Beloved major character is seemingly killed at the climax of the movie/episode, hearts are wrenched, four-year-olds are traumatized, and then - oh look, they're NotQuiteDead after all.

A variant is the Robot Disney Death where a RobotBuddy is seemingly destroyed in a HeroicSacrifice. While at least one character mourns, the robot reappears fully repaired after an extensive period in MrFixit's maintenance shop good as new and touched by all the concern.

Animated films seem destined to have these, considering the target audience is primarily young kids, and nobody wants to give a DownerEnding to them.

A cheap manipulation unless properly subverted. And probably been done to - um - death, and audiences now expect it. You run the risk of making your viewers remember they're watching television, even if it does shut up the MediaWatchdogs.

Named after its (over)use in the DisneyAnimatedCanon.

See also OurHeroIsDead, for when this is used as a CliffHanger. Not to be confused with DisneyVillainDeath.


Anime and MangaEdit

  • Template:Mai-HiME spoiler:pulls off over a dozen Disney Deaths in one fell swoop.
  • Basara Nekki actually DOES die near the end of Macross 7, but comes back to life through the PowerOfRock because the BigBad, in his words, "Needs to listen to my song!"
  • Possibly the cheapest example ever was from WitchHunterRobin. About halfway through the series, an episode ended with a Template:Cliffhanger: all but two of the main characters were gunned down, on camera, by the bad guys. In the next episode, it is revealed that the "killers" were using nonlethal weapons, and the only consequence is that one guy is on crutches.
  • Template:Naruto does this occasionally, starting with Sasuke early on in the series; also during the "Retrieve Sasuke" arc, wherespoiler: several of Naruto's teammates each got a prolonged, heavily dramatized "death" scene from which they all eventually recovered and in Shippuden, where spoiler:Gaara dies a drawn-out painful death, is dead for a while, and then is resurrected at the cost of the life of someone much older than him.
  • Played for laughs in the GalaxyAngel anime, where more than once, characters are killed off and restored at least by the next episode; the first instance of this had the TheDitz ditzy and gullible character in question honestly convinced that she was dead.
  • Subverted rather brutally in NeonGenesisEvangelion. [[spoiler:When Rei dies fighting the Sixteenth Angel, we are first told that she mysteriously survived - but we learn quite soon that it's a clone. She really did die, and the one in the hospital bed is a rather imperfect replacement who doesn't have most of the original's memories.]] Another weird subversion happens in the concluding movie in which [[spoiler:The entire cast gets liquefied into goo, but near the end of the movie the SpiritAdvisor shows up and tells us that they can come back if they want to. As we never see if they did or not, intense FanWank has resulted over which ones did/could/would've wanted to/etc.]]
  • Both SaberMarionetteJ and, more blatantly, SaberMarionetteJ Again appear to kill off characters in the finale only to have them show up in the last minutes, just fine, with no real explanation for how they survived.
  • ElfenLied (sort of): spoiler:in the last chapter, Lucy apparently gets killed in a BolivianArmyEnding; however, if you sit through all the ending credits, you can see a silhouette standing in a doorway that looks a bit too much like Nyu.
  • Template:Vandread's second season: [[spoiler:Gascogne rams a Harvester in a HeroicSacrifice and her ship explodes. The characters angst over it for a full episode, then move on. However, several episodes later, it's revealed Gascogne not only survived but took control of the damaged Harvester. She then... doesn't do anything particularly special for the last two episodes, which even removes the excuse of "we needed her/the Harvester to win the final battle". It did give Barnette an excuse to wear her skimpier outfit again, but that's incidental.]]
  • Ryoko apparently dies near the end of TenchiMuyo Tenchi Universe, succumbing to wounds caused by the villain Kagato an episode prior and more that she incurred while flying Tenchi to Kagato's palace for the final battle. She appears in the final episode near the end in front of Tenchi, who has been pining about life returning to normality. All the other characters are implied to have returned to Tenchi as well.
  • Many characters are apparently killed in OnePiece, only to reappear alive-but-in-bandages at the end of the arc, having mysteriously survived. An ongoing joke people say is that "nobody dies in One Piece unless it's in a flashback."
  • In Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai, Darkrai sacrifices himself to prevent the ruin of the city. At the end of the show, he's even given a ReallyDeadMontage, yet is still shown to have come back at the last second.
    • This troper suspects Darkrai was restored when Palkia restored the city, given that he EverythingFades disinigrated the same way the city was.
  • Ash dies in Pokemon: The First Movie, only to be resurrected by Pokemon tears. Template:Or So I Heard.
  • A particularly annoying example in LastExile: [[spoiler: during an assault to capture the Guild's Claudia Units, which keep Anatoray and Disith's airships aloft, a character is shot and fatally wounded, and his ally/love interest's reaction is deliberately portrayed to mean that he has died (including BigNo a gut-wrenching scream.) Two episodes later, during the epilogue, he shows up perfectly fine, and playing with the love interest's younger sibling, with no explanation whatsoever.]]
    • It's worth noting that when TechTV aired the series, they cut most of the post-not-really-death scenes out, save for one random and even less explained shot of said character
  • Happens constantly in Template:Bleach: if it's not a flashback and the character isn't a Hollow or NominalImportance random nameless mook, their NoOneCouldSurviveThat apparent death scene will inevitably be nothing of the sort.
  • The Inuyasha Manga has this in the episode with the Peachman. Inuyasha (While he is a regular human) and the Peachman are sent over a cliff. Seeing no sign of his body, his companions think that the Peachman must have flattened him. Inuyasha wakes up, having landed in a nearby tree, and he wakes up just as Kagome starts shouting how stupid he was (For dying).
  • spoiler: The Wolkenritter of MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha, who all had dramatic, agonizing deaths that were reversed once [[spoiler: UpgradeArtifact Hayate came to power]] and restored them.
  • Most seasons of Template:Digimon, except the DarkerAndEdgier third season do this with the Digimon, who don't die, they just get "reconfigured" and eventually re-incarnate. Although it's implied that most of the time, they forget most or all of the previous lives, although of course this doesn't happen to the important good guys. In the third season, Digimon DO die, including several important good guys, and they don't come back.
  • In SonicTheHedgehog Sonic X, the Robot Disney Death is applied to Dr. Eggman's Mecha-Mooks Decoe and Bocoe in Episode 48. Somehow, FourKidsEntertainment 4Kids manages to Template:Bowdlerize this by removing the scene where the other characters are mourning them and saying that they "pulled themselves back together" rather than being repaired by Chuck Thorndyke.
  • In Template:Kanon, both the 2002 and 2006 versions [[spoiler:Yuichi remembers near the end of the series that Ayu fell off a high tree and presumably died seven years ago. However, by the very last scene of both seasons, Ayu is shown to be completely fine after coming out of her coma, though the 2006 version has her temporarily confined to a motorized wheelchair.]]
  • In Template:Gundam SEED Destiny, Kira Yamato gets stabbed through the cockpit of his Mobile Suit by one pissed off Shinn Asuka. The Mobile Suit is more or less completely destroyed - Kira Yamato? He's fine, and shows up later to steal the spotlight away from the alleged main cast.
  • The titular character of NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind dies in an attempt to stop a stampede of giant insects from killing off her people. The insects stop their stampede shortly afterward, and restore her to life by using their golden feelers.
  • Several times in CodeGeass R2. The show seems to be a series where AnyoneCanDie and characters get KilledOffForReal, which does tend to happen, but a few others get what looks like a death scene and may somehow turn up fine episodes later, at most with a couple of bandages.

