->'''Creator/AlfredHitchcock:''' Just think of the shock value, killing off your leading lady halfway through. I mean, you are intrigued, are you not, my dear? Come on, admit it. Admit it.\\
'''Alma Reville:''' Actually, I think it's a huge mistake. You shouldn't wait 'til halfway through. Kill her off after 30 minutes.
-->-- ''Film/{{Hitchcock}}''

So, you're cast in a brand new series, and there's something about your character that just screams, "Hey, major character here." It could be that you're a name performer, or the character plays a central role, or is just plain interesting. So why do you get guest star billing? Well, either your [[FakeGuestStar contract requires it]], or the powers that be are out to [[KilledOffForReal kill you]], if not in the premiere, then by the second episode. Or it could just be that they don't have enough to pay your name performer salary for more than a few appearances.

Basically, a subversion of ContractualImmortality. This trope is occasionally used to effect (or ''[[MauveShirt affect]]'') AnyoneCanDie. In pilot episodes, it's also an early indicator of SacrificialLamb. It tends to be less surprising in television because it's generally assumed that Creator/MelGibson isn't going to be sticking around your family sitcom forever.

A warning to budding directors: this trope can be ''slightly'' undermined by casting a ChronicallyKilledActor, however A-List they may be... unless careful.

See also BillingDisplacement, DeathByCameo and at times DecoyProtagonist. Nothing to do with StarDerailingRole but could have this effect. Nor is it to be confused with a star ''actually'' [[FatalMethodActing dying during filming]]. Also has nothing to do with [[Franchise/StarWars the Death Star]].

'''As a DeathTrope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''


* [[DeadStarWalking/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Prof. Heinz Schneider in ''Anime/ElCazadorDeLaBruja''. And he is voiced by [[NamesToKnowInAnime Shinichiro Miki]], to boot.
* Kisaragi is one of the first named characters to appear in ''Manga/ElfenLied'' and gets a proper introduction. Name bar? Check. [[CuteClumsyGirl Clumsy but cute?]] Check. Works for another main character? Yeppers. Determined to overcome her shyness and make people proud of her one day? Double check. Twenty pages/five minutes later she has her head ripped off, the pens from her pocket repurposed as deadly projectiles, and her corpse used as a [[BulletproofHumanShield meat shield]] that gets shredded to pieces in a hail of bullets, only to be dumped in a corridor once everyone else is dead. [[AnyoneCanDie This immediately sets the tone]] for the next 106 chapters.
%%* Happens in ''Manga/{{Gantz}}'' a lot.
* In ''Anime/GaReiZero'' the squad in the promotional posters and trailers, supposed to be the main characters of the series, after kicking some ass are surprisingly slaughtered at the end of first episode. The true main characters first appear in episode 2.
* Extreme example: ''Anime/GenesisClimberMospeada'' leaves just one survivor in episode 1, bumping off everyone else.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' and ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'':
** Singer Takanori Nishikawa aka "TM Revolution" voices two short-lived characters. In SEED, Miguel is a Face Enemy who actually survives his first battle with the protagonist. However, he is promptly killed in the very next battle. This was telegraphed by the fact that he wasn't in the OP, though. However, in the sequel, its more played like a running gag, despite the depth of the character.
** According to urban legend, Music/NamiTamaki (who sang the last two opening themes of ''SEED'' and the first of ''Destiny'') was offered a similar character, but turned down the offer. That character, Shiho Hannenfuss (ultimately voiced by Creator/MakikoOhmoto, but only in the videogames since she was TheVoiceless in the anime itself), became ''very'' popular, with many suggesting that Tamaki's passing on the role saved Shiho from suffering the same fate as TMR's characters.
** There's also a rumor that Nishikawa would've prefer to play a bigger role (especially in ''Destiny'', where his character Heine Westenfluss became quite popular s well), but couldn't spare much time from his ''very'' tight touring and recording schedule, so he had to stick to this trope.
* Amuria in ''Anime/{{Simoun}}''.
