Many characters die in comicbook movies and shows, only to come back to life later, in some form or another. Which one stayed dead for the longest period of time.

To qualify, the character must:

  • Must have existed in the show/movie before death.
  • Have been implied dead.
  • Come back to life (Any form of resurrection is accepted including was-never-dead.)
  • Return in the same franchise (Dying Flash to come back in Arrow is fine, dying in Avengers to return in X-Apocalypse is not.)
  • Switching from a movie to a show is fine as long as they're in the same universe (e.g. Avengers and Agents of SHIELD)
  • Time is measured in the real world, i.e. the difference in time between the release dates of the two movies/episodes.
  • While any studio is okay, an ideal answer should also mention the longest for each major franchise (MCU, Fox, and CW)

Which character in a comicbook adaptation stayed dead the longest?

  • +1. Hard to answer though. Usually, if you die in one franchise, you don't come back in that franchise.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 22:54
  • @WadCheber I can think of a bunch. (Phil Coulson, Bucky, Black Canary, etc.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 22:56
  • Stayed dead the longest in screen-time or in universe-time? If the latter, Bucky Barnes almost certainly wins (closely followed by Captain America himself) Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 15:52
  • @LogicianWithAHat - I thought that I had made myself pretty clear on that point: Time is measured in the real world, i.e. the difference in time between the release dates of the two movies/episodes.
    – ibid
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 16:39

3 Answers 3


If the Green Goblin from the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy counts, he was impaled and killed by the blades on his own Goblin Glider in the first film of that trilogy, Spider-Man, which premiered on April 30th, 2002 in the Philippines, according to IMDB.

He subsequently appeared alive again -- due to a botched magic spell cast by Dr. Strange, which plucked him from a point in time prior to his death, and transported him to the universe the Tom Holland Spider-Man films are set in -- in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which premiered on December 13th, 2021 in the US, according to IMDB.

So he was officially dead for over nineteen years in real world time.


Some Contenders (Spoilers):

Scott Summers was killed in X-Men: The Last Stand, which came out on May 25, 2006.

He was brought back due to time travel shenanigans in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which came out May 10, 2014.

That puts him at eight years of being dead, which as far as I can tell, puts Cyclops as the longest both in general, and for the X-Men Cinematic Universe.

Bucky Barnes was believed dead in Captain America: The First Avenger, which premiered July 19, 2011.

He came back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which premiered March 13, 2014. That puts him at two years and eight months of being dead.

That puts Bucky as the longest for the MCU.

Richard Parker was believed dead in The Amazing Spiderman, which premiered June 30, 2012.

He was revealed to be alive in a deleted scene from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which came out on March 31, 2014. If you take it as canon, he was dead for about one year and nine months.

If the deleted scene is canon, Richard Parker was the Amazing Spiderman-verse character who stayed dead the longest.

Sara Lance of Arrow died in the pilot, which aired October 10, 2012.

She was revealed to not be dead in Crucible, which aired October 30, 2013. That means she was dead for a little over a year.

That means Sara Lance stayed dead the longest in the Arrow-verse.

  • 3
    Is anything gained by putting the second part in spoilers? The fact that they are on this list still reveals that they're going to come back. :-)
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 2:54
  • 1
    @ibid To be fair, nowadays it's not surprising to learn that a dead comic character will eventually come back - but the circumstances in which they come back can still be hard to see coming; These spoilers conceal important details that people might care about.
    – user867
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 6:16
  • 1
    You basically expect people to come back. It was a surprise when they killed off superman. It is now just a cliche.
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 8:08
  • Sara Lance is killed (by drowning) in Arrow 1x01, resurrected (by was-never-dead) in Arrow 2x04, dies (by arrow) in Arrow 3x01, and resurrected (by Lazarus pit) in Arrow 4x03.
    – ibid
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 22:35
  • As Sean points out, Sara Lance is no longer the longest death in the Arrowverse.
    – ibid
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 1:52

This might not be the longest, but in The Flash (CW), Girder is killed in the episode when blackout appeared, in Episode 7, and is reanimated by the particle accelerator explosion in Episode 44. Since girder died on November 25, 2014, and he was reanimated on May 10, 2016, that gives us:


Hope that's long enough to win! ;)

  • Definitely enough to win my upvote, and probably the longest in that universe.
    – ibid
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 5:23

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