It's one of the great paradoxes of serial film and television: Few things have the emotional impact of a beloved character's demise, but such a plot development risks sacrificing one of the things that made the series beloved in the first place. Filmmakers and showrunners have frequently succumbed to the temptation of bringing deceased characters back from the grave. In some cases, at least, it feels somewhat earned - consider Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, or the slow return of Angel in Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In other cases, though, these fictional resurrections (or retcons insisting they never lost their lives in the first place) are downright lazy, an obvious ploy to bring back a character deemed necessary for marquee value or to cook up a forced redemption arc. Here's a roundup of some of the weakest attempts to bring the fictionally deceased back to life.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
How She Bit The Dust: Offscreen, a terrible car crash coupled with a fiery explosion ends Dominic Toretto's childhood sweetheart, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). Her demise in Fast & Furious 4 is no accident - it's an intentional hit by the drug lord Arturo Braga's right-hand man, Fenix Calderon. Letty was trying to uncover information on Braga, and is killed while trying to escape from Fenix.
How She Was Brought Back: It turns out that the explosion didn't take out Letty. After Braga's henchmen find Letty, battered and suffering from amnesia, they take her back to the hospital. The criminal Owen Shaw goes in to kill her for good, but decides to use her memory loss to his advantage. Two movies later, in Fast & Furious 6, Letty is still suffering from amnesia, but is now working as a mercenary in the hands of Shaw.
Did It Matter? Letty's noble end sends Dominic on a revenge-fueled rampage. However, life goes on, and in Fast & Furious 5, he romances the Brazilian cop, Elena. When word of Letty's reappearance gets to Dominic in Fast & Furious 6, he rushes to rescue her from Shaw. Even though Elena is pregnant, she's totally fine with Dominic and Letty getting back together, and the two of them are reunited as if nothing ever happened.1,468255Lazy resurrection?
- Photo: Interstar
How He Bit The Dust: Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramirez takes the Highlander, Connor MacLeod, under his wing, teaching him the ways of Immortals. Highlander concludes as the Kurgan come through their town, and Ramirez finds himself fighting blade-to-neck with the Kurgan. The Kurgan retreats with a hefty scar, but not before decapitating Ramirez, his body eventually buried next to Connor's home.
How He Was Brought Back: Using a powerful energy that one obtains after beheading an Immortal, Connor brings Ramirez back to life. The energy, called the Quickening, summons him to 2024 Scotland.
Did It Matter? Upon revival, Ramirez uses his intuitive bond with Connor to track him down in New York. His journey is a gag reel, as he struggles with modern-day technologies - particularly airplanes and television sets. He perishes again by sacrificing his life energy so that Connor can escape a fatal trap.545164Lazy resurrection?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
How He Bit The Dust: In X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean Grey/Phoenix is forced to choose between good and evil. As both Xavier and Magneto attempt to win her loyalty, Phoenix takes control of the situation, disintegrating Xavier.
How He Was Brought Back: In a post-credits scene in X-Men: The Last Stand, Moira MacTaggart is seen taking care of a patient whose voice is shockingly similar to Xavier's. His return implies that he telepathically moved his consciousness into a new body.
Dit It Matter? When Xavier returns to his team, none of the X-Men are fazed. With no comment from the X-Men and no explanation from Xavier, it seems the professor's recovery is just business as usual.928451Lazy resurrection?
- Photo: New Line Cinema
How He Bit The Dust: In Blade, while on the trail of the vicious vampire Deacon Frost, Whistler finds himself the target of an ambitious counterattack. Frost ambushes and infects Whistler with vampirism, but the veteran vampire hunter refuses to turn. Rather than continue existence as a vampire, Whistler takes fate into his own hands, grabbing his gun and committing suicide offscreen.
How He Was Brought Back: The vampires grab Whistler from the wreckage and nurse him back to health - simply so they can continue to torture him. Blade rescues Whistler from their clutches and gives him a vampire cure that changes him back to human overnight.
Did It Matter? Whistler's dramatic end exposed his passionate hatred of vampires. How he survived the gunshot, or if he even fired it at himself, is left up to interpretation when Whistler is seen onscreen again in a much better, albeit vampirically tortured, state. The vampire cure Blade brings to him works like a charm, and Whistler goes back to normal.531328Lazy resurrection?