"Her name is... Veronica Crabtree, bus driver for the elementary school. She was considered an ancillary character, one the fans wouldn't miss much."
This trope involves the cold realization that Shared Universes
enjoy events, but not necessarily changing the status quo
. Whenever a purported big shake-up occurs, you can bet it's your so-called "C-list" characters and below who will be brought out of the woodwork. Alternatively, if a given series is becoming less popular, given that they are less prominent, have less appeal, or aren't as easy to write for, these characters can be prime candidates for getting the axe
, via the single-character subtype of The Firefly Effect
. The Heart
is a frequent victim of this.
An optimist will say this is because "minor" characters (and the authors writing for them) are allowed leeway to change more than big shots, and if they're lucky they can become newly popular due to this.
A cynic will say the main use of bringing in C-listers is so you can kill them off, creating a sense of "change" without really affecting the universe in any way, ruining the attempt to make an Anyone Can Die
and Tonight Someone Dies
atmosphere when the only real deaths are these characters. Same with a Sacrificial Lamb
This is a double-edged sword. It certainly can be shocking and emotional to fans of the character, but remember... the main people who recognize
these characters are the same people who will be most angry if you kill them off, whereas those who do not recognize them will not care. Thus, you toy with the emotions of those who are likely to be your most dedicated fans.
Since newer characters tend to be more C-list than older characters, and also tend to include more females and minorities, this may lead to Women in Refrigerators
and Bury Your Gays
. (Although, on the other hand, outright Red Shirts
tend to be straight men
.) Another disturbing tendency in the comic book industry is to use teenage
super-team characters as this. It works dramatically because of the impact of a child (or young adult) dying, but is over-used to the point where the Teen Titans
actually hang a lampshade on this frequently. Similar young teams, the New Mutants
and Legion of Super-Heroes
, also fall victim to this with regularity.
But it can be a winner-winner deal if you manage to create a character that seriously sucks
. This way, you clean the universe from a bad character and the readers rejoice while you create the fear atmosphere. Marvel Comics has a specialty on this: see Civil War
or Maximum Carnage
And anyway, it's not as though the character is being used anyway. Being brought Back for the Dead
is better than not being brought back at all
When the character has the shortest, smallest, most stereotypical background possible (especially ended by a He's Dead, Jim
to show he's really dead), we're probably dealing with a Red Shirt
instead. If one of these "major" characters were created so they can be killed then it might be a Mauve Shirt
Often leads to cases of Forgotten Fallen Friend
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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- DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis each killed off minor characters by the dozen, often bringing them back later through Cosmic Retcon.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths: Supergirl and Barry Allen were the main A-Lister deaths, as well as B-Listers Clayface, Mirror Master and Dove. However, C-List casualties included Angle Man, Psimon, Nighthawk, Sunburst, The Ten-Eyed Man, Prince Ra-Man, Kole, The Bug-Eyed Bandit, Icicle, and, most ironically, Immortal Man.
- Infinite Crisis: The whole thing was kicked off by the deaths of certified B-Listers Maxwell Lord and Blue Beetle. C-List casualties included Rocket Red, Monocle, Black Condor, Baron Blitzkrieg, Star Sapphire, Wildebeest, Pantha, Air-Wave, Ratcatcher, Geist, Doctor Polaris, Human Bomb, Chemo, Peacemaker, Breach, Judomaster, Technocrat, and Phantom Lady. And those are only a few in comparison. This was supposed to be averted by offing Nightwing, a certified A-lister (especially for a former sidekick), but instead Superboy was killed, and he can be considered low A-list or high B-list.
- When James Robinson wanted to kill off an ex-Justice League Europe member in Starman #38, his editor suggested he kill off more, since they weren't using them at the time. Robinson did so, taking a whole issue to depict The Mist's slaughter, eventually having a part of Jack Knight's Shut Up, Hannibal! being mocking her for taking on innocent, easy targets. The Justice League also has a pretty storied history of C-listers who ended up being brutally killed off, ranging from Vibe and Agent Liberty to Triumph and Black Condor.
