Created By: Superior on April 21, 2010
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When It All Began

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A single very significant moment, related to the fate of every single main character, and driving the entire plot, that happened before the beginning of the story.

That event will probably be discussed, interpreted, viewed through flashbacks, and a The Reveal might show its true meaning later. In cases where the characters have any way of interfering with the past, this event will be their target.

Since these these events are more exciting, and more detailed than your average background story, they are frequently used as the setting for a Prequel.

The lines "Everything started x years ago", or "It all began when..." are very likely to be uttered.

Examples:

Live-Action TV
  • Earth: Final Conflict begins three years after the arrival of the Taelons.
  • Khitomer in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as it had a profound effect on many of the characters, and the empires themselves.
  • The Cardassian occupation of Bajor in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Almost all the non-Starfleet characters participated and lived through it, and many of the Starfleet characters were involved as well.
  • The Time War in the revived Doctor Who.
  • War of the Worlds (1988-1990) took place 35 years after the Martian invasion depicted in the 1953 George Pal movie.
  • Firefly has this with the revolution.
  • The A-Team, (altogether now) In 1972...
Literature
  • Treasure Island: Captain Flint buried his treasure on the island.
  • The first war with Voldemort, particularly the death of the Potter parents, Harry's marking, and Voldemorts downfall, all in a single scene.
Manga and Anime
  • The Big O: The disaster forty years earlier that destroyed civilization and caused universal amnesia in the inhabitants of Paradigm City.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Second Impact.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi: "Three years ago", something paranormal happened, possibly the universe was created, or at least most of the main characters were retconned into existence. It's also a recurring time travel destination.
  • The curse of Oyashiro-sama. Either the first death five years prior to the story or Satoshi's disappearance one year prior.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The child from 18 years ago, the sin from six years ago, Battler abandoning his family 6 years ago, Beatrice dying 18 years ago, some of the children being born 18 years ago, etc.
Video Games
  • The DL-6 incident from Ace Attorney
  • Fate/stay night: The last Holy Grail War 10 years ago, especially its final battle.
  • Although it's not really apparent until the end of the series, pretty much everything that happens in the Metal Gear universe has its roots in August 1964, the Virtuous Mission which sparked Operation Snake Eater and led to the creation of the Patriots
  • Final Fantasy 13 has the 11 days prior to the start of the game in flashbacks throughout the main game, which manages to link all of the main characters to the plot by way of a single event.
  • What happened in Nibelheim five years prior to the events of the game in Final Fantasy VII.
Western Animation
  • The extinction of the Air Nomads and the disappearance of the Avatar occurs 100 years before the beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • April 8, 2010
    BlueIce-Tea
  • April 8, 2010
    fairywaif
    Firefly has this with the revolution.
  • April 8, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    [[The A-Team]], (altogether now) In 1972...
  • April 9, 2010
    Idler2.0
  • April 9, 2010
    Ryusui
  • April 9, 2010
    Clevomon
    The curse of Oyashiro-sama. Either the first death five years prior to the story or Satoshi's disappearance one year prior.
  • April 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    @Idler2.0: Actually I'd think the DL-6 incident would be a better example. Argubly most of the series occured hinged on that event happening.
  • April 9, 2010
    BlackMageJ
    Although it's not really apparent until the end of the series, pretty much everything that happens in the Metal Gear universe has its roots in August 1964, the Virtuous Mission which sparked Operation Snake Eater and led to the creation of the Patriots
  • April 10, 2010
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • The Big O. The disaster forty years earlier that destroyed civilization and caused universal amnesia in the inhabitants of Paradigm City.
  • April 12, 2010
    Superior
    When It All Began sounds better than mine.

    Maybe When It All Really Began, to signify that it is not a proper beginning trope?
  • April 17, 2010
    Superior
    Bump
  • April 17, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Treasure Island: Captain Flint buried his treasure on the island.
  • April 17, 2010
    Pika_power
    Umineko No Naku Koro Ni: The child from 18 years ago, the sin from six years ago, Battler abandoning his family 6 years ago, Beatrice dying 18 years ago, some of the children being born 18 years ago, etc.
  • April 17, 2010
    amazinglyenough
    What happened in Nibelheim five years prior to the events of the game in Final Fantasy VII.
  • April 18, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Second Impact.
  • April 18, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    As for a name, despite this not being a proper "beginning" trope, I think When It All Began is absolutely the best name. It's used in so many pieces of dialog when discussing this kinda thing (e.g. "It all began X years ago..." "It all began one night in Place X...")
  • April 18, 2010
    TheJackal
    The Time War in the revived Doctor Who.
  • April 18, 2010
    Irrisia
    Final Fantasy 13 has the 11 days prior to the start of the game in flashbacks throughout the main game, which manages to link all of the main characters to the plot by way of a single event.
  • April 19, 2010
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • War of the Worlds (1988-1990) took place 35 years after the Martian invasion depicted in the 1953 George Pal movie.
  • April 19, 2010
    mack
    • Khitomer in Star Trek The Next Generation, as it had a profound effect on many of the characters, and the empires themselves.
    • The Cardassian occupation of Bajor in Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Almost all the non-Starfleet characters participated and lived through it, and many of the Starfleet characters were involved as well.
  • April 19, 2010
    highcastle
    • The first war with Voldemort, particularly his downfall after his encounter with Harry Potter.
  • April 19, 2010
    Sweet Madness
    I don't see how this is different from How We Got Here.

    If it was a Stock Phrase trope, I think it would fit better.
  • April 19, 2010
    Superior
    ^
    • How We Got Here -- A scene that is showed at the beginning of the story, but it happens later in the timeline, close to the actual climax.
      • For example, the story begins with the protagonists facing the Big Bad, and it continues 3 days earlier, when they are properly introduced as characters, and after that, they start to realize the Big Bad's plan, and eventually face him as it was shown, and defeat him.

    • When It All Began -- an even that already happened before the main story, and is outside the main conflict. It doesn't have to be shown in the beginning, or at any time for that matter.
      • For example, the protagonists are introduced, they start to realize the Big Bad's plan. Meanwhile, the Mentor reveals that he already faced the Big Bad in the past, but he failed. Learning this, they face the Big Bad, and defeat him.
  • April 20, 2010
    ElementX
    • The extinction of the Air Nomads and the disappearance of the Avatar occurs 100 years before the beginning of Avatar The Last Airbender.
  • April 20, 2010
    ElementX
    • The extinction of the Air Nomads and the disappearance of the Avatar occurs 100 years before the beginning of Avatar The Last Airbender.
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