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This nifty little scenario is common in sequels, especially after a Time Skip, but it also happens at the beginning, which basically just means that the original 'Band' existed prior to the beginning.

'Back then', the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits were kicking ass and taking names all over the place. Alas, the golden days came to an end, and they split up, took ordinary jobs, started families...

But now a new threat looms! And there's only one team that can solve it, so it's time to put the old band back together. There are two possible ways to do this: One is that the old Leader picks up where he left off, seeking out his old friends and convincing 'em to join up with him again. But just as often, the old leader isn't available - may be dead, or may have retired, or may have simply disappeared. Or maybe he's just not interested at all. (In that case, he's the first one they visit, only to get turned away, but he'll probably show up anyway just when the rest of the crew has been gathered, or later, in the nick of time to save the day.) Anyway, if it's a former minor character who's gathering the band, that means that he or she will probably be the new leader.

Either way, various things will happen during this episode. A member may be reluctant, and require our heroes to jump through hoops to get him onboard. Several may be working jobs that are oddly appropriate, or ironically inappropriate, to their former role. Extra characterisation will occur by showing what kind of activities are taking up their free time, or what kind of family they've started. A former big-shot is likely to have become completely washed-up, turned into a drunk and/or bum, and the heroes will have to revitalize his burning spirit to bring him back to his old glory.

Compare Everyone Meets Everyone.

Examples of Putting the Band Back Together include:

Anime and Manga

  • Martian Successor Nadesico: Prince of Darkness, in which Ruri reunites the old Nadesico crew after a Time Skip.
  • A strange version in Bubblegum Crash — Sylia calls everyone together to announce that they're reuniting; Nene thought they were being called together to announce that they were breaking up.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon, Yoko, Rossiu, the Black Siblings and Viral put the Gurren Brigade back together to fight the Anti-Spirals.
  • Pre-timeskip part of Twentieth Century Boys fits this trope really well. When Kenji realizes that disasters he and his gang imagined about during their elementary school years are happening in reality, he contacts his old friends who made up the prophecy together to stop 'Friend' who is from the old gang from elementary school.
    • So do both post-timeskip parts really. Although there isn't a moment where they all meet together until the very end, a lot of time is devoted to the friends trying to reunite with each other after 15 years apart.
    • Also happens literally, with Kenji's band getting back together for a reunion concert after "Bob Lennon" becomes an underground hit in Friend-ruled Japan.
  • The first volume of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force has Commander Hayate reconstructing the Riot Force Six task force from Nanoha Striker S so they could resolve the Huckebein and Eclipse case before it could grow into a serious incident.
  • This happens in One Piece. After Kuma scattered the crew to the four corners of the world, Luffy gives them an appointment to meet in Sabaody after two years, after they have powered up, to put the band back together.
  • An unusual variation in The Disappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya, where Kyon reassembles the SOS Brigade... or at least their alternate universe counterparts.
  • Black Heaven.

Comic Books

  • Happens in the 1990s Spider-Man series (and probably a number of other Marvel series) with the Six Forgotten Warriors who team up again years later.
  • This is the main plot of the first Umbrella Academy volume, Apocalypse Suite, a comic book series written by Gerard Way and drawn by Gabriel Bá.
  • Captain Metropolis tried to do this in a flashback in Watchmen only for it to fall completely flat.
    • The trailers to the movie try to make it seem as if this is the plot proper in true Never Trust a Trailer spirit.
    • However, some of the team members do get back together again as stimulated by Rorschach.
  • The original X Factor comic started with Jean Grey doing this to her old teammates upon coming Back From the Dead.
  • This trope is invoked by name in the new Darkwing Duck revival comic book. Only in this case, it's the villains who are getting their band back together, while the hero is still sulking his way through a forced retirement.
  • This trope is said word for word in Generation Lost. Maxwell Lord decides to bring Booster Gold, Ice, Fire, Captain Atom and the new Blue Beetle and Rocket Red back together to reform the Justice League International. Of course, Max Lord is a villain this time around, and none of the heroes are too happy about being reunited against their will.
  • Specifically invoked by Green Arrow at the start of Brad Meltzer's Justice League run. Unusually, it's not him that they've come to recruit...


