Sometimes, The End of the World as We Know It just isn't enough. If you really want to end the world, why not destroy the whole planet — tear the very ground from under everyone's feet?
Science Fiction writers have devised many methods of demolishing a planet: you can blast it with a laser, you can hit it with a really big object, you can feed it to self-replicating all-consuming Nanomachines, or use other, even more imaginative ways.
This is understandably worse than just conquering a world or wiping out the present civilization. Mankind can always rebuild after that. There's usually no "After" for this End. Destroying a planet is usually reserved for the most "Holy crap" moments in a Sci-Fi or even Fantasy series. Blowing up an entire, inhabited planet is one of the fastest ways to really ratchet up the body count and cross the Moral Event Horizon.
Some series prefer to have this as the final goal of the Big Bad, with the heroes racing to stop him. In other series, there's no way to stop the Earth Shattering Kaboom, and the subsequent storylines focus on the actions of the few survivors as they try to carry on, seek revenge or simply live with the fact that their home has been completely obliterated.
A slightly less devastating variation of this is to simply blast the surface of the planet until the air hums with radioactivity and nothing can live on it, for example, the "glassing" of planets in the Halo verse. This is Colony Drop and Kill Sat taken to the extreme. Compare the Planet Eater.
Wikipedia refers to ships and weapons capable of doing this as Planet Killers. Actually shattering a world is in fact considerably harder than TV makes it look. Even if your huge laser manages to blast into the planet, you still have to overcome the gravity of all that rock with some sort of explosion capable of sending all thousands of quintillions of tons far enough away that it won't just clump together again. 'Cause if you've just got a big laser, all you're going to do is drill a button hole in it.
Think of it as a Tokyo Fireball on a planetary scale. The full-on Earth Shattering Kaboom is a Class X on the Apocalypse How scale, often represented with an Earth-Shattering Poster. Of course, some villains one-up this by going Star Killing, destroying stars (and thus entire star systems) instead of just planets.
The villain archetype who wants to cause this is called the Omnicidal Maniac. Alternatively, if he does it by accident (or just doesn't know why he'd do it), he's the Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds.
Oh, and if somehow if some part of planet still remains, and someone settles on that, then it becomes Shattered World. See also Why You Should Destroy the Planet Earth.
Contrast Genesis Effect, where planets are created instead of destroyed. See also Orbital Bombardment, which may overlap.
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Tsutomu Nihei, the author of Blame!, stated that Killy's Graviton Beam Emitter would cause a substantial environmental change when fired on Earth. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what would happen if it's fired at Earth.
Subverted in the Clow Card arc of Cardcaptor Sakura. With the Clow Cards free, Kero warns of a catastrophe that will befall the world if they're not captured, only to later reveal that the catastrophe isn't this trope. In fact, it's actually worse... kinda'.
In Digimon Adventure, Vademon summons a planet (complete with rings) to keep AtlurKabuterimon (MegaKabuterimon) away. The insect digimon promptly blows it up.
In Digimon Frontier, Lucemon beats the shit out of the heroes by piledriving them straight into conveniently-placed moons. Said moons promptly explode.
The saga is full of characters who can destroy the world. All the major villains starting with Vegeta are capable of it (Vegeta destroys other planets, although it should be remembered that the times he is seen destroying planets are in Fillers); the usual reason they don't just do it is that they want to fight Goku first. Earth is successfully destroyed once in canon, though, by Kid Buu.
They added a nice touch when it was destroyed by the worst villain of the series, Pilaf, in GT.
Frieza destroys Planets Vegeta and Namek, Gohan blows up the Makyo Planet, Cell blows up King Kai's planet while trying to destroy the Earth, and Earth isn't the last planet destroyed by Kid Buu.
The God of Destruction, Bills, is the strongest planet buster in the series. He's strong enough to completely destroy an entire galaxy at full power, if not more.
Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night has Ea, which at low power can match and surpass Excalibur. It is classified as an ANTI-WORLD noble phantasm, the most powerful in existence.
He shows what it's capable of in Fate/Zero, when he destroys Rider's Ionioi Hetairoi, a Reality Marble which should be in theory many times larger than the Earth itself, with a single strike.
Gunbuster goes past mere planetary destruction with the Black Hole Bomb, a weapon capable of destroying the core of the galaxy. One of the weapon's components? The planet Jupiter. (Quick! Blow up Jupiter!)
A certain pair of moronic monarchs from Heroic Age could help out with that one.
In the images of the final battle, planets and moons are shown being destroyed as collateral damage.
Gurren Lagann has planets being thrown at the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann. And that's nothing compared to the Final Battle: GALAXIES THEMSELVES BECOME WEAPONS!
In Infinite Ryvius, the Blue Impulse uses gravity manipulation to destroy Saturn's (inhabited) moon Hyperion.
In one chapter Keroro flips out when the chapter's ruckus ruins his Gunpla models. He lights something that looks like a candle claiming it can blow up the Earth. Disaster is averted when Fuyuki reminds Keroro that he can just buy more models, and Keroro casually douses the candle in a pail of water.
Lost Logia in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha can, and have, destroyed several worlds across multiple dimensions in the past. Needless to say, the heroes don't want them falling into criminal hands and/or going out of control.
The Jabberwock from Project ARMS. After it absorbes a nuclear missile it is capable of generating two fists of antimatter.
It was super-sized at the time, so those 'fists' were probably car-sized or bigger.
The final storyline of the original Tenchi Muyo! manga had an otherworldly prince tether his dying world to Earth and kidnap and brainwash Princess Ayeka so that they could die together. Then, he makes the mistake of kidnapping Sasami as well, dragging everyone in to save the princesses and the world from destruction.
In the 2199 remake the WMG is capable of blowing up a floating continent the size of Australia in one shot and implied to be capable of doing the same to Pluto, so it fits.
In Flying Buffalo's Nuclear War, there is a rule that allows an improbable series of events to result in a nuclear chain reaction that not only destroys the Earth, but the entire solar system.
Superboy-Prime becomes one of these during the Countdown to Final Crisis miniseries. Having been displaced from his own universe, he tries to find his way back - repeatedly flying into a rage at the inferior copies of Earth he finds in the alternate universes and destroying them.
DC Comics has a species of giant space critters called Sun Eaters, who do just that.
An old Doctor Who comic had an insane hermit living in some ruins in an asteroid belt, desperately seeking to capture the TARDIS. When the Doctor caught up with him, the gun he was holding turned out to be sentient, and the Doctor asked it to explain why an asteroid belt had formed when there should be a planet. It turned out the lunatic was once a famed inventor interested in creating the ultimate weapon. He finished building it and tested it on a spittoon. The blast took out the entire freaking planet and he only survived because of the energy shield the gun created.
Comic books like this trope as a sufficiently worthy threat for the best heroes to deal with. The most famous is probably Galactus of the Marvel Universe, a gargantuan being who eats planets.
While there is some debate over what actually happens if Galactus succeeds in eating, the zombies who ate his dimensional double definitely created massive rubble.
Sometimes the planet dies, going from Earth-like to Mars-like, that's it. Some authors say he "consumes the life force" of life-sustaining planets, turning Earth-like worlds into sterile rocks, others say he "eats" the planets leaving an asteroid belt-like ring of planet crumbs, or something.
They're pretty explicit about what Ultimate Galactus would do to a planet. Intelligent life would be wiped out by psychic attack and death cultists. A flesh-eating supervirus would reduce all (multicellular?) life to sludge. Then robotlike nodes would descend to the planet, crack open the crust and charge themselves up by siphoning off geothermal heat. Maybe there was more to it, but the end result is that Galactus would be recharged ("fed") for a voyage to the next planet in its path and the world would stripped of all its current life and unable to support anything like that for a long time, if ever.
