[[quoteright:249:[[ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/and_then_what_6167.png]]]]

->'''Shredder:''' As soon as we destroy Splinter and the Turtles, our work will be done!\\
'''Krang:''' And then we will go into reruns!... I guess.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987''

The villain has the hero at his mercy, and after some EvilGloating gets down to explaining his EvilPlan (complete with [[StoryboardingTheApocalypse slideshow!]]) to use their orbital WeatherControlMachine to destroy every ice cream store in the city.

''"And then what?"'' asks the hero.

When asked, [[GenericDoomsdayVillain many villains]] will [[ArmorPiercingQuestion mentally hit a brick wall]]. Whether it's because TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin no matter how many times [[YouCantThwartStageOne their plans get past Stage One]], their goals are small-minded, or they honestly never thought that far ahead about cosmic destruction, they won't be able to answer. In this position, the hero may be able to coax them into a HeelRealization to stop their plan, or distract them long enough to buy their teammates time to disable the WeatherControlMachine. An alternative has the hero make ''suggestions'' for what they should do, and how they can leverage the now ice-cream-less city to create a lucrative "Dippin' Dot's" franchise; [[ButThatWouldBeWrong (all to buy time for his allies, of course)]].

Occasionally, heroes will combine this with a low key [[KirkSummation discussion how they are wasting their genius]] and could make oodles of money renting their WeatherControlMachine (or what have you) to drought stricken areas or as insurance against natural disasters. In short, [[CutLexLuthorACheck that an honest (if business mercenary) path would make them successful.]] Sometimes, ''it works!'' Then again, if it's a CardCarryingVillain being asked, they'll just shrug, say "I hadn't thought of that", [[EvilLaugh cackle]], and push the big red button anyway. Alternatively, the villain may have an insane goal because they ''are'' insane, [[InsaneTrollLogic in which case logic is useless]]. By contrast, a VisionaryVillain is often defined as such [[DefiedTrope because they]] ''[[DefiedTrope can]]'' [[DefiedTrope answer this question]].

Sometimes, this can happen to the heroes themselves too.

Also sometimes known as the Monday Morning Question.

A SubTrope of ArmorPiercingQuestion.

Compare StatingTheSimpleSolution, WasItReallyWorthIt, VictoryIsBoring, SoWhatDoWeDoNow.

----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:The Abridged Series]]
* This exchange from ''[[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Movie]]'' combines this trope with the VillainBall:
-->'''Anubis''': Silence! Now, after 5000 years of waiting, I'm going to challenge you to a children's card game! And then I'll destroy the world!\\
'''Yami''': Why would you want to do that?\\
'''Anubis''': What?\\
'''Yami''': What's the point in destroying the world? What do you gain from it?\\
'''Anubis''': ...I don't understand the question.\\
'''Yami''': Look, you must have some reason for wanting to destroy the world. Otherwise, this whole movie was just pointless bickering!\\
'''Anubis''': Of course I have a reason!\\
'''Yami''': Oh, goodie! Do you feel like sharing it with the class?\\
'''Anubis''': No, it's a secret.
** Also played with with Zorc in the same movie, who (when asked what he'll do after destroying the world) has an immediate answer: "ImGoingToDisneyWorld! [[OmnicidalManiac And then I'm going to destroy it!]]"
*** But since he had so much fun at Disney World, he decide to spare it and destroy [=EuroDisney=] instead.
* ''KampferAbridged'': This exchange sums the mentality up nicely.
--> '''Mikoto''': [[WhatDoesSheSeeInHim Why do you even like Natsuru]]? You're the [[MsFanservice hottest]] and [[TheAce the most powerful]]! You could have anyone you wanted! Why the [[ObliviousToLove Lovable Idiot]]?\\
'''Shizuku''': [[ForbiddenFruit Because I want him and I can't have him]].\\
'''Mikoto''': What are you going to do when you have him?\\
'''Shizuku''': [[WantingIsBetterThanHaving ...I haven't actually thought that far ahead yet]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: {{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', Mimi asks what exactly Ogremon would do if he beat Leomon. Ogremon seems baffled by the question--he'd never actually thought of it, and eventually dismisses it as a pointless question. As far as he's concerned, the two of them are just going to keep fighting, forever coming to standstills.
** Then again, this is one of the Digimon continuities where all dead Digimon are reborn as Digi-Eggs and hatch into the same characters, so Leomon and Ogremon can beat the snot out of each other as long as they like without needing a long-term plan.
** A rare variant is done in the Japanese version of ''Anime/DigimonTamers'', both with Renamon and Bezelzemon (after both try to strike out on their own without Tamers). They think about how they'll continue to load Digimon and become stronger, and the question enters the audience's mind without it actually being said.
* In an early ''DragonBall'' arc, Emperor Pilaf's mook Shu once asked him what he was going to do after acquiring his wish of controlling the world. Pilaf shrugged off the question.
* Il Palazzo in the ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' anime is forced to confront this problem in the three part series finale. Having finally conquered the city he realizes that he's now going to have to conquer another one and another. It actually drives him insane, until Excel returns to knock some sense into him.
* ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'': Towards the end of the story, [[BigBad Naraku's]] last servant asks him what Naraku will wish for on the Shikon no Tama if he wins. Naraku realises that there will be nothing for him if he no longer has a WorthyOpponent. [[spoiler: His wish therefore becomes to ensure he is locked forever in eternal combat with a WorthyOpponent who just happens to be the reincarnation of the woman even the Shikon no Tama couldn't let him have.]]
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'':
** Early on, minor Ragnarok member Tsuji tries recruiting Kenichi for his street gang to become the top town delinquents. A pause, and then Kenichi asks what the point of that is as they won't be in school forever, and they can't be delinquents forever. Tsuji has no response, so he gets frustrated and attacks Kenichi instead.
** Also played with rather humorously in a conversation between Honoka and Tanimoto.
--->'''Honoka''': What are you gonna do if you get that strong?\\
'''Tanimoto''': Kill someone I don't like.\\
'''Honoka''': What happens after you kill him?\\
'''Tanimoto''': Find someone else.\\
'''Honoka''': And what happens after you kill him?\\
'''Tanimoto''': FIND ANOTHER GUY, FOREVER!
* A prominent theme in ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'' by the end of the series. When talented soldiers who have gained fame and recognition in wars have nothing more to use their talents on, tragedy ensues.
* In ''Manga/ShinryakuIkaMusume'', when Ika has tied up the principal of Eiko's high school and hijacked the PA, she begins broadcasting her plans on what to do when she and her "army" TakeOverTheWorld. When Ika gets to the "all of the world is taken over" part, she realizes that she doesn't know what to do beyond that point.
