protagonist, if they survived, are still active off-screen and referenced in the War Table section of the game.
  • In Valis IV, Yuko Ahso, who Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence at the end of Valis III, passes the Valis Sword to new heroine Lena Brande. Cham and Valna return as supporting characters.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The son of the main characters from the previous game is implied to the new hero in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and the game also focuses a good deal on the other children of the previous heroes as well, but the old heroes are quite active in the story themselves as well.
    • At the end of Final Fantasy X, Tidus ceases to exist due to the fact that Jecht's existance as Sin was the only thing keeping him alive. Obviously, Square Enix couldn't make him the protagonist of the sequel, so the story centers around Yuna instead and her quest to bring him back.
    • At the end of Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille and Fang all die as a result of the plot and Lightning is gone for story reasons, so they're out. Bring in Lightning's sister, Serah. Conveniently, Lightning, while in Valhalla (Heaven if you will), is able to summon Noel to give her some help. Hope, Vanille, Fang, Snow, and Sahz also make appearances, not counting DLC.
  • The Legend of Heroes - Trails: It's practically franchise tradition for this to happen after every arc, or sometimes even within arcs. To elaborate; the ending of Trails in the Sky SC outright acknowledges this in its Sequel Hook, with Cassius Bright stating that while the current crisis has been resolved, there will be more battles to come, which will be fought by other people.
  • The main Pokémon series has had 12/24/25 heroes so far (depending on how you count); Red/Leaf, Ethan/Kris/Lyra, Brendan/May, Lucas/Dawn, Hilbert/Hilda, Nate/Rosa, Calem/Serena, Elio/Selene, Chase/Elaine, Victor/Gloria, Rei/Akari, and Florian/Juliana. In the Orre games, there's Wes in Pokémon Colosseum and Michael in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Ranger games have 3/6 heroes (Lunick/Solana, Kellyn/Kate, and Ben/Summer). Then there's Mark/Mint from the TCG games, an unnamed hero from Pokémon Conquest, Todd Snap from Pokémon Snap and Lucy Fleetfloot from Pokémon Troizei/Link. In a series that revolves around "gotta catch 'em all", this was probably the best way to avoid continually invoking Bag of Spilling.
  • Puyo Puyo Fever was supposedly going to take place in a different universe from the previous games...but lo and behold, former protagonist Arle somehow found her way in, along with Carbuncle. Other classic Puyo characters returned in the sequel, putting them in the same continuity.
  • Pretty common in Soulcalibur V, Sophitia and her sister Cassandra have been supplanted by Sophitia's children. Xianhua, Taki and Kilik have all been replaced by successors or offspring that use the same weapons and styles. Yoshimitsu is apparently a legacy character, but with the mask you can't tell he's changed. Nightmare got a new identity for story purposes, but he's still the same guy. Maxi and Siegfried are cool old guys, the rest of the returners have been rendered ageless in one way or another or always were.
  • Each new main entry in the Persona series features a new group of heroes; Persona 2 is the only main series game where party members from the previous one still play a major role in the plot, though Persona 4: Arena reveals that the cast of Persona 3 haven't given up on the hero business just yet. The first Persona plays this almost literally by having the female protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei if... pass down her sword to the Player Character.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son changes the protagonist from Cole McGrath to Delsin Rowe due to the fact that the game takes place after the good ending of inFAMOUS 2, in which Cole sacrifices himself.
  • Season Two of The Walking Dead (Telltale) has Clementine become the hero this time around since Lee ends up succumbing to the zombie plague by the end of the first season.
  • Yakuza 6 is the final part of Kazuma Kiryu's story arc. The next game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, follows a new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, as he makes shockwaves through the Japanese criminal underworld.
  • Street Fighter III was supposed to be this, with only Ryu and Ken being returning characters among a brand new roster (with new character Alex being the main protagonist.) After the game turned out to be a commercial disaster, the updated 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike (the latter of which would eventually become Vindicated by History) added Akuma and Chun-li, and Capcom eventually reached a compromise, with future titles being set between 2 and 3 (until Street Fighter 6, nearly 20 years after 3 was first released), with both the previous cast and some of the newcomers from 3.
  • Fatal Fury followed in Street Fighter III's footsteps with Garou: Mark Of The Wolves, the final game in the series, which had Terry as the only returning character (while main protagonist duties were passed onto Geese Howard's son Rock.)
  • Tales Of:
  • Bravely Second, the sequel to Bravely Default, brings in new protagonist Yew, due to original protagonist Agnès getting taken hostage, although Tiz and Edea from the first game still return as party members.
  • The Borderlands games do this between each main entry. Each group of vault hunters in one game become key side characters in the next. The first generation that was Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick couldn't take on the threat of Hyperion in the second game, and the Crimson Raiders were scattered and complacent by the time the Children of the Vault emerged in the third.
  • The Other: Rosie's Road of Love: The new protagonist, is a side character from the prequel, Rosie, who has been Promoted to Playable.
  • Fresh Minty Adventure: Game 3.5 of the Pony Platforming Project, has changed protagonists by having Promoted to Playable, the Damsel in Distress of Game 3: Minty Fresh Adventure!.
  • Awesomely Subverted in Vermintide II. The interquel mission of the first game and the opening narration in the second suggests that the Ubersreik Fivenote  have been defeated and captured by the forces of Chaos, and new heroes will be required. Cue the prologue, which shows the Ubersreik Five busting out of captivity and escaping to continue the fight.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: After the end of the fifth season, the show was brought back with the miniseries Recovery One, which featured a new protagonist named Agent Washington in the starring role. None of the original main characters reappeared, and the only returning characters were Delta, featured in the first miniseries Out of Mind, and Wyoming, who appears briefly and without any lines. Washington continued as the protagonist into the next season, Reconstruction, where the original cast gradually joined him.

