Follow TV Tropes


Retired Badass

Go To
Tramp doesn't come out of retirement easily.

"Maybe I’m not as tough as I used to be, but my brains can make up for that and my hands are still quick enough."

How well do you know your neighbors, shop keepers, the old guy down the street with all the little mementos from around the world? If you haven't known them your whole life there's a chance they may be a badass.

Just as badasses come in many different varieties, so do retired badasses. Some are happily retired from adventuring, sports, fighting, or whatever they used to do and are content to live a normal life in a normal little town, or even the simple life in Arcadia. Some have become shopkeepers who just do a little work to keep in touch with people and get by in their old age. Some get promoted within their organization to a Desk Jockey supervisory role. Often, they spend all their time tending a field. Some of them never really get into retirement because every time they start to settle into it they get jolted back out. Maybe they have a secret longing to get back into the game, (whatever it may be) or regrets about the past. Often they're perfectly happy in their retirement and are pointedly ignoring events of the outside world until the evil Mooks of whatever Big Bad that is looking to take over the world come in and wreck his shop, then laugh at him because, after all, what can an old man do about it? It doesn't take long for the asskickery to commence.


Their personalities often break down into two broad categories; some are Zen Survivor types who've made peace with their past and the fact that they are no longer The Hero, and now just want to get on with their life. Other times, bitter and cynical with age, they turn into a Straw Nihilist after being put on the scrap heap of life.

One thing badasses of all types have in common is that they're magnets for trouble, and even in retirement this doesn't change. Occasionally these guys get pulled back into action because the Big Bad (or his men) know his reputation and come to make trouble. Other times it's because a young Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy wants to make a reputation by beating the old legend. Perhaps the most frequent case is that when the heroes are in trouble and need help to accomplish their goals, they will come to the Retired Badass either for physical help or advice about their quest, or because the retired badass is a past teacher, mentor, even father figure.


Exactly how the retiree in question will respond may vary. Sometimes they will come fully out of retirement to join up with the heroes and their party, sometimes they will just give some words of advice and/or an epiphany that the hero couldn't come up with on their own, (or teach the hero something specific, like the ever popular Dangerous Forbidden Technique) but often they're just as likely to simply fade back into retirement once the immediate situation has been resolved. Their help or advice is frequently a one-shot deal: sure they can point a hero in the right direction, but after that, (and wiping the floor with some disrespectful mooks like those mentioned above), don't look to them for further help. After all, it's a big world and they're getting too old or disillusioned to play hero. Let someone younger pick up that mantle and save the world while they get back to living off their pension. However, they are usually more than capable of a Let's Get Dangerous! moment if needed. Expect him to have an Emergency Stash of money / weapons / IDs when needed.

Occasionally, a current hero will turn into The Knights Who Say "Squee!", much to their embarrassment of their fans, who treated what they thought was an insignificant elderly person with contempt.

Compare: Older and Wiser, Old Master, Cool Old Guy, Old Superhero, Retired Gunfighter. Compare and contrast to Retired Monster and Retired Outlaw. A retired badass is one of the more common types of Heroic Neutral. Those that are willing to come entirely out of retirement to help a hero, (such as the Student and Master Team, for example) need to beware the Mentor Occupational Hazard, or at the least of being less badass than they used to be because they're Feeling Their Age. Might be the fate of a Kid Hero All Grown Up.

When someone's mission is to seek out a group of them and rouse them back into action, they're on a Retired Badass Roundup.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Rurouni Kenshin likes to play with this one. Notable examples include:
    • Hiko Seijuro, Kenshin's former mentor that he has been estranged from for a dozen years by the time Kenshin comes to him for help in the series (It doesn't help that he left against Hiko's wishes). Although Hiko is probably the most powerful character in the series, he is content to live away from people and make a living by creating pottery. After much persuading he helps Kenshin take yet another level in badass, and protects some of Kenshin's friends from a giant member of a Quirky Miniboss Squad (as well as helping the guy work his issues). Despite knowing about the threat of Big Bad Shishio, however, he gives no hint he had any intention of doing anything about it.
    • Nenji Kashiwazaki aka Okina, the former mentor of Kenshin's Worthy Opponent Aoshi, works along with other former Ninja as the owner and manager of an inn. He still has contacts among spies in Kyoto that he uses to aid Kenshin. Aside from a fight with Aoshi, however, when he sees that his former pupil has gone a little too dark and edgy for his taste, he mostly stays on the sidelines, acting more as The Strategist and advisor from now on. (Although considering the HUGE wounds Aoshi inflicted on him, it's well justified. no wonder poor Misao, who saw Aoshi almost kill Okina, was more than a bit disturbed).
    • In a filler episode from the anime, it is revealed that a former first rate swordsman who fought Kenshin in the revolution now works as a children's teacher, having given up the sword. An old student who turned into an assassin tries to recruit him nonetheless.
      • That plot was recycled for the Ishinshishi e no Requiem movie, where one of the main characters (Takimi Shigure) was an ex-samurai who became a school retainer and the caretaker of his best friend's sister whom Kenshin killed in the war.
    • The title character himself is a Retired Badass, and would very much like to stay that way.
  • Bleach
    • Ryuuken Ishida is adamantly in the Heroic Neutral column. For all that he can curbstomp his powerful and talented son Uryuu, Ryuuken just wants the spiritual world to leave him alone. His retirement is implied to be connected to the tragic death of his wife.
    • Isshin Kurosaki voluntarily gave up his powers a long time ago to save the life of the woman he eventually married but willingly comes back out of retirement once he regains his powers.
  • Andrei Rublev, Team Satomi's Zen-style coach from IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix doesn't seem very Badass-y at first: portly, almost perpetually sullen, with an inflated ego way out of proportion to his apparent effect on the team. However, he's a prime example of this trope because of who he used to be: the legendary IGPX pilot known as Rocket G. In the second season, he dusts off his skills to act as a temporary replacement for Amy, who was injured in a race against newcomers Team White Snow, and steps onto the track twice more before fading back into his coach role.
  • Black Lagoon:
  • Battle Butler Walter of Hellsing is retired from his former career as a top Hellsing agent, mostly doing standard butler duties and occasion bodyguard work for his boss. But when an attack by a pair of low rent vampires and their small army of ghouls overruns Hellsing headquarters he has a chance to show he can still live up his "Angel of Death" nickname, complete with a "What can an old man do" moment first. He also advises Integra Hellsing, shows newcomers to the organisation the ropes, deals with other threats to the organisation and even designs some of the weapons the main characters use.
  • Ilena from Claymore probably works for this (although she's spent more time actively hiding than living in peace, it IS in a cottage in the country).
  • The Greatest Magicmaster's Retirement Plan: There's an unspoken rule that each country should only have one active single-digit Magicmaster at a time and that if a country gains two, one of them will have to retire in order to maintain the power balance between countries. Unfortunately for Alus, Alpha's brass won't allow him to retire because there's no new single-digit to replace him.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • Though much younger than most, Nanjiroh Echizen from The Prince of Tennis fits quite well.
  • Joseph Joestar in Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. It's worth noting that he looks quite a bit like Sean Connery in his later years, and Connery tends to play Retired Badass character quite a bit. Loses the "badass" part in Part 4 when his age finally catches up to him, although anyone who is willing to open a vein when an invisible baby falls into a lake so the blood can make her show up can't completely relinquish it.
  • Cologne from Ranma ½ is a quintessential example of the trope. She has been shown to be the most formidable martial artist in the series, with abilities far surpassing anything the main characters can do (and quite possibly above Happosai's level.) Yet, she's perfectly content running the Cat Cafe and letting the weirdness erupt around her, occasionally providing nuggets of information and only rarely being an active participant herself.
  • Margrave Jeremiah Gottwald becomes one of this after the Code Geass Grand Finale. (Prosperous orange farm and Anya as his partner and/or adoptive daughter included).
  • Maria from Mai-Otome is a retired Otome who works as an administrator and Stern Teacher at Garderobe Academy, temporarily un-retiring when it comes time to take back her school near the end of the main series. Natsuki, Shizuru, Mai and the other Meisters are amazed to see her in action, and also by the fact that she used to be a hottie.
  • Thors from Vinland Saga, following the birth of his daughter. Unfortunately he wasn't allowed to stay retired.
  • One Piece:
    • Chef "Red-Leg" Zeff was a great pirate in his prime who survived intact sailing on the Grand Line for over a year (outside the GL that's quite a feat). Even his "moment of retirement" had shades of badass. Depending on whether you read the manga or watched the anime respectively, he either ate his own leg so a young Sanji could survive off the actual food, or cut it off to rescue a drowning Sanji. Even as a peg-legged old man, he still has the Stuff, kicking so hard it blew away bullets fired towards him. Though he prefers to let the youngsters handle things.
    • An even more badass example would be Silvers Rayleigh, Gold Roger's former first mate. These days he runs a small business in Sabaody Archipelago, coating ships with a special substance, which enables travel to Fishman Island.
    • Dr. Kureha too. She's demonstrated that she can probably take all of the Drum Island baddies herself despite being 139 years young, but is content to just watch. She even outright mentions it.
    Dr. Kureha: If you guys can't handle it, I'll come save you.
    • Crocus is also pretty damn badass. In the past, he was a doctor on Gol D. Roger's crew. In the present, he's still strong enough to tank bazooka bullets to the chest.
    • Bellemere, Nami and Nojiko's adoptive mother, provides a variation. She may be a Posthumous Character, and unlike most other examples on this page, a rather young woman, but she qualifies nonetheless as she was a powerful and reliable Marine; she did retire very early to take care of Nami and Nojiko.
  • Granny Chiyo from Naruto. First portrayed as a doddering, almost-senile old woman who wants nothing more to do with her village and its politics, beyond berating the village elders of Sungakure for relying on Konoha instead of training to be more powerful themselves. Then she and a young Combat Medic with Super Strength, Sakura Haruno, make a formidable team up and defeat Sasori, Chiyo's own grandson/pupil and member of the Akatsuki — using puppets that were built by Chiyo herself, as well as better made and with more tricks/better builts than Sasori's own. Notable in that the aforementioned Sasori is one of the most powerful member of the Akatsuki, an organization exclusively composed of unbelievably badass rogue ninja who generally require a combination of multiple high-level protagonists and convenient plot devices to take down. Put in context; Pain, who killed half the supporting cast of the series and destroyed the hero's hometown single-handedly, basically just has the ability to manipulate six nearly-indestructible corpses at once and utilize powerful jutsu through them. Sasori could do this with a hundred corpse "dolls" at a time. Although Pain had the good sense not to tell his opponents all about how his powers worked. Then she brings Gaara back from the dead, not only pulling an Heroic Sacrifice for him, but atoning for having sealed the Shukaku in Gaara as a newborn, which is the reason why she left Sunagakure in the first place.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho:
    • Genkai had been happily retired for years before she took Yusuke on as an apprentice and promptly got dragged right back into the crap she'd worked so hard to get out of.
    • Also Kuroko Sanada, Yusuke's predecessor as (the first) spiritual detective, who now lives happily on an estate with a husband and two kids. Although from time to time she (or one of her kids) has to kill a demon who dared to trespass.
  • Half the members of Ala Rubra in Mahou Sensei Negima! are retired badasses. The most prominent would probably be Eishun, Konoka's father. He's a master Shinmeiryu swordsman implied to be about on par with the likes of Jack Rakan or the Thousand Master, but the only arc he appeared in without being in a flashback he was petrified by a minor mook. Who turns out to be the Big Bad, and defeated Jack Rakan. So it doesn't make Eishun look that bad.
  • Miya, the woman who runs Izumo Inn in Sekirei is in fact Sekirei #1 (though not a "Sekirei" as such, presumably because she was already mature when the Sekirei were discovered), and apparently the most powerful of all (in a flashback, she takes out a battleship with a single swing of her sword!). For reasons that aren't clear, she's hellbent on preventing the protagonist from finding this out (his Sekirei, of course, all know. 2 of them fought alongside her, in fact.), to the point of subtly threatening people who try to reveal more than she wants them to. Apparently she gave up fighting due to the influence of her late husband, the partner of Minaka (the man running the whole Sekirei game) who presumably either murdered her husband or had him murdered. When asked what she would have done if she'd been told about another character's intentions to kill Minaka, this is her reply..
  • Fujimaru "Falcon" Takagi appears to be this in Bloody Monday: Season Two, claiming to have not even touched a keyboard since the first season but this is just a facade to prevent his friends from getting involved again.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha herself during Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid due to injuries she sustained in the StrikerS finale, though the existence of Force shows that she'll be back in action after two years. Einhart mistakes her for an ordinary housewife in Chapter 10, leading to lots of barely constrained snickering from Nove.
    • Nanoha's father used to be a bodyguard before being badly injured. Now he runs a cafe.
    • Megane Alpine permanently retired after waking up from her nine-year long coma.
    • Jill Stola from ViVid Strike! used to be a competitive martial artist, but she had to retire after she received an unspecified injury.
    • Lyra Caprice, also from ViVid Strike!, had retired from fighting so she could help out her family. She mentioned before her final fight that she wanted to give it her all so she could retire without any regrets. Unfortunately, her opponent was Rinne, who not only subjected her to a Curb-Stomp Battle but implied that she was weak and didn't try very hard. Poor Lyra was carried out of the arena on a stretcher in tears. During the finale it's revealed that said loss convinced her to continue fighting competitively, just at the local level.
  • Takumi's dad Bunta from Initial D, currently the owner of a tofu-shop in the sticks, but is still driving star. Demonstrated when he drifts his car, then proceeds to light a cigarette and smoke it in the middle of the drift. Also the fact that the unnamed person who's calling on his cellphone for advice is hinted to be real life Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya.
  • Samurai Champloo: The Big Bad, Kariya Kagetoki. While he spends most of the series gardening and listening to reports of what's happening to the main characters, their exploits eventually coax him out of retirement...and that is is a very bad thing for Jin, Mugen, and Fuu.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny:
    • Kira Yamato starts off like this. Though it's not long before circumstances get so dire that he decides step out of retirement. It helps that the Big Bad tried to assassinate his girlfriend.
    • The rest of the Three Ships Alliance is this seeing as they went into hiding following the end of the Bloody Valentine War except for the Kusanagi which is understandably protected by their lack of having to do a Heel–Face Turn and therefore become wanted criminals. Once back in action, they wipe the floor with everyone.
  • Before Kira, there was Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, who had essentially left the fighting and the military (and placed under house arrest because the Federation feared his Newtype powers), but came back when the battle between the AEUG and the Titans came to his doorstep.
  • After War Gundam X has a semi-retired badass in The Captain, Jamil Neate. A former Ace Pilot and Newtype from the last war, his cockpit phobia prevents him from piloting mobile suits. Instead he uses his leadership and tactical ability to lead a scavenger ship across the landscape in a quest to protect other Newtypes from exploitation. He eventually starts getting treatment for his phobia so he can get back in the pilot's seat again.
  • Magical Angel Creamy Mami: Yuu's mother is a former motorcycle gang leader.
  • Cure Flower of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! comes out of retirement once to kick some major ass. Her fairy partner Coupe also qualifies seeing as how he appears several times to save the Pretty Cures and does so my kicking serious ass.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, there are quite a few of these among the Ghouls in the cast.
    • Yoshimura is the kind and grandfatherly manager of Anteiku who has maintained peace in the 20th Ward through his mere presence, having broken up the gangs active in the area and kept things relatively stable since setting up shop. But when he actually steps out of retirement, it becomes very clear why everyone fears Yoshimura.
    • Enji Koma and Kaya Irimi, the head waiter and waitress of the cafe, turn out to be ones as well. Koma constantly waxes nostalgic about his violent past, which the younger characters brush off as him being a blowhard. Instead, it turns out these two were the leaders of rival gangs that slaughtered Investigators for kicks until Yoshimura recruited them. When they come out of retirement, the Investigators facing them are immediately terrified of the legendary Devil Ape and Black Dog.
    • Uta and Yomo were rivals that turned the 4th Ward into a war zone, in their teenaged years. Both have since settled into quiet lives, with Uta running a mask shop and Yomo acting as Yoshimura's second-in-command. Only......not so much for Uta, who remains active as part of The Clowns Gang.
    • Yukinori Shinohara is mentioned to have become one, retiring from active duty to work as an Instructor at the Academy. He comes out of retirement during the series, to serve as Juuzou Suzuya's partner.
  • By the time of Dragon Ball Super, many of the Z-Warriors have essentially stepped down from actually fighting. This is mostly because they know that Goku and Vegeta completely outclass them and, for a few of them, they actually have families who they prioritize. Gohan is hit the worst of this as, since he prioritized his wife and newborn child along with his studies over training, his fighting strength went down the crapper, being unable to sustain basic Super Saiyan form for long periods of time. With the exception of Gohan, many of these guys are still fighting prime, including Master Roshi, who last honestly fought way back during the middle part of Dragon Ball.
  • The ending to Gunslinger Girl shows that Claes and Rico retired from being Tyke Bomb Child Soldiers to live their remaining days on a boat.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Professor Oak enters the Pokemon League finals as "Dr. O", and defeats Green fairly easily. When Blue Oak, his grandson, tells him that he'll have to face either him or Red in the finals, Oak forfeits, saying he already won a championship and he doesn't need another.
  • Sweden of Axis Powers Hetalia, as a personification of the country, was once a terror, controlling the Baltic region and Scandinavia (in fact, he was known as "The Lion of Northern Europe" and "The Supreme Ruler of Scandinavia"), and in one instance defeated an alliance of five countries/their personifications. note  In the present, though, he's calmed down considerably, puts his efforts and strength toward welfare, and is fond of making furniture and decorative arts.
  • In the final volume of Ojojojo, it's revealed that Tsurezure is actually a former assassin.
  • Gokushufudou is about Tatsu, a former yakuza member who takes being a devoted House Husband just as seriously, often with hilarious consequences.
  • Gran Torino from My Hero Academia is the retired pro hero that taught All Might. He enjoys Obfuscating Stupidity during Izuku's training, but that doesn't prevent Izuku from learning exactly why All Might was virtually quaking in his boots when he recommended that Izuku accept Gran Torino's internship offer. Even in his old age Gran Torino's steam-jet quirk gives him enough speed and maneuverability to take on a Nomu virtually single-handedly.
  • Retired Heroes: Basically all the main characters, obviously. Chris and Saliy are the heroes who saved the world but are now just living in a random town, their friends are wandering the world as nameless adventurers, and they left the party mage to look over the kingdom.