- DC's Mini Series "Death of the New Gods" did exactly what it said on the label, killing off the entire suite of these well-known-yet-rarely-high-selling characters. While their original creator had Kill 'em All as part of their original planned arc, it was wildly different than the story we got here.
- DC's 52 event killed off the cult-favorite, yet clearly C-list, The Question. He was resurrected briefly during the Blackest Night event, but didn't permanently return until the New 52 reboot. His mantle was taken by yet another fan favorite, Canon Immigrant Renee Montoya.
- Preparatory to kicking off the dramatic Mordru arc, DC's post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes comic introduced a set of minor characters — specifically new Legionnaire Magno, Workforce recruits Radion and Blast-Off, and Uncanny Amazers member Atom'x — in order to brutalize them to lend impact to the climactic battle at the end of the arc, which saw Blast-Off and Atom'x killed, Radion disfigured, and Magno permanently depowered.
- The Legion of Three Worlds limited series quickly killed off several lesser-known Legionnaires—the Threeboot Sun Boy and Element Lad, Kinetix, and the second Karate Kid—and a large handful of minor villains. Minor character Rond "Green Lantern" Vidar, on the other hand, was given an extended send-off and proved instrumental in moving the plot along.
- Thanks to a resurgence of nostalgia and a desire to improve old characters, at least one C-List Fodder massacre, Zero Hour, has been almost entirely undone, with the Hawks and the first Hourman brought back to life. Similarly, other heroes have been shown to survive the Eclipso event of that same time.
- Teen Titans makes so much use of this that at least one person has made the rather morbid observation that the superhero group made of teenagers has one of the highest death-rates of any team in DC Comics. In-story, Beast Boy once lamented that several of the team's recently deceased C-list members were destined to be quickly forgotten after their funerals.
- This isn't even taking into consideration how many of them have children who are either dead (Lian Harper, Robert and Jennifer Long, Cerdian, and Baby Wildebeest) or have been dead (Jai and Iris West).
- The cover to Teen Titans (vol. 3) #74 said it best: "Another Titan Dies". Oddly, it was the most emotionally satisfying Titans death in that decade.
- The spinoff miniseries, Terror Titans, seemed to exist for this purpose. Throughout the course of the series six characters bite it: Molecule, a Z-list Titan during the post-Infinite Crisis year long gap, is cleaved in half by Persuader. Bolt, a minor villain with teleportation powers, is killed by his son. TNTeena and Pristine are new characters created solely to die. Disrupter is one of the main characters and killed at the end of the series after less than a dozen appearances. The most prominent character killed is Fever, one of the main characters from the 2001 Doom Patrol series.
- This trope and its connection to the Teen Titans was pretty much lampshaded during Infinite Crisis when Jason Todd drops in at Titans Tower and confronts Tim Drake. As the two Robins fight, Jason blows up when he realizes that there were statues of Titans who have died and people probably never knew existed, yet he never got a statue of his own, though he was a member for about one mission and, being a Robin, was probably more well known than they ever were.
- Followed closely by The Legion Of Super-Heroes, another group of teenagers. In this case, the sheer number of characters attached to the team may help to explain the higher body count. (Because of the Legion's frequent reboots, though, dead characters frequently turn up alive in the team's next incarnation. To date, the only Legionnaire who was killed off and stayed dead is Monstress.)
- Sometimes, it seems like the bulk of the Green Lantern Corps exists to provide this for the latest Crisis Crossover. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #27 revealed that the average life expectancy for a member is "four years, three months, one day, thirteen hours and seven minutes".
- To set up their new addition to Batman's Rogues Gallery, Hush, in the aptly titled comic "Batman: Hush" as villainous enough, they have him Kick the Dog by killing Harold. Who is Harold? Well, he's a character that's barely ever been mentioned in Batman comics in the last 10 years, a mute and deformed homeless person with a gift for mechanics that Batman took in and hired to work on the Batcave. No, you're not really supposed to know about him.