* The question strongly underlies the conclusions and main themes to Mizukami Satoshi's ''Manga/TheLuciferAndBiscuitHammer'' and ''Manga/PsychoStaff''. You have phenomenal powers! You can save the world! ...and then what? It turns out that you have a life you still have to live after saving everything. And in ''Biscuit Hammer'', that is probably the most intolerable thing Samidare can think of because she's terminally ill and won't have very long to live after saving the world and her power leaves her.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Collectable Card Game]]
* The ''Series/BabylonFive CardGame'' has an AlternateUniverse version of G'kar called "G'kar Forsaken", who ''had'' an answer to the trope question, unlike his show counterpart (see the Live-Action TV entry). Although extremely powerful in a Shadow-themed deck (especially if other players are Shadow-aligned), G'kar Forsaken has a Doom Mark, cannot develop further (unlike regular G'kar, who has extreme MagikarpPower potential) and is implied to be corrupted beyond redemption.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the dark comedy miniseries ''[[GreatLakesAvengers G.L.A. Misassembled]]'', Mr. Immortal does this to villain Maelstrom, convincing him not only of the futility of his current scheme to destroy the universe, but of evil schemes in general, and convinces the villain to [[spoiler:commit suicide. "Here, I'll go first." Mr. Immortal gets back up again...]]
* DisneyComics' version of the Big Bad Wolf has finally captured the Three Little Pigs in one story, when his mis-named son Li'l Bad Wolf asks him what he will do with his life after he has eaten them. After pondering alternatives like playing the comb and reading the almanac, BBW lets the pigs go.
* Played with in a pocket issue of DonaldDuck: Donald and his nephews happen to stumble upon a MadScientist who plans to destroy all of Earth's technology. When called out on it, and questioned what he, himself would be without all his gadgets and devices, the scientist states that he ''did'' go insane for a reason. The ducks all realize that there's an undeniable, yet severely disturbing logic behind that argument.
* In an early issue of ''{{Thunderbolts}}'', Graviton is being all villainous, crowing about how easily he can defeat the Thunderbolts. Moonstone replies that, sure, you can beat us. Then the Avengers, the Champions, the Defenders, the X-men and so forth (most of these teams no longer existed at this time). So then what? Graviton stopped, realized he had no long term plan at all, and disappeared for about a year.
** When he came back, he'd actually thought about it. And decided that essentially ripping San Francisco out of the ground to be his personal party/orgy palace was the "what". Letting him win in the first place might have been less destructive in the long run.
* In ''ComicBook/NewAvengers'', the Wrecker grabs a crowbar and starts to toss around Spider-Man, Wolverine and Luke Cage. Then, Spider-Woman walks up and asks "why?". She wonders why despite having the power of a god, [[Comicbook/{{Runaways}} a bunch of kids in Los Angeles]] managed to beat him and his whole team up. She very nearly converts him to the side of good, until it's revealed she wasn't even trying, just lulling him into a false sense of security.
** [[JustifiedTrope It helps]] that she is both an experienced spy and exudes pheromones that make men fall in love with her.
* This is the whole point of Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/{{Empire}}'' series. It features a [[CaptainErsatz Dr. Doom esque]] villain who has killed all the Super Heroes and is the sole military and political power on earth. What now?
* Used to great effect in the graphic novel ''ComicBook/{{Enigma}}'' by Creator/PeterMilligan and Duncan Fegredo. In the comic-within-a-comic, "The Enigma" taunts "The Rich Cat" with the pointlessness of his goals by saying "And then what? ...and then what? ...and then what?" until "The Rich Cat" can only say "aw, geez, I don't know." The phrase then becomes a catchphrase used by the Enigmatics, a cult inspired by the comic, who [[spoiler: say it before committing suicide en masse]].
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** In ''[[ComicBook/TransformersAllHailMegatron All Hail Megatron]]'' and [[ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW the following series]], Starscream, of all people, brings this up when talking with Megatron. First, after they spend a couple of issues trashing effectively-defenseless Earth cities with Autobots nowhere in sight:
---> '''Starscream:''' Our cruisers could have annihilated them from space. You're stalling. You've beaten the only real threat we've ever faced. I can see what's coming. So can you. Who will it be? Scourge? Who would have thought the worst move you could have made would be to win?
* By their next confrontation, they have defeated the Autobots, and are in the process of conquering the galaxy. He actually becomes rather upset about it, as he realises that all of Megatron's rhetoric about the superiority of the Decepticon race has been just that...and that with victory in their grasp, they don't really know what to do with it.
---> '''Starscream:''' Your philosophy, Megatron...\\
'''Megatron:''' Starscream...\\
'''Starscream:''' The Strong should rule....\\
'''Megatron:''' Again Starscream? We find ourselves here AGAIN?\\
'''Starscream:''' All this... for what? Where to NOW Megatron? WHERE TO NEXT!?!
* ''Emperor Doom'' features something like this, with SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom using the enslaved Purple Man to essentially brainwash the world into accepting him as it's ruler. He eventually gets bored of all the niggly little things that a ruler of the world actually ends up having to do, and decides to let the heroes destroy the machine keeping Purple Man prisoner.
** Reed Richards asks this of Doom several times whenever Doom's captured him again and is gloating about how he's going to kill Reed and destroy everything he holds dear. Doom has no proper answer, because the be-all-end-all of his existence is to cause Reed Richards as much anguish as possible. Unlike, say, [[GenreSavvy the Joker]] however, Doom can't admit this (having convinced himself that he's doing it because he's superior to everyone else and deserves to rule the world) and so whenever Reed mentions this, Doom usually just starts [[RivalTurnedEvil screaming about college grudges]] and beating the snot out of Reed. [[CaptainObvious Doom is kind of nuts.]]
* At the end of ''[[ThePunisher Punisher]] Noir'', Frank Castelione, Jr. has killed everyone responsible for his father's death. Jigsaw, Barracuda, the Russian, Dutch Shultz... all of them are gone. As he visits his parents' graves, he asks his father what he should do now. Detective Soap called him the Punisher - does he keep punishing forever? Does he keep taking it to the underworld? It's 1935, there's no shortage of mobsters. Frank, Sr. doesn't have an answer for him, but he gets one all the same when a newspaper is blown into his face -- featuring an article on Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist party.
* One Comicbook/GreenLantern story had magnetic supervillain Dr. Polaris try to absorb the "magnetic glue" that holds the universe together, increasing his powers to infinite levels. It would also destroy the universe. The comic lampshades that Polaris is too drunk with power to stop to think what he would do afterward.
* At one point in Marvel's 1989 crossover ''Atlantis Attacks'', B-list heroine Firebird comes across several invading Atlantean/Lemurian troops who have gotten lost in the ''desert.'' After a CurbStompBattle (if you breathe water, and have to use a specially enclosed suit to survive on land, don't fight someone who controls fire and heat without being REALLY prepared). Once that's over and she talks to them, she asks them that even if they win this war, what exactly are they going to do? She asks this as they stand...in a desert. They shrug. They come to a compromise wherein she destroys all their weapons and guides them to Tahiti, where they promise to sit out the rest of the war and decide to try and pick-up land-dwelling women.
* After going mad, [[{{CaptainMar-vell}} Genis-Vell]] helps the cosmic villain Entropy successfully ''destroy the universe.'' Afterward, Entropy, Genis, Epiphany, and Rick Jones are left foating in a void of nothingness, and Entropy realizes he never expected to actually ''succeed'' and doesn't know what to do, now. So they do some TimeyWimeyBall jiggery-pokery and the universe comes back.
* PlayedForLaughs in one strip from a series that ran in several of Marvel Comics' series. A young ComicBook/SilverSurfer gets a young {{Thanos}} to change his plans by asking him hypothetically, if he succeeded in getting Lady Death's attention by destroying the universe and she fell in love with him, what he would get her for her birthday. Thanos thinks carefully for a moment.
