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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: rebirth, re-embodiment
Related: Uber, Modern AU, immortality, Resurrection, 25 Lives AU
See Also:
Life after life... by itzcoatl (2010), a reincarnation Merlin painting.
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Reincarnation is a common trope in fandoms where the characters have a shared destiny or are perceived that way.

Reincarnation can be used to give characters the happy ending they were denied in canon and it gives fans more room to play with characters from a canon with a very tight timeline. Sometimes it is also used to tie a typical Alternate Universe scenario more directly to a historical canon setting (having the modern or post-canon period characters be reincarnations of the canon characters rather than just AU versions of them).

There are also historical AUs (or modern AUs, in a futuristic fandom) where the characters are portrayed as earlier reincarnations of the canon characters; these usually end by joining up with the beginning of the canon.

Reincarnation may also be part of a mystical destiny that takes on romantic overtones between particular characters. It may also be used by writers as a way of solving the problem of only one of the partners being immortal or very long lived.

Canon Examples

Honoo no Mirage

In Mirage of Blaze/Honoo no Mirage the main characters are 'possessors' - essentially reincarnations of themselves who remember all their past lives (except for when they have traumatic amnesia).

J.R.R. Tolkien

Reincarnation, known as re-embodiment, is canonical for elves; for example Glorfindel in Lord of the Rings is (at least according to some canon) a reincarnation of the character from The Silmarillion. According to dwarf lore, Durin is also reincarnated.

Sailor Moon

In Sailor Moon, all main characters are reincarnated from a past life. In the Silver Millennium, Sailor Moon used to be Princess Serenity in the Moon Kingdom, Tuxedo Mask used to be Prince Endymion in the Golden Kingdom on Earth, and the Sailor Senshi and Shitennou were guardians of the Princess and the Prince.


In Gensomaden Saiyuki reincarnation is canon; Saiyuki Gaiden deals with earlier incarnations of several of the main characters.


See Uber.

In the Xenaverse it is canon that Xena and Gabrielle are destined to meet up in different lives in the future.

Fanwork Examples

The 100

Clexa fans in The 100 fandom created the fanon character of Elyza Lex to be a reincarnation of Clarke Griffin.

Honoo no Mirage

J.R.R. Tolkien

Lois & Clark

Reincarnation is a moderately common trope in Lois & Clark stories, with Lois Lane being reincarnated as the soulmate of an effectively immortal Clark Kent.


Reincarnation is a popular trope in Merlin fandom.


There are fanworks set during Gaiden, as well as stories set between Gaiden and Gensomaden and during future reincarnations after the end of the series. These are often set in the modern day. Sometimes the characters are reincarnated as characters from another fandom. Sometimes the characters are born into female bodies.

  • Wake Up by Viridian5. Future incarnations, meeting up again.
  • Bargaining at the Gate by Dracostella. Gen. Immediately post-Gaiden, between one incarnation and the next.
  • Reunion by Veszelyite. Immediately post-Gensomaden, between one incarnation and the next.
  • Heaven and Hereafter by harukumi. Immediately post-Gensomaden, one of the characters is not permitted into heaven.