This happens to Earth in Legion of Super-Heroesv4 #38, shortly after the Moon had been exploded a few issues earlier. Approximately 20 cities are saved and become a Shattered World, but even with the advanced technology of the 30th Century, everyone is not able to get off planet. (The issue also includes one of the few times Neil Gaiman's Death appeared in a mainstream DC Comics issue (as opposed to Vertigo).)
Possibly the oldest comic book example is in The Monster Society Of Evil, where it nearly happens a couple of times. Mister Mind tries firing giant shells at America and Russia from a ten-mile Big Bertha, then in another chapter he tries to blow the Earth in half using explosives set up by tiny Americans living underground in case the war went badly for America.
In Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers, Black Panther meets a woman who destroys a second Earth hanging over their heads. The comic is broadly hinting that the New Avengers will have to destroy Earths too, possibly even the Earth, to save the rest of reality.
This strip◊ by Quino. Cupid is doing his job, two researchers get a little occupied... and the Big Red Button gets leaned against.
In The Secret Origin of Iron Man arc, the Godkiller is revealed - an ancient, five-mile-tall hyperweapon designed to kill Celestials. That's Celestials, plural. That it destroys planets is incidental - it simply flies through them without slowing down. At the speed with which its travels - at least in the area of light speed - that leaves a rapidly expanding cloud of planetary debris.
Earth is blown up on the very first page of Shakara, which then follows battles between various aliens.
Averted in Sonic the Comic; the Metallix are trying to convert the Miracle Planet to metal to use as their base, using something called the Alpha Device created by Grimer. After dealing with the Metallix, Sonic proposes 'just yanking the thing out', but Porker Lewis states doing so would blow the planet up.
In Starslayer, Torin mac Quillon comes into possession of a weapon that can implode a sun into a black hole. He ends up using it.
Evil Calvin from Retro Chill creates a button that does this to the Earth, and repeatedly threatens to use it unless the citizens of Earth bow down to him and his masters.
According to Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, if Thunderstorm doesn't stop exploiting another dimension using a portal, this will happen to both out world and the other dimension.
In Chapter 10 of Chronicles of the Crusade: The Long Road, Captain Gideon and the crew of the Excalibur detonate the Mark IX inside of Enceladus so that Kathenn can be destroyed. They later remark that Sheridan would be pissed that he wasn't the one who pushed the button to detonate it.
The film begins with the destruction of the Earth, and continues with the survivors from there. This explosion deserves special mention, as one evacuation shuttle is disintegrated by the force of the explosion, several more are destroyed by debris from the planet, and huge chucks of the Earth then pulverize the Moon breaking parts of it off. Its very impressive.
Near-perfectly inverted at the end with an Earth Creating Kaboom. The Big Bad shows up to try to destroy the Titan, but instead destroys himself and creates a new earth Bob.
Parodied in Mystery Science Theater 3000 in Season 8. The Satellite of Love was orbiting a Planet of the Apes-like Earth...when Mike Nelson gives advice that starts the bomb that a cult worships. Predictable results...and Mike was only beginning.
The John Carpenter's ultra low budget film Dark Star featured a starship crew whose job was to traverse the Galaxy, using "Exponential Thermostellar Bombs" to destroy planets that might someday threaten human colonies. For twenty years. On the ragged edge of terminal boredom.
In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, it's revealed that Godzilla's heart is a nuclear reactor. When Birth Island erupts and exposes Godzilla to a bed of radioactive materials, he absorbs too much and begins to undergo meltdown. Unfortunately, his self-destruction will also take most of the planet with him, sending scientists and the military scrambling for a way to prevent it. Things get more complicated when Destoroyah arrives on the scene, making Godzilla's meltdown occur faster and become more powerful due to his rage at Destoroyah's actions (mainly killing his son). Thankfully, though, the military, utilizing tanks with freeze rays, manage to avert the explosion, but his radiation still makes living in Tokyo a death wish. Then his son is revived by a life-force transfer and he makes Tokyo habitable again.
Keeping in mind the Death Star and Alderaan, the similar destruction of the peaceful planet Basketball in the Star Wars parody film, Hardware Wars.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ironically, rather than a "terrible, ghastly noise" (as the book, listed below, describes), the destruction of the Earth in the film version is silent (more like an earth imploding "zip").
The destruction of Krypton as its core blows up in Man of Steel.
At the very end of the Argentinian animated film Mercano, el marciano (Mercano the Martian) the Earth explodes because the characters cut the wrong wire of the remote controlling all of the world's computers, that were turned into bombs.
Lars von Trier's Melancholia revolves around the destruction of Earth by collision with an immense rogue planet (though there's not a lot of suspense about it, as the world's fate is revealed up front in the opening sequence).
The beginning of Men In Black II shows Sarleena destroying planets she passed by. Even more amazing when the viewers find out that the ship is only a foot tall
In Plan 9 from Outer Space, an alien comes to Earth to explain that, since Humans Are Bastards, they will not stop at atom bombs and hydrogen bombs, and will soon produce the solaronite bomb, which, by exploding sunlight and everything it touches, will create a chain reaction destroying the universe.
It is slightly hinted that Spaceballs parodies Beneath the Planet of the Apes as well. When President Skroob, Dark Helmet, and Colonel Sandurz crashland on the Planet of the Apes, an ape says "Oh shit, there goes the planet." The scene changes after that, and never switches back to the planet, making it seem more of a What Happened to the Mouse?, but if you've seen Beneath the Planet of the Apes, you can assume what happens next.
A Q-Bomb is used to crack Planet OM-1 in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, though the sight wasn't enough to distract General Dix Hauzer from snogging Captain Lola Beck.
The Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. While technically a subversion (not only does it actually create habitable planets through terraforming, rather than blow a habitable planet into random debris, it can blow random debris into a habitable planet), the problems with it stem from the fact that if used against an inhabited planet, it would quickly destroy every living thing on a planet in favor of its new creation. In addition, the newly minted planet fell apart after a few weeks in Star Trek III.
Kirk's son couldn't actually get the technology to work so he put proto-matter in it. Being an unstable substance, the new planet slowly but surely implodes on itself.
Later novels retcon this by asserting that the device was supposed to be used on a planet, rather than a nebula, and hence much of the energy of the Genesis Effect was wasted on drawing in sufficient matter to create a planet, rather than stabilising existing matter after it had been transformed.
Disturbingly enough, the trope repeats itself by accident in the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when the Klingon moon of Praxis explodes due to overmining and No OSHA Compliance. About 1/6 of the planetoid remains, and a massive (subspace, meaning it travels at FTL speeds) shockwave spreads throughout the sector.
Not to be outdone, Star Trek: Generations introduced the "Trilithium Warhead," a small device which could implode a star, causing a shock wave that could destroy a solar system, and which could be produced and deployed by one person.
The reboot Star Trek movie ups the ante even more, with the Romulan Big Bad's plan being to destroy every single planet in the Federation, just to get back at Spock for not being able to stop Romulus from being destroyed by a star going supernova in time. The villain actually gets as far as destroying Vulcan, and is in the process of trying to destroy Earth before he is stopped by Kirk and Spock. Technically, it's an implosion, rather than an explosion as the red matter is injected into the planet's core and ignites, setting off a black hole.
The non-canonical comic series Star Trek Khan reveals that it was Khan in the new continuity who blew up Praxis prior to the events of the second film.
One of the most famous Planet Killers is the Death Star from Star Wars: A New Hope, and poor Planet Alderaan to supply the Kaboom. Later on in the movie, the Death Star gets its ownEarth-Shattering Kaboom (okay, space station the size of a small moon, close enough).
The lesser version is known to the Star Wars Expanded Universe as Imperial Order Base Delta Zero. Much is made of the fact that the Empire can do this in a few hours or days with standard fleet elements. Superweapons are just for flash.
Base Delta Zero just kills off the biosphere and renders the planet uninhabitable. Death Stars (or the like) are still needed if you want to blow it up like a firecracker.
