Created By: Sorastitch on March 20, 2013 Last Edited By: MorningStar1337 on July 30, 2014

Multiple Choice Death

A character always dies in a adaption, but doesn\'t die the same way. (A Flash For Every Crisis)

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When there is multiple adaptions of a work; there tends to be one character who always dies in some way or fashion. However, the way they did die is not the same for each adaption.

Do We Have This One??


the following is an attempt at a definition by Morning Star 1337


Ah adaptations, so full of constants and variables that it can be an entirely different story if not careful.

sometimes these constants would be death, maybe the death is a necessary part of an origin story, or maybe it happened because the death was a fixed point that is required for the universe's survival. Maybe the death triggers a turning point in a character's development. The point is that for for more meta reasons, regardless of how different an adaptation is from the source material, if someone important enough dies in the source material, someone has to die...

But it doesn't always mean that they have to die the same way.

While the reasons why the death are the same regardless of adaptation, how the death occurs is is a variable that can be toyed with. one man's parents or uncle may have to be murdered to give The Hero motivation, but they could be killed by a random mugger, a psycopath or by their own children. The Plot Reaper works in mysterious ways, but the result always stays the same. One reason for this trope to occur is to show those familiar with the source materal that their destiny is inevitable, once the deed is sone it's still possible the character to be revived and used in the adaptation unless they're Deader Than Dead.

Compare and contrast Follow the Plotted Line, They Killed Kenny Again, Disney Death and Comic Book Death. contrast Spared by the Adaptation (where a character dies in the source material but survives the adaptation) and Death by Adaptation (Where someone lives in the source material but dies in an adaptation)


Examples

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     Comic Books 
I'm thinking that examples should probably be grouped by the medium of the original work. So every Gwen Stacy death, for example, should be a bullet point under a subheading under Comic Books. Ex:

Comic Books
  • Spider-Man:
    • In the original (616) continuity, Gwen Stacy was thrown off of the George Washington Bridge by the Green Goblin and died of whiplash when Spider-Man attempted to catch her with a strand of web.
      • During the Clone Saga, Gwen Stacy is cloned by the Jackal. This Gwen is killed in the second Clone Saga by another Gwen Stacy clone known as Abby-L.
      • Another Gwen Stacy clone emerges in the mid-nineties, only to die of "clone degeneration" in the next issue.
      • Another Stacy clone appears in a Superior Spider-Man / Scarlet Spider team-up; this one dies in a laboratory fire.
      • In Earth-Z, the Marvel Zombies universe, Gwen Stacy is killed and partially eaten by— guess what?— zombies.
      • In Issue #1 of Spider-Man Fairy Tales, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Gwen Stacy is killed by the Big Bad Wolf.
      • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Gwen is killed by Carnage.
      • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Gwen is killed in a manner similar to her Earth-616 death— whiplash in a failed attempt to save her from the Green Goblin— but in a clock tower rather than the George Washington Bridge.

     Literature 
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King, Saruman is killed by Grima in the Shire at the end of the book, while Grima is killed by a bunch of hobbits. In the theatrical cut of the movie, they seem to be Spared by the Adaptation. In the extended cut, Saruman is stabbed by Grima in Isengard in the very beginning of the movie, after which he falls off Orthanc and is impaled on a spiked machine. Grima is shot by Legolas.
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • March 20, 2013
    DRCEQ
    I don't think the references to The Flash and the Crisis line of DC comics is a good reference. Needs a better name.
  • March 20, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Maybe something like 'Adaptation-Changed Chronically Killed Character'?
  • March 21, 2013
    Randomman5
    "Optimus Prime Syndrome?"
  • March 21, 2013
    Imperios
    Yes, referencing Prime is a better idea.
  • March 21, 2013
    MorganWick
    Not convinced it would suffer from Trope Namer Syndrome any less.
  • March 21, 2013
    Nithael
    Chronically Killed Character? So there's no Trope Namer Syndrome problem, and maybe people would come up with more than one example.
  • March 21, 2013
    Arivne
    This appears to be limited to characters who die in all adaptations of a work.

