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Legacy Character

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Just three of the heroes to don the mask of Robin.note 
"Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts,' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.' Then he explained the name is the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear."
The Fourth(?) Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride

You just can't keep a good character down. Even in a setting where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, a hero can't keep his heroics up forever (nor do most want to) and even if super-villains and world-spanning disasters can't kill him, old age definitely will. But while a man can't beat the Reaper forever, the identity he holds is contained in a vessel consisting of little more than a name and a mask, meaning that if he cannot continue his Legacy, someone else can.

A Legacy Character is a character whose identity is passed down to them from an older character in the form of a title, job or persona for the newer character to assume. There are many ways this can come about:

  • A mentor may pass their mantle on to their sidekick or the sidekick willfully takes up the mantle in the event of their mentor's retirement/death.
  • A sidekick is written out of the story and the mentor chooses a new person to take on the sidekick's mantle.
  • A character learns of their predecessor's legacy and is inspired to take up the mantle on their own.
  • The character is a Chosen One in a long line of similarly chosen.
  • The legacy is a title or code name passed along to every person to hold the position regardless of relation, and the title becomes their primary identity.
  • The legacy/mantle is a family heirloom.
  • The legacy, so to speak, is parasitic or possessive and goes through multiple hosts over time.

Outside of the work, Legacy Characters are especially popular as superheroes and action heroes, or any job that involves a Secret Identity. Long-Runners that span multiple generations of characters are the most likely to use them, but they can also be created as part of a back-story, such as a Secret Legacy.

Adaptations of a work with Legacy Characters to other media often only reference the current or best known holder of the legacy, only referencing other incarnations as a Mythology Gag. Younger heroes carrying the mantle often get a Rogues Gallery to match their predecessors, either via villains having kids of their own (much to the parent's chagrin), or younger villains "honoring" their own villainous legacy.

This may become Generation Xerox if everyone around the Legacy Character is also a Legacy Character. If the Legacy Character is a descendant (probably because Lamarck Was Right), you've got yourself a Spin-Offspring. If an already existing superhero takes the legacy, it may end up as a Second Super-Identity.

A Super-Trope to the following tropes:

  • Affirmative-Action Legacy: A white male hero gains a successor who is female or belongs to a minority.
  • The Chosen Many: A superpowered individual discovers an organization of similarly powered individuals.
  • Collective Identity: An alias is used by more than one person at the same time.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: A character is killed off so another can assume their role in the story.
  • Legacy Immortality: Whenever the current hero dies, someone else takes up the identity to make it appear as if the hero can't die.
  • Legacy Launch: A new superhero temporarily gets the title of an old one, then starts their own identity.
  • Legacy of the Chosen: The Chosen One is part of a long line of succession with a rich history and background.
  • Passing the Torch: Someone names a successor to their title before retiring or becoming The Mentor. Contrast Take Up My Sword below, where the torch-passer dies immediately after passing on their legacy.
  • Secret Legacy: The hero's parents turn out to be special too, and the hero takes after them.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick:The Sidekick becomes a hero in their own right.
  • Take Up My Sword: A mentor or hero passes down their legacy as they are dying, often along with a MacGuffin.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: The hero is taken out of commission and another character steps up to take on their role, often temporarily.

A Sub-Trope of Eternal Hero and Villainous Legacy.

Compare The Nth Doctor, where the character takes on a different face but is still the same person. If a young character, parent, and grandparent each make a unique name for themselves instead of passing down a persona it's Three Successful Generations. If the character is a vessel instead of a person, see Legacy Vessel Naming.

Compare/contrast Ancestral Name, where a child is named after their parents or a more distant ancestor, but doesn't necessarily continue their predecessor's career legacy.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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  • A U.S. advertising campaign for KFC had a rotating cast of C-list actors playing the role of the Colonel.