And speaking of the Expanded Universe, further planet-killers are encountered there, some built by Imperial forces, others not. These include the Darksaber (the Death Star's laser, rebuilt without an actual Death Star. And it doesn't work), the skeletal prototype Death Star, the Eye of Palpatine, Centerpoint Station, and the Sun Crusher (which is even worse than the Death Star; it's a tiny indestructible ship that, if you replace "crush" with "supernova", does what it sounds like).
Fridge Brilliance: To release enough energy to blow a star up, you need to crush its core with the outer layers.
The "planet killer arms race" featured in the Star Wars EU, in which every planet-killer has to be somehow bigger and badder than the last, is one of the most-cited reasons why some fans consider several fair-sized chunks of the EU non-canonical and ridiculous. This was only really happening in the nineties, when Bantam had the license. Del Ray, for all their perceived faults, mostly uses this gimmick with the Vong, who possessed and often were Planet Killers themselves.
And then there were the World Devastators. They were Star Forges in miniature, except taking materials from planets instead of stars and having to chew said planets up to get them. These "merely" rendered the planet an uninhabitable ball of rock significantly smaller than it used to be, rather than an actual kaboom. Notably, in the first Rogue Squadron game players could fly against the World Devastators as Wedge Antilles.
The Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer had a superlaser that extended the length of the battleship. It had only 1/3 the power of the Death Stars' superlasers, but it was still powerful enough to rip a gap in the crust of a planet. It wasn't nicknamed the "Continent Cracker" for nothing.
Then there's the Galaxy Gun. Its distinguishing trait was that it could stay in orbit of the Emperor's new throne world (protected by a fleet), and simply fire a missile into hyperspace. The missile would then exit hyperspace at its target and destroy it, while the gun was never in any danger.
In one battle during the Clone Wars in the EU, in which the Republic was laying siege to the Separatist shipyard-world of Pammant, a Republic battlecruiser suffered a hyperdrive malfunction and collided with Pammant at hundreds, maybe thousands of times the speed of light. Pammant was reduced to some radioactive chunks.
Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, set in the part of his Zones of Thought verse that allows FTL and other ubertech, contains at least two types of planetcracker weapons: antimatter warheads (with sufficient yield to, at the very least, sterilize a planet's surface) and kinetic missiles accelerated to relativistic speeds. As typical warships carry thousands of the former as their standard armament, space conflicts can (and do) become fast and bloody...
In Sergey Lukyanenko's A Lord from Planet Earth trilogy, quark bombs are relatively small spheres. One is fully capable of starting a process of total subatomic fission that is impossible to stop and consumes a planet in a matter of minutes. Even small chunks of the planet can re-start the process on another world if they happen to make it that far. Luckily, the bomb has to be delivered by ship, as teleportation renders it inert. After only two uses, it was banned by the entire galaxy. The only safe way to dispose of the bomb is to take it to a very remote area of space and blow it up.
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, in both the book and movie, Johnny "Goodboy" Tyler detonates the Psychlo homeworld by teleporting a nuclear device to the planet. The nuke is a plain old one, but it's the way nuclear radiation interacts with the Psychlos' breath-gas that causes the big boom.
In the Warhammer 40,000Blood Angels stories, the planet Orilan is Exterminatus'd to sterilize it of corruptive daemonic taint. Shenlong follows when the Blood Angels find its people fallen too far from the God-Emperor's light.
And in the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves of Ice, a bomb that was placed in a mine that was flooded with millions of gallons of highly volatile promethium resulted in a gigaton range explosion that obliterated a mountain range and caused a shockwave that could be felt from orbit. Despite that, they're still not certain whether or not the explosion destroyed the Necron tomb hidden below the mine.
C. J. Cherryh wrote about one method in her Chanur Novels. The main character speculates how the bad guys might hijack loose interplanetary debris and accelerate same, followed by aiming said debris at the main character's homeworld.
Jack McDevitt's Deepsix (part of his Priscilla Hutchins series) is about a last-minute xeno-archeological expedition to a doomed planet that is about to be hit by a large rogue moon. The team only has three weeks before the planet-shattering kaboom, so it's important that nothing go wrong. Of course....
In the fifth Dune novel, Heretics of Dune, an Honored Matres fleet blasts the surface of Arrakis (called Rakis in that era) into molten slag, effectively sterilizing it.
Orson Scott Card's Ender’s Game involves the "Little Doctor" device, which is indeed capable of blowing up a planet, and is used for that purpose near the end of the book. In the sequel Children Of The Mind, a second such disaster is narrowly averted.
The device is nicknamed the "Little Doctor" because it's actual name is the Molecular Disruption device, abbreviated MD, which is also the abbreviation for "Medical Doctor". It works by creating an energy field that prevents atoms from clinging together. The field's strength and area of effect is related to how much mass the target has. The effect spreads from atom to atom in a chain reaction. This means that the weapon requires the same amount of energy to be used against a single ship as it does a planet.
The weapon's range isn't actually that great, which means that any ship using it against a planet is on a suicide mission, as the field from the planet's destruction will get anything in orbit. The ships using it in the first book had 70-year-old equipment, so it's possible that later developments upped that range.
Specifically, in Ender's Game, the weapon is explicitly stated to be NOT a missile. Circa 3000 years later, by CotM, it's shown to be the payload of a missile or missile-like device.
The prequels Earth Unaware and Earth Afire feature a precursor to the Little Doctor called a "gravity laser" or "glaser", developed as an asteroid mining tool. One of the test shots almost destroys the firing vessel as the field expands kilometers beyond what they had expected, and when used as a weapon against the Formics they mount it on expendable drones.
Possibly Charlie McGee from Stephen King's novel Firestarter. ''"Suppose there is a little girl out there someplace this morning, who has within her...the power to crack the very planet in two like a china plate in a shooting gallery?"
In Greg Bear's The Forge of God, Earth was blown up after (a) being shot with one giant neutronium bullet and one giant anti-neutronium bullet that met and exploded and (b) having vast quantities of hydrogen extracted from the oceans and turned into hydrogen bombs.
Julian May's Magnificat the final book of the Galactic Milieu series ends with the destruction of a major colony planet, alluded to in the rest of the series as the biggest mass murder of all time.
Robert A. Heinlein originally used the term "nova bomb" in the 1953 version of his short story "Gulf". It was a theoretical bomb that could destroy the entire Earth.
In The History of the Galaxy, the LIGHT annihilation device is an Antimatter-based weapon that can blow up a Moon-sized planetoid. That's actually the largest target it ever had and was its first use in battle. How? By luring the enemy armada to it and turning all the planetoid's mass into energy with an anti-matter stream. That was the plan, anyway. What actually happened was both fleets got wiped out, except The Empire still had plenty of ships left, while La Résistance (who used the weapon) only had 8. Oh, and the weapon was destroyed as well. Can you say Pyrrhic Victory? The only thing that saved the colonists was that the enemy had no idea they were defenseless. The device is later mounted on flagship cruisers but almost never used.
The first book starts with the Earth being demolished to make way for a hyperspace expressway.
And then ratchets it up at the end of Mostly Harmless by destroying every Earth in every alternate dimension ever.
The Larry Niven short story "The Hole Man" involves a team of explorers uncovering an ancient alien device on Mars that is powered by a miniature black hole in a containment field. When the black hole is accidentally released, it falls through one of the explorers standing underneath (killing him) and through the surface of the planet, leaving a tiny pinhole. The explorers predict that the black hole will settle in the planet's core and slowly add the planet's material to its mass, with the whole of Mars eventually collapsing into it—but this supposed outcome doesn't occur within the timeframe of the story itself.
In Weber's Honor Harrington stories, everyone can do it, but no one does because of the "Eridani Edict." Anyone indiscriminately bombarding planetary targets will themselves meet the same fate, when everyone else in the galaxy turns around and does the same to them.
Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth series features a couple of these, starting with the basic mechanism used for Faster-Than-Light Travel — immensely strong artificial gravity fields that can theoretically demolish large chunks of a planetary body if brought too close. Needless to say, doing this is considered a horrific crime, and would almost certainly be suicidal to boot. The novel The End of the Matter features a search for a Lost Superweapon that creates anticollapsars, or white holes, made out of antimatter. The long gone race that created the weapon did so in order to counter rogue black holes, but also threatened to use it on the planets of their contemporary rivals. (The resulting arms race destroyed both species.)
In Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos saga, the Earth has been destroyed a long time ago, but not before mankind had colonized a major part of the known universe. It later turns out that it wasn't destroyed, only hidden by some Higher Power.
The old earth is destroyed in this fashion at the end of the Left Behind book Kingdom Come.
In the Gray Lensman book of E. E. “Doc” Smith's Lensman series, two planets have their inertia dampened (i.e. forward momentum placed in stasis), after which they are moved into place on opposite sides of a planet of villains. When their inertia or forward momentum is returned, they rush together to crush the planet between them. This is merely a coda to the use of an antimatter bomb of planetary size. Later in the series, this is deemed insufficient and more powerful weapons are used, including planets from other universes with intrinsic velocities significantly above lightspeed.
The eponymous device of Alastair Reynolds' short story, Merlin's Gun.
In the Night's Dawn Trilogy, the scientists studying the ruins near the habitat Tranquility crap themselves when they realize that the planet of this ancient alien civilization was actually destroyed, as in reduced to large chunks of rock floating around space. This reaction is largely provoked by the fact that the best that their technological advances so far, which include light-speed warping, anti-matter bombs, living thinking Bitek space vessels and habitats (Tranquility is actually one of these), and techno-telepathy, have only made it as far as being able to completely screw with the surface of a planet and destroy its climate and ecology. It gets worse, because for reasons unknown, this ancient alien race apparently did itto themselves.
The oldest and still canonical example of this in the Perry Rhodan universe is the Arkon bomb, a reasonably portable device capable of causing a runaway nuclear chain reaction that will destroy the planet it is planted on over the course of only a few days. The arguably most destructive weapon ever built by Terrans, the Hyperinmestron, was used only three times in the series and only once for actual military purposes — it's capable of blowing up a star, and that first use resulted in side effects that caused supernovae and other general chaos and devastation throughout the center of the Andromeda galaxy.
The Revelation Space universe features many Earth Shattering Kabooms: First, the main antagonists destroy at least three planets during the main trilogy and an unknown but very large number more during the previous one billion years; second, defeating those antagonists releases a rogue terraforming agent, which, it is implied, destroys the whole universe in several billion years. From the very first novel a group of humans have a cache of 40 weapons, each capable of destroying a planet. And then finally, there are the Nestbuilder Weapons, of which little is seen but much is said.
In Michael Reaves' The Shattered World and The Burning Realm, this had happened to a fantasy world a thousand years ago. The damage-control efforts of every wizard in the world allowed fragments of the broken planet to be saved, orbiting one another in a bubble of atmosphere. The Shattering was blamed on the power-mad Necromancer's final, spiteful spell, cast when the nations of the world refused to bow down to him. He was actually a scapegoat for a collision between planets, and had really used his powers to keep the world's fragments from disintegrating into dust.
David Weber and Steve White's The Shiva Option features this (in the form of anti-matter warhead barrages from fighter swarms) being used against a genocidal alien race as a regular tactic, once the good guys discovered the aliens communicated by telepathy. Kill anything over several hundred million on-planet, and the psychic hammerblow of the mass deaths cripples anything else in-system. Given that the alien species was a lot of ancient horror cliches come to life (including Human Resources to the point of making conquered races into planetary-scale livestock ranches), the inclination is to rule it necessary. Especially since an earlier book in the series ended with a Terran Federation ex-President sacrificing his own health to prevent the destruction of a different species' planet where only the world government was at fault.
In the third book of the Spaceforce series, the theme-world Fantasia is destroyed by concentrated fire from four Taysan warships, in order to obliterate the source of a drug the Empire fears could corrupt its civilisation.
In the novel Starship Troopers, the Terran Federation develops the Nova Bomb. It is used on planets that are heavily occupied by bugs and of no strategic importance to the Federation.
Thallon in Star Trek: New Frontier, by virtue of the Great Bird of the Galaxy, which has been gestating inside its core for millennia. Now ready to "hatch", it destroys the planet from within.
Several planets in the Taurus Reach during the 2260s, due to the use of Shedai technology by Federation and Klingon researchers. Some planets were destroyed accidentally as a result of inept use of Shedai artifacts, others were destroyed deliberately by the Shedai Wanderer in her attempts to prevent her people's technology coming into the hands of other, younger races. Palgrenax was one such planet. See: Star Trek: Vanguard.
In Star Trek: Titan, the Shalra homeworld was destroyed by a space-going creature, which fed on the remains. Also, Oghen - and possibly other worlds in the Neyel Hegemony - were destroyed by the effects of the Red King protouniverse.
Erigol in Star Trek: Destiny, deliberately destroyed in order to maintain a stable time loop.
In the Sten series, the Empire has Anti-Matter Two weapons called planetbusters. The Eternal Emperor tries not to use them much, for the pragmatic reason that blowing up entire worlds tends to attract unwanted attention from other governments and is generally bad for business. However, in Empire's End, one is deployed against the Manabi homeworld.
In Stranger in a Strange Land, Mike mentions that he is able to destroy the Earth with his psychic powers, although he reassures Jubal Harshaw that he is morally unable to do so. The book also mentions that the asteroid field between Mars and Jupiter was created when the Martians used the same powers to destroy a planet between them many eons ago.
In the epilogue of the expanded edition of that novel, it is noted that the Martians eventually do decide to destroy the earth; by then, however, humanity has colonized space, a lot.
Matthew Reilly's Temple has the Supernova - a nuke capable of vaporising one third of the Earth's mass and knocking the rest out of it's orbit around the sun. There's 3 of them
In the 1932 novel When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie, a Jupiter-sized rogue planet drifts into the Solar System on a direct course for Earth with a result one character compares to tossing a walnut in front of a cannon at the instant the cannon is fired.
Live Action TV
Probably named for Heinlein, the series Andromeda had Nova Bombs. How powerful were they? Well, the Andromeda carrying 40 of them was enough to send resident badass and proud warrior race guy Tyr into a fit because it was enough firepower to conquer an empire. The bombs cause stars to go super-nova, and can be volley-fired into black holes to turn them into white holes.
Incidentally, there is a literal Earth-shattering kaboom in the series' final episode. Nova Bombs are not to blame but rather something called Radical Isotopes: stuff with negative mass from another dimension.
Harper also designs an even more destructive variant of the Nova bomb, and it's used to destroy an artificial sun.
Babylon 5 destroyed or rendered completely uninhabitable at least two dozen planets in its fourth season, when the Space Cold War between the Vorlons and the Shadows escalated and both brought out their versions of planet-killer ships to destroy worlds of younger races "touched" by the influence of the other.
In the sequel movie A Call to Arms (which was also the movie-pilot for the spinoff Crusade), the Drakh acquire a planet-killer left behind by the Shadows, test it on an inhabited planet, then threaten Earth with it.
And in an episode that depicts the human race a million years in the future, humans are leaving the Solar system as the Sun is about to go nova, implicitly not by natural causes.
The Dilgar sun "went nova" supposedly by similar mysterious but deliberate means not elaborated, shortly after the Dilgar War (which preceded the Babylon 5 timeframe), according to Word of God.
In the season finale episode "Journey's End"the Daleks prevent Martha Jones from using the Osterhagen Key doomsday device. Just as well.
This is played straight in Doctor Who too many times to count. Not always with Earth, but with a planet inhabited by humanoids. Gallifrey, for instance, goes boom in the new series, and in "The Invasion of Time", the Sontarans threaten to blow it up.
