10 Doomed Movie Characters Who Somehow Kept Coming Back


  • Some movie characters, like Emperor Palpatine and Agent Smith, have come back from the dead multiple times, defying logical narrative and audience expectations.
  • Popular characters that resonate with audiences are often revived for further movies, even if their return doesn’t make sense.
  • Characters like John Kramer from
    and Ellen Ripley from
    have managed to make multiple appearances through flashbacks, prequels, and even cloning.



Several movie characters have lingered in their franchises far longer than they logically should have. Whether it’s because they were killed off or should have died by the umpteenth sequel, some characters have survived despite being doomed. Interestingly, this often happens when a character is a resounding success with audiences.

Many franchise characters prove so popular that filmmakers opt to revive them for further movies. Even if their return makes little narrative sense, returning fan favorites can greatly bolster a budding sequel. It is no wonder then that some movies have repeatedly brought back characters who they technically shouldn’t have been able to.

10 Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars

Played By Ian McDiarmid

Star Wars

Created by
George Lucas

First Film
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Ian McDiarmid, Ewan McGregor, Rosario Dawson, Lars Mikkelsen, Rupert Friend, Moses Ingram, Frank Oz, Pedro Pascal

Emperor Palpatine was the primary antagonist throughout the Star Wars franchise. His rise to power was depicted in the prequel trilogy, while his malevolent reign over the Galactic Empire appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy. As such, Palpatine met an incredibly satisfying demise in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, thrown down a chasm in the Death Star by his apprentice Darth Vader. Despite this, it was revealed in the sequel trilogy that Palpatine survived and orchestrated additional events. He was killed once more in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, though some have speculated that Palpatine could have survived again.

9 Agent Smith – The Matrix

Played By Hugo Weaving, Jonathan Groff, And Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Despite being destroyed on at least two occasions, The Matrix‘s Agent Smith remained a persistent foe in the franchise. Agent Smith was initially presented as an AI program used to keep order in the Matrix. He was defeated by Neo in the first movie but returned in The Matrix Reloaded with a slew of new abilities. During the final scenes of The Matrix Revolutions, Neo allowed Smith to assimilate him, destroying both of them in the process. Nevertheless, both Neo and Agent Smith were resurrected in the aptly titled The Matrix Resurrections though Agent Smith had assumed a new appearance.

8 John Kramer – Saw

Played By Tobin Bell

Saw X Post Credits Scene - close up of Tobin Bell as Kramer/Jigsaw

Audiences were first introduced to John Kramer (also known as Jigsaw) in 2004’s Saw. Kramer served as the primary antagonist throughout the Saw franchise, orchestrating elaborate traps to test his victims’ will to live. Kramer’s motivation was his inoperable brain tumor, from which he was expected to die imminently. Regardless, Kramer managed to survive until Saw III, when he was killed by one of his victims. Death, however, was still not enough to stop Kramer. He appeared in six more Saw movies through flashbacks and prequels. A potential Saw 11 would see the killer returning again, an impressive feat for a terminally ill character who died eight movies prior.

7 Loki – Marvel Cinematic Universe

Played By Tom Hiddleston

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Created by
Kevin Feige

First Film
Iron Man

Upcoming Films
Marvels, Deadpool 3, Captain America: Brave New World, Marvel’s Thunderbolts, Blade (2025), Marvel’s Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty , Avengers: Secret Wars

Loki died on numerous occasions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but kept coming back to life. The MCU’s Loki cheated death as a baby, at the climax of Thor, and during the opening of Avengers: Endgame. Hiddleston’s spellbinding performance as the God of Mischief was largely responsible for this, as Loki quickly became a favorite among audiences and was revived for subsequent movies and television shows. Death has never really impeded Marvel and its storytelling, as it readily resurrects dead characters across all its media. However, Loki might be Marvel’s most-resurrected character despite being doomed several times.