* ''Anime/StrainStrategicArmoredInfantry'' kills the lead character's two love interests, best friends, enemy, most of the cast of the first episode... in the best example of DeadStarWalking, the series actually kills off Creator/RieTanaka's character ''twice''.
* Seki Ray Shiroe from ''Manga/TowardTheTerra'', played by Creator/MarinaInoue; it seems as though he might even become the protagonist's protege, and failing that, he begins to cultivate a relationship with the antihero as well - however, he is heartlessly (and, in the manga and original movie, a bit abruptly) snuffed out. (Savvy fans may predict this trope when they observe that [[CrossDressingVoices Inoue]] is the only voice actor credited for Shiroe, indicating that [[LateArrivalSpoiler he's not going to live long enough for his voice to change.]])
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'', Creator/MasakazuMorita's character gets his face blown off [[GoryDiscretionShot during the closing]] of [[SacrificialLamb the very episode he first shows up in]]. Except [[spoiler:said character is Claire Stanfield, who not only survives but becomes a major player in the plot.]]
* Oh, look, an obvious love interest! Aw, look how that [[NiceGuy cute Chinese exchange student]] keeps [[MeetCute rescuing her]] from all the evil people with superpowers chasing her! Wait a minute... did he just knock her out after getting information out of her? And... hold on, we saw that BadassLongcoat at the beginning of the last episode... Wait, she wasn't even the real person? And did she just jump in front of him so she dies from a [[BeatStillMyHeart rather nasty attack]] instead? Congratulations, you have just finished [[FirstEpisodeSpoiler the second episode]] of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack''.
* Kamina in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' is set as TheProtagonist and is voiced by Creator/KatsuyukiKonishi, whose popularity soared with this role. Except that he was killed very, ''very'' early and '''very''' dramatically less than 10 episodes into the story.
* Mami Tomoe in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is a senior MagicalGirl voiced by the fairly popular Creator/KaoriMizuhashi and becomes the CoolBigSis to the protagonist. But three episodes later, she falls victim to a CruelAndUnusualDeath.
* Not a death, per se, but the Hashiratani Deer in ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' are hyped up as one of the best, most experienced team in the league, especially their leader Onihei. Before the Devil Bats can play them, they get a crushing defeat at the hands of the Kyoshin Poseidons.
* Creator/MinamiTakayama voices one of the four main leads of ''Series/SenkiZesshouSymphogear''. Or voiced, since her character got killed in the middle of the first episode.
** But the character still appears in various flashback scenes. So it could be a subversion.
* Creator/MamoruMiyano voices Rei's boyfriend Hisashi in ''Manga/HighSchoolOfTheDead'' and gets turned into one of [[NotUsingTheZWord them]] and later killed at the end of the first episode.
* Creator/JunFukuyama voices Suguru Aizawa in ''Manga/AreaNoKishi''. The soccer star is pronounced dead by the third episode. [[PosthumousCharacter He still continues to play a significant role in the plot, though.]]
* Manga/{{Barrage}} is named after a character who only lasts 5 pages in the first chapter before he's unceremoniously killed.
* Eren Jaeger in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' subverts this. He's eaten by a Titan fairly early on, but survives by turning into one and smashing his way out.
* Hampnie Hambart in ''LightNovel/SundayWithoutGod''. He dies at the end of the first arc after his wish for a happy death comes true.
* In ''Anime/CrossAnge'', the characters of Music/MegumiHayashibara (Empress Sophia), Creator/KoichiYamadera (Emperor Jurai), Creator/MichikoNeya (Zola), and Creator/MinoriChihara (Miranda) all die within the first three episodes.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the Creator/MarvelComics series ''Comicbook/{{Exiles}}'', Magnus was one of the six characters gathered in the first issue as a team of dimension-hoppers who must SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong. He was also clearly the most powerful of the six. In the second issue he dies, and it eventually became clear this was an inherent gimmick of the series to allow logical cast changes.