- In Batman, following the year of 52 where Harvey Dent protected the city, to have a Face-Heel Turn again, they had the Great White Shark frame Harvey for the murders of C-Listers Magpie, the KGBeast, and Orca (to add insult to injury, her corpse was later found partially eaten by Killer Croc). He also took out certified B-Lister (or should it be certi''g''lied ''g''-Lister) The Ventriloquist, so that has to give them some solace. Also, a new version of C-Lister Tally Man appears during the story, and lasts for all of three pages.
- The Knightfall event also indulged in a little house cleaning of minor baddies: Film Freak was killed by Bane, Abattoir was killed by Jean-Paul Valley (thus leaving Abat's hostage to die in a torture chamber), and the two puppets of The Ventriloquist shot each other in what ended up being a form of suicide.
- Interestingly handled in The Sandman: Forgotten minor character Element Girl gets a story about being minor and forgotten, with powers that make it impossible to have a normal life or death.
- Seemingly averted at the start of Blackest Night: the first victims of the Black Lanterns were relatively well-known heroes Tempest, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, with the latter two resurrected by the end of the event. However, C-list former Teen Titans Damage and Hawk are killed, as is Gehenna (Firestorm's girlfriend and partner) and Doctor Polaris (who is killed offscreen). The Justice League of America tie-in issues lampshade this a bit. The resurrected Arthur Light mocks Kimiyo Hoshi by telling her that she'll quickly be forgotten after her death due to her relative obscurity. He then lists several deceased D-listers (such as Triumph and the Blood Pack) who were indeed quickly forgotten about by heroes and fans alike after their deaths.
- Happens twice in DC's Identity Crisis, wherein Elongated Man's wife is killed and raped (in a flashback) and Firestorm explodes after being stabbed through the chest with another C-Lister hero's (Shining Knight) sword by a C-Lister villain (Shadow Thief). The whole series was a C-List-fest! Elongated Man even lampshades it in his narration. Saying that since he and Firehawk are relatively minor characters, the reader cannot be assured they won't be killed.
- In Justice League: Cry for Justice, the villain Prometheus mentions having killed off several members of the little-known Global Guardians team in passing with a brief flashback. One member, Tasmanian Devil, was eventually revived by a friend in the one-shot Starman & Congorilla special.
- Most of the heroes created during the 90's Bloodlines event ended up quickly falling into obscurity, only to be brought out of limbo in order to be used as cannon fodder in events such as Infinite Crisis and Faces of Evil. The high mortality rate of the Bloodlines heroes was referenced in-universe several times, with the Flash chalking this up to a general lack of competence on their part. In addition, certain writers (Jamal Igle being most vocal) have gone on record stating that these characters' deaths were due to the fact that they (the writers) personally didn't like them and found them to be one of the worst parts of '90s DC canon.
- Similarly, Roulette (who runs the House, where kidnapped metahumans fight for their lives on the wagers of supervillains) has a wall of pictures depicting all the heroes who fell under her supervision. These include Maximan, Impala (of the Global Guardians, even), and the third Firebrand. Yeah, who?
- Sort of the point of Suicide Squad. They would send C-list super powered scumbags on dangerous missions because they are expendable.
- The Atom (Ryan Choi) was killed to show how dangerous Deathstroke's new Titans team was, which occurred during the same month that the company was launching a new one-shot and co-feature starring Ryan's predecessor. After some controversy regarding killing off one of the company's few Asian heroes to push his white originator, DC decided to retcon Ryan's death.
- The Ur example of this one for comic books has to be Doom Patrol. At least two entire incarnations of the team were destroyed. The only survivor of any of these teams has been Cliff "Robotman" Steele, and he often wonders if it wouldn't have been better to join them.
