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Resurrection Tropes

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"The Resurrection", Carl Heinrich Bloch (1881)

In real life, death is permanent (maybe). Since fiction often fulfills the impossible, returning from death is just another aspect of this.

This is an index of all the ways characters can come back from the dead.

Saved by the Fans is a meta-version.

See also Death Tropes, Rebirth and Reincarnation Tropes, Schrödinger's Cast, Sorting Algorithm of Deadness, This Index Will Live Forever, and the Undead Index.


  • 1-Up: A video game power-up that gives you another chance in case you end up dying.
  • Apocalypse Hitler: Adolf Hitler comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on the world once more.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: A resurrection happens when people are gathered together to mourn for a character's death.
  • Back from the Dead: A character who has died comes back to life.
  • Came Back Strong: A resurrected person is more powerful than they were before they died.
  • Came Back Wrong: A resurrected person is not the same as they were before they died, for the worse.
  • Damaged Soul: A resurrected person comes back in a worse mental state than before.
  • Death Amnesia: A resurrected character remembers nothing about the afterlife.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: A video game where it is impossible to get a Game Over and the player can die and respawn indefinitely until they beat the game or decide to stop playing.
  • Death Is Cheap: A work of fiction makes it so that characters who die can easily come back to life later. This is especially common in superhero comics (to the point that the trope used to be called Comic Book Death), the most frequent reasons being popular demand, a writer choosing to resurrect a character due to believing it was a terrible idea to kill them off in the first place or the character in question simply being far too important to be dead permanently.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: A video game gives an in-universe justification for the player having infinite lives.
  • Destination Host Unreachable: Someone is brought back from the dead, but has no way to meet up with the ones who resurrected them.
  • Disney Death: A character looks like they've died at first, but later the supposedly dead person turns out to still be alive or is resurrected.
  • Escaped from Hell: Someone refuses to stay dead even though they're already in the afterlife, so they break out and head back to the land of the living.
  • Faking the Dead: A character pretends to be dead.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: The beginning of the series has a character die and come back to life.
  • First Law of Resurrection: If a character is killed off, they will come back as long as the creator wants to revive them.
  • Flatline Plotline: A character or group of characters make it so they die for a certain amount of time and then are revived.
  • Fire Keeps It Dead: Burn the body to prevent resurrection.
  • Fossil Revival: Reviving ancient extinct creatures from the fossils they left.
  • From a Single Cell: A character can reconstitute themselves even if they've been thoroughly destroyed, as long as a single piece of them remains.
  • Gasp of Life: A character takes a deep breath and/or coughs upon being resurrected.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: The immortal member of the team is put into danger because, hey, he can make it through lethal hazards easy if he can't die!
  • Improbably Quick Coma Recovery: Recovering from a coma is as easy as waking up after a good nap.
  • Inhuman Human: A character is resurrected with their mind/soul intact but their body in bad condition.
  • Joker Immunity: The villain always comes back to fight the hero again, even if they were killed in the last fight.
  • Justified Extra Lives: In-game explanation for the existence of 1-ups.
  • Kiss of Life: A character attempts artificial respiration to revive an unconscious person.
  • Mass Resurrection: A large number of characters who have been killed are brought back to life en masse.
  • Monster from Beyond the Veil: A resurrected person becomes a monster.
  • Naked on Revival: A resurrected person is naked when they are brought back to life.
  • Necromantic: A villain's motivation is to resurrect a deceased loved one.
  • Not Quite Dead: A character logically should have died from what happened to them, and other characters assume they did, but it later turns out that they're still clinging to life.
  • The Nth Doctor: An actor swap is justified in-universe. Resurrection can be one of those justifications.
  • Only Killable at Home: Unless you're killed in your home, you wont stay dead for long.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Being mistaken for being dead due to extremely severe injury.
  • Plot Armor: A character's role in the story prevents them from being killed right away.
  • Precautionary Corpse Disposal: It's important to make sure someone doesn't come back.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Someone is brought back to life when their friends personally travel to the afterlife to retrieve them.
  • Refusing Paradise: A dead character chooses resurrection over entering the peaceful afterlife.
  • Respawn Point: A place being where the player respawns is justified In-Universe.
  • Resurrect the Villain: The villain comes back to life.
  • Resurrected for a Job: A character is brought back because someone else wants them to do a job for them.
  • Resurrected Murderer: A murderous human comes back to kill more.
  • Resurrected Romance: A deceased love interest comes back from the dead.
  • Resurrection/Death Loop: A character is doomed to die and be resurrected over and over again.
  • Resurrection Gambit: A character incorporates their own death into a plan that furthers their goals and contrives to be brought back to life upon the plan's completion.
  • Resurrection Revenge: A character comes back from the dead to avenge their own death.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Someone suffers physical weakness as a result of resurrection.
  • Resurrection Teleportation
  • Resurrective Immortality: A form of immortality where it is possible to kill the individual, but they keep coming back to life afterwards.
  • Revival Loophole: Death is predicted, but getting revived afterwards is not.
  • Rotten Reincarnation: The cycle of death and rebirth is seen as heinous.
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: A spell kills the caster but brings someone back to life.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: A character seeks to defy the laws of nature and resurrect someone else.
  • Self-Constructed Being: A character with no corporeal form constructs one for themself.
  • Soulless Shell: A character's body is brought back to life, but not their soul/mind.
  • Staying Alive: A character who has died a lot, but somehow always comes back.
  • Stingy Jack: Irish folkloric trickster who was Barred from the Afterlife and doomed to carry the first Jack-O'-Lantern.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: A character keeps getting killed off and brought back to life to a ridiculous extreme.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: A hallucination of a lost loved one leads a character into peril.
  • Unexplained Recovery: A character comes back with no explanation for their survival when it was very clear that they died the last time they showed up.
  • Unwanted Revival: A resurrected person isn't happy about being brought back to life.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: When a resurrectee comes back to life, they're likely to find themselves wherever their dead body was stored.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Saving a person's life by converting them into a cyborg.