[[AC:Template:Film (Disney)]]

  • Arguably, the first instance of this trope is the death of Snow White in the Disney movie of the same name. The scene is pretty well dragged out to make first-time viewers (i.e., children, audiences in 1937) think that she's dead.
  • Pinocchio (1940) has a Heroic Death rescuing Gepetto from the whale. He seems gone, but surprise! He's a real boy now and fully alive.
  • Memorably and vividly used by Disney in Lady and the Tramp (1955), where old Trusty is lying there dead/not dead.
  • Played for laughs in The Jungle Book (1967): After Baloo is knocked unconscious by Shere Khan, Bagheera gives him a touching eulogy. Turns out Baloo was alive all along and enjoying all the nice things Baggy was saying about him. "Don't stop now. There's more, lots more!"
  • One especially notorious Disney example is The Fox and the Hound (1981). Chief falls down a cliff, bounces off about 6 or 7 rocks on the way down, and... he's dead. But wait! After a terrifying chase scene for Todd, Copper goes back and it turns out that Chief just has a broken leg. He fell down a cliff and he gets away with just a broken leg. (IMDb says this was done for much the same reasons as Lady and the Tramp, but it's more damaging because Copper's hatred of Todd from that point onward isn't as well motivated as a result.)
    • When you consider that he does die in the original book, this becomes an example of AdaptationDecay.
  • In Disney's version of "The Black Cauldron" (1985) [[spoiler:Gurgi nobly sacrifices himself, but then Taran trades his sword to the witches who then resurrect Gurgi, AWizardDidIt with magic.]]
  • In Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Beast must find love before the last petal falls off of an enchanted rose. The Beast finds love from Belle, then dies, and the last petal indeed falls off the rose - but he gets back up anyway. Maybe it's a little extra reward from the Enchantress for not killing Gaston when he really had every right.
    • Actually, the last petal falling would have just trapped him in beast form forever. He was dying because Gaston had fatally stabbed him in the back moments earlier.
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) actually has not one, but two Disney Deaths. First, Sassy the cat goes over a waterfall and is presumed dead; she is found by a kindly human and nursed back to health. Second, at the end, the old golden retriever Shadow falls into a ditch and tells the others to go on without him. They make it back to their owners without Shadow, and everyone assumes he's dead, but guess who then comes over the ridge? (In slow motion, of course...)
  • In Pocahantas (1995), John Smith is shot and presumably dead. But then he gets tended to and sails back home to England.
    • He was barely tended to. His friends said that if he didn't go back to England for more modern medicine, he WOULD be killed from the injury.
  • Flubber (1997, live-action). Weebo is smashed but fortunately, to go with the happily-ever-after ending, the professor manages to build a "daughter" robot based on designs that Weebo herself put together and informed him of in her dying moments.
  • Aslan's death and resurrection could qualify in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, live-action), though admittedly this is taken directly from the source material. More bothersome is another line invented for the movie - where the White Witch tells Edmund that he will get to watch the fox "DIE!" when she strikes him with her wand, even though the wand was only ever capable of turning beings into stone, not killing them, and the Witch knows this. The only reason for this line is to create another Disney Death - and indeed, the Fox is later shown to be just fine.
    • Aslan's resurrection is the entire point, as he's not an ordinary talking lion. The fox is an ordinary talking fox though.
  • More Robot Disney Death in Template:Meet the Robinsons (2007): Doris skewers Carl through the chest, leaving him splayed across the grass, showering sparks. The next morning, he's good as new. No explanation. No "Hey, Carl! You're okay!" Huh.
    • Granted, Doris was erased from history before Carl is seen to be okay. Still doesn't explain how the dinosaur is still around the house...
  • The Robot Disney Death is stretched to its breaking point in Template:WALL-E (2008): [[spoiler: the title character is apparently crushed and electrocuted while obtaining the plant that would save the human race. However, he indicates that replacement parts are available back on Earth before shutting down. After landing, his girlfriend-type-robot-thing rapidly reassembles him and powers him back up... but, being a robot, he has apparently been reformatted, and demonstrates no memory of his previous 700 years of life or his love for his girlfriend-type-robot-thing. The scene continues for an agonizing length until a kiss jars his memory.]]
  • Disney has recently started doing this in the midquels to its own movies, at least twice. (Template:The Little Mermaid III and Template:Bambi II) It's hard to get involved in The Great Prince mourning Bambi's demise when the first movie reveals that Bambi grows up happily to have fawns of his own.
  • I can't believe nobody posted about Template:Robin Hood, where Robin "dies" in a hail of arrows while swimming across the moat, sinking under the water and the bubbles slowing until there are none. It turns out Robin had a reed, which he breathed through until it was safe to surface.
  • Finding Nemo plays with this TWICE. Firstly when spoiler:Dory is lying on top of a turtle seemingly unconcious when she suddenly springs up and starts a game of Hide and Seek and then later in the film when Marlin arrives at Sidney to find spoiler:Nemo floating upsidedown in a plastic bag appearing to be dead. spoiler:He was actually pretending to be dead so that he could escape from the clutches of the dentist, and while the audience already knew that at this point, it was a few more minutes before Marlin finds Nemo alive and well in a heartwarming scene.