    Comic Books 
  • Gran'ma Ben and Lucius Down from the Bone comic book series.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Hay Lin's grandma Yan Lin fits, as (when she as younger) she had her granddaughter's place in the Kandracar Five-Man Band.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The entire thing was about Batman retiring, dealing with his retirement and returning to the job, despite problems with his age.
    • Also, Batman's majordomo Alfred. Several of his origins highlight his retired bad ass status. RAF, Special Forces... the job title he's retired from varies Depending on the Author, but they're all badass military positions.
  • Scrooge McDuck. In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which follows Scrooge's entire life until Donald and his nephews are introduced to his old self, having become a shadow of his former self. Thanks to having to take action against a new generation of Beagle Boys however, he gets an Adrenaline Makeover and returns as a still-capable badass.
  • After multiple eventful tours in Vietnam, Frank Castle decided to stay home with his wife and children. Tragically, one bad day in the park gave him a new war to fight.
  • Subverted in Watchmen - a reader accustomed to this trope might expect Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, to fight off the street gang that breaks into his place with ease. This, to say the least, is not how it plays out.
    • In the director's cut of the film version, Mason does fight back, with the blows cutting to brief flashbacks of him landing punches on masked villains when he was in his prime, but in the end there's just too many thugs for him to take on at once. There's even a brief Hope Spot for him (and an Oh, Crap! for the thug) right at the start, where he catches the first punch before laying out the thug.
  • Sam's Granny Ruth, from Sam & Max. She ran a Jail much like Alcatraz during the Cold War.
  • Lady and the Tramp: The Tramp, once something of a legendary figure among other dogs, is perfectly happy to live a lazy family life. Not that he can't be provoked into showing some of his skills every so often. Just as long as Lady doesn't find out.
  • The titular characters of The Highwaymen.
  • The Musketeer and the Legionary of Batman's Club of Heroes; The Musketeer is probably the greatest swordsman to ever emerge from Europe, even years out of practice and with no real interest in fighting crime anymore. The Legionary, however, is another story, having fallen from grace dramatically and becoming a fat slob in his later years. However, when he is assaulted at the Club of Heroes reunion he manages to not only land a bone shattering backhanded blow on his assailant despite suffering from 17 stab wounds, he leaves a clue for the other heroes to both indicate the killer and ensure their safety. He may have gotten sloppy, but the Legionary once stood shoulder to shoulder with (and garnered respect from) freaking Batman; he is not going down without a fight.
  • The modern Justice Society of America series is about these coming out of retirement in order to train the next generations of heroes. It helps that most of them have slowed aging, thanks to exposure to energies in a battle in the 40s or through other means.
  • Jessica Jones's backstory involves her being former superhero who went to high school with Peter Parker. However, a few years into her hero career she was kidnapped and enslaved by Purple Man for eight months. The experience so traumatized Jessica that she quit superheroics, though continues to fight crime as a private eye.
  • Wolverine is living like this at the start of the possible-future story of Old Man Logan. In fact, he hasn't popped out his claws in years.
  • James "War Machine" Rhodes becomes this after Iron Man was thought to have been killed during Onslaught Crisis Crossover. He started his own marine salvage business called "Rhodes Recovery". A mixture of his sister being killed by a powerful gang and his business going bankrupt due to his shady accountant force him out of retirement.
  • Paperinik, Donald Duck's superhero person, became this in the Bad Future shown in issue 34 of Paperinik New Adventures, having passed the last fifteen years in hiding because he was framed as a terrorist. He get back in the game when a chance to change the past arrives.
  • A dark example from Astro City: Flying Brick Supersonic is brought out of retirement by a nostalgic old friend, but proves to be a shadow of his former self. Thanks to a combination of senility and lack of practice leaving him unable to use the clever and silver-age-y tricks he preferred during his career, Supersonic is reduced to wailing on his enemy until it stays down, causing massive collateral damage in the process.
    • A lighter example appears in "The Dark Age". After the target of their Roaring Rampage of Revenge is no more, the Williams' brothers realize how self-destructive their quest was, and left their life of crime-fighting to run a chartered fishing business instead.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Thundercracker during his prime was a Seeker, high ranking in the Decpticon Heirarchy, having bested Bumblebee (who was smart enough to defeat Thundercracker's wing mate, Skywarp), and nearly killed Hot Rod in a joint attack with Skywarp. Nowadays he's abandoned the Decepticons and lives on Earth, keeping out of the conflict and writing truly awful television screenplays.
  • General Thaddeus Ross in Ultimate Fantastic Four. He's the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D., who was nearly killed by Weapon X in Ultimate X-Men. After coming back from the dead, he was put in charge of the Baxter Building project instead.
  • In The Silencer, protagonist Honor Guest is a retired assassin formerly employed by Leviathan.
  • In Youngblood (2017), founding Youngblood members Diehard and Vogue have retired from being active superheroes, now having become President and First Lady.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, Dumbledore hires Gellert Grindelwald for a Defence Professor. Yes, to everyone but Dumbledore's bemused outrage, the man who once came close to Taking Over The World through causing goddamn World War II is now a schoolteacher.
  • Songs Uncle Sings by Kalash93 features two such characters.
  • The Child of Love: After the Angel War Shinji and Asuka retired from piloting and tried to lead normal lives, although they were still called to take part in peace-keeping missions every so often.
  • Steel Song is enjoying a quiet small town life at the start of the book. However, he is an ex-guard, has worked for many years as a bodyguard, becoming quite famous in the process and is the only alive non-griffon Blademaster in existance. When he's called out of retirement to lead the Dusk Guard, he amply demonstrates just why the Princesses have chosen him.
  • Pokemon: Johto Quest: Martha from episode two is this for standing up to the Mareep Liberation League (who were trying to take her flocks of Mareep) and calling on her Ampharos to take care of them prior to moving to Johto.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji and Asuka were mecha pilots and child soldiers in their teens. After the War they get therapy, go to college, get jobs and never fight again.
  • HERZ: After the Angel War Shinji, Asuka and Rei were still soldiers but they seldom piloted mechas. After the last chapter, Shinji and Asuka retired from piloting for good.
  • In Weiss Reacts, Professor Ozpin is heavily implied to be this, considering that he cows even the badass Adam Taurus into following him with nothing more than a glare.
  • Gideon becomes this in Criminal Minds fanfic To live again. He retired from profiling and opened a little store in a small town, the same place where Annie lives. He's still capable of serious asskicking, especially if his pseudo-daughter is at the risk. (No, you don't want to face a Papa Wolf ex-profiler. You really don't.)
  • Pony POV Series: Silver Spoon's father Silver Axe/Silver Tongue was once a member of the Royal Guard before leaving to raise a family. He is forced to fight again during the Wedding Arc to stave off the Changeling Invasion and proves he's Still Got It.
  • In Superman fanfic Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, the descendant of the first Batman resolves to quit after taking down the last Joker, although he still trains the younger heroes (Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) comprising the new Justice League.
  • Xander's shop teacher Mr. Hanson in Lucky at Cards reveals that not only is he a former demon hunter, but most shop teachers are. According to him, it's because shop teachers can be missing a few pieces and people just assume they were clumsy. He advises Xander to get some teaching credits when he can, in case he lives long enough to be forced to retire.
  • In the Naruto fanfic Kamikakushi, Akahiko was skilled enough to earn the title Swordbreaker. Now he has tremors that resulted in him no longer being on the battlefield.
  • Parodied in X-Men: The Early Years. After the events of "Hit Women, Goats, and Other Vacation Blunders", Jeanette "the Super-Goat" quits the "heroing" business.
    Jean: So how is the sixth member of our team doing?
    Scott: Jeanette is being retired to a beautiful country estate that a friend of Professor Xavier owns. There, she'll live out the rest of her days in peace, officially retired from the superhero business.
  • Earth's Alien History: After the end of the Reaper War, the happily married couple of Diana and Liara retire from both the military and active membership in the Conspiracy of Light in order to raise their family in peace.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the titular character quits her hero identity and moves to planet Rokyn in order to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, danger and fights are determined to find her, no matter what.
  • Team 8: Moritake is a retired shinobi who lost much of his left leg to an explosive tag in a war between Konoha and Iwagakure. He now runs a small cafe.
  • Seijun Tombo's fanfis depict Professor Oak as a former Pokémon Champion.
  • Fire!: Spider-Man, the original X-Men, the Human Torch, Iron-Man... become retired super-heroes after the main conflict is over.
  • Hellsister Trilogy has Destruction of the Endless, a very old, very powerful god who gave up his domain several millennia ago.
  • Here There Be Monsters: Most of members of the Squadron of Justice had not suited up in many years, but they return to help the Marvel Family out.
    Mister Scarlet: "The costumes are over. They had their time, but now the war, as far as we're concerned, is over. All we are now, is ourselves. Without the masks. So don't let me hear that you've put on the suit again and started trying to catch crooks. Fighting crime and studies don't mix."