    Anime & Manga 
  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight:
    • The plot starts when the male and female lead win the in-game characters of the male and female lead from the original .hack games; as well, Mirelle uses the account of Mistral, also from said games — the original Mistral being her mother.
    • In addition, Kite's character design has been used by no fewer than four characters to date: Kite himself, Shugo, Azure Kite, Sakuya from .hack//Quantum, and Sora from The Movie.
  • In ×××HOLiC, after the disappearance/death of Yuuko, Watanuki made an agreement to live without aging or leaving the shop while he runs it, waiting for her to return.
  • 20th Century Boys has a villainous example: after Friend dies, an impostor takes his role.
  • In Bleach, the "Kenpachi" in Kenpachi Zaraki is not his birth name but rather a title passed down to each successive captain of Squad 11 in a fight to the death with the current one, a tradition that dates back to the creation of the 13 Court Guard Squads with Unohana being the first Kenpachi and founder of Squad 11. Zaraki, the current captain, is the 11th Kenpachi. Other than those two, the 7th and 8th Kenpachis (last names Kuruyashiki and Azashiro) were introduced in the light novel Spirits are Forever With You, while the 10th, Kiganjo, has been seen in flashbacks — the remaining Kenpachis have never been introduced.
  • Captain Harlock:
    • Hinted at in the end of Captain Harlock: Endless Odyssey. It's noted in the beginning that Harlock has taken to space with the expressed purpose of looking for a place to die. The end of this series saw him and Tadashi Daiba locked in a Mexican Standoff after Harlock gave Tadashi one of his guns and said, essentially, "Kill me before I kill you". The credits rolled before anyone shot, but it sure looked like a "Dread Pirate Harlock" ending. However over the end credits we see Daiba walking away and Harlock and crew waving from the deck, so it would appear Daiba just told him where to stuff it.
    • In the 2013 CGI film, this is hinted to be the fate of the new character Yama — the final version of the film is very vague and simply seems to suggest the idea; made even more ambiguous by the fact that it's unclear if Harlock is now dying or has simply been made mortal again. The novelisation and a leaked draft of the script are far less ambiguous about Yama taking Harlock's place.
    • It should be pointed out that in the manga versions, Harlock's passed on the mantle more than once, and there are huge hints in the original SPCH manga that Daiba might have ended that way if not for creative fatigue on the part of the author.
  • In The Case Study of Vanitas, the eponymous Vanitas is the human successor to the original Vanitas, a vampire born under the ill-fated blue moon. Notably, rather than carrying on his predecessor's work of cursing vampires, he uses his inherited tome to cure them of those same curses.
  • At the very end of Code Geass, Suzaku Kururugi takes over the role of Zero permanently, at the request of Lelouch Lamperouge (the original Zero). Which is actually kind of messed up, given the first thing Lelouch asks Suzaku to do as Zero is kill him.
  • D.N.Angel plays this straight and subverts it, since every Niwa male is the phantom Thief Dark, but Dark is also a separate being from them.
  • In Death Note, L becomes one of these; Light and later Near adopt his persona and identity, though the "mask" is only a letter on a computer screen. Also played with in that everyone Light passes the mantle of Kira to is just a fall guy. Except for the new Kira from the bonus chapter, who emerged after Light's death and is just a wannabe who happened to get their hands on a Death Note.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • During the epilogue of Dragon Ball GT, set a hundred years after the original Goku has died. One of his descendants is revealed to have been named Goku Jr. in his honor. Vegeta, who himself is the son of the last Saiyan monarch King Vegeta, also has a similar descendant named Vegeta Jr.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Broly takes the Vegeta example to another level, where Paragus and Frieza casually speak of the Saiyan King who banished Broly to Vampa as "King Vegeta III" and his son the Prince as "Prince Vegeta IV", meaning there were two prior Kings Vegeta who have yet to be depicted. And that's without counting the fact that after conquering Planet Plant and making it their new home, the Saiyans named it Vegeta.
  • F-Zero: GP Legend: The final episode has Captain Falcon himself pass down the title of Captain Falcon just before he sacrifices himself to defeat Black Shadow once and for all with the Falcon Punch.
    Captain Falcon: The name "Captain Falcon" is a title given to those worthy of it. Ryu Suzaku... as of today, you are the new Captain Falcon.
  • Ban and Ginji are the third generation of the Get Backers.
  • Gravion has one in the form of Raven, who was originally Sandman's assistant and passes on his memories through his mask to each successor, allowing each one to benefit from the accumulated knowledge and experience. It also apparently disguises them quite well, since Ayaka was quite capable of passing herself off as a slender bishonen despite her curves. Somehow.
  • Gundam:
    • In the Universal Century (UC) timeline, the various Gundams (Mk II, Zeta, Double Zeta, Nu etc.) created after the end of the One Year War are all Legacy Machines, named in honor of the original RX-78-2. The GM (itself an example of this, being a mass-produced version of the Gundam) and the Zaku have also had their fair share of similar-looking and similarly-named successors as well. The tradition carried on to other timelines, in which the Gundam's successor is usually identified by the familiar white, blue, red color scheme.
    • While Char Aznable has had no shortage of expies in other non-UC series, Gundam Unicorn's Full Frontal is (chronologically) his first in-universe legacy character.
    • Another would be Haro... every UC main story happens to have a Haro about as many times as there is a Gundam. This is also something that has be coming back into vogue, but only in the AU stories. The Cosmic Era, Gundam 00, and Gundam AGE all feature the small mechanical toy.
    • Four years after the death of Neil Dylandy aka Lockon Stratos in the season 1 final battle of Gundam 00, his Backup Twin Lyle took over his codename (as well as his orange Haro).
    • Cosmic Era has the Flaga clan, being of superior nature through natural D.N.A, has the habit of being cloned, preserving their powers, ambitions, and devilishly good looks.
    • Gundam Wing's sequel Frozen Teardrop does this with Duo and Trowa, both of whom train protégées to pilot Gundams and give them their old names, Duo becoming Father Maxwell and Trowa "Doktor T", which he says stands for Triton, his birth name. Quatre's younger sister Catherine likewise becomes a pilot, but retains her own identity.
    • In Gundam Build Fighters, we have Tatsuya Yuuki, better known as Meijin Kawaguchi III, the third person to take up the name "Meijin Kawaguchi" (who is actually a real life Gunpla builder). In Gundam Build Fighters Try, he gains a female companion, Lady Kawaguchi.
  • In Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku, "Gabimaru the Hollow" is the name/title given to the strongest shinobi of the Iwagakure clan. Any potential Gabimaru must kill their predecessor to inherit the title.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is split up into different parts (nine so far,) each focusing on a different member of the Joestar family (usually being the child or grandchild of a previous protagonist) whose name can be shortened, phoneticized, or Kanji-punned into "JoJo". It's not an official title in-universe (as the nickname is inevitably just given by random people, and even then some of them, like Giorno Giovanna, are never canonically called "JoJo" in-universe.) but it's treated as such in the meta sense (to the point that if two JoJos are in the same scene, the newest JoJo is referred to as such, while the older one just goes back to being called by their real name).
  • Kengan Ashura: "The Fang of Metsudo" was initially the epithet given to Katahara Metsudo's representative fighter when he was just a newcomer in the Kengan Association. After he becomes the Chairman of the Association, the "Fang" becomes the symbol of his power, and is given to the strongest of his vast legion of personal Bodyguards. His representative fighter during the Annihilation Tournament is the 5th Fang, and by Omega, the title has changed hands three more times.
  • In Magic Kaito, the title character discovers that his father was a thief, the Kaitou Kid, and takes on the job, to finish what his father started before he died.
  • Miss Sunflower is not the eponymous main character's name, but a title she goes by as owner of the Sunflower Bookery. She took on the title when she succeeded the previous Miss Sunflower, who'd passed away.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The wielders of the Quirk: One For All. Each user keeps their own identity, but they do share the same powers of Super-Strength and Super-Speed, as well as the same goal of defeating their Arch-Enemy "All For One". The two most recent users, All Might and Izuku Midoriya, have also added the "Symbol Of Peace" title to the legacy.
    • A straighter example would be the Iida Family. All of whom have held the Hero name "Ingenium", with the brothers, Tenya Iida and Tensei Iida, being the most recent to take up the mantle. Until the latter is permanently crippled by Stain.
  • The identity of Miko-chan of Otasuke Miko Miko-chan is passed down from mother to daughter—or, in Ayumu's case, mother to son.
  • PandoraHearts:
    • The identity of "Glen Baskerville" is taken up by those who are chosen by the golden lights of the Abyss. Characters known to have held this position are Levy, Oswald, and Gilbert (although the latter was never actually fully realized), and later, less conventionally, Leo inherits the title.
    • Alice inherits the title and powers of B-Rabbit in order to protect Oz, the original B-Rabbit.
  • Pretty Cure hinted at this in previous series, but it was not until HeartCatch Pretty Cure! that an actual legacy character was included, with Tsubomi's grandmother having been a former Precure.
    • HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! does this with Cure Fortune as her transformation device belonged to her sister a Cure named Cure Tender, who was defeated by Precure Hunter Phantom... because the future Fortune wandered out into the fight between the two.
    • Go! Princess Pretty Cure has at least one previous generation of Cures which correspond to the current ones- Cures Flora, Mermaid, and Twinkle were preceded by Cures Flora, Mermaid, and Twinkle. This also marks the first time in canon that multiple cures share the same title. This does not apply to Cure Scarlett, however.
  • Yomiko Readman of Read or Die is the nineteenth person to use the code name "The Paper". Her immediate predecessor was her lover/mentor Donnie Nakajima.
  • Invoked in The Rose of Versailles, when the Dauphin of France (Crown Prince) Louis Auguste learns of king Louis XV's death by Versailles' nobles coming to him shouting "the King is dead, long live the King", declaring him king Louis XVI even before the crowning.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, 'Seijuro Hiko' is not the name of Kenshin's master. It was the name of the first master of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, and since then, every master (except Kenshin) has taken that name as an alias so that they cannot use their style to seek glory for themselves. Kenshin's master is the 13th person to use that name.
  • Sailor Moon :
    • Chibi-Usa, being in training to become the next Sailor Moon, although she only ever appears in-series as a Bratty Half-Pint Sidekick with a cute addition to the name. The final arc of the manga implies that, on the future, she does indeed become the new Sailor Moon, since she brings her own quartet of Sailor Guardians (the former Amazoness Quartet) to help Moon in the final battle against Sailor Galaxia.
    • By the same token, Usagi is destined to become the next Queen Serenity.
  • In Saint Seiya Omega, Kouga takes Seiya's place as the new Pegasus Saint, so does Ryuuhou taking Shiryu's place as the Dragon Saint.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: "Yurakutei" is a surname passed down from rakugo master to student, and "Yakumo" is passed on to the most successful student.
  • Summer Time Rendering: Ushio died before the start of the series, and the Ushio we follow for 99% of it is her Shadow, a perfect clone right down to her personality and emotions. As per the request of the original Ushio, the rest of the cast treats Shadow Ushio just like they would the original, almost as if she never died.
  • Tiger Mask: In the 1981 sequel Tiger Mask II, Tatsuo Aku, grown up from the same orphanage as the original hero Naoto Date, put on his old hero's mask to become the new Tiger Mask. In the 2016 sequel Tiger Mask W, the young wrestler named Naoto Azuma took over the mantle of Tiger Mask.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Marin and Kanon take up the mantle of the previous priestesses.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Kaiser: after the previous owner of the title, Marufuji Ryo, did a Face–Heel Turn and defiled the title, his brother Sho begins waxing and waning in his desire to take it up himself and restore it to its original prestige. He's finally given the mantle (and subsequent deck) by Ryo after Ryo's brush with This Is Your Brain on Evil, and Sho proved himself worthy of the honor by using the deck to successfully defend against a rival bent on eradicating all trace of the Cyber-Style dueling method that made the title of Kaiser so famous.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Phantom is possibly the oldest legacy character in all of comics and possibly the originator of this for comic books in general. He has no powers but gives the illusion of immortality because the mantle of the Phantom is passed down from father to son in an unbroken line dating back to the 1500s. This was so creator Lee Falk could do stories involving Pirates, Mobsters, and everything in between. The sheer depth of history and number of Phantoms (over twenty in the 1930s alone, with some writers attempting to continue the history into the present day) marks him as possibly the best example.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku is bitten by a genetically-altered spider and is training with a universe-displaced Peter Parker to become his universe's Spider-Man. At the same time, Mysterio is producing a number of unofficial successors to lesser-known Marvel villains with dangerous equipment, such as Rocket Racer, Big Wheel, and the Grasshopper.
  • In Becoming Mr. Black, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that Mr. Black is a persona passed down from one wizard to the next. He was the last Mr. Black during the war on Grindewald and believes Harry must become the next Mr. Black to defeat Voldemort.
  • In Book One: Death, Death is a title passed from one Pale Rider to the next. Harry Potter is the current Pale Rider and searching for the other three horsemen.
  • Multiple examples present in The Bridge (MLP):
    • On the kaiju side, the story's Mothra and Godzilla incarnations are this. In this timeline, Mothra Lea has both her mother, the Heisei Mothra, and the Yamato Mothra preceding her; with the line going back to the Cretaceous. Godzilla Junior came to adulthood after his adoptive father, the Heisei Godzilla, and the 1954 Godzilla bore the mantle.
    • Rainbow Dash is revealed to be a "Junior" in her legal name, her mother being the Generation 3 Rainbow Dash.
  • In the Gundam SEED fanfic "Chaotic Cosmos", this trope is subverted; Blue Cosmos' new leader, Cervantes, manages to convince his right hand man to pretend to be the pilot of the Freedom Gundam in order to win support from Orb (which Kira Yamato, the real Freedom pilot, saved in the previous war). Since no one had seen who the pilot actually was, all they needed was a fake Gundam so that Asmodeus could fill Kira's shoes.
  • Cheshire: The Stinging Cat: Cheshire sees herself as the next Joker.
  • In Fallen Kingdom, Mario and Bowser are this to Antonio, Mario's father, and Emperor Morton, Bowser's father. Cobal also turns out to be a descendant of the Yoshi partner from The Thousand Year Door.
  • In the Fallout/My Little Pony fanfic Fallout: Equestria, at least 5 ponies have taken the title DJ-Pon3, in addition to the original.
  • In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Power Girl is Superman's heiress after his death. Huntress is Batman and Catwoman’s successor, and Fury is Wonder Woman's daughter.
  • The Power Rangers fic "Forever Yellow" sees various Yellow Rangers team up to oppose the threat of an alternate version of Venjix attempting to take control of Earth. As the situation escalates, the team even recruits Trini Kwan, the original Yellow Ranger from the past to provide them with extra firepower, with Trini feeling awed that she is the origin of the legacy that has been taken up by these other women.
  • In the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades side-story Month of Sundays, a new Kamen Rider Skull is born. It's his daughter, Akiko.
  • In Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World, Robynne becomes the new Hottie after the 1st Hottie, Alison Cole, takes a hiatus from fighting the Big Bad.
  • The Institute Saga: After Angel's apparent death, Samuel Wilson (The Falcon) takes on the mantle as Angel II.
  • Justice League of the Rebellion: Unlike his teammates like Lelouch and Kallen, Suzaku Kurugi isn't a Composite Character with a DC Universe character but rather the successor of Green Lantern Alan Scott. At one point he use Alan's name and likeness as an alias thanks to the Starheart making an imprint of its former wielder.
  • This is the premise of several Death Note fanfics, like Kira Is Justice.
  • Last Child of Krypton: In the original story, when most of the cast seeks shelter in Paradise Island, Wonder Woman reveals to Asuka that her mother was an Amazon. Then she shows Asuka her bracers (which grant powers to their wearer), her lasso and her tiara and says she wants Asuka to become the next Wonder Woman. Asuka agrees and takes up the mantle. Similarly, Kaji had been trained by Batman to become his sucessor, and later Misato wears Barbara Gordon's costume.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest Rewrite:
    • All modern superheroes are this, with sidekicks taking up their mentors' roles through the years.
    • Greta Mors take up the mantle of Captain Nemo, which is later filled by her descendant Captain Harlock, and then by his descendant Sally Quasar. With no way of leaving this universe, Rick Sanchez decides to become the next Ishmael, a role that is taken up later by Commando Cody, and then later by Halo Jones.
    • After accidentally killing Mysta of the Moon's robot, Bender 3D prints a clone of himself to take its place.
  • The Mysterious School has four: the Kaito Kid (already taken up legacy via Magic Kaito canon), the Sparkling Baron, the Ice Maiden and Mystery fire.
  • At the end of the New Tamaran sequel Justice Returns, the new female Titans are following after their parents, and Donna’s son Robert has the Green Lantern mantle. On the villain side, Damian Wayne is the new Red X, while Ravager and Gemini are taking over the roles of their parents (Slade and Madame Rouge, respectively).
  • one day at a time (Nyame), its sequel the superhero game and the spinoff those good old days (which shares the same future background but has all eight active Bat-Family members — Bruce, Alfred, Dick, Jason, Tim, Damien, Babs, Cass and Stephanie — come back to the same day): Many. Thanks to the dangerous nature of the superhero profession, many of the heroes of Bruce's generation were eventually killed in the line of duty or retired and succeeded by their various sidekicks/proteges during Jason's heyday. By the time Jason died, the same applied to his generation as well, with two of his own children having long since become independent heroes in their own right.
    • Batman — held by Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson (Bruce's first adoptive son), Jason Todd (Bruce's second adoptive son), and Terry McGinnis (Bruce's second biological son and Jason's younger brother/adoptive son) in turn. (They don't count Jean-Paul Valley.)
    • Robin — held by Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne in turn. After Jason became Batman, he took on four Robins in turn: Carrie Kelley, Helena Wayne, Terry McGinnis, and most recently Matthew McGinnis. Matt served under Jason for one night before his brother Terry became Batman.
    • Batgirl — held by Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Carrie Kelley.
    • The Batwoman identity was held in turn by Kate Kane (until her death), Stephanie Brown (until she retired), Carrie Kelley (before she retired) and Helena Wayne.
    • The Huntress identity went from Helena Bertinelli (who retired) to Helena Wayne.
    • The Nightwing identity passed from Dick Grayson to Damian Wayne, and then Jon Kent, Damian Kent (AKA Dam-El, a combined clone of Clark and Zod), and Van-El (Conner/Kon-El's son) in turn.
    • Not a title, but the position of Bludhaven's protector passed from Dick to Damian, then to Cassandra Cain, and ultimately to Matt McGinnis, by then the newest Red Robin.
    • The Superboy identity originated with Conner Kent/Kon-El, and in turn passed to Jon Kent, Dam-El, and Van-El.
    • The Superman identity passed from Clark (with his death) to Conner. When he died, Jon took up the identity, and at some point after Jason's death in their timeline, Jon largely retired, so he and Dam-El began sharing the Superman mantle.
    • Kara Zor-El, the first Supergirl, was succeeded in the role by her cousin's daughter Lara.
    • Diana was forced to retire as Wonder Woman after the death of Hippolyta. Donna Troy succeeded her, and when she returns to the past in the sequel, she suggests that her most likely successor is Jason's daughter Penelope. Miss Martian's memories later confirm that Penelope did indeed take up the mantle.
    • The Wonder Girl mantle went from Donna Troy to Cassie Sandsmark to Jason's daughter Penelope, who took the role at the age of twelve, and later assumed Donna's old identity as Troia before becoming the third Wonder Woman.
    • Lian Harper became the third Speedy and eventually succeeded her father as the second Arsenal. She later succeeded Connor Hawke as the third Green Arrow.
    • After the deaths of Barry Allen and Wally West, Bart Allen became the fourth Flash. After he sacrificed himself sealing Inertia — who'd himself become a Legacy Character by taking the mantle of Zoom — into the Speed Force, Wallace West (aka New 52 Wally) became the fifth Flash. He died two years after Jason, and Iris "Irey" West II (the canonical daughter of Wally West and Linda Park) took the mantle in his stead.
    • Arthur Curry's death led Garth (the first Aqualad, and later Tempest) to succeed him as Aquaman. Kaldur'ahm succeeded him as Aqualad II and Aquaman III. Prince Arthur (who's implied to be Arthur Curry's grandson) in turn succeeded Kaldur'ahm as Aqualad III and Aquaman IV.
    • Villainous examples: Ricky Sionis, the son of the deceased Roman Sionis, succeeded his father as Black Mask II, only to be shut down and incarcerated in Blackgate by Jason. As revealed in those good old days, he died there in a prison riot.
    • By the time Jason died, there had been six Jokers. First Jeremiah Valeska, then Jack Napier, followed by Arthur Fleck, Robert Song, Felicia Bell, and Jake Chill. According to those good old days, by the time the furthest-out time traveler died, Chill had been followed by two unnamed successors.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe fic "Open Door" reveals that Liz Allan became a new Vulture during the Snap, seeking to use her father's equipment to help others and atone for his criminal acts.
  • The Pony POV Series:
    • Twilight is implied to be descended from the G1 Twilight, whose family line also helped Celestia and Luna during Discord's reign.
    • Also Spike is actually the seventh Spike and a descendant of the original G1 Spike, all of whom operated alongside Equestria's heroes. Applejack's also descended from the original G1 Applejack.
  • Luz in POWER RANGERS: Owl Force is the second red ranger of of her kind, suceeding Eda, the previous red ranger.
  • Evilhumour's "The Powers That Be" series of interconnected fanfics has the titular Powers as positions that can be handed down, making their Bearers into this trope.
    • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The overall story revolves around a new generation of Element-Bearers, succeeding Twilight Sparkle and her friends. It also features the omake-exclusive character Reel, who inherited the powers (and then some) of Sokichi Narumi, Kamen Rider Skull, after someone else recreated them and tried to use them for evil.
    • A Diplomatic Visit:
      • The sequel Diplomat at Large sees two villains being stripped of their Mantles, which are passed onto more worthy successors. Queen Chrysalis, the Lady of Self-Centeredness, loses her Mantle to an unidentified individual after Discord judges her to be unsuitable; later, in chapter 11, Adagio Dazzle is stripped of the mantle of Hatred (for misusing it), and it's granted to Aria Blaze when Discord deems her a more fitting Bearer to the Role.
      • In the same story, Luna explains to Pharynx that she's the Lady of Night and the Lady of Dreams. Her Opposite in the latter position was Umbrea, the Lady of Nightmares, who tricked and possessed Luna, turning her into Nightmare Moon. When Umbrea's soul was expelled from Luna's by the Elements of Harmony, Luna inherited the Mantle of Nightmares, thus becoming a Legacy Character for that Role. In the second sequel, Diplomacy Through Schooling, she passes that same Mantle on to Pharynx.
  • Queen of Shadows:
    • Hiruzen, the current Yojimbo, is the second one to bear the name.
    • It seems every General of the Sumo tribe is called Ozeki.
    • The Queen that Jade has replaced is the 98th, with the 96th being the one that started the war.
  • The Doom Slayer in Remnant Inferis: DOOM is the second person to carry the title of the Doom Marine. The first was his father, the original Doomguy.
  • In the Shadowchasers Series, Dracula is not one being, but a title held by whatever vampire rules the others. The current Dracula is female, appearing as a young teenage girl dressed in a Goth ensemble. She is far more benign than most of her predecessors, concentrating on trying to improve the PR of vampires in general, who are a Dying Race in this reality.
  • Sixes and Sevens: As a prequel to several stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the story introduces character earlier in the legacies than the more well-known versions.
    • The first story introduces King Azzuri, the Black Panther of 1943. This makes him T'Chaka's father and T'Challa's grandfather.
    • The later story "Shadow of the Eagle" introduces Mark Anthony Todd, who has bonded with a Spirit of Vengeance and become a Ghost Rider.
  • In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation Alan Kent is Superman's descendant and heir. Katherine is descendant of Kara Zor-El and heiress of the Supergirl's name. The concept is deconstructed with Hi Jenk, an utterly harmless solicitor brutally murdered by the Joker because he just happened to be a descendant of Barbara Gordon and her father Commissioner Gordon.
  • There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton:
    • Unlike the main series, Ben isn't the first wielder of the Omnitrix. His grandfather was the previous wielder and it had fifty one bearers prior to him.
    • Titanium Man serves as this to the Iron Monger, as his suit is an advanced version of the suit Obadiah used.
    • Ivan Vanko/Whiplash is succeeded by a female mercenary that gets dubbed Whiplash 2.0.
  • Unity (Finmonster):
    • Hiro's superhero name, Excelsior, was originally used by Fred's father Stan back in the day. While it was assigned to Hiro by the media along with the rest of the team, Stan says he has no problem with it.
    • Megamind states that if he dies, he wants Minion to take his name and be a hero in his own right.
    • When she goes undercover with Gru to infiltrate the Syndicate, Lucy starts calling herself Scarlett Overkill. As she points out, the original Scarlett is dead, so the name is up for grabs.
  • Nino's hero identity in The Weight of Jade is named "Jade Turtle", just as Master Fu was. He is also chosen by Master Fu to take up the mantle of guardian, looking after inactive miraculouses and choose their future wielders.
  • The "Where in the World is Harry Potter" trilogy by nonjon makes Nicolas Flamel one of these, furthermore when Harry Potter takes up the name, he also keeps his own, maintaining two identities with the help of a time turner.
  • Wonder Girl: Amazon Origin: Scarecrow is a successor to Dr. Poison.
  • In Young Justice: Darkness Falls, Brainiac turns out to be the original Brainiac's offspring.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aardman's Arthur Christmas has the job of Santa be passed down from father to son.
  • SCOOB!: Brian, the current Blue Falcon, has taken on the mantle from his retired father.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: It's only mentioned once, but Fix-It Felix Junior's magic hammer was passed down to him from his father, who presumably was the original Fix-It Felix (making the former's game something of a remake or sequel).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The A-Team film, when the CIA operative who calls himself "Lynch" is introduced, one character remarks that he once knew someone who used the same moniker. At the end of the film, when Lynch is being taken away, another character also introduces himself as Lynch.
  • Kind of Played for Laughs in the 2006 Broken Lizard movie Beerfest, when the character of Phil a.k.a. "Landfill" is killed, his identical never-before-seen Backup Twin brother, Gil, appears, stating that he has the same knowledge of beer drinking as Landfill, would like to take his place and would be honored if they would refer to him as Landfill as tribute. It's really as if he never left...
  • In Bulletproof Monk, the Nameless Monk is far from the first to be the keeper of the Scroll. They appear to pass on the job (giving up their names in the process) every 60 years or so. This appears to involve a prophecy with three parts that is used to choose the next successor. Throughout the movie, the Monk is grooming a pickpocket named Kar for the role. At the end, though, he realizes that he has two successors (Kar and Jade), who must now share the burden.
  • Candyman (2021) has a unique take on this trope. It's revealed that, rather than being one person, "Candyman" is more like a "hive" of various spirits of black people who were all killed in racially motivated violence. Daniel Robitaille, the original Candyman, acts as a "queen bee" of sorts.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy invokes this a few times.
    • In Batman Begins, the reveal that Henri Ducard is Ra's al-Ghul is given this explanation in the novelization, in which the name Ra's al-Ghul is a title handed down to the leader of the League of Shadows from generation to generation to carry on the League's work.
    • The ending of The Dark Knight Rises suggests Robin John Blake succeeds Bruce Wayne as Batman in the event Gotham needs him.
  • Death Race 2000. Frankenstein is a famous Badass Driver, hideously scarred through extensive prosthetics and reconstructive surgery after his many accidents that he miraculously survives. Or so the government wants you to think. In reality he's perfectly normal underneath the cape and mask, as he and the other Frankensteins have been trained since they were children as expendable drivers for the Transcontinental Road Race. Despite the remake being In Name Only, the idea of Frankenstein secretly being this trope is kept.
  • The eponymous hero of the Deathstalker franchise is always known simply as Deathstalker. Not The Deathstalker, just...Deathstalker. The mantle of Deathstalker is taken up by three different heroes of varying degrees of heroism throughout the franchise.
  • In Der Wixxer, the titular character is one. Within two movies, four different people have worn the Wixxer's mask.
  • The Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler film series leaves it deliberately vague whether the later Dr. Mabuses are an example of this trope, or whether "Mabuse" is actually some kind of immortal evil entity that possesses people.
  • In Ernest Saves Christmas, Santa temporarily assigns Ernest his job as he's incarcerated after attempting to get a hold of the real guy who has been chosen to be the next Santa. Passing down the mantle is needed to "recharge" Santa's mystical capabilities, which gradually fade as someone carries it out for too long putting Christmas itself in jeopardy.
  • Friday the 13th: Jason Voorhees almost became one in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, wherein a copycat killer takes his identity, but the film's poor reception forced him to return from the dead in the next film.
  • Godzilla movies:
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah ends with Godzilla's death, with the massive energy let out from the Super-Power Meltdown reviving his son and turning him into a full-grown Godzilla. However, this was never followed up on, as the next movie was an Alternate Continuity.
    • Mothra is implied to reincarnate through her offspring. At last count we're up to eleven Mothras, including Mothra Leo.
  • After the original Chatterer was killed in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, two new characters with similar attributes (Chatter Beast in Hellraiser: Bloodline and Torso in Hellraiser: Inferno) showed up, with a new Chatterer (dubbed Chatterer III, even though Chatterer II was merely just the original with enhancements) eventually appearing.
  • James Bond:
    • "M" and "Q" are code names given to the head of MI6 and the Quartermaster, respectively. Each have been replaced in-series at least once. Q (Major Boothroyd) was played by Desmond Llewellyn from 1963 to 1999. After Llewellyn's death, his assistant from The World Is Not Enough (nicknamed "R" by James), played by John Cleese, succeeds him as the new Q in the followup film Die Another Day. The Quartermaster did not appear in the new continuity until Skyfall, in which Ben Whishaw plays the new Q. Similarly, Robert Brown took over the role of M in Octopussy after Bernard Lee's death, although it was ambiguous whether he was playing a new character or the old M recast. Judi Dench was cast as M in GoldenEye, as an unambiguously new head of MI6. Skyfall ends with Ralph Fiennes' character Gareth Mallory becoming the new M.
    • The James Bond character himself is actually a kind-of Meta Example now on his 6th incarnation (Daniel Craig) after 25 movies over 58 years. There's even a theory that "James Bond, 007" is just an alias given to different men. Though given a wink in On Her Majesty's Secret Service ("This never happened to the other fella") and a plot point in the Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), the Codename Theory is still highly controversial among fans. It raises the questions of why Moore, Dalton and (implied) Brosnan all grieve for the same dead wife, and why they are all friends with Felix Leiter (although Leiter himself has been played by many actors, which raises even more questions — a similar theory that it's just the codename for Bond's acting CIA contact is scuttled in his last appearance), and why they all have the same backstory and are occasionally identified as "James Bond" by people from their pre-agency days. Not to mention that this practice would only highlight the fact that this person is a British secret agent, not obscure it. Then again, if James Bond is just one person, that raises the question of how a single man has remained eternally in his forties/fifties while everyone around him (particularly Q and M) ages and dies.
      • One theory suggests that there have been THREE distinct Bonds. On Her Majesty's Secret Service has the line (mentioned above) suggesting George Lazenby's Bond is separate to Sean Connery's, while both Desmond Llewellyn and Judi Dench appear in both Brosnan's movies and those of pre-Brosnan Bond (in Llewellyn's case) and in the Craig movies (for Dench), so they probably exist in the same continuity. From there, we can guess at the three Bonds being Connery, Lazenby-Moore-Dalton-Brosnan, and Craig. But even then, that means (assuming the movies are in roughly chronological order and take place around the time they were released) that Connery's Bond served up until the early 1970s, which by itself is fine, but that also means the Lazenby-Moore-Dalton-Brosnan Bond, using the most generous estimates, served as 007 from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, around thirty years. The timeline looks a little better if you assume Brosnan-Bond and Craig-Bond are the same person and ignore the implied Brosnan wife-grievery, making it Connery (up to the early '70s), Lazenby-Moore-Dalton (late '60s to late '80s) and Brosnan-Craig (mid-'90s to present) and assuming they've all been 007 for about twenty years a piece.
    • No Time to Die confirms that at a minimum, the 00 callsigns are legacy titles, with a new 007 taking up the number after James retired.
    • Die Another Day nearly had Sean Connery cameo as the previous bond mentoring the current one.
    • The 1967 Casino Royale parody movie had the original Bond retiring and a younger agent being given James Bond as a codename. Exaggerated when MI6 decide to rename all the agents to James Bond in order to confuse villains.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, the Axe and Cross has Dolans, a series of Secret Keepers keeping Kaulder's company and recording his history. There's been 37 Dolans so far, and they're replaced because while Kaulder is Really 700 Years Old, they're mortals.
  • A copyright issue forced the retconning of The Invisible Man into this in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That, and the original character (Griffin) was an Ax-Crazy psychopathic rapist, which would've been harder to squeeze into a heroic role than the film's formula-stealing burglar.
    • Universal actually made several sequels to The Invisible Man (1933). Of course, unlike Dracula or the Wolf Man, Dr. Griffin was a mortal (albeit chemically altered) man who was killed by an angry mob at the end of the film. The sequels each focused on a new Invisible Man created by Griffin's surviving formula. Invisible Agent even has a heroic take with Griffin's grandson using the formula to go undercover and fight Nazis.
  • In The Legend of Johnny Lingo, we learn that the "Johnny Lingo" that we've met is not the original bearer of that name, and is about to pass it on to his protegé.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Ant-Man is the first MCU movie that features this, with Scott Lang inheriting the titular superhero title from the aging Hank Pym. Likewise in The Stinger, Hank's daughter, Hope, inherits the The Wasp title from her mother, Janet.
    • The "Black Panther" is the mantle that has been passed down through countless generations from warrior to warrior as the chief sovereign and protector of Wakanda.
    • At the end of Avengers: Endgame, after returning all of the Infinity Stones to their respective timelines, Steve Rogers decides to spend decades in an alternate timeline living something like a normal life with Peggy Carter. Upon returning to his native timeline having physically aged to over 100, he hands over the Captain America shield and mantle to Sam Wilson, which gets explored more in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • Played with in The Mask films. Whoever finds and wears the Mask of Loki is simply referred to as "The Mask" and Stanley Ipkiss wasn't the only one to don it.
  • In The Matrix, Neo is said to be the second person to become "The One", able to manipulate the Matrix to his will. The first incarnation freed the first of the resistance and founded Zion, while Neo is prophesied to free humanity from the Matrix entirely. The sequel, however, reveals that there have been a total of five "Ones" who came before Neo, and that the so-called "prophecy" is really just a big Xanatos Gambit of the machines that perpetuates a cycle of regularly reloading the Matrix to continue enslaving humanity.
  • The 1943 film serial and 1996 feature film versions of The Phantom both follow the comic in having the hero inherit a heroic legacy from his father.
  • In The Santa Clause, the job of being Santa is passed down whenever the previous Santa died and to whoever put on the Santa suit first afterwards. It's also implied, at the end of the second movie, that spouse of whoever became Santa would gradually transform into "Mrs. Claus" as well.
  • In Saw, Jigsaw trains someone to do his job after he dies. Four people, actually.
  • Unlike most slasher movie villains, Ghostface from Scream is killable; the trouble is there's more than one. In order, they are: Billy and Stu in the original film, Mrs. Loomis and Mickey in the second, Roman Bridger in the third, Jill and Charlie in the fourth, Richie and Amber in the fifth, and Detective Bailey, Ethan, and Quinn along with Jason and Greg in the sixth. Despite being several different people, they use voice masking when talking to their victims over the phone; the same actor, Roger L. Jackson, does the phone voice throughout the series, and retains a similar personality, despite the various personalities the killers display when not in costume. This creates the illusion of a single identity, and since he always comes back to haunt the Final Girl Sidney, in a way he is like the other slasher movie villains.
  • Shaft (2000) features the titular ex-detective, played by Samuel L. Jackson, getting a pep talk from his uncle and namesake (both are named John Shaft), the original "bad mother...shut yo' mouth!" played by Richard Roundtree. Shaft (2019) features the son of Jackson's character, John Shaft Jr.
  • At the end of Six String Samurai, the Kid takes up Buddy's tattered tuxedo (which is far too big for him), guitar, and katana. One theory about the movie is that this isn't the first time it's happened, either; Buddy is obviously supposed to be Buddy Holly, but he looks too young for that to be the case, implying that either he's ageing very slowly, or the Buddy in the movie isn't the original Buddy Holly.
  • Several exist in the Star Wars universe. Perhaps most notable are Jango Fett and Boba Fett, who becomes the best bounty hunter in the galaxy just like his genetic dad was twenty years prior.
  • In The Wolverine, the Silver Samurai was a mythic figure of Ichiro Yashida's family (and a standard samurai) and protector of the Yashida Clan. Ichiro built his armor to resemble the original Silver Samurai, so to metaphorically become the protector of the Yashida Clan himself.
  • The xXx movies take the Code Name approach as the Triple X designation is given on to the NSA's top field agent. We at least know Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) from the first and third movies, Darius Stone (Ice Cube) from xXx: State of the Union were given this name.
  • Zorro in various adaptations, from the 1925 movie Don Q: Son of Zorro, the comedy Zorro, the Gay Blade, to the Present Day-set cartoon Zorro: Generation Z.
    • In The Mask of Zorro, an aging Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) trains Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) to take up his mantle as the new Zorro. In the same film, Alejandro tames a black horse and christens him the new Tornado, as the original Tornado likely died of old age.

