Created By: pinkdalekDecember 6, 2013 Last Edited By: marcoasalazarmJuly 31, 2014
Troped

Break The Icon

Destroying an icon symbolising the previous entry in a series, to indicate a new start

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This trope is when The Artifact, a Series Mascot, an Iconic Item or Iconic Outfit, a Signature Scene, Catch Phrase, or any one of the Signature Tropes, is gratuitously destroyed or snubbed with the purpose of symbolising that everything is different now. Usually, Darker And Edgier-flavoured different-now.

Perhaps this is the beginning of a Re Boot, a Re Tool, or perhaps this is the Wham Episode; perhaps this is just a sequel in much the same tone, but with a theme of a fresh start. Maybe this is a way to indicate that even though the last work had a happy ending, everything has gone to hell between stories; or maybe the story wants to tell you, perhaps overly optimistically, that, even if you liked it before, this is where everything gets so totally awesome that you won't care about any of that old stuff. There are many reasons why writers may want to do this - but all of them end with the very symbol of the story itself being destroyed before your very eyes.

While this is generally done quickly and obviously, there are ways of doing it more subtly. In some cases, such as when the destroyed symbol is incredibly conspicuous in absence alone, even its mere nonappearance may qualify as this trope, though this is very rare. While some narratives won't settle for anything less mean-spirited than bundling up the hero's famous car, Weapon Of Choice, famous house and fan-favourite girlfriend and slamming a superheated meteor into the whole lot, others take a gentler approach, such as having the hero mock his old dress sense from when he was wearing his Iconic Outfit all the time, or having him intentionally fail to deliver his Catch Phrase in a moment that begs for it. In some cases, this can even be Played For Laughs, but, since the usual reason to Bomb The Relic is to establish that yes, you are willing to go there, even the laughs are usually a little mean in spirit.

Related to Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, but where that is done to indicate to the audience that Anyone Can Die or for practical reasons of not having a returning character, this is a far more symbolic trope. No-one necessarily has to die - although they definitely can. The focus is on portraying a symbolic death of the 'old'.

Also see Nothing Is The Same Any More, which this trope can be used to signify. Can also be interpreted as a peculiar form of The Worf Effect, as instead of being about beating up a character we know to be strong to demonstrate the strength of the new threat, this is about "beating up" an idea we know to be strong in order to demonstrate the strength of the new narrative. Important Haircut is a subtrope.

If this involves removing a Plucky Comic Relief element almost mercifully before everything gets Darker And Edgier, this is Shoo Out The Clowns. See also Put On A Bus To Hell, which also deals with mean-spirited departures of established characters and things. A Knight Of Cerebus may be the character responsible for doing this.


Examples:

Advertising
  • In 1980, the USA fast food chain Jack-in-the-Box decided to rebrand itself by blowing up their famous jack-in-the-box mascot in an iconic commercial. This was meant to make over the chain as being more upscale than its competition. This trope was invoked again in 1994 where the mascot & company executive, Jack Box, returned to power and blew up the boardroom executives that had replaced him years earlier.

Anime
  • In the second season of Darker Than Black, Hei gets caught in a trap early on and depowered. In the process, his iconic mask and knives get destroyed. Subverted at the end of the season when he snaps out of his funk, finds a cache of hidden weapons, and gets a new set.
  • Gunsmith Cats Burst: The second arc of the manga involves a criminal cartel stealing Rally Vincent's beloved 1960's Shelby Cobra Mustang while she's hunting a bounty in Texas and using it as a "hostage". At the end of the arc it is destroyed beyond repair (and considering how bad Rally's luck is, it says a lot) by a bomb that said cartel had rigged to the car, forcing Rally to get a replacement-which ends up being a highly modified Mustang II.

Film

Literature
  • In The Dresden Files, Changes sees Harry's trademark car beaten into a wafer. His apartment is also firebombed and completely destroyed. This signifies a turn into darker and grimmer territory.
  • In Frank Herbert's "Dune" Series. Paul is built up from boy to hero Emperor in the first book, only to be brought down just as far in it's sequel "Dune Messiah". Being blinded, cast out into the desert and eventually killed in "Children of Dune".

