'''Basic Trope''': A BigBad is sealed away, rather than being killed outright.
* '''Straight''': The EvilOverlord seeks to unleash his master, sealed beneath the earth 10,000 years ago.
* '''Exaggerated''':
** The UltimateEvil is sealed inside the planet itself, and freeing him ''alone'' will entail an EarthShatteringKaboom. [[OmnicidalManiac Which the people trying to free him are all too happy to provide]].
** There are [[NumberOfTheBeast 666]] [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racist]], [[OmnicidalManiac violent]], [[AxCrazy unstable]] and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking extremley flatulent]] beings who have been imprisoned for eons. Once they are freed, each of them is shown to be a WalkingWasteland who joyfully [[ColdBloodedTorture torture]], [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rape]], and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking steal the lunch money]] of every single unfortunate soul that was unlucky enough to cross their path.
* '''Downplayed''': A {{Jerkass}} or a minor criminal is imprisoned for an uncertain amount of time as punishment for his crimes.
* '''Justified''':
** Killing the UltimateEvil was beyond the ability of the ancients (he's just too powerful).
** The imprisonment was intended to be a temporary measure, but the Precursors were wiped out before they came back with a more permanent solution.
** The Ancients thought the UltimateEvil was defeated for once and for all, but in fact it was merely dormant, waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc once again.
** Killing the UltimateEvil ''was'' possible, but it turns out that he is [[StayingAlive resurrectively immortal]] and that AsLongAsThereIsEvil, he will always come back, so sealing him was the only way to keep him from wreaking havoc upon the world.
** It was punishment for the actions of the evil in question, who even while imprisoned could not understand it. He assumed they were just keeping him away because they were jealous, rather than he doing something wrong. They didn't kill him because he still had a chance to HeelFaceTurn.
** The Precursors were incapable of killing the UltimateEvil, but were certain that their descendants would, so they kept it sealed away until their technology was advanced enough that their people could easily deal with the evil being.
* '''Inverted''':
** SealedGoodInACan.
** Our world is sealed in a can to be protected from the UltimateEvil infesting the universe.
** Rather than make a can, the UltimateEvil is sent onto exile, and a fence is built to keep it ''out''.
* '''Subverted''':
** The UltimateEvil refuses to come out; he likes it better in his can.
** Alternately, the centuries trapped in a can haven't been kind to the UltimateEvil, and he's not the world destroying badass he once was.
** The BigBad releases the UltimateEvil, and the UltimateEvil disagrees with the idea that he owes the BigBad a favor now.
** The UltimateEvil has mellowed out in the centuries its been imprisoned and has performed a HeelFaceTurn.
** The SortingAlgorithmOfEvil has kicked in while the UltimateEvil was sealed, and he no longer measures up to today's standards for power or amibition. [[FishOutOfTemporalWater Time has left him behind, to the point where he's almost a tragic figure now]].
** They sealed away the valley Crucia was supposed to be only for their descendants to find out she was never in the can in the first place but was infact inside the part of the temple ''above'' the unmeltable ice "can".
** The resident BigBad opens the can... and finds nothing but a corpse. As it turns out, being sealed away without food, water, oxygen, or whatever the UltimateEvil needs to function, results in it dying in captivity.
** The "can" is opened, and it turns out to be empty. The can itself was meant as a means of luring out bad guys with world-conquering/destroying ambitions, and so doesn't actually have anything ''in'' it.
* '''Double Subverted''':
** The UltimateEvil refuses to come out; he likes it better in his can. The current BigBad forces him out as part of her plan to rule the world; the UltimateEvil decides to destroy all of existence in revenge for having his nap interrupted.
** The UltimateEvil isn't as powerful as he used to be because the years of imprisonment have weakened him. Once he regains his strength, he's ready to wreak vengeance on the world for his years of being trapped.
** The UltimateEvil disagrees that he owes the BigBad a favor, but he has an agenda of his own and is still a threat to the world.
** The UltimateEvil was only pretending to have gone through a HeelFaceTurn to lull everyone into a false sense of security.
** Time has marched on while the UltimateEvil has been sealed in his can... And upon emerging, he finds new opportunities ''everywhere''. [[EvilEvolves New talents to learn, new domains to master, new tools at his disposal...]] And with things like airplanes and the internet, he can be ''all over the world'' whenever he wants! It's all there. Just waiting for him to reach out and wrap a gauntlet around it.
