Astral Finale

We need to end this story with a bang. We need to really sell the Grand Finale. We need to use up the rest of our budget. We need something big: bigger than a volcano, bigger than humongous mecha, bigger than a battle royale with all the characters. I know! We'll have everyone go into space! Nothing is bigger than space!

Yes, space trumps almost any other environment, so it's a natural place to give an ending some style. It doesn't have to be deep space, though: the moon will do, since it gives everyone something to stand on and is still pretty spacy, what with no atmosphere. Once everyone's gotten up there, all the space-related tropes apply, though since the action takes up a small portion of the overall runtime, don't expect to see the fruits of a lot of research.

Obviously this doesn't apply in settings that start out in space, or go there fairly early. The transition shouldn't happen any earlier than the third act.

In videogames, this can easily overlap with Amazing Technicolor Battlefield, and possibly with Final Boss, New Dimension. The finale might constitute a High-Altitude Battle.

Not to be confused with Recycled IN SPACE!, though that can happen if the creators are careless. Also not to be confused with an Astral Finish.

Examples:

Advertising
  • Japan's mascot for the Sega Saturn, Segata Sanshiro, went into space in his final commercial. He redirected and rode a missile aimed at Sega's HQ by their competitors, making his voyage into the stars a Heroic Sacrifice. Eventually it was revealed that he's busy on other planets, teaching them about the Sega Saturn.

Anime and Manga
  • Busou Renkin: In order to combat his and Victor's Walking Wasteland powers, Kazuki manages to basically rocket himself and Victor with a particularly strong, rocket-powered thrust. The Dénouement episode has his friends coming to the moon to rescue them.
  • Scrapped Princess: The final battle has Shanon team up with Princess Seness, against the Peacemakers, which begins in the upper atmosphere, but soon escalates into an all-out battle royale in deep space!
  • After a brief battle against the moon, the entire third act of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is set in space, specifically the home pocket universe of the Anti-Spirals. It only gets bigger from there, until the Final Boss is throwing galaxies as shuriken and shooting lasers with the power of the Big Bang.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!'s final episodes are set in space, leading to the Big Bad taking a One-Winged Angel form and the heroines taking up their own combined form of their own.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Madoka herself one-shotting Kriemhild Gretchen to death and rewriting the law of the universe. While the universe is being rewritten, she and Homura have the now-memetic scene of "naked magical space lesbians". Madoka's final form might also be a Shout-Out to Heartcatch Pretty Cure, above.
  • Kannazuki no Miko: The final battle between Orochi Chikane and Himeko takes place in a Shinto shrine on the moon.
  • Senki Zesshō Symphogear: The closing part of the Final Battle has the three heroines going out to outer space to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Naturally for a series heavily based around celestial bodies, Saint Seiya Omega's Grand Finale takes place in space.
  • Kill la Kill has its final battle in low Earth orbit. Fitting, considering the show is something of a successor to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Fanfiction

Literature
  • In the last few paragraphs of The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad / Adolf Hitler (More precisely: Norman Spinrad conceived the novel as something written by an Alternate Universe Hitler who emigrated to the US and became a SF author), a spaceship leaves Earth — permanently polluted by radiation — to start the colonization of the cosmos.

Live-Action TV
  • The final episode of Family Matters has Urkel going up to a space station.
  • Saul of the Molemen ended with everyone going into space.

Music
  • Styx, "Come Sail Away"
    I thought that they were angels; much to my surprise
    We climbed aboard their starship, we headed to the skies

Pinball
  • The final Adventure mode in Junk Yard has the player riding his flying jalopy into space to combat Crazy Bob with fireworks.

Tabletop
  • Magic The Gathering: The third and final set of the Theros block, Journey Into Nyx, is set mostly in the titular sub-plane, hanging in the upper atmosphere of the greater plane of Theros. Matter itself is fundamentally magical there, and the Gods call it home. Elspeth and Ajani make the journey to kill the Mad God Xenagos.

