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Precursor Heroes

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A hero or group of heroes (often oddly similar to your own Player Party) that arose in the hour of need and dealt with the threat 1,000 years ago. Often shows up in As Long as There Is Evil or similar scenario (like a Sealed Evil in a Can) where the evil recurs; see Eternal Recurrence.

May be the sire of the hero's Heroic Lineage and original bearer of the Ancestral Weapon. They may also be part of Benevolent Precursors. If they're literal precursors, can be an example of Generation Xerox.

Compare Legacy of the Chosen and contrast Predecessor Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cross Ange: The original Libertus team, which failed their mission, and was mostly slaughtered by the bad guys. In the main story, one of its survivors, namely, Jill, attempts to reenact Libertus with Ange and her squad taking point in it.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure, it's revealed that the heroes weren't the first group of digidestined. Digimon Adventure tri. expands on this, and reveals that the two government agents who helps the team were part of the first digidestined group themselves.
    • In Digimon Frontier, Lucemon was sealed by a group of 10 ancient heroes. The core cast and their evil counterparts draw their powers from the artifacts containing the spirits of those ancient heroes.
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End has these heroes as Frieren's first adventuring party. This four-mand, led by the charisamatic Unchosen Hero Himmel, was the party that ultimately defeated the Demon King and brought an end to his reign of terror.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka becomes the Priestess of Suzaku and must assemble the seven Suzaku warriors. In the course of her adventure, she learns about the last girl to enter the world of the book, who became the Priestess of Genbu, several decades earlier. Also, at one point, the Suzaku seven encounter two of the Genbu warriors. The predecessors' story was later expanded in the prequel series, Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! establishes that there were many other Cures that had their own adventures long before the four main heroines did. Only two of their forerunners were actually shown (although others appeared in the form of anonymous statues) — the heroine's grandmother, formerly known as Cure Flower, is a mentor to the team, while Cure Angie, who was active four hundred years ago and is stated to be the first Cure in history, briefly appears in the movie. This doubles as a Mythology Gag, as there really were other Cures having adventures before the Heartcatch heroines.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid: Flashbacks reveal that the merry little gang gathering around Vivio and Einhart in the main story is not entirely dissimilar to the ragtag bunch of outcasts who banded around the two's famous ancestors: Sankt Kaiser Olivie and Hegemon Ingvalt of Shutra.
  • One episode of Powerpuff Girls Z showed that there were analogues to the girls in the Edo period that sealed Him away in a volcano.

    Comic Books 
  • Birthright: Deconstructed: before the series' events there was a heroic coven of mages united to fight against God-King Lore and his armies before mysteriously disappearing without trace. Turns out the reason for their disappearance was that after fighting Lore for so long, they crossed the Despair Event Horizon when realizing there was no victory in sight. They decided to abandon their world to its fate, move to Earth and cast a barrier around it to prevent Lore from invading our world as well. The once noble heroes have turned into overzealous knight templars willing to commit any atrocity to preserve this world's safety.
  • DC Comics:
    • Watchmen has the Minutemen, a Super Team of masked crimefighters from the 1940s and predecessors of the modern Watchmen (a.k.a. the Crimebusters). At least two of them, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, are Legacy Characters.
    • The 1981 The Krypton Chronicles limited series from DC tells the history of the planet Krypton by following the adventures of Superman's ancestors. It turns out he is descended from a certifiably Badass Family.
    • Wonder Woman: Before Diana's journey into "man's world", the Amazons were tasked with bringing an era of peace and prosperity to humanity. Unfortunately, they were unable to succeed due in large part to prejudice and mistrust against them. In a later story, it was Hippolyta who became the original Wonder Woman via time travel.
    • Originally, the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America existed in two separate universes. After Crisis on Infinite Earths merged the two earths together, the Justice Society were retconned into being the Justice League's predecessors.
    • The Demon Knights were literally the precursors to the DCU's Stormwatch (2011) and conceptually the precursors to Justice League Dark. All-Star Western also featured an 1880s version of Stormwatch.
    • In the 2020 Crisis Crossover Justice League Endless Winter, the Frost King was originally defeated in the 10th century by a team comprising Queen Hippolyta, Viking Prince, a temporarily revived Black Adam and the Avatar of the Green. The creators nicknamed them "Justice League Viking".
