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Sacrificial Planet
"One needs only to look upon the once-green planet of Mars to understand the full scope of the devastation the Rüstov leave in their wake."

How do you know that the problem the heroes are dealing with are a real threat? Because the threat in question hit another planet first, and they're coming for the plot-relevant planet next. If that next planet is Earth, see Earth Is the Center of the Universe.

Compare Earth That Was and Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs, for when the crisis struck closer to home eons earlier. Usually the result of Planet Looters, a Planet Eater, or Aliens Are Bastards. Can result in an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.

A special dramatic mention should be made for plots that use Mars in the place of the planet that was previously destroyed. Since Mars is Real Life is well-understood to be barren and lifeless, it already gives a very chilling demonstration of what the threat is capable of, as well as additional chills because it happened so close to us.

Yes, a certain former planet qualifies for this trope as well. It's in our solar system, it counts.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, the Book of Darkness is said to have destroyed countless planets before finding its way to Earth, and so Team Nanoha embarks on a quest to locate and stop it.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza single-handedly destroyed the planet Vegeta some years prior to the start of the series.
    • Vegeta and Nappa destroy the planet Arlia on their way to Earth. This anime-only scene is just for showcasing the Saiyans' power.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four:
    • As with the movie example above, the planet-eating Galactus came to Earth a few times to devour it after spending centuries feeding on other planets without much trouble.
    • Galactus's opposite number Abraxas was introduced as having destroyed a number of parallel Earths before heading to the "main" one.
  • Similarly, in the lead-up to Avengers vs. X-Men the Phoenix Force destroys all sentient life on several inhabited worlds while headed towards Earth.
  • The origin story of minor Legion of Super Heroes villain Mano features him using his disintegrator power to destroy his entire homeworld and everyone on it. Given that he was never even remotely that powerful in any of his actual appearances, it almost reads as an example of Cutscene Power to the Max.
  • The famed Alan Moore and Alan Davis run of Captain Britain introduced the vastly powerful Reality Warper James Jaspers by having a weaker alternate counterpart so damage his home reality that it had to be destroyed to contain the threat. However, the character who makes this claim is an Unreliable Expositor at best and has ulterior motives for ordering the parallel reality's destruction.
  • The final arc of John Byrne's Superman run involves Kryptonian villains from a "pocket reality" stripping its Earth bare of all life and even destroying its atmosphere as a show of power and then threatening to come to the "real" Earth and do the same.
  • Subverted in a Doctor Strange Story Arc from the 1970s, wherein the villain Nightmare manages to destroy the Earth at the beginning and the story is about trying to bring it back, or at least get Earth recreated anew.
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-3 is destroyed in the opening pages to establish the threat, and that's just the beginning; by the end, all but one of the infinite parallel universes has been wiped out.
    • The various Justice League "Crisis" team-ups with the Justice Society occasionally used Earth-2 as a Sacrificial Planet in much the same way; at least two of the crossovers involved the temporary destruction of Earth-2 by some cosmic menace. Luckily, though, Status Quo Is God and the Reset Button kicked in by the end.

     Film 
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, after the Surfer inadvertently interrupts Richard and Sue's wedding and nearly causes a helicopter crash, Richard discovers energy signatures in the cosmos matching the Surfer that correlate to destroyed planets.
  • The 2009 Star Trek movie showed the planet Vulcan being destroyed, and then headed for Earth to do the same.
  • Alderaan from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is destroyed to demonstrate how evil the Empire is and the powers granted to them by the Death Star.

     Literature 
  • A throwaway line in the first Jack Blank book shows that the planet of Mars once was as green as Earth, and that the reason it's as barren as it we know it is because the planet-consuming Rüstov already finished with it, and they are presently attempting to invade the Earth.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land has a brief passage from the perspective of the Martians who adopted Valentine Michael Smith. From their perspective he's evaluating humanity, and if they don't measure up, well ... Jupiter used to be the sixth planet and Mars was always fourth.
  • In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the Vermicious Knids are said to have eaten the former inhabitants of Venus, Mars, and the Moon. The only reason why they haven't devoured Earth yet is because they can't survive the friction heat from plummeting through the atmosphere.
  • At the start of the Star Carrier series the Sh'daar Empire's vassal races have already destroyed several of Earth's extrasolar colonies. By the middle of the first book their latest victims are most of the inhabitants of Eta Boötis IV, killed by a multi-AU kinetic strike from a Turusch warfleet. This foreshadows the Turusch attack against Sol late in the novel, which is only barely driven off at the cost of tens of millions of lives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Doomsday Machine", the titular weapon has already annihilated a solar system and all but two planets of another by the time the Enterprise gets on the scene. It's set on a course through the most densely populated section of the galaxy to sustain itself.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg's arrival in Federation space is heralded by several heretofore unseen planetary outposts being wiped out and scoured of all technology.

