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10-Minute Retirement

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"Really? I retired for, what, five minutes, and it all goes to shit."

In the middle of a crisis, calamity, or sheer unadulterated apocalypse, something terrible happens (but not, typically, any more terrible than happens in any given episode) and The Hero completely and utterly gives up. Common lines that go with the phenomenon are "I'm too old for this," "I can't do it," "There is nothing I can do," "The best thing to do is to get out of here," or "Somebody else can." May even be the follow-up to a Heroic BSoD, which is similar but involuntary.

After some kind of epiphany, often accompanied by a "No More Holding Back" Speech, the character comes out of retirement and announces that they are back on the job, typically followed by the show's equivalent of a Foe-Tossing Charge — anything from actual foe-tossing to kicking butt in the school spelling bee. (See also Look What I Can Do Now!, which is similar but involves a character leaving and returning much badder than before.)

It's also a common Romantic Comedy trope to have one of the principal couple suddenly decide to quit working with or for the other, vowing to never come back, only to return a few scenes later.

See also: Achilles in His Tent, Conscience Makes You Go Back, Changed My Mind, Kid, and We Used to Be Friends. Opposite of Passing the Torch, where The Hero seriously hands on the responsibility to someone else. He's Back! is what happens when the character returns to action. Breaking the Fellowship is the equivalent for a whole group rather than a mere individual.


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  • "American Honda Presents DC Comics Supergirl": Kara is feeling so guilty about her boyfriend getting hurt in a road accident as she was busy saving lives elsewhere that she declares she is through being Supergirl, believing her powers cannot even save people who she loves. One page later, though, Superman talks her into using the Fortress of Solitude machines to snap Stever out of his coma.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Beyblade, Kai takes a 10-Minute Retirement at the beginning of season two.
  • In Code Geass R2, Lelouch goes into one of these after he learns that Nunnally, his sister, has been reinstated as a Britannian Princess and wants to settle the conflict in Area 11 diplomatically, just like Euphemia in the first season. At first, he wants to stop being the Dark Messiah and Well-Intentioned Extremist Zero, since he started fighting for Nunnally's sake and wouldn't want to cause any problems for her now that she has a major political role as Area 11's viceroy. Eventually, he finds a way to move the fight somewhere else, making things easier for Nunnally without abandoning his team.
  • In Detroit Metal City, Souichi Negishi tries to quit being Demon King Johannes Krauser II, only to be disgusted with his replacement and come back and abuse him on stage.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure: Happens to Mimi Tachikawa after the death of Whamon. She declares she's had enough of fighting due to the number of friends she's lost. Fortunately she recovers in the next episode and even stares down three Garbagemon without flinching.
    • Digimon Tamers: Rika Nonaka quits on being a Tamer after being captured by IceDevimon.
  • Dominion Tank Police: Leona Ozaki spends most of episode 2 of the second series officially off the police rolls. She's bent on figuring out who killed her once-partner Channon Ishihara, so she requests a leave of absence. The Chief instead makes it look like she'd been sacked. Turns out they wanted her as a loose cannon so she could get a needed lead to crack the case; others of the Tank Police keep tabs on her during her search and help bail her out of trouble towards the end.
  • Kurita has one of these in Eyeshield 21 when Gaou breaks Hiruma's arm in the middle of a game. It's only the possibility that Gaou will do worse to Komusubi and fill-in quarterback Sena that brings Kurita around.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Edward Elric is fairly broken up about what happened to Nina, but doesn't resign.
    • He does have what amounts to a ten second retirement later on though. He turns in his pocket watch (the token of all state alchemists) to King Bradley, and then gives a long speech about how he won't work for the corrupt higher ups any longer or take part in their evil schemes. Bradley counters this speech by threatening his childhood friend and Love Interest, Winry, and Ed angrily takes the watch back and continues working.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Ed once briefly resigned his position as a state alchemist. He went back not long afterwards, but the 10-Minute Retirement probably saved his life; he ran into Scar, a serial killer targeting state alchemists, and Scar would have killed him if Edward hadn't said he had retired.
  • In Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Sousuke admits he can't focus anymore and abandons the mission, leaving Mao behind. He eventually does come back to save the day. Though even more interestingly, from the novel's short story "Golden Days with Captain Amigo," it's implied that Sousuke, given a choice, actually would hightail it out of Mithril and retire and go off somewhere to live where he can leisurely fish. The idea appealed to him greatly, and he was shown to get excited at the very thought of the possibility. It makes one wonder how different the series would be if he and Kurz managed to become filthy rich, and both decided to quit while they're ahead and retire.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, this happens to Hayato Kazami a lot, especially after the first race in the TV series, but then he came back after he met a former racer and he learned some more racing skills (from Bleed Kaga).
    • In the second OVA sequel, ZERO, Hayato interacts with the titular Zero Zone and ends up crashing horribly with his rival Randoll. Both are then absent for the rest of the racing season since they are hospitalized. Bonus point for Hayato, since he also suffers a Heroic BSoD.
  • In Glass Mask, Maya Kitajima decided to give up on being a professional actress after the death of her mother and the role Masumi Hayami had in keeping her whereabouts from her. As she was still under contract with Daito Entertainment, she agreed to do one final performance for them. The role was a minor one, but the scene in question was pivotal to the play's story. The scene caused her to rediscover her passion for acting, but she had no means of working as a professional again and the scandal had blacklisted her name. Maya chose to find a different way back into the world of professional acting.
  • Gundam:
    • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro quits being a pilot for about two days after his superiors discuss forcing him to retire. Just to show them, he takes the Gundam with him and buries it in the desert until they need him again.
    • Happens twice in After War Gundam X. First, Garrod tries to sell the Gundam after he's responsible for injuring a crewmate and then The Captain (thanks to his inexperience in being part of an actual crew). He gets back in when his new friends are in danger. Later, Roybea quits the Freeden because they're taking sides in a war, which he disapproves of, but he ends up falling for a member of the local resistance and she's shot dead in front of him. He comes back in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and has to be talked down from attacking the entire Federation army.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Wufei goes through a phase in which he feels unfit to pilot his Gundam after Treize swiftly defeated him in a sword fight.
  • Hyper Police: Natsuki has one of these after tragedy happens while on a hunt.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, after Link discovers that the island and its inhabitants are part of the Wind Fish's dream he abandons his quest, not wanting to cause a Dream Apocalypse, and instead tries to leave the island with Marin on a raft. The epiphanies come when they find they can't get away, Marin tells him that she wanted to leave because of a recurring dream of hers, and "you have to wake up from dreams". Later he speaks to the owl who tells him that the island won't really be destroyed, but will continue to live in his memory- Link's island won't be completed until the Wind Fish's island is gone. This finally gets Link back on track.
  • Macross Frontier, Sheryl Nome takes one after various plot points leaves her confidence shot, most notably the one that says Your Days Are Numbered, which had a large effect on all of her actions for the rest of the series. She announces to Alto that she's going to quit being an Idol Singer and do something else. Alto practically chews her out on it, implying it effectively the same as saying she quits being herself, because she loves singing. The next episode (chronologically later the same day), an attack leaves her in a bomb shelter filled with people who have been rushed into these shelters constantly since the beginning of the series, and having just been celebrating their escape from it, the worst attack happens. The Despair Event Horizon looms ominously... and then Sheryl sings.
  • In the Mazinger saga:
    • Mazinger Z: In episode seven several mobs had expressed their displeasure at Humongous Mecha stomping on their houses and them by harassing and assailing the heroes. Prof. Yumi had been hurt when a mob had thrown stones at him, Sayaka was so upset at her father hurt and protesters yelling at the gates of the Home Base she was thinking of quitting, and Kouji also decided just doing it after a big fight with her. Their retirement lasted until another Mechanical Beast attacked.
    • Great Mazinger: From all possible times, The Hero did this during the Grand Finale. Tetsuya had grown so jealous of Kouji, falsely believing everyone were going to replace him with Kouji and forget about him (for all his bluster, he has issues). Saying that his attitude came back to bite him was quite the understatement.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke Fleed was doing this at the beginning of the series. He was planet Fleed's Crown Prince. After Vegan Alliance invaded his homeworld, murdered his family but his little sister, decimated his planet's army and turned the place into a radioactive wasteland, he ran away and settled on Earth, planning leading a peaceful life like a farmer and trying to ferget what happened. Then the Vegans Alliance found Earth, a friend of his was in danger, and he started his Super Robot and marched to the battle again.
  • In My-Otome, after watching everything around her crumble, Arika starts to lose heart about becoming an Otome, and decides to stay in exile with the Aswad. Her mind is quickly changed when the cave she and Mashiro are hiding in decides to play a real-life version of "The floor is lava".
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji did this twice during the series: running away after the battle with the 4th Angel, and trying to quit in the aftermath of accidentally killing (in the manga)/injuring Touji (in the TV series)/Asuka (in the Rebuild movie version.)
  • A musical example occurs in Nodame Cantabile, where Nodame seems to give up totally on the piano after she messes up the piano competition.
  • In Nurse Angel Ririka SOS Ririka goes into a Heroic BSoD and temporarily quits being a Magical Girl after her crush Kanou's death.
  • Parodied (like everything else) in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. After Panty loses her powers after re-growing her hymen, Garterbelt banishes her from the church. A Time Skip shows that she's become a farm-hand. When the farm is beset by bandits, the dying landlady's Rousing Final Speech rekindles Panty's resolve. This entire arc doesn't even take five minutes and was all a setup by Garterbelt to get Panty back on track.
  • Otaku Elf has a very short example. Koito and Elda have an argument about Elda's hikikomori tendencies, causing Koito to announce that she no longer weishes to be Elda's Miko. A few pages later, Elda goes outside to find her and convinces her to come back, then earns some of Koito's trademark snark when she gets back.
  • In Prétear, Mannen announces that he is going to quit being a Leafe Knight after his actions led to the escape of the monster they were trying to kill. The problem is — the Knights are all born to protect Leafe, all have different powers, so there are no replacements. He eventually returns, having realised that quitting is not the way to show one's "coolness". Later, Himeno breaks down and runs away, after she kills Shinshe can be replaced as Pretear... but not as Himeno Awayuki: she changes her mind when Hayate threatens to quit as well because he doesn't want another Pretear.
    • Something similar happens in the anime version, but there it's because Himeno goes through a Heroic BSoD and temporarily loses her powers when she loses confidence in herself after learning the Awful Truth. Once again, Hayate helps her through it by telling her that it's okay if she quits as Pretear, and that whether she quits or not there is no replacement for her as a person.
  • Psycho Busters had Xiao Long quit fighting with the other psychics when the others decide to strengthen themselves so they can defeat The Greenhouse and free the other psychics trapped inside because he hated his powers and wanted to get rid of them. Seeing as that because of his powers, his family fell apart and resulted in the death of his parents, it's pretty understandable. By the end of volume 3, he's back and ready to fight, deciding that he'll find a way to get rid of his powers after they stop The Greenhouse.
  • This happens for an episode in Revolutionary Girl Utena when Touga defeats Utena in a duel and claims Anthy as the Rose Bride and Utena decides to live her life like an ordinary school girl. Fortunately, she is talked out of it by Wakaba.
  • In the original Sailor Moon anime, Ami decides to follow her dream of being a doctor and leave the other Sailors as she goes abroad. However, when only Mamoru and Chibiusa arrive to see her off and give her her farewell present (her new Transformation Trinket and a new communicator watch), that and their letter to her is enough to convince her to stay, realizing something is wrong.
  • Saint Seiya has this in the manga only when all the bronze Saints quit after finding out who their father is and how many siblings they really have. It ended the moment Saori gets kidnapped.
  • In Slam Dunk Hanamichi quits the team after the captain insists he practice the basics first, but ashamed after being called a "gutless coward" by the captain, comes back soon afterward. This example is different from most others in which it happens at the very start of the series (the end of the first manga volume), instead of around the climax.
  • Niche of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee temporarily steps down as Lag's "dingo" partner after feeling as though she failed him for drinking the "honey water" and becoming temporarily paralyzed and not of any use to him. She comes back to help him save a man from falling from a tightrope.
  • Both Kotetsu and Barnaby retire from the hero business at the end of Tiger & Bunny... only to come back less than a year later.
    Kotetsu: I thought you retired.
    Barnaby: I should be asking you the same thing.
  • In Trigun, Vash the Stampede runs off after losing control of his BFG in the episode "Fifth Moon". Several months later (the next episode, "Goodbye For Now"), Wolfwood finds him hiding under an assumed name and talks him back into his old life.
    • And then he does it again after (Legato forces Vash to kill him) in "Sin."
      • Yet the BSOD is somewhat justified, as he's been living by his Thou Shalt Not Kill pledge for over 100 years. The sudden return to action is more of a jolt, honestly.
  • In Trinity Blood, Father Abel Nightroad temporarily resigns from the AX (Vatican foreign affairs special agent) after failing to stop Isaac von Kampfer, who dropped a building on his partner Sister Noelle and destroyed half of Barcelona. Leads to an interesting situation in the light novels: Abel insults Archbishop d'Este by implicitly accusing him of terrorism, but since Abel technically no longer works for AX, his boss Caterina has the opportunity to stay clear of the whole mess. (She still stands up for him.)
  • Venus Versus Virus had Sumire temporarily quit the team, saying that none of her teammates understood what it was like to go into Beserker Mode. Unfortunately, viruses (demons) are attracted to those who can see them...