-->'''Thanos''': A pair of shoes?\\
'''Silver Surfer''': You just destroyed the universe! There are no shoes!\\
'''Thanos''': Oops!
* In the first Marvel/DC crossover, Supes and Spidey are battling their arch-nemeses on a satellite when one announces the intention to ''really'' destroy the world, instead of blackmail it with the ''threat'' of destroying it. Spidey asks the other SuperVillain, "Where are you going to spend your money then?" Not only does he [[ArmorPiercingQuestion mentally hit the brick wall]], he [[EvilVersusOblivion fights to save the world]] in a major (if temporary) HeelFaceTurn for [[spoiler:Doctor Octopus]].
* In the ''Riot at Xavier's'' story arc in Grant Morrison's run of ''ComicBook/NewXMen'', the radical young mutant Quentin Quire leads an anti-human riot by the mutant students. Quire declares that the rioters will take over the entire school. An unimpressed Emma Frost asks the question verbatim.
** Bastion posits this during the "Second Coming" event. Just as his endgame is about to go into motion, he asks one of his underlings what will define them once the mutants are all dead, and what purpose they will serve afterwards (Doesn't stop him from going through with it, though).
* In the ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'' event ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Death of Spider-Man]]'' Peter asks this question of his arch-nemesis, Norman Osborn. Unfortunately for him, Osborn has an answer. It's not a GOOD answer, but it's good enough for a madman:
-->'''Peter:''' What's the plan, Osborn? I'm dying to know... what's next? You kill me, then what next?? The [[OffingTheOffspring son you killed]] won't ''magically'' come back to life!! Your world as [[CorruptCorporateExecutive a captain of industry]] won't ''magically'' go back to the way it was!! [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And your hair... won't magically come... into fashion.]]\\
'''Norman:''' But you'll be dead.\\
'''Peter:''' [[VillainHasAPoint Well, yeah... there is that...]]
* It's not phrased in the form of a question, but the end of ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' has this exchange:
-->[[spoiler:'''Ozymandias:''']] I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end.\\
'''Dr. Manhattan:''' "In the end"? ''Nothing'' ends,[[spoiler: Adrian]]. Nothing ''ever'' ends.
* This is how the very first story arc of George Perez's reboot of ''WonderWoman'' ended, with Wondy ensnaring Ares in the Lasso of Truth, forcing him to realise that starting UsefulNotes/WorldWarIII would superpower him immensely in the short term as conflict and disaster engulfed the word...but there'd be nobody left AfterTheEnd to fight, much less kill, each other, and without any living memory of the gods, he'd fade into nothingness.
* The Annual # 1 of ComicBook/TheBatmanAdventures ''Study Hall:'' shows Scarecrow in Arkham after being beaten again by the Franchise/{{Batman}}, asking to himself why he is trapped in a CycleOfRevenge instead of doing something he enjoys, at the beginning of his RedemptionFailure:
-->'''Scarecrow:''' What will happen when I am too old or too infirm to engage with the Franchise/{{Batman}} at our usual duel of wills? Then what? [[SaveOurStudents I was a teacher once]]...
* Poison Ivy also asks one of them to herself at the end of “Batman and Robin Adventures” # 24, “Touch of death”. This one shows [[{{Hypocrite}} how disconnected Poison Ivy is from her true motivations]] to save a a Brazilian Boy who is a PoisonousPerson from a GovernmentConspiracy and brings him back to his home.
-->'''Poison Ivy:''' And with the kid, I could... ''[{{beat}}]'' ...poison people ''faster?''...[[DidntThinkThisThrough what was I thinking?]]
* In the ''Film/Serenity'' comic, "Those Left Behind," Mal asks a vengeful Dobson this question, what comes next after killing Mal. Dobson shrugs and says he'll pick up a hobby, probably.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In [[FanFic/APikachuInLove A Pikachu in Love]], Pichi asks Pikachu this when Pikachu is telling her about how Ash will always be a trainer. In response, she asks Pikachu if he wants to be a sports Pokemon all his life, and what he plans to do once he's done. Though it stuns Pikachu for a few seconds while he tries to think of an answer, he eventaully decides to leave it up to the future. Though, later on, he eventually starts asking this question to himself when he realizes Ash ''won't'' be young and a trainer forever...
* This is Lampshaded in the ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries'' when the BigBad of ''Omni-Tamer''; Blackwargreymon, outright states that he has absolutely no idea what he is going to do after he's killed Takato. Unlike most examples, he doesn't really seem to mind all that much.
* Asked of [[{{Tekken}} Kazuya Mishima]] in Ashes of the Phoenix by [[spoiler: Lei Wulong. While Kazuya has an answer, Lei [[ShutUpHannibal successfully outmaneuvers him]].]]
* ''"Connecting the Dots"'', a Franchise/{{Naruto}}[=/=]DCAU crossover, has ComicBook/TheSpectre asking Naruto what he'll do when he becomes Hokage. This shuts him up enough for the Spectre to explain how sometimes it's better to fail than to succeed because A) there's nothing to do after a goal has been completed and B) sometimes what we've been working for really isn't that great.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' fanfic ''[[Fanfic/NotQuiteHeroes Not Quite Heroes]]'', [[TheDragon Shego]] asks Dr. Drakken what he'll do if he ever does {{take over the world}}. He has to think about it, and finally says that he'll mostly let the world run the same way it did before.
* In the second story of the ''FanFic/FacingTheFutureSeries'', [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom Danny's]] enemies finally capture him [[ItMakesSenseInContext after ambushing him when he was too full to fight]], however, when Danny asks what they're going to do to him, they actually have to think about that.
-->'''Danny''': ''[sarcastically]'' Well, isn't this an amusing little development?
* Calvin and company have this discussion with the Lightning Man in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' after he announces his plan to kill everyone in the world by giving them all heart attacks simultaneously via massive amounts of electricity. He alters the plan to only kill half of the population, but Calvin points out that would leave enough for a sizable rebellion to form, and he changes it ''again'' to three-fourths.
* [[Franchise/AceAttorney Edgeworth]] asks Phoenix in ''FanFic/DirtySympathy'' what will he do [[spoiler: if he has Klavier and Apollo arrested and jailed for their crime.]] What will Phoenix do for the innocent people they helped whose cases might be overturned or for the horrible people they put away if their crimes come to light.
* Haku asks Sasuke what will he do and who would be by his side when he avenges his clan in ''FanFic/FirstTrySeries.''
* ''FanFic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness Act I'': After they're finally free of their [[BadBoss abusive master]] thanks to Inner Moka, Apoch and Astreal admit that they never really thought of what they would do with their lives after getting their freedom. Ruby solves the problem by making them their assistants.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'':
** Minion actually asks this after [[spoiler:Megamind kills his arch-nemesis]].
--->'''Minion:''' So, what happens next?\\
'''Megamind:''' ''[laughs]'' I have ''no'' idea!
** In keeping with the trope, however, the fun is short-lived; the existential crisis soon kicks in, and the rest of the plot is largely driven by Megamind trying to find a new purpose in life.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''. Syndrome knows ''exactly'' what he's going to do after he murders all the superheroes: He's going to use his technology to become the world's ''only'' superhero.