Live-Action Television
  • Doctor Who:
    • Christopher Eccleston's costume as the Ninth Doctor, the first Doctor after the series got a major retool, is kind of a reaction to the most visually iconic Doctor in Doctor Who, the Fourth Doctor. Both have somewhat similar facial features and toothy, unpredictable mannerisms, but where Four had a head of dense curly hair, a long coat and a big, gaudy scarf, Nine has a dark crew-cut, a leather jacket and dresses in plain, dark-colored knitwear. Obviously, this is to define Nine himself, as well as the new series, as being Darker And Edgier than his predecessor.
    • The whoisdoctorwho supplemental website run by Mickey, contained an eyewitness account which addressed it more literally - a woman submitted an anecdote claiming that she spotted the man at a local dump throwing away brightly coloured clothes (the kinds worn by previous Doctors), including 'an extremely long scarf'. When she asked him what he was doing, he told her 'having a bit of a clear-out'. (It should be noted that during David Tennant's makeover scene, by which time the show was trying less hard to be aggressively relevant, the scarf is seen hanging in his wardrobe without getting a deliberate snub, and from there it seems to have made its way to being an artefact in the Eleventh Doctor's study - and apparently then around the neck of one of his far, far, far future friends/companions in "The Day of the Doctor".)
    • This also happened in the made-for-TV-movie, which was intended to be the start of a Re Boot but didn't quite happen, in which Paul McGann's Doctor is stealing himself clothes, and is stuck with the outfits of people who want to go to a costume party. In one locker, he finds a long, striped scarf, thinks about it for a moment, and then locks it back up again, eventually settling on Wild West-type Victoriana.
    • Peter Davidson was the first to obviously snub the scarf - he unravelled his previous incarnation's red scarf and used the thread as a marker, Theseus-style. Obviously, this was because he was following up the most beloved incarnation of the Doctor and needed a way to assure people the previous character was Dead For Real.
    • Done a few times to things other than the scarf as well. The 11th Doctor's tenure begins, quite literally, with the former TARDIS set blowing up to be replaced a newer, more polished one for 11, and the destruction of David Tennant's 10th Doctor costume. 11 consciously gets rid of the now "raggedy" clothing and replaces it with his iconic "cool" bow tie.
    • The very lived in "coral" TARDIS interior theme used by Nine and Ten gets another snub when 11 says it was his "grunge phase" and he'll "grow out of it" in "Day of the Doctor" before the desktop theme changes back to the shiny new interior 11 was using at the time.
    • In the episode "The Time of the Doctor", when Matt Smith's Doctor regenerates into Peter Capaldi's Doctor, he drops his iconic "cool" bowtie.
  • Fantasy Island: In the original series, Mr. Roarke always wears a white three-piece suit. In the first episode of the 1990s retool, the new Mr. Roarke looks in his closet, chooses the one black suit amongst a sea of white ones, and tells a servant to burn the rest of them.
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The season 2 finale "The Jem'Hadar" saw the Galaxy-class starship USS Odyssey get thoroughly curbstomped by a trio of Jem'Hadar attack ships, and finally destroyed by a ramming attack after it was already in full retreat. The GCS is practically the embodiment of the previous series Star Trek The Next Generation, and having one get destroyed in such a manner also demonstrated that DS9 was going to be Darker And Edgier than its predecessor. Word Of God confirmed this as intentional.
  • Burn Notice: The season 4 finale "Last Stand" used this for foreshadowing when Michael blows up the Charger for an impromptu roadblock. By the start of the next season, the organization that burned him has been taken down completely and the CIA has lifted the burn notice.
  • The pilot episode of the most recent Knight Rider series had some spies discovering the disassembled frame of the Knight Industries Two Thousand (a 1980's T-Top Trans-Am) on a secret lab garage before the Knight Industries Three Thousand (a brand-new Shelby Cobra Ford Mustang) activates and drives away from them.

Music
  • A Ha's music video for "Take On Me" featured a rotoscoped love story between a comic book fan Trapped In TV Land and the main character of the comic, who wills himself into the real world to be with her at the end of the video. Their next single, "The Sun Always Shines on TV", had a video that started with the couple breaking up and the man disappearing back into the comic world, followed by a big The End.