    Comic Books 
  • In a prequel story to the Age of Apocalypse, Colossus just sat down in the middle of a fight and decided I Will Fight No More Forever. The other X-Men convinced him that, if he doesn't want to fight directly, he should train the younger mutants.
  • Captain America:
    • After becoming disenchanted with the US government as a result of events in the Secret Empire arc, Steve Rogers abandoned the mantle of Captain America and began freelancing under the name Nomad. He resumed his former position after eight issues (nine including the one where he quits). This trope was subverted by the statement "You thought this would be over after three issues, didn't you?"
    • Later, he had the mantle taken away by the government, and temporarily became "The Captain."
    • In the mid-90s, Steve Rogers again had his Captain America mantle taken away from him after the government believed that he had supposedly betrayed his country by aligning with the Red Skull. As such, he operated in a simplistic red-and-blue outfit and had to use an energy shield rather than his traditional red-white-and-blues.
    • In the Ultimate Universe following the death of Ultimate Spider-Man, Steve Rogers quits being Captain America after realizing he let Peter Parker die and getting a massive What the Hell, Hero? from Aunt May. He does end up coming back in style, though.
    • As a Shout-Out of sorts to the original "Secret Empire" storyline, the Secret Empire Crisis Crossover kicks off after Sam Wilson gives up the mantle of Captain America due to being crapped on by the public and everything he tries to do working against him. The other heroes, especially his love interest Misty Knight, give him hell for this decision due to it leading Steve Rogers, now revealed to be working with HYDRA, to take over the United States. It isn't until Rayshawn Lucas, the new Patriot, reads him the riot act by calling his act selfish that Sam retakes the mantle once more.
    • The first time this happened to Steve was waaaaay back in 1968, before he'd even gotten a solo book. It lasted exactly one issue, mostly because Steve was concerned about the army of wannabe successors popping up and getting themselves hurt by criminals.
  • In BOOM Studio's Darkwing Duck continuation, we find out that Drake Mallard had retired as the titular hero due to Negaduck discovering Darkwing's Secret Identity thanks to Launchpad's choice of laundromats and when Negaduck attacked, Darkwing got so spooked at Gosalyn being caught in the middle, he opted to quit. When Gosalyn learned that was the reason Darkwing retired and he and Launchpad weren't on good terms she let them have it.
  • In Green Lantern (vol. 2) #181, Hal Jordan resigned from the Green Lantern Corps after Carol forces him to choose either her or his job as Green Lantern, and his backup, John Stewart, was promoted to being the new GL of Sector 2814. By the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hal rejoined the Corps.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Presents): After the Badoon are driven off Earth, the Guardians break up, but for various reasons find they can't stay on Earth (Charlie's harassed by his boss, Martinex is shunned by folk, Yondu accidentally kills a guy, and Major Victory has nothing he can do), so they all fire up the Captain America and head out to guard the galaxy.
  • Superboy suffered this in the lead up to Infinite Crisis. After being controlled by Lex Luthor and tearing apart both The Outsiders and the Teen Titans, Conner opts to leave the Titans, afraid that he can't trust himself anymore. It takes Superboy-Prime coming to his front door and beating the everliving stuffing out of him, Krypto and three other super teams for Conner to get his head on straight and save the multiverse.
  • Iron Man:
    • In the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline, Tony Stark's encounter with Justin Hammer has left him shaken to the point where he considers giving up being Tony Stark and just be Iron Man full-time. But when a train rescue operation goes awry thanks to his "intervention", he decides he can't do anything right and is poised to drink himself into oblivion, before his friends intervene and convince him that he doesn't have to go through his problems alone, starting him on the path to sobriety.
    • In the same storyline, as the result of a drunken Tony snapping at him, and his not liking the direction things have been going of late, Edwin Jarvis opts to resign his position as Tony's butler. Right afterward, Jarvis finds out his mother needs medical care, and to pay for it, he hocks his two shares of Stark International stock - right at a time when S.H.I.E.L.D. is buying up every piece of stock in order to force Stark to start building weapons for them again. Tony convinces Jarvis to come back and then tries to get the stock back from the loan shark, only to find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. already bought itnote . This actually leads to a rather epic Ten Minute Retirement for most of the entire company, due to the loyalty Stark had fostered, leaving Nick Fury with a useless asset. The two men come to terms, returning control of the company back to Stark.
    • Obadiah Stane's machinations succeed in driving Stark back into the bottle, forcing him to give up the Iron Man armor to Jim Rhodes. Even after Tony recovers, and experiments with a prototype suit that he even occasionally uses in an emergency, he refuses to resume the role of Iron Man full-time until Rhodey is injured in an explosion caused by Stane that kills another of Stark's friends. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the brand-new Silver Centurion suit.
    • In the wake of the lines crossed in the Armor Wars storyline, and with Iron Man believed dead, Stark decided to leave him that way. Then Edwin Cord started using Firepower to attack Stark Enterprises directly, and his employees get hurt. Cue another Roaring Rampage of Revenge, this time in the brand-new Neo-Classic Armor, as the "all new" Iron Man. Even then, Stark planned to destroy his new armor after stopping Firepower, until its operator reminded him that there would be other threats.
    • After Stark was shot and paralyzed by Kathy Dare, he considered retreating from public life, turning control of SE to Marcy Pearson and focusing on being Iron Man full-time (since the suit restored his mobility). Then at the preliminary hearing for Dare's trial, where his former lawyer tries to paint her (falsely) as a victim of his abuse, a parade of character witnesses that includes friends, current and former employees, and even a rival from Roxxon, all attest to Stark's character, convincing him that he does still have value outside of his armor, and he rescinds his plans to retire from SE, much to Marcy's chagrin.
    • Iron Man #178 parodied some of these with an Avengers fan club firing their Iron Man equivalent due to Iron Man not being an Avenger at the time. This results in said kid drowning his sorrows in a (soda) bottle and tossing away his helmet (a stew-pot), declaring there's no point to being Iron Man solo. After one of their enemies impersonates him and sullies the Avengers Club's good name, though, he decides to take him down with his own two hands, resulting in his being reinstated as a member, continuity inaccuracies be damned.
  • Judge Dredd: In "Robot Wars" Judge Dredd quits his job as a Judge in protest against his superiors' refusal to pass stricter anti-robot laws to deal with the threat of a robot uprising. When the Robot War breaks out, Judge Dredd comes back to help the city, since he can't stand by and see it go under.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Sick of the pressures of being a hero, Light Lass quits the team at the end of The Great Darkness Saga. She returns two years later, real world time, after a battle against her evil brother Lightning Lord convinces her that the Legion is necessary to protect people from Lightning Lord and his ilk.
    • The Earthwar Saga: Lightning Lad, Satun Girl, Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy, who had left the Legion after their respective weddings and were vacationing on the planet R-K528 get into a cruiser ship and head towards Earth quickly when they hear the news from a Khund invasion.
  • Moon Knight's superpower might as well be retiring. As of 2017, he's quit and rejoined the superhero biz at least five times - once even in a flashback between series! Note that this doesn't count the time he was briefly dead for real. (The second time, not the origin time.)
  • The Ms. Marvel (2014) storyline "Teenage Wasteland" has Kamala up and disappearing after a series of missteps since Civil War II. She's later found by a classmate of hers at a private school, intending on abandoning both her heroic life and her old civilian life and just be normal and blend into the crowd. Thankfully, she's talked out of this, returns to take down her first foe, the Inventor, and makes up with Carol Danvers.
  • The final issue of New Avengers ends with Luke Cage quitting the team to spend more time with his family. He returns to action a few months later during Infinity, where he becomes the leader of the Mighty Avengers.
  • In Nightwing's first mini-series, Dick decides to retire as Nightwing as he felt that he was still living in the Shadow of the Bat and felt he needed more. After discovering a note suggesting his parents were killed as part of a mad dictator's whim, he dons a new costume and, after aiding in crumbling the country while confirming that Zucco had killed his parents, he returns to being a hero fulltime.
  • Robin (1993):
    • After figuring out the cruel Secret Test of Character Bruce set for Tim on Tim's sixteenth birthday he stepped down from being Robin while reminding Bruce that he'd always approached the position as a temporary thing anyway. He came back shortly thereafter after he came to terms with what Bruce didnote  and deciding it wasn't enough to keep him from helping people as Robin as he'd been trained for.
    • Tim quits again when his father discovers he's Robin and threatens Bruce with a gun to stay away from his son. After Bruce fires Tim's replacement Stephanie he still doesn't come back to the job, expressing irritation that Bruce fired someone Tim thought had the perfect temperament to balance Batman out as Robin and reiterating his promise to his father. Once a gang war engulfs Gotham and Steph goes missing however he retrieves his Robin suit and joins the Batfamily in trying to save the city. He tells his father he's sorry but he can't stand by when he has the training and knowledge to help and manages to convince Jack of the fact.
    • His final retirement was forced on him when Dick gave the title and costume of Robin to Damian while Tim was still using it. In response Tim did a bit more research into Bruce's "death" which he rightly thought to be a disappearance instead as Tim and then took up the identity of Red Robin, an old costume of Jason's he'd worn before when trying to hide and defend against head injuries.
  • Both Sonics of the comics have quit the Freedom Fighters of said comic and rejoined an issue later. Sonic the Comic Sonic quit because of Johnny's death.
  • The Powerpuff Girls #18 (DC, Oct. 2001): "The Trouble With Bubbles" has Bubbles running away from home after Townsville and her sisters berate her for missing her cue in a battle routine against the story's monster. Bubbles returns home for her prized toy Octi and sees on TV the resuscitated monster handing Blossom and Buttercup their collective butts. Suddenly feeling needed (everyone says without Bubbles to help, all is lost), our blue-eyed little heroine flies in to best the beast.
  • Spider-Man: Occasionally Spidey will get sick and tired of juggling the demands of heroics and ordinary life for the benefit of an unappreciative world and hang up the web-shooters until something spurs him into action again.
    • Peter Parker did this in the classic Spider-Man No More storyline (which lasted all of 1 issue before the Kingpin began causing trouble and Spidey's Chronic Hero Syndrome kicked in) during the Silver Age, and since then it's become a standard part of his repertoire. It's lampshaded in Spider-Girl #1, where he comments that he's quit "more times than I can count."
    • Inverted in the mid-90s story Peter Parker No More, in which Spider-Man suffers a mental breakdown after one emotional hit too many, and decides to all but give up his civilian identity, spending all his time in costume.
    • An Ultimate Spider-Man example: Miles quits being Spider-Man after his mother is accidentally killed during his battle with Venom, but returns to action after a one year Time Skip. In real life however, the series still continued without any such hiatus.
  • At the end of the original run of Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller left her position to lead a tiny Caribbean country. She would have stayed there gladly had the Our Worlds at War crossover not forced the U.S. government to drag her back.
  • Superman:
    • Post-Crisis Supergirl did quit several times when her superhero life got too hard or she deemed herself to be a failure (after the destruction of New Krypton). She always returned to action when someone else was in danger, though.
    • Death & the Family: After saving Lana Lang from Insect Queen, Supergirl is still angry at being lied to "for her own good" during weeks by someone whom she trusted implicitly, so she decides to leave Earth and go back to Kandor. She was back three issues later.
    • At the beginning of Bizarrogirl, Kara declares that Supergirl is retired for good. Before the end of the next issue she is wearing her blue-and-red outfit again.
      Supergirl: Yeah. Just like Kara Zor-El, Supergirl's going away, too. For good.
    • In the Red Daughter of Krypton arc, Kara gave up being Supergirl when she became a Red Lantern and resumed her former identity after removing her power ring.
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: Superman decides to quit his hero career when he believes he has killed Nam-Ek by accident, a resolution strengthened when he theorizes Nam-Ek had the cure for the plague hitting Central City. Although Supergirl tries to dissuade him from it, Superman insists that he is going to tender his resignation from the League and he will announce his retirement later that day. However, Superman abandons his plans when he discovers Nam-Ek was stealthily teleported away from the battle by his real enemy, Amalak.
    • The Super-Revenge of Lex Luthor: The titular villain has gaslighted Superman so efficiently than Kal-El has lost his self-confidence and becomes convinced that he is useless, so he considers giving up his career. He changes his mind when he realizes that his failures were a ploy on his nemesis' part.
  • Ultimate X-Men:
    • Phoenix, after she destroys Apocalypse.
    • Also Dazzler, who leaves the original team due to the shenanigans involving Nightcrawler stalking and kidnapping her, only to be brought back a handful of issues later on Bishop's team.
  • Clive, an old Navy dog from Wild's End is settling into retirement in a quiet town before an alien invasion forces him to lead a group of survivors.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Taranee quits the team early on as a culmination of a rebellious streak. The reason? She found out that the Heart of Kandrakar was fixing all of the girl's flaws, including Taranee's eyesight and she found that too invasive.
  • Played with in Wonder Girl Vol. 1 where both Cissie King (formerly Arrowette) and Anita Fight (formerly Empress) quickly offer to come out of retirement to help Cassie deal with Hercules. While they both don their costumes again for the first time since the dissolution of Young Justice they ultimately remain retired from the hero business and were only trying to help out a friend.
  • Kitty Pryde resigned from the X-Men after the apparent death of Colossus, having come to the conclusion that dressing in spandex and beating up other mutants is not the way to achieve coexistence between mutants and humans. She was later kidnapped by Reverend Stryker, and subsequently recruited by Emma Frost to rejoin the team during Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men note . She later attempted to pursue a normal life after her brief engagement to Peter Quill ended, only for Storm to convince her to take the role of team leader in X-Men: Gold.
  • Wolverine ended up leaving the X-Men following the events of Fatal Attractions due to the fact that his healing factor was out of whack and he felt that, without his adamantium, he was useless. He still gets into scraps, but it isn't until he aids Cable, Cyclops and Jean Grey in rescuing the X-Men from the Phalanx that he takes the idea of returning to the X-Men a little more seriously.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: In “What if Eva was never a Controller?”, Marco goes through with his plan to ‘retire’ from the Animorphs after the failed mission to call the Andalite homeworld, but after he confirms that his parents aren’t Controllers during a holiday and returns to learn that Jake spent three days as a Controller, he returns to the team.
  • In The Assassination of Twilight Sparkle, Celestia throws down her crown and declares it's somepony else's problem in her grief. Luna slaps her on the cheek and gives a blunt What the Hell, Hero? speech that snaps her out of it.
  • In A Colder War, Steve essentially resigns in "Arctic Front" after Bucky’s death and Peggy’s confession that she at least suspected the Winter Soldier’s identity, but returns to action after a couple of months as an independent operative.
  • Evangelion 303: In Part 2 Asuka was put through the wringer: her war plane crashed during a flight test, her best friend died and she blamed herself for her death and the failure of the mission, spent several months in coma, abused Shinji, crashed another war plane making nearly everyone thinking that she was now an useless, unreliable burn-out, attempted to commit suicide... In chapter 13 she is so sick of everything that she runs away because she thinks she is a miserable failure that has made huge messes, is good only for hurting people and is standing in the everyone's path and holding the project back, and she wants to find a place where nobody knows her and nobody cares about her.
  • Higher Learning: Unusual example because Shinji did not quit because he was bitter but because he was hopeful. When NERV developed the dummy plug system Shinji thought they did not need him anymore. So that he decided to leave in order to start a new life. When he was ready to leave, though, Zeruel came along and proved the dummy plugs were useless, so that Shinji returned hurriedly to kiss its butt.
  • Infinity Train: Wake Me Up: Trip has been on a self-imposed retirement from training after a Noodle Incident involving a Zangoose and Seviper lead to his Serperior being severely damaged. When he actually appears in the story, he sticks to it for a few chapters before meeting Rosa, who convinces him to get back into training with his Seviper with some encouraging words.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, in episode 11 Rock quits being Mega Man for about 1 chapter. It's played very well, and he himself notes that he may have been hasty.
  • Looker in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, after working with new International Police agents (who are barely old enough to be trainers) is shown questioning whether he's good enough for his job and considers retirement, but Nanu talks him out of it.
  • Carol Danvers from A Prize for Three Empires, quits the Avengers twice in order to lead a normal life. The first time, her retirement was disrupted by Rogue. The second time, she put her costume back on to help Iron Man out.
  • In The Return-Remixed, Kelly Kelly takes one after the Diva Army's Drill Sergeant Nasty, Jazz, gives her a hands-on lesson as to why one shouldn't do the Stinkface during a match. In her absence, Eve Torres took her place in a match against DEAR and wound up taking three triple power-bombs on the concrete floor. Kelly felt responsible for what happened to her, returned to the Diva Army and Took a Level in Badass.
  • Scar Tissue: After hearing that Unit-02 had reawakened Misato quit her job in Nerv. She returned the next day after finding out that Gendo had returned from the Red Sea.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: After being mind-raped by an Eldritch Abomination, Asuka quit super-heroing because she had convinced herself that she was an unworthy, stupid child playing hero. However she became Supergirl again to save Rei from an alien monster.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Cars 3, Lightning goes through one for four months after losing his championship title because of a near fatal crash. He spends most the time in Doc's old garage watching his mentor's crash and thinking that the same is going to happen to him. Thankfully, Sally reminds him that he still has a chance and that he can try something new to give him an edge to beat Jackson Storm.
  • Flint has one of these in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, after the FLDSMDFR's satellite dish is broken, and the world is about to be destroyed by a giant food. Flint literally throws himself away, but when his dad brings him his labcoat (and makes it clear he believes in him), he is back in the game!
  • The Wolf in Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil gets upset when he thinks Red Riding Hood doesn’t need him as a partner anymore. He retires from HEA to sulk in his trailer then returns just in time to rescue Red.
  • Violet in Incredibles 2, after her father accidentally reveals Dicker erased Tony's memories of her, she "renounces superheroes" and unsuccessfully attempts to destroy her supersuit. Bob is later able to reconcile with her, helping her mood against the situation. Later she learns her mother is in danger and her father left to rescue her. She then "renounces her renunciation" and leaves with her brothers to rescue their parents.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: After being told he’s on his last life and having a harrowing encounter with the Wolf, Puss retires to the life of a lap cat for a Crazy Cat Lady at the doctor’s suggestion. He doesn’t enjoy it but remains there long enough to grow a beard. It all ends once Goldilocks and her goons come barging in.
  • Judy in Zootopia gets hit with several My God, What Have I Done? moments after her comments at the press conference inflame predator/prey tension and Nick breaks his friendship with her because of it. This leads to her to quit the police force and return home until she has a "Eureka!" Moment about the cause of predators going savage and returns to Zootopia to make things right.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Only put in Airplane! because the producers requested it. The Zuckers turned it into a good Ronald Reagan joke.
  • Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer), at some point in Batman Forever, decides to give up crimefighting and settle with Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) (somewhat odd, since Meridian clearly seemed to be quite attracted to both Wayne and Batman). He says "Batman is no more," a line that serves as an unofficial tagline for the film. Batman returns when Two-Face and the Riddler find out about his secret identity and then attack Wayne manor and kidnap Chase, and remembered why he became Batman in the first place.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark has one due to a Heroic BSoD brought about by Lex Luthor's bombing of the Capitol Building, which Clark was present for but unable to prevent. Also, Diana is introduced the middle of one - having been active during World War I, by the time of the movie she's abandoned her heroic identity. Bruce reaching out in friendship (and recovering a photo of her during WWI that she'd lost) helps remind her of who she once was, and when Luthor unleashes Doomsday onto Metropolis, she becomes Wonder Woman once more to help Superman and Batman.
  • Calvary: After a parishioner threatens to kill him next Sunday, his church gets set on fire and it becomes clear that no one in town cares about their Catholicism anymore, Father James quits the priesthood and is about ready to board a plane for London when he spots the coffin of a man he'd performed last rites for. He changes his mind and returns to face the murderous parishioner.
  • The events of Captain America: Civil War brings Iron Man and Hawkeye out of retirement to help The Avengers.
  • Dylan in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle when she worries about endangering her friends. Jaclyn Smith provides the pep talk.
  • R.O.T.O.R.: Coldyron retires from his job after an argument with Buglar. He rejoins the force shortly after when R.O.T.O.R. goes berserk.
  • In The Color of Money, after Eddie Felson has his Heroic BSoD and breaks up with Vincent and Carmen, he snaps out of his funk and begins rebuilding his pool-playing skills.
  • Peter near the end of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. He's back following an enlightening celebrity cameo.
  • In Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai, it was revealed via Retcon that Takumi Irui, Kamen Rider 555, went into this after Masato Kusaka, Kamen Rider Kaixa, is killed, suffering a Heroic BSoD that takes ten years and a talking to by Keisuke Jin, Kamen Rider X, to snap him out of.
  • Subverted in Mad Max. Fifi says, "Again?" when Max hands in his notice, but on realizing he's serious tells him to take a couple of weeks holiday instead. Max does return, but only to steal his car for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • John Wick starts off with the titular Anti-Hero retiring from his assassin profession to live a simpler life. However, on one fatal night, his former Boss’s son, a few days after the love of his life dies, decides to steal his car, beat him up , and murder the puppy his wife gifted him for grieving. Since then, John Wick returned to enact revenge on the criminal underworld. Unfortunately, it makes him dig his roots deeper into it because of his rampage.
  • Robot designer Tak Mashido in Real Steel went into retirement after his robot Noisy Boy, the top contender of his time, lost to the current world champion. Two years later, he was hired by the Lemkovas —- the same people who he lost to —- to design a new robot for them, the result being the film's current champion, Zeus.
  • In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) has to leave the cavalry because he has reached the age of retirement, but at the end of the film the government returns him to service as a (nominally civilian) scout.
  • Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 gave up being a superhero after going through a series of unfortunate events in the beginning of the film. He realises it doesn't pay to save the day and will only continue to ruin his daily life. Soon he realises the people needed Spider-Man and gets back to it.
  • In Starship Troopers, Rico tries to quit after he is demoted (due to getting a fellow trainee killed because of his desire to win), but just as he is walking out of the base, the bugs Colony Drop his hometown and he promptly forces his way back into the Infantry.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • Kirk gets demoted to First Officer of the Enterprise under Pike for violating the Prime Directive at the start of the film, only to regain his command a few scenes later when Pike is killed and Marcus decides to use Kirk as an Unwitting Pawn.
    • Scotty resigns from the Enterprise near the beginning of the film thanks to Kirk's sudden bout of obstruction regarding the special torpedoes. He shows up again halfway through the film, and is instrumental in sabotaging the Vengeance.
  • Gary in Team America: World Police. He's back on track after a montage.