Video Games
  • Cruisin' the World has a final/bonus stage on the moon.
  • Both De Blob games do this: In the first, ComradeBlack is fleeing the planet with his store of stolen color, but Blob manages to get on the ship at the last minute and wreak havoc. In the second, Black flees to his orbital Hypno-Ray and absorbs all the color from the planet at once, but Blob manages to commandeer a rocket and catch up.
  • The last region of Destroy All Humans! 2 is a Russian Moon base.
  • Excite Truck and Excite Bots both have Nebula, a bizarre spacy realm, as their final track.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Cecil's journey to the moon fulfills a prophecy. There he learns about the identity of the Big Bad and himself, and enters the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • The Legend of Dragoon ends on the setting's resident Weird Moon, specifically on the inside, which is a strange dimension that apes various environments previously visited on the surface.
  • In LittleBigPlanet 2, The Negativatron is fought in the outer reaches of the Cosmos. His final battle is infront of a Space arcade game.
  • Rainbow Road, the final track in every Mario Kart, is in space or at least the upper atmosphere. In Mario Kart Wii your character even caught fire and burned up during re-entry if they fell off the track. In terms of the Retro GP tracks in later installments, however, Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii avert it by using GCN Yoshi Circuit and N64 Bowser's Castle, but Mario Kart 7 and 8 finally play it straight with SNES Rainbow Road and N64 Rainbow Road respectively.
  • Most of the Mega Man (Classic) Game Boy series have their final levels take place in space (the fifth game does not count due to half the boss roster residing in space levels, and the only game to completely avert the space setting is the third one). As for the main games, Mega Man 10 saves its very last stage for this trope, right after the usual four stages of a traditional endgame castle.
  • Done to great effect in the classic Infocom Text Adventure game A Mind Forever Voyaging; the epilogue has the protagonist and his family enter a rocket as part of the first space colonization efforts.
  • Portal 2 ends with the player using portals to go to the moon; Chell is rescued before the portal closes, but the villain is stranded in space.
  • Played with in Saints Row: The Third if you go to rescue your friends in the final story mission. The mission after that is "Gangsters in Space" where you fight Killbane on Mars. You're actually filming a movie.
  • In the last level of Super Scribblenauts, Maxwell's Evil Twin Llewxam steals the Starite in a UFO, then absconds to space; Maxwell must follow in the vehicle of his choice, shooting Starites at his twin until the latter crashes to earth.
  • This is quite common for Sonic the Hedgehog games. Examples include, but unlimited to, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic Adventure 2.
  • The last area in Soul Blazer is the World of Evil, which resembles space with a ground and walls made of some transparent matter. The room just before the Big Bad's shrine is even called "Dazzling Space"!
  • In the classic arcade game Time Pilot the final level is in space in the future. If/when you beat the Boss you go back to the first level again, only it's harder this time.
  • The first Video Game/XCOM game mostly involves fending off alien attacks on Earth. However, the grand finale is humanity's first manned mission to Mars, armed with alien technology and the biggest guns X-COM has to offer.
  • In City of Heroes, the final battle of the "Who Will Die" story arc takes place on an island the villain has levitated into Earth orbit.
  • Illusion of Gaia: The hero Will ascends to the surface of the rapidly-approaching Chaos Comet for the final confrontation.
  • The final battle with Vlitra in Asura's Wrath ends with this. The True Final boss fight with Chakravartin in Part IV: Nirvana takes this further, with Asura becoming bigger then any other planet sized character in the game, only to fight against Chakravartin's practically Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann sized fortress in space, leading to an awesome final battle that needs to be seen to be believed.
  • In Glider PRO, it's common for the last star in a house to be somewhere up in space.
  • Xenoblade has the party just plain walking(!) right out into space, going past planets from our solar system, on their way to confront the final boss.
  • The Wonderful 101 takes this premise and absolutely blows the roof off with it, with the final battle against Jergingha taking place just over Earth.
  • The final boss battle in the original Sin and Punishment has Saki go One-Winged Angel and growing about as tall as the country of Japan is large, in order to fight against a false planet Earth.
  • The hidden track of the first Wipeout is set on Mars. The bonus track in Wipeout Fusion is set on an alien planet. In Pure it's levitating in the upper atmosphere.
  • The various final stages of the Aero Fighters series take place off Earth; the first two games take place in the Earth's orbit, while one of the third game's final stages is set on Mars. This is despite the player ships not being suited for flight outside of the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Blast Corps has an entire set of stages set away from Earth as the finale, taking you to the Earth's moon and several other planets in the Solar System, including planets that in-game are solid planets yet are gas giants in real life.
  • Viewtiful Joe and Viewtiful Joe 2 have a final stage in space. Since they take place in Movieland, they are beyond over the top and awesome because of that. The first game's finale, "Joe & Sylvia", is a Star Wars homage, culminating in a battle with space mecha atop the Earth, and you punch out the Moon at Mach Speed to make yourself go red hot with a flaming Battle Aura! Followed up by a duel with the Final Boss outside of his mecha in a one-on-one brawl. In a space station with lowered gravity, no less.
    • The second game's finale, "Starship Viewties", takes place on Cimmerian Planet Gedow, paying tribute to Alien with robots that look like the titular creature and then going wild with the difficulty curve with everything from a cyborg dino tank to a giant cyborg robo Buddha statue. But all that is topped when Serial Escalation kicks since the last game and the obligatory mecha battle, thanks to starship-class Combining Mecha, rises to the scale of the whole solar system. And now you get to punch out the Earth to cast your battle aura while fighting giant, blazing space dragons! However, the actual final battle takes place on Earth. And it is genuinely brutal. However, it boasts a joyously awesome final battle theme.
  • Snake Rattle N Roll has the final level on the moon, for no discernable reason. With an appropriate change in gravity, which doesn't exactly make it easier, since it's a Boss Battle.
  • Inverted in Super Mario Galaxy. While most of the game is set in space, the final galaxy, appropriately called "Grand Finale Galaxy", takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, not featuring the crazy-shaped Baby Planets and Unrealistic Black Holes, which are otherwise common.
  • LEGO Marvel Superheroes has the third-to- and second-to-last levels take place on Asteroid M in deep space, including one part in the penultimate level where you fly through the vacuum unprotected to reach another area, but the final level itself is a High-Altitude Battle on the deck of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier.
  • The last level of Classic Mode in the Super Smash Bros. series is always a battle against Master Hand (and occasionally Crazy Hand) on Final Destination, a flat platform in a background that was basic black in earlier instalments (and even Melee even had a digital feel to it), but in Brawl and 4 had become a deep space setting as stars and galaxies drift by the battlefield in the background.
    • This was also the case in Adventure Mode on Melee.
  • A number of Kirby games end in this way, such as Super Star /Fun Pak and Kirby Squeak Squad. Some of the ones that don't incorporate Final Boss, New Dimension instead, since the franchise generally makes good use of its deep space setting.
  • The final battle in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 takes place in space with the Earth in the background slowly decaying as Galactus starts to devour it.