    • The Shadowpact turned out to have, coincidentally, chosen a name that many teams of magic-based heroes had taken before them. As revealed in the final storyline, most of them had a broadly similar make-up to the present day Shadowpact, being some combination of mages, magically enhanced warriors, possibly including a swordfighter, and an Uplifted Animal of some type.
    • Implied at the end of the The Flash storyline "Chain Lightning". Wally enters the Speed Force and, in addition to his known predecessors Barry Allen and Johnny Quick, there's also a cowboy Flash, a knight Flash, two women in period dress, a guy in a green tunic and leather jacket, and a guy in a red shirt open to the navel. We learn nothing more about any of them.
    • The oneshot The New Golden Age reveals that, in the post-Dark Nights: Death Metal and Flashpoint Beyond history of Earth Prime, Dr Fate set up a Justice Society Dark, which would have been the precursor to Justice League Dark, although further details have not yet been revealed.
  • Having the protagonists established as Legacy Characters in the first issue, W.I.T.C.H. has a few. Yan Lin, the last active member of the previous generation of Guardians of Kandrakar, is the first to appear (and the one to announce to the girls they've been chosen and physically deliver the Heart of Kandrakar to Will), but we later meet three of her four companions (two had died, but one was able to leave a ghost), and we see the legacy stretches far in the past and across the worlds.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: It was implied in the first issue that there was an earlier version of the group. Not only was that group's existence confirmed, but there were several others before that one, going back to Elizabethan times at least. Since League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a crossover of all (public domain) fiction, there have been many other groups of Precursor Heroes, too, presumably including the Argonauts and the Knights of the Round Table, among others, who could be seen as analogues to the League for their respective time periods.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The 2011 Defenders series introduced a group of heroes around the beginning of the 20th century who had been the victim of a Cosmic Retcon related to the storyline of the series. They were superheroes before any such concept existed in the Marvel Universe canon, and before superhero comics were published in real life. They mostly had a Steampunk motif and corresponded to early science fiction and pulp adventure tropes.
    • A few years earlier Runaways did something similar, revealing two groups of superhumans living in 1907 New York. They spent most of the time fighting each other and it was impossible to tell who the real bad guys are, just like regular Marvel heroes around the time the story came out.
    • The Avengers get into the act as well. In the Luke Cage led Mighty Avengers (2013) team, it turns out that his was not the first team to call themselves that. His father, along with Blue Marvel, Blade and the sorcerer Kaluu were members of an earlier Mighty Avengers team that was made to fight the Deathwalkers. And in Jason Aaron's Avengers, there's the Avengers 1,000,000 BC which was led by Thor's father Odin and the first human host of the Phoenix Force. That team was formed to defeat a renegade Celestial. There was also an Avengers team in 1000 AD led by Thor, and one in the 1950s set up by Nick Fury. The heroic legacies of the Ghost Rider, Phoenix, Starbrand, Iron Fist and Black Panther lines form a major part of Aaron's book, although they don't always form full Avengers teams.

    Fan Works 
  • Cure Dawn and Cure Dusk in Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon are this, though they only operated 25 years before the story, far from ancient. In fact, they're still around, and they eventually return to active duty.
  • Inner Demons: Bayonet, the original Master of Harmony, who fought and defeated Queen Midnight thousands of years ago at the cost of her own life. Apple Bloom is her reincarnation.
  • Justice League of the Rebellion: Decades prior, a group of superhuman in Britannia came together as the Justice Society of Britannia, aiming to overthrow Vandal Savage and his Secret Society. Ultimately the Justice Society died fighting Savage, though Dr. Fate (in Rai's body) and Hawkman (reborn as Tohdoh) returned to action to aid the Justice League.
  • The Powers of Harmony:
    • The Order of the Zodiac, a group of knights who served Celestia during the War of the Sun and Moon. Blair's company of Royal Guards are Echoes (magical clones) of them.
    • According to the folklore of the Zhevra Flatlands, there's also Hakumbele, a great warrior who long ago descended from the mountains to save the Flatlands from evil, and after a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat his foe, became the Flatlands' patron saint.
