->'''Yoda:''' Kill you, I cannot! But kill me, YOU cannot!\\
'''Emperor Palpatine:''' Because we are equally-matched opponents on opposite sides of the same almighty Force?\\
'''Yoda:''' No, because already released have the sequels to this movie been! And in them we ''both'' appear! Problem this is with prequels - no suspense can there be when already we know which characters live!
-->-- ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'' Magazine's parody of ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''

In that last movie you watched, or the last game you played, there're maybe some epic and great battles between two or more characters fighting to the death and one of them seems to be on their last leg, or maybe one of them seems to about to die by being poisoned by something, or maybe they're about to fall of a cliff and hit the ground below, or maybe they're about to crash in the middle of a carchase. Whatever the case, you know that they'll survive because if they died, the fictional works that take place chronologically after it wouldn't be able to exist in the first place.

This trope usually exists in prequels and {{Interquel}}s, due to them being set earlier in the story's chronology. Fittingly, characters from the original work usually appear as their younger ages, and like the new characters, they usually are forced to fight deadly battles against the enemy; many of those battles are as nasty and brutal as they come, and many of them seem to result with the old characters dying and the villain laughing their ass off in triumph. But you know that however convincing these scenes may be, their ultimate outcome is predestined by the original stories that preceded them -- or you may be looking at a CanonDiscontinuity.

Compare DoomedByCanon, the grim counterpart in which the fate of a prequel character is death (or at least being PutOnABus) because the original works established them posthumously (or not at all). See also PlotArmor.