    Films — Animated 
  • Cars gives us Doc Hudson the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a former racing legend who won three Piston Cups. After suffering a crash in '54, he was forced to give up racing completely after being replaced by a rookie. Despite this, he still has a lot of racing left in him and uses his skills to tutor the protagonist Lightning McQueen and acts as his crew chief.
    • In Cars 3, Lightning meets a quartet of very old race cars in Thomasville, three of which were old opponents to Doc, and one of them in particular being his crew chief Smokey. Zig-zagged with Lightning himself near the end — since he shared the victory with Cruz Ramirez, he chooses to continue racing, but decides to spend the rest of the current season as her crew chief first, making him sort of semi-retired.
  • Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible from the 2004 The Incredibles. For a while. She adapts pretty well, he's not so happy about it. Possibly also Edna, who is apparently doing ordinary fashion design with shows in Milan when Bob comes to see her. She leaps at the chance to design for "gods" again.
  • Wylie Burp in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West was formerly a legendary sheriff but when Fievel meets him he's a drunken shell of his former self, that is until he is given the task of training Tiger to be his successor.
  • Trusty from Lady and the Tramp is an old bloodhound who hunted criminals in his youth. He supposedly lost his sense of smell, which was why he had to retire. The climax of the movie proves that his sense of smell is still perfectly good when he uses it to track the dogcatcher that's taking Tramp to the pound.
  • Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas: Both the children's father and Zeke fought in "the war", where the father had managed to save Zeke's life.
  • Mighty Eagle as depicted in Theangry Birds Movie; While he might have been might once, that was clearly a long time ago. His Heroic Build has given away to a large gut, and when Red goes to see him, he admits, "I am retired. Mostly tired."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hank Pym is this in Ant-Man, having been the original Ant-Man before retiring due to the long-term damage shrinking with the Pym Particles has done to his body even with the suit's protection. He then set up his own technology and scientific research company, before being forced in to retirement by Darren Cross. The Film has him putting a team together to prevent Cross from selling Nanotechnology to HYDRA.
  • Bend of the River: Glyn was a fearsome "border raider" back in the day, along the Missouri-Kansas border in the violent days before The American Civil War. Now all he wants now is a quiet life farming or ranching, which is why he's leading a wagon train to Oregon.
  • Downplayed in Lockout, where "retired" CIA-Operative Snow is helping out a buddy who ends up dead. Snow is framed, and to regain his freedom and clear his name he gets sucked into the movie's main plotline: rescuing the president's daughter. HOWEVER, Snow takes the job in order to achieve a secondary motive, so it's all just bluster and bullshit.
  • In The Dark Knight, Alfred reveals that he did some soldiering in Burma when he was a younger man. It's implied that he was special forces, probably the Regiment. 22 SAS. The original badass squad(ron).
  • Walt Kowalski, Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino.
  • The aging James T. Kirk, during the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, was, to a limited extent, semi-retired and silently dreaming to once again captain the Enterprise. So he stole the ship in the next movie, earning him a demotion from admiral back down to captain again.
  • Juni retires in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, so he is this at the start of the third movie.
  • A History of Violence has some scary people who suspect Viggo Mortensen's character is this (with more than a helping of Retired Monster) rather than the Heroic Bystander he claims to be after he defends his cafe from serial killers.
  • The movie Taken has Liam Neeson playing a retired government operative forced out of retirement to save his daughter.
  • The Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles, until befriending the main character/new sheriff.
  • Yoda of the original Star Wars trilogy. And before him, Obi-Wan Kenobi. And now Luke Skywalker as well.
  • Hattori Hanzo from the Kill Bill movies.
  • Anthony Hopkins' Zorro from the 1998 The Mask of Zorro is a borderline example, as he is the original Zorro that is captured for decades until training a new Zorro, his protégé Alejandro, years later. Straddles the line with an Older and Wiser mentor.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, not only did they have five Retired Badasses living in the same slum, once they got involved with The Hero and his fight with the Axe Gang, the gang went and dug up their own Retired Badass to fight on their side. Better yet, some of these characters were played by actors who were big names in martial arts movies - in the 70s and 80s. The director called them out of retirement to be in this film, which I suppose would make them Meta Retired Badasses.
  • Topper Harley from Hot Shots! Part Deux.
  • In Happy Gilmore, Chubbs Peterson was a legend of pro golf before he lost his hand to an alligator. Even McGavin seems noticeably upset when he dies in an accident.
  • The epynomus Rambo is one who is contantly dragged back into action no matter how much he tries to avoid it.
  • Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid is one, though still quite a badass more so in part 2.
  • In Pray For Death Shô Kosugi has retired from the hectic ninja lifestyle to move to the US and open a convenience store. The local mobsters try to muscle him. This does not end well.
    (Dramatic singing voice) Back to the shadoooooows!
  • The title character in Alexander Nevsky.
  • Everyone in Red. The acronym stands for "Retired and Extremely Dangerous".
    (Frank and William are fighting)
    Frank Moses: Did Kordesky train you?
    William Cooper: Yeah.
    Frank Moses: I trained Kordesky.
  • The title character in Harry Brown is an ex-Royal Marine who has become a quiet, rather meek old man until his wife and best friend die. With nothing to lose and a group of thugs plaguing his council estate, he goes back to his old ways.
  • Dr. Loomis in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Allan Quatermain is retired and living in Kenya, but is reluctantly summoned back to England to help prevent a world war. (This is a departure from the source material, in which he was located in an opium den somewhere in Asia.)
  • Downplayed with Iraq War veteran Ssgt Michael Nantz from Battle: Los Angeles before aliens' world invasion, who is two days from retirement; however, he is called to defend Los Angeles when they do so and destroy one of their command centers later on.
  • Secondhand Lions has three lead characters, two of whom fit this trope. Having fought in dozens of wars, they got old and tired before retiring to America. With their fortune came relatives and salesmen seeking money and one young boy who breaks them from their funk.
  • Transformers
    • Epps had retired from the military between the second and third films. He comes out of retirement after It's Personal the Decepticons blow up the Autobot shuttle as it's leaving Earth, presumably killing them onboard.
    • Dutch, Simmons' assistant in the third film. He can hack into any system and disarm a Russian gangster pointing a shotgun at him without looking. When Simmons orders him to stand down, he almost sobs and says "I'm sorry, that was the old me!". This doubles as Actor Allusion to Alan Tudyk's role in Dollhouse.
  • Big Jake has been retired so long that everyone thinks he is dead.
  • Captain Freedom (Jesse Ventura) from The Running Man is a rare example of a villain who lived long enough to retire (imprisonment not being an issue in this case). His former employers try to coax him out of retirement to kill Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but he won't have any of it, not because he fears Richards, but because...
    Captain Freedom: I was killing guys like this ten years ago with my bare hands! I'm not going for any of these tricks!
  • Done with hilariously campy style in Surf Nazis Must Die. A man that would be the hero in a normal action movie (the middle-aged black guy) is murdered by a group of self-styled Surf Nazis. Cue his aged mother to leave the retirement home and curb stomp the bastards.
  • In Bubba Ho-Tep, the two heroes claim to be Elvis and JFK, having retired into anonymity.
  • Joe Colton from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The last scene of the initial trailer features Colton kicking ass by shooting at Cobra mooks with an assault rifle while in the bed of a fishtailing El Camino. Considering he's played by Bruce Willis, this comes at no surprise.
  • Pacific Rim:
    • Stacker Pentecost was previously the co-pilot for Coyote Tango, before he quit after his cancer worsened and was pulled from flight status by his doctors. And as seen in the trailers, he resumed piloting after one pilot from Striker Eureka is injured.
    • Raleigh retired after the death of his brother, only to be called back to duty by Pentecost when they are in desperate need for pilots.
  • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fred Dukes and John Wraith become a boxer and his manager respectively, after Team X disbands.
  • Briggs of The Colony (2013) may be a Reasonable Authority Figure to his people, but anyone who attacks him learns that he hasn't forgotten his military days.
  • In Dracula Untold, Vlad wants nothing to do with his past as the "Lord Impaler." He doesn't succeed in ignoring that part of himself.
  • Double subverted in St. Vincent (2014). Vincent mentions having been in Vietnam, but dismisses it as maybe having imagined it. Oliver later finds evidence that Vincent did fight in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star for bravery.
  • In Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Casey Ryback is a retired Navy SEAL working as the head chef for a restaurant at the start of the film.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman starts out like this, having been an active superhero during WWI, but having retired after the horrors of war made her lose her faith in humanity. Bruce reaching out to her in friendship and trust begins to restore her faith, and when Lex Luthor unleashes the unstoppable monster Doomsday, Diana becomes Wonder Woman again to help save the day.
  • In Power Rangers (2017), Zordon was not only one of the Power Rangers that stopped Rita from destroying the Earth 65 million years ago, but he was the Red Ranger of his team. In the present day, his consciousness lives on in the spaceship which brought his team to Earth.
  • The title character of John Wick is definitely this, being a legendarily badass assassin who had been retired for five years prior to the first film's beginning. However, now, he's thinkin' he's back, and is fully prepared to carve through several hundred people.
  • In The Foreigner (2017), Mr. Quan is your typical mild-mannered, semi-elderly Chinese restaurant owner until his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. Then we find out why he's played by Jackie Chan. Another major character, Liam Hennessy, is a former IRA leader turned British politician.
  • Duncan Vizla in Polar.
  • The Commuter: Michael used to be a detective with the NYPD, and uses his old skills well in the film. It turns out he was chosen for them specifically. Later he comes out of retirement and tracks down Joanna, arresting her on another train.
  • The Equalizer features Robert McCall, a retired U.S. intelligence operative played by Denzel Washington, who is reluctantly drawn into conflict with the Russian Mafia in order to protect a young prostitute whom he's recently befriended. Loosely based on the 80s live-action TV series with a similar premise.
  • In the 1978 kung-fu movie Born Invincible, elderly Liu Chin swore an oath to Buddha never to use a sword again. But after the Chin Yin chiefs kill the Lei Ping school's teachers in retaliation for protecting him, Liu breaks his oath—and proves so skilled that he toys with the chiefs one-on-one. He ends up being the only fighter the main villains have to work together to beat. In contrast, it takes several training montages, an exploitable pressure point, and straight up dirty tricks for the Lei Ping students to beat the Chin Yin chiefs separately.