--> '''Syndrome:''' And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll ''sell'' my inventions, so that ''everyone'' can have superpowers; ''everyone'' can be super! [[IronicEcho And when everyone's super...]] ''[laughs]'' ...''[[IronicEcho no one]]'' [[IronicEcho will be]]...
* This briefly comes up in ''Disney/LiloAndStitch''. Stitch, after trashing Lilo's room, looks around impatiently, and Jumbo observes;
-->'''Jumbo:''' This is interesting.\\
'''Pleakly:''' What?\\
'''Jumbo:''' 626 was created for destruction, but now there is nothing to destroy. You see, I never created a greater purpose for him. What must it be like to have...''nothing''...not even memories to visit...in the middle of the night?
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'': in TheStinger, all of the dentist's fish finally manage to escape the tank and return to the ocean!... but they're stuck in plastic bags. After an awkward silence, Bloat asks "Now what?"
** ExpandedUniverse materials show that they make it out of the bags and find Nemo again.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'', the Soothsayer asks Shen if taking over the world will finally make him happy. He replies "It's a start. I might also convert the basement into a dungeon."
* In ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', Bowler Hat Guy makes a checklist of what destructive things to do with the Robinsons and their company and asks himself what he'd do once he succeeds. He's not sure and writes a question mark as that next item, intending to go back to it later. This trope kicks in later when [[spoiler: he HAS checked off everything on his list and still hasn't figured out what to do after that.]]
* In ''Disney/{{Up}}'', Carl has no idea what he's going to do once he gets to Paradise Falls. It was his and Ellie's dream to live there for the rest of their lives. However, since Ellie is dead and Carl is an old man, not much can be accomplished. The first thing he does when he sets his house down, he moves his and Ellie's chairs together... and sits in dead silence.
* Discussed in ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'';
-->'''Rapunzel:''' I've been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it's not everything I dreamed it would be? \\
'''Flynn:''' It will be. \\
'''Rapunzel:''' And what if it is? What do I do then? \\
'''Flynn:''' Well, that's the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/DogDayAfternoon'' has loads of this, with Charles Durning repeatedly trying to convince AlPacino and John Cazale to turn themselves in.
* In ''Film/{{Alexander}}'', Hephaistion at one point asks [[AlexanderTheGreat Alexander]] what he would do once he conquered his way all the way to his much sought "Outer Ocean". Without missing a beat, Alexander turns to his boyfriend, and moral center, and answers: "I turn around and conquer the other half!", leaving Hephaistion with the perfect ''Okay then''-face.
** Check out his entry in the RealLife section below for more details.
* In ''Film/DeathBecomesHer'' we see a hero and villain perspective:
** Played straight: the male protagonist's response to his female companions urging him to drink the elixir that grants eternal life is a puzzled "...And then what?" From the puzzled reactions from those around him, he appears to be the only person who's actually considered this rather than just greedily giving in. He then [[WhoWantsToLiveForever goes on to list the numerous reasons why living forever would suck]], especially if it involved being trapped with the rather horrible women in his life for all eternity as well.
** Inverted: The villains achieved immortality a long time ago, and are all so shallow and self-absorbed that most of his reasons of why immortality would suck (eg. seeing everyone they love die around them) don't apply to them. Their puzzled reaction stems from the fact that [[EvilCannotComprehendGood they are a bunch of assholes]] and [[LivingForeverIsAwesome don't get why anyone WOULDN'T want to live forever.]]
* In ''[[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl]]'', Barbossa asks of Elizabeth, "I'm curious. After killing me, what is it you're planning on doing next?" as he pulls a bloody knife from his chest. After all Elizabeth thought very little about it, and if she had successfully killed Barbossa, she had a ship full of pirates to get through, combined with the fact that the ship was out in the middle of the ocean with miles to go before reaching land.
* In ''Film/BatmanForever'', The Riddler presses Two Face to think about what happens after he succeeds in killing Batman. Explaining how unsatisfying a quick death would be, he is able to convince Two Face to consider a more involved scheme to thoroughly destroy his enemy.
** A hero-to-hero version: Bruce says this to Dick when the latter is still bent on killing Two-Face.
* Comes up briefly in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', but ultimately averted.
--> '''TheJoker''': Do I look like a guy with a plan to you? I'm a dog chasing cars, wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it!
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'': The hero intends it with the villain. It doesn't work:
--> '''Jake Gittes:''' I just wanna know what you're worth. More than 10 million?\\
'''Noah Cross:''' Oh my, yes!\\
'''Jake Gittes:''' Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?\\
'''Noah Cross:''' [[VisionaryVillain The future, Mr. Gittes! The future]].
* A variation in ''Film/FierceCreatures''. After hearing the plans to increase revenue from their new corporate owner, one of the zookeepers asks the spokesperson: "how much does he want in the end?" Rather baffled at this, the spokesperson asks for clarification, and realizes that the zookeeper is asking for a total sum of money that the boss wants to gain from his new venture, completely unaware that there is no set goal beyond just making ''more and more money''.
* ''Film/CoachCarter'' asks this of his players and the people of the community. He's bothered by the fact that the players don't have plans for life after the current season and school careers are over. He even at one point sits them down and '''SHOVES''' the gravity of the situation in their faces to drive the point home.
* In ''Film/{{Nixon}}'', when president Nixon argues that he wants to end the Vietnam war, but he cannot do it, a student ask him: ''Then what was the point to being president?''
--> '''Young Student:''' You don't want the war, we don't want the war, the Vietnamese don't want the war, so why does it go on?\\
''[Nixon hesitates. Haldeman whispers "We should be going" to him.]'' \\
'''Young Student:''' You can't stop it, can you? Even if you wanted to. Because it's not you, [[InherentInTheSystem it's the system. The system won't let you stop it]]. \\
'''Richard M. Nixon:''' There's... there's more at stake here than what you want, or what I want. \\
'''Young Student:''' Then what's the point? [[ArmorPiercingQuestion What's the point of being President? You're powerless!]] \\
'''Richard M. Nixon:''' ''[firmly]'' No. No, [[AuthorityInNameOnly I'm not powerless]]. Because, because I understand the system, I believe I can, uh, I can control it. Maybe not control it totally, but tame it enough to make it do some good. \\
'''Young Student:''' Sounds like you're talking about a wild animal.\\
'''Richard M. Nixon:''' [[DumbassHasAPoint Yeah, maybe I am.]]
* There was something like this in the climax of ''Film/TheMuppetMovie''. When Kermit asked Hopper just why he was so crazy as to chase him all the way across the country and put so much effort and money simply to recruit him for an advertising campaign (which Kermit would not do because it was for a frogs legs restaurant, something you really couldn't blame him for), Hopper said it was his dream all his life to own a successful nationwide chain of restaurants. For the first time, Kermit could relate slightly, seeing that he and his friends had a dream too, but he asked Hopper just what he would do if he ever ''did'' accomplish his goal? Who would he share his fame and wealth with? Hopper honestly had no answer, and for a minute it looked like he was about to listen to reason. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, he did not, and ordered his men to open fire on Kermit; fortunately, Kermit was saved by Animal, who had taken Dr. Honeydew's "insta-grow" pills, turning him into a giant, who scared the villains away.]]