And in "The Pirate Planet", the eponymous planet destroys other worlds by materialising around them, stripping them of their resources and shrinking them down to the size of a basketball, after which they are displayed in the captain's trophy room.
Crichton's wormhole weapon on Farscape could easily destroy planets, and sizeable chunks of the galaxy, were it ever deployed in warfare.
Peacekeeper Wars shows that it's more than capable of destroying the entire universe. And Crichton isn't gun-shy.
In Heroes, the third season features a prophetic painting that the Earth is going to explode sometime in the future, which is implied to be the event that Hiro sees destroy Tokyo in the future. Unfortunately, the entire subplot is never fully resolved or adequately explained, due to the protagonists seeming to forget about it.
However, after the introduction of Samuel in the fourth season, who can manipulate earth and gets stronger in proxmity to other evolved humans, it's likely he was the party responsible for causing the catastrophe. As the Bad Future prevented in the third season involved turning everyone into evolved humans, this would have increased his power exponentially.
Kamen Rider Kuuga is said to be able to do this in his Ultimate Form with his Rider Kick...probably why we never see it.
Lexx featured the destruction of many planets over the course of the series (some deliberately, some accidentally), culminating in the last episode, when the Lexx is tricked into blowing up the Earth!
"Lexx, use every last bit of juice you've got to blow up that ugly blue planet!". 790 had to have loved saying that.
In the Night Gallery episode "Little Girl Lost", a military scientist has delusions that his dead daughter is alive. A wounded pilot becomes his bodyguard and must act as if he is interacting with the daughter. At the end of the episode it is revealed that the scientist has subconsciously realised that his daughter is dead and has found a way to be reunited with her and get revenge on who killed her. And it turns out he has been working on nuclear fission. Oops.
The Showtime series Odyssey 5 started with the world blowing up, and had five astronauts, who had survived because they were on the titular Odyssey space craft at the time, getting sent five years into the past to prevent it.
Also from Power Rangers is Serpentera, a colossus of a Zord (which is saying something) built by Lord Zedd and his subordinates which on its maiden voyage blew up an abandoned planet in an attempt to stop the Mighty Morphin Rangers from retrieving the Sword of Light. Unfortunately for Zedd, and fortunately for the universe at large, Serpentera was never able to build up anywhere near that kind of power again.
Several different Goa'uld take a crack at Earth, although Anubis nearly succeeds a couple times. But none of them top Major Samantha Carter using a Stargate to blow up a sun and wipe out a solar system, complete with (almost all of) Apophis' fleet.
Anubis at one point fires a superweapon at Abydos. He detonates the stargate itself causing a massive explosion killing everyone on the planet. It's unclear if the planet was destroyed, but it was certainly left uninhabitable.
McKay destroys one in Stargate Atlantis. Accidentally. He would like to remind you that it was "only five-sixths of a solar system," and an uninhabited one. And then later there was the Replicator homeworld...
Stargate Universe blows up a planet in the first episode through a combination of an unstable radioactive core, plugging a Stargate into said core and dialing it to a ship billions of light-years away, and having the Lucian Alliance bombard the base. And then, in the season finale, the situation gets reversed - it's a Lucian Alliance base planet getting attacked/destroyed by Earth forces.
In Star Trek, The USS Enterprise can be assumed to have planet-killing abilities (of the lesser kind), unless Captain Kirk was bluffing when he mentioned General Order 24 (and he probably wasn't, since other Starfleet officers also mention GO 24 in non-bluff situation)...
The ISSEnterprise in the Mirror Universe clearly does have the capacity to destroy a planet or at least sterilize its surface.
The planet killer from the episode "The Doomsday Machine".
In addition, in Star Trek: Voyager Species 8472 could combine the energy from 9 of their ships to create a beam powerful enough to make a planet explode.
The Xindi superweapon in season three of Star Trek: Enterprise was designed to do this. In fact, it happens in the alt-future episode "Twilight".
In "The Die Is Cast", it is stated that a fleet of 20 Romulan and Cardassian ships can destroy a planet down to its core within 6 hours (1+5). The opening volley alone destroyed 30% of surface, after which the fleet was interrupted by 150 Dominion ships and destroyed.
The Defiant could supposedly reduce the surface of the new Founder Homeworld to a smoking cinder in short order (While it was Garak who said this, he said it to Worf, who would be the most familiar with the Defiant's systems).
The doomsday planet from Vintergatan. With a name like that, it was pretty certain to be...well, doomed.
"The Shattering" in BIONICLE, the planet of Spherus Magna splitting into Bara Magna, Aqua Magna and Bota Magna due to the forces of the Energized Protodermis within its core. Although in some media, it's depicted not as a true "Kaboom", but more like a large planet spitting out two smaller ones.
Fans and Authors argue about the Three Sphere Cataclysm. Some feel that making it too cosmic runs the risk of causing the pre-cataclysm era to be fundamentally unrelateable as a storytelling medium. Others feel that letting her destroy 90% of just raw land mass isn't grand enough for a newly-minted horror. The deepest fan-theories hold that she annihilated Creation's Dynamic Link Library (its card catalog), thus making it impossible for anyone in the world to feel like the world as a whole makes sense... which, granted, is the one thing she would've coveted over the purely physical parts of reality.
Creation isn't actually a planet, but it's close enough in that it's a bubble of stability in an infinite ocean of chaos. To The Fair Folk who lives outside Creation, even the glorious First Age was but a tiny spark of what Creation used to be in the age of the Primordials.
Then there's the giant dragon, The Kukla. He's given as one example of a mid-power Greater Elemental Dragon. This isn't even touching the Five Elemental Dragons, who are the apexes of the Elements. Anyway, he's a 1,200 foot long gently slumbering beast guarded by twelve high-level war gods, whose job it is to kill anyone who tries to summon or otherwise disturb Kukla's sleep. Why? Because when he wakes up, he'll blow up Creation through liberal application of insane quantities of the five elements, and then go on to blow up the Wyld. Then, seven scales will fall down from his body and form the continents of a new world... Yeah.
Maid The RPG includes among its numerous strange items (which venture often into territory) the "Earth-destroying bomb," which when used turns the world setting to post-apocalyptic.
The Alphatians of Mystara came to that planet after destroying their own in an academic dispute between rival factions of wizards.
In Strike Legion, the only warship weaponry that matters are weapons that deal this scale of damage. Most light ship-based weaponry are more suitable to providing heavy orbital supporting fire or rearranging continents, while the weapons used in actual ship-to-ship combat are capable of casually destroying planets. There are also "singularity grenades" which are capable of destroying small planets, and can be launched from standard-issue grenade launchers (though obviously, the burst radius is quite a bit larger than the range on said grenade launcher....).
Warhammer 40,000 gives a number of ways to kill a planet, from the appropriately named Cool StarshipPlanet Killer, to fleets of Space Monsters that can eat a planet down to the rock. And then there's the Blackstone Fortresses... Like Star Wars, the evil empire also has a planet-killing order, called "Exterminatus." Exterminatus is usually used on planets where there is no possible way of ever using the planet again, say because soldiers deployed to it invariably defect to Chaos. Most of these methods usually leave a dead ball of rock, however, but Two-Stage Cyclonic torpedoes indeed cause a Planet-Shattering Kaboom.
Atrea, the world in which Aion takes place, is a hollow sphere whose inhabitants live on the inside rather than the outside. The Tower of Eternity is a large tower running through the inside of the planet which provided light to its inhibitants in lieu of a star, although the planet does still orbit a star. However, when the Tower of Eternity broke in two, the resulting explosion blew the planet into two pieces connected only by a magical field created through Heroic Sacrifice.
Happens in Anachronox.What else do you think could happen to a planet called "Sunder"?
In Asura's Wrath, Asura does this to Wyzen, after wyzen beccomes as big as the earth, with his bare fists. It's also hinted that Gohma Vlitra even before going one winged angel could do this, and Augus stabs through the planet with a sword at the end of your fight with him.