  • In Angels of Music by Kim Newman, The Phantom of the Opera has been around so long that some people suspect that there have actually been more than one person behind the mask. It's not true — until the end of the book, when the Phantom and his nemesis plunge together into an ambiguous watery doom, and one of his former protégées takes up the mask to keep his mission going.
  • In the first Arrivals from the Dark novel, it's mentioned that some of the ships of Earth's Space Navy have names that go back to wet navy days, such as the Oberon.
    "The naming tradition came from naval fleets. The HMS Oberon was a British diesel submarine, an iron tub capable of reaching seventeen miles per hour and armed with thirty torpedoes. The new Oberon, a monstrous tower made out of a superstrong composite, could go seventeen miles per second and could easily wipe out all the navies of the 20th century combined."
  • In Baccano!, the name of Felix Walken is passed around from one assassin to another. The current Felix Walken is Claire Stanfield, who purchased it off "a really hot thirty-year old dame" so he could have a legal identity to marry Chane with.
  • In The Balanced Sword, the Justiciars are a group of paladins who carry weapons and armors that have been handed down for several thousand years. Each armor has a name associated with it — Bolthawk, Condor, Mist Owl, Shrike, Silver Eagle, Skyharrier, Thornfalcon — and when a Justiciar dies, a new Justiciar is selected who inherits the armor and adopts the name.
  • The Belgariad:
    • Subverted with Belgarath and Polgara . The Tolnedrans refuse to believe that any kind of sorcery or magic can exist, so to settle the argument as to how Belgarath and Polgara can live so long, they decide that "Belgarath" and "Polgara" are hereditary titles that are passed down to each generation.
    • But first played straight with Eternal Salmissra, the Queen of the snake-worshipping Nyissans. When the current Salmissra is advancing in age, palace eunuchs will search the country for 20 look-alikes of the original Salmissra and train them in remote locations to act as much as the original Salmissra as possible. When the new "Eternal Salmissra" is selected, the 19 who didn't make the cut are killed. Talk about motivation to become the character.
    • And then subverted after the current Salmissra upsets Polgara by kidnapping Garion and nearly making him her slave, with the intent of turning him over to Torak in exchange for immortality. You'd think the Nyissans had learned from their predecessors not to make her or Belgarath angry, as that ploy had been used on them before. Polgara grants Salmissra the immortality she wanted, but also turns her into a giant snake.
    • And then there's Brand, the Rivan Warder. Always a solid and dependable person, completely loyal to the Rivan Throne, who gives up his own name when he takes on the function as Rivan Warder.
  • R.A. Salvatore's The Crimson Shadow has the main character accidentally inheriting a very famous thief's cloak of invisibility. The heroes of the book turn this to their advantage by using the publicity of having the Crimson Shadow on their side. One of the villains muses that the original Crimson Shadow is long dead and wasn't a particularly good thief.
  • In Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice books, there is a dynasty of female squirrel monarchs known as Starwives.
    "Aye, we are in the heart of the squirrel domain and here the Starwife lives, but there were Starwives before this oak was an acorn and before this very hill was made. The Starwives go back a long way."
  • In the Deverry novels, in order to keep people from asking too many questions about the shabby old herbalist named Nevyn who tends to show up at critical junctions in history, Nevyn has gotten into the habit of telling people that the Nevyn that the questioner knew of from fifty-odd years before was either A: his grandfather, who he was named after, or B: that Nevyn is a title passed down from master to apprentice.
  • Devil's Cape has both Swashbuckler and Doctor Camelot, although by the end of the novel only a Doctor Camelot is currently in action.
  • Kim Newman's Diogenes Club stories:
    • In the story "Cold Snap", set in the 1970s, we're intoduced to Jamie Chambers, son of 1930s Shadow Expy Jonathan "Dr Shade" Chambers. By the end of the story, he's considering going into the family business as Jamie Shade. An author's note adds that the current holder of the Shade Legacy is Christine Chambers, aka Lady Shade.
    • In another author's note in Mysteries of the Diogenes Club, we're told the current Diogenes includes Lady Shade, the third Ghost Lantern Girl (the first is mentioned in The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School as a former graduate of Drearcliff) and Karl Rattray (presumably a descendant of Dennis Rattray/Blackfist from "Clubland Heroes").
  • Discworld:
    • Historians of the Disc speculate that some of Ephebe's great philosophers pass their names down across the generations, given how they seem to have authored manuscripts over a period of a century or more. A subversion, as the History Monks' temporal damage-control (Thief of Time) is actually responsible for this.
    • It is definitely the case that clown names, faces and routines are passed down through families (in all other circumstances it is a very bad thing to use another clown's make-up design). Dr Whiteface has been head of the Fools Guild for 300 years.
    • The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide suggests that the same may be true of Queen Molly of the Beggars Guild.
  • In The Dresden Files series:
    • The Archive. She is a living repository of all human knowledge (or at least, all written and typed human knowledge- how much beyond that isn't terribly clear), and the job is passed down from mother to daughter as the mother nears the end of her life. Normally this isn't such a big deal as the daughter is usually somewhere in the general vicinity of middle age when this happens, but in the current Archive's case, it happened just after birth; she's seven when she first meets Harry.
    • Also the various mantles of faerie, including the Knights and the Ladies. All four (both Knights, both Ladies) of those change hands in the series, with at least one changing hands twice during events in the books.
    • The three Knights of the Cross each carry a sword with them that has a nail from the Crucifixion of Christ in the hilt. While some knights retire after a mission, when the need for them to carry the blade has past, others take on a life long mission. With the death of Shiro, wielder of the Sword of Faith, it took many years before a right and proper person would be able to take on the mantle on in a permanent way.
  • Dune has the gholas, which are copies of people that sometimes retain their memories. This is used to resurrect Duncan Idaho dozens of times, but many of the characters of the first book get turned into gholas at one point or another.
  • The Fall of Shannara: The Varfleet youth that helps Drisker locate the assassin guild; he reveals his name as Shea Ohmsford, the same as the protagonist from the first book written in 1977.
  • Feral Creatures: Onida, The One Searched For, turns out to be a status that isn't limited to a single individual. While the Onida S.T. searched for in the first book was an octopus in the Seattle Aquarium, here Onida is a walrus in Alaska.
  • In Honor Harrington, the Royal Manticoran Navy maintains a "List of Honor" to give a proper memorial to ships participating in (and mostly being destroyed or heavily damaged by) particularly heroic actions. Any name on the list will be carried by a ship in active service - and when it's destroyed, the name is passed on to one newly built. Some are even restricted to a certain class of ship, as well. Notable examples are the Nike and Fearless, though 20+ years of war is adding names with terrifying regularity.
  • The titular characters of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality novels. The protagonist of the first novel became Death when he killed the previous Death. Time passes his title on to someone else at the moment when he was originally born, and the three personas of Fate can pass their titles on to someone of the appropriate age whenever they choose. War loses his title whenever all war ends, and when it restarts, the most warlike person on Earth takes the title. Neither Gaia nor Satan are the first with their titles, either. And in book seven of the octology, an election is held to replace God. Presumably, it's possible to have a new Nox (eighth book), but it's never happened - current office-holder Kerena created her position.
  • Journey to Chaos: Ridley Mar is the latest in a long line of Dragon's Lair guildheads and inherited the title of "Dragoness" from her predecessor.
  • The eponymous character of Kino's Journey took the mantle of the person who "enlightened" her after he died. Amusingly, she got the idea by accident. Hermes mistook her mourning the original Kino for saying her name, and she just ran with it.
  • An odd example in Legacy: The Tale of the American Eagle, in that the mercenary team American Eagle hires to assist him in the crusade is named the Fearless Falcons, which is later revealed to be Sparrow's first choice of codename, before being told he might 'grow into it', ala Robin to Nightwing
  • In The Legend of Sun Knight the twelve knight captains are required to change their last name to match that of the position they are accepted into. Candidates to be raised as the next generation of knight captain are chosen in part based on how much they match the expected appearance of the captain position they wish to take. (The Sun Knight, for example, must be blond and fair skinned, while the Storm Knight either needs some mutant gene for blue hair or an open mind regarding hair dye.) A large portion of their training to inherit the position also involves acting, to the point that many of the current cast member's backstories will completely neglect to show them learning and swordplay or other common duties and focus on them struggling to pull off a part of their expected character.
  • An early version of the concept appears in the novel Madeline Payne‚ the Detective's Daughter (1883). Lionel Payne was a Great Detective who was killed while investigating a case. Years later, his daughter Madeline is inspired by his example to launch her own detective career.
  • Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation book series features the line of heroes that come after the Scarlet Pimpernel — the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation. (On the villain side, there's the Black Tulip.)
  • In The Princess Bride, we have the Dread Pirate Roberts, where the previous Roberts handed the title over to another when he wanted to retire. And so forth — there have been about half a dozen Dread Pirate Robertses by the time of the book.
  • The Fat Controller in the original The Railway Series was a nickname given to Sir Topham Hatt. This nickname was inherited by his son Sir Charles Topham Hatt, and later by Charles' own son Sir Stephen Hatt.
  • The Robots of Dawn, feature the Chairman of the Legislature of Aurora. It is stated that, in order to represent the continuity of the office, he is never addressed except as "Mr. Chairman" officially. There might be individual holders of the office, but "The Chairman" always exists.
  • In the Science Fiction novel Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick, the revolutionary anarchist Santiago is eventually revealed to be the title that different successors took.
  • Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel of The French Revolution comes from a line of heroes, starting with the first Sir Percy/Diogenes/The Laughing Cavalier (The Cavalier Years) and continuing to Peter Blakeney (in the earlier side of Christie Time).
  • The Wizard of the Seekers of Truth is part of a a line of magicians, descending from the real-life Maskelyne family. Jasper Maskelyne, his non-fictional grandfather, worked with the British Army against the Nazis, and his grand-father John was an avid debunker of fraudulent mystics and the like.
  • The Steel Ghost, a notorious Desoltai warlord in The Shadow Campaigns. His true face is always obscured by a full steel mask with only slits for eyes, and he's said to be the host of a powerful demon that lets him appears anywhere in Khandar in an instant, slaughter and torture his enemies, and then vanish into the desert without a trace. The "demonic" ability turns out to be a clever bit of Magic from Technology: the Desoltai tribes use a primitive version of a Morse lamp to communicate across the desert, allowing them to share battle tactics and supply cache locations at the speed of light. The Steel Ghost masks, plural, are worn by whoever happens to be the strongest warrior of a given tribe, thus any Desoltai attack is always the work of the Steel Ghost - a legend the Desoltai play up to the hilt.
  • In the Expanded Universe novels for Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri by Michael Ely, the leaders of the factions survive the centuries by using life extension treatments developed by Zakharov. However, by the end of the second novel, Sheng-ji Yang is captured and imprisoned for attempting to eliminate all the other faction leaders. The opposition leader Jin Long is installed as the leader of the Human Hive in his place. However, Yang's daughter discovers that Long is actually Yang's clone, specifically created at his own request in the event he would become too rigid to deal with what was coming. Long was to become the new Yang (he even took the name) and used Yang's memory-recording machine to become more like the original. However, the third book reveals that the new Yang became corrupt and decadent, eschewing the original's philosophies in exchange for personal gratification. His wife (Yang's daughter; apparently, she suffers from a weird case of the Electra complex) assassinates him and also takes up the name/title Chairman Yang.
  • From the Star Trek Novel 'Verse, there's Astraea, leader of the Oralian faith and vessel for the guiding spirit, Oralius.
    "My mother's name was Astraea. My daughter's name will be Astraea."
  • In Super Powereds and Corpies, it's not uncommon for a new Hero to don the identity of a retired or dead Hero. Typically, he or she needs permission to do that and wears an identical or similar costume. When Titan returns to active duty after a 20-year absence, he is frequently asked if he's the original or a legacy. Also, it's not strange for teams to retain the same name for generations, even though the founders may have already retired or died. It's also possible for a different team to request to be renamed to a defunct name. This is how the Wild Bucks become the new Gentle Hammers. It also helps that their new member is Titan, one of the original members of the first Gentle Hammers. In the main series, Angela and Shane Desoto turn out to be the grandkids of the very first officially-recognized Hero, Captain Starlight. They have competed for most of their lives for who will get to claim the legacy name, except Angela has no intention of taking the name; she just likes a challenge and wants to push her little brother to be the best he can be. Both Angela and Shane end up choosing similar names (Charon and Styx, respectively). It's no surprise to anyone that Chad wants to take his late father's Hero name Intra. It helps that they have a nearly identical powerset. A unique case with Alice, who has four names to choose from (except two turn out to be criminals, and two have a bad rep), so she goes with Legacy.
  • In Thursday Next's The Eyre Affair, Acheron Hades has a mute henchman named Felix-8. As it turns out, he liked the original Felix so much that when he died, he found a random person off the street, mind-controlled him, then took Felix's face off and replaced the person's face with it. As can be deduced, he'd done it seven times so far...
  • In Two Percent Power, the current Black Paralysis is the son of the former holder of that title, having inherited the same abilities and been trained by his father.
  • In Villains' Code, it's not unusual for capes or villains to give themselves the same or similar name as their mentor (either retired or dead). When Tori declares her intention to use the name Hephaestus, Doctor Mechaniacal looks it up and learns that there used to be a cape by that name. However, he has retired, and his successor chose to call himself Red Hephaestus instead. Then again, as Doctor Mechaniacal points out, Classical Mythology can't be copyrighted anyway. In the second novel, it's revealed that the name Lodestar can also be this in some universes. If the current host of the Lodestar essence is killed (not an easy task), the essence usually finds a new host, who also becomes Lodestar. But if the Lodestar essence itself it destroyed, it creates a destructive wave of such cataclysmic proportions that it wipes out that entire universe.
  • In The War of the Flowers, the Remover of Inconvenient Obstacles is revealed to be this; the current Remover is actually the protagonist's great-uncle, Eamonn Dowd, who pulled a Grand Theft Me on his predecessor and he speculates that his predecessor was in turn only the latest Remover (since the character was already impossibly old even by fairy standards). As of the end of the novel the Remover's body is destroyed, along with his home, seeming to put an end to the lineage for good- Dowd body-hopped again at the last minute and escaped, but shows no inclination to become the Remover again.
  • The Witcher Geralt always calls his horse Roach. Every horse.
  • In Simon Hawke's Wizard of 4th Street novels, the ITC concludes that the professional assassin Morpheus is a legacy character, as this alias has been in use for as far back as criminal records go. Subverted, as Morpheus is actually an immortal.
  • The superpowered gang leader Butcher XIV from Worm is an interesting twist on the concept. The name is passed down to anyone who challenges and kills the current Butcher - along with the consciousnesses and a fraction of the accumulated powers of every previous Butcher on top of their own.