Video Games
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The opening of Final Fantasy X 2 shows Yuna looking mournful in her traditionalist Summoner dress from the previous game, but she quickly transforms into frilly stage wear and starts performing a huge electronic pop song that would have been absolutely unthinkable in Final Fantasy X.
    • The original Final Fantasy starts with the player rescuing a Princess. This is got over with by the first hour of the game, giving the player freedom to venture beyond the small opening island and explore the huge (for that time) rest of the game world. This was aimed at divorcing the game from its inspirational predecessor Dragon Quest, in which saving the princess is the end goal of the game - in Final Fantasy, your heroes have bigger things to deal with.
  • The start of Zork Grand Inquisitor shows the White House from the original Zork being demolished with a wrecking ball.
  • In Dm C Devil May Cry, the Continuity Reboot of the Devil May Cry series, a mop falls on Dante's head, making him resemble his counterpart from the original games. He casts it aside and berates the look.

Western Animation
  • Speed Racer The Next Generation: the first episode has Speed Jr finding the Mach 5...only to total it beyond repair in the next scene. Some of its parts are used in the new Mach 6 that he uses for the rest of the series.
  • Megabyte crushing Glitch at the end of Reboot Season 2, beginning the show's Darker And Edgier phase.
  • In Avatar The Legend Of Korra, a giant statue of Aang, the protagonist of the last series stands in Republic City, the city he helped found in between the series. At the end of the second season, the Big Bad destroyed the statue, symbolizing the fact that he broke the Avatar cycle and severed Korra's connection to her past lives.

Community Feedback Replies: 102
  • December 6, 2013
    Larkmarn
  • December 6, 2013
    DAN004
    So does it have to be a character?
  • December 7, 2013
    Chabal2
    • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's second half has the gigantic statue of Kamina (which had been erected to celebrate mankind's victory over their beastman slavers in the first half) toppled over.
    • Machete Kills has one of the main characters from Machete get Killed Off For Real in the first few minutes.
    • The Chaos campaign of Dawn Of War: Retribution has you face Davian Thule (a major character in the preceding games) as one of the first bosses (though this campaign isn't canon). Similarly, the Space Marine campaign has you fight Eliphas (though he's been Back From The Dead, and might be able to return).
  • December 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced a bunch of examples + sorted the examples by media.
  • December 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Fantasy Island: In the original series Mr. Roarke always wears a white three-piece suit. In the first episode of the 1990s retool, the new Mr. Roarke looks in his closet, chooses the one black suit amongst a sea of white ones, and tells a servant to burn the rest of them.
  • December 7, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Chabal — those have questionable context
    • TTGL — that's not really why the statue was there, and they had a relevant reason why they destroyed it, include the reason.
    • Machete — who? and how does he represent the previous story?
    • Dawn Of War — how do their battles count as this trope? why do you fight them?
  • December 7, 2013
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: the Bohrok swarm's intended purpose; they are required to clear out the island of Mata Nui on the Great Spirit face during his camouflage stage in preparation for his awakening.
  • December 7, 2013
    MaxWest
    Advertising
    • In 1980, the USA fast food chain Jack-in-the-Box decided to rebrand itself by blowing up their famous jack-in-the-box mascot in an iconic commercial. This was meant to make over the chain as being more upscale than its competition. This trope was invoked again in 1994 where the mascot & company executive, Jack Box, returned to power and blew up the boardroom executives that had replaced him years earlier.
  • December 8, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^ KZN02: According to the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of Handling Spoilers, spoilering almost all of an example like that makes it virtually useless.
  • December 8, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    Would Ash changing his outfit, especially his hat, from Johto to Hoenn count?
  • December 8, 2013
    dmorton
    • Star Trek (2009) When the planet Vulcan is blown up at the start of the film, killing Spock's mother as well as the other inhabitants, to demonstrate that things are different in this timeline.
  • December 8, 2013
    Paycheckgurl
    Speed Racer The Next Generation: the first episode has Speed Jr finding the Mach 5...only to total it beyond repair in the next scene. Some of its parts are used in the new Mach 6 that he uses for the rest of the series.
  • December 8, 2013
    KZN02
    ^^^^ Ok, guess I'll remove it then
  • December 13, 2013
    pinkdalek
    I edited this, improving the description and adding the examples that both fit the trope and make any sense.

    Judging by some of the offered examples, I didn't express what this trope is about very well. Can anyone help out?
  • December 13, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare The Worf Effect, beating up on somebody or something we know is tough to show the significance of the current threat.