Common in HistoricalFiction. If something features a historical figure [[YoungFutureFamousPeople in their youth]], you don't have to worry that they'll die.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* Any tale of {{Wolverine}}'s past will have the same prepared answer to the question of whether Wolvie's going to make it.
* Subverted by the ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' comic, which killed off [[spoiler:the Seventh Doctor's companion Ace]], despite the character living to a much older age in the [[Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures novel range]] and in several of the magazine's own earlier comics that tied in to the novels.
* It's a simple matter of fact that the characters in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' aren't in any real danger, given the supplementary nature of the comic.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' spin-off comics ''[[Comicbook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderThePromise The Promise]]'' and ''[[Comicbook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderTheSearch The Search]]'' get this problem because of their {{Interquel}} status. We already know from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' that Team Avatar will survive and there won't be another war.
* ''Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos'' set during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII became less suspenseful after the ''Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' series which was published a few years later had shown Fury, Dum Dum Dugan and most of the Howlers had survived the war.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In an interesting example of a character being SavedByCanon for the moment, but DoomedByCanon in the long run, T'Prynn in the ''StarTrekVanguard'' novels can't die, even when she's in a coma due to MindRape ... because she's going to die in a transporter accident eighty years later, as shown in a FlashBack in the ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNineRelaunch'' novels.
* In the prequels of Creator/{{Glen Cook}}'s ''Dread Empire'', much of the suspense is derived from the conflict between Haroun bin Yousif and El Murid, and especially whether one of them will get to kill the other. Given that they both are alive in the original cycle of books, there really is only one answer. Character background and development is still very well executed, however.
* The Iron Warriors characters in ''[[Literature/HorusHeresy Angel Exterminatus]]'' had already appeared in the ''Literature/IronWarriors'' series, so any reader familiar with those books would know they had to survive. Similarly, Lucius survives a fatal wound because his whole schtick is that he doesn't stay dead.
* The ''Literature/{{Noob}}'' novels cause this for several characters of its SpinOff ''Literature/{{Neogicia}}'', that is set earlier but focuses on a set of characters that were briefly shown in the former.
* Much of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse is set between the films, so any characters appearing in chronologically later films are largely safe. No, [[Literature/ShadowsOfTheEmpire Xizor will not kill Darth Vader]], and no, [[Literature/{{Shatterpoint}} Mace Windu will not fall to the dark side]]. Much of the books from ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' onward however show why this trope is [[TropesAreTools sometimes a good idea]], as the writers used the freedom of no later canon to [[DarkerAndEdgier kill off lots of beloved characters]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Gotham}}'' has Bruce, Alfred, Gordon, Pamela, Oswald, Edward... it's safe to say that nearly every main character will be alive, although it's [[DoomedByCanon just as certain]] most of them will take the inevitable downward spiral of obsession and villainy (or heroics, in Bruce's case).
* Played with in ''Series/{{Caprica}}''. The young William Adama is a main character, and it's obvious to the audience that he will survive the entire series to become a main character in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica 2003}}'', [[spoiler:except he doesn't. He's shot and killed near the end of the series, and a montage reveals that his parents had a second son whom they named after his deceased brother, and he is the William Adama that the audience knows from ''Battlestar''.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}},'' Jimmy Olsen has a run-in with Doomsday. But we know he'll be fine because he's in the comics when the characters are adults, right? [[spoiler: Too bad, it's just like ''Caprica.'' The Jimmy we've known proves to be named Henry James Olsen. James Bartholomew Olsen (Jimmy's full name in the comics, as heard in many a FullNameUltimatum) is his little brother, seen for the first and last time at "our" Jimmy's funeral.]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' 2013 ChristmasSpecial [[Recap/DoctorWho2013CSTheTimeOfTheDoctor "The Time of the Doctor"]] reveals that the Eleventh Doctor [[spoiler:is actually on his final life and cannot regenerate]], and does not expect to survive the events of the episode. However, in the previous [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor "The Day of the Doctor"]], [[spoiler:The Twelfth Doctor]] makes an EarlyBirdCameo.
* In ''Series/BetterCallSaul'', Jimmy aka Saul, Mike, and [[spoiler:Tuco]] are safe at least until the series reaches the events of ''Series/BreakingBad''.
* ''Series/AgentCarter'', a prequel to the rest of the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse guarantees that ComicBook/PeggyCarter will live to her 90s, Howard Stark won't die until the 70s, Edwin Jarvis will live long enough to inspire the JARVIS AI, and in a villainous example [[spoiler:HYDRA will rebuild itself inside S.H.I.E.L.D. to the modern day.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Palpatine in the prequels, given they all show up alive in the original trilogy. As exciting as their climactic duels in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' are, it loses some of the impact when you know neither of them kills their opponent.
** In an odd aversion, dialogue in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' [[note]]namely, that Leia remembered her mother[[/note]] indicated Padme would survive the movie and die offscreen during the timeskip between ''Revenge of the Sith'' and ''Film/ANewHope''. Instead, she dies at the end of ''Revenge of the Sith''.
* In ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'', it look like Wolverine is about to slam his claws right in Sabretooth's throat. Granted, he just knock him unconscious, but you already know that he wouldn't kill Sabretooth anyway since he appeared in ''Film/XMen1'', that takes many years after this movie.
* In ''Disney/{{Bambi}} 2'', it looks like Bambi has been killed when he fell of the cliff after the dogchase, but you already knew he survived since the first movie has him growed up to an adult. Still a [[TearJerker pretty effective scene though]].
* In ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'', we already knew that Kyle Reese would survive Skynet because without him, no ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' movies. The original, unused ending would've subverted this trope: [[spoiler:[[ShockingSwerve John Connor was originally going to die, and his skin would be grafted onto Marcus' frame, who would carry on as leader of the resistance.]]]]
