Messiahs in fiction

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Apart from featuring in several religions, the idea of a divine messiah has been a key plot device in the genres of science fiction and fantasy.

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[edit] Characteristics

In general terms, a messiah is a person who saves, liberates, or protects a large group of people (e.g. a tribe, a nation, the human race, the Universe). The term "messiah" may also imply one or more other characteristics, in analogy either with Jewish tradition or with Jesus in Christian tradition:

  • A messiah may be one who does what no one else has been able to do, either by having superior abilities or by overcoming impossible odds.
  • A messiah may be one whose appearance has been foretold through prophesy (or, in science-fiction settings, by a time traveller).
  • A messiah may be one who sacrifices his or her life for the sake of other people.
  • Less frequently, a messiah may be one who returns to life after having died, in analogy with the story of Jesus Christ. (See also Christ-figure).

Not all of these characteristics are necessary for a character to be referred to as a "messiah".


[edit] Akira

The manga Akira and its 1988 anime film adaptation features both the themes of a returning saviour, and sacrifice based on compassion – two very strong recurrent themes in messianic literature. Cults in a post-WWIII Neo-Tokyo herald the return of an entity known as "Akira", a codeword for a shady governmental project and an incident that destroyed Tokyo city at the outset of the war. The story follows Tetsuo, a latent psychic inextricably linked to the Akira project, and proclaimed by the cults to be Akira reborn. Tetsuo has no control over his powers, and threatens to set off a similar Akira-incident if he is not brought in check by the efforts of the army, other children in the experiment, and his friend and rival Kaneda.

The film itself is often pointed out as the progenitor of anime fandom in North America. It has had strong cult influence on several contemporary works, including the Wachowski brothers' Matrix trilogy.

[edit] Samurai Jack

Genndy Tartikovsky's cartoon "Samurai Jack" details the story of the son of a Japanese emperor who is destined to defeat a presence of ultimate evil named Aku. The samurai wields a magic sword forged of righteousness. He battled the evil, shapeshifting sorcerer and nearly destroyed him, but Aku then sent the samurai to a distant future where Aku has conquered the world. It is there that the hero acquired the name Samurai Jack. Though the show never concluded the samurai and Aku's feud, it is Jack's compassionate, altruistic nature to help those oppressed by Aku that is most comparable to Christ. Often, Jack sacrifices chances to return to his own time so that he can help people.

[edit] Alias

In the television series Alias, Milo Rambaldi foretold the coming of a woman the "Chosen One" who would "bring forth Rambaldi's works" and "render the greatest power unto utter desolation". Written on the forty-seventh page of one of his manuscripts.

The prophecy reads:

This woman here depicted will possess unseen marks, signs that she will be the one to bring forth my works: bind them with fury, a burning anger. Unless prevented, at vulgar cost, this woman will render the greatest power unto utter desolation. This woman, without pretense, will have had her effect, never having seen the beauty of my sky behind Mt. Subasio. Perhaps a single glance would have quelled her fire.

The identity of this woman was speculated to be Sydney Bristow, her mother, Irina Derevko, or her half-sister, Nadia Santos, as included with the prophecy is a drawing of Sydney's likeness, which also resembles her mother. In the end it was Sydney who in the forty-seventh page Rambaldi refers to.

Prophecy Fullied

It is a picture of Sydney in the page 47 prophecy, who has unseen marks (heart size, DNA sequencing, platelet levels, three dimensional problem solving), who brought forth his works (She found 3/4 of Rambaldi artifacts, also in killing Sloane, his body was immersed in the immortality liquid, in effect bring forth his work): Sydney was angry at being portrayed as the "Chosen One" who in several failed attempts to disprove the prophecy Sydney also displays a burning anger towards Arvin Sloane. Sydney in the Series Finale ruin his endgame by destroying the last of the immortality, leaving the secrets of immortality forever lost. Sydney was not shown Rambaldi's "Sky" in the Cave in Mt Subasio, when Slone shot at her ice beneath not letting Sydney see the Sky. Perhaps if she were shown it would have made her a full believer in Rambaldi's works.

Rambaldi accurately predicted that Sydney "The Chosen One" would ensure his greatest work (the secret of immortality) would be rendered unto utter desolation because it is forever lost.

[edit] Army of Darkness

The protagonist of the film Army of Darkness, Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) and his 1973 yellow Oldsmobile are sucked into a time vortex caused by his reading the spell to defeat the demons which he defeated in The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II.

Ash ends up in England in AD 1300, where he is believed to be the "Hero From The Sky," the man destined to deliver mankind to salvation from the "Deadites," or demons. With scientific knowledge from books from his Oldsmobile's trunk, he leads an army of humans to defeat the demons.

[edit] Babylon 5

J. Michael Straczynski had a series of three messiah-figures in his television series Babylon 5; The Messiah is referred to as "The One". The character Zathras explains to Ambassador Jeffrey Sinclair, Ambassador Delenn, and Captain John Sheridan in order how they are all The One. He turns to Sinclair. "You are the One Who Was." He turns to Delenn. "You are the One Who Is." He turns to Sheridan. "You are the One Who Will Be." He again refers to them in turn. "You are the beginning of the story, and the middle of the story, and the end of the story that creates the next great story."

Ambassador Jeffrey Sinclair being "the one who was" refers to him traveling 1,000 years into the past and becoming Valen, the holiest of Minbari figures, to help win the Shadow War. After doing so, he established their ruling body, called the Grey Council (meaning that they are the balance between the darkness and the light). The council is made up of three members of each of the three castes (worker, warrior, and religious) so that no one caste has undue influence over the others. This balance kept the peace for 1,000 years until the council was broken by Ambassador Delenn, "the one who is".

