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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.
- 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...
Manga and Anime
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The extinction of the Air Nomads and the disappearance of the Avatar occurs 100 years before the beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender.