Created By: DragonQuestZ on December 5, 2011 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on January 19, 2012
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Title Zero The Beginning

Putting Zero in the title of a work that is meant to be the beginning, usually a prequel.

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Do We Have This One??

Well math says that 0 comes before 1, so putting "Zero" in the title of a work can be a good shorthand that a work is a prequel, prologue, or even a remake of a first chapter. Some comic book origin stories are shown in issues numbered 0.

Of course if "Zero" is in the title for any other reason, it doesn't count (as it wouldn't be the beginning). So works like Mega Man Zero and Phantasy Star Zero wouldn't be an example.

A Sub-Trope of Numbered Sequels.

Compare Unusual Chapter Numbers, Year Zero.

Examples:

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • December 6, 2011
    Arivne
    Most of the following were found on The Other Wiki using the keywords "prequel" and "zero".

    Anime and Manga

    Film
    • Cube Zero is the third film in the series but is a prequel to the first film.
    • Yoshie Zero, a prequel to Mutant Girls Squad. A rare example where the non "zero" part of the title doesn't match the sequel.
    • Ring 0: Birthday. A prequel to the Japanese film Ring.
    • Ichi the Killer: Episode Zero, an animated prequel to the live action film Ichi the Killer.

    Live Action TV

    Video Games

    Web Animation
    • 24: Day Zero. A series of animated webisodes. It's a prequel series, focusing on Jack Bauer's first 18 months at CTU.
  • December 6, 2011
    Koveras
    This is currently covered under Stock Subtitle... actually, never mind, it isn't. Looks like a legitimate bit of trivia, though.
  • December 6, 2011
    Micah
    Why would it be trivia?

    I would consider extending this to cover other strangely-numbered installments. The Lion King 1 1/2 comes to mind; you could even throw in the Star Wars prequels, depending on exactly how general you wanted to go.

    • On the Origin of PCs, the first Order Of The Stick prequel, was published as issue number 0. Start of Darkness, the second prequel, takes place even earlier, so it's issue number -1.
  • December 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Robert Crumb's Zap Comix came out with an issue zero: he had lost the art to the first issue and made a new one, then discovered the missing artwork and released it later.
  • December 6, 2011
    arromdee
    My Hero Zero contains some examples, which could probably be moved (since that's supposed to be about *characters* named Zero)
  • December 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "I would consider extending this to cover other strangely-numbered installments."

    We have that one. It's Oddly Named Sequel 2 Electric Boogaloo.
  • December 6, 2011
    Micah
    No it's not; you'll notice I said strangely-numbered, not strangely-named. I'm talking about one of two specific options:
    • Numbered installments whose numbers are not positive integers, where this is used to showcase their status as prequels/interquels, or
    • A little more generally, installments that are numbered according to series chronology rather than release order (which almost always requires the above, unless you're lucky or planned ahead a lot).

    ONS 2 EB has nothing to do with chronology, and in fact is generally about sequels that aren't numbered at all.
  • December 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Well we just have straight up Numbered Sequels then. This ykttw would just be a Sub Trope then. What you are discussing are other sub tropes.
  • December 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    "Other strangly numbered installments" version:
    • Marvel Comics put out a bunch of "Minus one" issues going into the backstories of the characters who had comics at the time, usually before they got their powers.
    • There was an issue 1 1/2 for The Avengers in 1999 covering some perceived Plot Holes between issues 1 & 2 from 1963.
    • DC Comics had an Issue Zero event as part of the Zero Hour Crisis Crossover, and issue one million for DC One Million. Each book then currently running got an issue 0 (and/or 1,000,000) to coincide with the events.
      • Booster Gold's issues 0 and 1,000,000 came out in 2008. He didn't have a solo series during either of the events when they were going on.
  • December 6, 2011
    Micah
    See, I think they're the same subtrope. Zero is the most common strange number to appear because direct prequels are more common than prequels-to-prequels or interquels between two specified installments, and possibly because it's less scary than negative or fractional numbers, but it's not being used differently in any way.
  • December 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    That doesn't make them the same sub trope. It just makes it another sub trope, or a larger one.
  • December 7, 2011
    Rytex
    Subverted in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy where the epilogue scenario is titled Cycle 000.
  • December 7, 2011
    Generality
    Many an Origins Issue will be numbered #0.
  • December 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ That is not what subverting means. It would have to make us think it's the prologue first. As it is, it's not an example at all.