  • In a somewhat controversial move, the rock band KISS has passed the makeup characters of the Spaceman and Catman on to new members (Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer respectively) following the departures of original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in the early 2000s (Frehley left in 2002. Criss departed in 2001, returned in 2003, and left again in 2004, replaced by Singer both times). This move is in contrast to the pair's original exit in the early '80s, when their replacements (Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr, respectively, with Singer taking up his first drummer stint with the band after Carr died in the early '90s) were given unique personas.
  • GWAR's bassist, Beefcake the Mighty, has been played by many band members across the years; first by Michael Bishop, then by Casey Orr, then Michael Bishop again, then Todd Evans, then Jamison Land and then Casey Orr...again.
    • Zigzagged with Flattus Maximus, who was retired out of respect for the late Cory Smoot and then replaced with an Expy, Pustulus Maximus.
    • Averted to hell and back with Oderus Urungus, who was not only retired after Dave Brockie's untimely death, but whose costume was given a full-blown viking funeral.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, the sons of Thor, Magni and Modi, will pick up his hammer and become the new thunder gods after Ragnarök, Vidar and Vali will rule in Odin's place and Sun will have a daughter who will take her place in the sky.
  • Irish Mythology: The original King of the World was named Daire Donn. After his attempt to conquer Ireland ended with his death at the hands of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the title of King of the World was eventually taken up by Sinsar, a warlord from Greece, who also went to war with Fionn and his Fianna, only to be slain by Fionn's grandson Oscar.

