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Ghost Reunion Ending

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An Ending Trope in which the spirits of the dead reappear at the end of the work. This may be because they were Barred from the Afterlife but the resolution of the plot now allows them to cross over. It could also be because the Unfinished Business the ghosts were worried about has been taken care of. A still-living character who is having a Dying Dream may see the ghosts of characters who have gone before. A villainous character may meet the ghosts of people they killed or otherwise wronged. It may be as simple as a protagonist at the end of a work remembering all those who have been lost.

Compare:

A form of Back for the Finale. See also Nostalgia Heaven, a closely related trope in which the character dies, often temporarily, and sees the dearly departed in the afterlife.

This is an Ending Trope AND a Death Trope. As such, it contains massive spoilers.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Grave of the Fireflies Has Seita and Setsuko reunite as ghosts at the beginning of the movie. Setsuko's ghost calmly waits for Seita to succumb to starvation and starts to enter the building where his body is located only to pause when he touches her shoulder. She smiles.
  • Naruto has Hishaku reunite with the rest of the ship's crew after Naruto defeats the Giant Lobster that killed the crew and capsized their ship.

    Comic Books 
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: At the end of the chapter "The Billionaire of Dismal Downs", the spirits of Scrooge's parents look at him as Scrooge and his sisters leave their ancestral home and reunite with one of their ancestors before passing on.
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    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of The Lion King (1994) and its 2019 remake, shortly after saving the Pride Lands and taking his place on Pride Rock, Simba hears Mufasa's ghost saying "Remember" to him, just before he performs his victory roar.
  • The final musical number of The Suicide Shop has several of the characters who committed suicide in the film return as ghosts.
  • The end of Coco takes place one year after the main events of the film on the next Dia de Los Muertos, when Héctor, Imelda, Coco, and the other dead Riveras pay a visit to their living relatives. Fitting, as the entire point of Dia de Los Muertos is a reunion between the dead and living family members.
  • After the titular Monster House is destroyed, Mr. Nebbercracker dances with the ghost of Constance as she disappears.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The end of Longtime Companion has the surviving main characters meet their friends who died of AIDS over the course of the movie.
  • Star Wars:
    • The most famous example is Return of the Jedi. As Luke is giving Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker a Viking Funeral, he looks up and sees the "Force ghosts" of Anakin, Obi-wan, and Yoda watching him.
    • The Rise of Skywalker ends with Luke and Leia's ghosts watching Rey bury their lightsabers.
  • The above example is Parodied at the end of Happy Gilmore, when Happy looks up at the sky and sees the ghosts of Chubbs, the alligator...and Abraham Lincoln? What?
  • Scrooged. In the end, the ghost of the dead homeless guy appears on screen with the other Christmas ghosts.
  • At the end of Siberiade the oil well has struck a gusher, which means the dam won't be built and the local Siberian village consequently won't be destroyed to accommodate the artificial lake. As a bulldozer flattens the cemetery (the oil fire is too close), Phil the commissar sees the ghosts of his father and brothers, as well as the ghosts of Alexei his old friend and Anastasia (Nastya), the girl that he once loved. Nastya kisses him and Alexei gives him a hug.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: Subverted. After apparently defeating Freddy, the ghost of Nancy's father appears to her. It's really Freddy in disguise, using it to give her a Deadly Hug.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato, the last thing Susumu sees before carrying out his Suicide Attack on the final Gamilas spaceship is the ghosts of his dead comrades.
  • Rose gets reunited with Jack's ghost when she dies at the end of Titanic.
  • Hocus Pocus: After the witches are defeated, Zackery's spirit is finally freed from his cat form and reunites with his little sister, who was killed at the beginning of the movie, allowing the two to finally pass on.
  • When Dan is inside the exploding hotel at the end of Doctor Sleep, he turns into a child and is reunited with his mother. He later appears again as an adult in Abra's room. It's briefly left vague if he somehow survived or came back as a ghost. The latter turns out to be true.

