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Disney Death

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"Yeah, boo hiss. I know, look, I hate it too. In movies, where the studio gets all paranoid about a downer ending so the guy shows up, he's magically alive on crutches? I hate that. I mean, shit, why not bring them all back?"

Beloved major character is seemingly killed at the climax of the movie/episode, hearts are wrenched, four-year-olds are traumatized, grown men are reduced to tears, and then — oh look, the character is Not Quite Dead after all. "I thought you were dead!", they recite before walking off into the sunset.

A variant is the Robot Disney Death where a Robot Buddy is seemingly destroyed in a Heroic Sacrifice. While at least one character mourns, the robot reappears fully repaired after an extensive period in Mr. Fixit's maintenance shop good as new and touched by all the concern.

Animated films seem destined to have these, considering the target audience is primarily young kids, and nobody wants to give a Downer Ending to them. Writers who are considering implementing it need to be extremely careful, as it can very easily come across as a tacky and cliched way to add some cheap drama to the ending. Over the years it has been done to — um — death, and audiences expect it. You run the risk of making your viewers remember they're watching television, even if it does shut up the Media Watchdogs.


Named after its frequent use in the Disney Animated Canon, though even Disney likes to kill 'em off for real now and then.

Subtrope of Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated and First Law of Resurrection. Compare Sorting Algorithm of Deadness (how likely this is to happen), Our Hero Is Dead (when this is used as a Cliffhanger), Unexplained Recovery, World-Healing Wave (done on a massive scale), Only Mostly Dead, Plot Armor (you know he's going to live because he's the main character). Contrast Killed Off for Real. May involve Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You. A Premature Eulogy is likely to occur somewhere between the death and the return.

Not to be confused with the related trope Disney Villain Death, which refers to a villain falling from a very high place, such as a cliff, although it can sometimes overlap with this trope when the antagonist doesn't actually die. Also not to be confused with Walt Disney's actual death.


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

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    Comic Books 
  • Omaha the Cat Dancer:
    • Omaha's best friend Shelly gets shot in the first issue. A couple of issues later, we find out she wasn't quite dead.
    • Also, Chuck was told by his (insane) dad that his mother had died when he was young. Guess who shows up in the middle of the story?
  • Subverted in the Tintin series. Because of Executive Meddling, creator Hergé was forced to imply the possibility of survival in the suicide note of astronaut Frank Wolff in Explorers on the Moon, who stepped out of his space shuttle into space to save oxygen for the remaining passengers. Word of God, after the fact, confirmed that there was no way Wolff survived.
  • There is a very long list of people in The DCU who have been revived by the Lazarus Pit. The Lazarus Pit, discovered by Ra's Al-Ghul, can revive people at death's door, or full-on bring the dead back to life. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of using the Lazarus Pit is losing your mind. Those who have been resurrected or healed from fatal injuries include Ra's al Ghul, Jason Todd, the second Black Canary, Cassandra Cain, Lady Shiva, Bane, Isis, the wife of Black Adam, and more.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: Fat Freddy is found lifeless in bed—his grief-stricken friends hold a wake and bury him themselves. At a graveside picnic some time later, a bottle of potent liquor spills on the ground, seeps in, and revives him from a drug-induced immobilization. He furiously bursts out to his friends' joy and horror.
  • Lucky Luke: A not very dramatic and rather brief case happens in the album The Daltons' Escape where Lucky Luke appears to have been crushed to death by falling rocks and we see the Daltons cheering and yet not sure that he is dead. The most noteworthy part of it is seeing Jolly Jumper's Not So Stoic reaction and openly weeping for his fallen friend.
  • Ultimatum:
    • Spider-Man dies in the story, but it was later revealed that he was Not Quite Dead.
    • Valkyrie and Captain America die during the flood, but they were saved because Thor traded their lives with Hela for his own.

    Comic Strips 
  • Every Spy vs. Spy strip contains this trope. A black or white spy gets killed every comic, only to make a return next strip to treat the living spy to a death of their own.
  • One The Far Side strip has a bear sitting up from his coffin at his funeral, and says "I was hibernating, for cryin' out loud. Don't you guys ever bother to take a pulse?"

    Fan Works 
  • Happens many times in The Lion King Adventures:
    • Zazu does this as a prank in order to terrify Simba and Nala in Dead as a Dodo.
    • Simba is presumed to be dead in Friends to the End. He isn't, though, and gets his Big Damn Kiss with Nala.
    • Nala does actually die in Darkness Falls. Simba has her resurrected after dying himself.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Shinji is briefly thought dead after the battle with Zeruel.
  • In Mortality, the first book of the Deliver Us From Evil Series, Sherlock Holmes is believed to have been killed by his Arch-Enemy, Professor Moriarty. It isn't until a few chapters later that the reader knows for certain that Holmes is still alive, but the heroes themselves don't know for sure until Inspector Lestrade and Dr. Watson overhear Moran confirming it.
  • Inner Demons: Rarity is seemingly killed by Trixie during the Battle of Fillydelphia, but it turns out she was just rendered comatose.
  • The Immortal Game: Fluttershy is seemingly killed by Wrong!Dash during the final fight with Nihilus, but it turns out that Fluttershy has a Healing Factor (something that only Earth ponies are supposed to have), which saves her life.
  • Mare of Steel: Rainbow Dash is caught in an explosion of magic at the end of the first arc. She is badly injured, almost to the point of death, but manages to recover.
  • In two separate Calvinverse stories - specifically, Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie and Trouble Island - Hobbes is hit with a machine that makes everyone see him as a stuffed animal, even Calvin. Both times, he comes back.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows: Towards the end of the fic, Majorin and the Ojamajos are slain by their Shadows. However, the Queen's Super Mode allows her to bring them all back without anyone else dying.
  • Nobody Dies: After a failed attack on an Angel, Shinji is informed by Asuka that he was clinically dead for 15 minutes.
  • The Great Disney Adventure Saga: What do you expect? It's a Disney world. So this happens quite a bit with characters being near death before being healed or being revealed as ok.
  • In the Zootopia fic Guardian Blue - Season 1, Nick falls into the water recycling system while saving a wolf pup from the villain Darmaw who also falls in. Darmaw's body is later recovered, but Nick's is never found. After several days of searching he is pronounced dead. Judy learns of a hidden location his body could have possibly washed into and ventures in to retrieve his body and get closure. Ultimately she discovers that Nick is still alive but badly hurt and is able to pull him back out to safety.
  • Mad World: Zim gets butchered by Nny, and has his PAK pulled by Dib as a Mercy Kill. But his mind survives inside the PAK, and he ends up sharing bodies with Dib until they can clone him a new body.
  • The surprisingly plausible fan sequel to Earth's Children, "Broud's Destiny", has Ayla's chief antagonist defending the Clan against gangs of Others who paint themselves white and kill "flatheads" for kicks. At the climax, the leader of the "chalk-faces" viciously stabs Broud in the abdomen at the same moment Broud breaks his neck. Broud drops to the ground and everything looks like a beautiful death scene. End of chapter. The next chapter opens with a Clan funeral ceremony... turns out it's for Broud's mom Ebra. Broud will take time to recover but is fine.
  • Everybody on Berk in Persephone believed that Hiccup was killed by a Night Fury, with Stoick blaming Astrid because she was there when it happened. When everyone realizes that this was false, this comes as a shock to everybody.
  • Superman in Young Justice: Darkness Falls. As per tradition, he gets beaten to death by Doomsday, absorbs lots of solar radiation and finally comes back to life when he is needed the most.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • Ash's Squirtle believed himself the Sole Survivor of the Squirtle Squad he was separated from the others by a cave-in at an underground passageway. Later sidestories reveal they all survived, although ended up separated from each other.
    • The Serial Killer known as the Bloodliner Hunter was presumed to have suffered a Disney Villain Death when he refused to be saved from falling off a cliff in Two Island. The second Holiday Special reveals that he's very much alive and made it to Johto.
  • Deconstructed in where ash accidentally reveals too much and when alain asks him about it he reveals so much more that he didn’t really mean to. By Kalos, Ash has died at least six times since age ten and it doesn't phase him anymore, or at least he says. But, to Alain, it's freaky and sad because people aren't supposed to die and be revived like that, especially kids.