Other Comic Book series
- In All Fall Down, this happens to any number of characters killed in their first appearance, mainly the first chapter.
- In Invincible, the original Guardians of the Globe were killed off in their introductory issue. All of them, except the Immortal (two guesses as to what his powers are), have remained dead since. Kirkman hasn't been afraid to permanently kill off well-known characters, though, and dead means dead with him. After a new Guardians team was formed, the first member to die was Shrinking Ray, by far the one with the least screentime and characterization. Capes, another Kirkman book, featured several deaths during its run — most of them minor background employees who are lucky to be given names afterwards.
- The whole reason Star Wars: Purge series exists is to have Darth Vader finish off minor Jedi who aren't supposed to survive until the time of the Original Trilogy.
- Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers consists of a team made up primarily of C-listers (did you know who Ironfist was before this comic? How about Rotorstorm?) with a few A-list names like Springer and Perceptor, facing off a Decepticon team, also consisting of C-listers (The names Stalker or Snare ring any bells?). However, in spite of their C-list rating, the characters presented are actually given an amazing amount of characterization and personality, and the deaths among the Wreckers are always heartbreaking.
- This is actually a recurring trend of the Wreckers as a whole across the various publishers, and their Decepticon counterparts, the Mayhem Attack Squad; when they appear, they often consist mostly of little-known C-listers with one or two A-listers in their ranks (most notably Springer for the Wreckers and Bludgeon for the Mayhems), and many, many of their stories involve numerous members of both teams dying in gruesome ways.
- Transformers Punishment story arc also uses this, mostly debuting a bunch of G1 characters into the comics to have them be victims of a serial killer, including a few minicons and headmasters (including autobot headmasters) reimagined into villains. Among them are a few recurring players in the IDW comics like Skram and Gutcruncher.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has done away with many characters, most of them C-Listers who were created outside of Sega. Most of them were echidnas or connected in some way to Knuckles. Admittedly, these characters were those created by Ken Penders and were vastly hated by others, including former co-writer Karl Bollers and current head writer Ian Flynn. While most were simply exterminated cold-bloodedly (in fact, most of the echidnas disappeared suddenly without a trace, again making Knuckles the Last of His Kind), at least Tommy Turtle was given an honorable death. Infected by the evil AI A.D.A.M. in a last-ditch effort to restore the latter's powers, he flew in front of Dr. Eggman's Egg Fleet, and got blasted to dust by a new laser weapon, killing himself and A.D.A.M. in the process. He ended up with several posthumous honors.
- The Mutanimals from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures were all comprised of C-List Fodder who were either original creations or characters connected to the old Playmates toyline. The only characters that were higher ranked in status was Leatherhead and Slash. The entire cast, save Slash, was killed because their creator, Ryan Brown didn't want his characters playing "second fiddle" to the Turtles.
- The whole point of the fanfiction series "Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams" and "Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light" is to focus the spotlight on underrated C-list characters and mess with the traditional A/B/C-list pecking order of the Marvel Universe. Mainstays like Captain America and Spider-Man do show up, but they are typically guest stars. Heroes like Iron Man, The Mighty Thor, The Avengers and Doctor Strange don't even live in New York, with New York's hero population instead being rounded out by the likes of Moon Knight and Darkhawk. An excellent subversion of this trope occurs when Bullseye goes up against 8-Ball. The former is a long-standing Psycho for Hire who made the list of Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers during Dark Reign. The other is a supposedly C-list supervillain who only appeared in the Sleepwalker comics and was summarily killed off afterwards in Heroes For Hire. Guess who wins?
- DC Nation lampshades the Teen Titans example above big time, and inverted it. Arsenal gets angry enough challenge Hades for Donna Troy and convinces the other Titans to go in on it by arguing to the effect "The Justice League die and come back. Titans die and stay dead. Why are we putting up with it when we can have a chance of fighting back?!" As an indirect result, the Nation-verse Titans have thrown a few more challenges and are now the largest hero team in the storyline. This bit in the ass when Nationverse launched their take on Blackest Night.
