"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Great job, everyone. You've routed the Big Bad
, foiled the Evil Plan
, destroyed the superweapon, and saved the day! Time to celebrate your hard-earned victory, right?
Of course not. Here's where somebody, usually the leader, reminds everyone to be ready for more, because the job is just starting. The Big Bad
was thwarted, but he'll be back. The planet has more Phlebotinum
, and if they ever got enough, they could conquer the galaxy. There's blueprints for more doomsday weapons out there. In short, the battle may be over, but, as the saying goes, The War Has Just Begun
Sometimes the villain
will say this. "You may have won the battle but..." That's more of a We Will Meet Again
thing though, unless of course he's telling his own troops.
Contrast Rousing Speech
. Also see War Was Beginning
, Won the War, Lost the Peace
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Anime and Manga
- Giren Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam does this right before the final battle of the original series, stating (in the English movie dub), "The war is not over, but know that we have won." His side loses. Badly.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, after regaining control of the Cathedral Terra, routing the Anti-Spiral Human eradication program in the process, Simon reminds everyone that they still have to take the fight to the Anti-Spiral homeworld and save Nia.
Film - Animated
- The Transformers: The Movie version of the theme song contains the lines: "The battle's over/ But the war has just begun/ And this way it will remain/ 'til the day when all are one!
Film - Live Action
- Lord of the Rings gives Gandalf several opportunities to say this, especially in The Movies. So many in fact that he sometimes comes across as rather a party pooper.
"The Battle for Helm's Deep is over...the battle for Middle Earth is just beginning..." (After having narrowly defeated Saruman's gigantic army of Uruk-Hai)
"..Behind the walls of Mordor, Sauron is rebuilding his strength." (After having even more narrowly defeated the Witch King's even more gigantic army of Orcs and Southrons)
- Comes off as a party pooper? Gandalf has an explicit reputation for this, it's even one of his many names.
Wormtongue: "Lathespell! Ill news I name you! And ill news is an ill guest!"
- Harry Potter uses the chapter title, "The Second War Begins" in Order of the Phoenix after Voldemort was defeated in the Department of Mysteries, but when the Ministry of Magic began to recognize the war on Voldemort himself. Amusingly, the final chapter of the previous book had been "The Beginning," with a fairly similar implication.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, after Robb wins his first battle, Theon Greyjoy becomes very enthusiastic that they captured a lot of lords fighting for the Lannisters. Catelyn disillusions him by saying that until he captures Lord Tywin Lannister, "this war is far from done".
- After the defeat of Cockatrice and his basilisk army in The Book of the Dun Cow, at the price of heavy losses, a badly injured Chauntecleer learns that the much more powerful Big Bad still has to be dealt with. This drives him into a particularly serious Heroic BSOD.
- Dragons of Deltora, the third Deltora Quest series, ends this way. Basically the final paragraph is a reminder that, though they have finally unraveled the last of the Shadowlord's Xanatos Gambit, the man himself is still around and can afford to spend a few generations thinking up and implementing a new Xanatos Gambit.
- This is part of what makes Thrawn so much more competent than other Star Wars villains; in The Thrawn Trilogy he uses this line to explain to his men why he's falling back when a major plan goes bad. Better to preserve his forces for the real war in the future.
- Pretty much the entirety of the Honor Harrington book Field of Dishonor is devoted to the Manticoran military and their allies in the Centrist party trying to persuade the rest of Manticore's political class that just because Haven was defeated in pretty much every battle in the opening salvo of the Manticoran-Havenite war doesn't mean that Haven is now going to go home, lick their wounds, and leave Manticore is peace.
Live Action TV
- In the final episode of the second series of The 4400, the Oracular Urchin Maia gives this line almost word-for-word at the end
- In the Supernatural season two finale (appropriately titled All Hell Breaks Loose) our intrepid heroes put down the Big Bad just to get told "War's just begun."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer season seven, subverted of course. Buffy says the war has just begun when they are at the worst position against the First Evil.
- Doctor Who: in "Journey's End", Rose Tyler, hefting a honkin' big gun, proclaims "It's only just beginning" after the Earth is transmatted far across the universe.
- Stargate SG-1 uses this in their final season.
Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell: And you should probably tell him: we've officially declared war on the Lucian Alliance.
- One of the main villains of Power Rangers Jungle Fury is a monster named Carnisoar, who, after a huge battle with the Rangers, gets destroyed by the Rhino Pride Megazord. His last words, of course:
Carnisoar: (as his body prepares to explode) You may have won this battle, but this is far from over. (he blows up)
- On Angel, Wolfram and Hart usually makes a point of arguing that "the war has just begun," and this always proves to be true; even, or especially, in the series finale.
- In the pilot movie for Battlestar Galactica, the surviving humans are reloading on Ragnar Station. President Laura Roslin is trying to get Commander Adama to forget about trying to fight the Cylons. She tells him, "The war is over, and we lost." Adama replies, "It hasn't begun." Later, he changes his mind.
- The Farscape wrap-up mini-series starts with Scorpius attacking a Scarran fleet, sparking the war that has been brewing for so long. When the Grand Chancellor contacts him, he "congratulates" Scorpius on starting the last war of the Peacekeepers.
- Interestingly, it's implied by the show that the victor in such a war will not be either the Peacekeepers or the Scarrans. The Nebari, being a superpower to rival the other two (they don't even have dedicated warships, as their civilians ships can pretty much beat any warship of the other two powers), is likely to fill the resulting power vacuum.
- In Game of Thrones, after Robb Stark's first major victory he cautions his celebrating followers that they haven't achieved any of their aims yet, and that "this war is far from over."