Chakravartin in his giant form has a laser attack that casually blows up planets in it's way without loosing momentum. He eventually starts THROWING Planets and entire Stars at you, including a Red Super Giant.
BioForge: The reactor explosion in a moonbase somehow manages to blow up the entire moon.
Commander Keen episode two, appropriately called "The Earth Explodes" has the bad guys from the first episode position a planet-destroyer ship over the Earth. At Game Over, or if the hero is foolish enough to push the Big Red Button, it activates rather spectacularly. The fifth episode repeats this, with a galaxy destroyer.
"IT SLICES! IT DICES! It causes a 100,000 light year-diameter quantum explosion! THE OMEGAMATIC. Available from Vitacorp. Assembly required."
In Darius Gaiden's Zone Z ending, Darius explodes.
Defender, once all the humanoids have been abducted and converted into mutants. If the player can survive until the next wave that's a multiple of five, the planet is restored.
Most demons of Overlord level or higher in the Disgaea series and Makai Kingdom (about level 1000+ in-game) are capable of this and many of the higher level skills have a very bad habit of destroying whatever unlucky planet(s) happens to be nearby.
Laharl actually does it if you beat him in the battle that you're suppose to lose.
His father, the overlord, split a planet in two when his wife died.
In the 8-bit games Driller and its sequel Dark Side, this is what will happen to the planet Evath if you fail in your mission. The first game takes place on a moon where gas has begun to build up under the surface; eventually, the moon would explode, the debris destroying the planet as well. The second one takes place on the other moon of the same planet, where terrorists have built a superweapon which continuously collects energy from the Sun (with obvious results should it be fired on Evath).
In EV Nova, the Federation Navy is quite capable of the lesser kind. They do it by bombarding the planet from orbit with nukes and biological weapons. Any survivors will die of disease and starvation.
In EVE Online the storyline that heralded the Apocrypha expansion and the formation of wormholes, sympathetic reactions from the explosion of a Lost Technology device caused several distant stars in the galaxy to flare and space-time to rupture; the kaboom from one of the star flares burnt the inhabited mining world of Seylin I to a cinder.
In Evolva, the Parasite tries this in the final level.
Kefka very nearly succeeded with the lesser version, notably.
Kuja fully succeeded in doings so, fortunately, it was merely a long-dead planet hidden inside the regular world...somehow. Frankly, it didn't make much sense while they were explaining it in-game either.
Some of these (e.g. Sephiroph's Supernova) are regular magic attacks that get used possibly dozens of times in the relevant boss battles. How that works is anyone's guess. Sephiroth actually seems to destroy the entire solar system, and the attack takes about two minutes to complete; some players might be fooled into thinking it's a cutscene, but he can actually do this several times during the battle.
Weaker versions, maybe?
In Firefall, the titular event was caused when a malfunctioning warp-jumping ship crash-landed into Fortaleza, Brazil, spewing Applied Phlebotinum into the atmosphere and making the area *outside* Fortaleza toxic to human life (and messing up all other forms of life as well).
Two space shooter games take this to the next level, with star-destroying weapons. The Shivans in Freespace 2 can do this with some eighty dreadnoughts combined, and X-COM Interceptor had a nova bomb you could research, which was needed to destroy the moon-sized alien superweapon to win the game. What was cool about the nova bomb was that it wasn't just needed for the final mission - you could use it any time you liked to wipe stars off the map, along with any bases or fleets in the system.
In Descent: Freespace, the Shivans also have technology to destroy the surface of planets, in the form of their superdestroyer the Lucifer.
The Twilight of the Arnor expansion for Galactic Civilizations 2 adds the Terror Star. While wildly impractical in some respects due to its horrendously slow travel rate, the Terror Star can vaporize any star, completely obliterating any planets in that solar system. One famous After Action Report depicts a player attempting to beat the game through peaceful means and cultural influence, then saying "to hell with it" when one too many races get belligerent with him and going on a massive solar killing spree.
The Guardian Legend - You have to save the world from this fate by blowing up NAJU, the massive alien base on a collision course with Earth.
The Covenant in Halo "glass" planets - they blast them from orbit until the surface has melted into a glasslike substance.
The UNSC NOVA bomb. It is a cluster of nine nukes, each surrounded by a shell that, when the bomb goes off, briefly compresses each of the nine explosions to neutron-star density, giving each blast a 100x boost. One is accidentally set off on an Elite loyalist vessel in orbit around a loyalist world: the planet is wiped clean of life, its moon is shattered, and nearly the entire fleet massed nearby is annihilated.
Actually subverted with the Covenant. They can do it, but it takes a huge number of ships and several years; the idea of glassing an entire planet is pure UNSC propaganda. In practice, the Covies "just" glass population centers.
In Homeworld, you find out that the planet you're living on isn't really your home planet. Then just as you're about to set off into the stars to search out your true homeworld, a hostile fleet comes out of nowhere and razes your planet....with most of your civilization still on it.
Worse: They did it for the sole reason that you broke a treaty that was so old, nobody from your civilization even remembered it. It's also implied that the hostile fleet was merely a patrol.
Kingdom Hearts deals with the destruction of several worlds by The Heartless, which are reformed, just as they were before they were destroyed, at the end of the game.
In Kirby Super Star, one of the minigames is called Megaton Punch. Do well enough on the three timing sections, and the little pink puffball will destroy a pile of bricks, the stage, and split the entire planet of Pop Star in half.
In Mass Effect, the codex mentions that it is illegal to use weapons of mass destruction (such as asteroid drops) on habitable worlds even if no one's living on them, the reason being that habitable worlds are rare and take eons to form, and are therefore highly valuable real estate. In the actual game, there's a DLC side mission where you have to stop a batarian terrorist from dropping an asteroid on a human colony. Later in Mass Effect 2, there's a DLC mission where you have to slam an asteroid into a mass relay to prevent the Reapers from using it; you destroy the relay but the energy released by the explosion wipes out all life on a nearby planet (but since the Reapers were coming they were as good as dead anyway).
Master of Orion II has the Stellar Converter, a weapon that can vaporize most battleships and blow an undefended planet to bits when used in the post-battle bombardment (use during the battle phase doesn't destroy the world, but it still hurts for whatever's targeted) reducing it to an asteroid belt (which a sufficiently advanced race can actually reconstitute later). It makes for a great defense when built planetside, but in space it needs one of the largest ship hulls initially, though with further research it can be squeezed into a very barebones cruiser hull. At the stage of the game where the Stellar Converter becomes available, the usefulness of the weapon is minimal from a purely logical viewpoint. Does this stop players from zapping worlds? Not at all.
For those who don't care about having planets but don't want their opponent(s) to have any use of them, it's the ultimate "screw you, you Rubber Forehead Alien bastard!". (AI players can research building planets, but are unable to use the fruit of that research.)
Invoked in a level of McPixel to stop an explosive from destroying the moon.
Planet FM in Mega Man Star Force killed Planet AM using Andromeda. Two items are required to wake it up for its malicious deed; the controller, held by king Cepheus, and the key, which Omega-Xis stole before bailing to Earth.
In the anime, Omega-Xis uses the Andromeda Key to blow up a planetoid as a diversion to get away from his pursuers; Cygnus managed to trail him despite such efforts.
In Meteos, planets must constantly ignite the meteor blocks raining on them to get them off. If the stack goes too high, the planet explodes.
Several Metroid games love to blow up planets and have Samus narrowly escape (more info at Samus' entry in Never Live It Down). Some examples are Zebes, Dark Aether, Phaaze, and SR 388 (Dark Aether was of the lesser variety, as it was a pocket dimension).
In Might and Magic VI if you don't release a previous villain, Archibald so he can give you a seriously powerful scroll that encloses an area in its own pocket dimension. Without it when you blow up the reactor in the Kreegan Hive ship, or if you die afterwards thus preventing you from using it not only does the world explode but the moon inexplicably blows up afterwards.
