As billions of Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, I’ve decided to write this short science fiction-related post.
Throughout the years there have been several characters that came in go in science fiction stories. While countless fictional characters have died, many have also risen and came back to the land of the living.
Here are four popular characters in various science fiction franchises that died, and got better.
Back in the 1990s, the Man of Steel facing low number of sales and loss of popularity. Although the idea of Superman’s death has been tackled in a few imaginary and ‘what-ifs’ stories, the idea to truly kill DC Comics’ flagship hero finally happened: The Death of Superman storyline helped boost DC Comics sales and with Superman #75 (volume 2, 1993) selling out in comic stores causing DC to publish not just one or two reprints, but 3 reprints!
In the story, Superman died protecting the city of Metropolis against the rampaging monster known as Doomsday. As most comic book stories say, Superman’s death didn’t stick for long. Within a year, four different individuals claiming the title appeared in the Reign of the Supermen storyline: Cyborg Superman (The Man of Tomorrow), Last Son of Krypton, Steel and Superboy a.k.a. the Metropolis Kid.
Eventually, after a year of his well-published death, the one and true Superman came back, restored and alive.
The ‘death of Superman’ storyline has been adapted a few times: in the Justice League cartoons, in a few episodes of Smallville, and much more recently in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League.
- Optimus Prime
For kids who grew up in the 1980s, Optimus Prime was a prime example of qualities a good leader possess: courageous, incorruptible and with the baritone voice of Peter Cullen leading the charge! In the first two seasons of the Transformers G1 cartoons, Optimus led the Autobots against the evil Decepticons in every episode. But in the Transformers Movie that came out in 1985, Optimus Prime died after a duel fighting Megatron. His death was quite a shock… it’s not that often you get to see a well regarded hero figure (he’s a red truck and robot!) die in a movie that is basically marketed to boys!
True, his death allow Hot Rod to inherit the Matrix of Leadership and became Rodimus Prime.. but seeing such a character killed off in such a way can be quite… traumatizing.
Unsurprisingly, Optimus Prime was brought back to life in the 3rd season episode: The Return of Optimus Prime and eventually soon restored as the Autobots leader in the Season 4 telemovie Rebirth.
In other Transformers stories, Optimus Prime pretty much dies all the time: He died fighting Megatron in Revenge of the Fallen (2011) movie, only to come back better near the end of the movie. In the Aligned continuity, he sacrificed himself in the Predacons Rising to purge the Dark Energon corruption of the Well of All Sparks, only to be transported the ‘realm of the Primes’ and restored to life in the Robots in Disguise cartoon.
Bottomline: In most Transformers stories, Optimus Prime eventually dies, but comes back again… better.
- Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, from Battlestar Galactica (2000s TV series)
The death and return of Starbuck is quite controversial in nature… and in fact troubling to most people who didn’t expect the new Battlestar Galactica TV series to have such a take on religion and supernatural deities. Short story: Starbuck dies in the 3rd season episode ‘Maelstrom’, but later appears two episodes later.
The beginning of 4th season addressed the suspicions regarding her return: Is Starbuck actually a Cylon? Apparently no, but things got more confusing when Starbuck and the humanoid Cylon Leoben found Starbuck’s crashed Viper as well her remains on it.
In the finale, Starbuck was pivotal in helping humanity find their way to their final home… the planet Earth. And after that… she just disappears into thin air, but not forgotten.
In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (which is often regarded as the best Star Trek movie of all time) Spock sacrifices himself to restore the USS Enterprise’s warp engines and dies of radiation poisoning later.
The next movie, aptly titled The Search for Spock basically revolves around Captain Kirk’s effort to recover Spock’s resurrected body, and restore Spock’s katra to it.
To be honest, I would write a fifth if I could think of someone else. Also, there has been so much deaths and resurrections in Marvel comics that I think it’s just too… zany to write about them.
Please comments below! Cheers.