troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Throw-Away Country
"The satellite is at present over... Kansas. Well, if we destroy Kansas, the world may not hear about it for years."
Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Diamonds Are Forever

A somewhat disturbing willingness to use countries only as a one-shot disaster zone that serves to show the protagonists what could happen to their beloved home (unless, of course, it already did). Neither the country, nor the plight of its people, are ever mentioned again. Ever.

Television being as ethnocentric as it is, it is rare for things to happen even outside the City of Adventure, let alone outside of the country. This trope is the negative result of that; other nations and cultures are limited to displays of the general quirkiness of the odd Funny Foreigner and acts of wanton destruction. If a real life place is used, sometimes a joke will be made out of its Acceptable Targets nature. ("Ruritania blew up? Well at least no one will miss it much.")

The smaller a country is, the more likely it is to experience offscreen destruction, or of showing up on a disaster-map without any mention at all. And you can just forget about them getting any mention in global disasters.

European countries are very likely to suffer this fate in film. They're Western enough for the American public to identify with, but distant enough to be "over there". If Australia is remembered, it will generally fall in here as well. (See also Shiny New Australia, a related trope.)

Obviously, very prevalent in globe-spanning disaster movies.

In superhero comics where Status Quo Is God, Reed Richards Is Useless, but so is Doctor Doom. He's never going to make any big permanent changes to the world in a way that makes it too different from the real world. The solution? Give him a made-up country to mess up. Just like their counterparts in disaster movies, these made-up Throw Away Countries are pretty easily forgotten when they're not the focus of a story arc.

See also Red Shirt, Pluto Is Expendable.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex refers to two World Wars (one nuclear, the other conventional), and the show's storylines deal extensively with the results, such as restless (cyborg) veterans and large sections of ruined buildings seen all over Japan. Other nations are rarely even mentioned more than once. Even when the main characters partake in a mission in Germany to catch a Dutch terrorist, Germany is never referenced to again, nor does it serve as any more than an interesting backdrop.
    • It's not like other countries are being devastated for shock value, either. The show just happens to be set in Japan, which also suffered its fair share of destruction, albeit not as much as China.
  • Subverted in the manga version of Outlanders, where the Santovasku completely destroy Japan by the end of the first Story Arc.
  • All the sea nations (besides the North and South Pacific; Lucia escaped in time, Coco willingly surrendered) in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
  • Shanghai and Paris appear to be popular; Giant Robo sees both destroyed. No one seems to care too much (even the Frenchman, who is upset for a half dozen scenes before quickly getting over it) The characters by and large seem more upset over the Big Bad killing a couple of their mates than wiping out several cities, which seems a little cold of them.
  • Any planet except Earth in Dragon Ball Z. Namek at least gets a few more mentions after being blown up (though not the extent you would expect, since ''God'' grew up there), but all the other ones we see villains destroying just to prove that they can aren't dwelled on by the marvelous heroes who only care about the safety of Earth.
    • To be fair, the only planets shown to be destroyed in the story itself are Vegeta, Namek, Earth and in the anime Arlia. Vegeta cant be restored, since it happened decades before and the Dragonballs cant resurrect someone who's been dead for more than a year, the heroes dont even know that Arlia was destroyed, and Namek and Earth are treated with relatively the same importance. Its implied that Frieza and his ilk has destroyed far more, but the heroes have no way of knowing which ones.
  • In Universal Century Gundam, Australia is the victim of a Colony Drop bad enough to leave a crater visible from space. So much for Sydney.
    • Then Ireland got smashed when Neo Zeon dropped another colony on it, and the Earth Federation consider the loss, as lesser mouths to feed.
    • Then Lhasa, Tibet got an asteroid dropped on it because the protagonists were headquartered there.
  • In the manga of Gantz, the Katastrophe is kicked off by the sky turning blood-red and the nuclear-scale destruction of America.
  • In Darker Than Black, a huge portion of South America was cut off from the rest of reality during a Phlebotinum War.
  • In InuYasha, nameless villages are frequently destroyed or devastated by either warring human armies or ravaging youkai. The Anti-Villain Koga actually makes his introduction descending on a random village and loosing the quasi-demonic wolves that follow him to eat their fill on human flesh. Nobody ever brings this up afterwards.
  • In Gundam SEED Destiny, the Eurasian Federation got the worse out of the war, and they did nothing but sit there and get blasted. By their own alleged allies, as just wiping out the sections of Europe that got conquered was deemed easier than liberating them.
  • Code Geass, the Euro Universe was brushed aside with no named characters (Save people born in the native countries of the Euro Universe alliance) as China, Britannia and the Black Knights duked it out. China is eventually dissolved into a multitude of smaller nations. Some of which join the U.F.N. And some of which are quickly conquered by Britannia.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The SDF-1 is flying over Ontario as the government has offered to take the refugees that other countries have refused to accept. Then the Zentraedi attack and the entire area appears to be demolished in the battle.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion the world is covered in flood water that has drowned most major coastal cities and killed more than half of the global population (the first episode does show this, and Fuyutsuki's Back Story scene from the director's cut suggests this) but the series itself never strays outside of Japan or the Pacific (and Antarctica) to show us how bad it really is. In an unrelated situation, Nerv has 108 worldwide satellite organizations and several foreign branches. The 108 companies are all fake, the German branch produces Asuka and Unit 02, but one of the American branches is destroyed and the others are only known to exist because of a background detail in the film.
  • In [C] - The Money and Soul of Possibility, Singapore is retconned from existence after its Financial District went bankrupt.