* The villain in the second ''Film/TheTransporter'' movie has a rather justified response to this. He reveals that a number of cartels hired him to kill lead members of an Anti-Drug coalition. Frank asks "And then what? You think that will really make a difference?", pointing out that new leaders will take over and continue to fight the cartels. The villain merely replies out that that isn't his problem. He was hired to do a job, and he's doing it. It's the cartels that should've asked themselves this question.
* Kate asks Larry this in ''Film/OtherPeoplesMoney''. He answers:
-->"And then what?" Whoever has the most when he dies wins!
** Of course, by the end of the film, Larry has changed his tune, and is no longer happy just making more money (if he ever was), because he's in love with Kate.
* From ''MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail,'' after the French Knights pull in the Trojan rabbit:
-->'''Arthur:''' What happens now?\\
'''Bedevere:''' Well, now, Lancelot, Galahad and I wait until nightfall and then leap out of the rabbit, taking the French soldiers by surprise. Not only by surprise but totally unarmed.\\
'''Arthur:''' ''Who'' leaps out??\\
'''Bedevere:''' Lancelot...uh, Galahad...and I...(''running out of steam'') leap out of the rabbit...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* A variant appears in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' #48, when Rachel asks ''herself'' the question, and realizes what the consequences of her DealWithTheDevil will be.
* ''Literature/DrMabuse'' wants to destroy the world and then rule the ashes. His MeaningfulName is derived from the French "m'abuse" - "I abuse myself".
* German author Creator/WalterMoers' ''Zamonien'' books feature a BigBad who owns the Moloch, the biggest ship on Earth. As it brags about its plans: "And one day, all the ships in the world will become part of it! And then... well, I have to see..."
* In AdrianTchaikovsky's ''[[ShadowsOfTheApt Dragonfly Falling]]'', what Thalric asks Fenise when she has him helpless again. After having him nursed back to life so she could hunt him and he could know it.
* In ''SoonIWillBeInvincible'', Doctor Impossible muses on what would happen if he actually succeeded in taking over the world, and "whether this is the best thing that the most intelligent man in the world could have done with his life". (But his ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder will keep him at it, nonetheless.)
* In the GentlemanBastard series, Locke's mentor has trained the gang up to be perfect robbers, but died before he told them what they were accumulating money for. So they've succeeded beyond his wildest imaginings, but they have no actual purpose for doing it, and they can't spend their wealth or they'll be detected.
** Technically, by accumulating it they ''have'' achieved his purpose, just by stealing it; the short version is that there's a complex socio-legal arrangement in place that means the police and rich people don't get robbed, which goes against the teachings of the God of Thieves, so Locke's little crew is (in a cosmic sense) there to ensure that the city doesn't get smited into the ground by a god widely regarded by most of the rest of the world as heretical apocrypha (and also getting a spiteful little giggle of their own in since neither their mentor nor they actually like the arrangement much). Spending the money afterward is just gravy, but gravy you can't put on your pork isn't much good, now is it...
* [[http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/what-then/ The titular poem]] by Yeats applies this to his entire ''life.''
* In ''[[JediAcademyTrilogy I, Jedi]]'', Corran Horn references this trope in his ''epic'' rejection of [[BigBad Exar Kun's]] attempted seduction to the dark side. See the [[Quotes/AndThenWhat Quotes page]].
* A heroic attempted aversion is found in the first ''HorusHeresy'' novel, where Horus has decreed that all of his Astartes are to learn skills and talents outside of warmaking because the Great Crusade has to end ''eventually'', and he wants his sons to have a purpose in the new order that would follow. Things.....didn't turn out that way.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Zarracka has no idea what to do with herself after her revenge is accomplished. [[spoiler: Becoming a better mother for Benji than Daniar gives her a new goal to focus on.]]
* A sort of meta-example applies to the ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''. Tolkein points out this why Morgoth's OmnicidalManiac plans are ultimately doomed to fail. He could kill everyone and grind the universe into dust. And then? Well then, and then he would hate the dust because it was made by Eru (God), but the dust would still exist, frustrating Morgoth...and even then the world could in theory by restored by the other Valar.
** Plus to truly destroy everything Eru ever created he'd have to kill himself too.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined'' episode "Bastille Day", Apollo combines this with a CallingTheOldManOut when he accuses Zarek of selfishly wanting to be a MartyrWithoutACause rather than championing his ideals. He asks him if he really wants his legacy to be death and chaos; which Zarek refuses and ends the mutiny.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', this is the final question asked to Buffy once everything's said and done at the end of Season 7.
* In the final episode of ''Series/{{Galactica 1980}}'', [[TheAce Starbuck]] strikes up a conversation with a Centurion after they are both stranded on a deserted planet. At some point, "Cy" (the Centurion) mentions that the ultimate aim of the Cylon Empire is to "organize" the entire universe. When Starbuck asks what's next after that, Cy admits that no-one had ever asked that question.
* The episode "Exile" of ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' has Hoshi threaten Tarquin this way.
* ''Series/StargateSG1,'' "Window of Opportunity." A man has trapped everyone in a time loop to attempt to go back in time to see his dead wife. O'Neill asks the title question when he learns that her death is unavoidable. The villain (if you want to call him that) admits that she'll still die and render the entire exercise moot, 'cause the death was unavoidable. O'Neill adds that seeing a person die once is painful enough and that's not something you want to see again. This helps get him to back down and avert the crisis.
* In the ''Series/BabylonFive'' episode "Signs and Portents", Mr Morden asks Narn Ambassador G'Kar "What do you want?" G'Kar replies that his closest-held wish is to see all the Centauri -- the former oppressors of the Narn -- exterminated. Morden then asks him "And Then What?"... and G'Kar is at a loss, and responds that "as long as my homeworld is safe, I don't see that it matters." Morden realizes that the second part - the safety of his people - is G'Kar's ''real'' answer, and that though the Narn is bloodthirsty enough for the Shadows' purposes, he only lacks sufficient ambition to twist to their ends. Morden thus dismisses him and moves on to greener pastures. Namely...
** ...the Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari, who has a ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUYpUMaEI88 doozy]]'';
--->I want my people to reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again and command the stars. I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power! I want to stop running through my life like a man late for an appointment, afraid to look back or to look forward. I want us to be what we used to be! ''I want it all back the way that it was.''
** In other words, Londo wants, well, ''[[AmbitionIsEvil everything]]'' and doesn't care about collateral damage - and will thus [[JumpedAtTheCall Jump At The Call]] to make a DealWithTheDevil. To his credit, Londo eventually figures out what an obviously stupid deal he made, but by that time Morden has already wormed his way into the Centauri high command.
* In the ''MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode "The Killer Shrews", Dr. Forrester declares in the Invention Exchange that he will "cleave in two this puny planet", but can't think of a good reason when Joel and the Bots ask why.