    ^ Yeah, those would count.
  • December 7, 2011
    darkapothem2000
    ^^^ If it's an epilogue rather than a prologue, it might be an inversion...
  • December 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Spider Girl's first issue was numbered 0, and was a reprint of the What If? issue she first appeared in.
  • December 8, 2011
    X2X
    My apologies for sounding nitpicky, but the first Street Fighter Alpha wasn't a remake of SFI. It was just an interquel that had its story overridden/retold by SFA2. Also, Arivne's MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero example is very iffy. While it was a prequel to the first Mortal Kombat and also served as a tie-in to MK4, the game is named after the character Sub-Zero.

    And now, for some examples.

    Video Games
    • Dark Void Zero. Originally starting out as an April Fools joke based off of an 8-bit rendition of Dark Void's main theme, the game soon became a fully-fledged DSiWare title claimed to be a "legendary 'lost project'" of Capcom's, recently found locked away in their vaults.
    • Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Zero. It's actually set between Tokyo Xtreme Racer 1 and Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2''. (Do interquels count?)
  • December 8, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Okay, then so Street Fighter Zero is a bit murky there, but as some form of beginning, it would still count.
  • December 8, 2011
    blueflame724
    The fan-nickname for the original MOTHER game is known as Earthbound Zero. This is because MOTHER 2 was released abroad as Earthbound (which was originally meant for the first MOTHER game).
  • December 8, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Yeah, although it's unofficial (and should be under the official name), the fans did give it that nickname for this convention. So it counts.
  • December 9, 2011
    Arivne
  • December 10, 2011
    Vyctorian
    Comic books will often release an Issue 0 which is free or much cheaper than the regular issues.
  • December 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The price is irrelevant, and it was already mentioned that they were origin stories.
  • December 10, 2011
    Ryusui
  • December 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I was considering that, but it's not always prequels, and it doesn't indicate that 0 has to be in the title.
  • December 10, 2011
    Goldfritha
    The whole work equivalent of Unusual Chapter Numbers
  • December 12, 2011
    acrobox
    Project 0 is a meta example according to Word Of God. Explained here
  • December 12, 2011
    nman
    Real life example:
    • Zeroth law of thermodynamics

    By the way, what about renaming the title "Zeroth law of prequels"? Eh?
  • December 14, 2011
    Statalyzer
    I would just use Zero Law of Prequels, because "zeroth" to mean "0th" isn't a common word and most people wouldn't get it. I'm a math teacher and I still think Zeroth looks likes a sci-fi name that rhymes with Hoth.
  • December 14, 2011
    Statalyzer
    I would just use Zero Law of Prequels, because "zeroth" to mean "0th" isn't a common word and most people wouldn't get it. I'm a math teacher and I still think Zeroth looks likes a sci-fi name that rhymes with Hoth.
  • December 15, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "Zeroth law of prequels"

    This isn't a law. It's just a tool. And it's NOT ALWAYS PREQUELS.

    "Zeroth law of thermodynamics"

    Being a basic physical law is not being the beginning of a story.
  • December 18, 2011
    ScanVisor
    Add all those examples and I'll-Oh fuck it I'm hatting, this is so a trope.
  • December 19, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Which examples?
  • December 21, 2011
    Prfnoff
    • Samurai Shodown V, a prequel to the original game, was titled Samurai Spirits Zero in Japan.
  • December 27, 2011
    nman
    Alright, I was looking around, and we have Zeroth Law Rebellion and The Zeroth Law Of Trope Examples, which means people are okay with the word "Zeroth", but the other complaints are justified, so I guess my suggested name still sucks, but at least it's not because of obscure language.

    That said, "Title Zero The Beginning" still seems like a strange name. I would suggest "Prequel: Zero", since most of them do make the zero last, save a few exceptions, but you said that it doesn't have to be a prequel, as it could be a remake or prologue, so names are pretty limited. Unless you just want "Title: Zero" or "Title Zero".
  • December 27, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    It will have a custom title.

    EDIT: But how about "Episode 0: The Beginning"?
  • December 28, 2011
    Roxolan
    The paper version of xkcd begins at volume 0, likely as a programming joke.
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