* In ''Film/TheHobbitTheDesolationOfSmaug'', it's hard to worry too much when it looks like Bilbo, Legolas, or Gandalf are going to die, as we know the film is a prequel, and all three survive to the ''The Lord of The Rings'' trilogy. In particular, the film's framing device is that it's a story Bilbo is recanting to Frodo before the events of ''[=LoTR=]''.
* Due to both Leonard [=McCoy=] and Spock making appearances in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' which is set years after the adventures of the original crew, the [[Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier later]] [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry films]] in the series released after their appearances in TNG make it hard to worry for their safety since we know they'll be alright. Inverted with Scotty who appeared in TNG as well, but not until after the films with the TOS crew wrapped up (unless you count his appearance at the beginning of ''[[Film/StarTrekGenerations Generations]]'').
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'':
** Canon Franchise/{{LEGO}} characters could not be killed for this reason.
** After November 2005, the Dino Attack had a ForegoneConclusion that the Dino Attack Team would ultimately defeat the Mutant Dinos.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Since ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' takes place ten years before the first game, you know that most of the bosses will survive after you defeated them, especially Maleficent and Xehanort.
* In ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'', you already knew that neither Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine would die in their duels with Galen Marek, or that none of the rebel leaders would be executed by the Imperials since the game takes place two-six years before the original trilogy.
* In ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'', Sephiroth, Aeris and Cloud are going to survive no matter what, since if they died, then it means that the series' most successful game well might not have existed in the first place. [[spoiler:Zack]] however is DoomedByCanon.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', [[GameplayAndStorySegregation being a prequel]] set decades before the events of the ''VideoGame/MetalGear'', punishes the player if he [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim kills Ocelot]] (a key character from the previous ''MGS'' games) by proclaiming that the player has caused a {{time paradox}}.
* Played with and subverted by ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes''. The Dilemma Diabolique incarnate trial was released during the [[TonightSomeoneDies "Who Will Die?"]] storyline. As [[spoiler:Statesman]] had already be killed, and the remainder of the Freedom Phalanx was present during the trial, many people thought everyone present would survive through the end of the arc. [[spoiler:Sister Psyche was killed in the next episode, and replaced by Penelope Yin in the current version of the trial.]]
* Originally in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsEX'', it's possible for [[Characters/MasouKishin Zashford Zan Valfarbia]] to get KilledOffForReal when he's forced to fight [[spoiler: his father]]. Since he's alive and participating in Part 2 of the remade ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsGaiden Masou Kishin: The Lord of Elemental]]'', which occurs post-''EX'', any events prior to Part 2, such as the ''EX'' scenarios of the ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration Second Super Robot Wars Original Generation]]'', guarantees his survival.
* [[spoiler:Raul Menendez]] in ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2''. The campaign is split between two sections, one with Alex Mason prior to 1990, and one with David Mason in 2025. [[spoiler:In the final mission of the past arc, you are explicitly told to [[BoomHeadshot snipe-headshot]] a prisoner said to be Menendez. Except it isn't him - quite obvious when you consider that the entire "future" arc is about stopping Menendez...]]
* ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24: The Game]]'' ends with Jack Bauer heavily wounded after managing to kill [[BigBad Max]] and being rushed to a hospital. Considering the game took place in between the show's second and third seasons, it's safe to say that he eventually recovered.
* ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'' is a prequel to ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'', so since [[spoiler:Snow White]] is alive in the latter, said character must survive even though [[spoiler:her severed head is left on Bigby's doorstep]]. Additionally, many other characters are still around in the books, so that rules them out for being [[spoiler:the SerialKiller.]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword]]'', this happens to several characters. Marcus, Merlinus, Bartre, and Karel must live to become playable characters once again in ''The Binding Blade'', Eliwood, Hector, Bartre, Karla, Rath, Nino, Pent, and Louise must live to become the parents of playable characters in the same game, Eliwood, Hector, and Guinevere must live to become supporting characters, and Zephiel, Murdock, and Erik must live to become enemy bosses. (Hawkeye, Canas, and Rebecca, despite being the parents of playable characters, can still die - Hawkeye and Canas due to their children already being born, and Rebecca due to an oversight.)
* At the beginning ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden 3: the Ancient Ship of Doom'', Irene is apparently killed by a doppelganger of Ryu, but since the game is chronologically an interquel between the first two, and she was alive and well in the latter, canon dictated that her death was faked.
* In ''StarWars: VideoGame/ShadowsOfTheEmpire'', you fight Boba Fett as a boss, but he canonically survives, as the game takes place between ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' and ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''.
* ''Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys4'' ends with [[spoiler:the Bite of '87 happening to the child protagonist]]. However, as Phone Guy said back in [[Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys the first game]], [[spoiler:"it's amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe"... [[SubvertedTrope Or perhaps not]], for as the child fades away at the end of Night 6, a distinctive flatlining can be heard]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' is set between ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' and ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', and there is a huge list of characters who show up in the latter[[note]]Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padme, [=3PO=], R2, Yoda, Mace, most of the Jedi Council, Palpatine/Sidious, Dooku, the Separatist leaders, Grievous[[/note]] that cannot have anything significant happen to them as a result. The show compensates by being ''[[AnyoneCanDie brutal]]'' towards any other characters, throwing out {{Family Unfriendly Death}}s left and right, and still manages to create tension with Ahsoka, who doesn't show up in the films and therefore doesn't have the protection the rest of the cast has.
[[/folder]]

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