    Film — Animation 
  • The eponymous robot in The Iron Giant is shown reassembling himself after a Heroic Sacrifice against an incoming nuclear missile. (A rare example of a good Robot Disney Death, meaning both that it is very satisfying to the audience and that it was set up properly — the Giant's self-repair ability was demonstrated earlier in the film.)
  • Titan A.E. . Gune saves Stith from a bomb Preed placed on her wrist, only for it to detonate and leave him wounded and he mutters "I'll just take a little nap", before collapsing. Later, just when the Drej are about to destroy the Titan, Gune arrives to the rescue and hangs a lampshade on the trope.
    Gune: I finished my nap!
  • Diego, in Ice Age straddles somewhere between this trope and Unexplained Recovery with an ambiguous "Nine lives, baby" after taking a killing blow meant for Manny.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob and Patrick are dried up to death in the Shell City gift shop and then revived a minute later when their tears short out an electrical outlet and activate the sprinkler system.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, after the explosion of their helicopter, Kadaj throws to Rufus the bloodstained ID badges of Tseng and Elena. Later, they catch him in a net after he jumps off a building, thus averting his death as well.
    • To be fair, Vincent mentions that he found them horribly tortured and healed them the best he could, even if he didn't know it was enough.
    • Also, Cloud, shot by Loz at the climax of the movie.
    • From the dialogue between Reno and Rude before they set off a bomb in order to kill Loz and Yazoo, it makes it sound like they aren't going to be coming out of this one alive. But yet all four of them seem to survive the blast, Reno and Rude are seen at the end with the rest of the Turks, whilst Loz and Yazoo go off to get Cloud. The latter pair however, don't survive Aerith's Great Gospel/Lifestream Water/Magical Rain.
    • And then there's Rufus, who turns up alive in the movie after being last seen in the game getting blown up real good. Particularly irritating is that Cloud rather rudely shuts up his explanation of how he survived, the one piece of exposition in the film that fans of the game were actually interested in.
  • Played with in the Spanish animated film Nocturna. The Cat Shepard appears to die after fending off the evil shadow, and Tim accepts his death by saying he'll always live on in his heart. Right before the end of the movie, we see a herd of cats run by, with the Cat Shepard's familiar legs and gait among them. Tim doesn't, though.
  • An alternate version of Rock & Rule has Zip survive his self-sacrifice to save Omar from the demon.
  • The Disney-esque film Once Upon a Forest has one of these near the end, where the characters and the audience believe for a moment that Michelle has succumbed to her chlorine gas-induced sickness. A teardrop from her uncle revives her.
  • Fly gets one of these in Help! I'm a Fish!
    • His aunt accidentally steps on him and crushes him, the family goes "GASP!"... no, wait, that was a decoy fish, the real Fly is fine, albeit with a broken leg [a reminder of the injury Crab gave him in his fish form.
  • At the end of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Nemo takes a rather big fall while defeating the Nightmare King, and dies. Or, not. This was meant to be the culmination of a plot point where it was possible Nemo could die after using the royal scepter to defeat the Nightmare King because of it being too much power for his body to handle, but since scenes pertaining to that were edited from the VHS due to Never Say "Die", it made this feel much more out of place.
  • This happens twice to the heroine of The Swan Princess films. The first film has her saved by a declaration of love from her prince. The third has her vaporized by a bolt of black magic. When her now-husband prince burns the copy of the spell that summoned it so that its powers can never be used again, she materializes from the resultant flames. Also, Jean-Bob is knocked out at the climax of II and brought back as a side effect of the spell that turns Odette into a swan and back.
    • The first film also averted this trope rather surprisingly: after a very long opening number which establishes the relationships between all of the major players (not only the love/hate relationship of Odette and Derek, but the extremely close friendship of King William and Queen Uberta), King William is abruptly killed. This seems to have no repercussions on any of the other characters.
  • In the 1999 animated version of The King and I, this happens to the King after his hot air balloon goes down.
  • Astro in the 2009 Astro Boy film — twice! The first time, Dr. Tenma removes his Blue Core, but has a change of heart in time to revive him, acknowledge him as his son, and allow him to escape at Tenma's own risk. The second time, Astro pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Peacekeeper, only to be revived by Zog.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has one near the end. After the final battle, the other vikings look for Hiccup, but the only one who can be found is Toothless. That combined with the dragon's forlorn look is taken as a Very Bad Sign. But then Toothless reveals he's been shielding Hiccup with his wings, but the tension remains until Stoick checks for a heartbeat. And finds one. However, Hiccup does leave the film's climax minus the lower half of his leg.
  • Heather the possum, in Over the Hedge, who gets kicked against a wall by antagonist Gladys Sharp and appears to be killed upon impact, much to the horror of her father the twist being that she's a possum, and is merely faking.
  • Both Stanley and Rosie in Don Bluth's A Troll in Central Park.
  • There's a very brief one in 9 After defeating the BRAIN, 9 tries to run away as the machine breaks down, and is nearly crushed. At some point it really does look like he got killed, but he wakes up about two seconds later.
  • Played with in Megamind. Minion's water-helmet shatters in the final fight, and afterwards he appears to be dying. He and Megamind share a few words, and Minion... puts on an overdramatic display of dying. At which point Megamind casually tosses him in the fountain, where he laughs and says he feels much better. "What a drama queen!"
  • This trope is used in Rise of the Guardians when the Sandman dies but is later resurrected during the climatic battle.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has this at the end of the movie. Everyone thinks Flint died from stopping the machine, but a few moments later, he's carried down by his Ratbirds, looking no worse for wear too.
  • Insectosaurus, the giant insect in Monsters vs. Aliens, looks dead when blasted by an alien spaceship and wrapped lifeless and unmoving in a cocoon. But he was simply metamorphising into a butterfly, and later comes Back from the Dead just in time to be used as a Deus ex Machina to save the day.
  • G.I. Joe: The Movie. The character in question: Duke, by impaling. In fact, he actually was supposed to die (and they were even planning to drop him from the available toy line to go with it). But after seeing how heartbroken all the kids were about Optimus Prime's death in Transformers: The Movie, they added in a last-minute line stating that Duke simply went into a coma.
  • Like most Disney film tropes at the time, this happens to both title characters of Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
  • The Rugrats Movie plays with this. Spike sends himself and a wolf into a river at the film's climax. Moments later, Stu shows up to rescue the kids, who mistake him for a wizard and ask to bring Spike back to life. Spike walks over soon after.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, the trope was deconstructed. Both Ed and Eddy appeared to be sinking in quicksand, but it was only just mud that happened to looked like quicksand, and it was one of the many jokes they pulled after they went to the gag factory. This ticks off Edd, and almost left the other two to faced the consequences over the Noodle Incident that led to the events of the movie. This made Eddy realize how serious the situation actually was, and that he probably had gone too far.
  • In Don Bluth's Anastasia, Dmitri is hit in the head with a stone in the climax and appears to have died from the blow. But he's okay — he was just knocked out.
  • In another triumph for Don Bluth, Petrie does this in The Land Before Time, getting seemingly devoured by Sharptooth just before drowning.
  • Also thanks to a good Deus ex Machina, this is what becomes of Mrs. Brisby's family in Bluth's The Secret of NIMH when her cinderblock house falls and sinks into the mud... before the jewel glows and restores everything back to normal.
  • In the final fight sequence of the Golddigger animated film, Brittany is roasted by the dragon Dreadwing. As Gina sobs over her presumably-fallen sister, Brittany groans and sits up.
  • In Chicken Run, Ginger gets a rather brief one in the climactic escape scene.
  • It happens to two of the characters in The Legend of the Titanic, one with an electrocuted mouse and another one with an octopus, who didn't move out of the way from under the ship after he couldn't hold it up any longer.
  • Some villagers from The Return of Hanuman, including Minku's father and Maruti's father, were thrown into a volcano by the village gangsters. By the end of the movie, Maruti turned into Superhero Hanuman and released all of the victims after he defeated a monster formed out of the volcano.
  • Nigel from Rio, sort of. Even though he's a villain, it's really upsetting when he is sucked in an airplane's propeller, showing feathers flying out, too, and is thought to be dead until the ending, where he is stripped of his feathers on the forest floor, and Mauro (the Monkeys' leader) takes embarrassing pictures of him naked, leading into the credits.
  • Shrek:
    • This happens in Shrek Forever After. At the end of the movie Shrek fades out of existence, as he gave up the day of his birth to Rumplestiltskin in exchange for a day to live his life the way he wanted to as an ogre. But he gets one last chance to tell Fiona how much she means to him before he dies. They exchange one last kiss and Shrek disappears... only for the entire reality that 'Stiltskin had created to fade out of existence as well. As it turns out, the contract was to be made null and void if Fiona and Shrek exchanged a lovers' kiss; if Fiona had fallen in love with Shrek in the alternate universe, then the contract ends and the universe with it. Shrek is returned to his original universe, with his friends and family surrounding him at his children's birthday party. Shrek gets his happily ever after.
    • Also used in Shrek 2 with King Harold. He takes a magical blast from the Fairy Godmother to protect Shrek and Fiona, and after her defeat he's notably vanished making it seem like it killed him. But it turns out he's actually reverted back into his true form of a frog. This might seen a little pointless in hindsight, since Shrek the Third kills him anyway. But his survival from the incident was integral for the reluctant heirs to the throne, Shrek and Fiona, to pass their roles as the new royalty of Far, Far Away onto Arthur in the third film, for he mentions Arthur on his death bed.
  • In Puss in Boots, when Puss is trying to save his friend Humpty, the Golden Goose and the goose's mother, Puss is holding on to Humpty by only a thin rope on a broken bridge, while the Golden Goose is dangling above the distant ground with its mother, close to falling to their death. Humpty sacrifices himself to save the Golden Goose, its mother, and the town, while Humpty supposedly fell to death and cracked open. However, in the credits, it is revealed he came out alright.
  • The Jonny Quest TV movie Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects has a particularly silly example. During a space battle caused by Jonny recklessly charging into the midst of some enemy fighters, an exploding control panel somehow injures Race in such a way that his heart stops beating. Not even two scenes later, Race inexplicably revives with no ill effects. The scene does serve a narrative purpose though - it's a rather sobering moment for Jonny, who blames himself, and after this is when he starts acting like less of a selfish, impulsive Jerkass.
  • Happens to both of the main characters in BIONICLE: Mask of Light: first, Jaller sacrifices himself to save his partner Takua, allowing him to don the titular Mask of Power and become Takanuva. Then, Takanuva merges with Makuta and sacrifices part of their life-force to bring Jaller back, but at the cost of the fusion breaking up and him disappearing. Takanuva is brought back by the other characters through a sort of ritual conducted over a weird gizmo built into the floor — it's confusing, and never explained. The Novelization rewrites the scene by having Takanuva walk out of the split fusion alive.
  • At the end of The Curse of the Were-Rabbit the were-rabbit (Wallace) appears to die after a nasty fall from the top of a building. Gromit is able to bring him around with a hunk of Stinking Bishop cheese.
  • In The Boxtrolls, it seems that Snatcher was successful in crushing the boxtrolls to death, but it turns out they escaped in the middle of Eggs' speech, and they return in time to save the day.
  • The Book of Life:
    • One bite from Xibalba's snake causes this, as Manolo finds out the hard way.
    • In the climax, Manolo appears to die again after trapping himself and Chakal under a church bell to contain an explosion that would have destroyed San Angel. He's saved by Joaquin giving him the Medal of Everlasting Life beforehand.
  • In Home, it momentarily looks like Oh was crushed by the Gorg's machine, but there was an indentation in it large enough for him to fit without being crushed.
  • In Minions, it seems as if Kevin exploded after swallowing Scarlet's bomb. However, the explosion only shrunk him back down to his normal size (minus his overalls.)
  • In The Secret of Kells, there's a double example. Abbot Cellach locks his nephew Brendan and fellow monk Brother Aidan in the scriptorium to protect them during a Northmen attack. It doesn't work, and when Cellach sees the scriptorium burning, he rushes to save them only to be attacked and left bleeding and unconscious on the ground. Brendan and Aidan manage to escape the building, but when they see Cellach lying in the snow, they believe him to be dead, and flee Kells. Cellach wakes up to see Northmen pouring from the building, and assumes his nephew is dead. The film then jumps 20 years forward to when uncle and nephew are finally reunited. Averted in that nearly every other character really does perish in the Northmen attack.
  • In The Nut Job, it seems as if Surly has died after sacrificing himself to save his friends by falling down a big waterfall. When Precious and Buddy find Surly's motionless body, the latter lays down beside his unmoving friend and says his first two words: "best...friend". When all hope seems lost, Surly suddenly wakes up and hugs his rat friend tightly.
    • In The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Buddy is knocked unconscious when he falls seemingly many stories off a balcony of the antagonist's home. Surly and Precious bring Buddy's lifeless body to Andie, who helps Surly carry Buddy into the ruined nut shop remains, and they both lay him on a big slab. Surly mourns greatly for his friend, and so do the other animals. When Precious licks Buddy as appreciation for saving her from the evil mayor's daughter, he suddenly moves. The pug licks Buddy twice more, enough to miraculously awaken him. Cue happy music, cheering, and hugs of relief.
  • Near the end of Wabuu the Cheeky Raccoon, when Wabuu chops down a tree to use as a bridge, a bird's egg falls out of its nest to the ground and causes the parents to call him a "child murderer", though the hatchling emerges unharmed. Then we find out that the tree also accidentally fell on Wuschel the squirrel, and the mole declares him dead. Wabuu, however, finds out otherwise and frees him from under the fallen tree.
  • Near the end of All Creatures Big and Small, Finny the Nestrian is shown to drown after failing to climb onto the ark. Turns out his species can breathe in water just fine.
  • We get a brief one in the second Scary Godmother movie, The Revenge of Jimmy, when it looks like the house fell on Scary Godmother and crushed her. Skully and Bug-a-Boo are crying, while Harry rejoices. Soon enough, Scary Godmother re-appears, commenting on how sweet it is that Skully and Bug-a-Boo miss her.
  • There are two in the first Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf movie. First, Wolffy is eaten by Cha Cha, only for him and Weslie to be pooped back out when the latter uses some of Mr. Slowy's medicines on Cha Cha. Then, Weslie himself ends up stuck in Cha Cha's flooded headquarters, but comes back completely fine later after he is deposited in the toxins from Granny Snail and uses some enlargement pills left behind by Wolffy to return himself back to his normal size.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In A Night on the Town/Adventures in Babysitting, a character gets a knife thrown at his foot. He's rushed to the doctor, the doctor administers the solitary necessary stitch. He then gets told that while he was administering this tiny stitch to a tiny wound a man with a stab wound just died. He then meets the plucky bunch of kids in the hall, who want to know what happened to their friend with the stab wound. He tells them he died, they go into a fit of mourning, he walks into the corridor asking everyone what they're crying about, "Don't you ever die on me again!", etc.
  • About halfway through The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Lavagirl jumps into a lake filled with water to save Sharkboy, knowing full well that it will kill her. Sharkboy then throws her body into a volcano, reviving her.
  • In Alien: Resurrection, after Mason Wren betrays the group and shoots Call, a later scene reveals that Call had survived the gunshot wound, because she is an android.
  • Doc's survival of the Libyan terrorists in Back to the Future could certainly qualify (though it is one of the more clever examples).
  • Ted appears to get run through by a sword in medieval England in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, causing Bill to mourn him ("Ted, don't be dead, dude!"). But it turns out Ted fell out of the armor just when he hit the ground; the armor got stabbed, not him. (Never mind the fact that he was completely strapped into this complex outfit.) It's also a Foregone Conclusion, due to the fact that Ted's future self had been seen alive and well earlier.
  • In The Boat That Rocked, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character nobly sacrifices himself and goes down with the ship, broadcasting to the end. As the other characters are saved and jubilant, they take a moment to remember him, just as he splutters to the surface decidedly undrowned.