- In 1986, Roddy Piper uttered this very line in the trope definer (at least as far as professional wrestling goes), after he destroyed the set of the Flower Shop (rival "Adorable" Adrian Adonis' talk-show segment), in retaliation for a 3-on-1 attack that saw Piper beaten beyond unconsciousness and the Piper's Pit set destroyed a week earlier.
- Warhammer 40,000 is perpetually stuck on the precipice of galactic extinction. The endless hordes of the Tyranids are still just beginning to reach the galaxy, the Necrons have only just started to wake up, the Tau have just begun to expand outside their fortified Empire, and the forces of Chaos are gearing up for yet another Black Crusade to crush the Imperium forever.
- Of course, the Tau are no danger to anyone.
- Not anymore, according to the leaked versions of the 5th Edition rules.
- Nah, they're still a total non-threat to any faction that matters. The entire Tau Empire is smaller than the fiefdom of one chapter of Space Marines, and they have Tyranids breathing down their necks besides.
- And of course, depending on the rumors you want to believe, the Tyranids are either done with their last Galaxy or are fleeing from a threat that is even greater then they are. Considering how the universe works, which of these possibilities is more likely?
- One theory suggest that its the Astronomicon that attracted the Tyranids in the galaxy in the first place, like a light bulb to moths.
- Combined with Schrödinger's Gun, this has no doubt saved many a Tabletop RPG when the Random Number God allows them to punch out Cthulhu.
- Most Metal Gear Solid games have this feel, since the blueprints for Metal Gears, or villains invariably survive.
- An example that's most delightful in its camp is from the opening cutscene of Red Alert 2. After the Rasputin-like psychic Yuri destroys the American nuclear capabilities, paving the way for Soviet invasion, the following exchange takes place.
Premier: Is it done, Yuri?
Yuri: No, comrade Premier. It has only begun.
- Inverted at the end of Tiberium Twilight: even though Kane is well and truly gone this time (we think), the world refuses to believe it. Understandable, since they thought he'd died in at least three separate wars before then.
- A variation of the phrase appears in Emperor: Battle for Dune, by the same developers as the above example. In the campaign opening, as the Great Houses declare a new war for Arrakis, a Spacing Guild representative says that the old war has begun again. His Bene Gesserit companion corrects him, saying it has never ended.
- Fight, Mega Man! For everlasting peace!
- Similarly, the ending of the original Metroid:
YOU FULFILLED YOUR MISSION.
IT WILL REVIVE PEACE IN SPACE.
BUT, IT MAY BE INVADED BY THE OTHER METROID.
PRAY FOR A TRUE PEACE IN SPACE !
- Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 ends like this because it takes place within the time frame of the previous game. After Leif liberates Thracia, he joins Seliph's army to defeat the evil empire.
- At the end of Portal, psychopathic AI GLaDOS (whom you just destroyed) informs you, in a beautiful song, that she is 'still alive', and will still be so when you are dead.
- Not to mention GLaDOS says the world outside is worse, suggesting Chell has escaped into a world controlled by the Combine.
- No, she's not. The retconned ending shows Chell being dragged back into the facility where she's put into hibernation for a few hundred years until the beginning of Portal 2.
- World in Conflict ends with the invasion in Seattle repelled, but the war in Europe is far from over.
- Mass Effect 1 ends with Shepard and Captain Anderson delivering this speech to the Council. Assuming you saved it.
- Ditto the sequel, delivered to the Illusive Man.
- Mass Effect 2 ends with the Reapers now waking up and on their way to attack the Milky Way galaxy.
- Done very harshly in Halo:Reach in the middle of the game. Roughly the first half of the game consists of fighting a Covenant strike force that has found the planet Reach. With the human fleet still days away, a boarding team manages to take out both capital ships of the battle group, buying time to prepare defenses for the main battle that is to come. No less than 30 seconds after the blast, while the fireball is still fading in the sky, the automated defense system reports "Slipstream Rupture detected". ... "Slipstream Rupture detected." ... "Slipstream Rupture detected." "Slipstream Rupture detected." ... "Slipstream Rupture detected." "Slipstream Rupture detected." The Cavalry Arrives Late, but it doesn't make a difference for the defenders.
- At the end of the Spanish dub of Left 4 Dead's intro movie Bill says: "This was just a skirmish. Here comes the war."
- A form of it in the English version, too: "Son, we just crossed the street. Let's not throw a party until we're out of the city."
- Crysis has this too: Although you defeated one of the larger aliens, there are millions of smaller ones moving to conquer Earth, and the mountain is still alive, so the end of the game shows Nomad, Psycho, and Helena returning to the island to finish the job. So does the sequel:
Prophet: “See, we won here, today. But this thing isn’t even close to over. You and me, we don’t get to die just yet. We gotta go back. We’re needed.”
- At the end of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, after averting a Russian invasion of the continental United States ("Invasion cancelled...sir!"), Bad Company is informed that the Russians have made landfall in Alaska.
- Optimus Primal's speech at the end of the two-part pilot for Transformers: Beast Wars is a textbook example.
Optimus Primal: ...So for now, let the battle be here, on this strange, primitive world. And let it be called... Beast Wars!
- The CGI animated series of StarshipTroopers includes a great scene at the end of the first episode, after the big honking alien force has been miraculously defeated, the narrator character looks up to see an even bigger honking swarm of flying alien bugs coming over the horizon, and indeed says "The war had just begun."
- The cliffhanger ending of Season One of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has a defiant Scooby tell Pericles that not only will he resurrect Mystery Incorporated, he'll also take him down.