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Set The World On Fire
Sometimes the Villain is so bad that he scorches the earth beneath his feet (see also Walking Wasteland). Sometimes his evil diffuses around the world and literally sets the world on fire. Sometimes the world is set on fire by some mishap.

See also World-Wrecking Wave.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books


  • In Nightfall, people set their cities aflame when darkness comes (about every 2,000 years), since they panic (having never seen actual darkness).

Live-Action TV
  • On Smallville an old psychic had a heart attack and died when she saw Lex Luthor's future: standing in the Oval Office as the world burns.
  • An entire alternate Earth is destroyed by fire and lava in classic Doctor Who serial Inferno.
  • Babylon 5: on the eve of defeat, President Clark programmed the Earth's network of defense satellites to turn on his own planet. If he couldn't rule, no one could.

  • In Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain", the singer's plan involves being in a submarine while igniting the atmosphere.
  • Ian Campbell's "The Sun is Burning" (later Covered Up by Simon & Garfunkel).
    Now the sun has come to Earth
    Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
    Death comes in a blinding flash
    Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
    And the sun has come to Earth
  • Defied in The Ink Spots' song "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire". "...I just want to start a flame in your heart".

Myth And Legend
  • In Norse Mythology the Ragnarok ends with the fire giant Surtr setting the world on fire and killing everything. Well, everything except for Yggdrasil and those beings hiding under its roots.

Tabletop RPG
  • The end result of Exterminatus by virus bombs in Warhammer 40,000 is this. The virus eats every organic thing on the planet and turns them into organic sludge, high in oxygen content. Then an orbital strike engulfs the world in a firestorm.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Setting the entire atmosphere on fire were one of concerns about exploding the atomic bomb. Lucky it wasn't true, and we now know it didn't happen.
  • The 1980s Scare 'Em Straight documentary The Nuclear Holocaust: a Scientific Forecast shows how a full-scale nuclear exchange would set fire to almost every bit of combustible material on Earth that wasn't vaporized. "The whole world is burning," says the show's surprisingly cheerful host.

I just want to start a flame in your heart.
Rump RoastThis Index Is On FireSelf-Immolation
Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!Apocalyptic IndexSigns of the End Times

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