  • In Bride of Frankenstein, Henry is thought to be dead in the beginning but turns out just fine after being taken home.
  • Yes, even Lucio Fulci did this at least once (shenanigans of the living dead notwithstanding, of course) — City of the Living Dead has this happen early on, as Mary Woodhouse is presumed dead of shock and is taken straight to a cemetery for burial before regaining consciousness after finding herself six feet under. If not for Peter Bell, she would've suffocated to death for sure.
  • In Broken Lizard's Club Dread, Sam appears to have drowned in mud, but turns out to be not only alive, but also the actual killer.
  • Toward the end of Crocodile Dundee II the hero appears to have been fallen off a cliff, but we later discover that he and the villain had switched clothes. The characters figure it out before the reveal.
  • The Dark Crystal has female lead Kira die in hero Jen's arms, but she is then revived at the very end.
  • In a particularly pointless version that removes the very last bit of pathos from the film, Snails in Dungeons & Dragons. Especially egregious is that this ending was apparently at the behest of focus groups, who didn't like the original graveside ending where Snails is still clearly dead. The original scene was the closest thing to respectable dignity the movie could manage, but even that got stripped away.
  • In End of Watch, Taylor is shot in the chest and falls unconscious as his partner, Zeke, stays at his side, before the villains catch up and shoot Zeke fatally, leaving both protagonists lifeless in the alley as the cavalry arrives. The next scene shows an injured Taylor at Zeke's funeral.
  • In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the title character appears to have died from an illness. See also the climax of the infamous ripoff Mac and Me. Not only do Mac and his family seem to perish in an explosion when they get into a shootout with the police, but their young human friend Eric dies as well, as the kid was near the explosion. The filmmakers work hard to jerk the tears here, culminating in his mom arriving on the awful scene by helicopter (she'd been searching for him). But the aliens emerge from the flames unharmed, and use their powers to revive him.
  • In 2010's The Expendables (featuring a bevy of action stars from the 80s and 90s), Gunner is apparently killed by boss-man Barney who is forced to Shoot the Dog when Gunner goes homicidally berzerk in a drug-induced homicidal rampage after he went rogue due to resentment at being ejected from the team due to his continued drug habit. Cue implied Cradling Your Kill as Gunner whispers his dying message to Barney in exchange for a decent burial in an apparent Death Equals Redemption. In the epilogue, he is miraculously still alive and back to normal in a happy reunion with the rest of the team, a fact which is even lampshaded by Barney commenting on it, with Gunner replying that he's thankful that he was still spared by his friend despite everything that happened.
  • In the second live-action movie of The Fairly OddParents, A Fairly Odd Christmas, Timmy falls off a cliff while saving Mr. Crocker's life. After everyone mourning his death, and Mr. Crocker suggesting a heart growing moment, Timmy is revealed being alive, climbing the cliff using some candy canes that Santa had given him before.
  • At the end of A Fish Called Wanda, Otto is run over by a steam roller but manages to survive for one final gag.
  • This happens may times in the Friday the 13th movies. Jason Voorhees just keeps coming back. Even when he's supposedly incinerated by the time Part IV is over, it's revealed at the start of Part VI that his (still-living, surprisingly enough) father went out of his way to pay for him to be properly buried. Tommy, already driven crazy by Jason trying to enter his mind from beyond the grave (to the point of almost becoming the his replacement in Part V), exhumes him to finish the job, but lightning strikes before he can torch him, and Jason is back yet again.
  • At the end of Furious 7 Dom apparently dies finishing off Jakande during the climax, and all of Brian's attempts to resuscitate him seem to fail. The shock of this causes Letty to regain her memories and reveals that she remembers that they were married. Dom then opens his eyes moments later and it turns out he heard her say all of this.
  • In the Get Smart movie, Max appears to be killed when he is dragged behind a car that crashes into a train. It lasts long enough for a grief-stricken 99 to admit that she loves him before he appears behind her, battered but alive. But what about the train? "Missed it by that much."
  • Ghostbusters (1984) ends with the heroes defeating Gozer, but tragically Dana and (to a lesser extent) Louis have seemingly died after being transformed into Gozer's demonic dog minions and then getting burnt to a crisp. The team barely has time to mourn before learning that the two are still alive, and human, inside the now destroyed demon husks and proceed to help them break out.
  • In Godzilla (2014), the nuke that was dropped on Godzilla in the beginning should've killed him, right? Nope, he lived through it, in true Kaiju style. This happens twice in the last battle, both times coming out alive but exhausted after a long and brutal fight with each of the Mutos. The first time occurs when he's buried by a skyscraper after crushing the male Muto against it. The second time occurs when he literally collapses to the ground after killing the female Muto, and stays there well into the next day before waking up.
  • Subverted/justified in Groundhog Day. Phil Connors is finally driven to commit suicide to escape from living the same day seemingly for eternity. He kidnaps the local groundhog and drives a truck off a cliff. Phil's cameraman says he might be okay, but then the truck blows up. The next thing Phil knows, it's morning again; not even his death can stop the time loop. Cue montage of him killing himself in every way possible.
  • Zigzagged in Guardians of the Galaxy. Plant-being Groot heroically sacrifices himself to save the other Guardians—but his friend Rocket finds a still-living twig and plants it. By the end-credits, we see a little baby Groot growing again. But he looks subtly different, and in the sequel we find that he has quite a different personality. Word of God confirmed that Groot had in fact died, and "baby Groot" is a different being—essentially, the old Groot's son.
  • Danny from Hot Fuzz gets shot and is caught in an explosion. The movie tries to make you think he's dead, but it's really his mother's grave.
  • One of the most mind-boggling examples is in Hudson Hawk, when a friend of the Bruce Willis character, who seems to have died in a car fire shortly before, shows up again and explains, "The sprinkler system turned on!" This in spite of the fact that the car careened off of a cliff and exploded upon impact with the ground (but it is a parody/comedy). Since the line immediately following is, "yeah! I bet that's what happened!" its mind-boggling improbability can be chalked up to the Rule of Funny.
  • In Independence Day, our two heroes set off a nuclear explosion in the alien mothership and try to Outrun the Fireball, but it catches up to them. Cut to their friends on the ground having their victory celebration interrupted by news that they had lost contact with the heroes. We get about five seconds for the mood to set in before they see something on radar, drive out to the desert and find them walking away from their crashed ship unscathed.
  • In Iron Eagle, Chappy gets shot down during the mission, and Doug is forced to go alone. However, it's later revealed that Chappy was picked up by American forces after he got shot down.
    • In the sequel, Doug is shot down by Soviet pilots in a dogfight within the first few minutes of the movie, but in the fourth movie, it is revealed that he had ejected from his plane, but was later captured and held prisoner by the Soviets.
  • In Jurassic Park III, Alan Grant's assistant Billy redeems himself for putting them all in danger by stealing raptors eggs by making a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Kid Sidekick from pteradons and is last seen being pecked to death by a number of them. Except about half an hour of screen time later, when the survivors are picked up by a rescue chopper, they inexplicably find him already onboard, with noticeable but apparently not life-threatening injuries.
  • In Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the Klowns' spaceship blows up at the end of the film with Dave and the Terenzi brothers on board. All three of them are alive and well a minute later.
  • Played with in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang when Gay Perry stays alive after getting shot in the chest. Harry then comments how he hates it when movie studio executives change a death into a Disney Death to force a happy ending, and they might as well bring back everyone who died (and then all of the dead characters, plus Elvis and Abraham Lincoln, walk into the hospital room), but in this case, Perry did survive.
  • Alpha Centauri, the Trickster Mentor from The Last Starfighter, appears to die heroically halfway through the movie, only to reappear with a Handwave at the end of the movie.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sawyer apparently dies helping prevent the destruction of Venice, but it turns out he didn't somehow.
  • In Legion, the archangel Michael is killed but reappears in the end due to God's intervention.
  • Lethal Weapon
    • In Lethal Weapon 2, a Smug Snake diplomat shoots the Mel Gibson character, who falls into a pit. In response, the Danny Glover character shoots the diplomat. Then he goes down into the pit to check on Mel Gibson. And guess what? He's fine! Well, mostly fine, anyway.
    • In Lethal Weapon 3, Lorna is shot several times by Jack Travis with the cop-killer bullets. However, after Riggs kills Travis, it turns out that Lorna had actually worn two bulletproof vests prior to this shootout, but it still wounded her.
  • Subverted amusingly in Little Big Man. Cheyenne chief Old Lodge Skins, Jack's blind mentor, has finally grown tired of life. He and Jack ascend a hill where Old Lodge Skins prays for his death and lies down with his eyes closed. It then begins raining. Old Lodge Skin blinks, then sighs. "Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." and they both go back to their village.
  • It seems like anyone who falls off a cliff in The Lord of the Rings movies is going to show up later (apart from Mooks, but since when have they counted?).
    • Frodo is seemingly killed when he is stabbed by the troll in The Fellowship of the Ring, and again in The Return of the King when he is poisoned by Shelob but turns out just to be paralyzed. (Both incidents are canon.)
    • In The Two Towers, Frodo appears to fall to his death, but we are immediately shown that he only fell a couple of feet into the fog. (Not canon.)
    • Also in The Two Towers, Aragorn is seen to fall over a multi-hundred foot cliff and all the characters mourn, but it turns out he's completely uninjured, besides a little dizziness and some scrapes. (Definitely not canon but almost lethal to Viggo Mortensen who came close to drowning while filming that.)
    • In The Return of the King, Faramir is grievously wounded in battle and would've been killed with fire, albeit accidentally, in his insane father's suicide attempt had Gandalf and Pippin not shown up. After he's rescued, he regains consciousness. (Basically canon.)
  • Mean Girls plays with this trope with the "just kidding" death of Regina, who gets much better after being run over by a bus.
  • In Millennium 2: The Girl Who Played with Fire, protagonist Lisbeth Salander gets shot in the head and buried. At dawn, she climbs out and goes Ax-Crazy.
  • The Mummy Trilogy
    • The Mummy (1999): Ardeth Bay pulls a You Shall Not Pass! on an army of mummies. Cut to the end and he's alive somehow note .
    • In The Mummy Returns, Anck-Su-Namun stabs Evy to death; her son Alex later gets his hands on the Book of the Dead and brings her Back from the Dead.
  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is probably the record holder. The film shows some five Disney Deaths, of which one barely lasts a minute.
  • In The Philadelphia Experiment, the protagonist David Herzeg dives back into the time vortex after breaking the mechanism that was keeping a 1943 Navy destroyer and a 1984 Midwest town suspended in hyperspace. After the vortex collapses, Allison is wandering through the freshly restored town in 1984 when David appears out of nowhere, having not only survived but magically returned to his Love Interest.
  • At the end of Rambo: Last Blood, Rambo is shown wounded and bleeding after killing Hugo and his men, having been shot twice. Perhaps on his last leg, he sits on a chair on the porch of his father's house, as if to pass out and die from his wounds. After the montage of previous movies are shown during the credits, he gets back up and takes a horse for another ride.
  • In 1934's The Scarlet Pimpernel Sir Percy Blakeney steps out in front of a firing squad, and we hear the "Ready! Present muskets! Fire!" and the report of the muskets. Then Sir Percy comes in for his hat.
  • Short Circuit subtly lampshades, then utterly subverts the Robot Disney Death version of the trope. The SAINT-model robot that NOVA Robotics destroyed (and cannibalized) at the end of the movie was a mindless, remote-control replica which the real Number Five was controlling from the safety of the supply van. This, after showing how said van was completely equipped with enough spare parts to build a whole new robot from the ground up, Number Five's expertise at reassembling himself and rewiring his own circuits, as well as him playing with the TV using his remote-control transmitter.
  • In Short Circuit 2, Number Five (who in this movie insisted on being called Johnny Five) seemed to die after running out of both his main power and backup power just after capturing the jewel thief who ordered him to be destroyed in the first place. He is brought back to life by Magical Defibrillators which were used to "recharge" his batteries, and also gave the human actors a chance to do some of the best soap opera acting this side of General Hospital.
  • Marv and Hartigan both get these in Sin City where the characters suffer a dramatic wound and the screen goes black for a few seconds. We then cut to them surviving in one way or another.
  • While picking up the defeated Commando Elite in his yard in Small Soldiers, Alan sees an inanimate Archer. He starts to repeat himself and Alan thinks his chip was fried, but Archer and the rest of the Gorgonites survived.
  • Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness dies in a scene mirroring Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but gets better soon... too soon.
  • Star Wars:
  • Superman Returns. When Superman was stomped to death by Lex Luthor on his Kryptonite island, he was on the verge of death, but eventually he sprang back to life.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Raphael's assumed dead by the Foot Clan when his brothers are captured. He was just knocked out.
  • Terminator:
    • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-101 robot is seemingly beaten then impaled by the T-1000, leaving Sarah and John Connor helpless. Then his backup power source turns on, and he heads off to save the day. Moments later he does die for real, but by choice. In the novel version, he deliberately feigned death after the impaling in order to give himself the chance of a surprise attack.
    • In Terminator Genisys, "Pops" appears to die after holding off John in the quantum field generator, but survives thanks to a little dip in the liquid metal.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: When one of the Twins is sucked up by Devestator, all the other characters are sad. However, moments later, he fights his way through Devestator's head.
      • Also happens with the main character near the end, who has a dream vision of the original Primes before being miraculously brought back. Lampooned upon in Kirbopher's Revenge of the Lollin where a solider says "he's dead," cutting to a few Primes on a cliff stating "And now he isn't!"
    • Prime gets his own Robot Disney Death too, as did Megatron in the first movie.
    • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Autobots were believed to have killed by Starscream under Dylan Gould's orders when the Xanthium was destroyed during launch. However, it turns out they faked their deaths (hiding themselves in the booster section instead of the Xanthium itself) in order to have humanity realize that the Decepticons aren't true to their words, and then pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment in Chicago to reveal their survival.
  • Happens to Bella Swan at the climax of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I. Having earlier been given permission by Edward himself to kill him should anything happen to Bella, Jacob tells him right to his face that living with his loss is punishment enough for what happened. And then Edward's venom finally gets around to kicking in and transforming her, bringing her back to life in the process.
  • In Two of a Kind (1983), the fate of the universe hinges on whether a morally dubious couple (played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) can make sacrifices for each other out of their newfound love, which would prove to God that humans are redeemable. She keeps him from going to prison for his attempted bank robbery that started the Earthly plot, but what about him? In the climax, with minutes left to go before God starts over with everything, she is taken hostage by a robber (actually a disguised Satan, whose existence is at risk!) and his attempt to save her leaves him dead. This proves a sufficient sacrifice, and not only does God spare the universe, He also brings the dead lover back to life.
  • The main character's son in the Spielberg version of War of the Worlds; about halfway through the movie, he leaves his father and runs into a battlefield which is then obliterated in a fiery Martian burst of death from which nothing can survive; at the climax, however, he shows up at his mother's house in Boston without so much as a scratch. Granted, we never actually saw a body, but it's still pretty cheesy and something of a cheat.
  • The heroine of Whale Rider nearly drowns in the climax (and her narration informs us she "was not afraid to die", since she's rescued the pod), but she is found and recovers in the hospital.
  • Wild Wild West. Jim West. He takes a point-blank gunshot to the chest and falls 80 feet to the desert floor but survives because he was wearing one of Artemus Gordon's "Impermeable" bullet-proof vests.