Ambassador Delenn being "the one who is" refers to her position as head of the An La Shok (Army of Light, also called The Rangers) once Sinclair travels to the past. She is instrumental in coordinating efforts with the Vorlons, and organizing the construction of a fleet of advanced warships that use partial Vorlan technology. While fighting the current Shadow War she transfers equal authority of the Rangers to Captain Sheridan, the one who will be ...

Captain Sheridan being "the one who will be" refers to his eventual position as President of the Interstellar Alliance, which is formed after the Shadow War similar to the way the United Nations was formed after World War II. The Rangers are established as the "police" for the Alliance, maintaining the peace under the direct control of President Sheridan and Delenn. Part of him being perceived as a particularly holy figure extend from his death and resurrection on the planet Z'ha'dum. Even after the character Michael Garibaldi betrays Sheridan to his enemies, he admits that "the last guy got 30 pieces of silver for the same job", an obvious reference to Judas.

It can be thought of as a Holy Trinity: One in Three parts. The prophecy of The One comes from the Minbari, who have a penchant for doing things in threes. Cryptically, Delenn later said that a place of leadership over all of her people was left open for "The One Who Will Come"; she said this after she had been told that she was "The One Who Is", so she was not referring to Sinclair, Sheridan, or herself. Possibly she was referring to her unborn son David Sheridan, the first true Minbari/Human hybrid. Delenn also discovers that Valen had children after settling on Minbar, and he is her ancestor. David Sheridan therefore has all three persons who held the title of "The One" in his ancestry.

[edit] Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

In the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the title characters are informed by Rufus, a visitor from the future, that their rock band, Wyld Stallyns, is destined to usher in an era of human enlightenment and world peace. Correspondingly, Rufus has been sent in order to help the friends pass a vital history examination. Both the plot of the movie, and it's subsequent resolution, rely heavily on the concept of time travel, which brings about questions of paradoxes and predestination. That is, it raises the question, was it ever really possible for Bill & Ted to fail?

[edit] Bionicle

In the story line of the LEGO range Bionicle, the Toa of Light, Takanuva is a Messiah figure. Like Jesus, he is a saviour whose coming was prophesised in legend. He does battle with the satanic villain of the Bionicle universe, the Makuta and during the battle ends up fused together with him, becoming Takutanuva. He then opens the gateway into Metru-Nui allowing the Matoran through but then the gate becomes too heavy for him to hold and he says 'My duty is done' before being crushed. He is later brought back to life in a beam of light. Like Christ, he sacrificed himself to save his people before being resurrected.

[edit] Brother Man

A novel by Roger Mais, about a Messianic folk Rastafarian healer, "Bra' Man" (in dialect) John Power. The plot follows the superstructure of the story of Jesus, with characters resembling Mary Magdelene and others. The book is significant as the first serious representation of Rastafarianism in literature, and as an exploration of life in the Jamaican Ghetto, and how the people relate to their leaders, making them deities and throwing them away when they fail to entertain. Roger Mais foresaw the defining power of the Rasta movement to Jamaican society 20 years before the era of Bob Marley and Reggae mainstream.

[edit] Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy Summers has a messianic role and duty. Buffy is just a normal girl until she learns that she is a Slayer, a person that is chosen in every generation and who is gifted with super-human abilities upon the death of their predecessor. As she is the only girl on Earth with such powers, she is the only person capable of stopping evil from spreading around the Hellmouth until she dies and another girl is chosen.

Additionally, near the end of the first season she encounters a vampire messiah figure who is prophesied to deliver her to her death and bring about an age of darkness. Buffy is killed and then brought back to life twice over the course of the series. Once at the end of the first season (at which time another, Kendra, is chosen and bestowed the powers of the Slayer), and again at the end of the fifth season/beginning of the sixth season.

See also: Category:Vampire Slayers.

[edit] Chrono Trigger

In the video game Chrono Trigger a group of heroes travels through time to stop an incredible evil. The leader of the group, Crono, is a messianic figure who even "dies" and is resurrected during the course of the story.

In addition to Crono, the group has a second "chosen" character, a knight named Glenn, who travels under the name 'Frog', and who is referred to as a "Legendary Hero". He bears a token known as the "Hero's Medal" and is destined to wield the Masamune sword against the sorcerer Magus.

There are many comparisons between the stories of Crono Trigger and the Holy Bible as nearly every character, many of the settings and most of the events in the game have biblical parallels. It should be noted however, that many of these biblical names and terms were chosen by English translators.

[edit] Code Lyoko

In Code Lyoko, Aelita was regarded as the very person that holds Lyoko together. In the second season episode "The Key", Aelita's memories were taken by the Scyphozoa, leaving her effectively dead. Her father, Franz Hopper, managed to restore her memories and bring her and Lyoko back to life, in a similar manner to the Crucifixion and Resurrection, respectively.

[edit] Command & Conquer

Kane is a fictional and prominent character from Westwood Studios' benchmark Command & Conquer series real-time strategy computer games, and the nefarious and seemingly immortal mastermind behind the ancient and secretive Brotherhood of Nod society. Little is truly known about him; many of his followers draw a connection between him and the biblical figure of Cain, which Kane does not go out of his way to confirm or deny.

[edit] Deep Impact

In the movie Deep Impact, the space shuttle that saves Earth from a comet impact was named the Messiah. At the end of the movie the Messiah's crew sacrifice themselves by using the whole ship as a manned bomb to split the comet's nucleus.

[edit] Deus Ex

In the game Deus Ex, the protagonist JC Denton must ultimately serve a role as a savior of humanity. It should also be noted that he has the same initials (JC) as the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ.