[[AC:Template:Film (Disney exceptions)]]

  • Disney itself wasn't always stuck on this syndrome. Bambi and Old Yeller are two Disney movies that stayed more or less faithful to the books from which they were made, and dead does mean dead. Especially when it comes time to ShootTheDog. Reportedly, it was backlash from MediaWatchdogs over the death in Bambi that pushed Walt to change the finality of Trusty's death at the last minute.
  • Another nice exception: TheLionKing. Pulling a Disney Death wouldn't make sense in a movie about the cycle of life and death; as a result, Mufasa gets killed in a massive stampede near the middle of the film, and when he dies, he KilledOffForReal dies for real.
  • A fairly recent subversion: Tarzan (1999). Not only does Clayton accidentally spoiler:hang himself in the finale, when Kerchack spoiler:is shot, he lives for just long enough to spoiler:apologize, name Tarzan his successor, and call him "son".

[[AC:Template:Film (Non-Disney)]]

  • D.A.R.Y.L. (1985) features a classic Robot Disney Death as part of its climax/denouement.
  • In Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), a terrorist shoots the Mel Gibson character, who falls into a pit. In response, the Danny Glover character shoots the terrorist. Then he goes down into the pit to check on Mel Gibson. And guess what? He's fine!
  • Doc's survival of the Libyan terrorists in Back to the Future (1985) could certainly qualify (though this editor feels this is one of the more clever examples.
  • In Star Trek II and III, we have a large subversion: Spock dies for real, but his cells are regenerated on the Genesis planet, without his soul, and rapidly aging
  • Ted appears to get run through by a sword in midaeval England in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), causing Bill to mourn him ("Ted, don't be dead, dude!"). But it turns out Ted fell out of the armor just when he hit the ground; the armor got stabbed, not him. (Never mind the fact that he was completely strapped into this complex outfit.)
  • Keanu Reeves again, this time as Neo in The Matrix (1999), seems to be dead at the climax until Trinity kisses him and he goes back into action.
    • It's explicitly stated that he is dead, this is a resurrection.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the Schwarzenegger robot is seemingly beaten then impaled by the T-1000, leaving Sarah and John Connor helpless. Then - ta-da! - his backup power source turns on, and he heads off to save the day.
    • Though moments later he does die for real in the molten steel.
  • One of the most mind-boggling examples is in Hudson Hawk (1991), when a friend of the Bruce Willis character, who seems to have died in a car fire shortly before, shows up again and explains, "The sprinkler system turned on!" This in spite of the fact that the car careened off of a cliff and exploded upon impact with the ground.
  • The titular robot in The Iron Giant (1999) is shown reassembling himself after a HeroicSacrifice against an incoming nuclear missile. (A rare example of a good Robot Disney Death, meaning both that it is very satisfying to the audience and that it was set up properly -- the Giant's self-repair ability was ChekhovsGun demonstrated earlier in the film.)
  • The American animated movie Titan A.E. (2000) LampshadeHanging hung a lampshade on this when the character Gune was "killed" by an explosion and claimed, as he passed out, that he "Must have nap...". Later he returned and saved the day proclaiming, "I finished my nap!"
  • In a particularly pointless version that removes the very last bit of pathos from the film, Snails in TheMovie of DungeonsAndDragons (2000). Especially egregious is that this ending was apparently at the behest of focus groups, who didn't like the original graveside ending where Snails is still clearly dead. The original scene was the closest thing to respectable dignity the movie could manage, but even that got stripped away. (To be fair, those focus groups were probably also folks who DungeonsAndDragons played the game, and even when playing by the rules it's fairly easy to get a character resurrected.)
    • Unlikely. If they had any actual D&D players in the test screenings, there would have been a LOT more changes.
  • Alpha Centauri, the TricksterMentor from TheLastStarfighter (1984), appears to die heroically halfway through the movie, only to reappear with a HandWave at the end of the movie.
  • Diego, in Ice Age (2002), although when he 'dies', he does assure the heroes he'll be all right. We don't believe him, naturally, but then he turns out to be all right at the end.
  • The GeorgeOfTheJungle (1997) TheMovie movie LampshadeHanging Hangs a Lampshade on it, plays the trope straight, and takes it to a blatantly over-the-top extreme bordering on NighInvulnerability. In one of the first scenes, for example, one of the guides falls at least 400 meters from a RopeBridge over a cliff, at which point the Template:Narrator reassures the audience: "Don't worry - nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos."
  • MeanGirls (2004) plays with this trope with the "just kidding" death of Regina, who gets much better after LookBothWays being run over by a bus.
  • It seems like anyone who falls off a cliff in the LordOfTheRings movies (2001, 2002, 2003) is going to show up later.(Response 1: Only good guys. Some orcs and Haradrim fell off cliffs at various points, but, you know, AlwaysChaoticEvil they don't count, do they? Response 2: Gollum, however, is WhatMeasureIsAMook developed enough to count.)
  • The main character's son in the Spielberg version of WarOfTheWorlds (2005); about halfway through the movie, he leaves his father and runs into a battle field which is then obliterated in a fiery Martian burst of death from which nothing can survive; at the climax, however, he shows up at his mother's house in Boston without so much as a scratch. Granted, we never actually saw a body, but it's still pretty cheesy and something of a cheat. (Response 1: This troper thought that the main character had just snapped and we were getting some UnreliableNarrator unreliable narration. It certainly makes more sense than "the Martians all die from the common cold." Response 2: However, that IS how the book ended, and is actually a logical way for them to all be killed. We've got a lot of nasty diseases floating around in the air. Response 3: Diseases that exploit the specific biology of earth life, which would would be ineffective on any genuine alien form of life. Response 4: And it should be noted the book also features the narrator finding a loved one he thought was dead; it was the narrator's wife in the novel. In fact, the narrator goes on at length how it's weird to find out a person you were sure was dead, well, isn't.