* In the first issue of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's run on the Marvel comic book ''ComicBook/XForce'', a new X-Force team is introduced with most of the focus put on the sympathetic team leader. Almost all of the team gets brutally killed off in the same issue, including aforementioned leader. This effects AnyOneCanDie for the remainder of the book's run and its follow-up ''X-Statix''.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Epic}}'': Despite the promotional art and being voiced by Music/{{Beyonce}}, you thought her character, Queen Tara, would stay alive throughout the whole movie except that she dies and gives the MacGuffin to the female lead, which drove the main plot. This also goes the same with Dagda, son of the BigBad, who also got promotional art but gets killed earlier in the movie.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Creator/TheBBC has done this so often in its genre series in the 2000s that it's become predictable.
** The first example, genuinely surprising and gruesome: Lisa Faulkner on ''Series/{{Spooks}}'' was being set up as a major performer on the show, playing a Spooks employee moving from a desk job to field work. She got deep fried in the 2nd episode. Literally. Her head was shoved into a deep fryer. It worked for surprise on this show because of the lack of any kind of credits. It also established early on that any character could be killed at any time which made the program much more suspenseful. The spin-off ''Series/SpooksCode9'' also killed off the apparent team leader at the end of the first episode.
** Creator/FreemaAgyeman was heavily involved in the promotion of the remake of ''Series/{{Survivors}}''. She dies halfway through the first episode. To add to the impact, the character she played was, in the original, the only one to survive for the entire show.
*** The 1970s original did this as well, casting the well-known Peter Bowles as husband to Abby (played by relative unknown Carolyn Seymour) who stays healthy while she collapses with the plague. However, towards the end of the first episode, ''she'' is the one who wakes up, to find his dead body, after he succumbs off-screen. With no actors listed in the opening titles and some very careful scripting, it was probably a big shock to viewers at the time. This was repeated in the remake, with Abby's husband played by Shaun Dingwall, Rose's dad Pete from ''Series/DoctorWho''. Paul's death near the start of the second season is also a good one - half the Season 1 cast had just been written out after a big format change and the show seemed settled on a new direction, only to promptly kill off another first series star within a couple of episodes.
** In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', Suzie Costello, played by Indira Varma, is the second-in-command of Torchwood Three... for most of episode one. Then she explains how she can't live without the job but is going to get fired when they find out she's been killing people for Resurrection Gauntlet test subjects and [[DrivenToSuicide puts a bullet in her skull]]. She comes back, though, and is revealed to have had a goddamn amazing GambitRoulette going ''which planned for her death and resurrection as a crucial stage'', in the episode "They Keep Killing Suzie". She was also featured heavily in the promotional material. ''Torchwood'' is an odd example in that its leading man and star gets killed several times a season. He [[ResurrectiveImmortality doesn't stay dead]] for long, though.
*** In ''Series/TorchwoodMiracleDay'', we get Dr. Juarez, who is killed off (as much as someone can die in ''Miracle Day'', anyway) the very episode where she joins the Torchwood team.
** Creator/JamieBamber's character Mitchell Hoban in ''Series/{{Outcasts}}''. All of the promotional material assures the viewer that Mitchell, why he's acting so irrationally, his Expeditionary Forces, and his conflict with President Tate are going to be vital parts of the show. Then, in the pilot, he commits SuicideByCop via Fleur after beating his wife into a coma.
*** Creator/JamieBamber ''epitomizes'' this. Hoban is just one of ''many'' of his characters to be killed off--as of 2015, the count stands at ''ten''. The first--[[Series/TheScarletPimpernel Tony Dewhurst]]--kicked off this trend by dying in the first episode of the series, just like Hoban did [[note]] Adding insult to injury, Dewhurst ''[[DeathByAdaptation lived]]'' through the series of books the MiniSeries is based on. [[/note]]. Two others ([[Series/HoratioHornblower Archie Kennedy]] and [[Series/LawAndOrderUK Matt Devlin]]) perished in an eerily similar fashion (BloodFromTheMouth, HeroicSacrifice), and still another two (on ''Series/ColdCase'' and ''Series/GhostWhisperer'') bit the dust even faster than either Hoban or Dewhurst--they were onscreen throughout the entire episode, but had actually been killed off [[PosthumousCharacter within the first few minutes of the show]]. Another--[[WebVideo/StarTrekContinues Mr. Simone]]--seems to have been killed off just to lampshade this trend, to the point of outright making him a RedShirt, his film roles aren't exempt from this either, as he dies at the end of ''Ghost Rig'' and ''John Doe: Vigilante'', and the most recent one, [[Series/TheMessengers Vincent Plowman]], was all but guaranteed, given that he was one of the villains.