    Web Comics 
  • Scary Go Round started with the characters Tessa and Rachel (let's call them the "New Guard") as protagonists, but they were soon complemented with and eventually usurped by characters from John Allison's previous webcomic Bobbins. For a while Shelley, Amy, Tim, and Ryan (the "Old Guard") reigned supreme, but then a batch of younger characters, in particular The Boy and Perky Goth Esther (the "Young Guard" along with their friends) gradually took over. In the final chapters of SGR, the younger siblings of the "Young Guard", mainly Lottie and Shauna (the "Kid's Guard") starred (and transitioned into the successor webcomic Bad Machinery).
    • The "Old Guard" remained until the end too: the very last couple of comics show Shelley saying goodbye to Amy and Ryan and leaving town. As Lottie is the sister of Esther's best friend and both of them have met Shelley, it's almost my case of Take Up My Sword in the investigating-local-weirdness game. Ryan and Amy still appear in Bad Machinery as supporting characters - Ryan is now Shauna and Lottie's teacher.
  • Ruby Nation is a continuation of the story in Ruby's World, but the perspective has shifted to that of Elise.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond is about Batman's replacement. The original Batman acts as Mission Control.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters focuses on Egon training a new group. The Real Ghostbusters haven't quite quit, though, and return for one two-parter.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 1 shows the gradual replacement of Clone Troopers by natural-born Stormtroopers in the Imperial Army. This causes problems in the third-to-last episode as the Bad Batch's old Clone credentials no longer work as the Empire has switched to Stormtrooper ones.
  • This was sort of the entire point of Tiny Toon Adventures — the old school Looney Tunes ran an academy at which they could teach their skills to the next generation of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes.
  • The Legend of Korra: By way of reincarnation, Korra is this to previous series' protagonist Aang, with Katara (another protagonist and the elderly wife of said character) noting this in a Passing the Torch speech in the first episode. While Korra and her group of friends run around as the new leads, Katara remains in the South Pole as a healer, Zuko is retired and ceded the throne to his daughter, Toph became a hermit after raising her children to adulthood, and Sokka was a councilman who died at some unspecified point when Korra was a child.
    Katara: Aang's time has passed. My brother and many of my friends are gone. It's time for you and your generation to take on the responsibility of keeping peace and balance in the world. But I think you're going to be a great Avatar.
    • It was played with a little bit previously in ATLA, with Aang was frequently being compared with previous, highly-regarded incarnations Roku and Kyoshi.

    Real Life 
  • Technically, since the respective successions are decided mostly from above, political Inaugurations and military Changes of Command would be this, rather than Passing the Torch.
  • As a star ages, if it had planets, the habitable zone (an imaginary boundary where liquid water can exist) will gradually move outwards (once every 2 billion years or so), ending life on the planet that was originally inside the habitable zone, but at the same time allows planets further away to support life. When life first began on Earth, life was no longer possible on Venus. And when life is no longer possible on Earth, life will become a possibility on Mars.


Video Example(s):


Generation Next

In the first scene of the first episode of the first sequel series, Yugi, King of Games, gives a new duelist a card to help him on his future adventures.

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Example of:

Main / ChangingOfTheGuard

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