  • Subverted/justified in Film/GroundhogDay (1993). Phil Connors is finally driven to commit suicide to escape from living the same day seemingly for eternity. He kidnaps the local groundhog and drives a truck off a cliff. Phil's cameraman says he might be okay, but then the truck blows up. The next thing Phil knows, it's morning again; not even his death can stop the time loop. Cue montage of him killing himself in every way possible.
  • IndianaJones And The Last Crusade (1989). Indy is on top of a tank that is sent flying over a cliff that NoOneCouldSurviveThat no one could survive. Naturally everyone assumes Indy is dead, only to experience a touching moment when they realize he survived after all. Could be considered a parody/subversion since Indy seems more annoyed than touched.
  • In A Night on The Town/Adventures in Babysitting (1987) a character gets a knife thrown at his foot. He's rushed to the doctor, the doctor administers the solitary necessary stitch. He then gets told that while he was administering this tiny stitch to a tiny wound a man with a stab wound just died. He then meets the plucky bunch of kids in the hall, who want to know what happened to their friend with the stab wound. He tells them he died, they go into a fit of mourning, he walks into the corridor asking everyone what they're crying about, "don't you ever die on me again!" etc.
  • Used in 10,000 B.C., helped along by ThePowerOfLove, or something close to it.
  • In Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), R2-D2 is pretty much blown up in the final space battle, but at the end scene, he is shown to be all fixed up and shined up! This happens again in Return of the Jedi (1983) when he gets electrocuted, but at the celebration, he's working again. Of course, R2's a droid, but that raises questions about how well his memory is protected.
    • Also in A New Hope (1977), in the scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi finds Luke after the Tusken Raiders attacked him. The camera cuts to show C3-PO's detached arm on the ground, and for a few seconds the audience is led to think that Threepio has been destroyed. Watching in the theater during the first theatrical run, this troper heard audience members say "Awwwww..." as they first (mistakenly) conclude that Threepio has met his end.
  • The movie ShortCircuit (1986) subtly LampshadeHanging lampshades, then utterly subverts the Robot Disney Death version of the trope. The SAINT-model robot that NOVA Robotics destroyed (and cannibalized) at the end of the movie was a mindless, remote-control replica which the real Number Five was controlling from the safety of the supply van. This, after showing how said van was completely equipped with enough spare parts to build a whole new robot from the ground up, Number Five's expertise at reassembling himself and rewiring his own circuits, as well as him playing with the TV using his remote-control transmitter.
    • On the other hand, in the sequel so cleverly named "Short Circuit 2" (1988) Number Five (who insisted in this movie to be called Johnny Five) seemed to die after running out of both his main power and backup power just after capturing the jewel thief who ordered him to be destroyed in the first place. He is brought back to life by MagicalDefibrillator Magic Defibrillators which were used to "recharge" his batteries, and also gave the human actors a chance to do some of the best soap opera acting this side of General Hospital.
  • Subverted amusingly in the movie Little Big Man. , Cheyenne chief Old Lodge Skins, Jack's blind mentor, has finally grown tired of life. He and Jack ascend a hill where Old Lodge Skins prays for his death and lies down with his eyes closed. It then begins raining. Old Lodge Skin blinks, then sighs, "Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't" and they both go back to their village.
  • The heroine of Whale Rider nearly drowns at the climax (and her narration informs us she "was not afraid to die", since she's rescued the pod), but she is found and recovers in the hospital.
  • How the hell do we not have E.T. (1982) here yet?
  • Toward the end of Crocodile Dundee II (1988) the hero appears to have been fallen off a cliff, but we later discover that he and the villain had switched clothes.
  • The ending of Mission Impossible 3 seemed to be a Disney Death to this troper, since while watching the nearly-the-ending death I was just waiting for the dead guy to get back up. Despite the electro-shock therapy that killed him, and the fact that CPR didn't work.
  • In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Spongebob and Patrick are dried up to death in the Shell City gift shop... and then revived a minute later when the sprinkler system goes off.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, after the explosion of their helicopter, Kadaj throws to Rufus the bloodstained ID badges of Tseng and Elena. Later, the catch him in a net after he jumps off a building, thus averting his death as well.
  • In the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sawyer apparently dies in the destruction of venice, but it turns out he didn't somehow.
  • Played with in the Spanish animated film Nocturna--The Cat Shepard appears to die after fending off the evil shadow, and Tim accepts his death by saying he'll always live on in his heart. Right before the end of the movie, we see a herd of cats run by, with the Cat Shepard's familiar legs and gait among them. Tim doesn't, though.
  • In Ouran Rollerball, Haruhi Fujioka apparently dies from a concussion to the head suffered just mere seconds earlier and appears dead for a few minutes, right up to the point where Takashi Morinozuka finishes his eulogy. That's when Haruhi opens her eyes and subtly comments on the eulogy. Emma Watson originally wanted to kill her off for good, but ExecutiveMeddling forced her to rewrite the death as a DisneyDeath.