  • Jake, briefly, toward the end of Animorphs, although it might make just as much sense to put it under Heroic BSOD.
    • Marco in book 5, and Cassie in book 19, also qualify.
  • Jared Black from Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air series wishes to settle down and give up adventuring for retirement; though as fate would have it, he keeps getting dragged along in every adventure the protagonists have, and he is not happy about it.
  • Death has tried to retire several times in the Discworld novels (once in Mort, again in Soul Music, and maybe others). It doesn't stick.
    • Death is forced to retire in Reaper Man, but this also doesn't stick.
    • Vimes in Men at Arms, after he's told to turn in his badge one too many times. Ironically, he was supposed to be retiring anyway, and it still didn't stick.
    • Lord Vetinari has himself been subjected to the occasional ten minute retirement, usually by being arrested. Vetinari never fights these, since he knows they'll never stick. None have to date, and he's usually welcomed back with at least tacit relief.
    • Sergeant Jack Jackrum in Monstrous Regiment, and he circumvents the 'retirement' part in the most hilarious way imaginable.
    • In The Last Continent, after spending an extended period of time stranded on an island with the rest of the Unseen University facility, Ponder Stibbons decides he's had enough of their Insane Troll Logic and stubborn-old-man foolishness. He decides to stay on the island with the God of Evolution who runs the island and hopefully make the universe a more organized place. Ponder quickly rethinks this when the "big project" the God is working on turns out to be the cockroach.
  • The heroine of The Dragonslaying Maiden, Dana, is a member of a mercenary band in the Scandinavia of myth and legend. However, her teammates accept an evil queen's offer of employment in her legions of trolls and Dana is the only holdout. In response, the queen commands them to attack her as a test of loyalty. They do. She survives by the skin of her teeth, but the experience is so traumatic that she finds a remote location in the woods, curls up, and wishes for death for a few months while her old friends and their new master start to Take Over the World. While trying to sleep, she overhears cries for help and, both out of altruism and a desire for the noise to go away, intervenes. It turns out that the one calling for help is Desire, one of Odin’s two ravens, who'd been snared by dark elves. Odin decides to repay the favor by restoring Dana's strength with enchanted food and drink, and then telling her of a village nearby being oppressed by a dragon, knowing that she can't ignore her conscience and let the innocent die. It works: she goes back into action, slays the dragon, and integrates into the thankful community. This gives her a new purpose in life, and sets into motion events that will see her eventually confront her old comrades and defeat the evil queen's machinations.
  • "Officer Buckle and Gloria": Officer Buckle refuses to come to the school for another safety talk after he's found out that Gloria's performances have been the reason people have been paying attention. Gloria gets dropped off at the school by herself, but without her partner, she just sits there and then falls asleep. Officer Buckle returns to safety-talk duty after the accident that follows (and a note from one of the students).
  • In The Pendragon Adventure, the eponymous protagonist tries to escape the whole conflict by trapping himself with Saint Dane on Ibara. It doesn't work.
  • The Queen of Attolia: After getting caught and having his right hand chopped off, Eugenides spends a large portion of the book angsting before returning as an even more badass thief.
  • Agent Lucsly in Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock. His faith that the DTI will protect the timeline's integrity is shattered when, on advice from a future agency, he is refused permission to prosecute Janeway for her actions in Endgame. He announces his retirement on the spot, but after a short period of drinking and despairing, his partner Dulmur pulls him out of it and talks him into returning.
  • Temeraire: The main characters Laurence and Temeraire decide to settle down in a peaceful, pastoral retirement at the end of Book 6, having lost their My Country, Right or Wrong convictions, been Court-martialed and convicted of treason, been transported to Australia, and gotten roped into an adventure there. Book 7 begins with them rejoining their old colleagues for a job only they can do, winning their old ranks back in the process.
  • D'Artagnan in The Vicomte de Bragelonne, twice. The first time to help reinstate Charles II of England, the second time because King Louis XIV has imprisoned Athos in the Bastille.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Not surprisingly, Michael Bluth from Arrested Development occasionally becomes fed up with his family and quits. This is most obvious in the season one finale when he intends to move to Arizona with his son. In the season two premiere, he comes back almost immediately. He doesn't even cross state borders.
    • He makes it to the Phoenix airport in the Netflix season.
  • Arrow: Season 3 ends with Oliver to settle down with his love Felicity Smoak, leaving the protection of his home town Star City in the hands of his former team Thea Queen, John Diggle and Laurel Lance. In the first episode of season 4, when the team gets in trouble dealing with the new supervillain Damian Darkh, they ask Oliver to come back. While Oliver is first unwilling to stay permanent he soon learns Felicity helped the team behind his back during their retirment. Soon, the retirment subplot is completly Aborted for the rest of the series.
  • Babylon 5: After the Earth Alliance Civil War is over, Sheridan faces an uncertain future. Kept waiting for several hours in a conference room, Acting President Luchenko gives him two options: either he could resign in addition to being granted amnesty, or be court-martialed. Although his coup was successful, he had undermined the authority of the government; seeing that his time in the military is up, he agrees to resign. At the same time, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds is dissolved and the members agree to the formation and chartering of the Interstellar Alliance. And their new President?
    General: [bursts in] YOU!!
    Sheridan: Funny thing about retiring, you no sooner pick out the places you want to go on vacation than someone comes at you with another job offer.
  • Helena/Huntress does this in the last episode of Birds of Prey (2002)—and it was pretty damn annoying, considering they were in the middle of a city-wide crisis. Her boyfriend convinces her to stop downing shots and confront the Big Bad.
  • In the Blackadder the Third episode "Sense and Senility", Blackadder has a Four Minutes, Twenty-Two Seconds Retirement after the Prince Regent insults him one too many times. (He told Baldrick that he didn't think Balders and the Prince could cope five minutes without him, so when he returns to chaos, he points out exactly how much less than five minutes they lasted.)
  • Likewise, Mr. Feeney (Boy Meets World) actually retired and moved away for several episodes. His Whoopi Epiphany was a Double Aesop when he convinced Corey to face the changes in his life rather than hide away from the world. He returned not as a teacher but as a college student, only to have another Whoopi Epiphany causing him to return to teaching (as a college professor, as which he was somehow qualified).
  • The Boys:
    • Butcher is actually ready to work within the system or even bow out entirely of keeping a leash on supes at the start of Season 3. It's only when Hughie reveals that Neuman is a Supe (and Stan Edgar's adoptive daughter, no less) and admits that Butcher was right that Billy decides to get back into the game.
    • Due to frequent cases of Poor Communication Kills, the team is constantly at risk of falling apart with both Frenchie and M.M. bowing out more than once only to return because Conscience Makes You Go Back.
  • The Brady Bunch: The fourth-season episode "Goodbye Alice, Hello" sees Alice take a brief retirement when the kids (unfairly) claim she's breached their trust over a series of minor incidents. Carol sets them straight after Alice leaves and a sterile housekeeper takes over. It is up to the kids to convince Alice they've made the mistake and they're sorry.
  • Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer hangs up her stake when she overhears the prophecy that she is about to be killed. A year later, after being forced to send her lover to hell, she almost succeeds in retiring for an entire episode. Granted, it was three months in-universe time.
  • In the Season 4 finale of Castle, when Captain Gates puts Beckett and Esposito on administrative leave and has them turn in their badges, Beckett tells the Captain, "Keep it. I resign." This stems from her realization of how her obsession with her mother's murder was destroying her life and keeping her from having the relationship she wanted with Castle. She still has to serve her suspension but she's back on the job in Season 5, episode 2.
  • In Chuck, Colonel Casey is fired and stays a civilian for about four episodes (still popping up during his civilian life from time to time to help), and then he barters his way back on to the team with an important prisoner.
  • Early in the third season of Criminal Minds, Aaron Hotchner and Emily Prentiss both retire for about ten minutes. Luckily, Garcia gets Hotch's transfer request and Prentiss's resignation stuck in the system long enough for them to get drawn back into the BAU's most recent case. Gideon's retirement in the same episode is more permanent, however.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Mac Taylor briefly retires from the crime lab after the end of season 7, to work on a project identifying the remains of 9/11 victims. He's back in the first episode of season 8, but only back as team leader the episode after that.
    • Danny Messer left the team at the same time, having passed the Sergeant's exam. He's back in the lab several episodes after Mac, due to an incident with his rookie subordinates that led him to not trust the people he'd begun working with.
  • Doc Martin: Martin's replacement at the end of season 4 is so stunningly incompetent he feels he has to take over again.
  • Doctor Who:
  • The Equalizer. After one case ends badly, McCall decides to give up his We Help the Helpless gig. Then a sobbing woman is heard begging for help on his answering machine. The episode ends on McCall reluctantly picking up the phone to offer his services.
  • The 4400: In "Fifty-Fifty", Diana retires from NTAC and moves to San Sebastian in Spain with her new boyfriend Ben Saunders as she has grown tired of the fight. Three months later in "The Wrath of Graham", she accepts a position as The European Union's adviser on the 4400. However, she returns to NTAC and Seattle when she learns from Marco that her sister April took promicin and has gone missing.
  • Peter on Fringe quits the team after finding out that he is really from the other universe. After a quick trip "over there" he is back to solving Fringe cases.
  • Richard Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) took several episodes to reach his Whoopi Epiphany and go back into business.
  • The Season 4 finale of Hawaii Five-0 has Grover forced off SWAT and into early retirement after the hijinks he pulls when his daughter is kidnapped. The team comes to find him on the golf course so that Steve can immediately re-hire him as a Five-0 officer.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
    • Hercules does this in the pilot episode; given that the impetus was the murder of his wife and young children, it's hard to blame him. It takes his sidekick getting turned to stone to snap him out of it.
    • A humorous version occurred at the end of the series where, after saving the world once again, Herc decides to retire. He and Iolaus sit down and rest for about half a minute before they realize it's just not for them and go back to Walking the Earth.
    • Xena follows suit in the pilot of her series, briefly burying her armor and weapons before rising to rescue captive villagers.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Pembleton quits the force after being exposed for covering up Congressman Wade's false kidnapping charges on Deputy Commissioner Harris's orders, believing he will enjoy no longer being a homicide detective. After talking with Bayliss and Giardello, Pembleton realizes he's too passionate for the job to ever really quit and chooses to take the heat for the scandal so he can return to his position.
  • House:
    • Dr. House quit from Princeton-Plainsboro on two different occasions. The first time, he quit when Cuddy forbade him from taking methadone to treat his leg pain, only to come back when Cuddy permitted him to do so under her supervision (he returned to vicodin afterwards as well). The second time was after he finished rehab and feared that familiar settings would put him in danger of a relapse, only to find that the only thing other than vicodin that kept his pain at bay was working at Princeton-Plainsboro and solving medical mysteries.
    • Dr. Foreman quit from Princeton-Plainsboro out of fear of becoming more like House and tried to work at New York Mercy, only to be fired from there for violating protocol in a very House-like manner. He eventually returned to Princeton-Plainsboro when it became clear that no one would hire him except for the hospital that would tolerate House.
  • House of Anubis: Nina quits Sibuna in one episode, due to a Heroic BSoD she had for accidentally poisoning Alfie. She returned at the beginning of the very next episode.
  • The InBESTigators: Maudie quits the team when she feels they’ve replaced her with their intern Elijah, who is able to solve the case of Amelia’s missing bicycle before Maudie. Later, she proves Elijah staged the "crime" he solved and rejoins the team before the episode ends.
  • JAG: Harm had his vision impairment fixed and went back to flying Tomcats for a short while, before his new commanding officer convinced him that he was too old to be competitive as an aviator against all the younger pilots, despite his skill, and that he would do the most good as a judge advocate.
    • Mac also briefly quit to work for a civilian law firm in season 3.
    • Harm worked for the CIA at the start of season 9.
  • Wataru, the titular Kamen Rider Kiva, begins the series as a Hikikomori, but gets some Character Development and improves. However, late in the series when everything starts going badly for him (culminating in an attempt to kill a friend while under Mind Control), he shuts himself in worse than before, refusing to fight as Kiva and even locking his living Transformation Trinkets in a birdcage. Only after a dream-vision of his mother does he snap out of it.
  • Life With Lucy: Curtis retires in one episode, but quickly gets bored and depressed. By the end of the episode, he's working at the store again.
  • MacGyver had Pete and Mac briefly retire several times each. Each of them reached their Whoopi Epiphany in one case only after subjecting the viewer to a Clip Show.
  • Averted with Patrick Jane on The Mentalist. When he goes off-work, you know he's serious because there have been at least three separate times where he's done it for a significant period of time, even once for over a year.
  • In an episode of Merlin, Gaius, Merlin's old mentor and the court physician, is fired by the arrogant King Uther and replaced by a new and "better" specialist who, obviously turns out to be the villain of said episode. Later Gaius comes back because Status Quo Is God.
  • In My Hero (2000), George resigns from his superhero duties protecting the Earth after new rules make him so stressed he almost causes the death of his friends by missile. He is replaced by Localman, who is soon replaced by Tempman, who is replaced by Work Experience Boy. When Janet is trapped in the burning Health Centre, Work Experience Boy's attempt to save her goes tits up when he accidentally flies into a bush, but George triumphantly returns as Thermoman and saves her.
  • At the end of the third season of NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs retires (after his warnings were ignored, leading to a fatal terrorist attack on a ship). He's back in the very first episode of the next season, but only permanently returns in the third.
  • In the third season of Person of Interest, Reese quits Team Machine after one of the others died. As he's leaving the country, the Machine reroutes him onto a flight where his skills are needed; after saving the flight, he decides to come back.
  • Primeval: James Lester is forced into retirement in season three after Obstructive Bureaucrat Christine Johnson takes over the ARC. He's back at the end of the episode thanks to his team's loyalty, a little bit of Batman Gambit, and Christine's inability to keep her mouth shut. And he gets a standing ovation from his staff.
  • Ned from Pushing Daisies intends to completely quit waking up dead things in one episode. Emerson and Chuck attempt to solve a murder mystery the old fashioned way, finding their lack of being able to talk to the victims quite a handicap. At the end of the episode Ned changes his mind, wakes up the victims, and solves the crime in a matter of seconds.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: In the opening of "Rumpole's Return", Rumpole has apparently retired from the law after Judge Bull has caused him to lose ten cases in a row. Rumpole finds the good life in the sun to be interminably boring though, and a letter from Phyllida asking for some information on blood splatter evidence is taken as an opportunity for him to jump back into the law and trials.
  • The Santa Clauses, a Distant Sequel-series for The Santa Clause-movies, sees Scott Clavin retire from his job as Santa Claus after some trouble with the magic. His successor, Simon, than nearly ruins the Christmas Magic so Scott and his family head back to the North Pole, save Christmas and Scott claims back his role as Santa Claus, screwing his retirement.
  • Eric Camden retires as minister for less than a season of 7th Heaven.
  • A variation involving a "4-minute exile". At the end of the "His Last Vow" episode of Sherlock, the titular character shoots a powerful blackmailer in the head to protect John's wife and is forced by his brother to leave Britain for a critical mission in Eastern Europe, which he previously estimated had a survival period of about 6 months. Sherlock says his goodbyes, gets on a private jet and takes off. Four minutes later, Mycroft calls him on the plane and asks if he learned his lesson. The plane turns around and lands. Why? Because Moriarty may be alive and well, having appeared on every television in London.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • General Hammond leaves the SGC in one episode, presenting an exceptionally lame excuse about "sending people into danger". When Jack goes to confront him about it, he reveals that he didn't want to retire but someone threatened his grandchildren; finding out the origin of the threat means he can come back to work. A justified Ten-Minute Retirement!
    • About ten minutes into the episode 3x18 "Shades of Grey", O'Neill is discharged for stealing a weapons scanner from the Tollans, then takes a job with NID to steal tech full-time. Of course, it was all a ploy to help find those who were really guilty, and he is back at work by the end of the show.
    • In"2010", everything seems to be perfect on Earth until the former SG-1 team discovers the threat from the Aschen. O'Neill has already retired and refuses to help because he "told you so!" He changes his mind in time to save the mission.
    • In fact, Jack retires several times, on and off screen. (He was retired before the original movie started.)
      Jack O'Neill: I thought I told you I retired.
      General Hammond: Oh, I thought you said you were tired.
      Jack O'Neill: Actually, I am kinda tired...
    • Daniel Jackson quits the SGC in "Forever in a Day" after his wife Sha're (host to Apophis' queen) is killed by Teal'c. However, everything in the episode except Sha're's death was a dream sequence.
    • In "Window of Opportunity" Jack retires so he can kiss Carter... 15 seconds before the next day of the "Groundhog Day" Loop begins.
  • Stargirl (2020): After her first stint as Wildcat, Yolanda returns the costume, telling Courtney she wants to reclaim her old life before she can do anything else, and attempts to make peace with her family. They reject her completely. She's back in the cowl five minutes later.
  • St. Elsewhere: In the Season Three finale "Cheers", Dr. Westphall resigns as the Director of Medicine of St. Eligius in order to help victims of the famine in Ethiopia. In the final scene of the Season Four premiere "Remembrance of Things Past", which takes place one month later, he returns to the hospital. In the next episode "Fathers and Sons", Westphall explains that the experience taught him that Boston was where he was most needed.
  • Mr G on Summer Heights High quits his job in the penultimate episode, only to announce (during the school's annual musical, no less) that he's coming back to teach in the finale.
  • Supernatural:
    • In the episode "What Is and What Should Never Be", Dean wants so badly to stay in his Wish!Verse, even after he realises that Alt!Sam can't stand him. But the call knows where he lives and after a heartbreaking scene at his father's grave, he's back in as the Tragic Hero.
    • In another episode Dean and Sam split up and Sam takes a job as a bartender. Some other hunters find him and try to talk him into helping on their current job, but he says he's retired, to get his head together. One of the other hunters says, "What is so important that you can't come back to prevent the apocalypse!?". They then proceed to force-feed him demon blood (of which Sam was staying clean) in a misguided attempt at getting him to fight demons. What actually ends his 'retirement' is the revelation that he is Lucifer's chosen vessel.
    • In "Yellow Fever", Dean contracts a ghost sickness that makes him terrified of everything and decides to stop hunting life. Of course, in the end, he's cured.
    • After the events of Season 5, Dean actually spends an entire year living with his girlfriend and her son until he gets sucked into a case and learns that his brother is alive. He spends a few episodes trying to balance hunting with family life, but it doesn't work.
    • After the events of Season 7, Sam quits hunting and starts living with a Kindly Vet. When Dean returns from Purgatory, he's more than annoyed that Sam didn't try and save him and didn't help a desperate Kevin Tran when he called.
    • Castiel has done this a couple of times, too. In season seven he says that he doesn't want to fight anymore and refuses to engage in any active combat for several episodes because he's distraught over how many deaths he caused at the start of the season and is insane from taking Sam's Hell-pain. Finally Dean is attacked in front of him and he gets involved fast. In season nine, after he becomes human, he helps Dean out on a case but doesn't want to get involved in any major action because being human leaves him much more vulnerable and very unsure of himself. He ends up killing the Monster of the Week, and the next episode he shows up in, he's investigating a case on his own.
  • Ted Lasso: In an attempt to stick it to his abusive father, Jamie Tartt quits football early in Season 2 to take part on reality show Lust Conquers All, but ends up rejoining Richmond after being eliminated.
  • 24: Jack Bauer quits CTU after having to kill Curtis — ten seconds later, a nuclear bomb goes off just a couple of miles away and he's back on the job.
  • Myka from Warehouse 13 leaves at the end of Season 2 only to rejoin the Warehouse in the Season 3 premiere. It's several months in-universe.
  • Young Sheldon: In S4 E8 "An Existential Crisis and a Bear that Makes Bubbles", Sheldon abruptly changes his major from physics to philosophy, only to change it back at the end of the episode.

