This whole debate is kind of... I dunno.
Because in the end, everyone who says that Gary has a chance of coming back, you're absolutely right. There isn't any real proof to say he won't come back. Not only was he a big character, but he was fairly popular in his day and although his other appearances may have been lackluster, that doesn't mean much considering they have brought back much less popular characters for cameos (Tracy) several times.
However, Gary isn't special in this regard. He has the same chances of coming back as say, Misty. Nothing sets Gary's chances of appearing any higher than chances of Max, or May, or even Brock. He doesn't have anything setting him apart from those characters.
So yes, Gary could come back for a cameo, but so could so many other people. He just doesn't have anything that sets him apart.
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The solution is obvious. If given an appearance, they should make him relevant to the story, just as they do with any other character. Whether that character be a rival or a friend, and whether the story be a major plot, a small arc, or an everyday adventure.
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If only Gary would of shown up earlier in the series when Trip had less respect for Ash. He would of said something about Kanto being the Boonies and maybe that would upset Gary making him challenge Trip.
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I wonder if we'll see him in his HeartGold and SoulSilver outfit if he does return.
Meh. Not sure what they could do with Gary at this point. Seems like his arc is done with. Same with Paul.
I'm hoping the next season has a more compelling rival for Ash than Trip was.
I would like to have Gary Return..but honestly i don't think it will happen...
Same applies to previous characters like Misty, May, Max etc having room to be done much more with their stories being left on open note.
And of course Gary. He could be brought back during N arc to play important role in fighting Team Plasma. His career of being researcher gives him flexibility to travel to any region he really wants meeting up with Ash again. We can see him doing research on legendary pokemon like Reshiram or Zekrom being directly tied in plot while supplying prof. Oak with important information. Heck we could even see him battle for old time sake having rich roaster of pokemon to choose from.
You can always incorporate previous companion in story again playing valuable role, while making sure that his own story/career receives benefit from it as well.
It only depends on writers willingness if they want to do more with him/her having right vision through which character could go forward.
Why not just send Ash to Kanto for like 2 episodes and have gary come there for a visit or something before going off to a new region to research more pokemon and then Ash decides to go there to?
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