** ''Series/DoctorWho'' ended up doing this in the Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned". Because let's face it, Music/KylieMinogue probably wasn't going to become a full-time companion.
* Tom Skeritt was the father in ''Brothers and Sisters''. Although the father died in the pilot, he has appeared in flashbacks since.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Creator/JossWhedon wanted to do this for Eric Balfour as Jesse in the first episode, but was [[ExecutiveMeddling denied permission by the network.]] He ultimately got his wish in Season 6, when after thirty-nine appearances as a guest star Amber Benson was finally promoted to the show's full credits - just in time for her character Tara to be shot dead.
* Elias Koteas's character in ''Conviction'' appeared to be major, but when he was billed as a guest star in the first episode, it made it pretty obvious he was getting killed.
* NaiveNewcomer Holly hardly got to have any time to get to know her ''Series/{{CSI}}'' buddies before getting offed.
* ''Almost'' happened on ''Series/{{Lost}}''. The original plan was to have a reasonably well known movie actor, such as Michael Keaton, be cast as Jack. All the promotions, released information, cast photos, and interviews would indicate that Keaton (or whoever was cast as Jack) was a permanent part of the show and would be the main character throughout. Then, halfway through the pilot episode, he'd be killed by the monster, thus putting everyone on notice that ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was a show where AnyoneCanDie and where crazy stuff happens all the time. Kate (possibly played by Yunjin Kim) would then become the leader and the show's hero. The network [[ExecutiveVeto vetoed]] the plan, believing the audience would feel manipulated and resentful. As a result, Matthew Fox was cast as Jack and the character of the pilot (played by Greg Grunberg) was created to die in Jack's place.
* The ''Series/GeneralHospital'' spinoff ''Night Shift'' had Pat Crawford Brown as a tapestry-sewing patient for the first 3 episodes, before having a SerialKiller [[http://serialdrama.typepad.com/serial_drama/2007/07/nigh-shift-epis.html#more off her via IV]]. Granted, Brown has rarely ever had a regular role on any TV show, but still...
* Creator/JohnGoodman portrays the main character of ''Now and Again'' for about thirty seconds of the first episode before he's hit by a train and has his brain placed in an artificially engineered body, thus setting up the rest of the series.
* Jon Seda's character on ''Series/{{Oz}}'', Dino Ortolani, was set up as the (or at least a) main character, only to be burned to death at the end of the 1st episode.
* Parodied on ''Series/PoliceSquad'': in each episode's TitleMontage, a different celebrity SpecialGuest is killed off ''as they are being introduced''.
* Detective Terry Crowley in ''Series/TheShield'' seems to be set up as one of the main characters of the series in the pilot episode when he's assigned to the Strike Team as a mole with the intention of exposing their corrupt activities, and gets more than his fair share of screen time in the process... until the final minute of the episode, where Vic Mackey and Shane Vendrell kill him and frame an also-deceased drug dealer as the killer. Crowley's death isn't brushed aside, though, as it haunts the Strike Team for the rest of the series and the character himself appears in flashback episodes.
** To help keep Crowley's death as a surprise to the viewers, his actor was listed as a regular in the pilot episode's opening credits.
* An unusual variation: in the fourth season of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' (Trek itself having numerous examples played straight), Jennifer Lien, cast regular for the first three seasons, is billed as a "special guest star." Her character [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence violently evolved into an energy being and abruptly left the show]] in the second episode of that season, once her SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute was settled.
** She does come back for one episode, intent on revenge against the ''Voyager'' crew and Janeway in particular. She uses her powers, boosted by the ''Voyager'''s warp core, to travel back in time in order to destroy the ship before her past self begins to "evolve".