  • A Brother's Price has Jerin's grandmothers, who "rescued" his grandfather from a heavily guarded castle under siege, and were knighted later on. They retired to a quiet farmlife.
  • Colonel Freeleigh in Dandelion Wine. The boys in Green Town enjoy visiting him and hearing his stories about fighting in the Civil War.
  • Sherlock Holmes deduced that Watson was an Afghan war veteran.
  • In David Gemmell's Drenai saga, Druss the Legend — in his forties and already retired when he fought at Skeln Pass and in his sixties when he came out of retirement again to fight at Dros Delnoch in Legend. Death offers him another twenty years' life, or a glorious death, at the beginning of the novel...
  • Discworld:
    • Subverted with Cohen the Barbarian. Despite age, wealth, taking over an empire, and plenty of other reason to retire, Cohen and his Silver Horde comrades utterly refuse to retire. Even after their deaths in a Rage Against the Heavens arc, their spirits refuse an afterlife that seems to be everything they want.
    • Played straight in The Last Hero with Vena.
    • In Reaper Man, Death is forced into retirement.
    • Later, Death chooses retirement to leave things to his granddaughter (and heir apparent) Susan. She was not happy about it. REALLY not happy about it. (And it's not a good idea to piss her off). Unfortunately, no matter how many times she quits, You Can't Fight Fate and she still keeps getting dragged back in.
    • Lu-tze. He's just your average sweeper. Who can kick the anthropomorphic representation of time's ass!.
    • Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are supposedly permanently retired yet they always find their way to the center of, well, everything.
    • Sam Vimes intended to retire when he got married (and his wife gave him half the city as a wedding present). As he was having a really bad day at the office, he did retire... for about three hours. Then he realized he had to be himself and went back to work.
  • The badass who refuses to retire is played straight with Ser Barristan Selmy in A Song of Ice and Fire, who at the age of sixty-something is forced into retirement against his will and is so annoyed by it that he kills two heavily-armed men half his age sent to arrest him before crossing half the planet to join forces with a rival ruler, in whose service he later swims through a foul sewer into the heart of a heavily-fortified city to open the gates from inside.
    • Killing the two armed men was incidental, one might note; he'd already sneered at the collective swordsmanship of his own elite guard, saying he could tear through all four of them present without difficulty. Part of the reason he's such a badass is because he's more or less The Last of His Kind. In the Kingsguard, Selmy served with and was trained by luminaries like the Lewyn Martell, and Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning — men that he claims were twice the knight he was.
      • Although in that particular case he was probably not referring to their martial abilities (or at least not exclusively) but to their character.
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird the children of mild mannered lawyer Atticus Finch were unaware of his badass marksmanship, until a dangerous mad dog wanders into town and someone needs to be able to safely put it down.
  • In G. Gordon Liddy's The Monkey Handlers, Michael Stone is a lawyer by profession...and a former SEAL. He keeps "the tools of his former trade closed up in a trunk" but before he opens the trunk and averts an international terrorist plot, he warms up by kicking a motorcycle gang's ass in a bar.
  • In Dragonlance many of the characters that survived the first set of books, like Caramon Majere, fell into this. Few of them enjoyed long or peaceful retirements...
    • Considering that after Legends, Caramon retires for 30 years, has one last adventure, then dies another 30 years later at the age of 90, and most of the other heroes to retire for 30 years as well.
  • Older Than Radio: Leatherstocking of The Pioneers.
  • Rather common in fantasy fiction. Many fantasy authors will return to the same setting again and again, progressing the time line, cranking out more novels, and retiring earlier heroes to give newer generations their own chance to shine. And it's particularly common in novels franchised from games like Dungeons & Dragons or Warhammer 40K, where you'll have multiple authors all progressing the plot in the one setting. Sometimes it gets to the stage where you can't move for kindly old priests, world-weary old nobles, and rough-around-the-edges old innkeepers who were asskicking adventurers five or six books ago. And if the new crop of heroes ever needs a seasoned adventuring veteran to show them the ropes and give them a hook to connect with an existing storyline, they can't swing a cat without hitting at least one gruff mysterious stranger who turns out to be the famous heroic whatsisname in the flesh.
    • This is cited as one of the reasons Forgotten Realms was moved forward a good century! Drizzt and Elminster are just about the only two still around, and they're both very, very busy.
  • Coll from the The Chronicles of Prydain. Taran is quite surprised to learn his bald, peace-loving, pig-tending father figure is not only considered a hero, but responsible for rescuing a certain pig from the Big Bad's lair. (It was a very special pig.)
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga: Cordelia Vorkosigan retired after a legendary Mama Bear incident and has been happily mentoring the younger generation ever since. She's never needed to come out of retirement, barring a few well-deserved verbal smackdowns.
    • Aral Vorkosigan hasn't retired; he's physically unable to. That said, he has gone from being Prime Minister and an active voice in the Council of Counts to the Viceroy of Sergyar, with Miles taking over the Council duties. With Aral, that's as close as he'll get.
    • Barrayaran Armsmen tend to be this. No Count is allowed more then twenty personal musclemen for understandable reasons. Therefore these tend to be picks of the best soldiers, cops, spies or whatever that can be found in a whole planet that have done enough service to prove themselves worthy to decorate a petty aristocrat's court.
  • Sammy's friend Hudson in the Sammy Keyes books. Nobody knows if he worked for the CIA or the NSA or what, but he knows stuff like safecracking and cryptography. Or maybe he's just a Cool Old Guy.
  • Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) is ostensibly retired in Cain's Last Stand, though that does little to slow him down when the hordes of Chaos come calling to the sleepy little planet he's spending the rest of his days on.
    • He wants to be this, but that darn heroic reputation of his means he keeps getting called back into service, seemingly being killed in action, only to reappear and save the day. It got to the point where the Munitorum just considers him permanently alive despite his now being dead and buried.
      • Just for added reference, Cain managed to actually live to retirement. In the Warhammer universe.
  • The Novel Path of Fury starts out giving the operational history of the main character, just before dropping her into retirement on a farming colony for a dozen years. That's when she becomes not so retired.
  • Kvothe from The Name of the Wind became the world's most famous hero and retired long before he turned 30. Now he runs an inn. But probably not for long.
  • In The Wheel of Time Rand thinks his father Tam (later revealed as his adopted father) is a simple farmer whose handiness with a bow is simply down to a lifetime of hunting and hard outdoor work. Naturally it turns out his father was a badass warrior and infamous soldier, the second-in-command of the elite Illianer Companions and a blademaster who won great distinction in four or five major wars. Tam is forced out of retirement in Book 4 when Rand's home village comes under attack by hostile forces and by Book 11 is leading armies into battle again. Tam's badassery is slightly undone by the fact it took him eleven books and 22 years of in-universe time to work out that Rand is the Dragon Reborn (although some fans suggest he's been living in denial instead).
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • For a good chunk of the main series we hear rumors that the dead 'Old Guard' loyal to the former Emperor are lying low and waiting for a chance to strike back against the Empress. This plan reaches fruition in Return Of The Crimson Guard, when literally an entire army of retired badasses — including many characters who had previously been encountered in other books and merely thought of as fishermen, farmers or guys living by themselves in some random tower — re-emerges to take some names and dish out some pain. In addition, there are a whole other bunch of retired badasses who arrive to fight on the side of the Empress. Seriously, this novel is this trope made manifest.
    • In House of Chains, the fourth book of the series, Karsa Orlong meets Keeper, better known as Urko Crust, one of Emperor Kellanved's valued Old Guard, who has retired to a lonely tower a ways outside of Ehrlitan to collect and rebuild what amounts to dinosaur fossils. He's still got a mean punch, though, as Karsa finds out first hand.
    • Book eight, Toll the Hounds, reintroduces the reader to the Bridgeburners, who had previously retired to run a bar in Darujhistan at the end of the third book, Memories of Ice. For some reason, someone has contracted the Assassins' Guild to kill them all and Picker & Co. have to spring into action in order to not only save themselves but to also find out who is behind the contract.
  • The heroine of Patricia C. Wrede's Caught In Crystal, a middle-aged innkeeper with two young children, is a retired swordswoman. She's dragged out of retirement when both her former employers and their enemies come looking for information about her last disastrous mission. Notably, years of being sedentary and eating rich food has left her too overweight to fit into her old armor and too out-of-shape to fight until a few chapters (and months) of cross-country hiking and training slims her down and toughens her up again.
  • Robin Hobb's Tawny Man Trilogy starts with the main character being called back from his retirement from being an assassin, a spy and king's man, to serve and teach the new generation.
  • Kit Carson of Time Scout was forced into retirement by math. If he had continued to work, he would have died. Full stop. (To clarify, Kit's job was to scout time portals which could lead anywhere in history...but if they led into a point in time where Kit had already visited, he would immediately die. Eventually the odds got to be too bad even for him, and he gave it up.)
  • Jack Random of Deathstalker by Simon Green is a professional rebel against the Empire who finally led one losing campaign too many, and disappeared into retirement as a gymnasium janitor. Or at least, he tried to.
  • Twice in the works of Bernard Cornwell.
  • In the Belisarius Series Valentinian and Anastasius are last seen enlisting in the bodyguard of the Indian Empress Shakuntala, not to mention becoming sons-in-law of her chief counselor providing one of the best retirement packages available in the early Medieval World.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Taurok stepped down as general in favor of his granddaughter because he's The Emperor now.
  • The Hunger Games : Once the war is over both Katniss and Peeta withdraw to District 12 and spend the rest of their lives in as much peace as they can find.
  • Prudence 'Roo' Jones starts Hurricane Fever having retired from the Caribbean Intelligence Agency and devoting himself to his boat and raising his nephew Delroy, until a message from a dead friend pulls him into One Last Job.
  • After the Golden Age has The Hawk, a Non-Powered Costumed Hero who is officially retired but who still keeps an eye out for criminal activity in Commerce City.
  • Most of the Iron Sisters from The Mortal Instruments are retired Shadowhunters. Abigail Shadowhunter, in particular, founded them because she was frustrated at becoming this, and still wanted to help in the fight against demons.
  • In MARZENA, Anika From Bremen is a famous writer from the future (i.e. the future after the 2030s)), and is coming out of retirement to write the book series.
  • Les Misérables has Georges Pontmercy, the father of Marius Pontmercy. While he served in the French army, and under the command of Napoleon, he survived a number of incidents, having his arm splintered, showing a daredevil attitude a number of times, challenging the might of the British navy with only one small vessel, and was generally a badass of the first order. After the battle of Waterloo, Pontmercy retired to a degree that nobody would have guessed that this mild-mannered man who wept a the slightest provocation, and tended to flowers, could be such a badass - were it not for a number of visible scars.
  • Codex Alera has Valiar Marcus. In this Roman-influenced society, he earned his way into the House of the Valiant after a one-man rescue operation when he tracked a group of 8ft tall yetis with ice magic who kidnapped some children several miles deep into their territory and killed the horde. He is regarded as one of the greatest centurions in the Antillus Legions. After his tenure in those Legions, he would tell you he retired to a quiet steadholt until he was commissioned once more to serve in the First Aleran Legion. He would say this because in truth, he became Fedilias, one of the best Cursors for the Crown. The Cursors are the personal messengers, spies, and assassin of the First Lord. For decades he serves the First Lord before betraying him.
  • In Super Powereds, the HCP staff at Lander University is almost exclusively made up of former Heroes (the one who is stated to never having been a Hero used to work for a corporation and is extremely good at combat despite his age). This is necessary, since the program is designed to put dozens of Super students through a Training from Hell until only ten are left in the graduating class (only the best of the best are allowed to be given such great responsibilities), so only those who have themselves gone through the program can properly train them. Blaine Jeffries, the Dean of the HCP at Lander, is himself from the so-called "Class of Legends" and is considered by many to be one of the strongest Heroes alive due to his Power Nullifier ability. Both Coach George and his successor Professor Fletcher firmly believe that Asskicking Equals Authority and prove themselves to their students by thoroughly beating all of them at once.
  • Eragon has Brom, who's living as an old storyteller in Eragon's home village.
  • Journey to Chaos: Henry Pupil Senior is an archiver working for Ataidar's royal government and, at some point in his immortal life, he endured "a thousand years of bloodshed". Quelling all the personal demons that come from such an experience might be why he's content to spend his time recording history in a tower.
  • In Forging Hephaestus, Fornax was one of the most badass supervillains of his day, able to go toe-to-toe with most capes and win. Only Lodestar was able to beat him in a one-on-one fight, and only after a titanic battle. After the rowdiness of his youth, Ivan Gerhardt, formerly known as Fornax, works as a corporate middle manager and does his best to preserve his secret identity. He lives alone, except for every other weekend, when his kids come to visit. They have absolutely no idea who their mild-mannered father used to be (their mother does, but she's keeping quiet). Ivan still has occasional involvement in the Guild of Villainous Reformation, but only as a representative of all retired villains. He wears a generic-looking mask, while at Guild HQ, and everyone calls him Pseudonym. Only the top brass know of his former identity, well, and his new apprentice Tori. Despite being retired for a decade, Pseudonym is still in his prime and extremely dangerous when pissed off.
  • The Star Wars EU books (or whatever you call them now) have supporting character Raynar Thul, who by the later books is basically retired because of major trauma. When a squad of Mandalorian commandos storms the Jedi Temple:
    Raynar: I am Jedi Thul. I have not fought for real in many years. I should be a pushover. Come get me.
  • Oromis (and his dragon Glaedr) from The Inheritance Cycle were among the oldest and wisest Dragon Riders even before the Fall. They only retired because Glaedr lost a leg and Oromis was afflicted with a magic-inhibiting, seizure-causing curse during an ambush by the Forsworn. Even with these disabilities, on the rare occasion they choose to engage in combat there are very few forces capable of standing against them.
  • Habim from The Witchlands is a Marstoki soldier (more specifically, a famous Marstoki general) who chose to retire after his country signed the Twenty-Year Truce and now works as a tutor. He can still kick all the ass when necessary. He returns into service after the Truce is broken, although with different motives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bones: Max Keenan, the kindest guy who will stab you to death, gut you, put you on a stick and set you on fire if you put his family in danger. Normally he's a science teacher who loves kids. Mess with his kids or his grandkids and he comes out of retirement.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ned's had enough of fighting in war and clearly intends to spend his remaining years governing the North with his family. That is, until Robert showed up out of the blue, hellbent on making him the next Hand of the King.
    • Sandor looks to be at peace with Septon Ray and his followers, and seriously considers just giving up his hate and living a normal life. Rogue members of The Brotherhood Without Banners derail that, though.
    • Barristan, after being removed from the Kingsguard by Joffrey to elevate Jaime and make room for the Hound - until Season 3, that is.
  • Sherlock: John and Mary. You don't want to mess with those two. Oh, and if you mess with John's best friend-you'll wind up lying in a pool if your own blood. Also, don't mess with John. Mary will kick your ass if you do.
    • Mary wants to stay in this position, though, in contrast to John.
  • Christopher Henderson in 24, though a dark take since once Jack attempts to coax him out of retirement, it's revealed that he had already come out of retirement, did a Face–Heel Turn and was now a Dragon for the season's Big Bad.
    • Jack himself attempts to retire twice FOUR TIMES. The first time is following the first season. Jack is not retired in the true sense and listed as inactive. This is mainly due to the breakdown of his relationship with Kim, as well as suicidal thoughts following the big twist at the end of the season. Even so he's pretty quick to tell people he doesn't work for CTU anymore. Next is between seasons three and four, where he opts for a desk job in the Department of Defense. The third time is between seasons six and seven where he chooses simply not to come back to the United States. Obviously, this doesn't quite work out. As of Day 8, Jack is FINALLY truly retired from government work. He even tells someone this in the trailer for the season. He's living peacefully in New York City with Kim and his grandchild (guess this means you can add Retired Badass as well). No DoD desk job, no running from China and no trip to Africa. Needless to say since this is 24 it's not going to last long. Near the end of said trailer cue Dramatic Gun Cock and typical Awesome Music that goes with nearly everything 24 related.
    • President of Awesome David Palmer. After some rather unfortunate business in Season 3, he decided not to run for re-election and left political life. Come Season 4, and the current President, the weakly Charles Logan, decides that he needs somebody with balls to save America from mass nuking. One phone call later and President Palmer is back in the saddle (much to the annoyance of the actual Republican cabinet). Rule of Cool? Yes, but who cares?
  • Shepherd Book of Firefly fame is a relatively kindly old preacher whose mission in life is to guide the flock he's found on the good ship Serenity. Sometimes, said flock gets in trouble, and when that happens, the same kindly old preacher starts blasting men in the knees, knocking a cop senseless with his bare hands, and slicing apart battle droids with a giant curved machete.
  • Jack O'Neill begins Stargate SG-1 in retirement, but doesn't stay that way long once Apophis comes to town. SG-1's Reasonable Authority Figure, General Hammond, had also planned on retiring before the Stargate mission began, though he wasn't retired yet...and didn't retire for many years afterward, as he was having too much goddamn fun.
  • Sam Axe in Burn Notice. He's a former... something or other (it's not explicitly mentioned what he was) Navy SEAL Commander with buddies in seemingly every major US Agency. At the beginning of the show, he was making a living mooching off retired women in Miami. When his friend Michael comes back to town, however, he proves himself to be just as badass as he ever was.
    • Lampshaded in "Friends Like These" when the supposedly bad guy Sam's interrogating is Serbian intelligence. He proceeds to try and psych Sam out by asking him what he used to do before he was an "errand boy" and figures out Sam is ex-military. He insults the SEALs to bait Sam into coming closer, then knocks Sam down and disarms him.
      Milovan: Navy SEALs? Little girls! You've gone soft! How stupid are you? * goes to fire, and the gun clicks uselessly*
      Sam: * drawing a second gun and getting up* Not stupid enough to let you near a loaded gun. Now sit down. * fires an inch from Milovan's foot* Please.
    • Well, he's played by Bruce Campbell of all people...
  • Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Enjoys gardening. Will still shoot the hell out of any alien invader who sets foot on his planet.
    • Unless he's stranded in Peru.
    • It doesn't take any great leap of the imagination to see the First Doctor companion Ian Chesterton as belonging here. People often remark on the incongruity of a Secondary School science teacher apparently being able to nonchalantly kick various kinds of arse. Glance at a calendar and do some mental arithmetic, and you'll realise that, as a man in his late-30's/early-40's in 1963, Ian probably had quite an important event tucked away in his backstory. You can bet that not even the mental kids acted up in his class.
    • The Curator, the caretaker of the National Gallery, who looks suspiciously like an older version of the Fourth Doctor. His Cryptic Conversation with the Eleventh Doctor in "The Day of the Doctor" suggests that he's a future incarnation of the Doctor, who has since retired from saving the universe and now spends his retirement between working as a humble museum worker and revisiting a few of his old faces (but only the favourites!).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Rupert Giles, the bookish demon expert of the group, has a hinted-at past as rebellious badass "Ripper", but now all he does is sit around in the library and help out a few kids. Except for, you know, when he charged into the Big Bad's headquarters, no support, completely alone, with a flaming baseball bat. And kicked vampire ass.
    • Oh, and the time he scared or tortured someone for information in the time it took for Willow to fetch some rope. And the time he forced Ethan to tell him how to break a spell.
  • King Uther Pendragon of Merlin, played by the same guy as Giles, has handed over most of the combat to his extremely Badass son. He spends most of his time being a Reasonable Authority Figure (unless magic is involved) and Well-Intentioned Extremist against any magic he encounters (he genuinely believes it is evil) and by series 4 he is bed/chair bound and in a permanent bout of Heroic BSoD. Try and hurt his son or his people and he will kill you. He once held off his own son, who is unmatchable with a sword, refusing to attack, and took out an assassin during the 4th series bout of Heroic BSoD.
  • Claude Rains, the Invisible Man from Heroes is a variant of this. Subverted somewhat, as he's less of a Retired Badass and more of a Screw-This-I'm-Outta-Here Badass.
  • NCIS: Mike Franks, Gibbs's mentor, is this. Implied that he retired due to the Khobar Towers bombing, then he went to live in a beach at Mexico. Whenever a situation arises that has him come back to the United States, however, he turns to be still quite good at what he used to do, and during at least two cases he got and trailed leads before Gibbs did, in one of these occasions taking the episode's villain himself. He also sneaked by and terminated Jenny Sheppard's killers and was instrumental in a case holding some keys to Gibb's past.
  • JAG:
    • General Williams in "Desert Son", former Commandant of the Marine Corps and Medal of Honor recipient. Even as a retiree, he still warrants his own helicopter transport and honor guard.
    • The trio of retired underwater demolition divers (one of them played by Ernest Borgnine), in "Yesterday’s Heroes", whom despite living at a retirement home in Florida decides to take on a drug dealer.
    • Admiral Boone (Terry O'Quinn), the wingman of Harm's dad, is recalled to active duty in season 7.
  • Tommy from Power Rangers has tried to become this several times, but he keeps getting chosen for new powers and duties. He probably would have stayed retired, if his initial idea of "peaceful retirement" hadn't been "Mad Scientist experimenting with oversized cyborg dinosaurs and magic rocks on a private island". By the end of Power Rangers Dino Thunder, however, he had to take care of the aftermath of that little booboo, and was in the much more relaxing career of "high school science teacher", which, while stressful, is not apocalyptically so.
  • While not a conventional example, Hal from Malcolm in the Middle can take any one of his sons in a fight and leave them gasping for air in seconds (his words). Now if you've ever seen Francis and/or Reese cut loose, you know this sweet, unassuming guy has got to be like seven kinds of badass.
  • Although we haven't seen him cut loose it's implied that Zeke from Parenthood is this.
  • Samuel Colt of Supernatural, as shown in one of the Time Travel episodes. When two demons come knocking, he tells them quite politely to walk away, he's retired. When they refuse, he kills both of them in the span of two seconds, and only laments that they knocked over his bottle of whiskey.
    • Bobby could be seen as semi-retired, fielding phone calls and doing research, but is in fact a crafty, tough old bastard with an encyclopedic knowledge of the occult.
  • On Leverage, Archie Leach is this. He is also Parker's mentor and father figure. With a taser built into his cane. And another cane with a six inch stiletto blade.
  • On Teen Wolf, Dr. Deaton. He repeatedly states HE'S RETIRED, but the end of season two sees him back in action going after Gerard.
  • Madam Secretary: Secretary McCord's husband Dr. Henry McCord now teaches at Georgetown, but he's also a retired USMC captain and operative for the NSA and is reactivated in episode eight.
  • In The Flash (1990), the Nightshade used to be a masked hero and a Gadgeteer Genius decades ago. He has since retired. Barry eventually learns the Nightshade's secret identity, when the latter decides to don his costume again to fight an old enemy known as the Ghost. And then again, when someone calling himself the Deadly Nightshade shows up and tries to take up the Nightshade's mantle.
  • Star Trek: Picard: By the start of the series, Picard has long since retired from Starfleet to tend his family vineyard in France, in the wake of Starfleet banning artificial lifeforms and refusing to help the Romulans in the face of their impending supernova. Though 94 and showing his age (yet still fitter than many people now would be) he managed to take out a couple of the Romulans who invaded his chateau.