- It's not just the Titans. Nation is notorious for making use of obscure, underwritten, and c-list characters. The Dibnys, for example, are major players. The Doom Patrol is getting re-launched, the Metal Men and the JSA are starting to get more plots... Conversely, it's been very difficult to get a JLA plot done.
- In the 1987 Masters of the Universe film, Suarod was killed because the producer wanted one of Skeletor's generals to be killed off in the film, and they wanted to make sure it was one who did not appear in the cartoon.
- Wild Cards has had a lot of these—contributing authors were encouraged to come up with "Red Shirt Aces" for the second and third books, just to show that the villains meant business. Then again, Anyone Can Die in that setting.
- In the New Jedi Order, guess how many movie characters named on screen of any level of importance die. Two. And one of them is from old age.
- In The Vampire Chronicles: Queen of the Damned, once unleashed, Akasha kills off most of the vampire race except, conveniently, for every single major character in the series, and plots to exterminate all men on earth.
- Every time the Warrior Cats series needs some more angst, a minor character gets killed. This doubles as thinning of the herd, since there are Loads and Loads of Characters. In Twilight, the Tonight Someone Dies book, there's a supposedly "devastating" attack on Thunder Clan which results in them needing plenty of help from the other clans in the next book... but then you realize that only three cats died. And two of them were minor characters. The other ends up getting reincarnated, anyway.
Live Action TV
- Game Shows that have celebrity players sometimes are accused of using these, especially when A- and B-list celebrities are unavailable or don't wish to do a specific show.
- Whats My Line: Gil Fates, executive producer of the iconic panel game show that aired from 1950-1975, wrote in his 1978 retrospective of the series that some "mystery guests" during the syndicated years were rather obscure to most viewers. These included second-tier Broadway performers, local New York-New Jersey personalities, and lesser-known soap opera actors/actresses of shows produced in New Yorknote . This, he reasoned, was because of having to stretch to find mystery guests for a five-day-a-week program (or, 195 per television season) once the better-known stars had their turn, whereas it was much simpler to find just one prominent star a week for the original CBS series (or, just 35 or so during a September-through-May season) … and it led to many panelists and viewers scratching their heads, wondering, "Who is that person?"
- In the early days of Smallville, they used the Body of the Week more, but slowly more C-list fodder is killed off. Not counting one-episode characters, or we'll be here all day.
- Season one: Lewis & Laura Lang (appeared in flashbacks), Principal Kwan.
- Season two: Roger Nixon, Steven Hamilton, Ryan James, Tina Greer, Dr. Walden.
- Season three: Morgan Edge, Ian Randall, Pete Dinsmore, Frank Loder.
- Season four: Alicia Baker, Bridgette Crosby, Genevieve and Jason Teaque.
- Season five: Sheriff Nancy Adams.
- Season six: Raya, Dr. Langston.
- Season seven: Sasha Woodman, Agent Carter, clone Lara and Zor-El, Patricia Swann, Gina, Edward Teague.
- Season eight: Regan Matthews, Linda Lake. While this season has the highest body count thanks to Doomsday being around, tons of it are one-episode appearances or even unnamed.
- Season nine: Alia (twice, It Makes Sense in Context), clone Jor-El, Basqat, Doctor Fate, Faora, Zod may have killed more of the C-List Checkmate agents offscreen.
- Season ten: Hawkman, Earth-2 Lionel Luthor.