  • In Caraval, Scarlett watches Tella and Julian die on the last day of the game, but they are both brought back to life at the very end.
  • Discworld:
    • In the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, Gaspode the Wonder Dog makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Disc from the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions. In the first draft he was killed, but this was rewritten following reader feedback, and Gaspode went on to become a recurring character. Given the theme of the book, and the method used to revive Gaspode... possible Lampshade Hanging?
    • In Lords and Ladies, it looks like Granny Weatherwax has given her life to help defeat the Queen of the Elves. When Nanny Ogg and Magrat go through Granny's personal affects, they find an envelope with a piece of card in it: Granny's old "I ATEN'T DEAD" sign. Nanny realizes this means Granny wasn't dead, but off Borrowing (in this case, a swarm of bees).
    • Maurice and Dangerous Beans both die in the finale of the first Discworld children's book, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Maurice survives because Cats Have Nine Lives, and Dangerous Beans survives because Maurice offers two of his lives to Balance Death's Books.
  • Harry Potter:
  • In The Night Land, after the hero has been through hell and back to bring his beloved home, and despite the best efforts of the Redoubt's finest doctors, she dies anyway and has a tremendous funeral attended by the entire human race. Then she comes back to life without explanation.
  • In Voltaire's Candide, roughly every few pages a character is "brought back to life". Lampshaded in the musical version with the song "You Were Dead, You Know."
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by an Orc and stung by Shelob, appearing dead both times, but is saved by his mithril armor and Shelob using paralytic poison instead of a fatal one, respectively. Gandalf dies from his exertions after killing the Balrog, but is sent back by Ilúvatar to finish his task.
  • Two examples from The Night Gardener:
    • Molly doesn't tell Kip the last thing she saw of their parents partially because the letters the tree has been giving her made her hope that their parents' seemingly real death wasn't real at all. Later in the book, she has to come to terms with the fact that they really are gone.
    • Near the end, Kip grabs the Night Gardener and throws himself into the river surrounding the Windsor estate to give his sister and the rest of the Windsors time to destroy the tree. Alastair comes back to the others carrying the seemingly drowned Kip in his arms. However, as Molly is mourning over him, he coughs out the water and wakes up.
  • Valashu in the Ea Cycle narrates his own Disney Death in first person. He falls into afterlife for half a page or so and then gets promptly resurrected. After all, he couldn't very well write about his adventures if he remained dead.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, the climactic battle with Rahvin resulted in the death of some major characters. Rand proceeded to use really powerful balefire to kill Rahvin, which killed him irrevocably and had the convenient effect of undoing everything the villain did in the last hour or so. Everybody's okay!
  • In Robert Aspirin's Myth Adventures series, it was almost a Running Gag to have a character (usually Aahz) appear to be dead/gone and then reappear later as a surprise...
  • A Song of Ice and Fire manages to * combine* this with being a series where Anyone Can Die. Multiple chapters end with a POV character seemingly "dying"... Only for a later chapter to reveal that they survived. Combined with the fact that lots of people really DO die, this has spawned a ludicrous number of Epileptic Trees.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan wrings every possible bit of suspense, drama and angst out of Diego Belmonte's death... then Ishak the legendary doctor appears and "wishes to examine the boy."
  • Jurassic Park ends with Ian Malcolm apparently dead, even referring to the difficulty the others are having in getting his body sent back to America for burial... But in The Lost World (1995) we learn that he survived.
  • In Mossflower, the big final duel ends with it looking like Martin is dead since he's covered in blood as well as hundreds of cuts from Tsarmina's claws. But he's just in a coma and is healed up by the last chapter.
  • Stormbringer in Avalon: Web of Magic seems to die at the end of the sixth book, but the ninth book reveals that she was just trapped on an astral plane... or something. Regardless, she's alive.
    • This also happens to Ozzie in the twelfth book. For such a sunshine and rainbows series, it manages to pull off this trope amazingly convincingly.
  • Peter Pan:
    • Tinker Bell pulls one of these off when she makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Peter. Clap Your Hands If You Believe in fairies!
    • Wendy lies seemingly dead after being mistaken for a bird and shot with an arrow by one of the Lost Boys. But the arrow turns out to have only pierced an acorn button she was wearing and presumably caused her to faint from fear.
  • Cruelly played with in Deeper of the Tunnels series. The hero's brother Cal appears to get a bridge dropped on him halfway through. However, he is later discovered to be Only Mostly Dead and is able to recover. He rejoins the other heroes for the climax... only to die in a hail of bullets at the end.
  • In R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels set in the Forgotten Realms, this happens a lot. Out of the five heroes, Regis is the only one of them who hasn't been presumed dead at least once.
  • The Chinese novel Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre has one of The Hero's love interest, Yin Li, is killed off by another love interest who turns evil, and get buried under the sand after the protagonist finds out the following morning, but she survives, and reappears around the later part of the novel.
  • The rat in one picture book of The House that Jack Built.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg is revealed to have survived the death of his body at the end of the novel. Turns out, it was not his real body, that was buried somewhere else, and apparently in a coma. His father seems to have kept it there after binding his soul to castle Hurog. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Agent Pendergast novels
    • In Dance of Death, the character of Margo Green, who was the main character in the authors' first two books, is stabbed and apparently killed by Pendergast's brother Diogenes. The very end of the novel reveals that she survived and Pendergast allowed the rest of the world to believe her dead so that his brother would not attempt to target her again. As revealed in the next book, this fails, but she still lives anyway.
    • In Cemetery Dance, Pendergast is shot by the novel's antagonist and eventually collapses from blood loss. The final chapter makes it seem like he passed away from his wounds for 2-3 pages before revealing he's sitting there alive and well in his hospital bed.
    • Early on in Cold Vengeance, Pendergast is shot by Judson Esterhazy and is left to die in the Moores of Scotland. Nearly a hundred pages is spent with the supporting cast mourning his "death" before it's revealed he survived, though he's still very weak from the affair.
    • At the end of White Fire Pendergast's protegee Corrie Swanson is seemingly burned to death by an arsonist prompting an enraged Pendergast to hunt the killer. After his death, it's discovered Corrie freed herself and got to safety - the burnt corpse was actually an different victim whose corrupt actions were responsible for a lot of the events of the book.
  • Catching Fire: Peeta Mellark after walking knife-first into a force field during the Quarter Quell.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin has three examples:
    • Rana is crucified at one point but was Only Mostly Dead and so she survived with help.
    • Kalak is yanked underwater by a squid monster and would have drowned if not for his deal with Mordak.
    • One of the goblins is squashed by Ravage's corpse and stops breathing, but was only unconscious. He comes too soon after.
  • In BIONICLE Chronicles #4: Tales of the Masks, Pohatu is presumed dead after being buried in a collapsed cave. The even softens the ice-hearted Kopaka so much that he's ready to hand over the Mask of Shielding he's found the cave to Pohatu's people... and Pohatu's there to take it from him, apparently having survived the cave-in thanks to the mask extending its power over him before the rubble hit.
  • The Book of Lost Things: The Huntsman, who returns safe and sound at the end after apparently being killed by the Loups early on.
  • In This Immortal, Cassandra, protagonist Conrad's wife, allegedly dies in an earthquake which lays waste to the general area she and Conrad live in. It turns out she was out on a boat during the quake and miraculously survived.
  • Although Anyone Can Die in Warrior Cats, this does appear a few times.
    • Hollyleaf appears to die at the end of Sunrise, after running into a collapsing underground tunnel. We don't find out about her survival for five books. She's later Killed Off for Real, one book after she returns.
    • In Shattered Sky, Twigpaw appears to die when she is struck by a car. It turns out she had only been knocked unconscious, and had survived the initial impact. Justified in that although the search patrol doesn't find her body, they do find significantly large traces of her blood and fur where it happened (identified by scent), and it was safe to assume that she had been killed. Also, Twigpaw would've died of her injuries if not for her getting rescued by a human veterinarian.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Season 2 has Jack captured by terrorists and brutally tortured to death. Yup, his heart actually stops and he's actually pronounced dead at the end of the episode. However, they manage to get a doctor to resuscitate him time at the very beginning of the following episode.
    • Additionally, late in its fourth season Tony Almeida is take hostage by the assassin Mandy and when CTU corners the two of them she seemingly blows them both up. Everyone is in shock and Tony's wife Michelle grieves, but Jack is eventually able to figure out that Mandy faked their deaths and he and Curtis are able to truly save Tony in time.
    • Two-thirds through Day 9, the cliffhanger for one episode has President Heller apparently get blown up by a missile. The following episode opens with everyone mourning his death, only for it to turn out that it was faked by Jack and Chloe to buy everyone some time.
  • Death seems cheap in the series Ace Lightning, at least for the "video game" characters. Also subverted in one episode when Ace is surprised to learn from Mark that when humans die they can't come back in a similar fashion. This does not make Sparx's "death" any less traumatic...
  • Angel: A good Mutant Enemy example is Lorne's head asking for the praising and extolling of his virtues. For whatever reason, his particular variety of demon can survive decapitation—the body needs to be mutilated. The bad guys didn't forget to, though—the Groosalugg, knowing Lorne was Cordelia's friend, switched his body with a soldier.
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008) has one in the episode "Charity Begins At Home", with Shaz via CPR though it is actually a pretty well done and relatively believable. It's also quite violent as it leads to a very brutal beating of the "murderer".
  • Partially subverted in Babylon 5. After calling down a nuclear bomb on his own position and jumping down a huge hole, Captain Sheridan really is dead. However, he's frozen at the moment of death by Lorien, the first living being ever to come into existence, who tells him he can "breathe on the remaining embers" of Sheridan's life. This means he gets to live for the remaining two years of the series, but Lorien's action only bought him twenty more years, so that he'll die at age 66.
  • In the series finale of The Aunty Jack Show, she died of a heart attack. However in the specials and on her Twitter account, she was revived.
  • In the series finale of Battlestar Galactica of all places. During the battle in the first half of the episode, Helo is shot and severely wounded while rescuing his daughter Hera from the Cylons. His wife Athena tearfully leaves him behind to save Hera (and at that point she wasn't the only one shedding tears), at which point he doesn't appear for the rest of most of the episode...only to turn up alive on Earth at the end of the episode, living happily with his family. He even had the standard Disney Death walking stick to at least acknowledge that he was injured earlier. Strange to see this trope in such a dark Anyone Can Die Crapsack World, but if any couple deserved a happy ending on that show it was them.
  • Used twice (well, almost) in the season finale of Blackadder the Third. First, The Duke of Wellington fires a cannon at Edmund, but it is revealed a moment later that the cannonball was stopped by a cigarillo case. Several minutes later, (though this is actually a subversion) Wellington shoots the Prince Regent and, while Baldrick mourns him, the Prince gets up and reveals that he, too, had a cigarillo case, searches for it in his coat, realizes he left it on the dresser at home, and dies for real.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy comes to find her mother unresponsive on the couch, not breathing. She calls 911, she performs CPR, her mother gasps. Cut to the ambulance taking them to the scene in the hospital where Buffy's mom is so glad that Buffy came home when she did, or else—wait, why are we cutting back to the CPR? Oh. Well, the paramedics have arrived, and so we get to see them bring her back to the... They call the coroner. Harshest subversion of Disney Death ever.
    • Joss Whedon LOVES those teeth-kicking subversions.
    • This one was fairly obvious in advance, though; we'd already learned that the body was cold, so the (very short) back-to-life sequence was confusing but obviously not "real".
    • It's actually played straight in the Season 1 finale, when Buffy drowns... only to be brought back to life by Xander's CPR.
  • In the fourth season finale of Chuck Sarah apparently succumbs to being poisoned with Chuck even pulling a Please Wake Up. It cuts to sometime later, with the scene being a church implying that it's her funeral... and then seconds later pulls down to reveal that Sarah is fine and that she and Chuck are actually at their wedding.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Technically, whenever the Doctor is about to regenerate in front of a companion who doesn't know what they're about to do counts, as they have no idea they're going to be alright, if a bit different.
    • "The Ice Warriors": Victoria witnesses Jamie's apparent death at the hands of an Ice Warrior. However, while the man with Jamie was killed, Jamie himself survived.
    • "Planet of the Daleks": The Third Doctor believes Jo has been killed when the Daleks blow up the Thal spaceship in which she was hiding. In fact, she was rescued at the last minute by a Spiridon named Wester.
    • "Genesis of the Daleks": Following the Thals' missile strike against the Kaled City, the Fourth Doctor believes Harry and Sarah Jane (whom he had sent to warn the Kaled leaders) died in the attack. In fact, they were waylaid by Mutos and never even reached the Kaled City.
    • "Mindwarp": The Sixth Doctor is shown a scene in which Peri, her mind hijacked by an alien, was apparently killed. However, it later emerges that the scene in question had been fabricated and Peri is "alive and well and living as a queen".
    • "Survival": The Seventh Doctor has a head-on collision on a motorbike with the enemy, resulting in a huge explosion which we see nobody escape from. Ace begins to mourn his death after she finds his hat and his umbrella laying on the ground. We soon after find out he's somehow just ended up face-first in a pile of rubbish with his backside in the air.
    • "School Reunion" has the robot version happen to K9, although it is unclear if this is the same robot rebuilt (with the same personality and memories) or just another robot of the same model.
    • "The Doctor's Daughter": Jenny takes a bullet for the Doctor near the end of the episode. After the Doctor has accepted that she won't regenerate, he leaves her body with her fellow soldiers and goes off in the TARDIS. Suddenly she pops back to life, apparently none the worse for wear (seemingly due to the Terraforming process that was still ongoing), and takes off in a stolen spaceship (like father like daughter, apparently). The Doctor, however, is unaware that she came back to life.
    • "The Stolen Earth" ends on a cliffhanger wherein the Doctor has started to regenerate after being shot by a Dalek. "Journey's End" resolves this by having the Doctor use his old severed hand as a receptacle for the regeneration energy, allowing him to heal himself without having to change his appearance.
    • "The Big Bang" has two. In 1996, Centurion Rory is presumed dead from pulling the Pandorica out of the fires of the Blitz during World War II. He's actually the night watchman of the museum holding the Pandorica. The Doctor also gets one. He travels back in time a few minutes faking his death from a partially powered Dalek raygun. He uses this as a diversion to travel back to the Pandorica to jump start the universe in a Big Bang Two. Geronimo indeed.
    • "Let's Kill Hitler" plays this trope straight. The 11th Doctor has been poisoned by a brainwashed River Song to the point of no regeneration. After he's died, River redeems herself by sacrificing her regenerations to bring the Doctor back to life.
  • Rather mean subversion in Ghost Whisperer: At the end of season one, Melinda's best friend (and the only main character other than Melinda at this point) realizes that she, not her brother, is the ghost and she was killed in the plane crash earlier in the episode. The season two premiere reveals that she was merely in a coma, thus allowing her spirit to wander (as has happened at least once before) and she has a very good chance of recovery. Then Melinda wakes up; it was a dream and her friend really is dead. She has remained dead ever since.
  • Heroes has two characters (Adam and Claire) whose power is essentially to always have a Disney Death: they come back to life, assuming that something isn't preventing them from regenerating, and if the thing is removed they regenerate as normal. This also allows Peter and Sylar to gain similar powers, from their abilities to absorb powers of others. To make matters ridiculous, it's revealed that if anyone is given a transfusion of Claire's (or Peter's) blood, they regenerate as well. This allows characters that have been definitely killed off to come back if needed (it may be that you can receive this transfusion even if you're dead — HRG must have been cold before he got his transfusion).
    • On the flip side, Mr. Lindermann has the ability to heal others which includes, apparently, bringing people back to life. As long as Linderman is nearby (and willing), anybody can have a Disney Death.
    • Except that Arthur Petrelli killed Adam.
  • House:
    • During the series finale House is trapped in a burning building and dies when the building collapses on him. Paramedics pull a body out of the rubble and confirm that the body was indeed House. At his funeral, Wilson receives a text message from House during his speech. It turned out that House actually faked his death so he could be with Wilson during his final 5 months instead of spending it in prison.
  • In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight the term venting is used to describe the disintegration of the losing Rider at the end of a battle. By saying that the Riders were trapped in a void instead of dead, it enabled lost Riders to be pulled back in for the climactic battle at the end of the series.
  • ADA Alexandra Cabot from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is shot and declared dead in Season 5. At the end of that episode, Stabler and Benson are brought out to a secluded spot, where they meet Cabot, who has only been injured and are informed that she is going into Witness Protection. They are the only ones who know, creating some trust issues with Cragen when she reappears.
  • Lost basically runs on Death Is Cheap:
    • "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" uses a very cheap Disney Death, when Charlie is found strung up by the neck, not breathing and with no pulse. But after a particularly protracted CPR session, Jack is able to revive him. Some fans decided to blame the unlikely event on the possibly magic island (similar to A Wizard Did It).
    • Shannon apparently dies in "Hearts and Minds", but the sequence is shown to have been a drug-fueled hallucination by her brother Boone.
    • At the end of season 4, the Kahana explodes with Jin on board. A few episodes into season 5, he's found alive and clinging to shipwreck.
    • In season 6, Lapidus is whacked round the head as the submarine sinks from the Man in Black's bomb, and he is presumed dead by viewers. However, he resurfaces clinging to debris several episodes later.
    • Near the end of season 3, Locke gets shot and thrown into a hole full of bodies, but eventually gets back out of the pit. He later mentions that he didn't die because the injury location was where his stolen kidney used to be, and if he'd still had that kidney, he would have died.
    • On the villain front, Mikhail Bakunin survived multiple seemingly fatal incidents in Season 3. Including impaling.
  • The Middleman episode "The Boyband Superfan Interrogation" plays the Robot Disney Death relatively straight (though with tongue firmly in cheek, as with everything on the show). Ridiculously Human Robot Ida is destroyed defeating the villain's scheme, given a hero's funeral — and then Wendy finds a box with a brand-new Ida robot inside. It is never mentioned again.
    • It is implied again that they can just 'get a new model' when Ida malfunctions in a later episode, although they don't realize this (or know how) until it's far too late, leading Wendy to start making an impromptu Video Will. Naturally, she gets out of danger at the last minute.
  • In the series 3 finale of Moone Boy, "Gershwin's Bucket List", George Gershwin, Grandpa Joe's imaginary friend, is assumed to have kicked the bucket upon Grandpa Joe's unexpected death following a line dance outing, only to turn up at his own funeral as Sean is delivering the eulogy.
  • The first season finale of Robin Hood, where Marian is mourned, avenged, and then discovered to be still alive. (Setting the scene for a major audience shock when she died in the second season finale.)
  • Sliders:
    • In one episode, crooner Mel Torme helps the Sliders with their mission, only to apparently die in a car bomb. He inexplicably resurfaces at the end, though, to wish the Sliders well on their way.
    • Another episode had a rather cruel example. The characters land in a world run by the Russians and help the Resistance in one of their operations. During the pull out though female protagonist Wade Wells is shot and mortally wounded. The other main characters start to grieve for her till she suddenly appears right behind them alive and well. Turns out it was her double from this particular alternate earth that got killed not her.
    • The same method of death happens in another episode with Arturo. This was just stretched out for years after the show ended. It took the Word of God to clear things up.
  • Spaced. Mike is shot by a paintgun to "save" his friend Tim. Tim sobs hysterically as Mike passes out in his arms and vomits yellow paint (Mike not Tim). Cut to the two of them walking out of the paintball centre, happily reminiscing the game.
  • Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand was stabbed through her stomach by Crixus and she managed to walk up to her husband and she fell over, seemingly dead. Then come the next season, she was fine and dandy. The whole thing was lampshaded where everyone thought that it was the work of the gods.
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1: Daniel Jackson has several of these. Considering he dies over twenty times in the series and all the movies, it's fairly understandable. The Sci Fi Channel once had a "They're dead, no they're not, yes they are, no they aren't!" marathon.
    • In the episode "Doppelganger" in Stargate Atlantis Rodney McKay dies from a entity that kills people in their sleep, while John Sheppard is trying to save him. Turns out, the whole thing was really John's Nightmare, and the character wakes up in the real world, perfectly fine, minus a technical cardiac arrest.
      • In the series finale, Ronan is killed by the Wraith in order to up the stakes for the remaining characters and then gets Ass Pull'd back to life (also by the Wraith, because they're a bunch of morons).
  • Every other person dies once a season in Supernatural, but they always seem to make it back fine. Dean, Sam and Castiel alone have died a collective 20 times on-screen (with Dean dying an additional 100+, non-shown times in the time-loop episode). Why does anybody even try to kill them anymore?
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
    • In the Power Rangers RPM finale, Venjix breaks into Dr. K's lab, hacks her computers, and downloads everything to do with the Rangers. Using this data, he can not only "delete" megazords out of existence, but also the Rangers themselves. He finishes the first of the two episodes by "deleting" Gem and Gemma (Gold and Silver), but with help from Tenaya, Dr. K is able to retrieve their data and reassemble her first two friends to help defeat Venjix once and for all... or did they? The final scene of the series is one light on one of the Rangers' morphers lighting, red like the Venjix Eye, with the big V's theme music playing. One good Disney Death deserves another.
    • Its source material, Engine Sentai Go-onger, also features an example: in GP35, Yogostein turns Sousuke into a bronze statue, seemingly killing him off... until the next episode, where he's revived and defeats Yogostein in a one-on-one duel.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive. In the season finale, Mack, the Red Ranger, uses his full power on one of the Big Bads using the MacGuffin of the series — and dies. Sentinal Knight used the MacGuffin to turn Mack into a human.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has Kendrix, the Pink Ranger, sacrifice herself in a failed attempt at McLeaning Valerie Vernon, who was leukemia-stricken at the time; Vernon recovered in time for Kendrix to be Back for the Finale.
    • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, Buredoran embodies this trope and is a rare villainous example. Not counting his reappearances in movies, he seemingly dies twice. First as Buredoran of the Comet and second as Buredoran of the Chupercabra when he's revived as BuredoRUN after being Only Mostly Dead. He's finally killed for good, ...for the time being, after his reveal as Brajira of the Messiah.
  • Another rather mean subversion in Ugly Betty in the beginning of the second season. Throughout the whole episode Hilda and Santos are shown in her bedroom going over details of their impending marriage, him having only been injured when he was shot. However at the end of the episode, it is revealed that it was all in Hilda's head, and that Santos really is dead.
  • In the final episode of the original Ultraman series, Ultraman is felled by Zetton, and is Killed Off for Real, until Zoffy comes to rescue him.
  • The ending of the second season of Veronica Mars has the season's Big Bad Cassidy detonating a remote bomb aboard a plane that presumably has Veronica's dad on it. However, it turns out that her father drove home and he wasn't on the plane.
  • In the Voyagers! pilot "Voyagers", Bogg crashes the Wright Brothers' glider during an attempt to prove it works and winds up lying unmoving amidst the wreckage for a few minutes, causing Jeffrey to think he died in the crash. He's fine, if a bit battered.