    Multiple Media 
    • Turaga are Toa who retired by sacrificing their powers to save Matoran. The only ones we've seen this happen to did it as self-sacrifice (and for all we know that may be the only way to do it), so they tend to be of the zen variant.
    • Rahaga. Formerly Toa Hagah, but Roodaka ambushed and forcibly retired them from being Toa. That is, until several thousand years later, the Toa Nuva forced Roodaka to turn them back.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Lou Thesz served as a trainer behind the scenes as well as a locker room reporter and interviewer after leaving the ring, commanding the respect of even Ox Baker, who reminisced about getting beaten up by Thesz and admitting it was for his own good.
  • Cindy Rogers, who had to retire due to a neck injury, said that commentating on WSU matches was difficult. Watching pro wrestling made her want to do it.
  • After health problems forced Nigel McGuinness out of the ring, he continued to serve as a commentator, match maker and various other executive roles in Ring of Honor.
  • In Progress Wrestling there's RJ Singh, currently a commentator, who used to be a wrestler and will leave the table to get involved if people need to be pulled apart after a match.

  • In Big Finish Doctor Who, the Seventh Doctor is depicted as this during the time leading up to his regeneration in the Doctor Who TV Movie. Years of being The Chessmaster had turned him into a burnt out, weary old man who's aware that the end is coming. He still has the occasional adventure, but he's mostly focused on tying up loose ends before he regenerates. He no longer travels with companions, he doesn't make any elaborate plans or schemes, and is generally a more morose, contemplative figure than he was at the start of his life. And he doesn't play the spoons anymore.