  • In Batman Breakdown, Bruce decides to retire and chooses to pass the mantle of Batman onto Tim Drake. In addition, after the Joker is killed and Bruce refuses to let him be Batman, Jason Todd goes insane, murders Bruce and becomes the new Joker.
  • Pokemon: Adventures in the Millennium has several new characters filling in for Gym Leaders who have left the positions they had in the games.
    • Indie is the new Oreburgh gym leader after Roark disappeared alongside Julian's parents.
    • Peggy took over the Canalave gym after Byron went on sabbatical, and turned it into a video game museum as well.
    • Gentian took over the Pastoria gym after Crasher Wake joined the Elite Four.
  • Red Panda Adventures
    • The Red Squirrel is the Flying Squirrel's great-great-granddaughter, who got into crimefighting herself after growing up on stories of the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel. To honor both heroes, she wears a red version of the Flying Squirrel's costume. In the Red Squirrel's debut episode, she goes back in time to Depression-era Toronto because one of her Rogues Gallery is trying to wipe our heroes out and prevent her from existing. Her second appearance, the episode "Operation: Cold Feet", reveals that she's also the Red Panda's great-great-granddaughter.
    • The episode "Thirteen at Table" introduces the second Molecule Max, successor to a hero the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel worked with before he was killed. The new Max was a student of the first, and desires to do right by his mentor's name. This helps the Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel get over some initial awkwardness over being around him, as does Max's being more on the ball about superheroics than the other heroes being trained in that episode.
    • "The Sunday Serial" reveals that the Red Ensign was a Propaganda Hero based on the Red Panda created by the Canadian government. After the actor playing the Red Ensign is murdered, the identity is put on a shelf though, if Kit is correct, with heroics still produced for public consumption. John Archer, who assumed the Red Panda's identity when the hero went missing behind enemy lines, would take up the Red Ensign identity following the Red Panda's return and become part of the Allied Super Services.
  • In an episode of the Thrilling Adventure Hour's "The Adventures of Captain Laserbeam" segement, "Try, Triangle Again," Keegan-Michael Key voices the titular hero instead of John DiMaggio. People recognize he's an entirely different person, but tiptoe around actually asking until one of the Adventurekateers flat out asks "Are you black now?" He's later recognized by the Villain of the Week's henchman as an ex-Adventurekateer named Elsworth. Elsworth admits he's just filling in while Captain Laserbeam is on an "undercover underwater undertaking."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • One of the earliest and longest running legacy characters in professional wrestling was The Masked Marvel, who was best known for his work in EMLL (as Maravilla Enmascarada) but goes back to at least 1931, two years before EMLL opened, as revealed when one was unmasked to reveal Johnny Plumber. There have since been at least 54 men (and at least one woman) to take up the black leather mask. The precise number could be higher but its hard to tell as even though the entire point of the gimmick was for The Masked Marvel to eventually be unmasked before a new one showed up, many of them never revealed who they really were.
  • "Officially", there have been as few as 5 Mr. Wrestlings or as many as 666 (it's hard to say who has "authority" on these things when discussing pro wrestling, but the 666 is probably a thematic choice for the Japanese 666 promotion, making 6 or 36 a safer bet). Complicating the issue is that many wore masks, so there could have been more than one Mr. Wrestling II, for example. (in fact Mr. Wrestling II was involved in an angle where he defeated and unmasked an imposter)
  • The Mr. Wrestling gimmick is closely tied to the masked Grappler gimmick. In 1971, Angelo Poffo donned a mask while in Championship Wrestling From Florida, claiming to be the original Grappler but lost in a mask vs mask match against the current user of the gimmick(who most likely had been doing at least before Poffo). This later lead to The Grappler and Mr. Wrestling facing off in a mask vs mask match, the Grappler changing his name to Mr. Wrestling #2 after winning. But another Grappler showed up in the 1980s, managed by Jim Cornette. An "official" Grappler #3 later became a mainstay for Pro Wrestling Revolution in the mid 2000s.
  • In Japanese Professional Wrestling (or puroresu, as the cool kids call it), both Tiger Mask and his arch-rival, Black Tiger, have been played by four different wrestlers, and this is framed as the handing-down of a legacy. Tiger Mask is always a Japanese wrestler, and Black Tiger is always a foreigner. (Also the real identity of Black Tiger is publicly known, while Tiger Mask is kept secret). Samson Kutsuwada was Ultra Tiger Mask before anyone in front of a Japanese crowd got the idea, but that happened in Korea and usually isn't counted.
  • This never stopped being popular in Mexican wrestling (or lucha libre) either, due to the preponderance of masked wrestlers there. To name just one example, WWE's Rey Mysterio was known in his early career as Rey Misterio Jr. because his uncle, the original Rey Misterio, handed the mantle down to him (and had to seek special permission from said uncle in order to drop the Jr. from his ring name). The original Rey Misterio's son is now wrestling as El Hijo de Rey Misterio.
  • Another lucha libre example is El Hijo del Santo, who inherited his mask from his father, the legendary El Santo, shortly before the latter died.
  • Dominik Mysterio is a twofer, being not only the son of Rey Mysterio (making him the newest in an established Wrestling Family), but also effectively the reincarnation of his Honorary Uncle and Rey's late Arch-Enemy, Eddie Guerrero. Ever since Dominik turned heel and actively became an enemy to his old man, he's loved invoking the spirit of Guerrero by recreating his mannerisms and incorporating his moves into his own arsenal, and has even dropped on the mic that he wishes Eddie really was his father (a lateral reference to how almost two decades earlier before his in-ring debut, Dominik was the subject of a kayfabe custody battle where Eddie was his biological father).
  • Doink the Clown is an identity that has been donned by various wrestlers through the years, no less than 12 in WWE alone.
  • There have been no less than 11 men to take up the identity of Jerry Lawler's nemesis, Lord Humongous. Though with Lawler's semi retirement, Lord Humongous has moved on to antagonizing other wrestlers.
  • When La Parka (Adolfo Tapia) starting working for WCW, AAA in Mexico created La Parka Jr. with Jesus Escobedo donning the mask. In 2003, AAA decided to enforce their trademark of the original character and Escobedo dropped the Jr. and Tapia became L.A. Park.
  • Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, Nature Boy Ric Flair, Nature Boy Buddy Landel and some guy who was a manservant in GLOW. Also there was the "Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews in latter day NWA.
  • TNA and WWE tried to pass AJ Styles and The Miz off as successors to Ric Flair's legacy, with limited success, especially in the latter case. Styles at least got a popular Four Horsemen type group called Fourtune...later Fortune.
  • In the late fifties through the sixties there was a professional wrestler known as Sweet Georgia Brown, a name which would be taken up by another woman after she died in 1989 then another USWA wrestler in the nineties after Jacqueline Moore stopped using that ring name.
  • José Estrada and José Luis Rivera would team together in the CWC, WWWF and WWF as Los Conquistadors. A team which would be resurrected as a jobber team who would eventually be taken over by Edge and Christian later in the WWF. Edge and Christian would later pay off Aaron Aguilera and Christopher Daniels to take up the role while Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy would to get revenge on E&C. Outside of WWE land a new Conquistador pair would appear during a the 2011 Wrestling Legends Tour of Germany and one of Estrada's sons, Rico Suave, would also take become part of a conquistador pair as well as Super Medico #4. He was a bit late at the last part, his father being Super Medico #1.
  • Generally, anytime you see The Spider Lady it is a safe bet she'll be losing. She actually started out with a winning record in 1985, but her repeated failures to defeat Wendi Richter gave her a jobber image that she failed to shake off by 2014. Helping cement it was when the Spider Lady finally defeated Richter, "she"was unmasked to reveal The Fabulous Moolah, who most definitely was not the original since Moolah had previously been her manager. Whoever put the mask back on after Moolah died maintained a losing record.
  • Humorously, Spider-Man is a legacy character in Mexiconote . There is even a mini Spider-Man who got popular enough to show up in CMLL and CMLL Wrestler El Bronco, himself a legacy character, was unmasked to reveal Spider-Man's mask underneath.
  • Bruiser Brody has inspired several, the most famous of them likely being Brodie Lee, if only because of the name and uncanny resemblance. Amusingly, Lee would end up in the Age Of The Fall Stable with Jimmy Jacobs, who also used to be a Bruiser Brody wannabe before switching to John Nord, The Barbarian and Kevin Sullivan.
  • Paul Wight, most known as Big Show in WWE, originally got his big-league start at WCW, being billed as "The Giant" between 1995 to 1999, the son of the late André the Giant (who had only been dead for two years before the gimmick was pushed). Part of this was sold on Wight having suffered from acromegaly, a disorder giving both men their immense size, and he would boast that he was "the son of a giant", wear the iconic one-strap singlet of his "father", do things like rip off Hulk Hogan's crucifix necklace (evoking the image of Andre ripping Hogan's shirt as a challenge to WrestleMania III), etc. To this day, Wight apparently still receives awkward comments from fans about how much they loved his dad.