    TV:
  • December 13, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
    • Burn Notice: The season 4 finale "Last Stand" used this for foreshadowing when Michael blows up the Charger for an impromptu roadblock. By the start of the next season, the organization that burned him has been taken down completely and the CIA has lifted the burn notice.
  • December 14, 2013
    aurora369
  • December 15, 2013
    Dalillama
    Literature
    • In The Dresden Files Changes sees Harry's trademark car beaten into a wafer. His apartment is also firebombed and completely destroyed. This signifies a turn into darker and grimmer territory.
  • January 5, 2014
    NateTheGreat
    Not a literal object, but James Bond not caring about shaken vs. stirred in Casino Royale. This could be seen as a serious slap in the face for fans of the original movies.
  • January 5, 2014
    Sligh_Br
    At the very beginning of Clerks2, the store where the main characters work is burned down in this fashion.
  • January 6, 2014
    Kellor
    Megabyte crushing Glitch at the end of Reboot season 2, beginning the show's Darker And Edgier phase.
  • January 6, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Okay, added a bunch of the new examples, the relationship to Worf Effect and Nothing Is The Same Anymore, changed some obvious mistakes in the description, and added a bunch of stuff about scarves getting snubbed, because it seemed to have happened a lot more than I'd previously thought. I am a disappointment to the other Pink Daleks.

    Anyway, I noticed most of the examples are to signify a Darker And Edgier phase. I mentioned this in the description, but I'm wondering if it deserves a stronger pride of place.

    Anything else to add? Can I get some hats, please?
  • January 6, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Description needs to be improved; it's currently Example As Thesis which isn't acceptable.

    • In Avatar The Legend Of Korra, a giant statue of Aang, the protagonist of the last series stands in Republic City, the city he helped found in between the series. At the end of the second season, the Big Bad destroyed the statue, symbolizing the fact that he broke the Avatar cycle and severed Korra's connection to her past lives.

    • In the second season of Darker Than Black, Hei gets caught in a trap early on and depowered. In the process, his iconic mask and knives get destroyed. Subverted at the end of the season when he snaps out of his funk, finds a cache of hidden weapons, and gets a new set.
  • January 6, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Okay, redone the description. I think it reads a bit better now.
  • January 6, 2014
    tardigrade
    Film — The 2010 "Robin Hood" (starring Russell Crowe) killed off Robin of Locksley (the titular character of 1991's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", starring Kevin Costner) in an early scene.
  • January 6, 2014
    kjnoren
    I keep reading this trope name literally, as destroying some random monument in general (like the Talibans in Afghanistan destroying the two huge Buddhist statues there).

    The Relic also links to a works page.
  • January 6, 2014
    DAN004
    The correct name for "the Relic" being discussed in this page would be The Artifact.

    So I'd up Bomb The Artifact :P
  • January 6, 2014
    Larkmarn
    "Bomb" also sounds needlessly specific. I just figure that if it's that specific about "bombing" it, it's probably literal.
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 7, 2014
    kjnoren
    Even using The Artifact would be too specific - it need not be an artifact in the TV Tropes sense.

    Symbolic Disconnect From The Past Show? Though it's quite a mouthful. Sacrificing The Symbol Of The Past Show? Ditto.
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Symbol Of Change? (That'd be too broad)
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 7, 2014
    kjnoren
    Symbolic Break With The Past? Still a tad long, but it's quite clear. I think the opening it has towards similar breaks in real life (like the demolition of all the old statues of Lenin and similar in eastern Europe in the early 90s) is a good thing, too.
  • January 7, 2014
    Larkmarn
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Like.

    Would demolishing of the Berlin Wall count?
  • January 7, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    More Doctor Who:

    • Done a few times to things other than the scarf as well. The 11th Doctor's tenure begins, quite literally, with the former TARDIS set blowing up to be replaced a newer more polished one for 11, and the destruction of David Tennant's 10th Doctor costume. 11 consciously gets rid of the now "raggedy" clothing and replaces it with his iconic "cool" bow tie.
    • The very lived in "coral" TARDIS interior theme used by Nine and Ten gets another snub when 11 says it was his "punk rock phase" and he'll "grow out of it" in Doctor Who50th AS The Day Of The Doctor before the desk top theme changes back to the shiny new interior 11 was using at the time.
  • January 7, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Thanks for the heads-up about the name, everyone.