    Sequential Art 
  • Large Hat Gentleman in The duel with sabres by Caran d'Ache (Emmanuel Poiré). Page one, page two. "Not so bad for an old 'un", indeed.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Sometimes found in Dungeons & Dragons either as something that happens during the course of the story, or as a small event when, say, an innkeeper pulls the mace down off his wall to help the heroes and show that it's not just ornamental. Having the 'adventure inn' be run by a retired high-level adventurer is something of an old cliché in the game.
    • At least prior to the recent Reset Button, it seems the Forgotten Realms is stuffed full of Retired Badass characters... and then stuffed some more.
      • Whole areas populated by these. One example would be City of Ravens Bluff note  — during the city's raise as a major trade port its populace grew from about 17000 resident and 3000 adventuring to about 30000 settled plus 10000 adventurers — fair number being high-level, with the heads of local Wizards Guild equal in power to less powerful among the rulers of magocracies, and so on. Dales are different, but Dalesfolk tend to be very tough. In both cases, locals who live to tell interesting tales and outside adventurers who like the atmosphere end up settling there.
      • 4e got most of those retired badasses dead. Elminster and Drizzt are just about the only two, and both are very busy. (Elminster is VERY retired... he doesn't leave his hut!)
      • Truthfully, Elminster always claimed he was retired, but the thing is, with wizards, being "retired" isn't always that straightforward. (Folks in the Realms often suspect that a wizard who makes this claim is up to something, and they're usually right.)
  • Often used to keep the designated heroes in check. One of the easiest ways to stop a 7th level adventurer from robbing a shop blind is to have a retired 14th level adventurer as the shopkeep. They're also helpful for breaking up a Bar Brawl (whether or not the PCs started it).
  • Jake Kramer from the Mutant Chronicles franchise. Wisecracking Cool Old Guy, officially killed in action, unofficially either doing undercover jobs for the Capitol corporation or killing things with fire.
  • There's a few of these floating around in BattleTech, where some pilots and other soldiers retire from active combat to either go back to civilian life or into non-combat roles. There's actually an entire monastery of them called St. Marinus House, where Mechwarriors are allowed to sequester themselves without question from the monks there (most of whom are themselves former pilots)—most of the Mechwarriors seeking sanctuary there have been severely emotionally scarred by their experiences in combat and go to St. Marinus House to seek peace and solace away from combat. Doesn't keep some of them from coming out of retirement when truly needed, though.
  • One of the non-player characters found in In Nomine is The Old Guy, a warrior angel in Austin, Texas, who's old enough to remember dinosaurs. He's away from the front lines and drastically weakened from what he used to be, due to the poisoning of a tree his life is bound to, but he hasn't lost any of his cunning or his skill, as he'd be glad to remind any demon stupid enough to come onto his radar.
  • Feng Shui, whose character classes are based on character tropes, naturally has one for "Ex-Special Forces".

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid
    • In the first game, Solid Snake had retired to the Alaskan wilderness to try to get away from his past before being forced back into service. Technically, he had semi-retired prior to the beginning of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, as well. His retirement is usually explained as disillusionment after the many revelations of the first and second games, and it was usually with the blessing of his parent agency (FOXHOUND)... until they needed him again. In Metal Gear Solid, he was understandably upset to be pulled out of retirement, which he entered at only about twenty-seven or twenty-eight.
    • There's also Col. Roy Campbell, who isn't a Colonel anymore during the first Metal Gear Solid, but Snake continues to respect him and refer to him as such despite Campbell's objections.
    • This can also be said of everyone who was part of the Cobra Unit in WWII. No one knows what happened to them after the war, (With the exception of The Fury, who got crisped in space.) but The Boss brings them all back together.
  • Quercus Alba of Ace Attorney Investigations was given an ambassadorial position after becoming a highly decorated general in the Cohdopian military. He still won a knife fight with a man half his age, then arrange a complex plot to smuggle his corpse into the Bahbalese embassy to make it look like he was killed somewhere completely different with a different weapon.
    • Phoenix Wright is not retired so much as disgraced and disbarred, but he plays this role for young rookie Apollo in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. At the end of the game, with his name cleared, he comes out of retirement.
  • Laike from Lunar: Silver Star Story is still an adventurer despite being retired from heroism. He just does it for kicks.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Yen Sid used to be a Keyblade master on par with Eraqus and Xehanort. But he retired and passed his knowledge onto Mickey, which turned out well.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Garcia from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones retired from Renais's army when his wife died. He was talked into coming out of retirement by his son Ross after helping Eirika's army ward off bandits who were attacking their village.
    • Jagen from Fire Emblem Akaneia retires from the battlefield in between Dark/Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem, becoming the hero's non-playable strategist. At the end of the saga, he fully retires from the army.
    • After being one of the protagonists of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Eliwood was forced to retire from the battlefield before Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade due to his poor health, and he's not even forty yet. In the bonus trial maps, Eliwood is playable as a Paladin, with stats that suggest he could still be a tough nut if it wasn't for his chronic illness.
    • Jeralt from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a former captain of the Knights of Seiros who had left the church two decades prior to the start of the game to raise his son/daughter (the Player Character) as a mercenary. The archbishop calls him out of retirement to aid the protagonist in their new role as a teacher at the church's local Military Academy. The few missions where he appears as an allied NPC show that he hasn't lost much of his fighting skill.
  • Citan from Xenogears: When you first meet him, he is just a simple country doctor with a hot wife and precocious daughter. Then it turns out that he was one of Solaris's elite Elements and is one of the most powerful playable characters. Especially on disc 2, where he's retrieved his sword. As a bare-handed fighter he was already tough. As a master of iaijutsu, he's a virtual one-man army.
  • Muramasa from the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden, an elderly shopkeeper, shows himself in the second game to be quite the fighter.
  • Pokémon
    • Red in Pokémon Gold and Silver/Crystal and their remakes is one; the previous Player Character and champion, despite being only 14 years old, he waits at the top of Mt. Silver, a perpetually snowy mountain and the last area of the game, and has one of the most powerful Pokemon teams in the history of the series, and the highest-level Pokemon that any NPC trainer has had outside of battle facilities (his Pikachu); something that is being actively enforced, as shown when his Pikachu's level was bumped up in the remakes because Barry's starter briefly overtook his Pikachu in levels. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, now an adult, it seems he has returned to civilization and taking open challengers again as one of the bosses of the Battle Tree post-game facility, alongside his old friend turned rival turned friend again Blue.
    • Steven Stone, the League Champion of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, steps down from his position in Emerald, letting Wallace take his position instead, while Wallace's mentor Juan takes over things as the Sootopolis Gym Leader. You have the option of hunting down Steven in Meteor Falls and challenging him to battle; his Pokemon are even stronger than his team as Champion. The remakes make him a champion again.
    • Professor Oak is implied to have been one. He's a Pokémon Professor now but he was Agatha's rival in the past. Agatha ultimately became the more powerful of the two and ended up in the Elite 4.
    • Deconstructed in Pokémon Black and White. Alder gets called out of retirement to put a stop to N's ascent to power, but he's badly out of practice, and N easily defeats him. Reconstructed post-game when Alder starts training again and becomes a Bonus Boss, a position he keeps in the sequels.
  • Advance Wars 2 has Hachi and Sensei. The former is the game's shopkeeper most of the time, except he also happens to be one of the most powerful playable characters. As for Sensei, his opponent during his first appearance shrugged him off as just an old man. That is until this person realizes Sensei's real identity and past reputation as a C.O., at which point he becomes positively terrified.
  • Bill from Left 4 Dead. A former (so technically retired) Green Beret who served two tours in Vietnam.
  • Buddy Cheque, Abner Dubbleplay, and Erik Stream from Backyard Sports. Barry Dejay seems like this, but he's not officially retired; he just has a broken ankle (and is a Small Name, Big Ego rather than a badass).
  • Mass Effect 2 has Dr. Mordin Solus, an old note  salarian doctor who set up a free clinic in the slums of a space-borne Wretched Hive so he could spent his final years helping people. He is also a former black ops science specialist who's very handy with a submachine gun, casually murders mercenaries who try to shake his clinic down and hangs their corpses outside as a warning, and willingly enlists on a suicide mission to stop the Collectors and their Reaper masters.
    • A more minor character, a krogan known only as "the Patriarch", can be found serving as The Dragon to the local crime boss in Afterlife, on Omega. Once upon a time, it was he who ran the planet, until a young asari named Aria came along and overthrew him, only leaving him alive as a symbol of what she was capable of. It's possible through a sidequest to bring him indirectly out of retirement; Aria wants him to hide from some assassins, but he can be persuaded to allow Shepard to kill them in his name, regaining some of his badass status.
  • Ford Cruller from Psychonauts is retired, due mainly to a past battle shattering his mind into several personalities. This problem is remedied by the presence of psitanium, leading to a rather dramatic entrance during Sasha and Milla's battle with Oleander, where he ties a block of psitanium on his back and bursts through the damn ceiling.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura:
    • Late game, you run into the elven mage Nasrudin, chilling on an uncharted island, after being thought dead for lord knows how many years. What's particularly shocking, however, is that the entire plot up until this point has lead you to believe that you're the living one, the reincarnation of Nasrudin..
    • William Thorndop, the firearms master, is a former highwayman who gave up his violent profession and decided to spent the rest of his life as an Order of Halcyon monk.
  • In Far Cry 2 Hakim and Iosip (Albanian) are retired from their respective nation's armies, but they both still kick ass. And in the first game, you're a retired special forces type (ex-CIA?) until the bad guys blow up your boat. That was a mistake.
  • World of Warcraft has several examples. Most notably Tirion Fordring, who players first meet as a humble small-holder in the Eastern Plaguelands. After the death of his son Taelan he reveals himself as a powerful Paladin and goes on to play a major role in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
    • His Worthy Opponent Eitrigg is a retired orc warrior who ran into him by chance. After some mutual life-saving, he rejoins the Horde as an advisor to help them learn the pre-corruption ways.
  • Julius Belmont in Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow. He's fifty-five years old in Aria, and has been out of practice for thirty-six years, but the minute Dracula's back in the castle? So is Julius.
  • Landon Ricketts in Red Dead Redemption, a former American Wild West gunslinger who retired to Mexico, where he serves as an unofficial lawman when the need arises, but spends most of his time relaxing and playing poker.
  • Admiral Bobbery in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. A tough sailor who sailed the world and such when younger, he comes straight out retirement after Mario persuades him that they need a captain for the voyage to Keelhaul Key, then joins his party for the rest of the game slightly later.
  • "Reverend" Ray McCall in the first Call of Juarez. A former gunslinger, he slaughtered his way across the West before pulling a Heel–Faith Turn after murdering his preacher brother William. Then his other brother is killed, he thinks his half-Mexican nephew is the culprit, and he immediately digs up his old longcoat and revolvers for another blood bath.
  • All Points Bulletin: Chiro, a former gangbanger who went legit and opened a tattoo parlor.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the Enclave Remnants, former members of the fascist Enclave army. The Courier, with the help of Arcade Gannon can rile them back into action for the final battle, where they drop in from Vertibirds (helicopters) in full Powered Armor with a variety of deadly weapons in which they show why the Enclave should be feared to this very day.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio leaves the Brotherhood to settle down with Sofia at the end of the game. Embers picks up more than a decade after this and he's still able to keep up with Shao Jun. She's 46 years Ezio's junior, too.
  • Agent 47 of Hitman tried to retire after the events of the first game. It didn't work.
  • Kliff Undersn from Guilty Gear was a retired commander of the Holy Order of Sacred Knights before entering the tournament.
  • Lord Nasher Alagondar, the Big Good of the Neverwinter Nights series, is a former adventurer.
  • Bain in PAYDAY: The Heist used to do heists back in his day. Now he serves as the team's eyes and ears during heists when it comes to police activity.
  • By Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Frank Woods is this. Well into his 90s, he is living in seclusion due to the large amount of secret information he's been privvy to from his combat days. However, he does share his experience with the son of the previous game's protagonist, describing the missions he worked on with Alex Mason.
  • In Icewind Dale II, the origin of the Holy Avenger Cera Sumat involved one of these. Long ago, an old paladin long since retired heard of six powerful villains called the Lost Followers ravaging the land. Taking up his sword once more, the paladin singlehandedly tracked down and defeated them all. The weapon description states that Cera Sumat was once a simple iron sword, but the courage and faith of the paladin made it something more.
  • Jolee Bindo of Knights of the Old Republic is an ex-Jedi hermit who crash-landed on Kashyyyk twenty years ago and never put much effort in trying to leave thanks to being quite disillusioned with the Jedi and the galaxy at large. (Granted, the forest floor is so dangerous that it's a semi-retirement at best.) He joins your party because he doesn't have much else to do and because you're actually Revan.
    • The Jedi Exile in the second game, a General in Revan's army during the Mandalorian Wars, who after detonating the super-weapon that devastated Malachor V and becoming severed from the Force, willingly accepted banishment from the Jedi Order and spent ten years wandering the Outer Rim. Part of their return to action is to discover why they've regained their Force abilities, find out who is trying to kill them and prevent a Humanoid Abomination from leaving planets devoid of life.
  • The Getter Team in Shin Super Robot Wars. They act as mentors for the protagonists' group and join up with Shin Getter late in the game.
  • In Sword of the Stars: The Pit the Marine character is technically an ex-Marine, a former SolForce man retired to the planet the game's set on.
  • The title character in Granny Strikes Back is a retired special agent. Who shoots at alien-built animated snowmen trying to steal her raspberry jam.
  • The President in Pikmin 2 was once a space captain but left it behind to start up Hocotate Freight. He comes out of retirement when Louie gets left behind.
  • Dragon's Crown has Morgan Lisley, the game's shopkeeper, equipment repairer, and unknown item identifier all in one, is revealed in one of the Treasure Art to be a legendary genius runic mage who is one of the few who mastered Golem Magic, with the notes stating she was able to control several Golems at once and play with them like dolls even back when she was just a Child Mage more than a century ago.
  • Splatoon has Cap'n Cuttlefish, who fought in the Great Turf War decades ago.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • 4000 year-old reclusive wizard Divayth Fyr is one. He was formerly a member of Great House Telvanni and the Psijic Order, but left both to run his "Corprusarium", a safe haven for those afflicted with the Corprus Disease.
      • Yagrum Bagarn, the last living Dwemer, is one of the residents of Fyr's Corprusarium and also fits the trope. He was a Master Crafter in service to Lord Kagrenac who spent time traveling to "outer realms". When he returned to find his people gone, he traveled all across Tamriel searching for any other surviving Dwemer. He caught the Corprus Disease and was forcibly retired. He is still in possession of a full set of Dwemer armor, a stash of Dwemer coins, and the legendary hammer Volendrung.
    • Skyrim: Delphine, a former member of the Blades, was forced into retirement and hiding by the terms in the White-Gold Concordat which dissolved and outlawed the Blades. Now in her mid-50s, she is still a highly capable warrior and the Thalmor dossier on her advises the use of "overwhelming force" when engaging her. Midway through the main quest, she'll come out of retirement to take over as the Grandmaster of the reformed Blades.
  • Impa in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is implied to have been much mightier in her youth compared to her feeble appearance now. True to form, if Link swings a weapon at her she will do a Nonchalant Dodge and call him a fool instead of cowering like most NPCs.
  • Marcus Fenix by the time of Gears of War 4. While everyone else who survived the first three games now have other jobs, Marcus is a reclusive hermit living in the vast estate of his deceased wife's family, fixing whatever needs fixing and growing tomatoes in between daily visits to her grave, while his son JD gets up to no good with the Outsiders, living at odds with the COG. When JD and his companions come seeking his help, bringing trouble with them, he reveals his vast stash of COG armor and weapons and suits right back up. By the next game he is officially (and perhaps forcibly) un-retired and back kicking ass for the COG.
  • Half of the main cast of Overwatch, depending on how you define "retired". Following the fall of Overwatch, most of its original members went off doing vigilante and mercenary work - even (and especially, it seems) if they were believed dead before or shortly after the fall. Commander Jack Morrison, the head of Overwatch, and Ana Amari, took up the mantels of Soldier: 76 and Shrike, respectively, and are currently somewhere in Egypt. Reinhardt Wilhelm and his squire Brigitte Lindholm traveled across Europe fighting injustice where they found it, while Brigitte's father, Torbjörn, attempted to atone for his role in the First Omnic Crisis. Jesse McCree and Lena Oxton also (seperately) became vigilantes, while Angela Ziegler focused her efforts on helping others. Genji Shimada, meanwhile, retired to a Nepalese Omnic monastery to learn how to accept his cyborg body.
  • King Graham in King's Quest (2015) is a bedridden old man dying of magical poison in the present day. The premise of the game is that he is retelling the stories of his youthful adventures to his granddaughter Gwendolyn. All the while begging his Magic Mirror to show him one last adventure. Ultimately, the mirror shows him no new adventures.
  • In the Sakura Wars series, Sumire Kanzaki, a member of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division, was forced to retire from active duty when her spiritual power dwindled to the point that she could no longer operate her Mini-Mecha. Come Sakura Wars (2019), she serves as the new commander of the Imperial Combat Revue. Now Older and Wiser, she doesn't need to fight on the front lines to prove that she is still not a woman to be trifled with.
  • Deconstructed with Cassius Bright in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Considered a One-Man Army and in-universe Memetic Badass, he leaves the army due to grief over his wife's death. The void he leaves behind is considerable, and several higher-ups in the army believe the country is defenceless without him. This leads to his protege staging a coup and trying to uncover an ancient superweapon. Cassius is eventually forced out of retirement to clear up this mess.
  • Giliath Osborne in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel was said to be a former general in the Erebonian army before he became the high chancellor of the empire and retired from his military duties. And if a person is a significant character in the Kiseki Series, then chances are that the person can kick a lot of ass. He finally proves his worth in Cold Steel IV and it turns out that he's a One-Man Army who could have soloed most of the cast and come out on top.
  • Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End when they help Samuel Drake get the Treasure or stop Nadine and Rafe. Nate is technically retired for a short period and now working as a Salvage diver and calls back to adventure by his older brother Sam. and Nate lies to her wife, and go treasure hunting. Until they encounter by telling the truth at Madagascar. Victor is a Retired marine officer who still knows how to fly a plane too.
  • Grow Comeback start with a hero who defeat monster with no problem, once he deafeat the last monster time will pass and he will lose his hair and become fat, then a new monster will appear and you need to help him become badass again so he can beat it.
  • Files found in Resident Evil 7 Biohazard tell you that Jack Baker is a former Marine. Despite this, he never uses any of the guns or ammunition littered around the house. One imagines it's a combination of being too mentally unstable to have the patience to use them properly, as well as just having too good a time throwing his superhuman strength around to bother. His brother and the protagonist of the End of Zoe DLC, Joe Baker, is also retired military. He's spent his time since hunting gators at the edge of the Baker family property and, when Eveline and her monsters arrive, take to fighting them with his bare fists.
  • Dingodile in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is revealed to have reformed and retired to run his own diner. He gets dragged into the events of the game by accident and shows that he still can fight just as well as he used to, only with an air cannon rather then his trademark flamethrower.