    Chronically Killed Character would make people think it was They Killed Kenny Again, which is about a character who is repeatedly killed within the same series.
  • March 21, 2013
    Nithael
    Right, Chronically Killed Character could be confused with They Killed Kenny Again. How about something simple then, like Killed In Every Adaptation?
  • March 21, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ Sounds good.
  • March 21, 2013
    DRCEQ
  • March 21, 2013
    thewriter
    Ton of names, no examples?
  • March 21, 2013
    randomsurfer
    .
  • March 22, 2013
    Koveras
    ^^ I think that's because superhero comics are a pretty unique genre in terms of Continuity Reboots and liberal application of Comic Book Death. As the trope is defined right now, I cannot think of any examples for it, but I know a few stories that consist of variations of the same story over and over again (e.g. Groundhog Day Loop), where certain characters always die, regardless of how much the story is altered (e.g. Higurashi When They Cry). Another example I thought of: Jinx in Labyrinth Of Reflections is always killed and respawns, no matter how hard Leonid and other Divers try to get him out of the combat simulation.
  • March 22, 2013
    Duncan
    Batman's parents getting killed is a major part of his Origin Story in every adaptation; sometimes it's by The Joker, sometimes a random mugger, sometimes outside the opera, sometimes outside a movie...
  • March 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Pretty much every Death By Origin Story would count, then.

    Batman's parents are actually fairly static: they're pretty much invariably shot by a mugger leaving a show with Young Bruce. If we count that, then we should definitely include Uncle Ben's death. He's killed by a guy that Spider-Man didn't stop... usually. Sometimes the guy is after his car, sometimes he's just desperate, once it was just an accident by some random guy who had nothing to do with Pete...
  • July 24, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    This, generally speaking, is an interesting idea. Can create Not His Sled.
  • July 24, 2014
    DAN004
    There needs to be a reason why the way someone died changes between adaptations. Otherwise it doesn't strike me as significant in telling a story.
  • July 24, 2014
    DaibhidC
    I think the story-significant bit isn't why they died, but that it's deemed necessary by the creators that they die at all. It's like Doomed By Canon meets In Spite Of A Nail.
  • July 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I guess that's something else entirely...
  • July 24, 2014
    bejjinks
    People, people, people, Uncle Ben IS this trope and instead of using Flash for the name, the name should be something like An Uncle Ben For Every Spider.
  • July 24, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 25, 2014
    Arivne
    ^^ That's a Bad Trope Namer for the same reason as the Flash one. It requires that you be familiar with the history of Spiderman to have any chance of understanding what the trope is about.
  • July 25, 2014
    bejjinks
    However, Spiderman is so well known that even his Uncle Ben is fairly familiar to most people. Although Flash is also well known, the fact that Flash dies in every Crises is an obscure fact that I never knew. Every adaptation of the Flash I've ever seen or read, I've never known Flash to die. Or is this referring to some other character in the Flash story? Either way, Uncle Ben is a lot more known by the general public.
  • July 25, 2014
    TonyG
  • July 25, 2014
    DigiSora
    Watanabe from "Livea Live" is always killed at some point no matter what story mode you pick.
  • July 25, 2014
    bejjinks
    Okay, so there is already Multiple Choice Past. Thank you TonyG. What makes this trope different from Multiple Choice Past?
  • July 25, 2014
    KingZeal
    Multiple Choice Past has nothing to do with this. That's when a character's past has multiple versions which may or may not be true. That doesn't overlap with this trope unless it's somebody like Donna Troy, where all of the adaptations of the character become canon.

    I think this trope should be defined by deaths after a character's origin story. Like Gwen Stacy, Bucky, Elektra, Jeanne De Wolfe, and others.

    Or, outside of comic books, Optimus Prime.
  • July 25, 2014
    DracMonster
  • July 25, 2014
    henke37
    • Leomon from Digimon must be cursed or something.
  • July 25, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 25, 2014
    m8e
    Just checking. This isn't "Averted Spared By The Adaptation", but "Dies differently in every adaption"?
  • July 25, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    ^ that's the intended proposal. I think it's having trouble getting there, though.

    If every Death By Origin Story would count, then this is a Supertrope, and there's no need to duplicate examples.

    If the origin work kills a character, two adaptations also kill the character, but a third doesn't, then probably both this proposal and Spared By The Adaptation should count.

    Perhaps the name Multiple Adaptation Deaths?
  • July 25, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    Okay I added a definition but I think it may have verred a little into Example As A Thesis. I can try to help with the examples but not the name

    Speakig of which I'm gonna need a list of people that killed Thomas and Martha Wayne and the adaptions where they did the deed. As well as for Leomon, Uncle Ben, Jean Grey, and especially The Flash's cases.