  • The BBC Radio 4 serial The New Adventures of Baron Munchausen is about a descendent of the first Baron, who is at pains to tell us that his ancestor's adventures are as true as his own. These begin with him crossing the Atlantic in an armchair on surfboards, propelled by two parachutes.
  • In the original radio series, The Green Hornet was said to be the nephew of The Lone Ranger. The 1990s NOW comic, which did not have the rights to the Ranger, could only allude to this, but established that the Hornet identity was itself a legacy, featuring the nephew of the TV Hornet, who in turn was revealed to be the nephew of the radio character.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Distreyd Thanadar is a hereditary name given to the high cleric of Mardük who comes from the Thanadar bloodline since the end of the Second Age. The only thing differentiating the Distreyds is adding a number after the name (e.g. Distreyd Thanadar XIII). The child of the previous Distreyd kills him and then takes over the title, becoming the next Distreyd Thanadar until their child kills them. Every Distreyd actively encourages their child to kill him and if said child fails in the task, the child as well as his or her mother is executed for being too weak.

  • In the Australian Football League, the "father-son rule" is designed to make it easier for clubs to recruit the children of former players.
  • In some sports leagues, when a city regains a sports team after an old one moves away or folds, the new team often takes up the legacy, history, and often the name of the previous team.
    • The current iteration of the Canadian National Hockey League Team the Winnipeg Jets (originally the Atlanta Thrashers), took up the former name and legacy of the team that moved out in the mid-90s. The original Jets currently exist as the Phoenix Coyotes.
    • Lesser known is the Ottawa Senators, named after Ottawa's former team who won The Stanley Cup ten times before moving and folding (the current Senators have banners for the old one's conquests).
    • The following Major League Baseball teams are named after professional clubs which played in the same city before the arrival of the major league club: Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres.
    • Quite a few Major League Soccer clubs are named after teams from the North American Soccer League, the only top flight league that ever existed in the United States (and Canada) before MLS: Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes (a two-fer: the original MLS Earthquakes moved to Texas and became the Houston Dynamo, and then the league gave the city another franchise) and Vancouver Whitecaps. FC Dallas is named after a minor league club of the same name that existed in the late 1980s & early 1990s. The NASL itself was revived in 2011, with even a continuation of the famed New York Cosmos.
    • The Canadian Football League team, the Montreal Alouettes, are also a Legacy Team. The previous Montreal Alouettes folded in 1982, played under a new name from 82-85, came back as the Alouettes in 1986, and then folded again in 1987. The US expansion team, the Baltimore Stallions, moved to Montreal in 1996 and took up the Alouette name.
    • While no prior CFL team has had the name, the Edmonton Eskimos are named for a previous football team which existed in the early 20th century.note 
    • Averted with the CFL's 2014 expansion team, the Ottawa Redblacks, who took up the legacy, the history, and even the colors of the two previous teams to play in Ottawa (specifically the Roughriders), but took up the name Redblacks in order for the CFL to keep the One-Steve Limit.
    • There have been two different National Football League teams named the Colts. The second started in 1953 in Baltimore, where the first had folded in 1951, shortly after being taken over from the All-American Football Conference. (it has since became an Artifact Title given the team moved to Indianapolis, not famed for horse breeding). The "new" Colts may also be or not be a continuation of the Dallas Texans (NFL) in fact if not name, though that is not acknowledged by the NFL in any way shape or form. Some Football historians make a convincing case tracing the Colts back all the way to the Dayton Triangles that were founded in 1913 and played in the "Ohio League" before the NFL - and most of its current teams - even existed. The "Texans" name was in turn taken up by Lamar Hunt of the upstart American Football League for the team that is now the Kansas City Chiefs - rumor has it Hunt would have stuck with the Texans name even in Kansas City had the mayor not convinced him otherwise. The 2002 expansion team for Houston is of course also named the Texans but neither claims nor has any connection besides the name to either "Dallas Texans".
      • A more straight example would be the Cleveland Browns. From a functional perspective, the Browns players and staff moved to Baltimore to become the Baltimore Ravens, and a new expansion team started up in Cleveland three years later, complete with an expansion draft to build its roster. However, Cleveland was able to retain the history of the Browns, and is officially noted as "having suspended operations for three years" while the Ravens are officially the "expansion" team. Notably, this allowed the Ravens to be (again, officially) the fastest team in modern NFL history to win a championship after officially coming into existence (a mere four years after the move), while the Browns suffered all the shortcomings of an actual expansion team despite being a long-running franchise, which, combined with inept management, has prevented them from achieving much of anything since the move.
    • In the National Basketball Association, the Denver Nuggets are named for the city's original NBA team (when the current franchise begun play in the ABA, they were the Rockets, a name already in use by the Houston team). In a case that since doesn't apply, once the Chicago Zephyrs moved to Maryland they took the name of a former NBA champion, Baltimore Bullets (currently known as Washington Wizards).

