Just For Fun: How to Kill a Character
Need to have a character buy the farm? It's easy! Just:
- Put them in red clothes: For throwaway characters and warriors and young girls a fatal choice of fashion.
- Inflict them with Genre Blindness.
- Or with too much Genre Savviness
- Get 'em laid.
- ...preferably by the main character.
- Put them on "point".
- Let them be completely happy for a minute.
- Hire Tim Minear. Or Joss Whedon. Or both.
- Make them do something — anything — noble.
- Make them more interesting than the lead.
- Have a ratings slump.
- Convince the actor to argue with the executive producer.
- Make it very plain that the character can not die.
- Announce that they are retiring from a life of public service in two weeks.
- Let them goof up when they're working for the Big Bad.
- Alternatively, let the Big Bad decide that they have outlived their usefulness.
- Let them have a change of heart and switch sides to fight with the heroes.
- Send them out of doors on a partly cloudy day, especially near sunrise or sunset.
- Let them show a picture of their sweetheart (or their baby) to the rest of The Squad.
- Flash forward to their deathbed, years later.
- Cast a very old or infirm actor, and wait for them to die.
- Give them critical information to deliver to the main characters.
- Offer them some Schmuck Bait.
- Have them chase the heroes across a Rope Bridge.
- Get them a job at a Dangerous Workplace with No OSHA Compliance.
- Let the hero come and visit their boss.
- Assign them to operate the Explosive Instrumentation.
- Protect them with lots of safety equipment.
- Introduce them to the Bolivian army.
- Throw a sixteenth birthday party for them.
- Cue up a Really Dead Montage.
- Relocate them to Tokyo...
- ... or to a town where nothing exciting ever happens.
- Have them go out of their way to be mean to everyone.
- Cast them as the villain in a Disney film.
- Give them that secret potion, the one that turns you into a monster. Because What Measure Is a Non-Human?, really?
- Let them fall below the Bishonen Line.
- Enlist them in the armed forces in a monster/disaster movie.
- Draw them a bath, and to make sure it's fatal, make it candlelit).
- Send them down a river.
- Make them the Sacrificial Lamb used to establish a unique reputation for your show.
- Chase them into the street without giving them time to Look Both Ways.
- Have another character curse their existence.
- Write when you're having a bad day.
- Hire Ron Marz. (Though this is hit-or-miss. You might just end up with the hero's girlfriend stuffed in a refrigerator.)
- Have them uncover the Masquerade or discover the hero's Secret Identity when the plot doesn't make it convenient for them to do so.
- Make them a main character's double from an Alternate Universe.
- Cast them as the main character's pilot or chauffer.
- Make them a mentor who is more powerful than the hero.
- Have them visit the hero's hometown after the hero refuses the Call.
- Become a writer for the franchise, and write that character's death.
- Become an executive for that franchise, and order that character killed off.
- Make them reveal their homosexuality.
- Sign them up for the sequel.
- Assign them the job of mentoring a hero.
- Put them "in the way" of your One True Pairing.
- Stop selling their toy.
- Hire Yoshiyuki Tomino.
- Send them to a place that gets snow.
- Hit them with everything from every direction.
- Hire R.A. Salvatore. With Troy Denning and Karen Traviss on backing vocals.
- Have them say "I'll be right back." Might not kill them, but it will make a liar out of them at least.
- Have someone say words to the effect of "We couldn't do without him."
- Have them be the hero's best friend.
- Or even better, a love interest.
- Make them be a Mook. Especially one without a name or wearing a mask.
- Write them as such a Mary Sue that the audience demands they be killed off as a pointless annoyance.
- Have them kidnap someone's kids.
- Have them betray the hero. They won't survive that, right?
- Get them pregnant. (Sometimes works even if it's a man.)
- Trip them.
- Have them decline to participate in the Big Bad's evil scheme when he offers them the chance. Alternatively, choosing to play along can be fatal too.
- Let someone hold them in their arms.
- Make them a pure girl. Especially an ill one.
- Destroy their hometown with a nuclear bomb.
- Make them a Crazy Survivalist.
- Cast them in an anti-war film.
- Show how unbeatably badass they are, then have the new guy come in...
- Have them delay a conversation with somebody until later.
...but really, Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?