     Comic Books  

  • Comic books often have Throw Away planets. For example, the Tamaraneans, an alien race of which Starfire from Teen Titans is a member, have their planet destroyed; the survivors move to a new planet, which is destroyed by an unrelated disaster; the survivors from that move onto yet another new planet, which is also destroyed in another totally unrelated disaster.
  • In 52, the entire population of Bialya was killed in a single issue. It was then retconned in a tie-in series so we get to have the fun of the entire population of a country being killed AGAIN.
  • Mythical locales in the Marvel and DC Universes have been particularly unsafe regions lately, with Themyscira (DC), Asgard (Marvel), Olympus (both), and Atlantis (both) either being destroyed or depopulated in the last few years, usually in conjunction with a Crisis Crossover. More then once for a few of those places. Quite honestly, Wonder Woman shouldn't have any sisters left.
  • Ultron kills the entire population of a fictitious Eastern European nation "Slorenia" in just a few hours in the Marvel Universe. Then proceeds to align their corpses to resemble his face. Who says 10 foot omnicidal killer robots have no style?
  • The DCU has in the past ten years destroyed Coast City (The Death of Superman / Emerald Twilight), Montevideo (DC One Million), Vladivostok (Terror Incognita arc, JLA), and Bludhaven (Infinite Crisis). Permanently destroyed, with nuclear fire.
  • And back on the Marvel end of things, Dark Phoenix consumed the star D'Bari and doomed the inhabitants of that entire star system to death by way of illustrating the epic scale of the threat she posed.
    • Not to mention all those eaten by Galactus.
    • During the Infinity Gauntlet arc, the entire island nation of Japan sinks to the ocean. Of course, like most of the disasters during the story, it got a Reset Button at the end. (And, oh yeah, Thanos kills literally exactly half of the population of the entire universe in an instant.)
    • Japan was also destroyed by Moses Magnum and Namorita in one of the Exiles arcs. Apparently he killed every Japanese person on that Earth just to drive home the point that he was to be taken seriously.
      • That was his second try. Moses Magnum first tried to destroy Japan in The Uncanny X-Men back in 1979. Moses, why do you hate Japan so?
    • Japan gets it again in the latest Eternals series. It gets reset.
  • In the beginning of Secret Wars II, the Beyonder destroys an entire galaxy. Molecule Man later restores the stars, but it seems unlikely that he could have resurrected all the aliens presumably killed when their planets got blown up.
  • Genosha, a country focused on various kinds of mutant/human conflict, required Sentinel genocide just because people were tired about writing about Genosha. That said, later plots and character arcs went on to subvert the trope by incorporating the destruction of Genosha as a plot point in various ways (survivor's guilt, monstrosities operating out of the ruins, etc).
  • DC supervillain Cheshire nuked the capital of Qurac as part of a global blackmail scheme. (This is always brought up in her appearances, partly because it's so ridiculous. In Manhunter, for instance, when Kate encounters Cheshire, she asks herself, "Didn't she blow up a country?")
    • She even used this trope as a reason, citing the fact that Qurac was just unpleasant and unimportant enough that nobody would really miss it.
  • The Spectre, The DCU embodiment of God's Vengeance, slaughtered the entire country of Vlatava while the country was in the midst of a bloody civil war between ethnic groups. He claimed that no one in the country was free from the hatred that drove the war, and even the children and infants would grow up to repeat the same cycle of violence.
  • Kansas serves this purpose in Kingdom Come, having been completely destroyed by the Parasite tearing open Captain Atom's containment suit.
  • In the Devil's Due version of G.I. Joe, Boston gets nuked by COBRA using stolen Russian missiles as the opening salvo in their plan to ignite World War III.
    • Cobra's HQ, Cobra Island, is technically a country. And is a site of multiple massacres, in out of main continuity. The whole mess started when the United States wanted to nuke the Gulf for some reason. Finally, CI just gets nuked flat.
  • Karolina's homeworld Majesdane is bombed to dust off panel in Runaways to give their last survivors a reason to come to earth and attack her.
  • The DCU event "The Imperiex War" went with this trope. Several planets, like the planet Daxam where a group of Kryptonian colonists lived, were destroyed. A couple of galaxies, like Maxima's home galaxy, were destroyed. When Imperiex reached Earth, he destroyed several cities, like the kingdom of Atlantis, and what was probably the most impressive to the audience, Topeka, Kansas.
  • The tendency for comic books to do this is painfully averted by Irredeemable, in which its main hero-turned-villain goes to the U.N. and is lied to by the representative of Singapore. His response to being lied to is to sink the entire country. The comic doesn't gloss over the details one bit, and it's just as horrific and terrifying an act as you would expect.
  • In Marvel's Age of Apocalypse, the entire north of South America (where in our space-time lies the Amazon Forest) is a radioactive sea, marked in the map with several radiation symbols.
  • A few locales have gotten this treatment in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics, though the most egregious has to be the Floating Island, which had recently had its entire population quite literally decimated in a semi-off-panel war against Eggman and the Dingoes in an apparent bid to shift the action away from the spotlight stealing Echidnas and back onto the main heroes. It worked; Knuckles' and the Dark Legions' stories were shifted off the island, and the last we heard of its population, it was quietly rebuilding, given little reference in later comics.
  • In one issue, The Authority destroys Italy on an alternate Earth.
  • Back in the Marvel Universe, the fictional country called the Savage Land is used like this; the inhabitants are understandably pissed off at the world.
  • Skrulls, Shi'ar, Kree. Alien socities in the Marvel Universe get destroyed all the time. No wonder the Shi'ar killed all of Jean's relatives.
  • Transformers:
    • In Transformers G2, Jhiaxus destroys San Francisco to show Optimus Prime that he can and will.
    • In IDW's Transformers: Regeneration One, Megatron blasts the Earth into a barren wasteland (off-screen!) on a whim to get Optimus Prime's attention.
  • Marvel's "The New Universe" franchise includes a Crisis Crossover graphic novel titled The Pitt, in which Pittsburgh is vaporized because Ken Connell gets careless with the Star Brand.