    @DAN 004 - Gonna (tentatively) say No Real Life Examples Please on the grounds that Real Life is not episodic, climactic or liable to suddenly change abruptly in tone for everybody and certainly cannot be symbolic. The Berlin Wall does seem like this and I can think of other similar things (the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein, for instance), but unless everyone really wants them in...

    @kjnoren - Perhaps just Break The Past, as a play on the phrase "break with the past". I worry that it may end up being used for non-symbolic in-character actions, though - ones where the character has a connection to the past through the symbol, but the audience does not - like, I don't know, the angsty hero shattering the glass on the photo frame showing his dead wife who we've never seen.

    Adding the extra Doctor Who stuff and the Robin Hood thing and I thought of some more Final Fantasy stuff, too.
  • January 7, 2014
    kjnoren
    ^ Unless you happen to live through a revolution... The Berlin Wall coming down is one extremely good example.

    Break The Past sounds like an excellent trope name to me.
  • January 7, 2014
    StarSword
    @OP: Did you know you can copy commenters' wiki markup if you click the pencil next to the comment?

    Fixed Example Indentation and added missing potholes.
  • January 7, 2014
    pinkdalek
    @Star Sword - I do know, I just forgot about it then. Thanks, mate.

    Tentatively changing trope name to Break The Past.
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Title might be confused with Make Wrong What Once Went Right...

    So would we have real life examples?
  • January 8, 2014
    pinkdalek
    @DAN 004: I personally vote no, but I'd like some other votes on that subject.

    I'm trying to think of a better title for this and I'm stumped. It's not something that can really be easily encapsulated in a title. Destroying The Symbol Of Story Past is about as literal as I can make it and it does not sound like a trope name. Hopefully Make Wrong What Once Went Right is itself a long and specific enough name that Break The Past comes across as at least not ambiguous.
  • January 8, 2014
    kjnoren
    We can never get every trope name fully unambigious. The trouble starts when the description doesn't immediately make clear the definition that is to be used.

    Break The Symbol Of The Past gives a decent balance, I think, if one wants a less ambigious name.
  • January 8, 2014
    DashSpendar
    Break The Past sounds way too much like For Want Of A Nail or Time Crash. How about Break The Icon?
  • January 8, 2014
    Duncan
    Some instances of Important Haircut (e.g. Mulan) might fit here as well, it might be listed as a subtrope.
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Break The Icon or Break The Artifact gets my vote.

    @pinkdalek: The Relic in your description links to a literature. Again I said, the proper term for what we're discussing is The Artifact.
  • January 8, 2014
    StarSword
    Break The Icon seems good to me.
  • January 9, 2014
    Snicka
    Yet another Doctor Who example (a very recent one, so might count as spoiler:

    • In the episode "The Time of the Doctor", when the 11th Doctor regenerates into the 13th, he drops his iconic "cool" bowtie.
  • January 9, 2014
    pinkdalek
    @DAN 004: Argh, I know, forgot to fix it. Going to sort it out now. Also, I love Break The Icon.

    @Duncan: Going to add the reference to Important Haircut.

    @Snicka: I don't think that needs spoilering because it's such a small detail, and the only twist (that it breaks the regeneration limit) is something you only find out in that episode anyway.
  • January 9, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    ^ quick question about that. Shouldn't we just call him 12 for clarity's sake?

    Also the name's perfect. I feel like this trope would benefit from a page image though. Maybe the iconic image from something next to the scene it gets destroyed in?
  • January 9, 2014
    troacctid
    Break The Icon describes a significantly broader trope than what this trope is trying to be.
  • January 9, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Oh, yikes. I do feel this is different to the existing Break The Icon, which is more about flag-burning, wheras this is a metafiction trope. But we're going to need a better name and I'm stumped. I'm also going to need to add references to Smash The Symbol in the description and I don't really want to do that right now.

    Should we go with a Doctor Who page image, since so many of the examples we have so far are Doctor Who? I already had a look at some pictures of the Fifth Doctor demolishing the scarf but it's really unclear what's going on, and the scarf he ruins isn't even the famous one.

    @Paycheckgurl: Changed the example to clearly indicate which actor is playing which Doctor, which should erase any ambiguity.
  • January 9, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Actually, Burning The Flag is about flag-burning.

    Anyway, the difference between this and Smash The Symbol must be defined in the description. The two come so close together that there's a good chance for misunderstandings.
  • January 9, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Why did Troacctid turn Break The Icon into a redirect for Smash The Symbol?
  • January 9, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I'm surprised, myself.