    Tabletop Games 
  • 7th Sea has the Dread Pirate Reis. In this case, there's a lot more emphasis on the Dread part of the equation.
  • The Bounty Hunter in BattleTech — a series of mercenaries who all wore a LosTech suit of Powered Armor, and piloted neon green battlemechs covered in cash signs. The Bounty Hunter hunts down notorious criminals on the battlefield. In-universe, the Bounty Hunter is also the subject of a bunch of action movies with gratuitous amounts of violence.
    • Another one came about due to Executive Meddling. Michael Stackpole had written a novel elaborating on some references in a previous BattleTech novel about Katrina Steiner being a pirate/revolutionary known as the Red Corsair before she'd become Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth. The people at FASA at the time weren't terribly interested in revisiting older eras at the time but liked the novel and had Stackpole rewrite it so that the Red Corsair was a different character set at the current time in the game's setting at the time. Then many years later under a new editorial regime, he was invited to write a micro-story about Katrina as the Red Corsair for a rulebook. So in the Inner Sphere, there have canonically been two Red Corsairs running about.
  • In Galactic Champions from Hero Games, the powered-armor hero Defender is the direct descendant of the powered-armor hero Defender from the main Champions book. One could argue the Legacy Character status of the first Defender; James Harmon IV was the child, grandchild, and great-grandchild of heroes, but none of them ever donned a mask (or Powered Armor).
  • The Dracula Dossier: Both Edom and Dracula use the term "Legacy" to describe a descendant of the original 1890s team — a Harker Legacy is a descendant of Mina and Jonathan Harker, for example. And both of them do their best to keep track of all Legacies, which can cause problems for a player-character Legacy.
  • Crimson Banner Executioner in Exalted is a Sidereal whose reincarnations take up the magical armor and same name as their predecessor when they Exalt, and not only that, they are mentored by the spirit of their previous incarnation, which inhabits the armor.
  • The Freedom City setting for Mutants & Masterminds has plenty. Johnny Rocket, Lady Liberty, Bowman, Arrow...actually subverted with Daedalus, who likes to let people think this is the case but actually is the original character. From Greek myth. There are also deliberately "open" legacies, such as the Scarab, enabling the PCs to take these roles.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Every time an Aeldari Phoenix Lord dies, their soul is absorbed into the armor they wear. The next wearer of the armor adds their expertise to the knowledge and skills of all the prior Phoenix Lords, back to the first one whose name they still bear. No wonder these people can take on armies all by themselves.
      • Commander Brightsword of the Farsight Enclaves is the 7th in the line to take up that name since the original Brightsword joined Farsight's "The Eight" decades ago. Some amongst T'au Empire have theorised that Commander Farsight himself has been replaced by a series of successors who take up his identity as he's pushing 300 for a species that considers 40 to be old. the truth, however, is that the Dawn Blade is keeping him alive instead.
      • Pre-Heresy, the keeper of the Dark Angels' (and their Caliban knightly order pre-rediscovery) traditions is always named Lord Cypher. After the death of the previous Cypher, a new one is elected by the Inner Circle, and whatever name they had before their election is cast aside, and no one is supposed to publicly recognize them. Because of that, it's impossible to know if the Fallen known as Cypher in the story's present day is the same person as the Cypher from the Heresy.
    • Gorkamorka has the Red Gobbo, the public identity of whoever is leading of the Rebel Grots faction at the time. Unlike most identities on this page, the harsh world and simultaneously squishy and treacherous nature of gretchin mean that the turnover is so fast you randomly determine the Red Gobbo's stats at the beginning of each game.
    • In Warhammer, King Orion of the Wood Elves is immortal, but his existence is tied to the seasons. As a result, he willingly passes into his own funeral pyre every winter. While that is going on, a Prince is chosen to bear Orion's mantle the following year. The prince is taken to the oak of ages, where he is sculpted and remodled to look like Orion, and merges with the spirit of Kurnous, god of the hunt, whom Orion is the avatar of. Each Orion does have all the memories of their predecessors so they technically are the same person, but each incarnation has a different personality.
    • Another example would be Boneripper the rat ogre. No matter how many times Grey Seer Thanquol's bodyguard gets killed (by the End Times he'd gone through at least a dozen of them), you can guarantee that he'll have a new one.
    • In Blood Bowl, the Clan Rigens scientists who created and maintain the 5th Edition Cyborg Rat Ogre Star Player Kreek Rustgouger claim that he is actually a different creature every time he takes to the pitch, so any previous lifetime bans no longer apply. Whether this is actually the case or not is much debated by fans and pundits.
  • The Pyramid magazine article Like Masked Mother, Like Caped Child: The Amazonia Story, is a worked example of using legacy characters in superhero roleplaying games, with a line of Amazonias who are all women with vaguely spider-related powers who defend the desert town of Palette. To illustrate different forms of legacy character, some Amazonias had direct connections with their predecessors, some were merely inspired by them, and one was mostly a coincidence.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Set "Future Sight" introduced a cycle of five legacy characters, each holding the title of a former legend from Magic history. The five "future" legends (and the ones they descend from) are Korlash, Heir to Blackblade (Dakkon Blackblade), Tarox Bladewing (Rorix Bladewing), Baru, Fist of Krosa (Kamahl, Fist of Krosa), Oriss, Samite Guardian (Orim, Samite Healer), and Linessa, Zephyr Mage (Alexi, Zephyr Mage).
    • Also, Tetsuo Umezawa (from the Legends expansion set) is apparently an official descendant of Toshiro Umezawa from the much later Betrayers of Kamigawa set (and of Jitte fame among players). This may qualify more as a Shout-Out, though, since the characters (or at least their cards) seem to have little in common beyond the family name and their legendary status.
    • As well, from the addendum to his Unhinged FAQ(TIWDAWCC) on Fraction Jackson (scroll down):
      This card's name and flavor text imply he is a singular person. Why isn't he a legendary creature?
      Because there isn't just one Fraction Jackson. There is a Golden Age version. There is a Silver Age version. There is the Modern Age version, of course. There is the African American version that showed up in the seventies when the Silver Age version was briefly incapacitated. There, is of course, the alien version that retroactively predated the Golden Age version. There is the female version that briefly wore the costume during the scandal of Secret Crisis Conflict. Well, you get the idea.
    • In the tournament scene, new decks sometimes "take up the mantle" from older decks that they share strategies (but not necessarily cards) with. Aggressive red decks will usually be named some variation of "Sligh" or "Red Deck Wins" after older, popular decks; decks that put cards into their own graveyards might be called "Dredge" even if they feature no dredge cards; Green/Black mid-range decks typically inherit the name "The Rock," unless they also include red, in which case they take up the mantle of "Jund."
  • Masks: A New Generation has the Legacy playbook, a character who is (at least) the third bearer of their Superhero identity and must deal with the expectations and judgement of their predecessors.
  • In Arthaus's first 3E Gazetteer for the Ravenloft setting, the narrator speculates that Harkon Lukas may be an example of this trope, as references to a bard with that name appear over and over throughout the oral history of Kartakass. Subverted in that they're either false history or all the same guy, who's been the domain's ageless dark lord since it was created.
    • King Crocodile, darklord of the Wildlands, is either a Legacy Character or a potential one in the making. If he's killed, whichever male crocodile is the biggest, strongest, and nastiest in the domain at the time immediately starts to grow larger, tougher and meaner, ensuring that there will always be a King Crocodile. We don't know if this has happened yet, but it's sure to eventually if it hasn't.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The aptly-named Legacy has a collection of powers that have been genetically passed down through his family for generations, with each new Legacy having additional powers the last one didn't have. The current Legacy, Paul Parsons VIII, is the 9th member of his family to have superpowers, though the superhero name and identity "Legacy" only dates back to the early 1900's (making that one either the grandfather or great-grandfather of the current one). Paul's daughter, Felicia, eventually develops powers and takes up the mantle of Legacy herself.
    • One of Bunker's promo cards is the Bunker who served in World War II, while the Shattered Timelines version is Fright Train, who took up the hero's mantle to fight Iron Legacy.
    • The Ra of Sentinels Tactics is described as "not the man he was," with a markedly different personality and demeanor of the Ra in the original game. Further, his art has him with darker skin and different features. While it's not said, the implication is that someone else found the Staff of Ra and took up the sun god's power, much like multiple people in the Marvel Universe have picked up Mjolnir and taken over as Thor. The ARG leading up to the announcement of OblivAeon confirms this — the Blake Washington Ra is killed fighting the villain, and The Letters Page confirms it's Thiago, from Spite's deck.
    • The Ennead can pull the same relic thing as Ra, as can Anubis after his destruction by OblivAeon.
  • Mihoshi Oni in Shadowrun is the sixth person to use that name.
    • "Mr. Johnson" lies somewhere between this trope and Collective Identity: a catch-all alias used by recruiters of shadowrunners.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series likes this concept.
    • Shelly de Killer is the third assassin to carry the deKiller name.
    • The original Mask☆DeMasque gets several imitators (since the garish costume is readily available in stores).
    • Kay Faraday refers to herself as the Second Great Thief Yatagarasu, but she's really the fourth person to hold the identity, as the original Yatagarasu was secretly a team of three. During the credits Kay says she plans on finding two people to join her to continue the team.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has Shuichi Saihara as the new Ultimate Detective, apparently the latest to hold the title modeled after Kyoko Kirigiri's over the Danganronpa franchise's long, long history.
  • Nasuverse: In the Fate/stay night series, the Servants might be considered this, taking the mantle of their class (Saber, Lancer, Archer, Assassin, Rider, Caster, Beserker, and others) as their name for the duration of the Holy Grail Wars.
  • In Reflections on the River, it's not actually denied that there have been two witches (namely, Zheng and Zheng's mother), but the timeframe is deliberately misstated — as such, people think that the witch who has shown up demanding payment (Zheng) is the same one who helped the king and queen have a child ten years ago (actually Zheng's mother). This causes an argument if revealed, since it complicates Zheng's claim to the magic jewel which was used. However, Prince Shun eventually decides that even if Zheng didn't create the jewel, it is still more Zheng's property than it is the kingdom's.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Beatrice, the subtitular Golden Witch, is the second to have that name. The first was Virgilia. Actually, Beatrice is the third to go by the name, although she is initially unaware of her connection to the two previous Beatrices: the first was her grandmother, and the second was her mother/sister.

    Web Animation 
  • In CPU Championship Series, Captain Falcon is this, as Tony takes on the mantle of Captain Falcon in the Season 4 Finale, Everest.
  • Played for laughs in Homestar Runner. In the Sbemail "original" Strong Bad mentions that "There've been like twelve King of Towns.", as well as an Original Bubs, Senator Cardgage Bubs (Senor Cardgage filling in for Bubs) Crack Stunt-Bubs (Crack Stuntman filling in for Bubs), and "fan-favorite" Onion Bubs, before the current Bubs took his place. Marzipan at the end of the email reveals that "Strong Bad made it all up".
  • RWBY:
    • In Remnant legend, there is a fairy tale called The Story of the Seasons, which tells of a reclusive old wizard who gifts Elemental Powers to four sisters so that they can help humanity. The Four Maidens actually do exist, each wielding unimaginable power, but their existence is kept secret by their guardians to prevent villains from stealing their power. When one Maiden dies, her power will pass on in a way determined by her dying thoughts. If her last thoughts are of an eligible girl, the power will pass to her; if the dying Maiden's last thoughts are of a male or an ineligible female, the power will pass to a random eligible female who could be located anywhere in the world. If a Maiden is murdered by an eligible female, and her dying thoughts are of that killer, then the killer themselves can inherit the power. Each new Maiden will interpret and express her powers in a way that is unique to her, so no two Maidens will be ever be alike, even when comparing Maidens of the same Season.
    • The guardians of the Four Maidens also have a member whose powers are inherited from male to eligible male in a very similar manner to that of the Maidens. However, the inheritance goes deeper than the Maidens experience: the soul, memories and powers of an immortal being are passed from male to eligible male rather than just powers, and whomever is the holder of the immortal's legacy, he becomes the leader of a Benevolent Conspiracy designed to protect the Four Maidens and four mythical Relics that together have the power to destroy the world. Professor Ozpin inherited the soul, memories and abilities of Ozma when he was a child. The pair merged into one being over time, which happens every time Ozma reincarnates into a new eligible male; the power of the Four Maidens originally belonged to Ozma, which is why the passing of the Maidens' power mimics Ozma's reincarnation cycle. When Ozpin is killed by the Fall Maiden Cinder, Salem strongly implies that Cinder only achieved this because Ozpin allowed her to kill him, leaving her wondering what he's planning. Meanwhile, his soul and memories merge with those of the young Farm Boy, Oscar Pine, who is forced to come to terms with his inheritance and abilities at the same time as fighting against Salem and her forces.
  • Technically, the entire cast of Smash King. Everyone is a reincarnation of the specific character they were based on, and are reborn anew when the current incarnation loses his/her 10 life stock. Their reputations as reincarnations of those specific characters (I.E. Link as The Hero and Ganondorf as the Big Bad) tend to stay associated with them even to the Present Day, regardless of if their newest incarnations have radically different personalities from their Original selves.