In Mortal Kombat 3, Cyborg Smoke has a Fatality in which bombs come spilling out of his chest panel. We then see a shot of Earth exploding from space.
The very first thing that happens in Planet Busters is that Earth gets blown up by aliens. During the course of the game, you blow up Mars, and countless extra-solar planets, moons and asteroids.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl had Team Galactic set off a bomb at one of the three main lakes, and the resulting kaboom was enough for a city on the other side of the region to feel it.
This is ignoring the semi-kaboom (but probably counting as 'earth-shattering') that was born from the top of Mt. Coronet...
In the first Ratchet & Clank game, the villainous Drek needs to remove a planet in order to give his man-made world the perfect orbit. Drek's tool for achieving this goal is the appropriately named Planet Buster. The weapon does produce an Earth Shattering Kaboom, but not on the planet you'd expect.
In RayStorm, this is what the Secelians plan to do as the finishing stroke to permanently replacing Earth as known space's new emperors. The giant battleship Hannibal is how they plan to do it. In the end, it's Secelia that winds up suffering a version of this—Yggdrasil's destruction warped its orbit to make it plunge into a gas giant. In Thirteen-Ship Mode, Earth suffers this too. Presumably because you sent EVERY R-Gray you had off-Earth—leaving no way to fend off replacements for Hannibal.
The Destroyer from Romancing SaGa 3 blows up more than just the earth, it wipes out the entire universe!
In R-Type Final, the Giant Warship's Giant Wave Motion Gun is said to have the capability to do this. It just takes a long time to prime if that's the intent.
The Novalith Cannon from Sins of a Solar Empire launches a massive nuclear warhead at an enemy planet that eliminates all life and wipes it clean with radiation if it is not fully upgraded, especially horrifying when you consider that the last thing people see is a blinding flash of light.
In Sins of a Solar Empire, siege ships and capital ships are capable of conducting orbital bombardment in order to kick an enemy faction off a planet and repopulate it with your own people. Certain capital ships specialize in bombardment and can do it more quickly than other ships. The TEC's superweapon also fires a nuke of sorts that will deal a lot of damage to an enemy planet. In the standalone expansion Rebellion, one of the Vasari factions has the ability to completely destroy planets.
Averted in Sonic Unleashed, where Eggman uses a cannon that one would think would cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, but which instead ends up cracking the planet into eight floating continents with few ill effects on the populace other than minor earthquakes, according to the characters in the game.
Prior to (and similar to) Unleashed, this trope was part of the plot of Sonic Advance 3.
The ARK's Eclipse Cannon was capable of destroying a planet with the power of the Chaos Emeralds. It was used twice: first to blow apart half of the moon in Sonic Adventure 2, and to annihilate the Black Arms Comet in Shadow the Hedgehog.
The Eclipse Cannon actually takes this one Up to Eleven; At it's full power (with the 7 Chaos Emeralds powering it), it is said to have the power to pierce stars.
Space Empires allows any empire to destroy nebulae, stars, planets, black holes, wormholes, or create any of these, given the proper research.
The MacGuffin from Space Quest I is the Star Generator, a device which turns a planet into a sun. It was meant for the best, honestly, but obviously it gets stolen and used for extortion. The device is blown up at the end of the first game, for which the evil villain takes revenge in Space Quest II
Starcraft had at least onetwo three planetary surfaces sterilized by the Protoss to stop the spread of the Zerg; Chau Sara, Mar Sara and Antiga Prime. By the time of StarCraft II has become habitable again, just in time to fall to the Zerg.
Also the planet Korhal was glassed with nukes by the Confederacy in the backstory. In Brood War it's a desert world, but people can live there. By StarCraft II however, it's been rebuilt into a City Planet.
In what may be one of the earliest examples of player-controlled planet-cracking power, Star Flight gives the player 3 Black Eggs, artifacts that can destroy a planet. Of the 3, you only need to use at most 2 in the course of the game, and can beat the game with only one of them...so which planet would you like to see destroyed today?
In Star Fox Assault, this is how the villains, the aparoids, are defeated. The heroes use a selfdestruct program on their queen, and when she explodes, so does the aparoid homeworld.
The villians of The Second Story unleash the Symbol Of Annihilation, a magical incantation that when cast would cause the entire universe to stop expanding and collapse in on itself. The destruction of the cosmos is prevented only by the heroes' use of the Symbol of Divinity, which limits the Symbol of Annihilation to merely destroying the planet that they were on.
In the third installment, the Earth itself is destroyed from an attack by the Executioners. In this case, the Executioners doom many other worlds off-screen as well.
Star Ruler allows players to bombard planets until they break up - usually by shooting giant railgun slugs the size of Cyprus at a sizable fraction of the speed of light.
And then there's the DSM, or Directed Spatial Manipulator, a super-weapon so powerful it can only be fired manually, which can blow up planets and suns.
Star Trek Online has Starfleet players fighting a Planet Killer discovered by the Big Bad of the Klingon storyline; it destroys a small planet with its' primary weapon in a cutscene just before the player fights it to give them an idea just what kind of power they're up against.
In Super Paper Mario, Mario and his friends are on a quest to assemble the Pure Hearts in order to stop the destruction of all worlds. They don't achieve this goal in time for some.
ALL worlds. Each of the game's levels are actually separate universes, meaning that Count Bleck is destroying everything. Everything as in EVERYTHING everything - including Heaven (the Overthere), Purgatory (the Underwhere), and Hell. In fact, the only universe left would be the one created by Dementio, which was created specifically for that.
Actually, the Big Bad emphasizes that he is not destroying worlds, but actually erasing them, so that the worlds would have never existed, if that makes sense.
Not quite a kaboom in Tales of the Abyss, but careful manipulation by The Big Bad and quick scrambling by the heroes did result in half the world missing at one point.
Terminal Velocity features two planet killers: one the Moon Dagger, that must be taken out before it cores the Earth (actual in-game text), and the other the asteroid (now minor planet) Ceres that has been sent on a collision course with Earth.
Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism: Utsuho Reiuji is a hell raven girl that suddenly gains the power of nuclear fusion. Overwhelmed by so much power, she goes on a power rampage with the mission of glassing the entire Earth. Will our heroines Reimu and Marisa be able to stop her?
In Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil, it is said that if the Primagen escapes, he will cause a rupture in the fabric of space, leading to a universe-shattering kaboom. However, as told by Retcon in the manual for Turok 3: Shadow Of Oblivion, it happened anyway after you destroyed him. Although a few characters survived, including the similar Oblivion.
This actually happens several times to the main world, Azeroth. First, from Azshara's/Sargeras' Sundering. Second, from Deathwing breaking free from his hellhole cage and basically turning the world into a Crap Sack World along with breaking it.
The Wing Commander series of games had two of these in Wing Commander III - a Cool Ship (the Behemoth) a slimmed down Death Star (read as: one honkin' big cannon with a ship wrapped around it) is used to destroy a world, and is later destroyed itself since the ship conveniently wasn't finished before being rushed off to destroy the Big Bad's homeworld. The job is later finished by a "Temblor Bomb", an apocalyptically powerful earthquake bomb, dropped into a faultline by a solo space fighter (the player), resulting in the Big Bad's home being utterly blown apart through the resulting earthquakes, magically stopping the war.
In the first game of the series, fighter missiles are armed with an explosive mineral referred to in the (necessary for the copy protect scheme) manual as Illudium Q36. Missile explosive power was measured by their "ESK" rating. Three guesses what "ESK" stood for.
This is believed to have happened to the Kha'ak homeworld in the X-Universe, which is the source of the nividium asteroids floating around. The plot of X: Beyond the Frontier revolves around the Second Xenon Conflict, the effort to prevent the Xenon from using their M0 planet-killer against an inhabited world. The Kha'ak do this to the sector President's End in X2: The Threat using their own M0; the plot revolves around preventing an encore performance.
