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The Earth Prime Theory
"Somewhere in the multiverse, there is a world I call 'Earth Prime'. Every Earth is a variation of this one, the original—and once I destroy it, all reality will follow."

The Multiverse is a weird thing. Depending on the genre of the work, it can mean a dozen different things. But most sci-fi has a pretty clear definition of what a "Multiverse" is. For every decision someone makes, the universe diverges into several parallel dimensions, one for every possible choice. As such, there are a nearly infinite number of universes where every conceivable version of you (or the lack thereof) exists.

This is a problem for Omnicidal Maniacs. How can one possibly destroy all of reality if, somewhere, there is another reality where they fail? The answer is to find Earth Prime: If you find and destroy the original universe that all others diverged from, you can retroactively destroy all of them.

Related to Expendable Alternate Universe. Compare Cosmic Keystone and No Ontological Inertia. Of course, there are Time Travel Paradoxes and Logic Bombs abound in this theory, so it definitely requires some Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Theoretically, the very act of doing that, would simply create ANOTHER infinite number of possibilities. Therefore, destroying everything should be impossible.

Warning: May be some spoilers ahead.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • As of 52, the DC Comics multiverse hinges on "New Earth" - not just a specific universe, but a specific planet in that universe (note that "Earth Prime" refers to another universe altogether that's like ours, where superheroes don't exist outside of comics). This becomes a plot point shortly afterwards in the Sinestro Corps War, where Sinestro wants to conquer Earth for this very reason.
  • The Sonic comic book has Mobius Prime, which all other parallel worlds (called Zones) are based off. Interestingly, despite the franchise starting with video games, Mobius Prime is the comic's Zone and not the one of the games.
  • Earth Prime - our Earth - was actually destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    Linkara: Yeah, that wave of antimatter that completely annihilated the universe was a bitch to clean up the next day, let me tell you!

Fan Fic
  • The Pony POV Series chapter "Applejack's Dream" establishes the existence of a "Heart World" from which the Pony POV Series world and all other Alternate Timelines diverged from and which anyone still connected to are effected by, implied to be the main series timeline. However, in an interesting twist, it is possible for a world to "break off" and continue on its own without any connection to the Heart World. The plot of that chapter involved preparing for the possibility that would happen so as to prevent Applejack from going insane and turning into Nightmare Mirror in the even that it did. This later bites Nightmare Eclipse in the flank when her plan has basically made her the Heart World Nightmare Eclipse, and tied all her other selves to her — in other words, defeating her defeats all versions of her.

Literature
  • Present in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Vogon Jeltz, tasked with demolishing the Earth, is deemed unsuccessful by his superiors because he only demolished one Earth, whereas in fact there are millions of others still existing in alternate universes. At the end of Mostly Harmless, he finally succeeds in eliminating every single one.
  • In Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry, Fionavar is a fantasy version of this; one world that all other ones spring from and depend on.
  • In The Chronicles of Amber, this is what makes Amber so special - it's the primal reality which defines the cosmos.
  • William Shatner's Quest for Tomorrow series introduces this concept in the last novel prior to the reboot. In fact, the main characters' goal is to reboot their reality by altering the result of a coin flip in the prime reality. Unfortunately, Shatner abandons the series two books after the reboot.

Western Animation
Dream PeopleOtherworld TropesEasily Conquered World

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