     Toys 
  • Transformers: One ad for a Unicron model goes, "He devours entire worlds. His name is Unicron. And he's heading ... for Earth."

     Video Games 
  • In The Clue Finders: Mystery of the Missing Amulet, the game's eponymous MacGuffin, the Amulet of Life, was responsible for completely reducing the planet Millenia into a dying wasteland. At the end of the game, the evil sorceress Malicia says that once she finishes off Millenia with the Amulet, she's going to drain life from the Cluefinders' home planet, Earth, next.
  • Metroid Prime:
    • Inverted in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The planet Norion is doomed from the start from a looming Phazon leviathan impact, but Samus manages to save it at the last minute. Later on it's revealed that the other planets in the system suffered a Phazon leviathan impact while she was in a coma and are already showing signs of corruption, so Samus goes to those planets to stem it.
    • Played straight if the planets in the earlier titles, Tallon IV in Prime and Aether in Echoes would be any indication regarding the fate of the Phazon-corrupted planets in Corruption. The difference being that Samus already saved those planets and they're on their way to recovering so she knows she could save the others.
  • In Crash Team Racing, it's revealed that Nitros Oxide is the cause of the barren wasteland on Mars: the inhabitants on the planet failed to defeat him at racing and thus get decimated. He threatens to do the same on Earth (by making the planet a parking lot and slaving all its inhabitants) if they failed to defeat him at racing, too - setting up the story.
  • In the Halo games, most of the story takes place in late 2552, after the Covenant destroyed the planet Reach during their war against humanity. The Covenant had already burned 800 human colonies in the twenty-seven years of war before, but Reach, being humanity's second most important military stronghold after Earth, is viewed to be the point-of-no-return, the point where humanity has been dealt a crippling blow and needs to land a killing strike on the Covenant right away before they destroy Earth. The Fall of Reach is described in the first Halo book and playable in the prequel Halo: Reach, where you are Doomed by Canon.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • Episode "Klingon War", mission "The Doomsday Device", which is for all intents and purposes an expanded repeat of the TOS episode set 150 years later. Another planet killer half-destroys a small moon ahead of it before the player attacks to prevent Ambassador B'vat from siccing it on the Federation.
    • The various inconsistencies in the story of the Hobus supernova from the '09 Star Trek film were explained as this in the "Romulan Mystery" episode. At the behest of the Iconians, the game's Bigger Bad, a Tal Shiar faction under Hakeev was experimenting with treaty-banned subspace weapons and accidentally blew up Hobus. Thanks to the subspace weapons, the shockwave traveled through subspace at FTL speeds and obliterated several star systems, including the Romulus System.

    Webcomics 
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, a Planet Eater eats a system's outer planet, moons first and then the main world a week later. Then it ate the life-bearing planet's moon, and that was a week ago...

    Western Animation 
  • In the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Fool's Gold", mischievous but harmless aliens come to a village every 17 years where they eat massive quantities of popcorn and defecate solid gold. When the town's mayor gets greedy and kidnaps one, he gives the alien a steak, causing the alien to grow into massive size and defecate unstable uranium. The alien's friend tells Ben that Mars "used to be called The Popcorn Planet" before his kind came there.
  • When the Brains go on a rampage in Futurama, Hermes points to each destroyed planet on a flat star map and notes that each planet forms a straight line that points directly toward the Earth; precisely the planet that the Brains attack next.
  • The first episode of the Justice League cartoon displays an invasion of aliens coming to Earth. These aliens previously had taken Mars, leaving the Martian Manhunter as the sole survivor, who comes to Earth to warn the planet and help form the Justice League to fight them off.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory "Dial M for Monkey" shorts Rasslor, the universe's greatest wrestler goes searching for worthy opponents on inhabited planets. If no one can beat him he destroys the planet.
    "And so my quest has brought me to this timid little planet you call Earth, so, terrestrial heroes, can one of you quench my thirst for the divine conflict, the supreme struggle? Or will your planet be doomed to the same fate, that has befallen so many."
    • The short is a spoof of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, where the Champion of the Universe makes the very same threat to Earth's heroes.
  • Invader Zim has an alien race from the planet Jackers that captures other planets in a giant transportation sphere and throws them into the dying sun that orbits their world in order to stave off their own destruction, even though they could easily just move to a different, more stable planet instead.


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