  • The Trope Namer is The Blues Brothers, in which Jake utters the line "We're putting The Band back together!" several times while gathering the old members of their band for one last performance to save their old orphanage.
    • Happens again in Blues Brothers 2000, with a few extra additions, though it would've been harder if the band had known why Elwood was getting them back together that time.
  • The movie Once Upon a Texas Train has it happen twice: once with a band of train robbers and once with a group of retired Texas Rangers recruited to stop them.
  • Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys — because they are the only astronauts who know COBOL.
  • Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
  • An odd subversion of the trope appears in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (parts 1 and 2), which sees Uma Thurman's character visiting each member of her once-lethal team of assassins in their new lives and attempting to kill them all rather than reuniting them.
  • That other little Dan Aykroyd film Ghostbusters 2.
  • Star Trek the Motion Picture. Kirk had to do some string pulling to get Spock and McCoy back.
    • Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country was slated to feature a similar sequence, with everyone either preparing to retire or move on to other jobs, but they scrapped it and just had a bit of dialogue before the briefing starts.
  • For the audience, though not the characters, Star Trek, the 2009 movie, is essentially this trope as well.
  • In ~I'm Gonna Git You Sucka~, John Slade reassembles the team of black heroes who once took down Mr. Big.
  • The first Scooby Doo movie had the group disband at the beginning, and then rejoining for another mystery.
  • The Mighty Ducks sequels. What was Egregious about this is that each film also resets them to total incompetence so they can be retrained. Never mind that they won The Big Game in each previous film.
  • Armageddon arranges for this. NASA wants Bruce Willis's character to help their team; he'll only go if he can take all his own band of oil drillers. They have split up across the country — that's what they do when they're on leave. Government force is gently used to put them back together.
  • The Robert Rodriguez film Desperado. El Mariachi is reuniting his former bandmates, and tells them to bring their guitars, but not to play music.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, the protagonist must convince his old training buddies to reunite and begin practicing kung fu again — in order to play soccer. Many of them are of the "unmotivated wash-up" variety, although there's also one who's a businessman comfortable with his new life.
  • Happens in Uncommon Valor when a wealthy businessman finances a raid to rescue POWs from Vietnam.
  • Basically the premise of The Country Bears.
  • Morgan Freeman actually says the line in the film version of RED.
  • The 2011 film The Muppets.


  • Happened in Stephen King's IT.
  • Twenty Years After, the sequel to The Three Musketeers, is both an example and a subversion. Cardinal Mazarin asks d'Artagnan to find his three old friends, who have left the service long ago, and convince them to join back and help the Cardinal against his enemies. But only Porthos Jumped At the Call; Athos and Aramis excuse themselves... and we find out several chapters later that the reason is that they are already involved with the other side.
  • Happened in the Discworld book Thief of Time. It was played straight. In a Discworld book. Anyway, what happens is that the world is about to end, and so Death tries to round up the other three members of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They all refuse, but later come just in time anyway and decide to start kicking Auditor butt instead of heralding the end of the world. This includes the fifth horseman, Kaos, who also joins just in the nick of time.
    • Can it really be played straight when the band is The Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
    • The concept of Pterry playing something straight is scary, but we've got to accept that sometimes, weird things do happen.
    • Simple way to look at it, and in the fine tradition of Discworld: It was played straight... for a given value of "straight."
  • In Iain M Banks' Against a Dark Background, one character brings together her old army unit to help her search for the Lazy Gun.
  • In a rather unusual use of this trope, Kyon does exactly this in the 4th Suzumiya Haruhi novel. Of course, it's a Alternate Universe, and no one knows about "the band".
  • In Warrior Cats, chosen cats from The New Prophecy reunite in Outcast for one mission.

Live Action TV

  • In Season 9 of Stargate SG-1, Cameron makes multiple mentions of 'getting the band back together'.
    • And when Colonel Carter returns in episode 6, she asks, "but who's the new backup singer?" about Vala.
  • The Return of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair
  • The 2002 revival of Auf Wiedersehen Pet begins with the surviving members of the old gang (last seen in 1986) getting together for another member's wake. It turns out that he's not really dead, but arranged his wake as a stunt specifically to reassemble the old team. They soon learn that another of the old gang has died — not surprisingly, since the actor who played him had died in 1986.
  • The second season of Phoenix Nights begins this way.
  • A season premiere of Bones happens this way, with Brennan, Booth, and the Squint Squad reuniting to help Cam with what was thought to be one case (which turned out to be two). And by the way, CAM is really the lynchpin personality.
  • Sharpe's Waterloo begins with Sharpe, Harper, Harris and Hagman, the last of the Chosen Men, coming back together from France, Ireland and wherever the other two have been to see Napoleon defeated once and for all.
  • NCIS: Vance disbands the entire team in a season finale, but Status Quo Is God, and naturally they put the band back together in the season premiere.
  • Lt. Daniels spends most of Season 2 of The Wire putting the Barksdale detail from Season 1 back together as the new Sobotka detail, which he hopes to eventually turn into a permanent Major Case Unit.
  • The whole point of the Disney XD show I'm in The Band.
  • Used as a theme with the ensemble in Leverage. The running gag is that, while each of them used to work solo as criminals, they've gotten hooked on helping people together.