  • The 19th century Irish comic ballad "Finnegan's Wake" (which also provided inspiration for James Joyce's novel of the same name) is about an Dublin worker named Tim Finnegan who resurrects at his funeral after some whiskey (Water of Life in Irish) pours over him by mistake.
  • The girl in I Fight Dragons second album The Near Future dies shortly after her, the boy, and her grandfather escape the complex. As the boy morns, he manages to reverse the link between him and her, returning all her powers and bringing her back to life.

    Music Videos 
  • A rather nasty example comes in Michael Jackson's Ghosts. His hero, Maestro, asks the mob of kids and grown-ups (the latter wanted to run him out of town) if they still want him to leave; while only the evil mayor does, Maestro agrees to go and smashes himself into the floor, crumbling into dust before the horrified crowd's eyes and reducing one of the boys to tears. The mayor is happy to be rid of him and makes to leave, but then the Maestro (in his ghoul form) appears as a giant face in the doorway, and the mayor runs away screaming, smashing through a window. Turns out Maestro just wanted to scare everybody, and the crowd is happy... except for viewers who realize the Fridge Logic that the mayor might be actually be dead or at least horribly injured, and that the hero traumatized everybody just to trick one person who (by that point) had a darn good reason for wanting him out of town — he'd been the victim of magical torture by the Maestro.