    Web Comics 
  • In Gosu, Gha Woobok, once feared as the greatest killer of the Baekma Valley, left the murim and is now a door-to-door merchant. It didn't last long.
  • Played with in this example of dreaded continuity from Penny Arcade.
  • Shiné and Shaedo in NewRem Comics. Both characters had played major parts in saving the world, the former even having at one point been made the world's goddess, before moving on to lives of internet-trolling and video-game playing, respectively.
  • In Bruno the Bandit, the protagonist's mother Eunyce is eventually revealed to have been a Xena: Warrior Princess Captain Ersatz when she was young. Before that, she's entirely retired; afterward, she comes out of retirement more or less permanently, ready to use her skills whenever necessary.
  • Girl Genius gave us:
    • Old Man Death, who ran with the Jägers in his youth and Never. Lost. A. Fight. After being "ravished by a wild princess" he married her, gave up his old life and opened a deli. However, he can still hold his own in a fight with a science-magically modified super-soldier.
    • Carson von Mekkhan, Seneschal to Bill and Barry Heterodyne, also rode with the Jägers in his youth, an occupation described as something for people who liked to drink and fight and mess people up, and didn't care if they lived or died. When we first encounter him, he is sitting in a rocking chair and discussing dinner plans with his granddaughter. He is still badass enough to go toe-to-toe with the Castle and win regularly.
  • Even In Arcadia has Master Odai, an old Fae who has secluded himself off in the forest. He's a retired Emerged, the most powerful type of known mage.
  • In Our Little Adventure, two elves prove to be this.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Brutus is a former military dog, and his scars indicate he's definitely got some combat under his belt. However, he's now retired to a nice suburban home.
  • In Blue Yonder, Lena learns that a neighbor was in N-Forcers.
  • General Tagon in Schlock Mercenary, the familiar looking father of Captain Tagon, retired with honours (and a law he wrote himself mandating that he NOT come out of retirement in any military capacity) some time ago. But as various events prove, he hasn't slowed down a tad.
  • Professors Trevols and Dymond of Alice and the Nightmare are both retired oneironauts, meaning that they've spent likely over a decade of their lives going willingly into lands filled with Nightmares.
  • In Kidd Commander:
    • Very definitely Jocasta Hubris. Her first appearance says "Retired, or something". And, apparently, "escaping a sundog's maw" is impressive on its own, compounded by jumping right back in for her coat.
    • Crow Gideon might qualify, but he seems to be more inactive than retired. He's just not heard of or from in quite some time.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Trond made it to general in a society centered around hunting Plague Zombie monsters before being more or less forced into retirement. He also accumulated plenty of Blackmail material along the way.
  • Obscurato follows a retired warrior who has to come out of retirement to protect her family.
  • Ye Thuza from Sandra and Woo was a Burmese guerrilla fighter in her youth, but these days she spends her time as a suburban housewife. Of course, that doesn't stop her from being the toughest character in the comic or passing on her skills to her children.
  • The village of Pagat Or from Ashface's Daughter seems to be filled with these.
  • Chancellor Palpatine in Darths & Droids isn't the incredibly dangerous character he was in the movies, he's not even much of a villain, but he is a retired Jedi who can hold his own against Yoda.

