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Cradle To Grave Character

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Spoilered Rotten!! (We know everybody dies in this one.)

Most characters seen in any sort of media are seen in one swath of their life, usually in a firmly established adulthood. But, rarely, a single character will be depicted in their in-universe media all the way from their infancy to their elderly years, sometimes even all the way from birth unto death. This doesn't even always occur intentionally. Sometimes the initial work depicting a character only intends to show them in one present adventure, but the demands for new angles in prequels and sequels end up painting these parts of their lives as well.



  • A televised ad for the Xbox from 2002 has a woman in labor push out her baby with such force that the infant goes flying out the window and over the countryside, aging rapidly as he goes. Within thirty seconds, he's at retirement age, at which he plummets to Earth to slam into a cemetery grave. XBox's moral of the ad: Life is short; play more. Viewable on YouTube here.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • All-Star Superman begins with a brief summary of Superman's birth and childhood before jumping into the main story: how Superman spent the last days before his death.


  • Benjamin Button, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — almost an inversion, as this could be called Gradle-to-the-Crave, Button starts being born as an "elderly" baby and ages backwards for some 80 years, until he dies looking like an infant.
  • Luke Skywalker: over the course of the Star Wars Universe, we see (though not told in chronological order) Luke Skywalker being born near the end of Revenge of the Sith, and revisited in the rest of the films until we see his death at the end of The Last Jedi. Princess Leia (born at the same time) is close to being another character in this category, being shown from birth to old age (and having outlived the actress who played the character).
  • James T. Kirk: although not all appearing in the same time stream, we see Kirk born at the beginning of the 2009 Star Trek film, revisit him at various points in his youth and throughout most of his adult life, and then see him die (in action, but elderly in years) at the end of Star Trek: Generations.
  • Michael Corleone: In The Godfather series, Michael is shown as an infant in the early flashback sequences of The Godfather Part II, and in old age and death in The Godfather Part III. His brother Fredo Corleone is similarly shown as an infant — but doesn't exactly live to die of old age.
  • Predestination begins when the main character is an adult and then follows that character through flashbacks and Time Travel to their birth and to when they're killed by the Bartender.
  • In-universe, this is what the titular program from The Truman Show was intended to be for its unwitting protagonist Truman.
    Network Executive: For God's sake, Chris! The whole world is watching. We can't let him die in front of a live audience!
    Christof: He was BORN in front of a live audience.
  • Mr. Nobody follows Neo Nobody from the birth to the end of his life. Several times, since it is a Multiple-Choice Future.
  • Marley, the dog in Marley and Me, is introduced as a puppy, and is shown over the course of his life until he is elderly (for a dog) and must be put to sleep.


  • The Bible:
    • The Book of Genesis follows a bloodline from father to son from the beginning of humanity to Israel's arrival in Egypt, meaning the reader is privy to life, death, and everything in-between characters including Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and finally Joseph, whose death closes the book in its fiftieth chapter.
    • Moses' conception, birth, and adulthood are described in the second chapter of the Book of Exodus before he's tasked with leading the Hebrews out of Egypt at age eighty. The books of Leviticus and Numbers detail the forty years he spends leading Israel while Deuteronomy records the final speech before Moses dies in the book's 34th chapter.
    • Books of Samuel begin with Hannah praying to bear a son, a prayer that is answered as the prophet is Samuel is conceived and born to her. The first book then follows Samuel's tutelage under Eli, his reign as a Judge, and his relationship with the first kings of Israel. As David starts to step up as a hero, Samuel dies of old age, only to reappear from beyond the grave thanks to the intercession of a medium.
    • The Gospels according to Matthew and Luke begin with the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, continue to his birth in Bethlehem, describe his ministry in detail, describe his death on a cross, and end by going past the grave to describe his Resurrection from the dead. But the character is generally not depicted as achieving old age and a natural death, except in certain apocryphal writings.
  • This happens with a lot of characters in Warrior Cats, due to the long timespan of the series; the most notable examples are Tallstar, Bluestar, Crookedstar, and Yellowfang, who have super editions that feature them born as a kit (an infant) while they die in the main books, with Bluestar and Tallstar having their death included in the super edition itself.
  • The first Wicked book begins just before Elphaba's birth and ends just after her Foregone Conclusion Accidental Murder by Dorothy.
  • A Dog's Purpose stars a dog from birth to death... then birth and death again... and again... He goes through several reincarnations over the book and its sequel.

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