Episode 0: The Beginning

Putting "Zero" in the title of a work, or episode of that work, can be a good shorthand that a work is a prequel, prologue, or even a remake of a first chapter. Some comic book origin stories are shown in issues numbered 0.

Subtrope of Numbered Sequels. Compare Title 1. See also Unusual Chapter Numbers, Year Zero.

Note: If "Zero" is in the title for any other reason, it doesn't count (as it wouldn't be the beginning). So works like Mega Man Zero and Phantasy Star Zero wouldn't be an example. Also, the names have to be official, not fan nicknames.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • "Zero Month" following DC Comics' Zero Hour is a borderline case; the #0s all retell the heroes' origins, but in Flash Back, with a Framing Story in the present.
    • There was another "Zero Month" for the one-year anniversary of the New 52 reboot.
      • Before the New 52, there was an Issue #0 of Batwoman, which consists of Batman observing the heroine to get confirmation on her identity, eventually deeming her a worthy candidate for Batman Inc. It is included in the collected edition of the comic's first storyline. Funnily enough, this means that Batwoman has two Issue #0s in this continuity.
      • Averted with in Green Lantern #0 and Green Lantern: The New Guardians #0; featuring new present-day origins (of Earth's newest Green Lantern and an overhauled New Guardians roster) instead of flashbacks.
    • The New 52 version of Bruce Wayne first taking on the Batman identity is titled Batman Zero Year.
  • "Chapter 0: Of Ducks, Dimes, and Destinies", part of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Made after the series concluded, but given the "Chapter 0" moniker because it was a retelling of the first chapter detailing Magica de Spell's involvement during her time travel.
  • In an interesting use of this trope and Unusual Chapter Numbers, every volume of Resident Alien begins with an issue #0 normally, as if #0 were the actual #1.
  • Marvel Comics had a "Flashback Month" in which every comic published an #-1, set before the origin stories.
    • More specifically, in most cases they were set before Fantastic Four #1, which started the Silver Age of Marvel.
  • The Flash: Season Zero is a comic book prequel to Season 1 of The Flash (2014).
  • Spider-Girl's first issue was numbered 0, and was a reprint of What If? v2 #105, the issue she first appeared in.
  • Ninja High School received a Chapter 0, many years after it first began. It was an Interquel for Ichi-kun (after her grandfather defeated her in Chapter 1, but before her trip to America) and Asrial (after she was made aware of who she was being sent to marry, but before being transformed into a human form), but a Prequel for Jeremy (showing him the day before his introduction in Chapter 1).
  • Robert Crumb's Zap Comix came out with an issue zero: he had lost the art to the first issue and made a new one, then discovered the missing artwork and released it later.


    Live-Action TV 

  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, prequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  • Dark Void Zero. Originally starting out as an April Fools joke based off of an 8-bit rendition of Dark Void's main theme, the game soon became a fully-fledged DSiWare title claimed to be a "legendary 'lost project'" of Capcom's, recently found locked away in their vaults.
  • The Dating Sim Dream Club Zero, a prequel to Dream Club.
  • Final Ninja Zero is a prequel to Final Ninja.
  • Ko-ko-ro...0 is the third game in the Ko-ko-ro... H game series to be released, but the events of Ko-ko-ro...0 precede those of Ko-ko-ro... and Ko-ko-ro...II. Though incest and rape are primary themes in the series as a whole, one of the possible endings of Ko-ko-ro...0 (namely, the revelation that Kasumi is Souji's mother, not his older sister) turns the squick factor of the already quite squicky original game Up to Eleven.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission is a remake of the first Metroid game.
  • Perfect Dark Zero, a prequel to Perfect Dark.
  • Record Of Agarest War Zero, prequel to Record Of Agarest War.
  • Resident Evil 0
  • Samurai Shodown V, a prequel to the original game, was titled Samurai Spirits Zero in Japan.
  • Silent Hill Origins has the "O" in its subtitle stylized to look like a zero; it was retitled Silent Hill Zero in Japan.
  • Star Fox Zero, which looks to be a Continuity Reboot of the Star Fox series.
  • The Street Fighter Alpha series is titled Street Fighter Zero in Japan. While actually set after the original Street Fighter, the plot of the Alpha series (at least for the first two games) explores the events that led to the Street Fighter II tournament (namely Chun-Li's pursuit of M. Bison and Charlie's death).
  • Submachine Zero: Ancient Adventure, which is set before the original Submachine.
  • While "Ultima 0" was originally just a Fan Nickname for Akalabeth, the title was made official when it was included in the Ultima Collection compilation box.
  • Zork Zero: The Revenge of Megaboz. The ninth and final Zork game released and a prequel to the original.

    Web Animation 
  • 24: Day Zero. A series of animated webisodes. It's a prequel series, focusing on Jack Bauer's first 18 months at CTU.
  • TOME has Episode 00: /File:Zero. It focuses on the Netkings rather than the main players and showcases the Netkings as they first make the game and inadvetendedly play a hand in the creation of the Forbiddn Power by introducing negative emotions to the core of the game, SOFDTI.

  • Freemans Mind released an Episode 0 between 34 and 35, showing Gordon going through the hazard course and refusing to finish after being told to jump two stories onto concrete.
  • On the Origin of PCs, the first The Order of the Stick prequel, was published as issue number 0. Start of Darkness, the second prequel, takes place even earlier, so it's issue number -1.
  • xkcd's print edition starts with volume 0. It's not a prequel, the author just likes zero-indexing.

    Western Animation