Deadly Deferred Conversation
Characters promise to talk to one another about something when they next meet, almost guaranteeing one of them dying.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-04-28 08:14:14 sponsor: Protar edited by: StarSword (last reply: 2014-08-24 10:07:54)

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"I am sorry we could not continue our conversation from earlier, but the mission comes first. All hands, abandon ship. Live long and prosper, Captain Kanril."
— last words of Lieutenant Commander T'Var, The Wrong Reflection

Two characters are about to part for what may be a very long time, but there's an important topic of discussion for the two to discuss. Whether it's nerves, lack of information or whatever the conversation is deferred until the two meet again...practically guaranteeing that one or both of them will be dead before they can meet up again, or at least that they will never get to see one another again.

Part of the Rule of Drama, as Real Life doesn't have a narrative. Compare Retirony, If We Get Through This, and Fatal Family Photo, all of which are tropes involving an indication that a character is slated for death. See also How to Kill a Character.

As a Death Trope all spoilers on this page will remain unmarked.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Before a major battle, with the beast men, Kamina and Yoko kiss, and Kamina says when he comes back "he'll return that 10 times more". He tragically dies from a fatal wound in the subsequent battle.
  • In one Rinne story, one ghost was a Cute Sports Club Manager for a baseball team. The captain of the team said he had something to tell her, right after the team wins this game. But they don't win, so he puts it off, and the team goes into a long slump. Finally, the team wins and the girl is so excited by the win and the captain at last completing the conversation that she leaps up and smashed her head on the dugout ceiling. She died, and the ghost has been holding out ever since waiting to hear what he had to say.

    Comic Books 
  • This happens in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #15 between Chromedome and Rewind, after Rewind finds out that Chromedome not only used his dangerous mnemosurgery skill after he asked Chromedome not to, but also hid the fact that he did so from Rewind, who is the Cybertronian equivalent of his husband.
    Chromedome: You're angry.
    Rewind: No, I'm past that. It's - what I feel is worse than anger. In fact I don't know—
    Chromedome: What?
    Rewind: I really don't know if I can forgive you for this.
    Chromedome: We'll finish this conversation later. We will. I promise.

    Fan Works 
  • At the opening of chapter three of The Wrong Reflection Eleya is catching up with her old friend and former subordinate T'Var, but has to break off the conversation to go change into her vacsuit, saying they'll talk more later. In the subsequent battle T'Var uses her ship to stop a ramming attempt against Eleya's ship. Despite ordering her crew to abandon ship, she doesn't make it to the escape pods in time.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In the 2002 adaptation of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine Alexander is arguing with his friend after the death of his fiance. They agree to continue the discussion in a week but by that time Alexander is stuck in the future.
  • Versions of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope starting with the Special Edition restore a deleted scene right before the attack on the Death Star where Luke and his old friend Biggs Darklighter promise to meet up after the battle so Luke can tell him how he got there. Biggs is killed by Darth Vader while covering Luke during the trench run.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Tim Messenger tells The Hero Nick Angel to meet him behind the church for he has important information on the deaths that have been occurring about town. When Nick arrives, Tim is killed before his eyes.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots! when Dead Meat tells his wife he can save talking about his life insurance, his solution to global warming, and his JFK assassination evidence until after he returns from his mission.
  • In The Train, Burt Lancaster plays the leader of a group of French Resistance fighters who are trying to prevent the Nazis from taking a trainload of paintings to Germany. In one scene, one of the fighters asks Labiche (Lancaster's character) if he has ever seen the paintings. Labiche says no. The other man says maybe they should go to a museum and see them after the war. He gets killed shortly thereafter.

    Literature 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • A Game of Thrones has several examples. Ned Stark promises his bastard son Jon Snow that they'll talk about Jon's mother after he returns to the capital, Jon's Uncle Benjen promises to talk about Jon becoming a ranger after he returns from a scouting mission, and King Robert tells Ned they'll discuss the exiled princess Daenerys after Robert returns from a hunt. Ned is unfairly accused of treason and executed, King Robert is manipulated by his wife into being killed by a boar and Benjen has been missing for two years and is possibly undead.
    • A Feast for Crows: Jaime Lannister recalls the last conversation he had with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, about how the prince had realized how badly his mad father King Aerys was ruling the realm and he had planned to summon a council and make changes. He promised to speak more on the subject when he returned from what became his final battle.
  • Subverted in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The lines quoted below sound like they are going to be this trope, but both characters survive and the conversation presumably happens at some point. Faramir to Frodo:
    "I would gladly learn how this creeping Smeagol became possessed of the Thing of which we speak, and how he lost it, but I will not trouble you now. If ever beyond hope you return to the lands of the living and we re-tell our tales, sitting by a wall in the sun, laughing at old grief, you shall tell me then."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the TV adaptation of A Murder Is Announced, Miss Hinchcliff realizes "she wasn't there". Miss Murgatroyd tells her they'll talk about it later—and Hinchcliff is murdered while Murgatroyd is getting some dogs.
  • In the Comic Relief short Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, Hugh Grant's Twelfth Doctor's last words to his companion are "I'll explain later."note 

    Video Games 
  • In Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Togami talks about "things" in his past he can't tell anyone about, yet defers the question when Hinata asks him to elaborate, saying only that he can (and indeed may have to) explain later. Unfortunately for interested players, Dangan Ronpa is a murder mystery game, and Togami ends up being the first victim.
  • In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Dr. Eli Vance talks to the player about "Our mutual friend" (the mysterious figure that fans call the G-Man) and promises to explain more. The episode ends with Gordon and Alyx having to set off immediately, with the Fade to Black coming after a Combine attack during which Eli is killed by an Advisor.
  • In Empire Earth's Greek campaign, this is how king Phillip of Macedonia's death is presented: Alexander asks to speak to him after a battle, but the king is busy, and is killed by assassins before he has a chance to talk to his son.

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, Vriska messages John, telling him they'll talk more when they actually meet up in person, right before Terezi confronts and kills her.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in the Grand Finale of Danny Phantom. Before leaving to round up the ghosts needed to save the world, Danny says he has a few things he needs to talk to Sam about after the world is saved (namely, their relationship). While everyone (except the audience) thinks he perished in an explosion, he survived and saved the world, with the episode ending on Danny and Sam's Relationship Upgrade.

Indexes: Adverbly Adjective Noun, Death Tropes, Rule of Drama

replies: 46

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