    Fan Works 

    Film 

  • In Armageddon, Paris is destroyed by a chunk of asteroid, just to serve as a reminder that these things hurt. Hong Kong suffers a similar fate later in the movie, so the heroes have further reason to angst about the danger.
  • The Norwegians at the start of The Thing (1982) only serve to introduce the title creature.
  • In Star Wars, Alderaan is used as a throw-away planet to showcase the Death Star's power. It also serves as Leia's Doomed Hometown.
  • Independence Day inverts the trope around by almost exclusively focusing on the U.S.A. getting reamed by the invading aliens, while the destruction across the globe is mostly just mentioned in passing.
  • Disney's Mulan has a throwaway village which Mulan's troop find burned to the ground, with the corpses of Imperial China's Red Shirt Army strewn around nearby.
  • The first village the Spartans come across in 300 appears to be a message to the Spartans, as the whole town has been demolished and all of the dead villagers are pinned up to a massive tree.
  • In Solar Attack, New Zealand is wiped out by a CME-induced firestorm.
  • The film Los Angeles Plays Itself, a documentary looking at Los Angeles as it appears in films, notes that Hollywood disaster movies seem to take a sadistic delight in destroying Los Angeles (see Independence Day, Volcano, &etc.)
  • In Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid, the villain destroys Terre Haute, Indiana, "just as it it was about to get a public library!"
  • The Core. The worst destruction is reserved for Rome, which is obliterated by a scientifically improbable thunderstorm.
  • In Star Trek Vulcan is destroyed by the Big Bad (which appears to be setting up future plotlines involving rebuilding its civilization elsewhere).
  • The colony in Aliens, where everyone in it are devoured by the xenomorphs to setup the plot of the movie.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation London is obliterated and the presumed staggering death toll doesn't get so much as mention for the rest of the film.