** Crucia won't move a muscle since doing so would destroy the part of her fortress revealing she wasn't sealed thus her fortress now practically functions as a can itself!
** The BigBad reanimates the corpse and uses ''that'' as his world-conquering tool.
** A new villain emerges and needs to be disposed of, stat. Fortunately, there's a convenient empty can to put him in, so when all is said and done, there ''is'' an evil sealed away in it.
* '''Parodied''':
** The can the UltimateEvil is sealed in is a Campbell's Soup can, label and all.
** The Ancients accidentally imprison an innocent being and die off before they can free him. After [[AndIMustScream centuries of imprisonment]], the being goes insane and vows to go on a rampage of destruction once he gets out of his prison.
** The UltimateEvil is released from its can... [[RipVanTinkle and immediately asks where the nearest bathroom is.]]
* '''Zig Zagged''': The UltimateEvil is unsealed, but it turns out it was a perfectly innocent being driven mad by its imprisonment; a CooldownHug mixed with some EpiphanyTherapy is all it takes to stop its RoaringRampageOfRevenge. Then it turns out that it was sealed because it had [[TheOmnipotent omnipotence]] but no concept of right and wrong; now that it's been cured of its insanity, it's back to [[RealityWarper warping reality]] [[ForTheEvulz for kicks and giggles]]. Someone takes advantage of its childish nature, though, and manages to distract and seemingly tame it by teaching it to play a game. Then it starts rewriting reality into a colossal version of said game...
* '''Averted''': The UltimateEvil was, in fact, destroyed for good by [[{{Precursors}} the Ancients]].
* '''Enforced''': "We need to explain why the villain hasn't attempted to avenge himself on the kingdom before, so we had to have him escape from a magical prison built specifically for him."
* '''Lampshaded''': "And, like a hundred other things, [[NeglectfulPrecursors the Ancients]] leave us a really huge problem they could've fixed the first time around."
* '''Invoked''':
** The UltimateEvil made sure he couldn't be destroyed by [[{{Precursors}} the Ancients]] by sealing ''himself'' in a can, confident that he would be awakened in the future long after his enemies had all died off.
** Alternately: The UltimateEvil succeeds in destroying civilization. Then he seals himself in a can so he doesn't get bored waiting for another civilization to destroy.
** The Ancients deal with an immeasurably powerful villain by sealing him away in hopes that someone will be able to destroy him for good should he escape in the future.
* '''Exploited''': The Ancients dealt with all their enemies by sealing them away; the current BigBad collects sealed evils and releases them. He recruits some of them, and sends the more ambitious or incompetent ones at the heroes to distract them from his real plans.
* '''Defied''':
** [[{{Precursors}} The Ancients]] not only sealed away the UltimateEvil, they also made sure he could never come back, possibly by launching him into the sun.
** The UltimateEvil kills the Precursors before they manage to imprison him.
** The Precursors don't even bother with sealing the UltimateEvil away and instead opt to outright kill him.
* '''Discussed''': "I thought only in bad sci-fi stories would there be Precursors worthy of the name so utterly stupid as to leave their enemies imprisoned, rather than actually eliminate the problem, but these guys really were both that powerful and that stupid. Well, I'm suitably impressed."
* '''Conversed''': "Why do they always 'seal away' these {{Ultimate Evil}}s in these shows? Couldn't they, just once, kill the guy and be done with it?"
* '''Deconstructed''': What's in the can wasn't evil at all, merely an immensely powerful sentient being sealed by [[AbusivePrecursors the Ancients]] for no good reason. [[TheWoobie It went mad in the interim]], and now seeks only [[MercyKill for someone to end its tortured existence]].
* '''Reconstructed''': The being in there had very little empathy. Although it wasn't evil, it still could very easily commit acts of horror without remorse. It was sealed so it would start thinking of others when it had only itself as company. Although it didn't remove the tendencies, it did give it a better chance for a HeelFaceTurn due to the time spent in.
Back to SealedEvilInACan.
%% Optional items, added after Conversed, at your discretion:
%%* '''Implied''': ???
%%* '''Plotted A Good Waste''': ???
%%* '''Played For Laughs''': ???
%%* '''Played For Drama''': ???