    And... Smash The Symbol would be a subtrope of this.
  • January 9, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Wait, it got turned into a redirect under my nose? I thought I was just going mad.

    EDIT: Assuming by Troacctid's comment and action that he means that this is just a subtrope of Smash The Symbol and should be lumped. I would personally say that while the tropes are very similar, they are not the same - Smash The Symbol is done usually by the characters for the benefit of each other (look at the examples - tearing down Nazi symbols, toppling statues), wheras this trope is usually something innocuous in universe that is destroyed for the benefit of cluing the audience into a big change (burning down a setting, drastically inverting a character's taste in clothes, Ship Sinking established couples who play no part in the narrative, etc). Characters might decide to burn the banners of the old warlord who used to run their city, but it's the audience who knows what's up when the hero's iconic horse who was on all the posters quietly dies in the corner.
  • January 9, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    The pilot episode of the most recent Knight Rider series had some spies discovering the disassembled frame of the Knight Industries Two Thousand (a 1980's T-Top Trans-Am) on a secret lab garage before the Knight Industries Three Thousand (a brand-new Shelby Cobra Ford Mustang) activates and drives away from them.
  • January 9, 2014
    Koveras
    The way I understand this YKTTW, Break The Icon should be a subtrope of Smash The Symbol instead, because the latter is about all instances of symbolic items being destroyed to show a departure from the past, while this is specifically about destroying a series' iconic symbols (which is a subset of all symbols that can otherwise be destroyed). In other words, an instance of Break The Icon is always also a Smash The Symbol, but not the other way around.

    I would also suggest that this difference is expressed not only in the write-up and laconic, but also in the title, e.g. Wreck The Series Icon or something.
  • January 10, 2014
    DAN004
    So the difference with Smash The Symbol is In Universe symbolism vs Out Of Universe one?
  • January 10, 2014
    pinkdalek
    @DAN 004: Pretty much, yeah.

    I noticed we have five hats, but I don't think we should launch it yet. Gimme a second to redo the description and Laconic a bit.
  • January 10, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
  • January 10, 2014
    kjnoren
    ^^ Only three hats, and I'm not that happy with the name yet. Break The Story Icon?
  • January 10, 2014
    DAN004
    @ pinkdalek: So which one is In Universe? This one, or Smash The Symbol?

    And I'm kinda late, but troacctid seems to say that we have this trope already.
  • January 11, 2014
    pinkdalek
    @DAN 004: Smash The Symbol is the In Universe one. In that, the symbol has In Universe meaning to the characters - for instance, the Bat symbol or a Nazi banner. Destroying it therefore represents to the characters themselves that they have destroyed whatever it represents.

    In this trope, the symbol has no In Universe meaning to the characters. For instance, the main character's favourite scarf - to him, and to the other characters, it's just a thing he likes to wear, but to the show's fandom it's shorthand for his whole identity. As a result, when the characters shred it or dismiss the idea of wearing it, it's done completely off-handedly or at least as a quirk of bad luck, but when the audience sees it, they know exactly what it means - Nothing Is The Same Any More.

    If the symbol does represent something in-universe - such as the Jem'Hadar example, in which the Galaxy-class ship is an in-universe symbol of the in-universe organisation the Federation - its destruction does not represent the destruction of what the symbol represents In Universe, but what it has come to symbolise out of universe - the show. It can also be both. For instance, the Zork Grand Inquisitor example has the White House smashed in the opening cutscene, because it was being used by the corrupt Antimagical Faction government as a symbol of magic, and destroying it indicated their attitudes towards magic (Smash The Symbol) - but the White House is also the first location visited by the player in the original Zork and seeing it fully realised in 3D a few seconds before it is destroyed indicates to the player that Zork is So Last Season and this game is going to be Something Completely Different.

    Smash The Symbol also necessarily deals with an active destruction of a symbol, whereas this trope can deal with characters just snubbing that symbol non-violently.
  • January 11, 2014
    abateman
    If we are differentiating this from Smash The Symbol by whether the symbol has in-universe examples, then I don't think you can do real life examples.

    I was going to suggest some early recorded history examples of conquering nations destroying religious symbols and replacing them with their own, but that fits the latter much more.