    Literature 

  • A variation of this occurs in David Eddings' Belgariad world. Arendia was divided into three duchies, who really liked starting wars with each other. Polgara kept them in line for about six hundred years, but finally, her favorite duchy, Wacune, was betrayed by her almost-champion who was, naturally, madly in love with her and jealous of her crush on her actual champion. Apparently this had to happen because two members of the Hero's team would arise from the sniping between the two remaining duchies, Mimbre and Asturia. To this day, Polgara still has a tremendous grudge against the Asturians, who destroyed Vo Wacune. However, this It's Personal has no real bearing on the plot; only the two guys who "rise from the situation" do.
  • There was a novel called Solar Flare—a Christian-conservative novel in which solar flares KO the electric grid and anything electric running while they hit. All nations are affected by the solar flare, but the omniscient narrator states almost outright that only America would survive through this as a civilized nation—before the book is halfway over. There are brief notes of Japanese people quietly dying in their crowded blacked-out cities in an orderly fashion, and Europeans turning into violent vandals—and not having enough space to support themselves during the longer crises. Americans have violent vandals, too, but a combination of martial law and new communities for the non-vandals to go to keeps it in check. (No mention of Russia or China.)
  • In The Third World War, Birmingham, UK and Minsk get nuked. Both cities are hardly mentioned outside the relevant chapters on their destruction.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday, Acapulco is nuked as a side effect of corporate infighting. The offhand way in which the announcement is made within the story amply illustrates this trope, while possibly poking subtle fun at it.
    • Heinlein loves playing with this trope. In Starship Troopers the war against the Bugs turns serious after they drop a rock on Buenos Aires. It seems like a throwaway victim ... until the protagonist learns his mother was in BA at the time (The film version has Rico be from Buenos Aires instead). In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress the lunar revolutionaries use a magnetic catapult to bombard Earth with moon rocks, and their chosen targets are ripe with subtext. The target singled out for heaviest bombardment is Cheyenne Mountain - partly because in the book's near future it remains a vital military command post, partly because Heinlein was upset that NORAD was established at Cheyenne Mountain while he lived nearby, putting a target for Soviet nukes in his backyard.
  • Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles include Australia as a throwaway continent (nuclear war on Earth begins with its inadvertent destruction).
  • The Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove does this to a lot of major Earth cities after atomic warfare starts really kicking off. It's an aversion at first: the first atomic strikes on Berlin and Washington (and Tokyo, to a lesser extent) are massively disturbing events to humanity, that set the tone of the war. Later strikes on other cities (Miami, Seattle, most every major German city as well as Copenhagen) aren't emphasized as much. Special mention goes to Sydney and Melbourne, which are nuked and almost never mentioned again.
    • In the Colonization follow-up series, Indianapolis is nuked by the Lizards in retaliation for the United States launching a nuclear attack on the colonization fleet. By this point in the story the destruction of a major city is treated as a punch line.
  • The Lensman series is rife with this up to the level of entire civilizations being destroyed to further galactic plots. Primary example: the planet Ploor, struck by an alternate universe planet, followed by blowing up their sun.
  • The authors of the Perry Rhodan series are very fond of blowing things up and killing billions of nameless extras, true to the series' Pulp Sci-Fi roots in the 1960s. The series has featured whole throw-away planets (sometimes complete with civilizations on them), —made easy by the existence of superweapons that can blow up whole planets—, throw-away suns, and on at least one occasion a throw-away galaxy!
    • Cruelly subverted on three occasions during a recent galactic war arc, in that those three planets not only had names, but had been heavily featured in the plot of the series before; one of them was even the home world of one of the several major human races.
    • Early on in the series, however, the destruction of another major home world that brought about the fall of the Old Grand Empire of Arkon was treated as nothing more than a plot device.
  • In H. Beam Piper's future history, we read that Buenos Aires was blown up by "Christian Anarchist Party".
  • Averted in Poul Anderson's AFTER DOOMSDAY, underlining how shocking the destruction of Earth is. "How does this happen to planets?" "It doesn't."
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there are millions of inhabited planets. Not surprisingly, many of them are destroyed in this manner.
  • The Star Trek Novel Verse does this too. Star Trek: Destiny destroys Acamar and Barolia - two pre-established but very minor planets - to set up the Borg Invasion arc. However, it does have several more important worlds wiped out in later books, including Pleasure Planet Risa.
    • Played with in the Star Trek: New Frontier novel Dark Allies. Rolisa is indeed a Throw Away Country, but the text informs us the world had a destiny, and if the Black Mass didn't exist it would become the galaxy's leading nation in time.
  • The Dresden Files lampshades this trope while playing it straight and arguably justifying it. It is explicitly stated that various supernatural predators and malevolent entities are far more active in less developed parts of the world than they are in America, and as a result they get pretty much ignored. While it's undeniable that predations are much more likely to avoid discovery by muggle authorities if they happen in such countries, it strains credulity that, for example, the Red Court's nerve gas attack on a White Council hospital in Africa (which supposedly killed 30,000 ordinary people in the surrounding eight city blocks) didn't even get mentioned on the news. The fact that Harry and co, while mentioning the death toll with outrage, are more furious over the deaths of the hundred or so White Council Wardens (who can in no way be considered civilians) smacks of this trope being played uncomfortably straight.