    Professional Wrestling 
This trope is almost cliché in Professional Wrestling. Very few wrestlers actually stay retired, with a "retirement" usually meaning that they are no longer performing full-time. The only times that a wrestling retirement usually sticks is if the wrestler either never made it past lowercard level, or suffers from some medical issues that either prevents them from stepping back into the ring or will paralyze/kill them if they try. And even most wrestlers who do stay retired will still stick around as commentators, referees, bookers, trainers or ambassadors.
  • One of the standard Gimmick Matches is the "Retirement Match," where the loser has to retire from wrestling. Lampshaded by Mick Foley in the run-up to a Retirement Match he had coming up - "Most wrestlers who lose retirement matches return six weeks later. I'm not going to do that." Foley lost the match (to Triple H), but was then invited back for a match at WrestleMania. When he came back, he lampshaded again: "I said I wouldn't come back in six weeks, and I told the truth. I came back in four." Though the WrestleMania match was his last one for a good long while. He waited four years before he got back in the ring and even then, only semi-regularly.
  • In reality, this trope has been beaten to death in the wrestling business. Terry Funk, for example, has retired many times. It's gotten to the point where nobody believes any wrestler is truly retired.
  • A similar angle is when a wrestler is "fired" only for them to come back in no time at all, usually never even leaving TV. Cases include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin after Judgment Day 1998, Mick Foley at the start of the McMahon-Helmsley Era, and John Cena after refereeing the Randy Orton/Wade Barrett match at Survivor Series 2010. When a wrestler gets fired for real, it's not going to happen on TV.
  • Canadian ECW wrestler Lance Storm has had several retirement matches throughout his career, yet still occasionally comes out of retirement for one more match. However, he has yet to come back full-time, and only comes back to wrestle his closest friends, or put over newer talent that impresses him.
  • Hulk Hogan:
    • Teased at this in 1990 during his feud with Earthquake. To allow legit injuries to heal and to tend to movie-making projects, Hogan, Jimmy Hart and John Tenta (Earthquake) conceived an angle where Earthquake would sneak attack Hogan during an interview with Brother Love, causing serious injuries to his chest. The trope kicked in when Hogan was distraught over being caught off-guard by a man that had been threatening to kill him off, and that coupled with an earlier loss to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI were enough for him to retire. The WWF's announcers pleaded for fans to send letters and cards requesting his return and to "heal" his fighting spirit, the response was (predictably) strong ... and by the start of August, Hogan had come out of his self-imposed "retirement" to gain revenge on Earthquake.
    • TNA played with this trope in a stroke of genius when Hogan pleaded retirement in a last ditch attempt to dodge facing Sting at Bound for Glory and putting his control of the company on the line. Sting, being clever now and knowing Hogan as well as he does, had a look at surveillance cameras and was able to get footage of Hogan and Bischoff laughing at the fans for actually buying into it. This finally broke Hogan off the deep end to the point he agreed to all of Sting's conditions right then and there.
  • The last WSU show of 2007 saw Becky Bayless take a literal ten minute retirement, which was just a scam to keep the title around the waist of Alicia.
  • Magnum TOKYO returned to the ring just two years after he retired due to a supposedly grave eye injury.
  • Villano V had a retirement match in 2013 only to show up at a CMLL show four days later, as he lost so much money promoting his retirement to a poor turnout he was forced back to work.
  • Ayako Hamada retired from pro wrestling in May of 2018 only to return in July of 2019. This case was justified, by the confines of this trope, as her retirement had been enforced after she was arrested in Tokyo for hallucinating while under the affects of snorted kakuseizai (i.e., meth) and sentenced to three years of probation. Pro Wrestling Mexico were apparently the only ones with the will and knowhow to figure out how to get her back in the ring, though AAA was happy to piggyback off of them.