Film (Spoofs)Edit

  • Many characters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) receive what ought to be fatal blows, only to keep on coming. Most memorably seen in the Black Knight ("It's just a flesh wound!"), but repeated in variations throughout the movie by other characters ("I'm not dead yet!")
  • In National Weapon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), the Jon Lovitz character (modeled after the Joe Pesci character in the Lethal Weapon films) dies early on, only to return a few scenes later. When asked how he got back, he replies, "I thought this was the sequel!"
  • In The Last Action Hero (1993), when the Schwarzenegger character receives a fatal blow in the "real" world, he needs the main character's help to get back into the movie world, where the same shot qualifies only as a "flesh wound."
  • Parodied in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist: The Chosen One's mentor Master Tang, love interest Ling, rival Wimp Lo and even his beloved dog are dying. After imparting their "final wisdom" to him, it turns out Master Tang's not dead! And Ling's not dead either! And even dog is fine!
Chosen One: Then surely Wimp Lo!...
(He runs to Wimp Lo. We hear flies buzzing.)
Chosen One: ...oh.
  • Near the end of the Animaniacs movie "Wakko's Wish", Dot gets hit by one of King Salazar's cannonballs and dies in Yakko's arms... then "gets better" right when Wakko reaches the wishing star.


  • In the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, Gaspode the Wonder Dog apparently makes a HeroicSacrifice to save the Disc from the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions. In the first draft he was KilledOffForReal, but this was rewritten following reader feedback, and Gaspode went on to become a recurring character.
    • And, given the theme of the book, and the method used to revive Gaspode...possible Lampshade?
  • The death (and rebirth) of Aslan in the The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
    • Which is, in fact, based on Jesus in TheBible.
      • At least Jesus foreshadowed his death and resurrection in metaphors; to the point that it lacks suspense to a first time reader, actually.
  • In The Night Land, after the hero has been through hell and back to bring his beloved home, and despite the best efforts of the Redoubt's finest doctors, she dies anyway and has a tremendous funeral attended by the entire human race. Then she comes back to life without explanation.
  • In Voltaire's Candide, roughly every few pages a character is "brought back to life."
    • Lampshaded in the musical version with the song "You Were Dead, You Know."
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by an Orc and stung by Shelob, appearing dead both times, but is saved by his mithril armor and Shelob using paralytic poison instead of a fatal one, respectively. Gandalf dies from his exertions after killing the Balrog, but is sent back by the Valar to finish his task. Makes you wonder why Peter Jackson decided he needed to send Aragorn off a cliff...
  • Valashu in the Ea Cycle narrates his own DisneyDeath in first person. He falls into afterlife for half a page or so and then gets promptly resurrected. After all, he couldn't very well write about his adventures if he remained dead.
  • In the Wheel of Time series, the climactic battle with Rahvin resulted in the death of some major characters. Rand proceeded to use really powerful balefire to kill Rahvin, which killed him irrevocably and had the convenient effect of undoing everything the villain did in the last hour or so. Everybody's okay!
  • Ingeniously used in the Dragonlance novel Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb. Grubb was asked to write a novel starring Toede, a minor comic villain in the main series who was killed 'offscreen' by a dragon. Grubb created a plot between two demons in the afterlife wagering over whether someone as vile as Toede could live nobly - so they restored to life. Then he died again, so they decided to make it best of three, then best of five and so on. Toede (who in style and personality strongly resembles Blackadder, complete with his own Baldrick figure) eventually got his revenge...