* A zig-zagging trope from the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' Bond Parody episode. At the end Bashir tries this on Dr. Noah to buy enough time to save the crew, but this fails. So he decides to go one step further down the line, and forces the plan into Step 3 by setting off the villain's plan; destroying the holographic world. By the time Noah decides to destroy Bashir after all, the holosuite program is safe to deactivate. Just before it all ends, though, Dr. Noah admits that he honestly didn't ''expect'' to win.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', where the villains always knew ''exactly'' what they were going to do after scouring, dismantling, or otherwise ruining a planet: the exact same thing to the next planet, until the entire multiverse was used up.
--> '''Mantrid:''' And once I have done that, I'll rest.
* In season 1 of ''Series/BeingHuman'', George asks this both times Mitchell tells him to run away.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor likes to deconstruct his enemies' plans with this question sometimes, like in "The Pirate Planet":
-->'''Doctor:''' You don't want to take over the universe, do you? No. You wouldn't know what to do with it, beyond shout at it.
* ''Series/JonathanCreek'': In "Jack in the Box", Maddie proposes an elaborate solution for the LockedRoomMystery they are facing, only for Jonathan to bring her to a screeching halt with a single word: "Why?".
-->'''Jonathan:''' Why would anyone undertake this extraordinary series of actions you have just described?
* In ''Series/{{Casanova}}'', the titular character tries to convince Henriette to run away with him and live his footloose and fancy free lifestyle. She just keeps asking "What then?" until he runs out of plans. It turns out that she grew up in a slum and is determined to have a better life. As such, she has to prioritize a comfortable life with a man she doesn't love over spending her life with Casanova.
* There's no clear idea of what Nora in ''Series/{{iCarly}}'' was going to do to keep the main characters locked in her house. If she were smart enough, she would have realized that people would start looking for them after a certain period of time.
** Than again, it's shown that Nora is absolutely bat-crap insane (the one-hour special she stars in is even called ''"iPsycho"''), so she wouldn't care what would happen next if asked.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "Then What?" by Clay Walker has the narrator asking this question of a friend who plans to commit adultery:
-->Then what? Whatcha gonna do\\
When the new wears off and the old shines through\\
And it ain't really love and it ain't really lust\\
You ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust\\
Then what? Where you gonna turn\\
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned\\
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt\\
Then what?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In one ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip, Garfield is being chased by a dog and wonders what the dog would actually do if it catches him. So he turns around and surrenders to the dog, asking it what it's going to do now. The dog then starts a ''waltz'' with Garfield, with an irritated Garfield demanding that he gets to lead next time.
** In [[http://www.garfield.com/comics/vault.html?yr=2012&addr=120925 another one]], a mouse tells Garfield mice would rule the world some day. Garfield asked "Then what?" and the mouse said they'd then live in people's house and eat cheese. Garfield was unimpressed by the answer.
** [[http://www.garfield.com/comics/vault.html?yr=2012&addr=120322 An insect said someday they'd rule the world.]] Garfield asked "Then what?" and the insect hesitated before saying they'd "crawl on stuff".
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'':
-->'''Sally:''' I've decided to embark on a program of serious discipline... I'm going to eat properly, sleep properly and exercise properly!\\
'''Charlie Brown:''' Then what?\\
'''Sally:''' You're right... forget it!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the Chaos God Tzeentch is pretty much the god of "And then what?" As the god of change, he constantly schemes to bring about his dominance. Except by his nature any victory must be transitory or he can't actually seek it out, and it must be so transitory it's meaningless. Tzeentch doesn't scheme to win, he schemes to scheme and that's all he can do.
* In ''DungeonsAndDragons'' cosmology, Mephistopheles, the ruler of the Eighth Layer of Hell, has been scheming to usurp the throne of Hell from Asmodeus for eons. Still, he doesn't seem to have any plans for what he'd do should he succeed. (The other Lords often say that he's such an egotist, that it would take less than an hour for him to start wondering why he wasn't also the ruler of Mount Celestia.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'', Asbel's biggest CrowningMomentOfAwesome comes when he asks this to the villain. [[spoiler:BigBad Lambda]] is ranting about how humans are evil, and how he's going to KillEmAll. Asbel promptly turns this into an ArmorPiercingQuestion by asking "[[{{Deconstruction}} Okay, then what? If you kill everybody, you'll be totally alone, and you and everything in the entire world will die. You really want that?]]" The BigBad is silent for a {{Beat}}, then throws a tantrum and begins the final boss battle proper.
* Orobas, a sidequest boss in ''ShadowHearts: Covenant'', declares his plan to TakeOverTheWorld. Anastasia, who's seen this before, steps forward and asks what he plans to do with it once he's done. After an awkward pause...
-->'''Orobas:''' Can I get back to you on that?
* In ''VideoGame/KirbysEpicYarn'', Yin-Yarn at one point admits that he doesn't know what he'll do with Dreamland once he conquers it, but says he'll figure something out.
* A more heroic example occurs in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite''. Cheren is ''obsessed'' with being strong and becoming the Champion and whatnot. The current Champion, Alder, does ask Cheren several times what he plans to do when he becomes the strongest trainer, and tells him that being the strongest isn't all the Champion's about. Cheren just replies "Er, er, I dunno, get stronger still?" or words to that effect. This is a part of Cheren's character development later in the game.
** By the end of the game, Cheren has an answer: Protect the powerless, and help them become stronger, too. Consequently, he becomes a Gym Leader and the head instructor of a Trainer's School [[VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2 in the sequels]].
* In ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'', this was [[DumbassHasAPoint asked by Levi]] to her [[EvilOverlord Lord Dearche]] when Dearche was talking about her plans to use the limitless power of System U-D to finally kill Hayate. This caused her to stumble over her words since she's never actually planned things out past that stage. When she finally rallied herself enough [[OmnicidalManiac to go on a destroy everyone and everything spiel]], [[MoralityChain her loyal minions then point out how meaningless such a goal is]]. This helps the start of her CharacterDevelopment, as she gradually changes from a bratty OmnicidalManiac EvilOverlord obsessed with gaining more power to a more NobleDemon.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the goal of the geth is revealed to create a Dyson-Sphere like structure for all their programs to inhabit. When Shepard asks what they will do next, Legion admits they don't have another plan, they are expecting their combined intelligence will be enough for them to come up with a new goal.
** Happens in the ending sequence of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''. When Shepard finally meets the Illusive Man face to face, the latter gloats about how much he will gain by taking control of the Reapers. Shepard asks him what he's going to do with their "gifts", but the Illusive Man is so power-drunk (and indoctrinated) that he can only respond by [[spoiler:hijacking Shepard's motor functions and forcing them shoot Anderson]].
** In the ''Citadel DLC'' for ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', [[spoiler: the [[EvilTwin Cerberus clone]] of Shepard suffers from this kind of thinking. If they ''had'' taken Shepard's [[KillAndReplace life, identity and ship]], what exactly ''was'' their plan to save the galaxy from the Reapers?]]
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'': John Marston, dealing with RebelLeader Abraham Reyes, tries to get him to stop promoting his own glory for five seconds and ''think'' about what he'll do to improve Mexico. Eventually he comes down to asking, "And after all the shootin' and fightin's over, then what?" To Reyes's credit, he actually has an answer to that:
-->'''Reyes:''' Then, like all men of power, I will delegate.