[edit] Dragon Ball

In the manga/anime series Dragon Ball, and especially the early parts of its sequel,[Dragon Ball Z], much ado is made of the prophecy of the coming of a great warrior -- the legendary Super Saiyan. The legend states that once every thousand years, a Saiyan will rise up and become the strongest fighter in the universe. The alien warlord Frieza was so fearful of the prophecy that he personally destroyed the Saiyan's home world, but a small community survived, being in his employ. At first the fated one is assumed to be Vegeta, prince of the Saiyans and their strongest warrior. However, questions arise when Vegeta is defeated by Goku, a Saiyan living on Earth. On the planet Namek, Vegata engages Frieza in battle, claiming to be the Legendary Super Saiyan, but is brutally beaten and is dying when Goku arrives. In his dying moments, Vegeta apparently has an epiphany, and proclaims that his rival will fulfill the prophecy. And indeed, in the ensuing battle, Goku achieves the legendary power and crushes Frieza.

The story contains many classic elements: Goku as a messiah, Vegeta as a prophet, and Frieza's battle against fate.

[edit] Dune

The concept of the messiah is central to the Dune series of books by Frank Herbert. The main character in Dune is Paul Atreides (titled Muad'Dib), the Mahdi of the Fremen people and the Kwisatz Haderach (also a messianic figure) of the Bene Gesserit order. The Bene Gesserit have abilities beyond that of normal humans, and the Kwisatz Haderach even more so, to the point of extreme prescience. Seeing mankind's future annihilation in almost all possible circumstances, Muad'Dib's foresight both allows and forces him to take over the galactic empire to ensure humanity's survival. He becomes the central religious figure of the empire in the process. However, he knows that for his foreseen Golden Path to come to pass, mankind's dependence on him must eventually be broken.

In Dune Messiah he wanders into the desert, leaving behind twin newborn children.

In Children of Dune, Muad'Dib's son Leto Atreides II achieves the same level of prescience as his father, and sees the same Golden Path as the only hope for humanity's survival. He attains perceived godhood by undertaking, first a Symbiosis with the sandtrout then a metamorphosis into a sandworm, becoming a second messianic figure for the next 3,000 years. He is eventually assassinated in God Emperor of Dune, but the survival of humankind is seemingly assured by the sacrifices of both Paul and Leto. The Bene Tleilax later refers to him as The Prophet, a messianic figure, because they have kept their ancient beliefs in an abstract God.

[edit] EarthBound

The main character of EarthBound, Ness, is chosen by a bee-like alien named Buzz Buzz to lead a group of four children to stop an alien entity known as Giygas. However, Buzz Buzz is killed before he can tell the player what or where this Giygas is. Still, Ness ventures on his long and bewildering journey of friendship and self-discovery anyway. Throughout the game Ness is told how his destiny is set on destroying Giygas, and that an ancient prophecy meant for him to succeed. Other characters have odd dreams about Ness. Fans of the game refer to Ness and his friends as "The Chosen Four."

[edit] E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

In the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the titular alien visitor possesses several commonly-recognized messianic attributes. ET is able to heal injuries with only a touch and in the course of the film, dies and is resurrected. Furthermore, in the scene were ET emerges from the back of the van, his chest glowing and draped in a white sheet, mirrors artwork depicting Jesus and the Sacred Heart.

[edit] Fallout 2

The main character of the computer role-playing game Fallout 2, the descendant of the main character of the original Fallout, is called the "Chosen One" by his (or her) fellow tribesmen, because he (or she) was meant to save their village, Arroyo, from death by starvation, by recovering the G.E.C.K. from the mythical Vault 13.

[edit] Final Fantasy

In the video game Final Fantasy, 4 Light Warriors are chosen by 4 crystals to rid the world of the dark lord Chaos and his minions, the Four Fiends, who are destroying the world. In Final Fantasy IV, the character of Cecil becomes a Paladin and fulfills a prophecy to bring darkness and light into balance. The game Final Fantasy VII has features two characters, Aerith Gainsborough and Sephiroth, who play out a christ/anitchrist scenario through the story. In Final Fantasy X, a summoner completes a pilgrimage to sacrifice himself(or herself, as was the case with Summoner Yuna) in order to defeat Sin and bring the Calm, although in this case, the cycle is broken when Yuna refuses to choose a new Fayth and instead take it upon themselves to destroy Jecht(the last "final aeon") and all other aeons.

The concept of the Messianic figure is mocked in 8-Bit Theater, a comic parodying the original Final Fantasy game. In the story the Title of Light Warriors are give to a group of characters, which includes the evil and bloodthirsty magician Black Mage, the childish, exceedlingly naive swordsman of questionable intelligence Fighter, the greedy and manipulative Thief and Red Mage, a versatile warrior who is obsessed with the concept of being in an RPG and versatility and has a highly questionable touch with reality. The characters tend to cause much more chaos than overall good throughout their adventure (such as committing mass Dwarven Genocide) and are more or less false messiahs (the comics feature the True Light Warriors as characters who often meet unfortunate events due to the actions of the False Light Warriors) and are more like villains than true heroes.

[edit] Fushigi Yuugi

In Fushigi Yuugi Anime and Manga created by Yuu Watase, Miaka Yuki and Yui Hongo are sucked into the book "The universe of the Four Gods" where Miaka becomes the legendary Priestess of Suzaku (Suzaku no Miko), a girl from another world who will gather Konan’s Seven Celestial Warriors and summon the phoenix god, Suzaku who chose her. Doing so will grant her the power to grant any three wishes and save Konan Empire. There are also frequent clashes with Yui, who has become the country of Kutou's Priestess of Seiryu and thus making the former best friends deadly enemies and rivals, along with the Seiryu Celestial Warriors. Along the way they discover the existence of the four Gods: Suzaku, Seiryuu, Genbu and Byakko. Each god has his Priestess(Miko),and each Priestess her Seven Celestial Warriors. But Miaka finds out that after the Priestess uses the power of the god three times, the god will devour the Priestess. Will Miaka and Yui survive?