     Live Action TV  

  • In Jericho Iran and North Korea are mentioned as being outright destroyed in the exchange of nuclear weapons. Then again, it's not like America escaped unharmed, as the premise of the show is about scraping together a post-apocalyptic society in a small midwestern town that was far enough from major cities to survive.
  • One of the Stargate SG-1 crew travels to an Alternate Universe where the Goa'uld are attacking Earth. One of the characters mentions they are systematically destroying population centers around the world, while showing a map with a lot of red on it to show this. The United States, despite being one of the most powerful nations on the planet (as well as the one in the possession of the Stargate), is virtually untouched compared to Europe and Asia. However, they were just working their way round from the longitude of Egypt, which is where they ruled the world from last time.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, to show the urgency of the Xindi Story Arc, a Xindi destructo-sphere cuts a gash through Florida. A personal touch is added when we learn that the attack killed Trip's sister (who was never mentioned before).
  • Similarly, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Dominion ends up taking over a few token Federation planets, including Betazed (notable only because it's the homeworld of Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation). We never see anything that happens there though, it's just supposed to be close enough to home to let us know that the Dominion War really is serious business.
    • The writers even admitted that originally it was Vulcan that was supposed to be conquered by the Dominion, but due to Vulcan's importance in the Star Trek mythos, the idea carried too much weight so Betazed was picked instead.
    • There's also that Founder Homeworld, which we watch a combined Cardassian/Romulan fleet bombard. To emphasize just how disposable it was, the Founders abandoned it and used it as a trap for said fleet. Given that the Founders managed to evacuate so readily, one might get the impression they've done this before.
  • Doctor Who can be pretty merciless about this. The all-time high would be Logopolis, in which the Master accidentally destroys approximately one-fourth of the entire universe, including Traken, the home planet of the Doctor's companion Nyssa. Although there's not a Reset Button in sight, the death of countless trillions upon trillions is never mentioned again. Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) admitted that it was a no-win situation to have a disaster like this on the show, since the alternative to just moving on was to deal with the moral implications of the characters' actions, which would have been too much to handle.
    • In the Classic serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", a London-based resistance member casually mentions that the entire populations of Asia, Africa and South America has been completely wiped out by a plague induced by the Daleks. The Unfortunate Implications of only North America, Australasia and Europe surviving an apocalypse are very obvious.
    • At the end of the revival's first series, a Dalek invasion bombs entire continents, with all of Australasia being cruelly deformed. This was in the year 200,100 AD and we never really saw anything happen, so it's rather lessened.
    • The end of season three puts present-day Earth through a year-long reign of terror at the hands of the Master (again). It starts with a literal decimation of humanity and includes events like "the burning of Japan". This case is subject to the Reset Button. Time Paradox!
    • In the charity special "Time Crash", without the help of a Stable Time Loop the problem would have eventually blown a hole in the space time continuum the size of... Belgium? "That's a bit under-dramatic, isn't it? Belgium?"
    • In the Easter special "Planet of the Dead", the titular planet's population of 100 billion was wiped out by the Monster of the Week.
  • On The West Wing, story arcs have involved a couple of fictional Throw Away Countries, including Qumar as a source of Middle-East terrorists and Equatorial Kundu as an example of African genocide.
  • Babylon 5:
    • There is passing mention to a nuclear bomb wiping out San Diego (in the past). This was going to be an aversion, with a shadowy organization based out of its ruins, but it was dropped after the first episode and became irrelevant again. Season 4 had passing mention of planets destroyed/devastated by Vorlons and Shadows.
    • Consciously averted with the Markab, who were wiped out as a species by a plague in Season Two. They were built up as a significant allied species for several episodes, so that their extinction would be more hard-hitting. The Markab homeworld shows up again in Season Three when Sheridan destroys the jumpgate leading to the system, both to destroy a pursuing Shadow vessel and to prevent looters from pillaging the remains.
  • Crusade included a character from one of the planets destroyed by the Shadows, who was introduced planning to assassinate Sheridan for failing to stop them despite knowing full well what they were up to. Eventually Sheridan gets her to understand the impossibility of the situation he was in, having to choose which of many threatened planets would be saved as there weren't anywhere near enough resources to save all of them. This putting a face to the destruction does a good deal to bring the loss home for the viewer.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation used multiple throw-away planets, including Data's home planet. In fact, given the rate at which outlying colonies and/or research outposts are destroyed as a means of setting up the plot, it's amazing The Federation has any infrastructure at all.
  • The titular Lexx ate Holland. It was hungry, and the Dutch, according to Prince, are used to suffering anyway.
  • In the episode "Juggernaut" from the original 1984 series V, Diana has the Particle Beam Triax destroy Io as a warmup exercise prior to taking station over Earth. Fortunately, before it can destroy Los Angeles a Resistance member crashes the captured mothership into it.