  • Queen of All Oni: The Shadowbinder Sage, who used his own lifeforce to make the Oni masks, and his disciples, who used them to seal the Oni.

    Films — Animation 
  • Yellow Submarine has the original Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as Sealed Good in a Can. Probably suggested by the Sgt. Pepper album cover where the waxwork Beatles in their mid-1960s suits are looking at the real ones in their Sgt. Pepper outfits.

    Films — Live Action 
  • DC Extended Universe: A great alliance between humans, Amazons, Atlanteans, Olympian Gods and even Green Lanterns was formed to stop an invasion of Earth by Steppenwolf (Justice League) / Darkseid (Zack Snyder's Justice League), which they succeeded in stopping. Wonder Woman regards them as heroes and in several ways, they reflect the current members of the Justice League that are formed against Steppenwolf, who has come to conquer Earth.
  • Wishmaster: A thousand years prior to the main events of the film, a Persian sorcerer forged a magic fire opal and sealed the Djinn inside it in order to save his people from the evil of the Djinn.

  • The novel Avengers: The Extinction Key, tying into the Marvel's Avengers game, has a prologue featuring a group called Shaushka's Champions in 1210 BC, led by the eponymous Sorceress Supreme and including the Black Panther of Libia, Brunhilde, the Fist of Khonshu and Ares.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Digory Kirke, as well as his companion Polly Plummer to a lesser extent, were the precursors to the later adventures of the Pevensie siblings in Narnia, having been the first humans to set foot on the land. With the two discovering what would later become Narnia some 40 years (1000 years in Narnian time) before the events of the first book, as well as creating many of the fundamental aspects of Narnia, by introducing evil into the land by leaving Jadis in Narnia, as well as introducing the human race to the newly created land through accidentally leaving some humans from Earth on the plane as well. Digory, now known as Professor Kirke in his old age, later helps the Pevensies find their way to Narnia, setting into motion the events of the rest of the series by doing so. Polly later returns in the 7th book to help as well.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Marauders (James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew) were this, as opposed to Harry and those who attended Hogwarts while he did. The Marauders, along with many others, fought in the First Wizarding War, while Harry fought in the Second Wizarding War, which is the one that happens during the course of the book and film series. Sirius once mentions that "it feels like it did before" when talking about the war that was on the doorstep between Harry's fourth and fifth years at Hogwarts.
    • The First Order of the Phoenix, which was created to combat Voldemort and the Death Eaters decades before the series started. Many of its surviving members rejoin the Second Order when it is activated by Dumbledore in the fifth book. It was also something of a precursor to Dumbledore's Army, which can be considered the order's student wing in Hogwarts.
  • Last Flight details the adventures of the Hero of the Fourth Blight, the elf Garahel, as he gathers the allies and resources needed to kill the Archdemon, similar to what the Player Character does four hundred years later in Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Played With to the point of double or even triple subversion. To whit: The Lord Ruler is said to have vanquished The Deepness ages ago, and ushered in the Final Empire, under his care and protection. Of course, he's a villain with 0% Approval Rating, and overthrown at the end of the first book, and it is revealed he was doing his best to keep Ruin at bay. It's also revealed that the Lord Ruler isn't the prophesied Hero of Ages, but rather someone who killed that hero and took his place, all because of twisted and misrepresented prophecies corrupted by Ruin to further its attempts to escape.
  • The Power of Five: Each of the five Chosen Ones has a past self that lived centuries ago. All of the past selves teamed up to seal away the Old Ones in the first place.
  • Originally, Martin the Warrior was basically this in Redwall... but then came the prequels where he's The Hero.
  • Seekers of the Sky: It takes them a while to realize, but the main cast are basically the new Twelve Apostles.
  • In The Sleeping Dragon by Jonny Nexus, the plot is kicked off by a classic D&D-style adventuring party, who have triumphed over all odds to become the greatest heroes in the world, creating a spell that will summon their future counterparts to fight a threat they foresee millennia in the future. Unfortunately, in the Dungeonpunk future, people like them don't exist any more, and the main characters are just the closest equivalent the spell could find.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The earlier Seekers, such as Kieran, on Legend of the Seeker. Subverted when it turns out that Kieran betrayed his quest and had to be Sealed in a Can himself... though the way in which he did it (having sex with his Confessor) just makes the parallels with Richard more obvious.
