So, after a long struggle, the Big Bad has been defeated. He has been sent to a jury, found guilty of his evil deeds, finally sent to prison, and good riddance. Unless it's a Cardboard Prison, we'll never meet him again.
However, that was not the grand finale. The story continued, and a new big bad emerged. At some point, either the new big bad or the hero himself is sent to prison as well. This time, we can see in full detail how they get into prison, how he walks to his cell with the other prisoners insulting from the nearby cells, and finally, his cell. Guess what, you'll have to share it. Meet your new cellmate! Oh, wait, you already knew each other?
If it's the hero, being in a cell with his former enemy will simply makes things even worse than simply being in prison would be. And if it's another villain, the old villain may work as a mentor of villainy, or how to do things inside of prison, or even plan a escape ploy together (which may be followed by a Villain Team-Up).
This may happen in Real Life but it is extremely unlikely, as it is a giant Contrived Coincidence. But even if it did happen, your lawyer can simply explain the situation and ask the prison to assign you another cell. Which is likely to be accepted, as running as prison is complex enough as is, and they may prefer to avoid unneeded drama.
This trope is a specific form of The Bus Came Back.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon is jailed with Viral, the Dragon of the previous Big Bad.
- Lupin III:
- IF it isn't just Lupin in the jail, the others are invariably either in the same cell, or adjacent cells.
- Lupin III Operation Return The Treasures: the first time Zenigata arrests Lupin, he puts Jigen in the same cell.
- A sequel comic to Superman Returns has Lex Luthor pull strings to get a less-than-bright cellmate, specifically so he can have an audience for his genius plans.
- Just about anytime The Punisher ends up in prison, he runs into a hierarchy of prisoners who more or less run the place. For example, a Mafia family get huge, almost customized cells, with all the luxuries that can be brought in there, including TV sets, porno mags and blowjobs (from other inmates).
- In Lucky Luke, the four Dalton Brothers will always get a cell together. Add to that the fact that it is a Cardboard Prison and they are all Tunnel Kings, and they will also very easily escape together (each digging their own tunnel no less).
- The Beagle Boys (Disney) in various incarnations usually also get a cell together.
- In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, both heroes defeat Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus, who are sent to prison. They escape together, and make a Villain Team-Up against the heroes.
- This was how The Joker and The Penguin began their first team-up, all the way back in The Golden Age of Comic Books. At the end of the story, Batman and Robin make sure they'll never be put in the same cellblock again.
- Superman II: Lex Luthor and his henchman, Otis, are shown sharing the same cell in Metropolis Prison. They also work together in the prison laundry.
- Batman & Robin: At the end, former partners Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze are put in the same cell. Presumably there was some bribery involved, considering that Gotham City prisons are unlikely to be co-ed. Mr. Freeze promises to get revenge on Poison Ivy for trying to kill his wife.
Mr. Freeze: Surprise. I'm your new cellmate. And I've come to make your life a living hell. Prepare for a bitter harvest.
- In Goodfellas, Henry Hill shares the same prison accommodation as his gangster pals (besides Jimmy Conway, who was in Atlanta). Truth in Television for them and many other organized crime figures at the time, usually achieved through corrupt prison staff.
- In My Cousin Vinny, Stan and Bill share a prison cell throughout the film.
- The Usual Suspects, the five main characters first meet in a jail cell after being rounded up for a lineup, and this is revealed to be part of Keyser Soze's plot. They lampshade this as being improbable, noting how when you're in a lineup it's almost always you and four volunteers the police hired to fill out the lineup.
- At the end of No Man's Land 4: Hot Rocks, the members of the all-female gang of jewel thieves are all locked up in the same cell; allowing them one last all-girl orgy.
- In The Elite Squad 2, the inmates of the prison complex are sorted according to their gang affiliation.
- In I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, the hero returns to prison after several years. He ends up in the same quarter with the old prisoner who helped him escape back then. Guess what the two are planning next.
- When imprisoned in Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and Ron are put in the same room as Luna. It does help that the "prison" is basically the basement of Malfoy Manor.
- In Interesting Times, Rincewind is thrown in prison by the Emperor. He quickly finds his old travel companion, Twoflower, is in the adjacent cell.
- In Oz, Ryan O'Reily arranges to have his brother Cyril become his cellmate so he can protect him.
- In My Name Is Earl, Earl finds that he is cellmates with an old friend of his, Frank.
- Same thing with his first cellmate, Ralph. Except Ralph escaped on Earl's first night (he would've included Earl in the escape, but he got hungry and ate the other watermelon).
- One of the major conflicts in Orange Is the New Black is between main character Piper and her ex-girlfriend, Alex. Piper was sent to prison for helping Alex smuggle drug money. Their real-life counterparts were not in the same prison.
- In the Prison Episode "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19) of Supernatural, Sam and Dean do not share a cell, but they are in the same cell block with cells right across from each other and are allowed to spend time together in the yard and during meals. Sam's cell is B309; Dean's cell is B310. Justified, since the warden is an old friend who asked for their help getting rid of a ghost.
- At the very end of season 1 of Agent Carter, Dr. Feinhoff is put in the same cell as Arnim Zola, which leads to the development of HYDRA's brainwashing program used to control the Winter Soldier and forcibly convert other new operatives.
- Lampshaded and subverted in Thrill Me: Nathan tells Richard that they'll be cellmates, and Richard points out how ridiculous an idea that is. It's not ridiculous—Nathan's had the guards bribed.
- When the pack are in prison, Fox and Hyena are sharing a cell, as are Wolf and Jackal.
- When Tony Dracon loses his private cell privileges, his new cellmate is Thomas Brod. While no reasonable jailer would pair up criminals who've worked together, neither would they pair up known enemies like Dracon and Brod. The ensuing fist fight they get into should explain why.
- In the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, the four turtles get a cell together, when they get captured by the Triceratons. When Raphael wins a fight under the dinner, he is however in another cell alone, so the others have to free him when they escape.
- In Futurama, Bender and Fry get implicated in a bank robbery with Roberto, a maniacal robot. Once they are imprisoned in the robot insane asylum, Fry's cellmate turns out to be... Roberto!
Roberto: I'm just practicing my stabbing motions!
- The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob has been seen with his family in jail.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Montana of the Enforcers, aka Shocker, and Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio share a cell in the Vault.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Deception", Moralo Eval, who is incarcerated by the Republic, plans on breaking out along with his cellmate, Cad Bane. The reason why Moralo wants to break out is because he was hired to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.
- The Powerpuff Girls: In "Powerpuff Bluff" after being framed, the girls are all put in the same cell, which they easily break out of.
- The Powerpuff Girls (2016): In "Tiara Trouble" Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and the Gangrene Gang all share the same cell.