- In the new Battlestar Galactica, with the exception of Kara Thrace and Laura Roslin, every character who died was either a C- or B-list character, or has turned out to be a Cylon. Or both, in the case of named Cylons who have died since the Resurrection Hub went up. (This changed in the finale.)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer eventually ended up with the same cast that they started the series with, and a few extras. The only major deaths in the Grand Finale were Spike (who got better on Angel) and Anya who, while popular, never played a role desperately needed on the show. Imagine the outrage from fans if Xander or Willow died in the Grand Finale. Also, throughout Season 7, the group of potentials often seemed to take the role of "people who get killed so as to show the situation is serious." In the commentary track to the final episode Joss Whedon tacitly acknowledges this trope, saying that he couldn't kill off any of the major four (Buffy, Giles, Willow or Xander) or it wouldn't seem like a victorious ending. It also bears mention that Whedon had to kill someone important and Emma Caulfield said explicitly at the beginning of the season that she would not renew her contract, whether Buffy continued or not. So, as Whedon said, she was the logical choice.
- Stargate SG-1, rather unsurprisingly, had a tendency to pop off secondary characters every so often, between the inevitable Red Shirts. Most obvious with Dr. Frasier, the medical officer who spent 78 episodes on the show, and 1 as a corpse standing in for O'Neill (who the writers tried to fake out as being the actual casualty). Later, she made one more appearance as an Parallel Universe version.
- You can figure out which seasons they thought they were being canceled on, due to how many C-Listers get killed. The only C-Lister to escape this was Ensemble Dark Horse Bratac, who was mentioned as dead once. Turns out it was a lie to break Teal'c spirit. A few times he has been dragged off to his doom, left for dead, poisoned, stabbed, shot, and all sorts of lethal thrown at him. They didn't take.
- Supernatural is infamous for this. Any character who isn't not Sam, Dean or Castiel will die permanently while those three will keep coming back to life. Many recurring characters, villains and heroes alike, get killed simply to either cause angst or show how badass the boys are just as they are getting character development or interesting story lines (a cause of frustration to fans due to the sheer amount of EnsembleDarkhorses that suffer this fate).
- A good example are the Harvelles. Originally intended as support, Love Interest and Distaff Counterparts to the Winchesters, they were quickly hated by the fanbase for various reasons. Writers wrote them out but brought them back with Jo Taking A Level In Badass and becoming much more mature and grown up, making her much more of a hit with fans. Unfortunately, this potential was wasted as they were blown up in the mid season episode in an utterly useless sacrifice solely to cause angst and show how deadly that season's Big Bad was.
- Heroes was originally intended to have a new group of heroes each season. Due to the popularity of the characters, this didn't happen. So later seasons have a tendency to bring in lots of new characters only to kill them off or drop their story line. For some examples Daphne dies, Elle dies, Usutu is killed almost immediately, Maya loses her abilities, West is introduced and then quickly forgotten, Alejandro is around for only a few episodes before he dies, Bob dies, Candace dies, Monica's plot is dropped, and we could really go on forever here. There was even Bridgette, who seemed like she had potential, only to be eaten by Sylar seconds later. Sue Landers? Never stood a chance.
- The Walking Dead has done this a handful of times. The first was during the attack on the group's camp in episode four, where, although three named characters end up dead, there are over a dozen (many unnamed) extras that are also killed and only seemed to be there to increase the attack's body count. Even later, the attack on Herschel's farm in the season 2 finale only claims the lives of two characters, Jimmy and Patricia, both of whom are effectively worthless to the entire story.
- Stephan Pastis kills off minor characters regularly in Pearls Before Swine - then frequently brings them back with no explanation or the cheap explanation that they "un-died." Examples include the killer whale that lived next door to the seals, Chucky the Non-Anthropomorphic Sheep and Leonard, aka "Tattuli the Self-Esteem Building Bear" (Leonard has yet to be brought back). The crocodiles have clearly been promoted to A-list, and they keep dying also. Of course, there are quite a few of them and they're pretty much interchangeable, so the net effect of killing one off for a cheap joke is nil anyway.