  • Truth in Television: All the many, many literal bands who have reformed "for one last tour (seriously, this is it, we promise)!"
    • Of particular note is Aerosmith, who formed in the early 70s and broke up in the 80s largely due to rampant drug use and personality conflicts. After they all went to rehab, the original lineup got back together, have been cranking out album after multi-platinum album ever since, and are still going strong as of 2009.
    • Eagles broke up over internal conflicts, but reunited and have been going strong ever since. As Glenn Frey put it:

  "We never broke up, we just took a fourteen year vacation."

  • The three surviving members of the Fab Four got back together for The Beatles Anthology and finished two of John Lennon's home recordings. "Free as a Bird" required an entire bridge...
  • The quartet of Elton John, guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson, along with lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon, helped create Elton's most critically and commercially successful period (Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy). Elton broke the band up in 1975, which led to a Dork Age in Elton's career which was only halted when Elton rehired Johnstone, Murray and Olsson in the band, hired Taupin full-time and made the Too Low For Zero album in 1983. The album was critically and commercially successful, and thanks to MTV videos like "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues", led to a Career Resurrection in the mid-eighties.
  • Happened with both Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin at Live Aid - was supposed to happen to The Beatles as well (with Julian Lennon standing in from John Lennon), but alas, that one didn't come together... Also the only time Sting ever performed Money For Nothing with Dire Straits after the song's original recording.
  • All five members of country-pop band Restless Heart reunited in 2003 for one more album, and they tour sporadically to this day. They pretty much broke up in 1993, save for four of them reuniting temporarily in 1998 to make new songs for a Greatest Hits Album.
  • Luna Sea and Phantasmagoria reunited for the hide memorial summit in 2008, Luna Sea also for a christmas concert in 2007. Of course, then they reunited for real in 2010.

Professional Wrestling

  • WCW: After Kevin Nash lost a "Loser Retires from Wrestling" match Nash & Scott Hall were spotted in the audience one Nitro. When asked by the Roving Reporter what's going on since retirement Nash said "We're putting the band back together." Nobody could figure out what he meant by that until a few weeks later when the new nWo debuted.
    • For those unfamiliar with wrestling, Hall and Nash were longtime best friends and had worked together in WWE as Razor Ramon (Hall) and Diesel (Nash).
  • Hall and Nash like this trope. They've reformed the Outsiders in TNA a couple times, and as of 2010, have formed "The Band" with fellow Kliq member Sean "X-Pac" Waltman.