6 T-800 – Terminator

Played By Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Terminator’s T-800 has died at the end of every single Terminator movie, yet he always returned for a sequel. The T-800 was the name given to a killer cyborg initially sent through time to kill Sarah Connor. Subsequent models were reprogrammed and sent to the past to protect various humans from upgraded versions of the murderous android. The abundance of T-800s in the movie’s post-apocalyptic future justified his return with each sequel, with Schwarzenegger ostensibly playing a new Terminator each time. Nevertheless, each met a grisly demise, including being crushed to death by a hydraulic press and being dipped in molten steel.

5 Imhotep – The Mummy

Played By Arnold Vosloo

Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep holding the Book of the Dead in The Mummy

High priest Imhotep had several gruesome fates during The Mummy movies, but he returned from the dead each time. Imhotep’s first grisly demise occurred in the opening of The Mummy, when he was buried alive. Imhotep was cursed with a living death, doomed to be eaten by carnivorous scarab beetles for all eternity. He was subsequently resurrected, leading to the events of The Mummy, which killed him again during its climax. Imhotep warned that this would not stop him, repeating the words he carved into the inside of his sarcophagus: “Death is only the beginning.” Indeed, Imhotep returned again in The Mummy Returns​​​.

4 Ellen Ripley – Alien

Played By Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley winces as the alien looms close to her face in Alien 3

Ellen Ripley overcame insurmountable odds to defeat the eponymous deadly alien repeatedly throughout the Alien franchise. Ripley’s survival in the first two movies seemed incredibly fortuitous, as she barely made it through either. In Alien 3, however, Ripley sacrificed her own life to rid the universe of the lethal Xenomorph, killing herself and the alien embryo inside of her. Of course, death could not hamper Ripley’s legendary action-hero status, and she returned as a clone in Alien Resurrection. Ripley’s circumstances should have doomed her in the first movie, but not even her violent and untimely death was enough to keep her out of the sequels.

3 Megatron – Transformers

Played By Hugo Weaving And Frank Welker

Megatron looks off into the distance menacingly in Transformers: The Last Knight.

Created by

First Film
Transformers (2007)

Latest Film
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Upcoming Films
Transformers One

Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Corey Burton, John Stephenson, Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Dan Gilvezan, Casey Kasem, Christopher Collins, Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Mark Wahlberg, Hailee Steinfeld, Anthony Ramos

The primary antagonist in the Transformers franchise, Megatron, has appeared in five movies in total. However, except for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Megatron died in every movie. In the first movie, Megatron was defeated by the protagonists and dumped in the Atlantic Ocean. He returned for the sequel, only to have his head ripped off in the third movie. In Transformers: Age of Extinction, Megatron’s mind was transferred into Galvatron before his original body was reborn in Transformers: The Last Knight. While he was a compelling villain, the various attempts to revive Megatron became increasingly tenuous, particularly as he was supposed to be dead after the first Transformers movie.

2 Dewey Riley – Scream

Played By David Arquette

David Arquette as Dewey Riley looking grim in Scream

Dwight “Dewey” Riley was nearly killed in the first four Scream movies. Each movie presented these scenes as if Dewey had indeed died, with his survival being a surprise to audiences and characters by the conclusion of each. Dewey was stabbed nine times throughout the Scream franchise, and frankly, it’s a miracle he survived as long as he did. Many audiences presumed he would not even survive the first movie, as he was presented as an ineffectual law enforcement officer. Ultimately, Dewey died officially in 2022’s Scream. Dewey received an appropriately savage and heroic death, sacrificing himself to protect the newest generation of Scream protagonists.

1 Michael Myers – Halloween

Played By Nick Castle, Dick Warlock, Tony Moran, George P. Wilbur, Don Shanks, Chris Durand, Brad Loree, Tyler Mane, And James Jude Courtney

Like most slasher villains, Michael Myers got killed at the end of each Halloween movie. However, unlike his contemporaries (like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees), Michael was never resurrected by supernatural means. Instead, Michael Myers was just impossible to kill and incredibly capable of misdirection. As a result, each time Michael was killed, a subsequent movie posed a new way for him to survive, even explaining away his decapitation. Most recently, Michael survived being locked in a burning building by his nemesis, Laurie Strode. Indeed, Michael Myers was doomed to be defeated by slasher movie conventions but kept coming back to terrorize a fresh crop of hapless humans.


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