  • In The Book of Mormon, the end of the first act has Elder Price, having seen a warlord shoot an Ugandan man in the face, basically saying, "Screw the rules, I'm transferring to Orlando," and leaving his companion to continue the mission on his own. To make some long scenes short, Kevin reconsiders after not getting any farther than the bus station.
  • Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol has Marley give up on saving Scrooge several times, but he comes around to the idea soon after.
  • In She Loves Me, Georg quits working for Maraczek in the middle of the first act after venting his frustrations on Amalia. By the start of the second act, he's back.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth disappears after the first game, leaving behind only a note saying "Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chooses death". He returns in the second game's final case with newfound resolve, just in time to walk Phoenix through his own Darkest Hour. Phoenix is torn between joy at seeing him alive and fury that his old friend would make him believe he was dead.
    • Edgeworth does it again in the Japan-only Investigations 2, this time actually turning in his badge when he gets fed up at how blatantly corrupt the PIC is. He technically spends the rest of the game without any legal authority, but he gets his badge back in the epilogue.
    • Apollo Justice in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies says at the end of the first case that he's going to take a leave of absence. The true context of this scene plays out during the final chapter of the game. While this may seem like a long time, the timeframe he ends up being gone for is only a short few hours because of the very compressed period over which the events of the final case take place. By the end of case 5 he's right back at Phoenix's side with his motivation renewed.
  • Ezio is in one of these between the ending of Assassin's Creed II and the beginning of the first act of Brotherhood. Having your villa destroyed and your beloved uncle killed is plentiful motivation to put your Assassin robes back on, though.
  • In Bonfire, if you can't feed your heroes, they will eventually lose hope and leave the party (except Hildie). Fortunately, this never lasts too long, and they'll always return eventually.
  • After completing Solas's personal quest "All New, Faded for Her" in Dragon Age: Inquisition, he claims he "needs to be alone" after having to Mercy Kill his friend the Wisdom Spirit who had been corrupted into a Pride Demon and leaves the party. He returns the next time you go back to Skyhold, but the Inquisitor's comments make it clear there was a Time Skip and he's been gone quite some time, perhaps weeks, long enough that they were at least a bit surprised he came back at all (Varric seems to have had a Side Bet on it).
  • Most of the characters in Final Fantasy VI go through a one-year retirement after having The End of the World as We Know It go off in their faces. Although some of them at least try to save their people or get back on their feet, others either mope at a bar or even join the Big Bad's cult, and it's up to Celes to round them all up to save what little is left of the world (but not before she attempts the most permanent kind of retirement there is.)
    • Only if you fail to save Cid, although his death and attempted suicide are generally considered canon, with the ability to save him just being extra flavor.
  • Galaxy Angel: In Milfeulle's route, she and Tact decide to retire from the military after the war against Eonia and live civilian lives for six months. Come Moonlit Lovers, they get caught in the middle of the new conflict and are forced to re-enlist to fight the new threat.
  • X starts off Mega Man X7 in retirement, which has Zero teaming up with rookie new hero Axl. X only comes back after all eight Mavericks are destroyed or 64 Reploids are rescued (and in order to rescue that many Reploids, you've pretty much finished all the main stages anways), just in time for the final battles.
  • Toward the end of Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Gargouille gives up on opposing Astaroth after he defeats her and maims Marco. She’s eventually convinced to rejoin the fight, but Marco had to wear her down by chasing her across three continents and beating her in a fight first.
  • At the beginning of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Maegar Varn is a mercenary captain who is looking to settle down, and performs one last great adventure in exchange for his own barony in an unsettled land. By the end of the game, he has turned the land over to the Player Character and resumed his previous lifestyle, having decided that he's just not cut out for beauracracy after all.
  • Project SEKAI: MORE MORE JUMP! consists of Minori and three other idols who were in the midst of this before meeting her. Haruka, Airi, and Shizuku had all retired from the idol industry for various reasons, but after Minori proves how serious she is about wanting to become an idol (in particular to Airi), they return as part of the newly-formed group.
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Ratchet retires after the death of Alister Azimuth, his sole mentor and father figure. He is inadvertently involved in the crises' in the comic and All 4 One, through which friends old and new eventually convince him to get back in the game. He is eventually convinced after enjoying the good deeds and fun experienced in the latter adventure.
  • Murray suffers a massive Heroic BSoD at the end of Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, brought about by the loss of his cherished van and his friend Bentley being crippled. Blaming himself for this, Murray leaves the Cooper Gang to take up a vow of pacifism and go on a spiritual walkabout. note  He's pretty content to stay like this until in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves he sees Octavio about to kill Bentley:
    "That does it! I'll floss my teeth with your spine! The Murray returns!"
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Drachma leaves the party and comes back... many times.
  • In Suikoden II, at one point, the main character's sister tries to convince him to run away from his responsibilities. Accepting leads to a 10-Minute Retirement, after which the other characters catch up and try to convince him to be their leader again. Refusing here turns the temporary retirement into a permanent one, however.
    • Running away will also lead the storyline to one of the Stars of Destiny, Ridley Wizen, being killed off-screen and later being replaced by his son. However, if you refuse to run away, Ridley will live.
  • Uncharted 4: Nate starts out as "retired" from treasure hunting, but quickly gets back into it when he reunites with Sam.
  • In Wild ARMs 3, after his curiosity nearly gets the team killed (were it not for some timely intervention by The Rival, culminating in said rival's death), team sniper Clive retires from the team. As the group scales another of the same device that nearly killed them before, we're treated to brief scenes of Clive conversing with his family, and gradually working up the courage to rejoin the team. As the team gets caught in the same trap again, Clive decides to take a separate path to the top, and after freeing the team by shooting and exploding reaches the exit and rejoins the team.
    • Another self-induced Ten Minute Retirement occurs in the first game, when Rudy inflicts a crippling injury on himself in order to escape from the Metal Demons. (That is to say, he loses his goddamn left arm, and then finds out he's an Artificial Human. The poor kid.) The next four or five hours of the game involve Jack and Cecilia desperately trying to find a way to heal him, putting their whole mission to, y'know, save the world on hold in the meantime. It's okay, though, the demons are crippled just as badly and take about as long to recover.
  • Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom starts off with Blair tending a farm after the Kilrathi War, mostly due to his Belgian girlfriend getting killed. He's back flying for the Confederation by the end of the opening cutscene.

  • In the early strips of Bob and George, Mega Man quits, only to return when he hears Dave is playing his role. He does it again later on.
  • In Girl Genius Carson had mere days in retirement enjoying time with his grandson while his son took over the family tradition of being the Heterodynes' seneschal before the Other's attack on the Castle killed his son and became a harbinger of the dark times ahead. After the attack, he arranged and led a shadow government for Mechanicsburg, essentially rendering the nominal Wulfenbach-appointed city administration impotent. He has since (semi) retired again, letting his grandson Vanamonde, now an adult, take over.
  • Sleepless Domain: Tessa takes just one night off, to show her teammates how much they need her, even coming back out to help them just after they've gone out to fight, and it gets all but one of her teammates killed, and Tessa depowered.
  • Played with in Sluggy Freelance. The Spider maintaining the Web of Fate retired due to a nervous breakdown over how tangled the Web was getting. Father Time convinced him to return to the job... because he needs to pass the torch before he can permanently retire in good conscience, and the job is complicated enough that the replacement needs several years of on-the-job training before taking over.