    Myths & Religion 
  • After Ragnarok. The world is devastated and everyone is dead. Wait, there are survivors?...

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In a rare combination of both kayfabe AND real-life, Vince McMahon's limo blew up with him inside it at the conclusion of one episode of WWE Raw in 2007. This was supposed to have been the "death" of the Mr. McMahon character, but real-life circumstances involving the very, very real death of Chris Benoit, forced Vince back on television to address the fans personally, where he admits that the limo explosion WAS in fact, meant to be the death of his "Mr. McMahon" character. Of course, Mr. McMahon has since been "resurrected" and up to his usual brutal boss ways.
  • The Undertaker loves this trope. How many times has he been kayfabe killed, only to inexplicably come back very much alive to terrorize his opponents when everyone thought he was gone for good?

  • In an episode of The Shadow called "The Blind Beggar Dies, The Shadow suspected that Spike and Marty were setting a trap for him, so he stood behind them and use "ventriloquism" to make his voice sound like it was near the door, tricking them into thinking that they killed him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 this is what happens to the named characters in most narratives accompanying games - they are knocked out, sent through accidental warp portals, teleported away just before death, badly wounded but recovered by medics after the battle, temporarily banished to the Realm of Chaos or any number of fates that can be recovered from. It even makes it clear in the rules that casualties don't automatically equate to dead. When a character dies, it's usually a major event or storyline progression and doesn't stop them being used in historical refights, but this is strongly tempered with Status Quo Is God (as well as the fact that if the characters stay alive, people will keep buying the models),
  • Characters in Rocket Age are able to use their story points to dodge death or defeat, although at the cost of a new bad trait. Because of this any villain the heroes didn't see die by their own hand can be easily be brought back by the Game Master at a dramatic moment.

  • In the opera Paul Bunyan, Hel Helson, suffering from an inferiority complex, is egged on by his four cronies to fight with Paul. Paul wins, of course, and Helson is knocked unconscious. A sort of funeral procession ensues. Then Helson wakes up, makes friends with Paul, and dismisses the cronies.
  • Philip Lombard gets one of these in the stage version of And Then There Were None.
  • Elphaba and Fiyero in Wicked, who fake their deaths and leave Oz, never able to return, although Glinda and all other denizens remain in the dark about this. Doubles as an example of Spared by the Adaptation, since in the novel, both do indeed die.
  • Twistedly raised as a possibility in the 2013 musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as part of the show's Black Comedy. In this version, Augustus, Violet, and Veruca and her dad all face the possibility of Death by Adaptation. Augustus is swept away by a pipe to be turned into fudge; Violet, having swelled into a giant blueberry, explodes in a shower of purple glitter; Veruca and her dad are sent down a garbage chute to an incinerator. According to Willy Wonka, Augustus and Violet can be rescued and restored, respectively, so she could get a Disney Death. But that's only going to happen offstage. If she's lucky. And she may be Not Quite Back to Normal if she is. The audience will never know...
  • In Der Freischütz, the second act finale begins in a mood of tragic horror with Agathe having been seemingly shot to death by Max. Thanks to a Protective Charm, she survives.
  • In both the musical and the movie versions of RENT, Mimi apparently dies at the end, after living on the streets for a long time while suffering from HIV. But after Roger uses the Power of Love/the Power of Rock, she suddenly comes back to life again, her fever broken and not delirious anymore. Only in the Dutch production is she Killed Off for Real. Subverted with Angel's actual death. In the opera La Bohème, which Rent was based on, Mimi actually did die from tuberculosis, although Schaunard (Angel) did not die at all.
  • Some productions of The Nutcracker have the title character be stabbed by the Mouse King near the end of their battle, making the later's death either a Mutual Kill or caused by Clara's thrown shoe, and then have Clara mourn over his body for a moment before he not only revives, but turns into a prince.

    Theme Parks 

    Visual Novels 
  • In Snatcher, Metal Gear uses himself as a target for a Kill Sat beam. He comes back, but in the form of whatever console the version of the game you're playing is on.

    Web Animation 
  • In episode 3 of Ark Angels by Qem-95, Nick jumps in front of a bullet that The Masked Man throws at the viewer, leaving the bullet to impale his clockwork heart and all the cogs and springs fall out causing him to rust up. However, Bang brings him back to the office and fixes him. If you click him, while he's leaping, he falls to the ground and the bullet hits you instead. When the screen goes back to normal, your surrounded by Nick, Qem, Bang, Malcolm and The Masked Man, who turns out to be Soldier.

  • Earthsong opens with a battle in which a man named Richard is stabbed through the heart and disappears, enraging his allies as though he had actually been killed and alarming the newly-awoken protagonist, Willow. Richard's "killers" explain that the sword actually destroyed his soulstone, simply returning him to his home planet. This is the typical way to "die" on Earthsong, making it rather shocking when actual deaths occur. (However, it is sometimes the case that they are returning to imminent death on their world anyway.)
  • Set seems to be have been killed in Sonic the Comic – Online! by being beaten to death by Tekno who has been experiencing a Sanity Slippage. However it turns out she inexplicably missed any major organs and he survived.