* Like ''Series/{{Spooks}}'', FX Network's ''Series/{{Thief}}'' had a 6-episode first season. Like ''Series/{{Spooks}}'', it bumped off a name performer by the 2nd episode: Linda "''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' 1 and 2" Hamilton as the handler. Unlike ''Series/{{Spooks}}'', Hamilton was just the latest in a rather misogynistic streak. Including the handler, there were three surprising deaths in the first two eps -- all women. Unlike ''Series/{{Spooks}}'', ''Thief'' was not renewed beyond its initial 6 ep run.
* In ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', Creator/RobertPatrick plays Colonel Sumner in the pilot. He's supposed to be the head of the military unit attached to the Atlantis team, and naturally is killed off before the end of the second episode.
** Fans expected the same trick to be pulled in the premiere of ''Series/StargateUniverse'' with Lou Diamond Phillips, who didn't seem to have an appropriately large role for a name-actor. However, his character lived, and the one who actually died in the pilot was that guy who played [[JerkJock Shooter McGavin]] in ''Film/HappyGilmore''. Phillips's character does die in a later episode... only for [[ReplacementGoldfish another version]] of him to show up.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' TV Movie actually brought back Creator/SylvesterMcCoy as the Seventh Doctor, just so he could be killed off to regenerate into Creator/PaulMcGann's Eighth Doctor.
** Music/KylieMinogue showing up as a guest star in the 2007 Christmas special "[[Recap/DoctorWho2007CSVoyageOfTheDamned Voyage of the Damned]]". The Doctor wanted to bring her character Astrid along as a companion, but naturally she was killed off at the end of the episode.
** Possibly the all time weirdest version of this: Creator/JennaLouiseColeman, already announced as a forthcoming companion, appeared in the episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E1AsylumOfTheDaleks Asylum of the Daleks]]" as a character called Oswin, and died at the end. Then she turned up a few episodes later, as another character called Clara, and died again. The following episode introduced the "proper" version of the character. This was a major plot point for the season. Believe it or not, [[ItMakesSenseInContext it actually does make sense in context]].
* Creator/WilliamHurt gets top billing as Duke Leto Atreides in SciFi Channel's ''Series/{{Dune}}'' miniseries, despite his character getting killed at the end of part one (of three).
* About 20 or so characters introduced in volume three of ''Series/{{Heroes}}''.
** In Season 4, the writers decided to bring back Charlie, a popular character from Season 1. Unfortunately, that same year Jayma Mays was cast in the new show ''Series/{{Glee}}'', so we knew her relationship with Hiro wasn't going to work. Had Hiro not forgotten about her for 3 years, he could have saved her.
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', Doyle was killed off after nine episodes, and if it weren't for his visions Angel wouldn't have such an easy time finding (and killing) the baddies.
* Ingo Fischer, one of the two top-billed stars in ''Series/AlarmFuerCobra11'' died in the second episode.
* For the first few seasons of ''Series/LostInSpace'', Doctor Smith (Jonathan Harris) got billed as a special guest star in the title credits. WordOfGod has it that he was supposed to escape the ship (or die) early on, but that never came about.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Fans have caught on to several tells from the way HBO markets the show and other announcements. More often than not, the most publicized actor prior to each season ends up being killed off:
*** HBO gleefully marketed Creator/SeanBean as the [[DecoyProtagonist "main character"]] of the first season. He gets his head gets chopped off in the penultimate episode. [[ChronicallyKilledActor Bean]] was pretty famous for getting killed off in anything he was a star of (or co-star, or extra... okay [=ANYthing=] he was acting in) up to this point. So if it was a shock to anyone it shouldn't have been.
*** Prior to the fourth season, Jack Gleeson (Joffrey) was put front and center in the show's publicity campaign, giving the most interviews and featuring heavily in the trailers and commercials, only for his character to be poisoned in the second episode.