    Web Original 
  • Orym, at the beginning of Ash & Cinders. He was living a quiet life as a lovable lunatic in the Smallwood due to an as-yet unexplained event that made him decide to give up being a Wizard.
  • Yamauchi-sensei from Greek Ninja is a retired ninja.
  • The original Uncle Sam in the LessThanThree-Verse.
  • A lot of the teachers and staff of Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe.
    • The seventy-something headmistress Elizabeth Carson. When Syndicate dropships and the unstoppable cyborg Assassin Deathlist invade her school, the gloves come off. Oh, she turns out to be Lady Astarte, possibly the greatest superheroine still around.
    • Also Dr. Yablonsky, one of the Powers Lab teachers, who has a cybernetic arm and leg. One of the character thinks he teaches the way Batman faces down thugs.
  • Burt from We're Alive. He's a former Marine gunnery sergeant who owns a gun shop with enough weaponry to equip a small army, carries a silver plated Desert Eagle named Shirley, and kills zombies while singing "Mary Had A Little Lamb".
  • The end of Red vs. Blue Season 10 reveals that Butch Flowers, the Blues' deceased captain, was once Agent Florida and fought alongside the other Freelancers. It's not technically retirement, since he still answered to the Director, but his new job was much less intense.
  • The Plumber Knight Returns: Mario has been retired for twenty years, having been living under the assumed name of Michael Camborelli. The series depicts him coming back out of retirement to fight off a street gang known as the Goombas.
  • Hal Monroe of Roll to Breathe, Epoch's mentor, used to be Dr. Watt, a powerful Bronze Age hero with nanomachines for blood. A death among his team turned him cynical and paranoid and caused him to retire. However, when he does fight he's shown to still be as strong and capable as ever.
    • Diamond Joe, the mayor, is a Silver Age hero-turned-politician. When the team bodyguards him he is an endless source of support, and while he doesn't have as much endurance as he used to, he is still incredibly strong and his skin can still turn to diamond.
  • RWBY: Maria Calavera was once the Living Legend known as the Grimm Reaper - an unstoppable Huntress who wandered the wilderness slaying Grimm, but concealing her identity behind an ornate mask. She was such a Badass, Qrow reveals he based Harbinger off her weapons (meaning she indirectly inspired Ruby to create Crescent Rose). She mysteriously vanished decades ago after losing her Silver-Eyes.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Jeong Jeong is a former admiral of the Fire Nation who, disillusioned with the war and killing, deserted the navy, turned into something of a pacifist, (and not the technical kind either), and soon had a group of followers with no apparent goal other than to keep from getting caught or killed until Aang showed up. Jeong Jeong reluctantly taught him some rudimentary firebending, but disappeared at the end of the episode and did not return...until the finale.
    • Iroh might also count as a temporary example. Although not really active anyway through the first two seasons, he is genuinely willing to chuck all other concerns to run a tea house in Ba Sing Se.
    • Piandao is similar to Jeong Jeong, minus the pacificism and the bending. It's All There in the Manual that after he left the military for similar reasons he wandered around the world and studied under several masters before moving to his house. Then the Fire Nation sent one hundred soldiers, and he beat them all himself. After that they left him alone.
    • It's worth noting that all of the above are, along with Pakku and Bumi, revealed to be members of the Order of the White Lotus, which is more or less a secret society of retired badasses.
    • On a very different note, Hama, The Puppet-Master. She is still a formidable opponent at least into her eighties, and when you see how many Fire Nation soldiers they ended up sending to capture her and her alone. There must have been a reason for them sending quite that many troops.
  • By the time of The Legend of Korra, the surviving members of the Gaang have all become this in varying capacities. Katara is still a master healer and is the one who taught Korra Waterbending, but is not nearly as active as she once was, Zuko has abdicated his Fire Lord title to his daughter, but still acts as an advocate for world peace, and Toph has retreated to a solitary life in the Foggy Swamp. Only Toph and Zuko "come out of retirement" by doing any actual prolonged fighting. Since they're all in their 80's, Zuko is floored with little fanfarenote , while Toph comes out looking better, but aside from her knocking Korra around for fun, she sticks to long-range attacks and claims her back is killing her in the end. She claims that this is the reason Katara, the most sensible of the three, has largely stayed out of the fighting even during the Water Tribe Civil War.
  • Bruce Wayne does much the same in Batman Beyond, where he serves as a mentor to a new young Batman... although he also proves in a few scenes from the show that he can still kick ass, especially in the first episode with a gang called The Jokerz who assume that such an old man is harmless...
  • In Futurama: after taking up an interest in cooking, Bender finds himself a retired cook/mentor in Helmut Spargle, who lives just long enough to attempt to give Bender a lesson or two, (despite Bender's literal lack of taste), and a secret ingredient. With the confidence instilled by Spargle and the secret ingredient, Bender wins an Iron Chef style cook-off with famous cook Elzar. The stock twist comes when the Professor does an analysis on the secret ingredient, revealing it to be nothing but water... laced with LSD.
  • Yan Lin in W.I.T.C.H, as well as her companions in the former Five-Man Band (Halinor, Katma and Cassidy). When Nerissa restores their youth and powers and brainwashes them in the TV series, holy CRAP, the girls are in quite the trouble.
  • Grandpa Max from Ben 10. In the original continuity, anyway. Max Tennyson was one of the top operatives in the Earth chapter of the Plumbers, a intergalactic police organization, before retiring a few years before his grandchildren were born. The events of the first series reigniting alien activity on the planet forces him back into action, and by the end of the fourth series, he's the director in charge of the Earth Plumbers.
  • One of the youngest examples is 10-year-old Huey Freeman from The Boondocks. Retired from Domestic Terrorism.
    Huey: Eh. I'm retired.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Captain America fought on a team of six other superheroes, who are drawn back into Nazi fighting when they are in their 70s.
  • DuckTales (2017) has Uncle Scrooge retired from adventuring, albeit far more reluctant about it than his comic book counterpart who was perfectly fine with handling the business side of finance. He actually misses going on regular expeditions, but it isn't until the nephews bring up how much of a big deal he used to be that he's prompted to plan a new adventure in order to salvage his ego.
    • Donald Duck is "one of the most daring adventurers of all time", but whatever that incident resulted in the disappearance of his twin sister Della cause him to give up adventuring and cut ties with Uncle Scrooge, instead focusing his efforts on raising his sister's kids. Even once he's brought back into the action, he adamantly tells an old friend that he doesn't want to be a hero anymore, and that his only motivation these days is to keep his nephews safe.
  • The Chief in T.U.F.F. Puppy used to be T.U.F.F.'s top agent and able to take out a legion of villains singelhandedly. He comes out of retirement in one episode to catch the Chameleon with Dudley. While things don't go very well at first, after some encouragement from Dudley, he shows he's still got enough badass in him to get them out of a jam, then beat the stuffing out of the Chameleon.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Grandpa Phil, notorious for his tall tales, claims to have beaten Hitler in a fistfight in WWII. He quickly takes this back... only to reveal on a strikingly serious note that he did beat up Goebbels.
  • Billy from Adventure Time. He was Ooo's previous greatest hero before Finn, who idolized him. Among his exploits, he killed an Evil Ocean by punching it, rescued a princess from the evil Fire Count, and most impressively, imprisoned the Lich in amber in order to save the entire world. How does that get even more badass? He imprisoned the Lich by pummeling him into the tree! He retired due to finding the fight against evil pointless since more always showed up. In the end, Finn and Jake convince him that fighting evil, while not a permanent solution, still helps protect people, implying he might come out of retirement.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Would-Be Dragonslayer", Sir Huguenot is described by Alonzo as the bravest knight of all time. He's also retiring, as he's getting too old for heroics, and is on the lookout for a replacement.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were the original wielders of the Elements of Harmony in ancient times and used them to save the world from Discord's tyranny. Then Luna fell to evil and became Nightmare Moon, forcing Celestia to save the world from her. In modern day, Twilight Sparkle and her friends now wield the Elements (which they used to restore Luna to good), so the Princesses largely stick to their official business. However, a bit of Celestia's former badass reappeared when confronting Discord. She was even more badass during the Season 2 finale, when she blasted Queen Chrysalis with magic in order to protect her kingdom. Chrysalis ended up beating her anyway, but only because her power was increased from absorbing Shining Armor's love.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has Nora Wakeman. Most people think she’s just an old woman and a Mad Scientist, but she was once a part of Skyway Patrol and can still kick some ass.
  • The Simpsons:
    • On some episodes that take place in the past, Grandpa Simpson is revealed to have been a really awesome war hero. He is shown saving his comrades from a grenade and rescuing Santa Clause from a younger Mr. Burns. He was in nearly every branch of the military and fought in both world wars. This makes his current position as the useless, senile old man even more depressing. He occasionally gets to do something cool, though, like when he and Bart tried to steal the Hellfish treasure or when he helped catch the Springfield Cat Burglar.
    • Principal Skinner is a jaded educator easily cowed by his mother and frequently outmanoeuvred by a ten-year old, but he was also a Green Beret in Vietnam, which occasionally shines through, most notably when he effortlessly beats up a lawyer and two goons sent by Disney to shut down the school carnival.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • Special Agent William Fowler is a retired Army Ranger (And a bit out of shape) but still fully capable of piloting a fighter jet (Still Got It) and whooping some Mook ass. He's even able to hold his own, however briefly, against Silas.
    • To a lesser extent, Ratchet and Soundwave. Ratchet is one of Optimus Prime's oldest allies, and even though he is still capable in combat, he generally serves as Mission Control and stays off the front lines unless his expertise is needed. Meanwhile, Soundwave was Megatron's first follower; despite being the only bot capable of holding his own against the Decepticon leader in the gladiatorial pits, he also stays away from combat preferring to be the "eyes and ears" of the Decepticons. But when push comes to shove, it appears he hasn't lost his touch.
  • Kim Possible's Grandmother Nana Possible can give her a run for her money.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) there was Granamyr, an ancient dragon who was the second-oldest being on Eternia and likely one of the most powerful. In his first appearance (the memorable episode "The Dragon's Gift") he only sent He-Man and Teela on a Secret Test of Character (and had the attitude of a Grumpy Old Man) but in his second appearance, he proved he was still a force to be reckoned with, where he kicked an evil dragon's ass but good in a rather epic aerial battle. This is not a guy you mess with. (Oh and he has a pretty Cool Helmet too.)
  • Slappy Squirrel from Animaniacs. The premise behind her segments is that she's a veteran from The Golden Age of Animation, and as a result, is wise to the tricks that cartoon villains pull. (Most of her enemies are from that era too, and bother her out of an obsession for revenge, but they aren't nearly as smart.)
  • Dofus: The Treasures of Kerubim. The ecaflip Kerub may be long in the tooth now, but back in his heyday, he was a daring adventurer who fought, loved, and lost with the best of them, and has the flippin' great pile of memories to prove it. He currently makes a living as a humble shopkeeper, but he enjoys sharing stories of his exploits with his son, his live-in maid, or any friends or acquaintances who should stop by.
  • Rex, Gregor and Wolffe in Star Wars Rebels, three clone troopers who went into hiding after the Clone War ended, living in a beat-up AT-TE on a desert planet fishing for Sandworms. The main characters try recruiting them for the Rebellion but they aren't interested until the Empire attacks and they have a chance to prove they're not obsolete yet.
  • Malory Archer of Archer is long retired from field agent work. That doesn't mean she's to be trifled with. She's a crack shot with her weapon of choice (A .44 Magnum) and is capable of escaping underground imprisonment without any assistance.
  • The Venture Bros. has several:
    Rose: I'll let you take the first swing. And if you don't put me down, I'll beat the living shit out of you till my arthritis kicks in. And I just took my Humira.
  • Hudson in Gargoyles left his position as guide of the Gargoyles' clan but he's still a cunning fighter.
  • As in the other incarnations Alfred shows to be a pretty competent combatant in Batman: The Animated Series, especially in the James Bond-like episode "The Lion and the Unicorn" where he alone defeats two mooks.
  • Hinted to be the case with Varian's father, Qurian, from Tangled: The Series. He even has a hidden trunk of gear and looks over some of it while looking at a family portrait.
  • Lucas Hall of Star Com The US Space Force was the greatest Star Ranger in his youth. He’s been retired for fifteen years and is an elderly man now, but while age and inactivity have slowed him down, he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He comes out of retirement to rescue a StarCom team that got trapped in an old Star Ranger base, where his knowledge of the base’s traps and protocols prove invaluable.

    Real Life 
  • In general, most veterans are these as long as they're not Shell Shocked Veterans.
    • And sometimes even then. Ask Audie Murphy.
  • John L. Burns was a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. At the ripe old age of 68, he was constable of Gettysburg PA. The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began a few months shy of his 70th birthday, and Burns snagged his old flintlock and walked out to the battle lines. His ass-kicking abilities undiminished by age, he joined the Union soldiers (who were mostly a third or a quarter of his age) and showed them how it was done, even shooting a Confederate officer off his horse. Burns ended up receiving multiple gunshot wounds himself, but amazingly survived the battle and the war, living on until 1872.
  • While "The Father Of Lucha Libre" and EMLL founder Salvador Lutteroth did not participate in matches, he had fought in the Mexican revolution prior to becoming a promoter.
  • Buzz Aldrin—former NASA astronaut, decorated Air Force fighter pilot, second man to walk on the moon, MIT doctoral degree holder, and get the idea—had enough of conspiracy theorist crackpot Bart Sibrel's heckling in front of his daughter and punched him right in the kisser on video when he was 72 years old.
  • Cinncinatus, the retired Roman general, came out of retirement and saved Rome from invaders. Then he retired back to his farm rather than submitting to the temptation to use his fame to make himself an Evil Overlord. In doing so he was held up to Roman Schoolboys for ages after as an example of faithful public service.
  • General, later Field Marshal and even later President, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, born 1867. He made his lifetime career in the Czarist Russian army, retiring as a fully serving General of Cavalry of the Lifeguards in 1917, having participated in both Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905 and WWI 1914-1917. After the declaration of Independence of Finland December 1917, he was pleaded to become the commander-in-chief of the White Army. After the Finnish Civil War he retired. Little did he know that his Moment of Awesome was yet to become. His happy pensioneer's days were over in 1939, when the Winter War began. Again he was called to service, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army. He was promoted to Field Marshal in 1940, and he served as the Supreme Commander of the Finnish Armed Forces until the end of the Continuation War. After the Armstice with USSR 1944 and resignation of President Risto Ryti, he was nominated as the President of Finland. Why? Because he was the only person both Finns and Soviets could trust. He passed away in 1951.
  • The Tower Guards "Beefeaters" in London. Everyone is an Old Soldier who was given the position as a reward for service in the British Army.
  • Hermann Goering. His later reputation as The Caligula of Nazi Germany does little to hint that he used to be one of Germany's best fighter pilots in WW1, with 22 recorded kills.
  • George Washington. As if he hasn't done enough badassery in his life already, the former president was asked out of retirement by John Adams to take over the command of US Army during the Quasi-War with France.
    • On account of his many heroic deeds for the United States, President Washington was posthumously promoted to General of the Armies of the United States, and the same statute that enacted this promotion decreed that no American can ever hold a military rank greater than George Washington.
      • That said, there was one person who held the rank as well- John J Pershing, in WWI.
  • Most former Gurkhas are this, but one honorable mention should go to Bishnu Shresthra who single-handedly subdued FORTY fully-armed train robbers with only a notorious traditional knife.
  • Christopher Lee before becoming one of the world's best actors, playing badass roles like Dracula and Saruman among others, and singing metal, he was a nazi hunter during World War II. Yes... he killed nazis for a living!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: