Hollywood has always had a problem with death. Yes, it’s a hugely effective plot device when you need to ramp up the drama. But it’s inconvenient when you kill off your main character and thereby boost demand among audiences to see them reappear.
The prequel, cloning, time travel, magic and alternative universes have all been used in science fiction and fantasy to bring back beloved mainstays of 20th and 21st-century Hollywood, with different degrees of success. Most fans of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley would wish she had never returned as a freaky xenomorph-infused clone of herself in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s tacky and implausible Alien Resurrection, but few Lord of the Rings heads took issue with Ian McKellen’s Gandalf returning with shiny ironed tresses