*** Prior to the sixth season, Natalie Dormer (Margaery) was put front and center in the marketing, giving far more interviews about the show than any of her co-stars, to the point of it being referred to as a "one woman publicity tour", while Finn Jones, who played her brother, Loras, had recently been announced as the lead of Netflix's ''Iron First'', indicating that his future filming schedule wouldn't have much time for ''Game of Thrones''. Their characters were incinerated in the season finale.
** Creator/JasonMomoa of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' fame, who didn't merit being in the opening credits in the first season despite playing a major character, gets killed off in the season finale.
** Played very straight with Creator/IanMcShane in the sixth season. [=McShane=] had stated his character would make a "one-shot" appearance, which, given the nature of the show, meant he would probably be dead by the end of his episode.
** HBO also announced that Rickon Stark would return in season six after being absent for two seasons, still being played by Creator/ArtParkinson. As the show had a habit of [[SoapOperaRapidAgingSyndrome recasting children with older actors]] after a prolonged absence, fans guessed this meant Rickon wouldn't have much of a presence in the future of the show. He gets shot through the heart by Ramsay Bolton in the penultimate episode without having a single line of dialogue in the entire season.
* Callum Keith Rennie as Don Morgan in ''Series/{{Alphas}}'': the team's original government liaison, who is present in the pilot episode, PutOnABus for the second, and then violently killed off in the third.
* Though he wasn't a big star at the time, it's amusing to see Jimmy Smits playing Don Johnson's partner only to get blown up within the first few minutes of the pilot episode of ''Series/MiamiVice.''
* Creator/DerekJacobi is one of the more prominent names among the cast of ''Series/TheBorgias''... and he gets fatally poisoned in the very first episode.
* Jacobi also makes a memorable guest appearance as Professor Yana (a.k.a. The Master) in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E11Utopia "Utopia"]]. However, he is killed (and then regenerates into John Simm) before the episode ends.
* ''Series/ElleryQueen'': The most recognizable name in an episode's cast would often be the person playing the victim. A prominent example is George Burns in "The Adventure of Veronica's Veils".
* Benton Fraser's father (played by Gordon Pinsent) dies at the beginning of the pilot episode of ''Series/DueSouth'', although he continues to appear as a ghost for the rest of the series.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/SleepyHollow'' has three recognizable actors: Creator/ClancyBrown, Orlando Jones and Creator/JohnCho. Two of them are dead by the end of the episode (one in the first five minutes). Subverted in that both of them reappear in the second episode: one shows up in a flashback and as a ghost and the other is resurrected by the BigBad who killed him.
* Byung Hee was being set up as the main character in ''Series/ShutUpFlowerBoyBand''. He was suddenly killed at the end of the second episode. The remainder of the show is about his best friend and his band coping with the loss.
* ''Series/The100'' was going to do this with Jasper. They set him up as a main character and had him speared in the chest at the end of the pilot- before deciding that they liked him too much and saving him.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'':
** Season 2 starts with some big names added to the cast, including Creator/LucyLawless as an ActionGirl ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent now loyal to Coulson... who lasts exactly one episode, after ''months'' of promos billing her as a major character.
** More understatedly, B.J. Britt took [[spoiler:Grant Ward's]] place on Coulson's team in the latter third of the first season, and was in promo shots for the second season, standing with the team and appearing to have been promoted to regular, which would have made sense. He's still billed as a guest star, though. Why? [[spoiler: Because he dies in the mid-season finale.]]
** Midway through the second season, Creator/EdwardJamesOlmos joins the cast as a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. official named Robert Gonzalez. Gonzalez actually does stick around for a few episodes, before being betrayed and murdered by Jiaying so that she can start a war with the humans.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'' was originally intended to be this, with everyone except the main character being top-billing stars, only to have them killed off in the first episode and left with "[[Creator/CraigCharles Craig who?]]". While this wasn't quite the effect during the original airing, after a decade this is somewhat applicable as many of the crew went on to have parts in works such as ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' and ''Series/{{Eastenders}}''!
* Promos for the sixth season finale of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' teased that one of the main cast would be [[TonightSomeoneDies killed off]]. It was pretty obvious it would be Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), as months earlier she announced she would be joining the cast of ''Series/{{Becker}}'', which was debuting later in the year.