* In the original [[Franchise/KamenRider All Kamen Riders: Rider Generations]] the Neo-Lifeform [[Film/KamenRiderZO Doras]]' goal is to become The UltimateLifeform. A few of the riders call him on this, asking what he'd do after. He never gives an answer if he has one, but then Doras has never been [[GreenEyedMonster rational]].
* In ''KatawaShoujo'', late in Rin's route, Hisao gets the chance to ask Rin this when she expresses her desire to have someone who can understand her without asking questions. [[spoiler:If you make this choice, you get the good ending, in which Rin comes to terms with herself]].
* After learning that fal'Cie chief Barthandelus's EvilPlan is to have the entire fal'Cie race commit mass-SuicideByCop in order to summon their creator back from a higher dimension because they miss him, it's repeatedly pointed out to him that even ''if'' Lindzei returns to the physical realm (and the prospect of him even coming back anyway was very much in doubt), the fal'Cie are going to be dead, so what's the point of the plot? Barthandelus literally does not care about that.
* Towards the final half of season 1 in ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'', Kenny gets the idea of finding a boat for his fellow survivors so that they can escape to the ocean and get away from the zombies. Several survivors ask Kenny what exactly he plans to do once he gets to the ocean and Kenny only responds with some variation of "I'll think of something". As time goes on, Kenny still insists that his group finds a boat, but he slowly starts to question his goal.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* {{Subverted}} in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' during Bun-bun's brief period as an EvilOverlord.
--> '''Basphomy''': You didn't seem like the world-conquering type.\\
'''Bun-bun''': [[ForTheEvulz Well, at least until it gets boring.]]\\
'''Basphomy''': ''Then'' what?\\
'''Bun-bun''': Then, anything I want.
* In [[http://xkcd.com/792/ this]] ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'', both Black Hat Guy and Google are hit by this; after acquiring loads of login data, he is unable to come up with anything he wants to do with it, and as for Google...
--> '''Google Executive''': Okay, everyone, we control the world's information. Now it's time to turn evil. What's the plan?\\
'''Female Board Member''': Make boatloads of money?\\
'''Google Executive''': We already do!\\
'''Board Member''': Set up a companywide [[ModernWarfare "CoD4: Modern Warfare"]] tournament each week?\\
'''Google Executive''': ''That's not evil!''
* In ''WebComic/Level30Psychiatry'' Dr. Gardevoir asks this of [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Bowser]]. He hasn't a clue.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
** Lots of Sparks have plans along the lines of "Create invincible army of lobster-constructs [[TheyCalledMeMad And Show Them All]]," without considering what happens ''after'' they've conquered the kingdom just to prove that they can. Most of them end up attacking the Baron Wulfenbach. Assuming they survive the experience, they're mostly happy in his labs, where they don't have to worry about anything but inventing.
** Subverted with Othar. His plan of "Kill all Sparks, then myself, ending the threat of Sparks forever" isn't exactly genius, but at least he has an answer to AndThenWhat.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This is the job of Evil Efficiency Consultant Edwin Windsor in ''HowToSucceedInEvil.'' He has little success, since most of his clients are dim, insane, or a combination of the two.
* An episode of ''Seth [=MacFarlane=]'s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy'' called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xItDDGL12jg "Die, Sweet Roadrunner, Die"]], had Wile E. Coyote going through an existential crisis after finally catching and eating the Roadrunner.
* From ''SuburbanKnights'', though that is less of a lack of further plans and more about how it is shown Malachite is a hypocrite and enjoys several technologies, even though he is supposed to destroy it all.
--> '''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic:''' And what are you going to do when all the technology is destroyed?\\
'''Malachite:''' ...think of something.
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'':
** This is ultimately how the Entity [[spoiler: MissingNo from another universe]] is defeated. Linkara's [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath diatribe]] is especially remarkable. He doesn't just ask The Entity what it plans to do afterwards, he continues to point out the pointlessness of its own existence, its quest, and the rather unimpressive ending to its goal which just keeps reiterating the question. [[spoiler: This gets so bad, it sends The Entity into an existential crisis where is begins babbling to itself incoherently, unable to comprehend its own worthlessness despite being a god.]]
** Seems to be his M.O. for dealing with insane and powerful entities. He used the same tactic to convince [[spoiler: Linksano to give up on trying to take over the world and come work for him instead when he makes the doctor realise that ruling the world will involve 'running' the world as well.]]
** Linkara tries this again with [[spoiler: Dr. Insano]], who is completely unimpressed by the question. He has a wild enough imagination, going from carnal desires to dreams of glory to simple malicious fun. He also rejects the holodeck and its fake people. However, [[spoiler: the speech was in this case a distraction]].
* Meanwhile, in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' stories, Mimeo asked himself this question, realized the answer...and thus came up with his epic evil scheme.
** [[spoiler: Step 1: Fight a bunch of superheroes. Step 2: Use their powers to rob some place. Step 3: Bitches and booze. Repeat as necessary]]
* In Dorkly Bits' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR_Cebd4lSo Robotnik Finally Wins,]] Robotnik finally succeeds in his [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog plan to turn all the creatures of the world into robots,]] but then realizes he never thought about the next step after that.
** Actually he did, he just completely forgot what the reason was. [[spoiler: Until the end.]]
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' Season 10, [[spoiler:Sarge asks this with regard to killing the Director of Project Freelancer. Although the vast majority of problems that plagued the Reds and Blues stemmed from that program, Sarge is unsure what they'd actually gain by running off to go after him. Combined with the fact that Carolina planned to use the Blood Gulchers as more or less cannon fodder, this leads them to decide ScrewThisImOuttaHere]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Uncle Iroh asks this of recurring antagonist Zuko when he discovers Appa in the Earth King's dungeons and intends to kidnap him. While up to this point he had more or less passively allowed Zuko to pursue the Avatar in his quest to "restore his honor", by that point they were wanted criminals of the Fire Nation, and Iroh rightly points out that his actions chasing the Avatar were downright Quixotic. In what suspiciously sounds like a reference to ''Series/BabylonFive'', he ends by asking the questions, "Who are you, and what do you want?" Zuko is forced to recognize the facts, and decides to simply release Appa. The resulting conflict of character resulted in an AngstComa and gave him nightmares.
** In an aversion of AesopAmnesia, the lesson with Appa had stuck with Zuko quite nicely. His uncle complained specifically that kidnapping Appa wouldn't work because they had no place to shelter a flying bison in their apartment. Zuko brings up the same problem when Sokka tries to sneak off with Appa to visit the Boiling Rock by saying high-security prisons in the middle of volcanoes don't have accommodations for flying bison and offers a non-living form of transportation in its place.
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' had the planeteers reason this way with an elephant hunting tribe that their excessive hunting would eventually kill all the elephants, and render them even poorer.
** They tried a similar reasoning with a fishing village that started using dynamite. It turns out the villagers were too concerned about the present to care about the future.
** This was a long-running aesop for the series in general. Aside from when the villains were in it ForTheEvulz, the Planeteers could convince some villains, or average people who were being influenced by the villains (or even, in Captain Pollution's first appearance, a whole mercenary army of enemy mooks) that [[EarWorm looting and polluting was not the way]], because it would just leave the world a lifeless waste, and then what? It actually stuck with two of the villains, Hoggish Greedly and Sly Sludge (both of whom were more profit-motivated and less overall evil), who underwent HeelFaceTurn by the final season.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'', Lex Luthor pulls this on [[PlanetLooters Brainiac]], who intends to absorb and destroy "all of creation". Luthor instead suggests they merge their bodies and personalities together to become a godlike being, then destroy and remake all of creation according to their own design. Brainiac not having much of an ego, this effectively puts Luthor in control.