Can be invoked by the player in the Nintendo 3DS AR Games. When playing with the globe, all you can do is spin it around by shooting it at different angles. However, shooting it repeatedly causes it to start turning red. Should you keep shooting it beyond that state, it explodes into a million fiery pieces, leaving behind a message that says "Take care of our planet" and is accompanied by creepy doomsday-like music that shifts into a sad melody. The globe is erased from your games list and you have to buy it again to play with it again.
In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, the Racconan Empire of the Seven Systems owns a small fleet of Stellar Lances. One of which was used to destroy a Kvrk-Chk solar system. Word of God is that the Lance operates by firing a planet-sized beam of "antigravitons" through the heart of the system's star, causing it to hemorrhage from either side, spraying the surrounding planets with white-hot stellar matter (picture a water balloon with a pinhole on either side spinning on a string).... the lawn sprinkler from Hell. If conditions are just right, it goes downhill from there, into a stellar collapse and supernova...
Protectors of the Plot Continuum agents have two options when they find an uncanonical planet in a fanfiction: let it integrate in the canon if it doesn't happen to be dangerous, otherwise kaboom. One particular example had the agents play around with the settings of a spaceship's Wave Motion Gun in the hope it would be enough to pierce the crust and make the planet break apart. They ended up narrowly escaping the planet's explosion.
Agent Sergio Turbo: I think we just outdid the MythBusters here.
Tech Infantry has an dinosaur-killer-sized asteroid dropped on earth in the backstory. After the Earth partially recovers and is just starting to be recolonized by rebels against the main human government, said government sends in a fleet that blows up the moon, first by firing several small black holes through it to weaken its structure, then ramming it with a miles-long starship moving at 90 percent of the speed of light. The shattered fragments of the moon rain down on the surface of the earth, melting the top few miles of crust into a continuous layer of molten lava, boiling off the oceans, and blasting the atmosphere away. A few decades later, some nasty aliens invade, and the invasion is only stopped by using Dooms Day Devices to send the suns of the main alien homeworlds into supernova.
Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh: The AbridgedMovie: when Anubis announced his intention to destroy the world, Yami asks him what he could possibly gain from that. As revealed on his LiveJournal, the creator included this because he considered Anubis to be a terrible movie villain with, in his own words, 'generic motives'.
Also in the Abridged Series, a running series called "Zorc and Pals" features Big Bad Zorc Necrophades and Yami Bakura discussing Zorc's plans to destroy the world. The clip from "Zorc and Pals: The Movie" in the Abridged Movie details what Zorc is going to do after he destroys the world... He's going to Disney World. And then he's going to destroy it. However, he found it much too fun, so he destroyed Euro Disney instead.
In Void Of The Stars, the Equestrians decided to go and save an innocent planet from Triarian oppression. They ended up destroying it instead.
Arthur featured this in the arcade game "Planet Smasher" that the gang (sans Arthur) was playing.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The teaser for "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!" ends with Joker pressing the button on the Omega warhead. Which blows up the Earth.
In the Family Guy episode "It's A Trap!", the earth-shattering Ka-Boom from the first Star Wars movie is shown and a piece of Alderaan floats through space to come down on top of Princess Leia on the Moon of Endor, knocking her off her (ten-speed) speeder bike. Luckily for her, it was just a small piece, about the size of a baseball.
Futurama has never shied away from destroying planets, but the best example of destruction comes from the episode "I Dated A Robot":
Sal: So your fantasy has always been to destroys a planets, huh?
Fry: Sure! What have they ever done for me?
Fry presses a button - a planet explodes
Leela: Wow! The most mundane events look almost exciting through your eyes.
The ending of the I Am Weasel episode "The Hole" had this, due to I.R. Baboon plugging up a huge hole that turned out to be a ground-level volcano (complete with buildings, cars and a plate of pork butts and taters flying from the explosion). The only survivors left are Weasel, his local assistant and Baboon, on a very small fragment of land left from the blast, but then Baboon gets in his car and drives off the edge to his death.
In the Kim Possible episode "Car Alarm", Shego seems to graduate toOmnicidal Maniac by hoping to use a rocket car she and Motor Ed stole in order to use its full powered rocket boost to destroy the planet. Ed on the other hand just wanted to use it to drive around with Shego as arm candy.
As indicated by the page quote, the Trope Namer here is the Chuck Jones character Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes, who says the line after Bugs Bunny steals his Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Mod-U-Lator in the short "Hare-way To The Stars". His motive was that Earth was obstructing his view of Venus.
In the earlier short Duck Dodgers in the 24˝th Century. Dodgers (Daffy) and Marvin manage to reduce Planet X to a rock the size of a basketball. They somehow manage to stand on it, very closely.
Daffy: As I was saying, buster, this planet ain't big enough for the two of us, so... (pushes Marvin off the rock) ...off you go!
The French cartoon Once Upon a Time... Space has a type of warship used by the androids of planet Yama that combine to form one larger star-shaped vessel with enough firepower to destroy a planet. It's tested on a planet of their system and in the penultimate episode of the series it's used to force the surrender of Cassiopeia threatening to destroy that planet.
Once Upon a Time, Man ("Il était une fois l'homme") was an European educational cartoon about History (as a serious Histeria!). The credits were Abridged History, with a pessimistic take on the future of humanity: a war that ends in a big kaboom.
An episode of Pinky and the Brain had the destruction of the Earth at the end of the episode, but it's all right...everyone had already moved to Brain's papier-mache replica.
ReBoot had an episode where this happened inside a game. While not world ending, it still pissed off Bob since he was inside the planet when binomes triggered it. Bob chews them out after barely escaping, then lectures everyone else.
The Ren & Stimpy Show featured this at the end of the episode "Ren's Brain." Originally in the John Kricfalusi-written version, the mayhem would end after only North America explodes. But Nickelodeon Animation Studios produced the episode long after John K. was fired, and took it to the extreme: after several viewers' brains explode, followed by several houses and then North America blowing up, we then cut to the Earth from space and see it dramatically blow up (complete with Pre-Explosion Glow), to which a narrator says "And thus endeth the Republican party as we know it!"
In the Totally Spies! episode "Evil Professor", the titular professor tries to use the stolen "inflator" weapon to blow up the planet.
In The Transformers, the Quintessons blow up their own planet to destroy the Autobot Matrix (they fail). Later, Rodimus Prime has the planet Paradron detonated to prevent its energon falling into Decepticon hands. Then in Transformers Headmasters, Scorponok succeeds in blowing up both Cybertron and Mars before the show is halfway through. Later, the Transformers ZoneOAV begins with the planet Feminia being destroyed.
This is what Black Beetle plans to do to the Earth in the Young Justice episode "Endgame". It is up to Earth's heroes to find all of his bombs and deactivate them before this can happen.
A lawsuit was filed to keep CERN from turning on the Large Hadron Collider for fear that it would create a black hole and destroy Earth.
The current prevailing theory of the formation of Earth's moon is that the proto-Earth was hit by another proto-planet that blasted both the proto-Earth and the impacting planet into a loose conglomeration of material, most of which reformed into the Earth and some of which coalesced into Luna, the moon Earth has today. Literally Earth-Shattering. Although there was (probably) no Kaboom.
It is a testament to just how hard it is to blow up a planet. Even running head long into another planet at full speed isn't going to cut it.
On a smaller scale than that, there was the Late Heavy Bombardment - few hundred kilometer wide objects pummeling the Earth and Moon for a few hundred million years. This likely served as a preemptive Rocks Fall Everybody Dies. And somewhat smaller still, the dinosaurs had to deal with a certain asteroid impact ...
Discussed in the History Channel series The Universe, where they point out that blowing up the planet would require hitting it with something extremely massive (i.e. another planet).
It's been hypothesized that Miranda, a moon of Uranus, had been shattered by an impact and its fragments reassembled; thus explaining the patchwork of geological features on the moon.