[edit] Halo

In the Halo video game trilogy Master Chief is shown as a somewhat messiah since he is possibly the last of the SPARTAN-II's and possibly the only human capable of saving humanity from both the Covenant and the Flood. 343 Guilty Spark also continually refers to the Master Chief as "Reclaimer," suggesting that the Master Chief may be a messiah in the Forerunners' eyes. The Arbiter is also somewhat of a messiah as he is the leader of the Elite forces in the Covenant civil war and the Prophets' and Brutes' attempt to destroy his race.

[edit] Half-Life

In Half-Life 2, the protagonist, Gordan Freeman, is treated as a messiah by some of the Non-player characters. He is referred to as the "One Free Man," the one who is successful in resisting dominion by the Combine.

[edit] Harry Potter

In the fifth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a prophecy is revealed concerning Harry and the books' chief antagonist, Lord Voldemort. Although the official recording of this prophecy is destroyed in the Ministry of Magic, professor Dumbledore knows the contents of the prophecy entirely, and reveals them to Harry using his Pensieve. As prophesied by Harry's Divination teacher Sybil Trelawney (although unknowingly), Harry is the only one in the wizarding community with the ability to destroy Voldemort and one of the two will have to die at the hands of the other.

In the sixth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, some of the wizarding community begin calling Harry 'The Chosen One', although only guessing the contents of the prophecy. However, Professor Dumbledore, while discussing the matter with Harry, emphasizes that it will be Harry's hunger to avenge the death of his parents that will drive him to chase Voldemort, rather than anything said in the prophecy.

[edit] Kingdom Hearts

In the Disney/Squaresoft game Kingdom Hearts, the main character Sora is "chosen", after Riku is led to the darkness, to wield the Keyblade, a weapon that has the ability to lock the Keyholes that lead to the core of a world, thus protecting it from the Heartless. His partners, Donald and Goofy, were ordered by their King to follow him, in order to save all the worlds from dying out. The game's villain, Xehanort, tries to convince Sora that the heart by its very nature is evil, but Sora remains convinced that there is a light in every heart that cannot be exstinguished (compare to Matthew 5:14-16). In the game's sequel, "Kingdom Hearts 2," Sora is resurrected from a deep sleep.

[edit] Legacy of Kain

The Legacy of Kain video game series centers on a mysterious, messianic character known as the Scion of Balance, who is destined to restore Balance to the dying land of Nosgoth. The story, which has numerous twist and turns, does not reveal the Scion’s true identity until the end of Legacy of Kain: Defiance.

[edit] Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda series of games feature a hero known as Link who is the chosen hero to defeat the game's antagonist (usually, although not always, Ganon). In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link is known as the Hero of Time after acquiring the Master Sword (itself a chosen weapon of sorts). In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past the prophecy is explained that upon the eve of a "Great Cataclysm", a hero shall always arise to bring hope, but if he fails, all is lost. In the introduction to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker this was shown not to have happened upon Ganon's last return to Hyrule — but at the end of the game, the King makes a wish on the Triforce for hope, possibly setting the prophecy for all future generations.

[edit] The 4400

Former real-estate mogul Jordan Collier is often mentioned as a "messiah" (often derogatorily, implying self-importance) after his return from the dead in Season 3. Specifically, parallels with Jesus Christ mark Collier not just as a messiah, but as a Christ-figure. Supporting this, it has been said that his initials (JC) have a specific importance to the character; he wears a full beard and long hair, in keeping with traditional representations of Christ; and when he is portrayed in graffiti, his arms are stretched out and downwards with his eyes towards heaven, recalling the Cross and also like many icons of Jesus.

[edit] The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix movie trilogy also features a messianic figure referred to as "The One". The One has many prophecies relating to his role in humanity's salvation. In The Matrix, The One is described this way by the character of Morpheus: "When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit. It was he who freed the first of us, taught us the truth. As long as the Matrix exists the human race will never be free. After he died the Oracle prophesied his return and that his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix and the war, bring freedom to our people."

However, it was the opposite that actually happened in the movies, and Neo was taught the truth by Morpheus, instead.

Thomas Anderson, alias Neo, discovers that the world he lives in is merely a computer simulation intended to keep humanity enslaved. Not only does he penetrate this illusion, but he discovers that he has significant abilities to manipulate the simulation himself and joins with other rebellious humans to bring down the entire system. Mr. Anderson doesn't find true confirmation of his role as the One until he is killed in battle, but manages through his own power over the Matrix to somehow bring himself back to life immediately thereafter. There are several Gnostic-themes in the story. Other subliminal themes include the Free Will vs. fate-debate and the nature of reality, perception, enlightenment, and existence. In many ways The Matrix is about a kind of reality enforcement.

The Matrix Reloaded featured a Neo who had many new powers, among them, the power of flight, incredible fighting abilities, and the power to resurrect the dead. The film also expanded the role of "The One", revealing that the existence of "The One" was a recurring flaw inherent to the programming of the Matrix, and that his purpose is to return to the machine mainframe to assist in reloading the Matrix program. In addition to doing so, "The One" is meant to choose a number of individuals from the Matrix to repopulate Zion, the last human city, after its destruction. Neo is the sixth One, and the first to refuse to cooperate with the machines in favor of saving his Beloved.

In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo visits the machine capital in the real world to negotiate with the machines. Since the Matrix has at this point been taken over by a rogue program, Smith, a former agent and a replicating virus, Neo negotiates an end to the war between humans and machines in return for Neo's help in destroying Smith. Smith ultimately copies himself over Neo, but is destroyed in the process, allowing for the Matrix to be Reloaded. Neo thus sacrifices himself to save both humanity (Who would have been destroyed by the Matrix system crash and the destruction of Zion) and the machines. In one of the closing scenes, the body of Neo, plugged into the Matrix in the machine city, glows with a bright white crucifix, the symbol of Jesus Christ, the Christian messiah.

During the fight between the Smith-infected Bane and Neo, Neo was blinded by a live wire damaged during the fight, and effectively had his eyes fried. Bane then taunts him, calling him blind messiah. However, Neo was not completely blinded – he could sense the machine code within Bane.

[edit] Magic Knight Rayearth

A magical Girl Anime and Manga, created by CLAMP where three girls from separate schools, all on field trips to Tokyo Tower, are blinded by a flash of light and hear a voice calling for the "Legendary Magic Knights" to save Cephiro. The girls fall through the sky into another world, known as Cephiro. The three girls are charged with the rescue of the Princess Emeraude by becoming Magic Knights and collecting the three "Magic-gods" ("Ma-shin," a multiple wordplay on Japanese kanji and the English word "machine") of Cephiro, and given a bizarre creature named Mokona to guide them on their journey, only if they become Magic Knights and save Cephiro they will be able to return to their World. Mokona turns out to be the creator of Cephiro, the Earth and some other planets, and the one who chooses the Pillar.

[edit] Methuselah's Children

Robert A. Heinlein's short story Methuselah's Children (1941) introduces the character of Lazarus Long, a member of a group of approximately 100,000 people known as the "Howard Families," or Howards, a group who have exceptionally long lifespans as a result of selective breeding as a result of a trust fund set up by Ira Howard, dying of old age in his forties. The general public are suspicious of the members of the Families, because of their extremely long lifespans, some of them are more than 150 years old, and believe they are selfishly hoarding the "secret" of their long lifespans. (At the time the story is taking place, Lazarus himself is 212 years old.)

As a result of envy of their longevity, the government is forced to round up the Howards, who will most likely be tortured, quite possibly to the point of extermination, in order that the government can force them to divulge the nonexistent secret of how they have managed to obtain longer life. Lazarus, through guile, stealth and plain audacity, pilots a space-freighter through restricted airspace to ferry all of the Howard Families members to a starship, which he then hijacks, and the Howard Families escape from the earth and outmigrate to the stars.

In a later book of the series, Time Enough For Love. the then Chief Archivist of the Howard Families admits that Lazarus is "our Moses, who led Our People out of bondage." By the end of the series, the books, which include Time Enough for Love (1973), The Number of the Beast (1980), The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985), and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987), show Lazarus as still alive after more than 2,000 years.

[edit] Mighty Max

In the Nineties animated cartoon Mighty Max the series' protagonist, a thirteen year old boy called Max, learns that he is the 'chosen one'; that person destined to destroy the series' antagonist, the demonic sorcerer Skullmaster. Max is aided in his journey by two allies — a wise 'Lemurian' fowl named Virgil, and a viking warrior called Norman, and given a cap which opens portals to locations around the earth. While Max's nemesis remained Skullmaster, he is seen fighting many smaller villains around the world. At the end of the series, Max is sent back in time, after Skullmaster seizes his cap and kills his guardians, and he resolves to do things right with this second chance.

[edit] Narnia

C. S. Lewis wrote the fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, which deals heavily with Christian beliefs.

The talking lion Aslan is the Narnian version of Christ; He created the world, describes himself as the "son" of a mysterious god figure called the Emperor-over-the-Sea, willingly sacrifices his own life so that a traitorous human child can avoid punishment for his sin, and is resurrected.

[edit] Pokémon

In Pokémon: The First Movie, Ash Ketchum sacrifices himself to save the Pokémon, and is revived by their tears. In Pokémon: The Movie 2000, Ash is discovered to be the prophecised Chosen One, a legendary figure able to help save the world from several warring Pokémon. Also, some legendary Pokémon in the films, such as Mewtwo in Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns and Latios in Pokémon Heroes, sacrifice themselves for others and somehow survive, either by being physically saved or by assuming some sort of spirit form.

[edit] Sailor Moon

In the shōjo manga and subsequent anime Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi, the main-character Usagi Tsukino discovers that she is the reincarnation of Princess Serenity, the princess of an ancient Moon-kingdom. She transforms into the girl soldier Sailor Moon and is portrayed as the "Chosen One" in her many incarnations. In fact, during many times throughout the story, Usagi is referred to as the Messiah, or the Senshi who brings light, peace, healing, and hope and all things good. Consequently, being Sailor Moon, Princess Serenity, the future Neo-Queen Serenity, and the more distant future Sailor Cosmos associates her with the feminine nature and power of the Moon.

In the third season of the anime series, Sailor Moon S, along with Usagi being the Messiah of Light, there is Mistress 9, the Messiah of Silence. Her goal is to deliver Sailor Moon's Holy Grail (an item Usagi uses to transform into Super Sailor Moon; it was called the "Purity Chalice" in the American dub of the TV show) to Pharaoh 90, a being that wishes to throw the earth into silence with the power of the Grail. Mistress 9 possesses Hotaru Tomoe's body but is eventually destroyed from within by Hotaru, who transforms into the senshi of death and rebirth, Sailor Saturn. Sailor Saturn sacrifices herself to destroy Pharaoh 90, but Sailor Moon, at great personal risk, manages to rescue Hotaru, who has been transformed into an infant. Pharaoh 90 is defeated, and Hotaru experiences a second childhood.

In the Infinity Arc of the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon manga, which corresponds to the third anime season, Sailor Saturn's awakening is feared by the outer senshi because she has the power to destroy the world. In the past, she actually did destroy the dying Moon Kingdom, and herself, the senshi of the Moon Kingdom, and the Kingdom's Princess Serenity were reborn in the future.