Live-action TVEdit

  • Consider Star Trek's "Amok Time", followed later with "The Enterprise Incident". The latter was partially subverted when Kirk returns from the apparent dead to fool the Romulans, and Dr. McCoy notes that he was lucky that the Romulans didn't perform an autopsy on him, thus killing him for real.
  • A good MutantEnemy example is Lorne's head on Angel asking for the praising and extolling of his virtues. For whatever reason, his particular variety of demon can survive decapitation--the body needs to be mutilated. The bad guys didn't forget to, though (which would have been a massive plot hole if they had; most of that entire dimension is populated by that race)--the Groosalugg, knowing Lorne was Cordelia's friend, switched his body with a soldier.
  • In an episode of Sliders (1996), crooner Mel Torme helps the Sliders with their mission, only to apparently die in a car bomb. He inexplicably resurfaces at the end, though, to wish the Sliders well on their way.
  • Lost's "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" used a very cheap DisneyDeath, when Charlie was found strung up by the neck, not breathing, and with no pulse, but after a particularly protracted CPR session, Jack was able to revive him. Some fans decided to blame the unlikely event on the possibly magic island (similar to AWizardDidIt). Shannon suffered a similar death scene in "Hearts and Minds", but the sequence was shown to have been a hallucination suffered by her brother Boone under the influence of an unnamed drug prepared and administered without his knowledge by Locke.
  • The robot version happened to K-9 in the "School Reunion" episode of Doctor Who, although it is unclear if this is the same robot rebuilt (with the same personality and memories) or just another robot of the same model.
  • Power Rangers'': Kendrix's reappearance at the end of Lost Galaxy may or may not be permanent - she had appeared as a SpiritAdvisor since her death, but only in the finale did she lose transparency/glowiness. (However, solid ghosts have been seen in the show on occasion, and the teamup, in which she is functioning as a Ranger and her replacement was not seen or mentioned, was originally not in continuity and clashes with the series on several points. There's equal room for her to be dead, alive, or somewhere in between.)
  • Rather mean subversion in Ghost Whisperer: At the end of season one, Melinda's best friend (and the only main character other than Melinda at this point) realizes that she, not her brother, is the ghost and she was killed in the plane crash earlier in the episode. The season two premiere reveals that she was merely in a coma, thus allowing her spirit to wander (as has happened at least once before) and she has a very good chance of recovery. Then Melinda wakes up; it was a dream and her friend really is dead. She has remained dead ever since.
  • Another Rather mean subversion in "Ugly Betty" in the beginning of the second season. Throughout the whole episode Hilda and Santos are shown in her bedroom going over details of their impending marriage, him having only been injured when he was shot. However at the end of the episode, it is revealed that it was all in Hilda's head, and that Santos really is dead.
  • Ashes to Ashes has one in the episode "Charity Begins At Home", with Shaz via CPR though it is actually a pretty well done and relatively believable. It's also quite violent as it leads to a very brutal beating of the "murderer".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes to find her mother unresponsive on the couch, not breathing. She calls 911, she performs CPR, her mother gasps. Cut to the ambulance taking them to the scene in the hospital where Buffy's mom is so glad that Buffy came home when she did, or else- wait, why are we cutting back to the CPR? Oh. Well, the paramedics have arrived, and so we get to see them bring her back to the... They call the coroner. Harshest subversion of DisneyDeath that this troper can think of.
    • Whedon LOVES those teeth-kicking subversions.
    • This one was fairly obvious in advance, though; we'd already learned that the body was cold, so the (very short) back-to-life sequence was confusing but obviously not "real".
    • It's actually played straight in the Season 1 finale, when Buffy drowns... only to be brought back to life by Xander's CPR.
  • "Heroes" has two characters (Adam and Claire) whose power is essentially to always have a Disney Death: they come back to life, assuming that something isn't preventing them from regenerating, and even then if the thing is removed they regenerate as normal. This also allows Peter and Sylar to gain similar powers, from their abilities to absorb powers of others. To make matters ridiculous, it's revealed that if anyone is given a transfusion of Claire's (or Peter's) blood, they regenerate as well. This allows characters that have been definitely killed off to come back if needed (it may be that you can receive this transfusion even if you're dead-- HRG must have been cold before he got his transfusion).
    • On the flip side, Mr. Lindermann has the ability to heal others which includes, apparently, bringing people back to life. As long as Linderman is nearby (and willing), anybody can have a Disney Death.
      • This is not so remarkable, given that it is a superhero show.
    • Except that Arthur Petrelli totally killed Adam.
  • ''The Middleman episode "The Boyband Superfan Interrogation" plays the Robot DisneyDeath relatively straight (though with tongue firmly in cheek, as with everything on the show). RidiculouslyHumanRobot Ida is destroyed defeating the villain's scheme, given a hero's funeral -- and then Wendy finds a box with a brand-new Ida robot inside. It is never mentioned again.
  • Partially subverted in Babylon 5. After calling down a nuclear bomb on his own position and jumping down a huge hole, Captain Sheridan really is dead. However, he's frozen at the moment of death by Lorien, the first living being ever to come into existence, who tells him he can "breathe on the remaining embers" of Sheridan's life. This means he gets to live for the remaining two years of the series, but Lorien's action only bought him twenty more years, so that he'll die at age 66.

Video gamesEdit

  • In KingdomHearts II, Goofy is believed to have given his life to save Mickey from a falling rock, but since this is partly a Disney property, it later turns out he's okay (though not before Sora and company tear their way through an army of Heartless). The same game actually features the DisneyDeath as an ability in the actual gameplay -- Donald and Goofy, being cartoon characters, can never be killed in battle, but rather are just "knocked out" temporarily. Sora, however, is still a human being -- if he dies, it's Game Over.
    • That's not because they're Disney characters, that's because they're party members. You do get a non-Disney human in your party at one point in KH2, and it happens to him too.
      • Well, the fellow in question happens to be a Badass ghost... which gives him two reasons he'd be hard to kill permanently.
        • And what about the party member in the last world?
  • Near the end of Star Fox Assault, quite a few Disney Deaths ensue in the build-up to the final battle.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the robot pump FLUDD is seemingly destroyed in the final battle, and guess what? He comes back.
  • A largely ignored Robot Disney occurs in Final Fantasy VII. TalkingAnimal Cait Sith agrees to remain inside the Temple of the Ancients, 'solving puzzles' to make it shrink so it can be picked up and taken by the characters - naturally, this means anyone inside will be crushed. But Cait Sith is actually a robot, with a backup copy lurking nearby in case of disaster, which was why he agreed so readily (although his pre-death speech suggests he is genuinely able to feel sad about dying, even knowing a duplicate will come along). The temple shrinks, Cait is crushed, and 'Cait Sith Number Two' approaches, identical to the first - and naturally arrives at the worst possible time. It's been theorized that the game does this to increase the shock of the death of another main character later on. Note that this copy is not only at the same level as the one that just died, but also has all of his equipment, which is completely impossible.
      • Completely impossible? When nearly all the armors and weapons can be found readily in stores? You may have a point about the materia, but presumably they removed it from him before he went in.
    • Final Fantasy IV, known for having not just one but many, many Plotline Deaths, also has a few Disney Deaths. Cid is given one when he leaps off of the airship and detonates a bomb in order to let the rest of the party escape from pursuers-you later find him, not just alive but in good enough shape to upgrade the airship. Yang also has one when the Tower of Babil explodes-he seems dead, but if you go down into one of the underworld dungeons, he's alive but comatose and being tended by Sylphs. You can, of course, wake him up from his coma by hitting him in the face with a frying pan.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, the protagonist's faithful steed apparently falls to its death when a bridge gives out, only to return during the ending alive.
  • Subverted in the first Disgaea, when the robot Thursday is saved by the ghost the main characters have put to rest... only to be immediately broken again by Flonne.
    • Later, just before the FinalBoss, spoiler:Flonne is turned into a flower by Seraph Lamington for what appears to be an incredibly stupid reason. In some of the MultipleEndings, this death is for real; in others, it turns out to be a DisneyDeath.
  • In the Infocom text adventure game Planetfall, the cleaning robot Floyd 'dies' heroically sacrificing his life to obtain an essential keycard, complete with an eulogy given by the PC. At the end of the game, he reappears, repaired.
    • Of course, in the next game, he becomes BrainwashedAndCrazy and you have to kill him for real.
  • Parodied in the Infocom text adventure game The Leather Goddesses of Phobos, in which your sidekick Tiffany (or Trent, depending on your character's gender) heroically sacrifices themselves about half a dozen times to help you out, complete with a silent moment of loss and mourning on your part, before they turn up again in the very next area, having survived through increasingly implausible coincidence.
  • Geist does this twice with the same character. The first time, he is swallowed whole by a boss monster, then escapes from its stomach when you kill the boss monster, causing it to burst open. The second time, his helicopter is shot down, but he appears at the end of the game with no explanation of how he survived.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, this happens to your entire party at one point. They all supposedly sacrifice themselves to allow Lloyd to get to Colette, but Zelos/Kratos shows up to save each and every one of them
    • In the sequel, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Richter finally succeeds in killing Marta, promptly pushing Emil's BerserkButton; however, about twenty seconds later, the player finds out that Marta is in fact alive. What Richter killed was actually just a wooden dummy conjured up by Sheena.
  • Played for laughs in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. On Keelhaul Key, Admiral Bobbery is assaulted by some of the local spirits and appears to be on his last, stubby little legs. Barely clinging to consciousness, he begs you to fetch the Chuckola Cola he brought along with him, to drink in honor of his late wife. After Bobbery chugs to Scarlett's memory, he promptly... starts snoring. Your partner, realizing he was confused and overdramatic at worst, encourages you to give him a sound whack on the head to rouse him. He goes from asleep to fighting stance in .7 seconds flat.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness end with the hero character being knocked out of the time line when he changes the future (yep, the main character is from the future). However, this is uncharacteristic for a children's game, so after your parter cries his or her heart out to Bidoof before the end credits, Dialga decides to grant you partner his or her greatest desire - which is, of course, the revival of you character. It's not like you could reach the postgame content if you were dead, huh?
  • Surprisingly averted in SuperRobotWars. A character rarely dies without much fanfare and usually gives a protracted speech before death, or at least everone else remarks about said death. Otherwise, the character simply retreated. In some cases, doomed characters can be saved from their fate (and sometimes brought over to the player's side) by a set of specific actions, some quite byzantine.
  • The ending from Grandia. You know exactly which scene I'm referring to here.
  • After the fight against the final boss of Golden Sun: The Lost Age, it is revealed that this monster was in fact created from the parents of some playable characters (the father of Isaac, and the parents of Jenna and Felix), whom they thought already dead. By defeating the boss, they also killed their parents. However, they are alive and well during the last minutes of gameplay, with only a cheap explanation (the Psynergy of Mars Lighthouse is supposed to have revived them) as to why they are not dead.
  • Played straight in Mass Effect, while still managing to be a CrowningMomentOfAwesome for the victim. The group, having just defeated Sovereign, is fleeing from an incoming chunk of Reaper. Cut to the two party members with you, as a C-Sec officer and Anderson pry open one of the chunks that was a near-miss to reveal them. Anderson asks where Shepard is, they shake their heads, and all parties involved get a crushed expression - cut to the side, where you see a form moving toward the group through the wreckage. Swell of music, Shepard mounting the top of the biggest chunk, with a huge "I just punched out Cthulhu" grin on his face. Cut to final sequence.
  • Kirby Super Star Ultra not only manages to retcon Marx's death into this trope but also uses it as the explanation for his power boost in the True Arena (What's left of Nova merge with him.). And then he dies for good.
  • Sonic has demonstrated the best and the worst aspects of this trope. His first apparent death combined at least two different crowning moments for both himself and the supporting cast, while the second involved bestiality and the ThePowerOfLove. The games? Sonic Adventure 2 and, you guessed it, Sonic 06.
  • Any time Zero gets blown to pieces. Don't expect it to last long. Then he actually does die for good at the end of MegamanZero 4.
  • Played straight and adverted in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Played straight when the aprentice get's thrown out the window of a star destroyer and when something similar happens to Rham Kota (sic) and adverted with PROXY and the actual death of The Apprentice