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd has done this twice, both on a 10th anniversary.
    • For the 10th anniversary of the show, he plays Desert Bus, and after playing it he feels as though all of his warnings about shitty games has fallen on deaf ears, so he sees no point in continuing his show. He decides to end his show on a book-end by playing a romhack of the very first game he reviewed on the show: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. This particular romhack presents itself as an Updated Re-release of the game, and to the Nerd's delight, it addresses and fixes many of his criticisms with the original. The knowledge that some people were actually listening to him after all motivates him to keep the show going.
    • For the 10th anniversary of the show first being uploaded to YouTube, he reviews the Mega Man franchise, initially having a good time, but then some of the later Mega Man X games start getting too crazy with dialogue boxes, to the point that he can't even play the game for more than a few seconds before being interrupted. He's so mad that he rage quits video games entirely, shoving his whole collection into garbage bags and leaving them at the dump, then discarding his Nerd shirt in a field. Then he somehow travels backwards through time and meets some of his past selves while they are recording past episodes (including the A Nightmare on Elm Street episode, which took place in a dream, which is promptly lampshaded). When he travels all the way back to the second episode (the first time he ever appeared on camera), and that Nerd tells him how great it would be to have a web series with a huge following, the present-day Nerd realizes how good he has it, which causes him to travel back into the present... where he finds that Bugs Bunny is wearing the shirt he threw away and retrieved his game collection from the dump in order to continue the show in his place. After a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, the Nerd takes his shirt and his show back, and with renewed enthusiasm is ready to get back to playing shitty games... except that the first one he picks up is Mega Man Soccer, which is so shitty it makes him immediately jump out a window. A closed window.
  • To Boldly Go... A Starfleet Quest: When Solomon Rogers got the job as head of Starfleet, several other high-ranking Admirals immediately went on sabbatical. Naturally, this engendered plenty of speculation about what the various motives were. Some, perhaps, wished to register their displeasure or disgust in the strongest possible terms and with an unmistakable gesture. Others may have stepped away out of a healthy sense of self-preservation, realizing — rightly — that Rogers' headstrong brashness would inevitably spark a dispute with the council. We know for sure that at least two, Vitalia Kahurangi and Valentina Sousa, saw the writing on the wall and recognized it as an opportunity to return as a sort of untainted post-Rogers white knight, earning cheap political points by establishing an early and easy contrast with their predecessor. Indeed, they succeeded thoroughly enough to become TBG's first two player characters. Rogers' own remaining loyalists (the "Old Guard") were naturally displeased by this power play, which is the in-story reason for their lack of mechanical benefits.
  • Deviant: After a series of unfortunate events, the main protagonist, Genesis, quits being a superhero. It doesn't last.
  • When the Game Grumps discover a glitch in Sonic the Hedgehog that causes Knuckles to jump several feet into the air, then latch onto an invisible wall, Arin immediately storms out of the room while Jon begs him to come back.
  • The Nostalgia Critic had a breakdown due to the director of My Pet Monster calling him pathetic and realizing that he has no life apart watching nostalgic crap. He gets his resolve back with a parody of "Poor Jack". Which becomes either Hilarious in Hindsight or Harsher in Hindsight after Doug Walker officially retired the Nostalgia Critic to move on to other projects. Only to return a few months later after those other projects failed to be accepted by fans.
  • On Cinema: Tim "left" the show after season 5 to live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming thus leaving Gregg to host the first episode of season 6 by himself. Tim returned in the following episode however when realizing Jackson Hole wasn't as great has he thought.
  • In the first Todd in the Shadows video done for That Guy With the Glasses, he retires within the first five seconds of Ke$ha's "Blah Blah Blah" right after a huge thank-you speech, only for him to be self-motivated a few seconds later.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale former mayor Pamela Winchell announces her retirement after being forced to step down as mayor. Unfortunately her retirement hobbies promptly threaten to destroy the town, ending only when she's convinced to accept the position of Director of Emergency Press Conferences. Calling these was mostly all she did as mayor anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • A rather mundane example of how it works, from All Grown Up!, "Susie Sings The Blues":
    Susie: "I let someone talk me into thinking I had talent, but what she was actually trying to do was talk me out of a thousand dollars. Which she did! No one showed up! No one! There was never any record deal. I got conned, okay!"
    Kimi: "Oh no."
    Susie (crying): "She picked the perfect person. I was just talented enough for her to trick me into thinking I actually had what it took to make it big."
    Kimi: "You still do. She took enough money for one serious shopping spree but she didn't take your talent. You'll feel better when you sing tonight."
    Susie: "I'm not singing tonight! Maybe not ever again!"
    Alisa: "Well, at least you learned your lesson before this singing thing messed you up. Now you can get on with the important things in life."
    Susie: "But singing is an important thing in my life."
    Alisa: "I know, and it's a great hobby."
    Susie: "Hobby? Singing isn't just some knitting needle book clubbing thing I do in my spare time. It's who I am. It's what I want. And still do. And I'm not gonna let some con-artist in a fake designer suit stop me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a gig. Dig."
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • In the episode "I Am the Night", Batman messes up a stakeout and Commissioner Gordon is shot as a result. In the wake of this, he goes into a deep, irrational depression and nearly gives up the cape and cowl, even when he hears that the gangster has broken out of jail and plans to finish the job. It is only when Robin tries to save Gordon on his own does he finally snap out of it.
    • In the episode "Chemistry", he gives up being Batman when he finally found the love of his life, preferring to settle down and marry (though Nightwing believed he would be back in the suit in a month). However, it is later discovered that she (along with everyone else's partner on said ship) is a plant person created by Ivy to inherit all their fortunes once they're dead. Bruce returns back to being Batman in order to foil her plot.
  • Beast Wars: In "The Law of the Jungle," Tigatron accidentally causes an explosion that kills a tiger he had befriended, causing him to call it quits because he doesn't want to be responsible for any more death.
  • The same writer who scripted the episode "Razor's Edge" in SWAT Kats reused the idea on Biker Mice from Mars (in the episode "Modo Hangs It Up") a couple of years later. Talk about a Recycled Script...
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Almost all of the Rangers have a moment like this:
    • Enforced in "To The Rescue Part II," when Chip angrily sends Dale home after the latter badly screwed up and ruined an attempt to recover the Clutchcoin Ruby. Dale does so, only to return later to save Chip's life.
    • In "The Case of the Cola Cult" Gadget loses confidence in herself after several of her inventions fail, and Monterey, Dale, and Zipper are especially hard on her (Chip attempted to support her, but was distracted when their contact on the case interrupted in need of immediate medical attention). Feeling she has no other purpose, Gadget quits the team. Discovering that Bubbles, the Coo Coo Cola Cult's strongman, had sabotaged at least one of her inventions and had captured her friends turns her around for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and Rescue.
    • Monterey himself quits twice: Once in "To The Rescue," after he and Chip butt heads over Chip's preference for having a plan, rather than running in half-cocked like Monterey. Monty angrily quits before the team even forms. He later returns to help save the group from Fat Cat. It happens again in "Love Is A Many Splintered Thing," when Monty finds himself at odds with the others over his former flame, Desiree D'Allure. Chip and the others try to convince him she's crooked, and quits in anger.
    • Zipper leaves in "Zipper Come Home" after he is Misblamed for ruining Monterey's cooking, eventually ending up as King (and intended sacrifice) for a tribe of waterbugs.
    • Notably, the only team member who never did this was Chip himself, who would stick to the case even at the prospect of his own death hanging over him.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: After turning into an adult in "Operation: G.R.O.W-U.P.", Numbuh 1 leaves the KND and becomes a bitter ice-cream man. But he returns at the end to rescue his friends from the DCFDTL and Father.
  • Danger Mouse attempts to quit in "Demons Aren't Dull" after appearing on a testimonial show set up to magnify his shortcomings. Colonel K talks him out of it when he tells DM the show was never aired and was simply a Greenback plot.
  • In the Grand Finale of Danny Phantom, Danny calls off his duty as a superhero when Vlad's team of ghostbusters easily outclasses him. He returns in time to save the world from an ecto-induced asteroid and is subsequently celebrated as a hero over the world.
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • Darkwing Duck briefly hangs up the cape in the episode "Duck Blind" where he gets blinded by Megavolt. He still does everything in his power to try and catch him, but his actions backfire twice, first nearly killing himself and then nearly doing so to his friends and family. It was this second one that gets to him so badly he attempts to quit. By the end of the episode when they all get in trouble again, he finally gets back into action and defeats Megavolt—- notably before he recovers his sight.
    • In another episode, he temporarily retires when he thinks his occasional absences are having a negative effect on Gosalyn (who hadn't been behaving in school as of late).
  • Delta State: The episode "First Contract: Part 1" Has Luna leaving the apartment and giving up on the mission, however she returns for her sweater and after talking to Brodie and seeing her friends in danger, she helps them and stays.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Timmy's favorite comic superhero, the Crimson Chin, retired for about a few minutes in the episode "Chin Up!", and is shown in a fetal position for an entire comic book.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): He-Man in "The Problem With Power" after Skeletor tricks him into thinking his actions during a local crisis have resulted in the death of a villager. He-Man even goes so far as to throw away the Sword of Grayskull. Naturally, Skelly takes this opportunity to swoop in and be evil. Also, it turns out that He-Man didn't really hurt anybody, and the whole incident was a Batman Gambit (and Evil Plan of the week) that Skeletor devised to demoralize He-Man and trick him into giving up his powers.
  • Toyed with in the unproduced "Mopiness of Doom" script for Invader Zim: Dib, tired of his pariah status, stops hunting Zim to pursue "real science" with his father Professor Membrane. With no one to chase him — or take him seriously — Zim falls into a despair, thus largely ceasing to be a threat. However, Dib eventually gets bored with real science and, after a pep talk from his father Gone Horribly Wrong, starts chasing Zim again... which cheers Zim up enough to try and kill him and take over the earth once more.
  • The premise of The Jack Rabbit Story: Easter Fever is that the titular Jack Rabbit has considered retiring from his long career as the Easter Rabbit. It takes an aardvark presenting him with what would have been the last Easter egg to convince him not to retire.
  • Jem:
    • In "The Bands Break Up" both Kimber and Stormer feel disrespected by their respective bands, storm out to drown their sorrows (in milkshakes), and meet each other at a club. After they bond, they quit their bands and form a duo together. Apparently they eventually moved in together and spent several months on their own. They developed one hit album together before returning to their original bands.
    • "Roxy Rumbles" has Roxy winning the lottery and running off from The Misfits. Within the span of a few days she's back with the group due to her contract and because she lost most of her money.
  • Kim Possible:
  • The Legend of Korra: Lin Beifong retires as police chief due to being de-bended by Amon. She's healed in the season finale, and back at her post by Book II.
  • Lightning Lad from Legion of Super Heroes (2006) left the team for a while to join a group called the 'Lightspeed Van Guard'. They turn out to be heroes who charge for their services and threaten people to pay up. Lightning Lad comes to his senses at the end of the episode.
  • Mighty Mouse gives up crimefighting in the Bakshi episode "Day Of The Mice" when Petey Pate brainwashes the Mouseville inhabitants to stand up for themselves against cats. When Pearl Pureheart stands against Petey and is subsequently imperiled, three incapacitated cats entreat Mighty Mouse to return to fighting the good fight and return things to the status quo.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The episode "Queen Wasp" has the villain doing this. Hawk Moth is incredibly depressed after the defeat of the previous episode's Monster of the Week, who he considered his Magnum Opus since he created her out of the most genuinely evil and horrible person he can think of. If someone like that couldn't beat the heroes, then what's the point in even trying anymore? He gives up on villainy and decides to actually take an active fatherly role in his son's life for once. However, it is short lived as fate happened to bless him with the perfect opportunity to akumatize a Miraculous user while they are transformed, and he's back to business as usual within the hour. He later tells Nathalie that he misses his wife too much to ever fully give up on his goal of bringing her back to life.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
  • The titular character of Nature Cat pulls one off himself in "Goin' Batty". He makes several mistakes along the way (including getting bitten by mosquitoes and touching poison ivy), eventually coming to the conclusion that he isn't fit to be Nature Cat anymore and should just stick to being a house cat. He's ultimately convinced to go back to his old self when he rests a while and discovers he does have good instincts.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Phineas, of ALL people, gets one in "Summer Belongs to You" when he can't think of any way to get himself and his friends off a deserted island before sundown. It takes Isabella indirectly giving him an idea to bring him to his senses.
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: After being upstaged by a new hero (really McFist in disguise) and feeling unwanted by the townsfolk, Randy misinterprets the Nomicon's wisdom and tosses the Ninja mask into the garbage. After successfully getting the Ninja to quit, "Lucius O'Thundepunch" drops the heroic facade and plunges the school into chaos. Randy then realizes that it didn't matter that he wasn't wanted, it's that he was needed that's important. He gets back into action and defeats McFist...after retrieving his mask from the trash can, which he finds really gross.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • Scooby quits twice. In the prime time special Scooby Goes Hollywood, Shaggy convinces him to quit his TV show to pursue a career as a dramatic actor. In the 13 Ghosts episode "It's a Wonderful Scoob," he becomes so traumatized by the episode's Big Bad that he goes back home to his parents. In the first instance, Fred, Daphne and Velma lead a rally for Scooby to return to his cartoon show. In the second, Vincent Van Ghoul shows Scooby the future world without him stopping the villain Time Slime.
    • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Fred after finding out Mayor Jones isn't his real dad and is, in fact, the Big Bad of the season, disbands Mystery Inc. and decided to go on his own quest to find his parents. This also leads to Shaggy getting sent to a military camp, Scooby to a freaking prison, and Daphne and Velma simply go home with their parents distraught over what has happened. However, by the first episode of Season 2, almost the whole gang is back together already with the exception of Daphne who hasn't forgiven Fred for disbanding the group and calling off their marriage. She does rejoins the group a few episodes later, however.
  • Krusty frequently retires on The Simpsons, but he always returns due to Negative Continuity. In "Day of the Jackanapes", he is retiring for the fifth and "final" time.
  • Strawberry Shortcake has a Three Minute Retirement in The Sweet Dreams Movie. She blames herself for The Sandman getting captured by the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak and gives up, saying, "Don't know why I thought I could do it, I'm Just a Kid." But in the span of one song, she's suddenly back to her usual can-do self.
  • The SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron episode "Razor's Edge" has a similar plot to the He-Man episode cited above. Razor thinks he's injured two elderly civilians, feels guilty, and quits the SWAT Kats, but the whole incident was a Batman Gambit that Dark Kat devised to demoralize Razor and trick him into giving up crimefighting.
  • Teen Titans: Cyborg in the very first episode, and again in the third season finale. Starfire also intends to leave the team for an arranged marriage at one point.
  • The Transformers:
    • Ironhide has one of these in the episode "The Immobilizer", after the Decepticons were able to ambush the Autobots while he was supposed to be on lookout.
    • In the episode "The Burden Hardest to Bear" Rodimus Prime (after being turned back into Hot Rod) having felt overwhelmed by the burdens of leadership for some time. Hot Rod at first doesn't try to get the stolen Matrix of Leadership back from the Decepticons, until he has a change of heart when he sees people in need of help.
    • First Aid in "The Ultimate Weapon," after his pacifism allowed Swindle to steal Metroplex's transformation cog.
  • The plot of the Visionaries episode "Feryl Steps Out" revolves around Feryl leaving the Spectral Knights because he thinks he's "too much of a liability". However, when Leoric is later captured by the Darkling Lords, it is Feryl who saves the day, leading to his return to the team.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Citizen Tabes", the bears' friend Ranger Tabes rescues a mule deer buck from a falling tree, but accidentally breaks one of his antlers off in the process, causing a rift between the deer and a potential mate. Tabes, guilt-ridden about "disturbing the balance of nature", decides to give up being a park ranger and goes into selling pine-cone sculptures online. The bears spend the rest of the episode trying to persuade Tabes to come out of retirement, and eventually succeeding.
  • In Winx Club, Bloom is so upset to learn that her Love Interest Brandon is actually Prince Sky she leaves Alfea to go back home. This turns out to be a mistake: while she's retired, the Trix attack her at home and steal her powers. She comes back pretty quickly after that happens.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Cornelia briefly quits the team after Elyon goes to Meridian to be with Phobos, blaming Will for not letting her tell Elyon her true identity until Phobos got to her first. Half an episode later, Cornelia returns to help the team fight off a giant Meridian Mudslug.
  • Subverted by Nightwing in the second season finale of Young Justice. When Aqualad tells him this is no time to quit, he assures him that he isn't quitting the Team, but that he needs a break after the death of Wally, one of the team's founders and his best friend.
    • Played straight by Black Lightning in the third season; after unintentionally killing a mind-controlled teenage metahuman, he feels too guilty and broken to continue on as a superhero, but is convinced by Nightwing to help out with one last mission, which naturally ends up pulling him back in. Lampshaded by his ex-wife, Lynn Stewart, who in addition to her connection to him is also the sister of one of the Green Lanterns and is familiar with how "retiring" works with superheroes.
      Lynn: I know how this quitting-the-life thing goes. You mean it now, but sticking to it is something else.