[edit] Spyro the Dragon

In the game,The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, it is revealed that Spyro is part of a prophecy that spoke of a purple dragon that will be born every 10 generations and will direct the fate of the era.

[edit] Star Trek

In the various incarnations of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, there have been a number of messianic figures, applied to various cultures.

The Vulcans revere a man named Surak, a philosopher who helped save the Vulcan people from their violent nature by teaching them how to embrace logic. After his death (from radiation poisoning resulting from atomic wars), Surak preserved his katra (an imprint of his consciousness) in an artifact that would be found in 2137 by a man named Syrran, who would later place the katra in the mind of Jonathan Archer via a mind-meld. Through Surak's katra, Archer was able to locate an artifact known as the Kir'shara, a holographic tome containing Surak's original writings.

The Klingons revere a man known as Kahless the Unforgettable, who was renowned as the greatest warrior in the history of the Klingon race. It was Kahless who forged the code of honorable combat that all Klingon warriors are expected to follow. Kahless was known for his prowess in battle. According to legend, Kahless forged the first bat'leth from molten lava, battled his brother for twelve days and nights over a matter of honor and single-handedly defeated a 500-strong horde. It was prophesied that Kahless would someday return from Sto-Vo-Kor. In The Next Generation episode Rightful Heir, the prophecy was fulfilled (in a way). A group of Klingon scientists created a clone of Kahless from dried blood from the ancient dagger. Later, even thought the truth of Kahless' nature was revealed, he was appointed as a figurehead Emperor of the Klingon Empire (with the true authority of state remaining with the High Council).

According to Ferengi beliefs, Gint the first Grand Nagus, who wrote the Rules of Acquisition and unified the competing Ferengi Commerce Zones into the great Ferengi Alliance, resides over the Divine Treasury, where Ferengi who led successful lives devoted to the acquisition of profit go when they die (provided that they can bribe their way in).

In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Starfleet officer Benjamin Sisko takes command of space station Deep Space Nine (Formerly the Cardassian mining station Terok Nor) orbiting the planet Bajor. The Bajoran people herald him as their Emissary to the Prophets, their gods, when he finds the Bajoran wormhole, which the Bajorans refer to as the "Celestial Temple", in which they believe the Prophets reside. Throughout the series, events take place that prove him to indeed be the Emissary, and in the end, he sacrifices himself, in true messianic tradition, to stop the evil Pah-Wraiths, false-Prophets cast out of the Celestial Temple by the Prophets, whose desire is to burn the entire universe.

[edit] Star Wars

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a young junkyard slave, Anakin Skywalker, is discovered by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon believes Anakin to be the "Chosen One", prophesied to bring balance to the Force and destroy the Sith. Qui-Gon Jinn is convinced on this fact when Anakin's mother reveals to him that Anakin has no father and was possibly conceived by the Force itself. This fact explains why Anakin has the highest midi-chlorian count of any lifeform. Also, the coming of the Sith'ari, an ancient Sith prophecy, became somewhat well known in Darth Revan's Sith Empire. The Sith'ari was said to be a perfect (in accordance with the Sith philosophy) being who would rise to power and bring balance to the Force. According to prophecy, the Sith'ari would rise up and destroy the Sith, but in the process would return to lead the Sith and make them stronger than ever before. It is believed that the prophecy of the Sith'ari and the prophecies of the Jedi "Chosen One" refer to the same individual. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader made the Sith stronger than ever by wiping out the Jedi Knights and assisting Darth Sidious in his rise to power, but then destroyed the Sith when he betrayed and killed Sidious, sacrificing himself in the process, thus fulfilling the ancient prophecy of the Sith'ari. It can also be interpreted that he did bring balance to the force at the end of episode III because only two sith and two jedi were left in the galaxy

Throughout the rest of the saga, Skywalker grows and is trained as a Jedi, eventually rising to the rank of Jedi Knight. But near the end of the Clone Wars, he feared the loss of his beloved wife and willingly turned to the Dark Side, becoming Darth Vader in the hopes that his new power could save her life. He suffers greatly at the hands of Obi-Wan, which result in 3 decades of carrying a physical burden, in the form of robotic limbs and a respirator that cannot be removed. Although originally appearing as though he is not the Chosen One, Anakin does eventually destroy the Sith. He sacrifices himself (this time his own life) to stop Emperor Palpatine from killing his son, Luke. After doing so, he finds his own redemption in the light side of the Force. His spirit rises from death and joins those of Yoda and Obi-Wan. (This completes the prophecy of the Chosen One as the newly redeemed Anakin Skywalker brings balance to the Force.) There are some rumors that consider Anakin's son, Luke Skywalker, to be the Chosen One, and the proof supporting such a theory is plausible, however George Lucas has stated that Anakin is the Chosen One, and not his progeny. Anakin is the Messiah of Star Wars.

[edit] Sonic the Hedgehog

In the Archie Comics production of Sonic the Hedgehog the character Miles "Tails" Prower is rumored to be the Chosen One of the universe, and in recent editions has been shown to be able to transform into a much larger, stronger version of himself when the time is right. Interestingly, 'Chosen One' is also the title of one of the songs from the Shadow the Hedgehog video game, which in the same game Shadow was revealed to be secretly created specifically to destroy the Black Arms, where the knowledge and power to create him came from. Knuckles the Echidna also follows this after a fashion, having the title "Avatar." According to a prophecy, Knuckles is destined to circumvent death and return to deliver the world from its' suffering. Knuckles has already come back from the dead, so the prophecy appears accurate. In addition, Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails are destined to someday reach a "divine status." Furthermore, the franchise's namesake character is often put into this role, tasked with defeating various evils insurmountable to those around him. One of Sonic's battles even seems to have been foretold in Echidna mythology; a mural depicting a battle between Super Sonic and Dr. Eggman being visible in the Hidden Palace zone of the Sonic and Knuckles video game.