Western animationEdit

  • Disney Deaths also sometimes came up in the company's TV shows as well. One notable example is the Darkwing Duck episode "Dead Duck", in which Darkwing seemingly dies when he crashes through a brick wall. It then turns out at the end that his death was just a bad dream.
  • Near the end of the final episode of Teamo Supremo, the Gauntlet throws a statue on Teamo, seemingly crushing them, but this is soon disproved when Crandall lifts up the statue a few seconds later.
  • A good example of a Robot Disney Death in the He-Man remake series episode "The Roboto Gambit", where the episode's title character sacrifices himself to foil an evil plan, complete with a death scene. Later, Teela mourns that she should have appreciated Roboto's courage and resourcefulness when she had the chance. However, Man-At-Arms immediately states that she will have that opportunity, as he presents the good-as-new Roboto, whom he just repaired.
  • Duck Dodgers uses it, and then subverts it. Dodgers' RobotBuddy performs a HeroicSacrifice by hurling itself against a comet and knocking itself to pieces. Dr. I.Q. High is confident that the robot can be rebuilt. But Dodgers really didn't like his Robot Buddy in the first place and "accidentally" breaks the remaining parts. Somehow he comes back later, gathers all the other one-shot villains from previous episodes, and plots Dodgers' demise, only to end up going through the same thing again.
  • Ben10: Secret of the Omnitrix had two. Hoverboard's pilot Gludo was blown to pieces by Vilgax, and Gwen was eaten by an evil plant. Both were rare examples of actually convincing Disney Deaths, thanks in no small part to the fact that they actually used the word "dead" in reference to both characters.
  • A Fantastic Four episode had the Thing seemingly being killed in a brutal fight (or as Doctor Doom put it, an "athletic little Donnybrook") with the Hulk. He stays "dead" for a good couple of minutes, with nobody being able to get a pulse from him - later revealed to be due to his rocky exterior.
  • Alec Deleon in Exosquad actually does die, but as his SuperPrototype HumongousMecha happened to contain his personality and memories up to the moment of his death, they were able to simply clone him a new body and download his memories into it, effectively bringing him back to life. (This was actually a result of Executive Meddling.)
  • Parodied in the Christmas Special Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire: Robbie's mentor, Old Jingle, appears to die tragically in his arms. Then Jingle starts snoring.
  • At the end of Little Nemo in Slumberland, Nemo takes a rather big fall while defeating the Nightmare King, and dies. Or, not.
  • Danny Phantom had the main character's destabilized Opposite Sex Clone die literally by turning into goo even after he used the antidote to cure her. Cue hero mourning over the bucket of goo, then her head pops out and eventually her whole self--now stabilized.
  • This happened twice to the heroine of the Swan Princess films. The first film had her saved by a declaration of love from her prince. The third had Odette vaporized by a bolt of black magic. When her now-husband prince burns the copy of the spell that summoned it, she materializes from the fire - and no, he didn't know that would happen. I Am Not Making This Up. Also, the Talking Animal frog Jean-Bob got knocked out at the climax of II and brought back as a side effect of the spell that turned Odette into a swan and back. This troper doesn't get it either.
    • The first film also averted this trope rather surprisingly: after a very long opening number which establishes the relationships between all of the major players (not only the love/hate relationship of Odette and Derek, but the extremely close friendship of King William and Queen Uberta), King William is abruptly KilledOffForReal. This seems to have no repercussions on any of the other characters.
  • In the 1999 animated version of The King and I, this happens to the King after his hot air balloon goes down. And if you're asking what the heck a hot air balloon has to do with The King and I, you obviously haven't seen a film that takes TheyJustDidntCare and the AnimationAgeGhetto to a whole new level.
  • Even actual historical figures are not immune to the Disney Death. Even as a child, this troper knew that railman Casey Jones died in the massive railroad crash that made his name a legend. Yet somehow in Disney's animated version of the story, Casey managed to survive the crash.
  • In the episode of South Park with the hippie music festival, the mayor shoots herself in the head when she finally realizes the gravity of her folly. She later reappears when they're using the giant drill with a bandage on her head, ready to take command at mission control.
    • For some reason headshots are often non-fatal in South Park: see also Bill Gates (Shot in TheMovie, reappears with a Band-Aid on his head in The Entity), Britney Spears, the scientist in Night of the Living Homeless, and of course Kenny.
  • The 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LOVES this. Done with Michelangelo in season 3, Leonardo at the end of season 3 (The Tonight Someone Dies commercial didn't hurt matters either), done with April, Casey and Mikey's cat in season 4 (this one a case of AllJustADream done with Leo's entire family during a two-parter in season 4 (both the audience and Leo learns of their surprisingly logical survivals in pt 2 through flashbacks) and done with Karai (who was a good guy that year) in season 5. A number of supporting characters stay dead for multiple episodes.
  • The animated LegionOfSuperHeroes did this in its first season, with Brainiac 5 handing Superman a little piece of himself before running off on a suicide mission. Clark can't both do his part to free the rest of the team and save Brainiac, and when they find him, he's mourning Brainiac's lifeless body. The GenreSavvy Legionnaires promptly ask who has the back-up disc.

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