    Real Life 
  • Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL twice, only to unretire twice. Michael Jordan and Roger Clemens have also done this, the latter being derided by Stephen A. Smith as a "part-timer" for unretiring in the middle of the season.
    • Favre pulled the same stunt during his last four off-seasons with the Packers. But because no "official" announcement was ever made by Favre himself, it didn't get nearly as much coverage outside of Wisconsin. This was partially due to the assumption that the writers who reported his retirement were just opportunistic local guys trying to get some cheap publicity... but also because jerking the Packers organization and his loyal fans around was thought to be well beneath a man of Brett Favre's character... Hilarious in Hindsight, indeed!
    • Stephen Colbert was making fun of Favre on his show when he "came to a realization" that doing this only serves to give you celebrity status. He quickly announces his own retirement, immediately followed by another announcement about his return.
    • Tom Brady announced his retirement (or, technically, had it announced, as his announcement was preempted by media leaks) following the end of his 2021 season. It took all of 40 days before he announced that he had decided retirement just didn't feel right and he'd be back for 2022 after all. (Although it later came out that his "retirement" might have never been genuine, as news surfaced that Brady's retirement was allegedly part of a failed Batman Gambit.) He retired for good a year later.
    • Jay Cutler's retirement after not being resigned by the Bears after the 2016 season was a more justifiable example than Favre. Cutler even had a commentating job lined up, but Miami's Ryan Tannehill went down for the year with an injury, so Cutler came out of retirement to work with head coach Adam Gase, who was Cutler's offensive coordinator for several years in Chicago.
    • Several of the most famous hockey players in NHL history have done this, most notably Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux.
  • H. Ross Perot in the 1992 US Presidential campaign quit twice, and reentered twice.
  • John McCain briefly suspended his own presidential campaign in 2008 to deal with issues in Congress before returning to it just days later.
  • Happens a lot for female players in pretty much any full-contact sport. A lot of doctors, being older men, really don't like the idea of women getting knocked around on the field and will tell them any given injury means they won't be able to play ever again. Most of them come back shortly after seeking a second or third opinion. This in turn might be related to women experiencing more severe and longer-lasting concussion symptoms than men due to smaller neck size and therefore lower neck strength.
  • University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer announced that he was stepping down from his position, only to announce the next day that he would be keeping it, though he would take a leave of absence.
    • Almost exactly one year later, he retired again, apparently for real. Florida took him at his word, hiring a replacement shortly thereafter.
    • Less than a year after that retirement, he took the head coaching job at Ohio State University. He retired again after a seven-year stint.
      • After retiring from Ohio State, he accepted the head coaching job for the Jacksonville Jaguars, though he didn't even last a season before getting fired.
  • Hayao Miyazaki has made many attempts to retire from directing over his career, only to get drawn back in to make new projects. Even after "officially" retiring following the completion of The Wind Rises (2013), he dropped hints that he'd probably come out of retirement to make another film, which he did four years later.
  • The number of times Hideo Kojima has said "This will be my last Metal Gear Solid game" has reached hilarious levels. He's been saying this since Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Now he has promised that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be his last game. And, due to some Executive Meddling and Creator Backlash, it seems more likely this time that it will stick.
  • George Marshall, the man who was deemed too important to command the D-Day invasion of Europe because Roosevelt was terrified of what would happen if he left the country. After managing WWII and its aftermath (you may have heard of the Marshall Plan) from behind the scenes he tried to retire to his garden when the war ended. He was pulled out of retirement after one day to become ambassador to China. After retiring again, he was later made the Secretary of State to help put the army back together to fight in Korea; Congress confirmed him without any hearings.
  • Garth Brooks. He announced his retirement after the Scarecrow album in the early 2000s, but has come out of retirement three times: once to release "Good Ride Cowboy" and a collection of previously-unreleased material culled from various points in his career; once to release "More Than a Memory" and a comprehensive greatest-hits package; and once again to do some shows in Vegas.
  • Amanda Bynes announced she was retiring from acting in July 2010, only to change her mind a few days later.
  • Dame Nellie Melba's retirement never quite stuck.
  • Frank Sinatra put on several lavish "retirement" concerts starting in the early 1970s, but was still booking tour dates when he died in 1998.
  • Several years ago, Céline Dion declared that she would retire to spend some time with her husband and have a baby. Although she did explicitly state that the retirement would only be temporary, the period leading up to her sabbatical lasted for more than a year and was jam-packed with concerts and public appearances.
  • David Bowie's Sound+Vision Tour in 1990 was a retirement tour for many of his hit songs, rather than himself. As he put it to Life magazine in '92, he was tired of "being expected, or required, to do hit songs that I no longer can do with any integrity or credibility." This stuck longer than most: all the songs stayed retired until 1996, whereupon ""Heroes"" appeared as part of the Outside Summer Festivals Tour and set the stage for most of the rest to return to his repertoire. (In the interim he stuck with new material, both with Tin Machine and as a solo performer, and less-popular older songs that fit in with the new stuff thematically and/or musically.)
    • An unintentional example, perhaps a subversion, occurred in 1973, when he announced he had done "the last show we’ll ever do." A lot of fans thought he was retiring, but what he actually meant was that he was retiring the Ziggy Stardust character.
  • A funny subversion exists in professional tennis, where forfeiting a match due to injury is referred to as retiring.
  • In some industries older employees will retire from the company they had been working for - in some cases for decades - but will then come back not long afterwards as consultants or contractors for their former employers.
  • The Belgian parliament passed a law legalizing abortion in early 1990. The King of the Belgians, Baudoin, had to sign it before it took effect. There was just one problem: the King was a devout Catholic, and any Catholic who facilitates even one abortion is automatically excommunicated. Legalizing the procedure for an entire nation is... frowned upon. On the other hand, Belgium was a constitutional monarchy where the Royal Assent had long become a formality, and the King attempting to unilaterally veto a law was... even more frowned upon. The King got around this dilemma by reaching an agreement with Prime Minister Wilfried Martens and abdicating for a day: he was declared temporarily unable to serve on 4 April, Martens' government as a whole took over as head of state and the cabinet members all signed the law, before Parliament declared him competent to serve again the next day. (Some uncharitable people would have you believe the whole procedure was emblematic of Belgian federal politics.)
  • Oprah Winfrey ended her show after 25 years and started a new network, called OWN. She now has another show coming out that is essentially her old show Recycled In Space, with her going to the people she interviews rather than the other way around. She also threatened to retire after 20 years, but decided against it.
  • Jesse Jackson announced his withdrawal from activism in 2001, after it became known that he'd had an affair and fathered an illegitimate daughter. Shortly afterwards, he announced that he was returning.
  • Paul Scholes retired from all football in May 2011 and almost immediately regretted it, returning seven months later and promptly being talked about for international contention again (he retired from international football in 2004 and was pretty much constantly badgered to change his mind until retiring from all play in 2013).
  • Elton John announced his "retirement" from the road in a 1977 concert after a period of burnout. He returned to the road with a piano/percussion lineup with Ray Cooper in 1979, famously touring in Russia (he was the first Western act allowed to perform in Russia at the height of the Cold War). He's since made empty threats to "retire" from recording and/or touring throughout his career, to the point a roadie reportedly made a mixtape of all of his "retirement" announcements (which made Elton laugh).
  • During the 1960s, actor Dean Stockwell took a break - getting into the hippie subculture with pals like Dennis Hopper. Upon returning to acting, however, his luck was running out. He eked along from 1965 to 1980 taking whatever work he could get (like dinner theater), but in the end, he found it so embarrassing that he decided to throw in the towel and move on. Thing is, he announced his retirement in a goodbye ad in Variety - which got him noticed by casting directors. In the face of renewed offers for movies and television (including a particularly successful one involving a future Star Trek captain and time travel), he gladly went back to acting almost immediately after 'retiring', and continued to work steadily until retiring from acting for good in 2015 due to health issues. Even then, he continued to work in sculpture and other visual arts until shortly before his passing in 2021.
  • George Washington, after already being President, mind you, stated he would come out of retirement and lead the US army against what appeared to be inevitable war against France. The war never came about.
  • Alan F. Horn was the head of Warner Bros. Entertainment from 1999-2011, and he was most famous for overseeing mega projects like the the Harry Potter films and The Dark Knight Trilogy, among many others. He was forced out of the company by Time Warner in 2011 and announced that he was "done" with Hollywood... but then a year later was named the head of the Walt Disney Studios, where he's overseeing mega projects like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and the revived Disney Animated Canon.
  • On February 26, 2020, Disney CEO Bob Iger — who had been Disney's CEO for 15 years — would announce that he would be retiring from Disney, with Bob Chapek taking up the reigns as CEO shortly after. However, Chapek would only last two years as CEO, and after getting himself involved in a number of damaging scandals, Chapek would step down on November 20th, 2022, with Bob Iger coming back from retirement to take the reigns of CEO yet again.
  • When Dave Mustaine suffered a severe hand injury that could potentially have paralyzed his left hand, he announced he would be disbanding Megadeth due to his incapacitation. However, despite his doctors' fears, he ultimately recovered and recorded The System Has Failed with a radically different lineup; it was originally intended to be a solo album but the record label demanded it released under the Megadeth moniker. Dave and his revolving door of musicians have been releasing subsequent Megadeth albums ever since.
  • Fear Factory's "official" 2003 breakup was cut alarmingly short by a reformation with bassist Christian Olde Wolbers replacing former guitarist Dino Cazares and the release of Archetype in early 2004.
  • Jay-Z is notorious for claiming he's going to "retire" and then not doing so, often making more music a very short time later. His first time "retiring" was back in 1996 after his first album debuted. He's had 10 albums since then, not counting collaborations and guest appearances.
  • Mark Martin became the epitome of this in NASCAR. In 2004, he announced that 2005 would be his last year on the Sprint Cup tour. In the seven years that have passed since this first deadline, he's never raced fewer than 24 of the 36 races in a given season, and has actually raced more full-time seasons (four) than part-time (three). Initially, Mark had to extend his retirement tour into 2006 after his planned replacement in the 6 car, Carl Edwards, was called onto the Sprint Cup tour shortly after Martin's original announcement as an emergency replacement for just-released Jeff Burton, with his performance in the 99 leading to a full-time ride in that car for 2005 through to the present. Martin departed Roush Racing after 2006, when it was decided David Ragan was ready to take over the 6, but rather than fully retire, he moved to Ginn Racing, splitting time in the 01 with Regan Smith. When Ginn folded into DEI later that year, Martin moved there as well, and took over the 8 car in 2008, splitting time with Aric Almirola. Then, Hendrick Motorsports convinced Martin to take over the 5 car full time in 2009. Martin ended up having a very strong year in '09, winning five times and finishing runner-up to new teammate Jimmie Johnson, which led to Hendrick re-signing him for 2010 and '11 as well. 2012 saw Martin leave Hendrick, but once again, he only semi-retired, signing a two-year, 48 race deal with Michael Waltrip Racing and the 55 car. He signed with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013, and raced as a substitute for the injured Tony Stewart that year. It ended up being his final year racing. While he was still under contract in 2014, and almost filled in for Stewart once again, he finally retired for good a decade after first announcing it.
  • Ozzy Osbourne announced in 1993 that he'd retire from touring and called his would-be final tour "No More Tours" (a play on his song "No More Tears"). He was back on the road in 1995 with "The Retirement Sucks Tour" and has been on the road more or less ever since. Averted in 2018, when he announced that he would no longer be touring. He stressed that this was not a retirement, he'd still do shows here and there, he just wouldn't be going on a full tour anymore. And considering he was 69 at the time, who can blame him?
  • First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson pledged to step down in early 2010 after it came out that his wife had been fooling about with a 19-year-old and then taken out loans for the boy without reporting it to the proper authorities—and that Mr Robinson, the First Minister, knew about it. A few weeks thereafter, an official made it clear that even if wrongdoing was found he'd get no more than a reprimand, and he returned to his post.
  • Longtime ABC college football announcer Keith Jackson retired in 1999, then was persuaded to return to the booth the following year. He retired again in 2006, and this time it stuck; he died in 2018 without ever returning to broadcasting.