- Several wrestlers in the WWE, no matter how talented they are, are unfortunately relegated to competing on WWE Superstars or WWE NXT. Examples include Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Alex Riley, JTG, and Michael McGillicutty as well as several Divas. In fact, being demoted to the undercard is sometimes considered as a punishment. Triple H became the fall guy for the "Curtain Call" incident and was stuck jobbing in opening matches before they finally pushed him again (in fact, rumor has it that he was supposed to win the King of the Ring tournament around this time - a tournament which was then won by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). A similar case happened with Alex Riley, who was in line for a push, but then an incident with John Cena got him demoted to jobber. Riley now appears on WWE Superstars and WWE NXT as an announcer.
- Same goes for several wrestlers from TNA and Ring of Honor.
- A similar if not exact term in wrestling is known as the "jobber to the stars." While jobbers are usually completely unknown local talent brought up solely to get squashed, a jobber to the stars is a more high-profile contracted wrestler who is in the mid-card and seen as more of a threat, who are brought up solely to get squashed. Ryback's winning streak originally started against complete unknowns, but he slowly moved up to lower- and mid-card C-List Fodder such as Curt Hawkins, Johnny Curtis, and Darren Young. Historically, this has happened to former main event wrestlers who are now toward the end of their careers, and are jobbing on the way out, often as a way to put over younger stars. Examples include Dominic DeNucci, Tony Garea, "The Unpredictable" Johnny Rodz, "Baron" Mikel Siccluna, Rene Goulet and others. Yet, one-time stars may be one of the headliners of a C-Show card and may even be given a title match against a current champion.
- A promotion will sometimes run a house show with C-List wrestlers in smaller (or new) markets, often as a test ground and/or to give the lower-tier wrestlers work; these will sometimes take place the same night that the promotion is running two (or more) shows, including the A Show, in other towns. While a B Show wrestler or two will often be on the card (frequently as part of the main event, or to help anchor the card and guide the younger/local talent), and a secondary championship will frequently be defended (usually against wrestlers who would never be given the opportunity at an A-Show), these shows also are put on to allow promoters to evaluate new and potential talent. Often, matches against local wrestlers will also be on the card, with the promotion's main wrestlers being the headliners. As such, being on a C-Show isn't always a bad thing.
- For an inanimate example, the Spanish Announcers Table. Guaranteed to be destroyed at least once in any given show.
- ''Destroy The Godmodder": Almost every single entity summoned throughout the series is this. Very few of them are actually plot-relevant.
- Game Masters frequently do this with RPGs. You want to shock your characters out of apathy? Kill a named NPC that the party knows and may even sort of like. But if things go as they normally do, only half of your party will even remember the NPC, making them firmly C-List. Further, if the party starts developing resources, such as subordinate NPCs, you can get their attention by killing off some of those resources… again assuming that the party even remembers them aside from a bullet point on an inventory sheet. This can be subverted if the DM decides to kill off a prominent setting-specific NPC that is often criticized as a Mary Sue of some sort. When a supposedly A-list character like Elminster is killed off, you know that the villain means business.
- In the massive Halloween invasion of Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, not one protagonist or important side character was killed. The only deaths were some mooks, a couple unimportant members of Whateley Security, and Erik Mahren's girlfriend.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars introduces General Grievous — and establishes him as a threat — by having him defeat a team of seven Jedi: Daakman Barrek, K'Kruhk, Tarr Seirr, Sha'a Gi, Shaak Ti, Aayla Secura, and Ki-Adi-Mundi (all but the last three are killed). Who? Exactly.
- Shaak Ti, however, went on to play a major role in Season 2.
- Other material establishes that K'Kruhk lived, and in fact is still alive in Star Wars: Legacy, nearly 160 years after this attack. Thanks to his hat. No, seriously. Since then K'Kruhk's ability to re-appear unarmed after a supposed "death" has become something of a Running Gag.
