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How Did We Get Back Home?

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The Heroes went to Another Dimension where they fought countless Mooks and the Big Bad is destroyed. But how do you deal with the point at the end where you have to explain how they got back home? Answer: you don't, you just transport them back through some undefined mechanism. Suddenly the Heroes are surrounded by a flash of light and then they see that they are back in their homeworld.

Often the Heroes are dumbfounded about how they got back. Maybe they think it was All Just a Dream. The use of the transfer can have further unspoken implications that you may find useful. After a tense moment, it feels like a sweet release and actually increases the drama of what went before. It may imply that the Pocket Dimension stopped existing, or that the dangerous connection has been severed, you've managed to Save Both Worlds and now you can't return, or just the implication that The Magic Goes Away.

Contrast Boring Return Journey, when the trip back serves as a denouement. Not to be confused with Going Home Again, which is when a character makes it to the big leagues in a competitive trade, flunks, and then returns to their hometown to reconnect.

This is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers.


Comic Books

  • Secret Invasion: In the planning stages of the Secret Invasion, the Illuminatinote  are sitting around a table as they discuss the events of their assault on the Skrull homeworld. Dr. Strange tries to cast a spell and they wonder how they got home... Then a War Skrull bursts in and kills them all. It's all right, though, because they're clones.

Films — Animation

  • Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007): Bender's Game After Mom gets the MacGuffin she, Fry, Leela, Hermes, Zoidberg and the rest return back to Earth.

Films — Live-Action

  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie: Happens twice. First when Johnny somehow escapes Scorpion's dimension, and then at the end when the heroes somehow escape Outworld.
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future: At the end of the film, Mulder and Scully are stuck in Antarctica with a SnowCat with no gas and on the verge of consciousness. The next scene shows them back in Washington D.C. without any explanation as to how they got there. When this is brought up three seasons later by an admirer, Mulder and Scully comically bicker with each other and do not give a straight answer.



  • Ayreon: The last track of Into the Electric Castle describes the characters returning to their respective time periods without the memory of the Castle or Forever, but knowing that something happened.

Tabletop Games

  • Queen of the Spiders: Happens if the PCs succeed in killing Lolth in the adventure Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
    After a short, dizzying, gut-twisting spin, they will black out, regaining consciousness somewhere in their own world...If characters delve into these events, they might learn that they were rescued by their gods as a reward for their services.

Video Games

  • Chrono Cross: At the end of the game, the split timelines are united ("fixed"), and everyone supposedly returns to their respective home, with Serge waking up at Opassa Beach by Leena's side. Worth of note is that he can always flee from the Final Battle if he so wishes, but it's Schala's power that sends him back after the job is done.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy Type-0: Colonel Faith, who pilots a flying Helldiver mech and can escape the area really quickly if he is not stopped.
    • Final Fantasy V: One minute, you're taking out the Big Bad in his castle, and the next, you're back in your homeworld in front of Tycoon Castle. Subverted in that you're not back in your homeworld; you're on the new world created by merging the two worlds together. Also, you're only two-thirds through the plot.
  • It Lives: After escaping from the cultists in Chapter 3 and falling out the window, Harper wakes up in their room and wonders how they got home. Chapter 9 reveals that Arthur was one of the cultists at the house and brought Harper home afterwards.
  • Last Dream: After killing the Dark Lord/Gabriel, an interdimensional rift opens above the Well of Souls, forcing the party to make a run for it and jump through before it closes. After the player character arrives back on the beach, he seems confused about what happened, and why only a few minutes have passed since he left to get the firewood.
  • Pokémon: Downplayed in the mainline RPGs. After you beat the Elite Four, the game places you back outside your home at the beginning of the game. Played with in some entries, where you actually see your character make the long trek back home over the credits sequence that plays the first time you beat the game. This can be a bit frustrating if you're using the Elite Four for Level Grinding a team for competitive since you just have to turn around and go right back.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: At the end of the game, the main characters wake up from their entire universe being deleted with no explanation of how they're still alive, or how their universe is still intact. Maria speculates on it for a minute, but the party ultimately decides to not worry about it and just go home.
  • Super Mario Galaxy: At the end of the game, after defeating Bowser and rescuing Peach, Bowser's galaxy explodes and destroys the universe. The Lumas all throw themselves inside the black hole that is tearing up the universe in an attempt to stop it, and after their sacrifice results in the birth of a completely new universe altogether, Rosalina appears and tells Mario that the material left from dead stars are actually used to create new ones, followed by him, Peach, and Bowser finding themselves back in the Mushroom Kingdom as if nothing even happened.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2:

Web Videos

Western Animation

  • Justice League: In "The Savage Time", the time vortex dumps our heroes in Germany and then vanishes. At the end of the episode, they are seen exiting the vortex back into our time, but how they activated it from 1944 is left to the imagination.
  • Winx Club:
    • In the second season's final episode, "The Phoenix Revealed", the Trix sisters are stranded in the Realix dimension, which can only be accessed by reuniting the pieces of the Codex. Since the portal closed and they don't have the pieces on the other side, it's practically impossible for them to return to the Magix dimension. Come the next season and they are shown being transported to a high-security prison without any explanation given.
    • In the sixth season's finale, "Winx Forever", Bloom traps the Trix in the Legendarium's Pocket Dimension. It's explicitly stated there's no way for them to come back now that the aforementioned book has been sealed forever. Yet, they appear mid-season seven just like that.