Created By: agentjohnbishop on January 14, 2012 Last Edited By: agentjohnbishop on January 18, 2012

Sorting Algorithm of Star-Power

The more popular actors die last.

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A killer is on the loose in a house full of people. He sneaks up behind Bob (who is played by Joe Schmoe) and kills him. He sneaks up behind Phil (another nobody actor) and does away with him too. He then sneaks up behind Alice, but she's played by Angelina Jolie. Our killer tries to kill her but is unsuccessful. In many films this is how it works as the lesser actors (sometimes but not always red shirts) are killed off but not those characters who are played by stars. By the end of the film this tendency has continued and leaves mainly the characters left who are played by well known actors. This does not, however, insure they will not die in the end, but only that they survive longer.

This occurs for a few reasons, the main one being that people pay more money to come see a film in which their favorite actor or actress appears in most of it than for one where that character is killed off right away. When subverted it becomes a case of Dead Star Walking. This trope only occurs when the character(s) in question have no other reason to stay alive longer. For example, in the The Bourne Identity Bourne does not survive simply because he's played by Matt Damon, but because he's a trained super agent and is smarter and tougher than the other characters.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • January 14, 2012
    LittleLizard
    AKA Plot Armor (Or very similar to say the least...)
  • January 14, 2012
    agentjohnbishop
    Yeah, I figured it was a sub trope based on acting. It's just really common in horror films.
  • January 14, 2012
    X2X
    I'd say it's similar to Plot Armor, perhaps a Sister Trope, but not the same. Plot Armor comes into play because that character (whether they be the hero/protagonist, the Big Bad, the hero's love Interest whom he's going to marry at the end, that Mysterious Waif who knows the location of the Mac Guffin but doesn't actually stop cryptically referring to it until Episode 26, etc.) is actually important to the plot and is necessary for the story to progress, something that is specifically indicated to not be the case with this.
  • January 15, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    ^I concur, this is related to Plot Armor but distinct from it. A character's position in the plot ensuring their survival would be Plot Armor. Casting big-name actors in those kinds of parts, so that their presence indicates their characters are going to survive, would be this trope. Sounds like a Sister Trope specific to live-action media to me.
  • January 15, 2012
    agentjohnbishop
    ^^ That was my thought. I know we have tropes that are somewhat similar, but I was surprised we had no trope for this, which the is opposite of Dead Star Walking. I will try to write up some examples over the next couple of days.
  • January 16, 2012
    agentjohnbishop
    Any other thoughts? I'm new to YKTTW, but I was hoping to get some feedback.
  • January 16, 2012
    X2X
    This is definitely tropable, but the problem lies in trying to think of specific examples since it does happen frequently in movies.
  • January 17, 2012
    agentjohnbishop
    ^ Yeah, it's fairly universal, and I was running into the same issue. But perhaps having the trope would be good in itself because it could then be added to works pages as needed.
  • January 17, 2012
    DracMonster
    It's an intersection of Plot Armor and Popularity Power. I suspect Billed Above The Title probably has some examples.

    Probably And Starring too.
  • January 18, 2012
    agentjohnbishop
    ^ Do you mean it's needless or simply that those would be good areas to start getting examples?
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