  • Adventures Of Fifine: This thread (currently still unfinished).
  • Heroine Chic: Passing down a superhero name is apparently common practice — there's a charity event held every year called "Heritage Con" that brings together Legacy Heroes and their namesakes. The only named example who shows up in the comic is Paragon, a retiring "silver-age hero" who passed her name down to Paragon II in order to help the younger hero establish herself in the business.
  • Homestuck: Implicitly His Honorable Tyranny. He's referred to as a singular being and the one active in the Ancestors' time is killed by Mindfang, but another one is present by the time of Hiveswap and Homestuck.
  • Lightbringer: Lampshaded twice. The first main character thought that ,if he dies, there will be no one to be his legacy character, because he's the world's first and only superhero. Later he says to his best friend that she's only person that could replace him if he died.
  • Magellan: Bill Banks takes the identity of Victory Man II.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: The title character is actually the daughter of the original Wonderella, and was the original Wonderita during her mother's tenure. A few strips point towards Rita becoming Wonderella III should Dana go missing or die for good.
  • Pacificators: Daryl Smithson. She's a bit chubby, a total sweetheart, a good chef, and a lot smarter than she looks. But really, she's just an ordinary girl — wait, what's that? She's the only granddaughter of one of the most famous Pacificators of Light ever? She inherited her staff from her grandmother, and is heavily implied to have also gotten her grandmother's skills? Well... carry on, then.
  • Spinnerette: Green Gable is a superhero identity handed down the line of descent from the original Anne of Green Gables. The current one is the first dude in the costume, which he hasn't bothered to make even slightly manlier.
  • Parodied in the webcomic Supermegatopia with Captain Mayfly; since mayflies only live about 24 hours, the mantle of Captain Mayfly tends to get passed down very quickly. A relatively straight example is Rocket Bob
  • The main character of Supermom is the fourth Paragon although she later learns that the powerset has secretly been passed on for centuries and it looks like one of her children is getting her powers.
  • From ShiftyLook's Wonder Momo: Momoko is given an upgraded version of the Wonder Momo power suit by an alien who mistook her for the original (despite being two decades younger). Turns out Momoko is the daughter of the original Wonder Momo. Amazonia is a variant: the original Amazonia was Momo's nemesis. After their final battle, a young girl (and Momo fangirl) found Amazonia's power orb and decided she could be a new, heroic Amazonia.

    Web Original 
  • How to Hero has an entry on this topic here. To sum up, the guide breaks down legacy characters into four categories: Family members, sidekicks all grown up, state-sponsored legacies, and complete strangers who just take someone's established identity and run with it after they're gone.
  • The Grand Lake Heroes League in Legion of Nothing. The League was original made up of former WWII special forces soldiers who came home and kept fighting bad guys. In the Present Day, their children/grandchildren have restarted it, with many of them adopted their forebears identities, and in some cases, enemies.
  • Due to its non-sliding timescale, the LessThanThree-Verse abounds in legacy characters, from Uncle Sam I & II (with Miss Liberty in between), to the three American Eagles, to Mr GL and his spiritual successor GL.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • One story (though the canonicity is unverifiable due to the nature of the site) suggests that Clef is a Legacy Character.
    • Another example is Dr. Wondertainment, which may or may not be a title passed down.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the superhero Champion is like this. The original Champion (back in the '30s and '40s) rescued two kids from a supervillain and gave them part of the Champion Force to keep them from dying (according to Word of God). They became Miss Champion and Champion Junior. When Champion died, he passed the Champion Force on to Champion Junior, who became the second Champion. They get killed eventually. The world is now on Champion number 6, with preparations already made for Champion 7.

    Web Videos 

    Real Life 
  • Heads of State most closely fit this trope in real life, specifically those with actual influence or power. In most traditional Monarchies the royal sovereign was literally granted legacy character status by God and such status was passed down in perpetuity to their heirs. In Republics, the Head of State can be viewed as an unchanging personification of the nation and its people. Works best in a country with a fairly stable form of government where the character of state can build up sufficient gravitas. Some good contemporary examples are The British Royal Family, The Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States.
    • Exemplified by the traditional announcement of a monarch's death in Great Britain "The King (or Queen) is Dead... Long Live the King (or Queen)" because the monarch technically never dies as the role immediately passes to the next qualified heir. This is also why the royal standard is never flown at half-staff.
  • Ships, particularly of the naval sort, frequently use the names of illustrious predecessors:
    • The current longest-serving US aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, is the eighth vessel of that name in service. Number 7 was a famous World War II carrier. Numbers 1 and 2 were in the Continental Navy. There is also the 'USS Enterprise' Recruit Barracks at the Great Lakes USN base, which is organized as a ship for administrative purposes. Now that CVN-65 has been decommissioned, CVN-80 is expected to be number nine when it enters service in 2025.
    • The Enterprise space shuttle test vehicle. It would have been the second shuttle to fly, but design changes made the refit prohibitively expensive. This is more a legacy of Star Trek than of the US Navy directly, though.
    • HMS Ark Royal has been the name of five British naval vessels, four aircraft carriers.
    • There have been six HMS Victory vessels. Number six is the Trafalgar one, still in commission as a museum ship.
    • Thirteen ships have borne the name HMS Swift, the last of which was renamed L.E. Orla when it was transferred to the Irish Navy.
    • There have also been six ships to bear the USS Lexington moniker. The latest one was decommissioned in the 1990's and currently serves as a museum ship in Corpus Christi, Texas.
    • The Royal Netherlands Navy always has, by royal edict, a Jan van Speyk. Named after a naval officer who chose to blow up his ship rather than surrender to the Belgians during the Belgian War of independence.
    • Likewise, the Royal Spanish Navy always has, by royal decree, one ship called Velasco, after Luis Vicente de Velasco, hero of the 1762 Battle of Havana.
    • The Royal Australian Navy will have had 5 ships named HMAS Sydney when the newest Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers are commissioned in 2016.
    • Virtually every submarine of a new or improved type is called Nautilus, in tribute to Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
    • Among cruise lines, Holland America Line is particularly fond of reusing former ship names. In particular, the current MS Maasdam and MS Statendam in the Holland America fleet are each the fifth ship to bear their respective names.
    • Some navies (including the Royal Navy) take the practice a bit more seriously than others and have any previous decorations cary over to new ships of the same name.
  • Living Mascots often fit this trope.
    • Chesty, the US Marine Corps Bulldog isnote  on his 15th incarnation and Bill the Navy Goat is on his 34th.
    • Sir Nils Olav (currently in his third incarnation) is a King Penguin and has been Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Royal Guard since 1972.
  • Advice collumists can become legacy characters if they need to pass the pseudonym over to another writer.
    • Ruth Crowley wrote a newspaper advice column under the name Ann Landers, passing the name on to Esther Lederer. Lederer's twin sister, Pauline Phillips, began a competing column as Abigail van Buren. "Dear Abby" continues to this day, now written by Pauline's daughter Jeannie; "Dear Ann Landers," however, was permitted to die with its writer by the mutual wish of her daughter, Margo Howard, and the publishing syndicate.
    • Margo Howard herself is part of the history of a similar legacy character, the Slate website's advice columnist "Dear Prudence." She was the second writer to hold the post. It was written Herbert Stein, then Margo Howard, then Emily Yoffe, and is now written by Daniel Mallory Ortberg.
  • Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the alleged former leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network's Iraqi affiliate group, now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, may be one of these. At least two different people have been identified as al-Baghdadi, and he's been killed at least once. This has led some believe it to be an assumed name that each new leader of ISIL assumes when the old leader is killed, allowing foreign terrorists to pass themselves off as domestic Iraqi insurgents.
  • In a way, a real life historical example is the Roman emperors of antiquity. When Octavian assumed the numerous offices given to him by the senate (who were effectively obliged to gives them to him) he took the honorary title "Augustus", the military title "Imperator" and had already taken the nickname-turned-family name "Caesar" from his adoptive father, the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar. When he died and powers passed to his step-son Tiberius, the new emperor on being "voted" his powers by the senate took all of these honorifics to demonstrate himself both a continuation of Caesar Augustus's position in the state and member of his direct family. The Roman emperors continued to take the titles "Imperator" and "Augustus" until the 7th century AD and, even when the Julio-Claudian line descended from Julius Caesar fell from power in 69AD, the name "Caesar" continued to be adopted since it had become so associated with the position of emperor. Thus what had been a family name became a euphemism for an autocratic office. Tsar is the Russian version of Caesar, and Kaiser the German one.
  • The Roman Empire itself became something of a legacy character. Various subsequent empires that took over / developed from former parts of the Roman Empire portrayed themselves (with varying degrees of validity) as successors to the Rome Empire. Notable examples are the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire (which was technically not a legacy empire because it was still the same empire, just reduced by half), the Tzardom of Russia/Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.
  • The officially-registered makeup patterns, stage names, and personas of professional clowns are passed down from mentor to student, often along family lines.
  • The reason why so many Popes have numbers after their names is that they take on a new name when they become Pope. Pope John Paul II was, unusually, a legacy of the three previous Popes: John Paul I adopted his papal name in tribute to his two predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.
  • Franklin W. Dixon (author of The Hardy Boys series) and Carolyn Keene (author of the Nancy Drew series) are pseudonyms; the books have been written by dozens of authors.
  • Similarly, "Alex Archer", the 'author' of the Rogue Angel series of Lara Croft clone adventures, is actually several authors. Some better than others, it has to be said.
  • Several different drivers have been The Stig in Top Gear.
  • The so-so complicated story of Atari.
  • The tactic of buying a name from another company to use for your company is used quite a lot by companies. It pays to have an older more established name for your company, so much so that many companies will buy defunct brands or buy dying competitors and take on their brand.
    • When SBC bought out moribund former colossus AT&T and took the century old company's name for itself. The AT&T that was acquired by SBC was itself a legacy character the original AT&T, which had been broken up by anti-monopoly laws in 1982.
    • After video game publisher THQ filed for bankruptcy in 2013, Nordic Games (who acquired the Darksiders series among others) bought the trademark a year later, stating that all games published by them will be under the THQ name. In 2016, Nordic Games rebranded themselves as THQ Nordic, bringing the company back from the dead... if only in name.
    • The entire history of the Wells Fargo chain of banks essentially involves a larger newer company acquiring Wells Fargo and switching to the older company's name to keep Wells Fargo western era marketing.
  • "Shamu" is a name given to several different orcas who are the stars of their respective daily shows in SeaWorld parks. The original Shamu first appeared at SeaWorld San Diego in 1965. After her death in 1971, the name was given to multiple successors over time.
  • On a darker note, the many terrorist organizations going under the Al-Qaeda name fit this trope. The original Al-Qaeda (now called "Al-Qaeda Central" to differentiate from others using the same name) was no longer a major player even before Bin-Laden was killed, and the death of many of its other leaders have made it all but defunct. However other groups are willing to take on the same name and roughly the same cause because Al-Qaeda committed the biggest terrorist attack in history.
  • This happens with cities naming themselves after previous settlements. A particularly dramatic example would be Olympia Greece. Classical Olympia was completely abandoned with the breakdown of classic religion and therefore the Olympics. When the site was excavated in the late 1800s, a modern town was built next to ruins to accommodate the work and this town was naturally named Olympia.
  • It is common for Japanese creators and performers involved in traditional arts to inherit the name of their mentor.
  • "Punxsutawney Phil" of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is perhaps the most famous groundhog associated with the tradition of groundhogs predicting the arrival of spring and the ceremonies surrounding the tradition. Considering that Phil has been making these predictions since 1886, and that groundhogs in captivity only live about 14 years, it's safe to assume that there have been many groundhogs named Phil to predict the arrival of spring.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dread Pirate Roberts, Legacy Hero


A Legit Ranger!

Minh connects with her mother Trini's powers and becomes the new Yellow Ranger.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / LegacyCharacter

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