Created By: dragonfire8181 on July 5, 2012
Nuked

Non-Canon Killing Spree

This episode takes place in a different continuity; time to kill a bunch of characters.

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Everyone knows that Death Is Dramatic, but even in a series where Anyone Can Die, writers can't just go around killing all their characters. There needs to be characters to continue the story. If the series is Alice and Bob, and you kill off Alice, the title sort of stops making any sense. Sometimes actors have contracts or producers have demands or other outside circumstances force the writers' hands. Therefore, anytime writers for a series with any sense of continuity start working on something that's outside of that canon -- an Elseworld, A What If? scenario, an alternate timeline, or any random instance where there's an in-universe Reset Button to be pressed -- those writers tend to unleash their more violent tendencies.

Examples:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the Episode "The Wish," in the alternate reality Cordelia wished up, Xander and Willow are vampires, and they both, plus Angel, Buffy, and even Cordelia (who you'd imagine would be immune, being the one who made the wish) are all dead. Fortunately, Giles hits the Reset Button and everything goes back to what counts for normal in the Buffyverse.
  • In the fifth season of Angel, Illyria kills most of the cast, but as she's Unstuck in Time at the time, it's reversible.
  • The Simpsons Holloween specials, called Treehouse of Horror, originally were told through Show Within a Show-esque FramingDevices, but these days just appear as a series of shorts. Either way, the body counts are often high for these specials.
  • Futurama has the What If? Machine, which predicts what would happen in a given imaginary scenario (e.g., what if Fry never came to the future, what if Leela were slightly more impulsive, what if Bender were 500 feet tall). These predictions nearly always end with at least one cast member dying, often horribly. There's also the sixth season's Winter Holiday Special, which also took the form of three out-of-canon shorts, and each of the shorts end with virtually the entire cast dead.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • July 5, 2012
    Koveras
  • July 5, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
  • July 5, 2012
    Topazan
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    • In a special episode of Enterprise it follows the exploits of the mirror universe version of the crew, whose ship is a vicious hive of scum and villainy. Much betrayal, assassination, and backstabbing happens, and in the end of the episode, one is left standing at the top. All others were betrayed and killed.
  • July 5, 2012
    LongLiveRock
    Would the My Little Pony fic, "Cupcakes" be an example?
  • July 5, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    The Lobo vs Batman comic. Out of the characters that appeared in the story, about 4 are still alive at the end.
  • July 5, 2012
    arromdee
    All The Myriad Ways is different. It's about the fact that people don't care that an alternate world has a lot of deaths. This one is about the fact that an alternate world has a lot of deaths.
  • July 5, 2012
    abk0100
    Right now, it's being used for both. But I guess this could be split off.
  • July 5, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Marvel comics had a What-If where Frank Castle's family was killed as collatoral damage in a superhero fight, so the Punisher killed virtually every metahuman on Earth.
  • July 5, 2012
    Rognik
    Virtually every episode of Star Trek Voyager, where the cast is trying to change history, ends with the future time travelers blowing up in a craft seconds before the timeline resets. Sometimes, the ship exploding in a heroic sacrifice is what resets time.
  • July 5, 2012
    PaulA
    Quite a lot of Marvel's What If stories have had enormous body counts.
  • July 5, 2012
    PaulA
    • Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta is set in an alternate universe where the equivalents of the Planetary team are Well Intentioned Extremist tyrants, and the equivalents of the JLA are members of a resistance movement; it ends in a final battle with very few survivors.
  • July 6, 2012
    planswalker
    will the YKTTW author be adding the examples to the trope or do we need to do it ourselves?
  • July 6, 2012
    kjnoren
    Sometimes, the examples will be added during the process, but some prefer to add them when launching the trope.

    Literature
    • In Jingo by Terry Pratchett the Disorganizer gets connected with another timeline, from where it reports the death of the entire Watch.
  • July 6, 2012
    Arivne
    Comic Books
    • X Men #141 and 142, "Days of Future Past". In an alternate future many superheroes (including a number of X-Men) had been killed by the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots.
  • July 6, 2012
    Twilord
    Stargate SG1 Just about anytime they go to another reality or timeline you can expect to see the equivalent characters dying by the handful. Though Stargate also loves to bring back characters who genuinely dead for this episodes as well, so Kawolsky for example dies alot.
  • July 6, 2012
    cabr321
    In Community, Jeff split reality into 7 different timelines when rolling a die. In the darkest of the seven, Pierce got shot and killed, Annie had a mental breakdown, Jeff lost an arm, Troy destroyed his Larynx, Abed turned evil, Shirley became alcoholic, and Britta... dyed her hair.
  • July 7, 2012
    MetaFour
    How is this distinct from Second Law Of Metafictional Thermodynamics?
  • July 7, 2012
    Bisected8
    That is about surplus characters being killed off. This is about important characters dying because it's non-canon or there's a reset button.
  • July 7, 2012
    acrobox
    In the Ninja Turtles 2003 series episode 'Bad Day' Klunk, Casey and April all get killed off before they realize its a mental illusion.
  • July 7, 2012
    acrobox
    Young Justice episode 'Failsafe ' The entire Justice League and almost all of the Team are killed off before the training simulation is deactivated.
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    ^^^ that's probably an important thing to add to the introduction of this trope.
  • July 8, 2012
    Arivne
    This sometimes happens in an Unwinnable Training Simulation, such as the one at the beginning of Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan where several of the main cast members were "killed".
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