- Also, Sha'a Gi doesn't even qualify as a C-lister as much as he's a Shout-Out to a character as far removed from Star Wars as you could imagine.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars prefers to use simple redshirts and mauveshirts over this trope in most situations but they managed to kill off one of their better known clone trooper protagonists and one Jedi who survived the Clone Wars in the EU. In "Grievous' Intrigue" however this was averted. Eeth Koth was brought back after an artwork stated him as one of the dead Jedi from Attack of the Clones and originally died in the script but this idea was scrapped in favour of him being too interesting to be simply killed off.
- Most of the new Green Lanterns created exclusively for Green Lantern: The Animated Series have a habit of ending up dead by the end of the episode they debuted in.
- Family Guy: almost nothing changes over 100+ episodes, except Cleveland and Loretta (supporting character and minor character, respectively) separate, Mr. Weed chokes to death, Paddy Tanniger the caddy manager is run over by a tank, and the vaudeville guys (joke characters) are killed by Stewie (though they do show up in the afterlife). Also all the victims in the hour-long special "And Then There Were Fewer" count, though as there was a bunch of other C-Listers hanging around, this actually served to make it more suspenseful: you really didn't know which minor characters would be dead by the end of the episode. Of all the characters who died in the murder mystery episode, two of them were introduced in that episode (Priscilla and Stephanie), another one only appeared in one episode, and wasn't too popular nor interesting (Derek Wilcox) and another one was an extra (Muriel Goldman). Although they did try to make her into a recurring character by making her to hang out with Lois and Bonnie during season 6, without any success). The only important death was Dianne Simmons. Muriel's death was actually lampshaded in "The Simpsons Guy". During the fight between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson, Homer attempts a Pre-Mortem One-Liner by saying "Say hello to Maude Flanders!" Peter pulls a No, You by saying "No, you say hello to Muriel Goldman!", prompting Homer to reply "Who?"
- American Dad! used this in episode that opens with a promise to kill 100 characters during the course of the story. Several A-Listers are teased as possibilities throughout the episode (including a few Tempting Fate moments). Ultimately though, the death toll comes when a literal busload of C-Listers all go off a cliff together. The next episode opens with their mass funeral as a Continuity Nod, then quickly forgets about them to focus on the earlier episode's change to the status quo involving Haley and Jeff instead.
- The Simpsons: one of the most Status Quo Is God series ever. Bleedin' Gums Murphy, Mrs. Glick and Maude Flanders died, as did Marvin Monroe (and he got better). Frank Grimes died in the episode he was introduced. Dr. Nick apparently died in the movie, but got better. Mona Simpson (Homer's mother) did die but the number of episodes she had a major role in can be counted on one hand. The same can be said for the victim of the Tonight Someone Dies episode of Season 26, Rabbi Krustofsky. And numerous other characters have died, but only in non-canon Treehouse of Horror episodes.
- Justice League and Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Professor Milo, a minor Batman villain. Normally, being part of Batman's rogue gallery grants you Joker Immunity, but not for Professor Milo, who has the dubious distinction of having been Killed Off for Real not once, but twice in truly gruesome deaths in two different animated series:
- Other examples from Justice League Unlimited:
- A massive Enemy Civil War breaks out in the penultimate episode "Alive!" and while there are a few major deaths, most of the casualties are villains who've had few-to-no lines in the series: people like Monocle, Neutron, Merlyn, Major Disaster, Lady Lunar, Fastball, Goldface, Hellgrammite, Electrocutioner, Doctor Cyber, Crowbar, Bloodsport, Angle Man… The more relevant villains in the list include Silver Banshee, the Shade, Copperhead, and Parasite. Although the last one got better in time for Batman Beyond, he was still a relatively prominent bad guy in Superman: The Animated Series.
- The Wreckers in Transformers Prime seem to be heading towards this. One of the toys created for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, a prequel to the show, is a Palette Swap of Bruticus that's made out of several Wreckers including Impactor and Roadbuster. The only time those two are mentioned in the show is in a rant from Wheeljack about the Great War killing almost all of the Wreckers. Though the Wreckers have low life expectancy in pretty much every continuity, so this is to be expected.