  • Season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow reveals that there was a Super Team active during World War II called the Justice Society of America. In fact, two of the modern-day heroes (Vixen and Steel) are their grandkids. The team fell apart after the end of the war.
  • Several Power Rangers teams turn out to not be the first like them (though they would often be the first to use Ranger powers). Details about them tend to be left pretty vague, except in a few cases.
  • Smallville: As the mythology/world building grows, there are many superheroes in the world: Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow, etc. Chloe gets them to join forces as a proto-Justice League. Then they discover that in the past there was an actual Justice Society which sported Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Doctor Fate, the Star Spangled Kid, and Ma Hunkel as members.
  • The plot of Stargirl kicks off with the Justice Society of America being slaughtered. Eight years later, it's up to the new Stargirl to put the band back together.
  • Super Sentai:
    • The core 5 of Gosei Sentai Dairanger are distant descendants or, in the case of Ryo, not quite so distant of the five Dai Tribe warriors who originally fought the Gorma thousands of years ago. These original Dairangers were destroyed when the red one was seduced over to the Gorma side and led the others into a trap. The traitor red ventured into the human world for a while in the modern era and sired the boy who would become the red of his time, and eventually redeemed himself.
    • The previous 34 teams became precursor heroes in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. They drove the Zangyack away from Earth by sacrificing their powers to create a huge explosion. The powers were eventually collected by AkaRed, Basco, and Marvelous, before being used by the Gokaiger team.
    • A rather unusual example of this occurs in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: the precursor team for the series isn't the Kyoryugers themselves. Rather, it's their mecha who were the original team in the time of the dinosaurs and now choose humans to ally with, though a number of them had recruited their choices in ages past. These prior heroes include three ancient warriors (one of which became the Sixth Ranger), a now-elderly scientist, the team's alien mentor who has been the group's ally since the start, and KyoryuRed's dad. A post-series spinoff DVD puts the current team as precursors to their descendants 100 years in the future.
  • The Fisher King in Merlin (2008) appears to be this for Arthur and to a lesser degree Merlin, being a famous king and sorcerer. Strangely enough he seems to know that he is this, being aware of their great destiny and knowing that their arrival in his castle foreshadows the end of his era and the start of Arthur's.

    Tabletop Games 

  • BIONICLE has groups of six heroes called Toa defeating the Big Bad time and again, each generation inspired by the last.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The Hidden Ones in Assassin's Creed Origins were the original incarnation of the Assassin Brotherhood, formed in Ptolemaic Egypt by Bayek and his wife Aya/Amunet to not only avenge the death of their son Khemu at the hands of the Order of the Ancients but to promote freedom and justice to mankind in the ancient world.
    • Darius, Iltani and Wei Yu serve as this to the aforementioned Hidden Ones, since all three proto-Assassins were responsible for the deaths of Xerxes, Alexander the Great and Qin Shi Huangdi respectively, since they were members of the Order of the Ancients. Darius was a member of a resistance group in Ancient Persia formed to oppose Xerxes, while Iltani was a member of the first proto-Assassin organization located in Babylon during the golden age of the Macedonian Empire, and Wei Yu struck China's first emperor with a spear.
  • BlazBlue: The Six Heroes sealed the apocalypse-bringing Black Beast 100 years ago, and have mostly become the stuff of legends. That said, a disturbingly large number of them keep popping up in some way, shape, or form. "Bloodedge" a time displaced Ragna fought the Black Beast and rendered it dormant at the cost of his own life, thus buying the Six Heroes the time they needed to create the Nox Nyctores that sealed the Black Beast. Unlike the Six Heroes, Bloodedge's role was unknown to all but his closest friends.
  • In Borderlands 3, the players can learn about Typhon DeLeon, the First Vault Hunter via various ECHO Logs of his scattered throughout the gameworld, which also open one of his loot stashes when you find all the ones in the surrounding area. According to Tannis, he was last seen attempting an expedition to the Eridian homeworld and was never heard from again. You meet him at the very end of the game, where it's revealed that he's also the father of the Calypso Twins.