    The only real life example I can think of that might fit with this is the changes a US President makes to the white house and, specifically, the oval office when they take over. Statues that are replaced, color schemes that are changed, could be considered to be a symbolic moving forward, rather than a purposeful destruction of the past.
  • January 11, 2014
    abateman
    Here's what I'm talking about: http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2010/09/oval-office-before-after.html

    If you scroll down almost to the bottom, it shows various different versions of the office.
  • January 11, 2014
    pinkdalek
    Yes, this is why my gut was telling me no real-life examples, even if I couldn't explain why at the time. I definitely think the Oval Office redecorations are closer to this than, say, altering the word 'ENVER' on the mountain to read 'NEVER'.

    I should get on with writing this up, but it's a big distinction in danger of being overexplained, which might make it seem subtle.

    Also, we need to chat about the name some more, especially now the name we were planning on using is a redirect.
  • January 11, 2014
    abateman
    How about something like Iconic Ejection or Ditch The Icon or Icon Dump. Maybe even steel from Doctor Who and call it Changing The Desktop Theme.
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    I'd up Break The Series Icon then. Or at least Dump The Series Icon.
  • January 15, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Another Doctor Who: Early in 5's run the Sonic Screwdriver gets destroyed with the implication that he can't just build another one. The screwdriver doesn't appear again until the 1996 TV movie.
    The Doctor: I feel as though you've destroyed an old friend.
  • January 15, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Anime/Manga example: Gunsmith Cats Burst: The second arc of the manga involves a criminal cartel stealing Rally Vincent's beloved 1960's Shelby Cobra Mustang while she's hunting a bounty in Texas and using it as a "hostage". At the end of the arc it is destroyed beyond repair (and considering how bad Rally's luck is, it says a lot) by a bomb that said cartel had rigged to the car, forcing Rally to get a replacement-which ends up being a highly modified Mustang II.

    Would the destruction of the MI 6 headquarters and the Aston Martin on Film/Skyfall count?
  • January 15, 2014
    StarSword
    ^The Aston Martin, certainly. I don't think MI 6 counts though, since they repair it and keep using it.

    @OP: Whatever the final title is, be sure to adjust the description to remove references to Bomb The Relic.
  • January 18, 2014
    GuyWeknow
    In the Daniel Craig Casino Royale reboot, Bond plays Poker, not Baccarat, in a subtle example of this.
  • January 18, 2014
    Larkmarn
    ^ Eh? That's just an example of Viewers Are Morons (plus them jumping on the professional Poker Bandwagon, which was HUGE at the time).
  • January 18, 2014
    GuyWeknow
    Of course the greatest example of this is the Russell T Davies Doctor Who change stating that the Time War killed off the Time Lords and the Daleks. They now have backpeddled this faster than Deion Sanders ...
  • January 18, 2014
    GuyWeknow
    I guess there's an interaction between this Trope and simply playing against type or updating something outdated, not Viewers Are Morons. Another example would be the new Battlestar Galactica casting Starbuck as a girl, but clearly the same character. Is this updating or Break the Icon?
  • January 18, 2014
    GuyWeknow
    Also, a possible sub-trope of this is any new incarnation of a series in which the sidekick is for the first time the opposite sex from what the hero is used to. For instance, in the New Avengers, Steed gets a male sidekick where before all he had was women.
  • January 18, 2014
    randomsurfer
  • January 18, 2014
    DAN004
    Needs a mention of Smash The Symbol somewhere.
  • February 4, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    This has five hats.
  • February 4, 2014
    DAN004
  • February 5, 2014
    jatay3
    Wasn't there an commercial portraying IBM as an Orwellian tyrant and Apple as a revolutionary smashing IBM's machinery of evil with a hammer?
  • February 5, 2014
    randomsurfer
  • February 5, 2014
    OmarKarindu
    This also seems to be a Super Trope or overlapping Trope to Trash The Set.