[edit] Superman

The classic American superhero, Superman, is either a messiah or a Deliverer. Like Moses, he was set in a small bundle and sent on an unknown voyage to be raised by adopted parents. Many Superman writers make much of the fact that Jor-El (Superman's biological father) sacrificed his own life, allowing his only son to be saved, in an inversion of the Christian beliefs, in which God sacrifices his only son to save the world. This last son of Krypton is sent to Earth to be a figure of leadership and hope, a clearly messianic message. Some versions of the Superman story have Jor-El desire that Kal-El (Superman's Kryptonian name) set up his own kingdom on Earth, to lead mankind in a new era (another clearly messianic message). Depending on the author of the story, such an intended kingdom is usually threatening to the existing human social order. In most recent versions of the Superman story, Superman rejects his primary identification as a Kryptonian, and sees himself as a human: he views Clark Kent as the actual person, and "Superman" as merely a public persona he adopts. Many fans disagree with this however, stating that Superman is proud of and embraces his Kryptonian heritage, carrying on the legacy of his people and still adapting to the ways of Earth.

The kyptonian name of Superman "Kal-El" contains an inner meaning in Hebrew. Kal El is translated as "The Voice Of God" (קול-אל)

[edit] The Terminator

In the film The Terminator (1984), John Connor is the future leader of the human Tech-Com resistance in the war against machines. He was trained by his mother Sarah Connor as a young man to carry out such a task. Sarah was aware that he would come to such a position based on the testimony of Kyle Reese, a man sent back in time by John Connor himself (from the future) to protect Sarah from being killed by a cyborg (also from the future) before John was born. As many messianic figures have unusual births, John was conceived by Kyle and Sarah when they met in the year 1984. Therefore, the paradox of time travel comes into play in his birth. As a preteen, a cyborg was sent again in the past to kill John himself in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Another cyborg was sent by the adult John, from the future, to protect him. The latter cyborg was ultimately successful. In the final installment in the Terminator films, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), John was again hunted down by a cyborg from the future. A similar cyborg as his protector in the second film is sent to protect him and his to-be wife, Katherine Brewster. As an adult, John Connor is assassinated by a T-800 Model 101 cyborg in the year 2032.

The reference to Jesus Christ is hidden in plain sight. Jesus Christ and John Connor have the same initials: J.C. This may be unintentional though: J.C. is the initials of the film's director, James Cameron.

[edit] Tekken

Within the Tekken series, Jun Kazama is displayed as a messiah to a fashion, and even after her apparent death, continues to be a significant influence in ongoing events. She is even explicitly referred to as "The Chosen One" in her original profile. Circumstances have led her son to become the series' most notable protagonist and the foremost character in a plot that revolves around a cursed family of "Devils".

[edit] Transformers

In the Transformers universes, which has spin-offs in toys, cartoons, comics and an upcoming film, Optimus Prime has died at least once in every incarnation, and always returned, most noticeably after his death in Transformers: The Movie and the immediate follow up of the third season of the original series.

In the cartoon movie, however, Hot Rod is the Chosen One and becomes Rodimus Prime. Furthermore, the original form of Primus (the Transformers' deity) looks like a humanoid Rodimus Prime.

[edit] The Undertaker

The comic book incarnation of WWE wrestler The Undertaker, depicts the central character as the 'chosen one' who will gather all three Books of Death, and consume their power, enabling him to become the perfect keeper of evil or to become the ultimate conqueror. The Undertaker, though hardly heroic in any sense of the word in the series, is intent on containment and rule of the forces of Hell, rather than destruction of all existence and remaking it in his own image. Like with other messianic stories, there are three main individuals involved in the prophecy: The Undertaker, The Embalmer, and Paul Bearer. Each holds one of the three volumes of the Books of Death, and desires the other two. Paul surrenders his volume to the Undertaker, greatly increasing his power, in exchange for being made the Undertaker's second in command. The Undertaker later kills the Embalmer, sending him to Stygian, which is Hell's prison realm in the series, and briefly holds all three volumes. The Undertaker halloween special seems to indicate that the books merged into one singular volume, which is at that point possessed by the Undertaker, indicating that sometime between the final issue of the regular series and the one-shot, that the Undertaker did indeed fulfill the prophecy.

[edit] Warhammer 40,000

The fictional universe of the British miniatures game Warhammer 40,000, created by Games Workshop, features a God-Emperor of humanity, not unlike the one from Dune (see above).

The Emperor is said to be "immortal". He guides his Imperial Fleets, through the daemonically-infested hyperspace realm of the Warp using the psychic beacon of the Astronomicon and he is sometimes considered the only force that can save humankind from imminent extinction. Though he was nearly killed by one of his sons, the Warmaster Horus, in a vast daemonically engineered rebellion, he gave his life (or at least the better half of it) to preserve the Imperium. The rebellion, known as the Horus Heresy, also has strong parallels with the Christian Fall of Lucifer, with Horus as Lucifer and the Emperor as God.

The true "divine" status of the Emperor is debated, both in the fictional universe and with the Games Workshop fanbase. Some state that the Emperor is not a true god, but a powerful psychic sustained simply by technology. This is the view seen to be most supported by the Canon, as all of the Emperor's powers Post Horus Heresy, including his immortality, are sustained by technology in the form of the golden throne, a vast life support machine in the Imperial Palace on Terra. However, some state that the Emperor was far more than a psychic pre-heresy, and that if allowed to die, would arise as a true god of mankind, able to stand as a potent force against the nightmarish gods of Chaos. And of course, there are any number of conflicting theories between these two polar opposites.