  • Devil May Cry: Two millennia ago, the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda rebelled against a demonic invasion of the human world and defeated the demon king Mundus in order to save humanity. In the modern era, Sparda's role as humanity's protector against demons is carried out by Dante and Nero, his son and grandson, respectively.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: It is strongly implied that the Player Character is not the first Grey Warden to have started off with nothing, assembled a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, and led them to victory over a Blight. Of particular note is Garahel, who defeated the previous Blight four centuries ago, by assembling as many unlikely allies as he could.
    • Dragon Age II: The protagonist's father, Malcolm Hawke, whose heroism is explored in the game's Legacy Downloadable Content. He's dead before the start of the game, but we get to interact with him due to his use of magic.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The main game and particularly Jaws of Hakkon DLC reveal that the original Inquisition was formed pretty much like the modern one—in the middle of a crisis, bringing together such diverse individuals as Dalish mages and the future Emperor of Orlais (who was more of their patron than a member).
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest the player is a descendent of the ancient hero Erdrick, and can find Erdrick's equipment on his journey. In Dragon Quest II, set a hundred years later, has the Dragon Quest I hero become the Precursor Hero to the new party. In Dragon Quest III, your character turns out to be Erdrick.
    • Taken even further in Dragon Quest XI. In addition to the legendary Erdwin, the leader of an ancient band of heroes who journeyed many years before the events of the game, the player character himself turns out to be the Precursor Hero to Dragon Quest III's hero.
  • Played With in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: While you play as an Army of One, flashbacks reveal that originally, the Big Bad Alduin was defeated by a trio of plucky Nord heroes, Gormlaith, Hakon, and Felldir. All of them fight Alduin at your side once more in Sovngarde, and allow you to summon their spirits back to the Mundus afterwards.
  • The Fable game references plenty, particularly the Archon, who was the player character's uber-heroic ancestor. In turn, the player character serves as a Precursor Hero to his descendant, who is the main character of Fable II. In turn, the PC is the parent of Fable III's player character.
  • The original Fallout takes place 80 years before Fallout 2, and the rest of the series takes place within a 46-year timespan from there. By the time the majority of the series takes place, almost every character alive in the original is dead, the main factions (especially the NCR) have risen, and the protagonist of the first game is considered a near-mythological character.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V has 12 heroes who defeated an ancient evil that was after the same power as the game's Big Bad.
    • Then the Four Warriors of Dawn, who sealed away the Big Bad after discovering he was immortal.
    • The Reveal of Final Fantasy subverts this trope: the protagonists you have been playing as were the precursor heroes via the Timey-Wimey Ball.
    • Auron, Braska and Jecht in Final Fantasy X were Summoner Braska's party, which defeated but failed to destroy Sin for good in the previous generation, so Yuna's new party has to pick up the fight.
    • Final Fantasy III reveals that legendary warriors tend to appear whenever the balance of light and darkness go too far out of alignment. Last time around it was the warriors of darkness out to stop the forces of light from going out of control and destroying the world.
  • Most Fire Emblem games have them. Summarized on this fan site.
    • Anri in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light was the first person to wield Falchion and defeat Medeus and his Dolhrian Empire. Other heroes like Iote (the first Wyvern Rider), Ordwin, Cartas, and Marlon are actually mentioned.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has the Twelve Crusaders who originally defeated the Loptous Empire by blood bonding with manaketes of the Divine Dragon tribe, including Naga.
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword have the Eight Generals, legendary dragonslayers who created the modern nations, are explicitly referred to as the distant ancestors of the heroes, and pass down their blessing and weaponry unto them.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, similarly, features the Five Heroes, who battled the Demon King like the protagonists and used the same artifacts to do it. Like the Eight Generals, they also founded the present-day nations of the continent.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn the Three Champions defeated the Dark God on Ashera's behalf. The swordswoman Altina represented the Beorc, the black dragon Dheginsea represented the Dragon Tribe, and the white lion Soan represented the Beast Tribe. They were also accompanied by the heron Lehran, who represented the Bird Tribe. Unlike previous heroes in the series, the Champions' descendants are not who the player would first assume, and the descendants' identities reveal some very dirty secrets about Tellius's history.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening has the First Exalt, a nameless man who originally sealed Grima for 1,000 years beneath the Dragon's Table after making a pact with Naga to unleash the Falchion's true power. The First Exalt is infamous in the fandom for having a history that exactly matches Marth without being the Lord himself.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • The 10 Elites, the original wielders of the Heroes' Relics and bearers of the Crests passed down to the present-day characters through their bloodlines. Unusually for the series, it turns out they were not heroes at all, they were bandits who were given a Historical Hero Upgrade, and their weapons and powers came from their leader Nemesis committing near-genocide on the dragons, fashioning weapons from their bones, and consuming their blood.