* ''Series/StarTrekDiscovery'' managed the casting coup of getting Hong Kong action icon Creator/MichelleYeoh to play the ship's captain. Given Yeoh's level of fame, it was perhaps less surprising than intended when her character was killed off in the first episode. It also didn't help that the show's marketing had effectively spoiled this, gleefully stating it would star an African-American female commanding officer, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, though when the cast of the pilot was announced Martin-Green was listed as the first officer.
* The ''Series/{{Scream}}'' TV series. Much like how [[Franchise/{{Scream}} the films]] employed this trope (see above), the series does the same with Creator/BellaThorne's character, killing her off in the pilot episode and [[DrivingQuestion having her death drive the plot]].
* In the first episode of the FX anthology series ''Franchise/{{Fargo}}'', Kieran Culkin is accidentally run over by Creator/KirstenDunst. He dies a little later in her garage.
* The ''[[Series/ScreamQueens2015 Scream Queens]]'' TV series. Whilst being advertised as a series regular, Music/ArianaGrande's character was killed off at the end of the pilot episode before we even knew her (real) name. Strangely, this is an unintentional example of the trope, as she ''was'' supposed to have a recurring role, but scheduling issues involving her singing career necessitated rewriting her part.
* Christopher Meloni joined ''Series/TrueBlood'' in the second episode of the fifth season. He was added to the opening credits, only to be killed in the sixth episode.
* On ''Series/TheWalkingDead'', [[http://ew.com/tv/2017/01/25/walking-dead-sonequa-martin-green-star-trek-discovery-sasha/ Entertainment Weekly]] noted "there is a long, sad history of Walking Dead actors being killed off soon after news gets out about them accepting a different acting role."
** The sixth season ended with a big cliffhanger where one of the main characters, unknown to the viewers, [[TonightSomeoneDies had his or her head smashed in with a baseball bat]], and the identity of said character would not be revealed until the seventh season a few months later. AMC went to great lengths to prevent spoilers from leaking to the point of filming ''every'' character being killed so even the crew wouldn't know, even though the scene in question had appeared years earlier in the comics with Glenn as the victim. It was Hollywood trade publications that unintentionally spoiled Glenn's fate, as Steven Yeun had [[http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Walking-Dead-Steven-Yeun-Just-Lined-Up-Another-Movie-Role-126747.html been announced]] to star in two films that would conflict with ''The Walking Dead'''s filming schedule, so even fans that hadn't read the comics could figure he wasn't working on the show anymore. [[spoiler:The victim was revealed after a six month wait to be Abraham, only for Glenn to die minutes later as punishment for Daryl's outburst. Thus making both Yeun and Michael Cudlitz an example of this trope.]]
* The first season of ''Series/WaywardPines'' did this twice. Of the big name cast members, [[spoiler:Creator/JulietteLewis's character dies at the end of the second episode, and Terrence Howard's in the third.]]
* Creator/PeterCook appeared in the first episode of ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' as Richard III. As in the play and real life, he gets decapitated in battle, though he ghost haunts Edmund.
* Creator/FalkHentschel was heavily featured as a main cast member in the promos for ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'' as ComicBook/{{Hawkman}}, playing a major role in the crossover between ''Series/TheFlash2014'' and ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' the year before. He's killed by the end of the two-part pilot.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[Creator/StephenMerchant Wheatley]] from ''VideoGame/Portal2'' is crushed by [=GLaDOS=] after accidentally waking her up at the end of Chapter 1. Subverted as he makes an UnexplainedRecovery and ends up being a very vital character throughout the rest of the game.
* ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho'': The squad leader, Devin Ross, is suddenly killed off at the end of the first time period. However, while his body may be dead, his spirit escapes into the body of one of his squadmates, and he is then able to jump into the consciousness of each of them.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', Creator/PatrickStewart voices the Emperor Uriel Septim VII, who is assassinated by the end of the first tutorial mission. On the other hand it's heavily {{Foreshadow|ing}}ed, as he starts talking about his impending death in the actual opening credits sequence and continues right up until it happens.