    Comic Books
    • Early in Mark Waid's second run on Captain America, he had Cap's iconic shield lost at sea. A few issues later, it's recovered, only to shatter into pieces. All of this was to signify the book's shift into a more sci-fi/cosmic sort of comi, and the original shield was restored just before Waid left the book.
    • Grant Morrison began his JLA run by having the previous incarnation's satellite headquarters, itself a Call Back to the classi League's iconic satellite, destroyed by the Arc Villains.
    • It's become something of a Running Gag to blow up, demolish, or otherwise replace Avengers Mansion just before a big roster change. At one point, Iron Man simply refused to pay to have it rebuilt for some time.
      • Ads for both the late 1980s roster change-up and Avengers Dissassembled showed discarded or shattered Avengers' costumes and trashed versions of iconic items like Cap's shield, Thor's hammer, and Iron Man's helmet.
    • Similarly, in the 1980s Chris Claremont had the [[Comicbook X Men X-Men's]] mansion and school setup destroyed by what amounted to a Filler Villain, signifying that the X-Men were moving beyond their classic setup and becoming more of an underground movement to battle the increasingly dangerous villains they were now encountering. The Mansion has been trashed once or twice more since for similar storytelling purposes.
      • One of the covers during The Dark Phoenix Saga had Dark Pheonix herself literally smashing the book's logo. The next issue had the restored logo still showing a few cracks, perhaps Foreshadowing that the suppression of Dark Phoenix in that issue was not as complete as you'd imagine.

    Live Action Film
  • March 2, 2014
    DAN004
    The description still have Bomb The Relic. :P
  • March 2, 2014
    BaffleBlend
    • In the Harry Potter films, in each installment, the Warner Bros. logo progressively gets more worn-down and decrepit — it starts off as shiny and golden as usual in Philosopher's/Sorceror's Stone, but by Deathly Hallows Part 2, it's barely recognizable. Considering the nature of the series, it's very fitting.
  • March 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ It's more of a Logo Joke. Guess that you take Break The Icon literally...
  • March 2, 2014
    DRCEQ
    So, I don't know if this was brought up, but what's going to happen to the fact that Break The Icon, the proposed name of this trope, is already a redirect of Smash The Symbol?

    Also, I don't think that Planet Vulcan being destroyed in the Star Trek film counts, because Vulcan isn't really all that symbolic or representative of the series at large.
  • March 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ user troacctid made that redirect while this is still ongoing. Maybe he's trying to tell us something.
  • March 2, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    ^ Yeah, that's been brought up. It wasn't a redirect when it was first being discussed (those blue links were red) and then someone went and and made it one. My vote goes to (yet another) rename to Break The Series Icon.

    This really has some potential (and as I pointed out a while ago apparently, five hats). A rename and maybe a page image (although that can be solved in an image pickin' discussion) and it'll be good to go.
  • March 2, 2014
    StarSword
    Made an addition to the DS 9 example.
  • March 2, 2014
    wizardcrying
    "Bombing The Relic is when The Artifact..." Change to "Break the Icon".
  • March 2, 2014
    StarSword
    ^We've been telling him to do that for weeks.
  • March 2, 2014
    AP
    • There is a scene later in The Dark Knight in which Gordon destroys the bat-signal, indicating that he is severing ties with the Batman.
  • March 2, 2014
    wizardcrying
    And now the first sentence was changed back. Why?
  • March 2, 2014
    StarSword
    ^My edit to the DS 9 example must've overlapped with yours. Changed the text in question to "This trope".
  • March 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Is the OP even active?
  • May 12, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    ^Dunno. Also we may need a new name for this thing, because "Break The Icon" is redirecting to Smash The Symbol, which is a thematically similar but narratively different Trope.

    As for a previous post: on Skyfall, the MI6 headquarters building (which was used since the start of the Brosnan era and even if damaged on The World Is Not Enough was back to normal by the end of the film) is bombed and the movie ends with the characters moving to the "Universal Exports" building that was used all the way back on the Sean Connery era (as part of the Origins Episode-slash-Revisiting The Roots nature of this and the other Daniel Craig films).
  • July 15, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Like I said before (and I'm sorry about nitpicking), "Break The Icon" is still redirecting to Smash The Symbol, which is a different Trope. There is Break The Series Icon, but that is a Red Link, still un-launched.
  • July 15, 2014
    Larkmarn
    We could also just, you know, make this Break The Icon.

    Just because troaccid took issue with it and made the redirect doesn't automatically disqualify the name.
  • July 24, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Ok, so how do we rewrite the redirect?
  • July 31, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Seriously, fellas, the Break The Icon page is still going towards Smash The Symbol. We need to notify whoever the heck is in charge of redirects.

    Or we could (apparently re-)launch with Break The Series Icon-it's still available.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable