Can you efficiently change a lower level Docker container, without rebuilding all the apps that rely on it?

I’ve seen that you can layer Docker containers. As an example, lets say we had a set up with a Java container at the base, say running Java 6, a Tomcat container running on top of the Java container, and say 400 unique application containers running on top of the Tomcat container.

Is there a way to switch to Java 7, replace the Java 6 container with a Java 7 container, and not have to rebuild 400 applications? and then deploy 400 applications? and then shut down the original 400 applications?

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