    Web Videos 
  • At the end of The Cartoon Man, Karen is fatally wounded by Simon's knife, but Roy manages to save her by transforming her into a cartoon with black ink.

    Western Animation 
  • In the last episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender book 2, Aang is struck by Azula's lightning. Luckily, Katara has some spirit water that she uses to heal him, but it doesn't work right away and we don't learn that he survived until the first episode of the next season.
  • Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix had two. Hoverboard's pilot Gludo was blown to pieces by Vilgax, and Gwen was eaten by an evil plant. Both were rare examples of actually convincing Disney Deaths, thanks in no small part to the fact that they actually used the word "dead" in reference to both characters.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Grandpa Max pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Highbreed and was believed to be dead. A season later it was revealed that he survived and was just trapped in the Null Void.
  • In the Ben 10: Omniverse "Showdown" two-parter, Malware inflicts one of these on the entire Galvanic Mechamorph species when he destroys Galvan B. They all come back at the end of the episode to help bring him down and the planet is repaired.
  • Bump in the Night:
    • In the episode "Journey to the Center of the Lungfish" Captain Jetlag appears to sacrifice himself to let Mr. Bumpy, Squishington, and Molly Coddle escape the lungfish. After the three make it out of the lungfish, Bumpy gets the lungfish to cough up Jetlag completely unharmed by blowing raspberries at it.
    • The Christmas Episode "Twas the Night Before Bumpy" has the earthworm Juaquin Gusanito Sin Manos appear to be crushed by Stonehenge, but the end of the special shows that he survived by ducking into the earth right when the stone structure collapsed.
  • Code Lyoko uses this tropes a lot.
    • Yumi gets thrown into the Digital Sea in the Season 1 episode "Cruel Dilemma". Fortunately, at the beginning of the episode, falling candy just so happens to complete the materialization code Jérémie'd been working one since forever for Aelita. Loop Hole: He can use it once since he doesn't know what to press. He actually has to think about it before deciding to use the one-shot on Yumi and not Aelita. As such, Yumi becomes un-deleted and can be rematerialized.
    • Same thing with Aelita in "Just in Time". She does a Heroic Sacrifice, but thanks to a hair Jérémie managed to materialize at the beginning, he can bring her back (without her memories of the episode, though).
    • In "The Key", XANA takes the keys of Lyoko from Aelita's memory, and in turn kills her lifeforce. She dies, until, oh wait, her father (who was supposed to have been killed by XANA already) appears from the abyss of Lyoko and savez her!
    • Speaking of Franz Hopper, all evidence gathered (and Jérémie's rude remarks to Aelita) says that Franz killed himself saving Aelita in said incident above, until Season 4, when he suddenly lives again as a ball of glittery purple and pink energy. Apparently he can't stay out of the Digital Sea for too long (even though the Digital Sea is supposed to delete everything thrown into it), or else he'll get attacked by XANA real fast. He eventually dies in the Series Finale.
  • Danny Phantom had the main character's destabilized Opposite-Sex Clone die by turning into goo even after he used the antidote to cure her. Cue hero mourning over the bucket of goo, then her head pops out and eventually her whole self — now stabilized.
  • One episode of Dragon Tales did this with a caterpillar. It wasn't even dead, just metamorphosing into a butterfly.
  • Duck Dodgers uses it, and then subverts it. Dodgers' Robot Buddy performs a Heroic Sacrifice by hurling itself against a comet and knocking itself to pieces. Dr. I.Q. High is confident that the robot can be rebuilt. But Dodgers really didn't like his Robot Buddy in the first place and "accidentally" breaks the remaining parts. Somehow he comes back later, gathers all the other one-shot villains from previous episodes, and plots Dodgers' demise, only to end up going through the same thing again.
  • Princess Elena of Elena of Avalor experiences this twice with Shuriki. Prior to the series after she received the amulet from her parents whom Shuriki murdered, Shuriki tried to murder Elena as well but the amulet spared her life by pulling her inside. Then during their final confrontation in "Song of the Sirenas", Shuriki once again tries to kill Elena with the Scepter of Night but she was spared last minute by casting a vanish spell from the Scepter of Light. She disappears just before the hit, and with that, she survives the attack and destroys Shuriki in her place.
  • Alec Deleon in Exo Squad actually does die, but his Super Prototype Humongous Mecha happens to contain his personality and memories up to the moment of his death, so his friends simply clone him a new body and download his memories into it, effectively bringing him back to life. (This was actually a result of Executive Meddling.)
  • The Fairly OddParents: When Timmy, Chester, and AJ are trapped in The Most Dangerous Video Game, Timmy pulls an Heroic Sacrifice in order to save his friends from the Final Boss. However, pulling this off gives him enough points for an extra life.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Lady Dorma gets stabbed in the chest in "Now Comes the Sub-Mariner", but Reed Richards manages to revive her using his molecular resuscitator.
    • The Thing turns out to survive his beating at the hands of the Hulk in the episode "Nightmare in Green".
    • Doctor Doom appears to die in the Grand Finale "Doomsday", but The Incredible Hulk, which takes place in the same continuity as the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon, reveals that he's still alive in the episode "Doomed".
  • Garfield and Friends: In the U.S. Acres segment "No Laughing Matter", the aliens from Clarion get killed by laughing at Roy slipping on a banana. In the Quickie before "Much Ado About Lanolin" (a later episode), Orson, Booker, and Shelldon watch a show about the Clarion aliens, whom are revealed to (still) exist at the end of the Quickie by coming out of the TV.
    • Speaking of "Much Ado About Lanolin", in that episode, the fake Lanolin, Lanolina, disappears with sparkles after kissing Orson.
    • In "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves", Snow Wade dies after eating the poison apple. His last words? "Uh-oh, I'm doomed." He also holds his stomach while doing this.
  • A good example of a Robot Disney Death in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) episode "The Roboto Gambit", where the episode's title character sacrifices himself to foil an evil plan, complete with a death scene. Later, Teela mourns that she should have appreciated Roboto's courage and resourcefulness when she had the chance. However, Man-At-Arms immediately states that she will have that opportunity, as he presents the good-as-new Roboto, whom he just repaired.
  • Invader Zim:
    • In the episode "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", Zim throws rubber piggies into the past to ruin Dib's life. Replacing the defibrillator with pigs appears to seal Dib's fate, complete with a flat line. Cue Professor Membrane fixing him, not only keeping him alive but provoking a We Can Rebuild Him moment where Zim's plan backfires.
    • Iggins was supposed to die in an elevator crash in the episode "Game Slave 2". Nickelodeon said "nope." What we got was IGGINS!!!
  • Justice League Unlimited has the apparent death of The Flash after he single handedly takes down "Brainthor", but overtaxes his powers and ends up vanishing into the Speedforce. He stays dead just long enough for us to resolve the whole "is Superman gonna turn into his Justice-Lords Counterpart and bring about an apocalypse?" plotline that's been foreshadowed all season. Only then does J'onn reveal that Wally is not dead yet and the League say Screw Destiny and drag him back from the brink.
    • The episode "Hereafter" is a particularly prominent example; all of part 1 deals with Superman's apparent death and the reactions to it, and then part 2 explains how he survived.
    • Teased towards the end of "The Brave and the Bold" when the League tries to stop nuclear missiles from hitting Gorilla City. Wonder Woman stops a missile from exploding but she appears to be crushed under some rubble. Somber music plays, the League and gorillas look on sadly, and Batman frantically searches for her while shouting her name. She emerges a minute later with the guidance system.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes did this in its first season, with Brainiac 5 handing Superman a little piece of himself before running off on a suicide mission. Clark can't both do his part to free the rest of the team and save Brainiac, and when they find him, he's mourning Brainy's lifeless body. The Legionnaires promptly ask who has the back-up disc.
  • The immortal Looney Tunes short What's Opera, Doc?, in which we see Elmer Fudd actually kill Bugs Bunny (in a particularly malevolent fashion), at which point he laments the foolishness of his actions, carrying Bugs away. Bugs looks to the audience and asks "What did ya expect from an Opera? A happy ending?"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In the episode "Over a Barrel", the settler ponies and a tribe of buffalo are feuding over land, eventually leading to the two groups fighting it out. The fighting then ends when both sides are horrified at the buffalo chief is taken out, but he then turns out to be just fine. Of course, it's not too surprising considering the thing that took him out was an apple pie to the face.
    • In "A Bird in the Hoof", Celestia's allegedly "sick" pet bird Philomena burns to ashes in front of a shocked Fluttershy... shortly before it is revealednote  that she is actually a phoenix that was just about to rise from her own ashes. There is absolutely no clue to this whatsoever.
    • In "Magical Mystery Cure", Twilight is "vaporized" after casting Starswirl's completed spell, ascends to the astral plane, where she has a life review with Celestia, and returns to the physical world as an alicorn princess.
    • In the season 4 premiere, Twilight, thinking that Luna has turned back into Nightmare Moon, sobs over the body of Princess Celestia, after she is struck by Nightmare Moon. It is only after Celestia recovers and activates the Elements of Harmony does Twilight realize that she is witnessing the night Nightmare Moon was banished.
    • Twilight has another one in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) where she, along with the Storm King, are sucked into a raging storm and presumed dead. Turns out, she reclaimed the Staff of Sacanas and manages to make it back on her hooves in one piece. Unfortunately, the Storm King also survives and attempts to take out the heroes with an Obsidian Orb, but a reformed Tempest Shadow makes a Heroic Sacrifice (and Disney Death of her own) to make sure his demise sticks.
  • In the Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "The Feelers", Mitzi Moth gets sprayed by bug spray and appears to die in Mo Skito's arms. She turns out to be alive after Crusty starts playing the Feelers' recorded song and the song is praised by Mr. Katzeneisner.
  • In Phantom 2040, Rebecca Madison blows up Dijkstra Station, apparently killing Sean One and everyone else on board... except it later turns out they all managed to get to escape pods in time. Sean One then exploits this to prompt a vote among the Orbital Nation to formally declare independence and cut all ties with Earth.
  • Nightcrawler appears to die near the end of Pryde of the X-Men, but subsequently turns out to have survived his fall to Earth by teleporting into a closet at the last second.
  • The Real Ghostbusters has given Slimer at least two fake-out deaths.
    • In "Big Trouble with Little Slimer", Walter Peck appears to succeed in blowing Slimer to pieces, but Slimer manages to reassemble himself shortly afterward.
    • Slimer ends up one of the ghosts vaporized by the titular ghost-hunting robot in "Robo-Buster", but it later turns out that all of the ghosts Robo-Buster blasted weren't destroyed, but simply fused into a giant ectoplasmic amalgamation. The Ghostbusters manage to separate Slimer from this fusion while trapping the other ghosts that make up this enormous entity.
  • In the first of the two animated specials based on the short-lived Rose Petal Place toyline of The '80s, Rose-Petal is hit with a double whammy by the villainess Nastina: First she's tricked into consuming a potion that ruins her magical singing voice, and then imprisoned in a virtually lightless room — being a flower-woman, this proves fatal. Her friends manage to recover her body and as they weep, their tears fall upon the tear-shaped crystal on her leaf-and-blossom headdress. She and they were originally borne of a little human girl's tears falling upon flowers, so this is sufficient to bring her back to life and full health.
  • The Rupert episode "Rupert and Billy Blizzard" had Rupert Bear's snowman sacrifice himself to defeat Billy Blizzard, but the young bear is fortunately able to rebuild him later.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • Happens twice to Nova. First as a Shout-Out to The Lion King then when she appears to have flatlined in the hospital, it turns out she's being possessed.
    • In "The House of the Nightmare Witch" Shaggy appears to have fallen to his death. Scooby barely has a few seconds to start crying before Shaggy quickly opens his eyes.
    • In "Gates of Gloom" Fred, Velma, and Daphne all apparently perish inside the Mystery Machine when they blow it up to destroy Pericles' robots. Fortunately, Fred was actually piloting it with remote control so they're all okay. Though the fact that the gang's iconic van is gone still manages to be a pretty big gut punch in itself.
  • In The Simpsons episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" Homer eats fugu which is poisonous if cut incorrectly. When Dr. Hibbert is unable to determine for sure whether Homer indeed ate toxic portions of the fish – he merely accepts the word of the sushi chef – he tells Homer that he has 22 hours to live (24, minus the two hours it took to perform tests and contact the chef). Homer is left to make a list of things to do before he dies. That night, Homer falls asleep in an armchair while listening to the Bible-on-tape ... although with his head suddenly drooping and arms falling limp, plus a dark music cue to underscore the moment, the viewer is led to believe that he possibly did succumb to the poison. The next morning, Marge finds Homer and fears the worst when she sees him lying still in the armchair; she begins to cry and caress him ... only to touch his drool, which is still warm, making her realize her husband is still very much alive. Homer realizes this too when he is awakened by his wife holding him.
  • The Smurfs: At least two examples:
    • "Stop and Smurf the Roses": Chlohydrous, annoyed at the Smurf's beautiful woodelf (and mute) friend, Laconia, sets out to kill Laconia by destroying her very life source: flowers. Indeed, Laconia does "die" after Chlohydrous casts a spell, growing sick as the flowers die off in groups. The other Smurfs do come to rescue Laconia (along with Papa and Natural), but even after they defeat Chlohydrous, it may be too late for Laconia. The other Smurfs prepare for Laconia's funeral, laying her on a lilypad ... but then, she is revived after Papa Smurf reverses Chlohydrous' spell.
    • "Smurfquest": As the Smurfs rapidly age in their quest to restore the Long Life Stone, Grandpa Smurf (introduced in this episode) dies just as the elements are being placed in the Stone's box. While the other (now elderly) Smurfs mourn Grandpa's death, the stone goes through its restoration cycle, and it isn't long before the other Smurfs' youths are restored ... and Grandpa is brought back to life.
  • In the episode of South Park with the hippie music festival, the mayor shoots herself in the head when she finally realizes the gravity of her folly. She later reappears when they're using the giant drill with a bandage on her head, ready to take command at mission control. For some reason headshots are often non-fatal in South Park: see also Bill Gates (shot in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, reappears with a Band-Aid on his head in "The Entity"), Britney Spears, the scientist in "Night of the Living Homeless", and Kenny. Could it be because the characters have no brains?
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "Descent", astromech droid Bucket is shot by a stormtrooper and falls into the ocean while Yeager, Kaz, Neeku and CB-23 are escaping the repair shop, to Yeager's horror. When they eventually make it to safety in engineering, they discover that the Chelidae maintenance workers snagged Bucket in their fishing nets and repaired him.
  • Steven Universe: In "Off Colors", Lars makes a Heroic Sacrifice to protect the Off Color Gems from one of Homeworld's Robonoid probes. Steven cries over the dying Lars, and his tears (when Steven had only been able to use his spit to channel his mother's healing powers) miraculously bring Lars back to life... though not without a few changes. Though I guess we'll give that one a pass because Lars technically DID die and was revived as an immortal zombie.
  • In the Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Season 2 finale, Antauri dies, much to Chiro's sorrow. By the time we start Season 3, he comes back as the silver monkey.
  • Happens to Ilana in "The Demon Within" episode of Sym-Bionic Titan. Technically also happens to Octus later on, only it takes two episodes for the character to be revived.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) LOVES this. Done with Michelangelo in season 3, Leonardo at the end of season 3 (The Tonight, Someone Dies commercial didn't hurt matters either), done with April, Casey, and Mikey's cat in season 4 (this one a case of All Just a Dream), done with Leo's entire family during a two-parter in season 4 (both the audience and Leo learns of their surprisingly logical survivals in pt 2 through flashbacks), and Casey and April again in season 7 (complete with ominous commercial promising "a Very Special Episode"). A number of supporting characters stay dead for multiple episodes.
  • Zigzagged with ThunderCats (2011) Jaga. The Court Mage of Thundera, initially performs a You Shall Not Pass!, seemingly dying in the attempt, allowing Thundera's young king Lion-O and his allies to flee as the city is invaded by the forces of Big Bad Mumm-Ra. Jaga is soon revealed to instead be Mumm-Ra's prisoner, tortured for information on a mystical Great Big Book of Everything's location. Mumm-Ra eventually forces the issue by performing a Your Soul Is Mine, imprisoning The Disembodied Jaga in a Soul Jar that will lead them to the book. In a last-ditch effort to prevent Mumm-Ra from getting it, Jaga performs a magical Heroic Sacrifice that shatters his soul jar, dissipates him, and sends Mumm-Ra fleeing, leaving Jaga's allies to grieve his loss again. Soon after, when Lion-O closely examines the book, it is revealed as Magitek that draws Lion-O's soul inside, where he meets Jaga, now serving as a Spirit Advisor/Virtual Ghost. When Lion-O asks if he's alive, Jaga gives an opaque non-answer.
  • Time Warp Trio:
    • In "Wushu Were Here", Joe and Anna thought Fred got killed by a monk, but it turned out that Fred wasn't dead, and in fact a monk never kills.
    • In "Dude, Where's My Karma?", the kids thought Fred ate something poisonous, but turns out he was only sleeping.
    • In "The Good, The Bad and The Goofy", Joe thought Sam and Fred drowned in a rapid river turns out they were alive.
  • In the Tom and Jerry episode Heavenly Daze Tom gets hit by a piano and dies, ending up in heaven, but he won't be able to pass through the gates without Jerry's forgiveness. Tom is given a set amount of time to receive Jerry's signature on a certificate of forgiveness, but gets it seconds too late, and falls down to Hell. Turns out to be All Just a Dream and Tom suddenly hugs a bewildered Jerry.
  • Transformers: The Movie: Ultra Magnus is dismembered by the Sweeps, but reassembled by the Junkions shortly after.
    • Transformers Armada: Optimus is blasted into dust by the Hydra Cannon, but is resurrected 3 episodes later. Earlier, Smokescreen sacrifices himself, but is rebuilt as Hoist.
    • Happens to Optimus at least once in most films and series.
  • Happened a couple times to Underdog, such as being electrocuted, chained up, and thrown in a lake in A New Villain. Then again...
  • Twice in Winx Club (not in the 4Kids dub).
    • Season two: During the witches' break-in at Red Fountain to get the Codex, Icy kills Sky. The giveaway? His heart stops. But Bloom suddenly discovers her healing magic and brings him back from the dead.
    • Season three: To earn their Enchantix powers, fairies have to sacrifice themselves for someone from their realms. While trying to retrieve the time-turning tears of the Black Willow, Flora dives into tainted water to save her little sister. She gets caught in the vines at the bottom and presumably drowns. Then the Willow "cries" into the river; Flora is returned to the moment before she died and obtains her Enchantix.
    • There was another one in season 3, when Tecna was believed to have died after closing up the Omega portal. She managed to survive thanks to her new Enchantix powers.
    • The aversion: In season four, Nabu sacrifices himself to close a dark abyss the Wizards have created to suck up the fairies of Earth, and Aisha is about to use the Black Gift to revive him, but Ogron steals it and uses it on a wilting flower instead. Aside from a couple animation goofs, Nabu doesn't return at the end of the season, so it looks like he is dead for real. This hasn't sat well with the fans. And it also created some Fridge Logic, since Bloom seems to have forgotten her healing powers.
  • Woody Woodpecker pulls this on purpose on the classic short The Loan Stranger. Specifically, he tricks the Loan Shark into thinking he smashed Woody's skull with a single punch, killing him right there, in order to get the Loan Shark to tear up the loan he had been trying to get Woody to pay back the whole time.
Mixels: Near the end of "Nixel, Nixel, Go Away", it seems that Booger is killed off when trapped in King Nixel's missile. Luckily, he survives the explosion, parachuting down.