** He practiced this much earlier in WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries on Metallo, pointing out that Metallo ''could'' kill him but without Luthor's help he'll never be normal again.
** Also when Wonder Woman is fighting Bizarro helping Giganta free Grodd from prison, he says he's doing it to help his new girlfriend free her boyfriend, she then invokes the trope, and Bizarro is all uhh... and pow!
* In one particular episode of the [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Road Runner]], Wile E. Coyote actually manages to catch the bird... only to pause and hold up a sign, explaining that he doesn't know what the devil to do with him: "Okay, wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him - now what do I do?". [[spoiler:Although he is a lot smaller than the bird at that point.]]
** A Seth Macfarlane cartoon answered this question: Wile E. becomes horribly depressed, having no purpose, and attempts suicide (hysterically enough, he does so with an ACME product). Then he finds God and becomes a Jehovah's Witness.
* Spoofed in a commercial for Cartoon Network that had the cast of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' answering various questions. Sylvester is asked what he would do if he actually caught Tweety, and he responds that he'd give him back his wallet that he dropped twenty years ago.
* Occasionally affects ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain''. [[spoiler:The most obvious case was from 'It's Only a Paper World', where the scheme is to empty the Earth. It works, but without any actual ''subjects'', the Brain gets bored.]] Sometimes they need that ResetButton.
* In ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', some of Doofenshmirtz's plans end up this way. He actually tends to call attention to this himself, rather than have somebody ask since he faces off against [[HeroicMime Perry The Platypus.]] In the very first episode, Doof admitted he had no clue to what one could expect to gain by reverting Earth's rotation.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim the Animated Series'', Evil the Cat plans to destroy the universe. One of his hench-rats asks what they're going to do after that.
-->'''Evil the Cat:''' I hadn't really thought about it. Gloat, I suppose. Cackle wickedly amongst the ashes, that sort of thing.
* From ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'':
-->'''Plankton:''' Alright Krabs! Now hand over the secret formula!\\
'''Krabs:''' Or...what?\\
'''Plankton:''' I don't know. I never thought I'd get this far.
* The DaffyDuck cartoon "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" has J.L. invoking this a couple of times late in the short as Daffy starts ad libbing his script.
* In the ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}}'' episode "The Price", Xanatos tries to become immortal. Hudson gives him a variation of this trope. [[MagnificentBastard Xanatos]] actually seems disturbed by this.
--> '''Hudson''': When all your scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?
* ''{{El Tigre}}'' has Manny's mother breaks El Oso with this question when she shows him using circular logic for stealing a diamond. He wants to steal the diamond so he can sell it. To get money to buy things like the diamond so he can sell it...
* An episode of ''{{Freakazoid}}'' had our hero confront a giant snake. He lets out a "Conan yell", leaps at it, grapples with it... then realizes he never had a next step because he didn't know it would actually work. The snake responds by smashing him against the ceiling.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* According to Plutarch, when Pyrrhus (yeah, the one [[PyrrhicVictory the victory]] [[TropeNamer is named after]]) went to war with Rome, his adviser, Cineas, asked him what he will do after Rome. Pyrrhus said he will conquer another territory. The adviser asked "and then"... In short, the final answer of the king was "I'll live a good life and have fun". He had no answer to the next question, which was "can't you do it without all the wars"?
** This is an alternate version of an older anecdote where the characters were Alexander the Great and Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes' response was a somewhat more snarky "Why don't you save yourself a lot of trouble and just do that now?" Given Alexander's personality type, it's likely the answer to the question would be a sound "[[LittleNo no]]." That man could never be happy unless he was conquering someone/thing. Ultimately he had nothing to worry about considering that his lifestyle of constant battle and hedonism killed him ''at 32 years old''.
*** "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer". This quote is almost certainly untrue, given that Alexander must have been well aware that there ''was'' more land outside his empire, but it seems like the sort of thing he would have done if he had actually conquered the entire world.
*** In fact, the original version of the quote was "And Alexander wept, and said, 'So many worlds and I have not even conquered one'."
* The end of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar counts for the United States and NATO. For almost 50+ years, they had been embroiled in unarmed political subterfuge in a game of international chess with the only other superpower in the world. Entire strategies had been cooked up for end-of-the-world contingencies, as well as shelters built just in case. Armies had been completely built around what was considered an inevitable ground-war bigger and nastier than anything seen in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. And then, in possibly one of the largest anticlimaxes in history...the USSR collapsed under its own weight, leaving the USA as the lone superpower in the world. What were we going to do with this massively bloated defense budget now?
* During TheSeventies, this was a party game, like other psychology-inspired games and discussions. One person would talk about what they wanted to do, and the other one would permanently ask "And Then What?", nothing more. One biography of Warren Buffett mentions that he also played this game once (he was the asker), and the nice lady who was his game partner was in tears afterwards. TheSeventies were strange...
* This is a common argument used against investment in environmentally-unfriendly industries. The investors say it will create new jobs and boost the economy, but that only works in the short term. In the long term; if all the forests are leveled for wood and all the fossil fuels are mined, there'll be nothing left to profit from and it will eventually lead to mass redundancies and economic collapse.
** Depending on how much of a CorruptCorporateExecutive they are, they may simply shrug their shoulders and say that's SomebodyElsesProblem. After all, by the time that happens, they'll probably be dead.
* This sort of lack of foresight is a common characteristic of a GeneralFailure as he appears in RealLife.
** It was especially common in WorldWarOne, where most operations had few objectives beyond 'make a breakout and march on Paris/Berlin/Vienna/Moscow/Ankara'. The one time either side made a major breakout on the Western Front (Germany's Operation Michael), the whole thing foundered because while the new tactical doctrines needed for the breakout had been planned meticulously, there were no overall goals as to what to do once the line were broken, and the starving and exhausted German soldiers simply were left free to plunder the (mostly evacuated) French and Belgian villages behind the lines while the Entente forces regrouped. By the time Marshal Ludendorff finally settled on Amiens as the main objective, not only was the city partially in German hands, but the soldiers were too far beyond their supply lines to continue fighting and were being pushed back out.
** The AmericanCivilWar, which was in so many ways a dress rehearsal for WWI, had plenty of mistakes of this sort, perhaps the most tragic being the Battle of the Crater, led by the notoriously incompetent Gen. Ambrose Burnside during the siege of Petersburg. While Burnside had actually had a good idea for once (undermine the enemy lines and attack aroun d the resulting crater), the execution was botched, in part because of ExecutiveMeddling (the trained assault troops were switched out at the last moment for an untried African-American unit, who weren't given time to train for the maneuvers needed to pull the attack off, so most fell into the crater rather than skirting it, becoming target practice for Confederate sharpshooters who were offered a bounty for each black soldier killed), and partly due to lack of supplies (namely scaling ladders for getting people who fell into the crater back out), but mostly because there was no clear objective for what to do if the assault had succeeded.
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