Given the relative and intentional ambiguity in the way 40K history is presented, in multiple editions and rulebooks, along with novels set in the 40K universe and a seemingly retroactive and constantly rewritten, ignored or denied continuity, it seems unlikely that the God-Emperor debate — along with countless others — will ever be truly resolved.

The issue of the Emperor's God-Status is dealt with most extensively in the Games Workshop 40k-offshoot Inquisitor, often prefixed with "The Battle for the Emperor's Soul".

[edit] Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, as the name indicates, deals with the idea of time as an eternal cycle of seven ages, neither beginning nor ending. At one focus of this cycle stands a messianic figure known in the series as the Dragon Reborn. His name and title may vary through the ages, but in at least two of the seven ages he plays an important role in determining the outcome of the battle against evil. At the end of what is currently known as the Second Age, Lews Therin, styled The Dragon, led the battle against the forces of the Dark One, the personification of evil. He succeeded in resealing the Dark One's prison at Shayol Ghul, but in the process the Dark One tainted the male half of the One Power. This caused all male channelers to go on a rampage, including The Dragon, who killed his entire family and earned himself the moniker "Kinslayer". Lews Therin and all other male Aes Sedai died, but not before causing extreme damage to their surroundings, reshaping the map of the world. This is later known as the Breaking of the World.

In the Third Age, in which the series takes place, the Dragon Reborn is expected with both hope and fear, as it is prophesied that he will save the world, but also break it once again. Rand al'Thor is eventually determined to be the reincarnation of Lews Therin by fulfillment of various prophecies, not the least of which is removing the sword Callandor from the Stone of Tear. In addition to being the Dragon Reborn of the continental peoples, he fulfills the prophecies of He Who Comes With The Dawn of the Aiel, and the Coramoor of the Atha'an Miere. Further prophecy seems to indicate that his death in the last battle, Tarmon Gai'don, will free mankind from the re-emerging shadow, at least for a time. The Dragon will presumably be reincarnated once again when the cycle begins anew.

[edit] X-1999

In X-1999 Anime, and Manga created by CLAMP, Kamui Shirōu (kamui literally meaning "GOD") returns to Tokyo for the first time in six years to honour his mother's final wishes. It is here he will fulfill his destiny, yet all he wants is for others to leave him alone. According to the yumemi Hinoto, Kamui alone has the power to decide the world's fate. Kamui must decide to either become a Dragon of Heaven (also known as the Seven Seals) and protect humanity from supernatural destruction or join the Dragons of Earth (also known as the Seven Angels) to destroy humanity so the Earth can be reborn. While Kamui couldn't care less about the world, he feels he must protect childhood friends Monō Fūma and his younger sister Kotori. However, his choice to become a Dragon of Heaven results in tragedy when Fūma is revealed to be Kamui’s “Twin Star”, destined to be Kamui’s opposite number no matter which side Kamui chooses.

[edit] X-Men

In Marvel Comics' X-Men franchise, Cable was the Chosen One who was prophesied by the Askani clan who raised him to defeat and destroy the ancient mutant tyrant Apocalypse. Mister Sinister orchestrated Cable's birth for the specific goal of creating an ultimate mutant to destroy his former master, Apocalypse. When Apocalypse was resurrected, Cable decided that he could better serve the world as a general messiah figure, and so he let his former teammates in the X-Men defeat the reborn villain.

[edit] Xenogears

In the story of the video game Xenogears, the male "Contact" and female "Anti-type" are dual consciousnesses perpetually continued over millennia by the "Wave Existence," a waveform accidentally contained by a monolithic device called the "Zohar". These two characters fill co-messianic roles, as "the Power of God" and "the Will of God" respectively. The Contact and Anti-Type are born, live, and die in five lifetimes in five separate bodies over a 10000-year period, each always within the other's lifetime. The story's Nisan sect religion actively venerates the Contact and Anti-Type, believing them to be two one-winged angels who must cooperate with one another in order to fly. In all attested incarnations before the fifth incarnation, the Anti-Type is always named "Elehayym" (see also "Elohim"), but prefers the familiar name "Elly" (see also "Eli"); At the end of Elly's life, she always selflessly sacrifices herself to save others, with each act of salvation being greater than before. During the time of the game's story, Fei Fong Wong and Elhaym Van Houten are the fifth incarnations. At the end, the fifth Elly attempts to sacrifice herself again, this time to save the entire planet from destruction, but is rescued from death by Fei piloting his omnigear, Xenogears. For more details, see Xenogears. But, there are also many parallels between Fei and Elly, and Adam and Eve, as well as between Miang and Lilith.

[edit] Yu-Gi-Oh!

In the "Waking the Dragons" arc in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi Muto, Seto Kaiba, and Joey Wheeler are referred to as the three chosen duelists by Legendary Knights Timaeus, Critias, and Hermos while they release Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey's souls from getting absorbed by the Great Leviathan. This all happened when the Pharaoh defeated Dartz to end Dartz' plan to destroy the earth by gathering souls of mankind and beast with the power of the Orichalcos to give the Great Leviathan the power it needed to destroy mankind. 10,000 years before that, The Battle of Atlantis took place between Dartz, his Orichalcos soldiers, and the Great Leviathan and Ironheart, Chris, Skye, an army of Duel Monsters, and the Legendary Dragons (who used to be the Legendary Knights until the Pharaoh released them), Timaeus, Critias, and Hermos. Dartz was trying to destroy mankind with the power of the Orichalcos, and Ironheart (his father) tried to save it with the help of the three dragons. The battle had neither side victorious, and the Legendary Dragons were sealed away in the world of Duel Monsters. Then, 10,000 years later when mankind was in trouble again, Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey were called forth to release the three dragons to save mankind once again.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Messiahs in fiction

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