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Killed Off Screen

Killed Offscreen is the term used to describe the occurrence of a character dying outside of the audience's view. The character's corpse may be seen later, or confirmation may be given by another character, who witnessed the death/found the corpse.

See also The Character Died with Him. Bus Crash is when this happens to a character who'd previously been written out of the series in a non-lethal manner. When a character dies out of the view of another character due to a brief distraction, that's Distracted from Death.

Compare Gory Discretion Shot and Sound-Only Death. This trope can also overlap with Dropped a Bridge on Him.

As a Death Trope, beware of spoilers!

Examples of this trope:

Anime and Manga
  • Furuya in Muhyo And Roji, whose identity is claimed by Face-Ripper Sophie.
  • In the last episode of Girls und Panzer, careful watching reveals that one of Black Forest's tanks did not make it to the town where Miho had retreated. It's possible that it broke down on the way there.
  • In Naruto Orochimaru does this on two separate occasions during the Invasion of Konoha Arc. He sacrifices Zaku and Kin to summon the First and Second Hokages, and it's revealed after the invasion that he killed the Fourth Kazekage, his own ally, to steal his identity.
  • Murasakiiro No Qualia has this happen to Yukari, after she's sent off to be under Jaunt's protection due to her abilities. Despite spending time their clearly alive, she's one day announced to have died without specification.

Comic Books

Fan Works
  • In The Prayer Warriors, this happens at several points.
    • In The Evil Gods, Chiron, after being converted, goes to convert the rest of Camp Half-Blood. One of his students comes back and reports that he's been killed and eaten alive.
    • In Battle with the Witches, Ebony kills Harry Potter offscreen, and this is revealed when Ron walks in and finds his body.
    • In Threat of Satanic Commonism, this, surprisingly enough, happens to Disc One Final Boss John Lennon; Mary arrives with a gun, kills Annabeth's opponent, and then points it at John Lennon, only for the next chapter to begin with her talking to her husband Jerry, and a mention that John Lennon is dead.
    • Surprisingly enough, this happens to the main character, Jerry, who is killed off at the beginning of The Titans Strike Back.
  • In The Dear Sweetie Belle Continuity, Pinkie Pie has died by the start of The Changelings Have a King, from unspecified natural causes.

Film
  • The Thing (1982): Both Fuchs and Nauls die offscreen. Only Fuchs' burnt corpse is found.
    • Everyone who is assimilated by the thing has to die this way, otherwise we'd already know who was a thing. For the record, it's Palmer, Norris and Blair. You might even be able to count Mac and Childs as dying off screen, as it's implied they'll freeze. Bennings could count as well, which means that 75 percent of the cast died off screen, taking this trope Up to Eleven.Only Garry, Copper, Windows and the two norwegians get a death scene. Of course, it's entirely possible Mac and Childs survived.
  • A Very Brady Sequel: At the end of the movie, a dog – identified as Tiger – is running through a yard where a party is happening. A little boy, later referred to as Cousin Oliver, runs after the dog … and then there are sounds of what's implied to be a collision between the boy and a car. Bobby and Cindy, who witness the crash, simply shrug their shoulders and are unfazed.
  • The Viral Marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past reveals Angel and Azazel were shot by the CIA between X-Men: First Class and the JFK assassination. In the actual movie, Magneto lists them among some mutants who died. Later Angel's wings are seen stored in a government vault.
  • The Cabin in the Woods: Subverted. The stoner Marty is wounded and dragged offscreen by one of the Buckners to be killed, and the Controllers assume he died a gruesome death. It turns out that they really should have made sure, because during that time he dispatched the zombie, found an entrance to the Organization's HQ, and went back to save Dana from Pa Buckner. No offscreen inertia here, folks.
  • In Foolish Wives, we see Count Sergius—liar, seducer, con artist, all-around dirtbag—climbing through the window of poor innocent Marietta, almost certainly to rape her. He makes a "shh" gesture—but the plant he knocked over has already woken up her father, Ventucci. The next we see of Sergius is when Ventucci is dragging his corpse out of a closet.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss's fears about Cinna are confirmed. When Effie gives her Cinna's design for the Mockingjay outfit, she sadly asks "He's dead, isn't he?" Effie whispers "Yes" and shows her the message he left her:
    "I'm still betting on you! - Cinna"

Literature
  • During the Harry Potter series, Igor Karkaroff, Remus Lupin, and Tonks were all killed while the reader's focus was elsewhere.
  • Balon Greyjoy from A Song of Ice and Fire has a brief but important role to play in the story's multiway civil war before dying off screen.
  • Happens fairly often in the Warrior Cats series, mainly due to diseases. One of the biggest examples is Crookedstar, who dies rather abruptly in A Dangerous Path from greencough.
  • In City of Lost Souls, Camille Belcourt is revealed to have been killed by Maureen Brown, who usurps the position of leader from her.
  • In Loyal Enemies, the heroes and readers alike only find out about Liara's and Virra's sister's deaths after the battles are already over and everything looks like it might be a completely happy ending after all.

Live-Action TV
  • Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps:
    • Donna's mother, Flo, was run over by a truck sometime between the third and fourth seasons.
    • In the sixth season opener, "When Johnny Met Sharky", Johnny spends most of the episode in florida. Near the end, we learn that he failed to jump over a shark, and was eaten.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Sophia is killed offscreen, later appearing as a walker.
    • Shumpert dies sometime during his journey with Martinez, but we don't see his death.
    • While we do see Meghan getting bitten by a walker, we don't actually see her die onscreen. Although later on, we see Lilly carrying her dead body over to the Governor.
  • Breaking Bad: Gomez bites it ofscreen during the very short time between two episodes. Granted, the previous episode ended with a Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Married... with Children: In "Ship Happens", Al, Peg, Jefferson and Marcy go on a cruise. Except, it's a fitness cruise for fat women. At night however, the crew members have an orgy after locking up the fat women for the night. Just as the party gets underway, one of the fat women smells the jerk chicken and tries to cut through the deck with a blowtorch, causing the ship to sink. The four along with fat woman Kay and Gilbert Gottfried wind up stranded on a raft and they're the only survivors.

Web Original
  • This happens alarmingly often in Worm. Examples include the Siberian, Phir Se, Heartbreaker, Raymancer, and Grue.

Western Animation
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood, Mole wanders off with his newfound love during the winter midway through the second season. After the winter is over, Mole's love and his son Mossy find Mole's friends and tell them that Mole has passed away.
    • Mr. Vole, the strong defender of the smaller creatures' rights, also dies off-screen during the winter.
  • In the Ewoks episode Asha, Kneesaa and Asha's mother, Ra-Lee is implied to have died while protecting her daughters from a hanadak, but the actual death is not taking place onscreen.