    Music 

  • In Jacques Brel 's song "Mon Père Disait" he sings how his father told him that London is just a piece of the town Bruges, Belgium that long ago floated away on sea and then got stuck on England.

     Standup Comedy  

  • In Daniel Tosh's routine, this is Nebraska.
    "Bring the troops home tomorrow, and continue the war here. Because we owe it to our troops to let them sleep in their own beds with their families, wake up in the morning, have delicious breakfast, and drive to war. They can do it in Nebraska. We don't need that horrible state. That can be our field. Some of you are like, 'Oh, that's not nice! Then, we wouldn't have any corn!' My SUV doesn't run on corn. Ethanol's a dream, and a dumb one."

     Tabletop Games  

  • Taken to its logical extreme in the Battletech universe; at least 350 worlds have been rendered uninhabitable or otherwise depopulated. Most of those have simply vanished without even fluff text to explain what happened; they just simply are on one map and not on the next. Of those that have explanations of what happened, only the most recent such as Galedon IV, Galax or Alarion have more then a footnote.
    • And then there's Jardine...
    • There have been several Clans have been annihilated or absorbed by the other Clans for one reason or another. The Clans that have been annihilated so far were Clans Widowmaker, Mongoose, Wolverine, Smoke Jaguar, Fire Mandrill, Ice Hellion, Steel Viper and Blood Spirit.
  • Warhammer 40,000 which has throwaway galaxies that the Tyranids are said to have entirely consumed, merely to emphasize how big of a threat they are.
    • Also, the Imperium's standard policy for dealing with worlds they deem too corrupted to be reclaimed is to nuke the whole planet from the orbit. Their strategy for dealing with the last Tyranid hive fleet literally featured throwaway planets as they sterilized several worlds in the hive fleet's path to prevent the Tyranids from increasing their numbers by consuming more biomass. It sort of worked - the Hive Fleet's advance was slowed to a crawl, and one tendril was successfully diverted into Ork space, thus freeing up Imperial resources to fight the other, stalled, tendril. However, the Inquisitor whose idea it was was declared Excommunicate Traitoris, despite this Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Disturbingly large parts of the Forgotten Realms in the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons have been wiped out in the production of a Darker and Edgier product.
    • The Time of Troubles event also involved this to a certain extent, as did the Tuigan Invasion. Grey Hawk (From the Ashes) and Dragon Lance (War of the Lance, War of Souls) as well.
    • The very first Ravenloft adventure, Feast of Goblyns, introduced a populated domain called Dagland that, upon completion of the scenario, quite literally goes "poof" and disappears into mist.