    Literature 
  • Played with in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry's climactic duel with Voldemort causes the spirits of Voldemort's victims, including Cedric Diggory and his parents, to appear. They then help Harry out in the duel. As Dumbledore later explains, they're actually magical imprints, not unlike magic paintings.
    • A somewhat straighter example (but still closer to climax than resolution) comes at the end of Deathly Hallows, when Harry uses the Resurrection Stone to summon the spirits of his parents, and Sirius and Remus. They give him their courage and love and stay with him while he walks to his death.
  • Played with at the end of Wuthering Heights. After Heathcliff's death, many locals claim to have seen his ghost in various places, and one little shepherd boy claims to have seen him with a woman, presumably the ghost of Cathy. But it's never made clear if these sightings are real or just imagined. Most media adaptations play the trope straighter and actually show Heathcliff and Cathy's ghosts Together in Death in the end.
  • Happens occasionally in Warrior Cats.
    • At the end of the Tigerstar and Sasha manga, Tigerstar appears next to Sasha and promises her that he'll watch over their children.
    • In Tree's Roots, Tree's father reappears at the end to him to tell him that he doesn't regret having died to save his son, and to tell Tree not to live his life alone.
    • In the last scene of Veil of Shadows, Rootpaw sees the ghosts of all the cats who had died in the book, stuck in between worlds because StarClan is currently blocked off.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cold Case almost always ends with somebody seeing the victim. Often they were seen by a detective but it was a loved one a lot too (especially in the later seasons).
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: Parodied in the season 2 finale when during the rally that Ash's hometown organized for him, the ghosts of Ash's deceased friends and family show up in the audience in imitation of Return of the Jedi.
  • At the end of Spartacus: War of the Damned, the crucified Gannicus has a dying vision of his best friend Oenomaus, who died in the previous season, welcoming him to the afterlife.
  • As Susan leaves Wisteria Lane in the final episode of Desperate Housewives, she's watched by several dead characters from earlier seasons.

    Theater 
  • At the end of the play Fortenbras all the dead characters of Hamlet, who have been haunting Fortenbras throughout the play, all appear onstage with him.
  • At the end of Hamilton, Hamilton himself appears to join Eliza, his wife, and they exit through the back of the stage. Given the nature of the final song, it's unclear whether it's Hamilton's ghost or just a memory of him, as other deceased people (such as Washington and Laurens) appear seamlessly alongside those who are still alive (Burr, Lafayette, Jefferson, Madison, and Mulligan).
    • However, the appearance of Laurens, Philip, Washington, and Hamilton's mother in the previous song do validate this trope (also falling under Nostalgia Heaven).
  • The end of Les Misérables has the ghosts of Eponine and Fantine (and, in the 2012 film, the Bishop) come to take Valjean to heaven. Waiting for him in heaven are Enjolras, Gavroche, and the other dead students. Curiously absent is Javert, who is the only character to die in the play and not return in the Finale.
  • Spring Awakening ends with the ghosts of Moritz and Wendla coming back to talk to Melchior.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • After numerous attempts to dispose of an unwanted cat in Cordell Barker's cartoon The Cat Came Back for the National Film Board of Canada, Old Mr. Johnson fills his house with explosives, then sets them off, killing himself in the process. His ghost returns to laugh at the cat, which can no longer torment him ... until his dead body falls on the cat, killing it. Nine numbered feline ghosts appear and chase the man's ghost, who screams in horror, into the sky.
  • Elena of Avalor: At the end of the first Dia de Los Muertos episode "A Day to Remember", in which the topic of Elena's deceased parents is first brought and we learn that Elena can see ghosts on this day, this discovery is only taken to its logical conclusion at the end of the episode after Elena has dealt with the problem-of-the-day; as she and her family visit her parents' ofrenda, she sees the ghosts of her parents smiling down on them.
    Isabel: Elena, I really feel like Mami and Papi are here with us. Does that sound weird?
    Elena: [looks up to see their parents standing next to their altar] No. I know they are.

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