    Also if within continuity or alternate timelines counts I can throw in some Bioshock and Doctor Who examples
  • July 26, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    If every Death By Origin Story would count, then this is a Supertrope, and there's no need to duplicate examples.
  • July 26, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    What about video games where a character dies in every path you take, but in different ways, or multi verse stories where a character always dies in every verse? Do they count?
  • July 26, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    ^ I hope so I have a Bioshock Infinite example that would fir well here if that was the case.
  • July 26, 2014
    bejjinks
    In Neverwinter, you start off the game by meeting a fellow soldier who goes with you during the training. He doesn't actually train you but he takes some of the damage from the bad guys until you figure out how to defeat them. He's absolutely unkillable until he dies. When his time to die comes, there is absolutely no way to save him. This goes for a few other characters in the game as well.
  • July 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ doesn't seem to qualify here.
  • July 27, 2014
    Snicka
    Does this count?

    • In The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Saruman is killed by Grima in the Shire at the end of the book, while Grima is killed by a bunch of hobbits. In the theatrical cut of the movie, they seem to be Spared By The Adaptation. In the extended cut, Saruman is stabbed by Grima in Isengard in the very beginning of the movie, after which he falls off Orthanc and is impaled on a spiked machine. Grima is shot by Legolas.
  • July 27, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    ^ it seems to count.

    Can you make examples for the Batman (Thomas and Martha Wayne), and Digimon (Leomon) cases?
  • July 27, 2014
    bejjinks
    The Neverwinter example only counts if you allow video game examples as PistolsAtDawn was talking about.
  • July 27, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 27, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Eh... those name seem too snowcloney. Is sorastick still on, I could ask him if I can change the name
  • July 27, 2014
    arromdee
    The Green Goblon killed Gwen Stacy in the recent Spider-Man movie, but did not do it by dropping her from a bridge.
  • July 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ I guess you can just grab it.
  • July 28, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    ^ good point

    ^^ thna how did the Goblin kill her then I have examples but they are 0 context as it is.
  • July 29, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    ^ The Goblin killed her by dropping her off a clock tower and the Goblin question was Harry rather than Norman. Also to expand on the Digimon one
  • July 29, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Multiple Choice Death is a nonsensical title... I liked the Flash one better, and that was awful.

    I question including examples like Lord Of The Rings as that's just a case of not being Spared By The Adaptation.
  • July 29, 2014
    hbi2k
    I'm thinking that examples should probably be grouped by the medium of the original work. So every Gwen Stacy death, for example, should be a bullet point under a subheading under Comic Books. Ex:

    Comic Books
    • Spider Man:
      • In the original (616) continuity, Gwen Stacy was thrown off of the George Washington Bridge by the Green Goblin and died of whiplash when Spider-Man attempted to catch her with a strand of web.
        • During the Clone Saga, Gwen Stacy is cloned by the Jackal. This Gwen is killed in the second Clone Saga by another Gwen Stacy clone known as Abby-L.
        • Another Gwen Stacy clone emerges in the mid-nineties, only to die of "clone degeneration" in the next issue.
        • Another Stacy clone appears in a Superior Spider-Man / Scarlet Spider team-up; this one dies in a laboratory fire.
        • In Earth-Z, the Marvel Zombies universe, Gwen Stacy is killed and partially eaten by— guess what?— zombies.
        • In Issue #1 of Spider-Man Fairy Tales, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Gwen Stacy is killed by the Big Bad Wolf.
        • In Ultimate Spider Man, Gwen is killed by Carnage.
        • In The Amazing Spider Man 2, Gwen is killed in a manner similar to her Earth-616 death— whiplash in a failed attempt to save her from the Green Goblin— but in a clock tower rather than the George Washington Bridge.
  • July 29, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    ^ can you do Uncle Ben, Batman's parents and Leomon next?
  • July 29, 2014
    hbi2k
    I'm not sure Uncle Ben or Batman's parents really warrant inclusion. They always seem to die the same basic way. Whether the guy who caps Tom and Martha Wayne is named Joe Chill or Jack Napier or never revealed, it always happens in an alley outside a theater or playhouse, always as part of a mugging, and Bruce always witnesses it at a young age.

    For that matter, half of the Gwen Stacy examples may or may not count depending on how the trope shapes up. Do repeat deaths within the same continuity count?
  • July 29, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    Dunno. This originally cover adaptations but Tropes Are Flexible so maybe?
  • July 29, 2014
    DAN004

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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