      • Can't forget the first Emperor of Ardestria, Saint Seiros and the Four Saints. Saint Seiros and the Four Saints are actually still around, with two in hiding, two running the church, and one having just woke up from a long sleep.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: A thousand years ago, a hero known as Agni of Roses fought the Machine Devil and sealed him away with the Sword of Fate. The lore of some trinkets reveals he had his own combat party, such as a defensive fighter named Sir Robin. In modern times, Grace decides to use that same sword to prevent the Machine Devil's revival.
  • Guardian Tales has two:
    • The Legendary Hero Erina, a human hero from the developers' previous game Dungeon Link's backstory who defeated the four Demon Gods 1500 years ago and sealed them within herself, giving her near-immortality as she becomes the Demon Queen Lilith's closest confidant even in the present day.
    • The Hero Kaden, protagonist of Dungeon Link and a young hero from 500 years ago who would later end up stopping the great evil looming over the world with a Pyrrhic Victory by burning the World Tree and making humans and gods lose access to holy magic, then later disappearing without a trace while seeking out and preparing the Champion's Sword and Heavenhold for his successor, Guardian Tales's protagonist.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: the supplementary comics show that 50000+ years before the present, there used to be Advanced Ancient Humans who used high technology to fight the "Honkai" phenomenon. Most of the humans of this "Previous Era" went extinct due to the actions of the strongest Honkai agent, called the "Herrscher of the End". The heroes, in this case, are those who achieved functional immortality due to bodily experimentations and survived the extinction (because they were put into hiding deep beneath the earth), and would go on to pass the new, emerging humanity the knolwedge of the past times, including the potential threat of Honkai.
  • Jak and Daxter features numerous background references to Mar, the founder of Haven City who many years ago defeated the Metal Heads. The Reveal shows that he was actually Jak due to a Timey-Wimey Ball.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep reveals than a decade before the events of the first game, a Power Trio of Keyblade wielders: Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, policed the universe against the threat of the Unversed. Although the threat was stopped, they ultimately fell to The Plot Reaper against the true Big Bad, Master Xehanort, although Aqua at least managed to delay him from executing his Evil Plan until a new hero can pick up the slack. The trio are who Xigbar is referring when he tells Sora that "he wasn't half the hero the others were."
  • In Kirby Star Allies, it is revealed in one of Hyness's pause screen descriptions that, long-ago, four heroes sealed away Void Termina using the spears of the heart. Super Kirby Clash implies that Galacta Knight was one of them, with him being named the Aeon Hero and using the spears in one of his attacks.
  • The Legend of Dragoon refers to the player's party as the new Dragoons, while the original Dragoons were the heroes who fought in the Dragon Campaign and overthrew the Wingly empire. Interestingly, all seven of the original Dragoons can be fought by the player, although Shirley is not fought in her Dragoon form to prevent a Hopeless Boss Fight and Rose is only fought as a tutorial to explain Dragoons to the player.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, you begin the game actually playing as the Precursor Heroes, as they defeat the evil Sinistrals; after that battle, you start playing as Maxim and Selan's descendant, who has to stop them from being resurrected. And then there's the prequel, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, which tells the entire story of the Precursor Heroes from the first game.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star has the Four Heroes — Dragonmaster Dyne, Hell Mel, Lemia and Ghaleon, four warriors who fought to protect the goddess Althena against the Vile Tribe's hordes. During the course of the game, it is eventually discovered that one of them is Not Quite Dead, and a second is the game's main villain.
  • Lusternia: The Council of the Nine. They were the Vernal Gods who originally sealed away the five great Soulless Gods. They stand sentinel today as Avechna the Avenger, and are periodically reawoken if a Soulless manages to seep out of its prison.
  • Neptunia (well, at least in the first game/remake) has the Legendary Heroes, a group of four that combated an evil goddess of the past with their Quartet Arms, which later on would serve as the keys for the gateway to Celestia and allow Neptune and the gang to fight Arfoire for the last time. The remake provides a further twist by revealing Arfoire was the unsung fifth Hero who helped the quartet defeat the Original Goddess, then used her Power Copying to take the Goddess's power and create the CPUs before eventually succumbing to the influence of the Mad God.
  • In Overlord it's given a twist; they're the antagonists who defeated your predecessor and you were part of the group.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, a group of heroes sealed the Shadow Queen behind the titular door a thousand years before the events of the game. They are implied to be cursed into the beings that are trapped in blacks chests, and who curse you with new abilities using a loophole to help you.
  • Pokémon:
    • Red essentially counts as this in Pokémon Gold and Silver and the remakes. There's several references to another trainer who defeated Giovanni and Team Rocket three years before.
    • Pops up briefly in Pokémon Black and White too; Superboss Cynthia says you remind her a lot of the trainer who took on Giratina.
    • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, there are a lot of references to the player character from the first Black and White games.
    • The two heroes who helped Zacian and Zamazenta seal Eternatus 20,000 years ago in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
    • Pokémon Legends: Arceus: About a thousand years before the story, an unnamed warrior and ten Pokémon friends of his saved the Hisui region. The Ride Pokémon and the Nobles are descendants of these Pokémon, and there are statues to them on top of Mt. Coronet (along with the occasional mural scattered about elsewhere).
  • The Cooper family in Sly Cooper, who have been stealing from other thieves since prehistoric times.
  • Tales Series:
  • Wasteland 2: Thanks to the Time Skip, the new Player Party of Desert Rangers finds themselves following in the footsteps of the (in)famous Ranger party from the first game. In fact, the main plot is triggered by one of said team members' death, and its former leader is now the commander of all rangers and thus, your boss.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: 500 years before the main story, a group of Drivers and Blades led by Addam, the Hero of Torna, and alongside his Blade, the Aegis Mythra, fought against the second Aegis Malos in the Aegis War to stop him from destroying Alrest. The war ended with three Titans being destroyed, including Addam's home of Torna, and Malos defeated, but many members of the party ended up dead (though for most of the Blades, simply the deaths of their current incarnations) and the rest scattered to their own paths, while Mythra chose to be sealed away out of regret for the destruction she caused in the Final Battle. The destruction of Torna and more importantly the slaughter of many of its survivors by Amalthus in the aftermath, including his Driver and beloved Lora, is what sent Jin off the deep end in despair and misanthropy where he ends up joining forces with and befriending a slightly-more coolheaded Malos, becoming some of the major antagonists of the story proper. Their story is detailed in the DLC expansion Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Future Redeemed: As a group, the Founders of the City were this to the Ouroboros and the modern City, who were a group of people who helped reunite the inhabitants of the original City after it was destroyed centuries prior to the events of 3, and as Future Redeemed revealed, were also responsible for fighting against and defeating Alpha when he tried to destroy all of Aionios. Individually, the mentors of Founders Reid and Cassini also qualify, as they are Shulk and Rex from the first two games respectively.
  • Xenogears: 500 years before the main story, a group consisting of several main party members' ancestors (and prior incarnations) fought in a war against the Sacred Empire of Solaris but lost.

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck has a whole chain of these. First, the pre-Scratch trolls reset reality, thereby becoming Precursor Heroes to the post-scratch trolls both in and out of Paradox Space. The post-scratch trolls themselves become Precursor Heroes to the kids by creating their reality... who they then team up with, because Paradox Space is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The kids then reset reality, becoming precursor heroes to a new set of kids. As of the 2013-2014 Gigapause, all four sets are ... well, not alive, technically, in some cases... but at least around and active. And there's a new set, kind of, although one of them has been around for a while, and the exact relationship between them and the others is even more complicated.
  • The Order of the Stick: The eponymous ragtag bunch was preceded several decades ago by the Order of the Scribble—a similarly ragtag bunch who managed to seal away the Snarl that the new Player Party is out to contain in the story.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Billy in Adventure Time. In his youth, he was Ooo's greatest hero, slaying an evil ocean and casting down the Lich, among other things. He's since retired, and the mantle has been taken up by the main character, Finn.