  • A "Crosses the Line Twice" computer ad showed how horrible a businessman's life was before he got his new computer, including a staff member shouting "Business is terrible!" before jumping out though the window, and being called that his wife left him and his dog died. After he gets his computer, his wife calls him that she's back and the dog was pretending, and the businessman comes back in a wheelchair and bandages, saying how business is picking up.

    Comic Strips 
  • Done with bears in The Far Side. In the middle of a funeral, the "corpse" sits up and berates the mourners, "I was hibernating, you idiots! Don't you ever check for a pulse?"

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: the Chosen One's mentor Master Tang, love interest Ling, rival Wimp Lo, and his beloved dog are dying. After imparting their "final wisdom" to him, it turns out Master Tang's not dead! And Ling's not dead either! And dog is fine!
    Chosen One: Then surely Wimp Lo!...
    [he runs to Wimp Lo; we hear flies buzzing]
    Chosen One: ... oh.
  • In Last Action Hero, when the Schwarzenegger character receives a fatal blow in the "real" world, he needs the main character's help to get back into the movie world, where the same shot qualifies only as a "flesh wound".
  • In National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, the Jon Lovitz character (modeled after the Joe Pesci character in the Lethal Weapon sequels) dies early on, only to return a few scenes later. When asked how he got back, he replies, "I thought this was the sequel!"
  • Many characters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail receive what ought to be fatal blows, only to keep on coming. Most memorably seen in the Black Knight ("It's just a flesh wound!"), but repeated in variations throughout the movie by other characters ("I'm not dead yet!")
    • Another memorable moment has the King of Swamp Castle actually managing to subvert the typical Disney Death and lampshade it at the same time by acknowledging that a man previously stabbed in the head by Lancelot is now suddenly on a road to recovery and then adds in that suddenly he died without explanation... and the man he describes proceeds to do just that!
  • In Scary Movie 3, Brenda is killed in the first act. In Scary Movie 4, she is inexplicably alive. Cindy even remarks that she thought she was dead. Brenda simply replies that a lot of people thought that.
  • In addition to its more serious examples, Franchise/Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope also features a more humorous take when C-3PO and R2-D2 are desperately trying to save Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca from being crushed inside a trash compactor. R2 successfully shuts it off, leading to everyone in the compactor to start crying out in joy, but 3PO initially believes that they're screaming from being crushed to death and that they failed to save them in time.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Muppet Treasure Island, Long John Silver tells Samuel Arrow, played by safety fanatic Sam the Eagle, one of the boats may not be safe, and tells him to go out to sea to make sure it is safe. He then tells Kermit (The Captain) that he was lost at sea. He comes back some time later and tells Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo "Not to trust that Silver fellow."
    Gonzo: Now he tells us....
  • One episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has Crow developing the touch of death and accidentally killing Mike when he shakes his hand during one of the host segments, and this actually sticks for a bit when they return to the theater with Mike's corpse just propped up in his seat. After his body keeps falling on Servo, Crow shakes his hand again which brings him back to life. Upon learning they're still watching the crummy movie, Mike actually wishes Crow had left him dead.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Thought You Were Dead


Elena of Avalor

Shuriki almost destroys Elena with the Scepter of Night, but thanks to casting the vanish spell at the right moment, Elena survives, and she uses the Scepter of Light to destroy Shuriki in her place once and for all.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisneyDeath

Media sources:

Main / DisneyDeath