Video Games

  • An interesting videogame example comes from Final Fantasy VI, where your party gets split up upon entering the World of Ruin, and you (as former second banana Celes) have to put the party back together. Since it's a game, you don't have to — but it's expected. Includes a classic case of the former leader, Terra, having retired from fighting and being unwilling to rejoin.
  • Star Fox Command is a video game example. Various events have led to Fox being all alone by the beginning of the game. Although he's really hesitant to do it at first (going as far to hire his rival Wolf instead in one branch), there's at least one branch of the storyline where Fox gets together the entire original Star Fox team.
  • In Persona 3: FES, two months after the Main Character has sealed away Nyx, the ex-SEES members get back together for one last dinner in the dorm before it closes down. While they're there, they get trapped inside the dorm by a mysterious force and have to relive the same day over and over again. They then discover a stairway leading to a new Shadow-infested dungeon beneath the dining room table...
  • Super Robot Wars W features this in the second half of the game, and some members hqave been building up for it, too.
  • A variation happens in Super Smash Bros Brawl's adventure mode, almost everyone becomes an inanimate trophy, and the few remaining characters have to find them to reanimate them and get them back into the group.
  • The second half of Breath of Fire III opens with Garr seeking out Ryu, and the two of them setting out to find the other previous party members. Unlike Final Fantasy VI, the plot is totally linear; you cannot progress past X area until you've recruited party member Y.
  • Lunar: Silver Star Story has a failed attempt at bringing the last Dragon Master and his friends back together to fight the new evil. Unfortunately, the new evil keeps getting to the old heroes just before you do. At least you get the Replacement Goldfish for party members.
  • In Soul Calibur 3's Chronicles of the Sword mode, after a Time Skip, the player loses their army for a few levels. A few chapters before the end though, the player has the option to get all but one (whom they killed 2 chapters ago) back by befriending them to knock them out of Soul Edge induced mind control.
  • Tales of the Abyss has one of these after the Time Skip that followed the Not Quite Very Definitely Final Dungeon .
  • Another video game example in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, right after Geldoblame is revealed to have been manipulated by Melodia, Fadroh, and Kalas, the entire party ends up separated and scattered across the five floating islands, and Xelha has to rescue the other four members before you can travel to Wazn to get the next Plot Coupon.
  • Subverted in Mass Effect 2: after the Illusive Man offers Commander Shepard a list of candidates for his/her new crew, you can tell him to shove it because you already have a Badass Crew from the first game. However, it turns out none of them are available anymore (Kaidan/Ashley are on a top-secret mission for the Alliance, Garrus slipped off the radar, Tali is leading an expedition for the Flotilla, Wrex reigns on Tuchanka, and Liara is on a crusade against the Shadow Broker). Doubly subverted, however, when some of your old crew do come back, namely, Joker, Dr. Chakwas, Garrus, Tali, and (temporarily) Liara.
    • Kaidan / Ashley and Liara return as full party members in ME3, as do Garrus and Tali provided they survived the Suicide Mission (Wrex is still busy leading the krogan). You can also pull in a few Normandy NPCs from both of the previous games.
  • Taken rather literally in the Co-op Story Mode of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Halfway into it, your band splits up (well, the singer and drummer at least), and then they meet again three months later and rejoin. The subsequent song block is even titled "Getting the Band Back Together".
  • Star Trek Elite Force II starts with the Voyager coming home triumphantly... and your Hazard Team being disbanded by an asshole bureaucrat with Big Ol' Eyebrows who thinks that all's well in Federation space. Some time later, Munro, your Player Character, is teaching combat tactics to cadets at the Academy, when Picard comes along and, after telling to bureaucrat to shove off, asks you to rebuild the Hazard Team, this time on the Enterprise-E. All but one former team members come back (plus two new ones), and the one remaining is later found by pure coincidence.

Web Original

  • The Red vs. Blue Recollections trilogy begins with us being told that most of the old characters had been relocated after the end of season five and so Washington has to re-recruit some of the team members. Although, throughout all three movies, we've never had the entire team restored. Some characters have also been apparently Killed Off for Real, but we've yet to see if it sticks. Other characters like Church and Sheila seem to have been replaced with copies like Epsilon and F.I.L.S.S.
  • In TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life, Eric and Dash reunite the Five-Man Band in order to rescue James.

Web Comics

  • Parodied in one Penny Arcade story arc. Tycho and Gabe briefly break up and try to do their own comic strips, but both fail miserably. They then have a conversation about "getting the band back together". They then ask their guitarist — who presumably provides the strip's music — if he wants to get back together with them.
  • Necessary Monsters: Jonathon putting his team of covert monster-cops back together is part of the opening act.

Western Animation

  • An episode of Phineas and Ferb is entitled "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together!", in which the Flynn children try to reassemble the band "Love Händel" (a parody of 80's music) in time for their parents' anniversary. Interestingly, one of the songs from this episode got nominated for a freaking Emmy for best original song.
  • Metalocalypse plays this straight, when Pickles decides to put back together his old Glam Rock band, Snakes N' Barrels.
  • The Teen Titans episode "How Long Is Forever?" had Starfire disappearing until Twenty Years Into The Future. When attempting to find her friends, we discover that Cyborg's main power ran out, and so he's trapped in the tower; Beast Boy was sold to the circus (and went bald); Raven was put into an asylum; and Robin became Nightwing.
  • Wolverine begins to do this in the first episode of Wolverine and the X-Men to varying degrees of success.
  • Used in Extreme Ghostbusters when Egon's teammates from the disbanded Real Ghostbusters appeared in a few episodes.
  • An episode of King of the Hill (Bwah My Nose) had this when Hank and the gang demanded a rematch by playing flag football against the team who beat them in a high school state championchip who are now taunting them. Hank called up every teammate to participate in the rematch.
  • The season finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has the gang disbanded--Fred to look for his real parents, Daphne to wallow in misery with her family, Velma to ponder what she's done (not coming forward about Angel Dynamite's real identity), Shaggy off to military school and Scooby Doo being sent to a farm. Part of season two's focus will be on Scooby's promise at the conclusion of the season one finale, to get the gang back together and track down Professor Pericles, who has two pieces of the Planispheric Disc.