  • New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens announced his retirement in 2003, then came back the following year with the Houston Astros, ostensibly for "just one season". He stayed with in Houston through 2006, re-announced his retirement, then came back with the Yankees midway through the 2007 season. He retired yet again at the end of that year, this time for good. (At least until 2012, when at the age of 50 he signed with an independent minor-league team in Sugar Land, Texas.)
    • Andy Pettitte retired in 2010, unretired in 2012, and re-retired in 2013.
  • Tennis player Martina Hingis retired and unretired multiple times over the course of her career due to being plagued by injuries (and accusations of drug-taking later on). Justine Henin also infamously retired out of the blue in 2008 (in spite of still being ranked No. 1 at that time), only to unretire a year later after Kim Clijsters made her own successful unretirement. She then retired for good two years later after being hindered by injuries.
  • Trent Reznor disbanded Nine Inch Nails in 2009 after a farewell tour and a string of "final shows." He spent only a couple of years working on soundtracks and side projects before putting out a new NIN album in 2013. By contrast, there were five years between NIN's first and second albums, five more between their second and third and six years between their third and fourth.
  • The Orbital brothers went solo in 2004 after The Blue Album and a subsequent farewell tour, but reformed for a 20th anniversary reunion tour in 2009, followed by the release of Don't Stop Me/The Gun is Good in 2010 and Wonky in 2012. They split again in 2014, with Paul releasing a solo album under the name 8:58 the following year, only to reunite a second time in 2017 and release Monsters Exist in 2018.
  • Adult film stars do this all the time.
  • Andrew Sega and Reagan Jones put their synthpop act Iris (US) on indefinite hold after a falling-out following the supporting tour for 2010's Blacklight, but their spark was reignited in 2013 after Jones sent three song sketches to Sega, leading to the production of Radiant, released in Fall 2014. Averted with their official and likely final split in 2021, though Sega has founded a new duo, Hallowed Hearts, with singer Alex Virlios.
  • New Order disbanded in 2009, with Bernard Sumner saying that he no longer wished to make music under the name. Just two years later, however, Sumner reformed the group, with keyboardist Gillian Gilbert returning after a ten-year hiatus, and bassist Tom Chapman, from the side project Bad Lieutenant, replacing Peter Hook, who left in 2007.
  • Sascha K. disbanded KMFDM in 1999 after the release of Adios, due to irreconcilable differences with Gunter Schulz and En Esch, and founded the side project MDFMK with Tim Skold and Lucia Cifarelli. After switching labels to Metropolis Records due to a disagreement with Universal, Sascha reformed KMFDM in 2002 with Skold, Cifarelli, Raymond Watts, and Bill Rieflin.
  • By the mid-90s, Leonard Nimoy kept saying he was going to retire, yet he kept coming back, most notably for Star Trek (2009), until he passed away in 2015.
  • Similar to Hideo Kojima, Masahiro Sakurai has stated that every Super Smash Bros. game after the original was made on the assumption that he would never make another one afterwards, and he has also voiced his displeasure with the "sequel process" of the industry and that it was his main motivation of leaving HAL Laboratory to form his own company. Of course, he has returned to the series twice over even with Sora Ltd., though he also stated to think Smash 4 will be his final Smash game "for real".
  • Jamie Lee Curtis has hinted at or even announced her retirement a few times, but continues to act in film and television. Christmas with the Kranks in 2004 was supposed to be her final film, but while she took a bit of a break, she came back with a supporting role in 2007 with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and has since had roles in You Again and Veronica Mars, recurring roles on NCIS and New Girl, and also dabbled in voice acting with a role in the Studio Ghibli film From Up on Poppy Hill. She next played a lead in Ryan Murphy's slasher series Scream Queens (2015), which she also suggested might be her final role. It wasn't; she would win an Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). She's also "retired" from horror and slasher films more than once. Halloween II (1981) was supposed to be her last hurrah as a scream queen, but she returned in 1998 for Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later as a gift to the fans. She also appeared in 2002's Halloween: Resurrection under contractual obligations. She then distanced herself from horror once again until 2015, appearing in Scream Queens, and then reprising her Halloween role in three further films.
  • In 1983, Soft Cell frontman Marc Almond announced that he was quitting the music industry following an altercation between himself and a music journalist who had given a less than complimentary review to an album which Marc recorded as part of a side project. However, the announcement was retracted shortly after and, though Soft Cell disbanded the following year, Marc continued recording as a solo artist.
  • Richard Nixon attempted this in 1962 when the former Vice-President (who had just lost the race for Governor of California to incumbent Governor Pat Brownnote  two years after narrowly losing the Presidency to John F. Kennedy) announced that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Nixon didn't stay retired long, briefly floating his name as a compromise candidate for the Republican nomination for President in the highly contentious 1964 campaign before running for (and winning) the Presidency in 1968 to complete his political comeback.
  • Swimming superstar Michael Phelps insisted in multiple interviews that the 2012 London Olympic Games would definitely be his last competition. It didn't stick, of course.
  • Legendary gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, known mostly for the incredible length of her career (continuing to compete into her 40s in a sport where the average age for competitors hovers around 20 if not even lower), initially announced after the 2008 Olympics that she intended to retire and become a coach. She said the same thing after the 2012 London Games (and didn't even bother after the 2016 Olympics, outright saying she intended to be back for 2020). After the 2020 (2021) Olympics, she announced that she really was going to retire and she meant it this time. Predictably, this was met with a resounding "We'll believe it when we see it" from the gymternet — which was proved entirely correct when, less than three months later, she announced her decision to compete for a medal for Uzbekistan at the 2022 Asian Gamesnote , which she then followed up in May 2022 by announcing she was going to make a run at the 2024 Olympic Games (which would be her ninth Games if she qualifies). Oh, Chuso.
  • In the wake of Argentina's defeat in the final of the 2016 Copa América Centenarionote –the third major international final the Albiceleste had lost in three years (the others being the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa América)—superstar Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football. It didn't even last two months.
  • In the same sport, US star Landon Donovan announced his retirement in 2014, returning in 2016 to help his former team, the LA Galaxy, through a late-season injury crisis. After that season, he announced his retirement again. That retirement didn't stick either, as he came back in 2018 to play for Mexican top-flight side León. After a few months, he was let go, and then played indoor soccer back in the States before retiring again in 2019, this time apparently for good. (He now owns and coaches a team in the US second level, the USL Championship.)
  • This is common in equestrian sport, where riders are often physically able to compete into their 40s and 50s, so careers can be long and incorporate several breaks due to injury or other circumstances. As of 2019, legendary New Zealand eventer Sir Mark Todd was trying to retire again aged 63, but even 'retirement' for him means training a string of racehorses.
  • Simón Bolívar had this both in the "forced to do it" and "really I want to retire, leave me alone" variety. His first couple of attempts to win independence for Norther South America (Colombia, Venezuela and so on) almost all started out promising enough only for the Spanish to come back with a vengeance and Bolivar escaping by the skin of his teeth into exile. Bolivar would then sit a round in exile as a "private citizen" and plot the next attempt. After he finally managed to make independence stick, he originally intended to pull a Cincinnatus and retire to his farm (freeing all his slaves in the process, mind you), but it was not to be - armies would always end up under his command and he would be appointed to more presidencies than he could resign from. Critics of course said this was all a deliberate ploy to be given absolute power (like Octavian/Augustus had done nearly two thousand years earlier), but Bolivar did not attempt to resign once or twice, but too often to count (less like Augustus 2,000 years earlier and more like Oliver Cromwell 200 years earlier). It never stuck.
  • At the end of the 2016 Formula One season, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa announced his retirement. However, Valtteri Bottas moved to Mercedes that year, leaving a seat open at Williams. Massa came back for one more season in 2017. After a short break in 2018, it was announced that he would race again in Formula E series for 3 years (possibly) before retiring for good.
  • In 2015, David Letterman retired from hosting The Late Show after more than 30 years in television. But, in 2018, he started hosting a brand new talk show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction... on Netflix.
  • Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, in her final tour (which was recorded for Netflix), announced that she was going to quit stand-up comedy due to the anger she was feeling in her daily life not translating well to the career. However, because of the anger and how she portrays it in the special, people responded positively to her message, which inspired her to continue her career because her message was resonating so well.
  • Venezuelan voice actor Rubén Antonio Pérez retired in 2006 after the Latin Spanish dub of Blue's Clues concluded. Half a decade later in 2020, he returned to dubbing with the dub of Lego DC: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters.
  • Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, 65 at the time, announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 season, taking a job with CBS on their NFL coverage. However, in 2019 he suddenly announced that he was returning to the league to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach position, and a year later he led them to a victory in Super Bowl LV.
    • A major contributor to the Bucs' Super Bowl LV win was tight end Rob Gronkowski. He decided to retire from the New England Patriots following the 2018 season after dealing with several nagging injuries and feeling burnt out mentally. After spending 2019 doing various media gigs, including a stint with WWE, Gronkowski was persuaded by former teammate Tom Brady to come join him in Tampa Bay for the 2020 season. Fully healed from his past injuries, Gronkowski proceeded to play every game en route to the title.
  • Mötley Crüe announced a farewell tour in 2013, going so far as to sign a legally binding contract preventing them from ever touring again, playing their final show on December 31, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Then, in 2019, the band announced they would re-unite, even releasing a promotional video wherein the contract (or at least a facsimile of it) was destroyed.
  • Alan Moore said he was done with comics in 2019. Two years later, he was announced for two new comic book projects.
  • In January 2021, Roger Craig Smith, current voice actor of Sonic the Hedgehog announced that he was retiring from the role. Near the tail end of May 2021, he announced that he would continue to voice the Blue Blur for the forseeable future.
  • Professional Overwatch player Jacob "Jake" Lyon had a rather interesting career diversion in the Overwatch League. After being a star player of the Houston Outlaws since launch, he retired from competitive play at the end of the 2019 season, citing it being "stagnating" to his personal career. However, he ended up joining the League as a caster for the 2020 season, which had reportedly reinvigorated his desire for involvement in the game, prompting him to come out of retirement and return to the Houston Outlaws as both a player and coach in 2021.
  • Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi announced his retirement in 2014, went back to men's singles skating in 2018 for two seasons domestically, then left the discipline for ice dance with Kana Muramoto as his partner.
  • Lampshaded, then played straight by the Eagles:
    • They named their 2005 tour "Farewell 1", but followed it up with their first all-new album in decades, and have performed multiple tours since.
    The longer this goes on, the better these songs sound. There is a sort of honesty in calling the tour Farewell 1, with its implication that Farewell 2 will follow soon.
    - Glenn Frey
    • They later played it straight after founding member Glenn Frey's death. Don Henley said the band was done performing without him, but they were back on the road less than a year later, with his son filling in.
  • Synthwave duo Sally Shapiro announced their split due to changing musical tastes in 2016, with "If You Ever Wanna Change Your Mind" being intended as their farewell single. In late 2021, they unexpectedly resurfaced with the announcement of a new album, Sad Cities, co-produced by ex-Chromatics frontman Johnny Jewel and released on his Italians Do It Better label in February 2022.
  • Former NBA great Danny Ainge, who was 62 at the time, announced his retirement from his longtime position as director of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics in June of 2021. Then six months later, he took the same job with the Utah Jazz.
  • Right after the release of Batman: Arkham City, Mark Hamill stated that he was retiring from the role of the Joker unless The Killing Joke was adapted to an animated film. While he did ultimately voice the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke, he'd already reprised the role in Batman: Arkham Knight and would do so again in View Master Batman Animated VR, Justice League Action, LEGO DC Super-Villains, and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?. Following the 2022 death of Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in all of those projects, Hamill announced another retirement from the role of the Joker — one that's expected to stick this time.


Video Example(s):


Temp-quitting pirating

Both Edward Kenway and Blackbeard agreed that being pirates was boring so they agreed to find actual jobs as cooks, just to realize that cooking in a restaurant was even more boring that pirating and hence, go back to being pirates.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / TenMinuteRetirement

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