  • An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold shows us that there has been versions of Batman in every time period including Ancient Rome, the Golden Age of Piracy and, of course, a Caveman Batman in Prehistory. A villain is trying to kill every Batman using time travel and that, somehow, causes all versions to cease existence.
  • Batman Beyond is about an old Bruce Wayne training Terry McGinnis to replace him as Gotham's new Batman.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Chinese sorcerer Lo Pei was the one who sealed Shendu in a statue and scattered Shendu's powers across the world.
    • Then there's the Eight Immortals, a group of immortal sorcerers who originally sealed Shendu and his demon brethren even before Lo Pei. Their artifacts were useful in helping the J-Team keep the demons sealed, but ended up becoming Artifacts of Doom as well for the final season, luckily they had other artifacts the J-Team could use to help combat that.
    • And then there's Chi Master Fong, Old Master Uncle's own Old Master who was defeated by Dalong Wong, the Big Bad of season 3, prior to the story. Uncle claims at times to still get advice from Fong as a Spirit Advisor.
  • In The Legend of Korra, we learn that the first Avatar, Wan, is this: He battled Vaatu the spirit of darkness after accidentaly freeing him from his counterpart Raava the spirit of light. Wan and Raava permanently fused during the Harmonic Convergence to create the Avatar state. And because he could reincarnate every Avatar counts as this, including Aang.
  • Masters of the Universe: Some versions of the canon have He-Ro, a guy very similar to He-Man, running around and defeating things in the past. An even bigger example is Lord Greyskull from the 2002 cartoon, creator of Castle Greyskull and Eternia's first legendary hero. Who looks exactly like an even more buff He-Man — when Prince Adam yells By the power of Greyskull! he isn't referring to the castle.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princesses Celestia and Luna defeated Discord and King Sombra over a thousand years before the show started, and Celestia sealed Luna away after she turned evil out of jealousy.
    • The Pillars of Equestria serve as more direct precursors to the Mane Six, each embodying a virtue of their own. Unlike them, however, the Pillars were each established heroes in their own rights, brought together to help keep a young Equestria safe from evil. They also planted the seed that would grow into the Tree of Harmony, and their virtues would be reborn through the Elements of Harmony.
    • Gusty the Great defeated and sealed away Grogar, an evil ram wizard who ruled Equestria in an age of darkness and fear long before the Princesses' time.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • One episode begins in prehistoric times, depicting a trio of Powerpuff Cavegirls who accidentally seal the bad guy and his mammoth in ice, where he remains until he's thawed out in the present day. There was a prehistoric Mayor as well.
    • The Steamypuff Girls, who battled Mojo the Kid in the Old West.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated reveals that another group of teens called Mystery Inc. existed before Scooby and the gang, until they mysteriously vanished. Fred likes the name enough to adopt it, and the main plot of the series is finding out what happened to them. As of this writing, we only know what happened to their Team Pet, Professor Pericles. He's... changed.
    • We now know Pericles and Fred Jones Senior ran them out of town by threatening their parents. Now Ricky (Shaggy counterpart) is the somewhat sinister Mr. E; Cassidy (Velma counterpart) is the current team's secretive associate Angel Dynamite; and Brad and Judy (Fred and Daphne counterparts) are Fred's real parents.
    • "This has all happened before" is one of the Arc Words of this series, and it doesn't just mean the previous Mystery Inc.. There were at least six precursor groups, all composed of four humans and a Team Pet. The ur-example to date is "The Hunters of Secrets" from Conquest-era Mexico. This is all the doing of an ancient Sealed Evil in a Can that repeats the pattern to create pawns, whose probings of the unknown will eventually let the evil corrupt their minds and trick them into setting it free. Seems like it repeated the plan one time too many, though, as the current group were able to avoid corruption and used the knowledge from their predecessors to destroy it for good.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Precursor Hero


Dirk Steadfast

Not much is known about Dirk's early life. At some point he forged his Magic Sword and used it to chase away the Jabberwocky from Gallowmere. He was a contemporary of Karl Sturnguard and the two were friends despite their differences. Dirk is indirectly responsible for Karl's death, as Karl started choking on a sausage after Dirk started explaining his views on the Gold Shield.

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