* In ''VideoGame/LandsOfLore'', Creator/PatrickStewart portrays the voice of the king, who gets frozen after you manage to complete the first quest he gives you. His unfreezing becomes the player character's goal, which you manage to do just before it is time for the final battle against the villain.
* Even in video games, Creator/LiamNeeson can't avoid this trope. In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' he plays the dad of the main character, only to disappear as soon as the tutorial missions are over. When the player finally manages to track him down and he seems to become an active part of the story again, he dies right in front of your eyes. To keep Project Purity out of Enclave hands, he floods the chamber he's in with intense radiation so he can take his enemies with him. Unfortunately ''TheDragon'' Colonel Autumn manages to survive regardless.
* The character Mia Fey is killed off in the second chapter of the first ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' game. Never mind the fact that her little sister is a channeler, making one wonder why they even bothered to have her killed.
** While the game was being developed, the producers felt that Phoenix had too many partner/support characters. Thus they combined two of them into one by having Mia die and be channeled by Maya. By the time games 2 and 3 roll around, channeling's gone from a simple way to talk to Mia to an actual plot device anyway.
** There's also a variation with Kristoph Gavin in ''Apollo Justice'', who appears on the box, is set up to be the mentor of the game, and turns out to [[spoiler: be the murderer in the first case.]]
*** He still ended up being a major character of a sort, though [[spoiler: (and the culprit in the game's final case).]]
* Near the start of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoChinatownWars'' you meet Ling, an ActionGirl who is featured prominently on the game's box art and is quite clearly set up to be the main character's love interest. Then she gets killed in the second mission, and the rest of the game features no more female characters - yep, not only is the main character pretty much a ButtMonkey for the rest of the Triads, the very game itself cockblocks him!
* Eve in ''VideoGame/DeadToRights'' gets offed immediately after your EscortMission with her.
* Phillipe Loren in ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' who was billed as the BigBad in all the advertisments only to be killed off in the first act of the game.
** Johnny Gat also qualifies in the third. However, ''VideoGame/SaintsRow4'' retcons it by being kidnapped by aliens during his ''death scene'' instead
* In ''Videogame/FinalFantasyXII'' we have the practically omnipresent Creator/YuriLowenthal voice the tutorial character, Reks. He doesn't last long.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Variation: In ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'', the character called Josh Goodman was built up in version three's pregame to be an unstoppable force, taking over the school within his first day there by blackmailing the principal and raping her, causing her to commit suicide, and later nearly cripples a star football player. He was killed off in one of the main game's first posts, electrocuted in a pool of blood. The student who killed him became one of the top killers on the island.
* WebVideo/ThatSciFiGuy appears at the beginning of ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'' as one of the team members analyzing a mysterious signal coming from Jupiter. However, he is KilledOffForReal before the end of Part One when the enemy's WaveMotionGun vaporizes his house. [[TheStinger Or is he?.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ooh, popular character Cliffjumper is featured in his own ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' commercial! And he's played by Wrestling/DwayneJohnson as well! And he's been upgraded from a Bumblebee clone into an awesome horned muscle car! He puts up a good fight against a team of Decepticon troops, but he's eventually defeated, captured, and killed by Starscream. [[CameBackWrong And brought back as a zombie berzerker in the second episode.]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill And sliced in half by Megatron, dropped into a mine shaft, and buried by a mountain-shattering explosion.]]
* The '90s animated ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' series mirrored Thunderbird's death on the modern team's second mission by including Morph, a character apparently introduced in the first episode just to be killed off immediately (he actually turns out to have survived in a later episode, whether that was intended in his "death" episode is debatable). The character was based on Changeling, the first X-Man to die in the comics.
* Guest villain Kraang Subprime in ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'' is voiced by famous comedian Creator/GilbertGottfried, and he's killed off in his fight with Splinter.
* The narrator of the Christmas episode of ''WesternAnimation/StrokerAndHoop'' was voiced by none other than moderately famous character Eli Wallach. He also turns out to be a turkey about to be taken to the slaughter.