     Video Games  

  • Fire Emblem loves this trope. A lot of its games have started out with one (if not many) of the main character's nations being invaded.
    • Also subverted in that most of the games subsequently revolve around said main characters fighting a war to defend/regain said home nation. Other countries (like 6's Ilia and 10's Phoenicis) do tend to fall by the wayside, though.
  • Nasrad, Skies of Arcadia.
  • The Greatfish Isle in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
  • Fargo of Galaxy Angel is another Throw Away Planet.
  • Shadow Hearts has its cake and eats it when Shanghai is destroyed in a huge explosion halfway through the first game. Despite this, every single named character in the city survives, even the ones standing at ground zero at the time; oddly enough, one of them reappears only to die near instantly afterwards. Later on, several cut scenes actually reuse the Shanghai sets without any sign of damage, giving rise to the feeling that the huge nuclear explosion knocked over a couple of trees and mussed up the main character's hair.
  • By and large, the only one that seems to care about Doma's poisoning in Final Fantasy VI is Cyan, who had family there. The act is only mentioned a few other times in the game, such as when Kefka is imprisoned by the Empire for a short time to get the protagonists' trust. Admittedly, Kefka had a rather long list of heinous crimes, but it seemed like genocide-by-poisoning would have been a little closer to the top of people's reasons to hate him, at least before he ruined the rest of the world too.
  • The Machinima series Red vs. Blue appears to parody this when it's mentioned that each member of a special unit was named after one of the remaining 49 states, at which point Tucker mentions "Poor Florida" and they have a moment of silence. The fate of the state is never discussed again.
    • Then again, continuity is not this series' strong suit.
  • A recurring theme in Halo series: the Covenant glasses colony worlds, which seems to provide the motivation for a lot of human protagonists to fight. Frequently mentioned in games ("Covenant bastards! It's just like Reach all over again!" - Buck, Halo 3: ODST), but this was always off-stage and not actually seen in the games themselves until Halo: Reach.
  • In the Command & Conquer Tiberium series, most of the world is ravaged by the spread of Tiberium, to a point where 30% of the planet's surface is rendered uninhabitable, and another 50% is difficult to survive in. Though background material and some dialogue mentions the difficulties and destruction Tiberium has inflicted on these regions, not a whole lot of time is spent on the life in these areas.
    • The Tiberium Wars Novelization does describes the life of people living in the Yellow zones from the perspective of the reporter.
  • StarCraft: Several Terran worlds are literally sterilized by the Protoss to prevent the Zerg from spreading further. A futile effort. (Mar Sara was an exception to the trope, as you started there and and needed to escape it before it was sterilized. )
  • Snatcher razes half of the planet's population, most prominently Russia, before the game even begins.
  • In a curious inversion, the kingdom of Ordallia in Final Fantasy Tactics is mentioned only in background information, and the heroes never actually set foot in it. This, even though the War of the Lions (the Ivalician civil war which concerns the plot of the game) is set in the aftermath of the Fifty Years' War between Ordallia and Ivalice, which the former won. The strange part is that Ordallia would find it strategically advantageous to invade Ivalice during the Lions' conflict, which weakened Ivalice to the point of bankruptcy, demolished the ruling class, and saw most (if not all) of its heroes die.
  • The backstory of Star Control II includes swathes massive destruction on Earth, most of it with adequate warning so the areas could be evacuated. That was for practical reasons. They also leveled Buenos Aires. That was an object lesson. And, of course, there's only one significant character who's actually from Earth. The player character was born off-planet.
  • Heavily downplayed in Kingdom Hearts, but The Heartless are said to have eradicated entire planets full of sentient life before they went after the Destiny Islands and begin the game proper. However, they recover.
  • In Earth 2150 Earth is sent hurling into the sun after massive nuclear explosion of thousands of nukes knock it of its orbit, forcing the UCS, Eurasian Dynasty, and Lunar Corporation to build thier own spaceships to escape Earth.
  • In Resistance all of Eurasia have been overrun by the Chimera.
  • At the beginning of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, an unspecified Arab country falls to a coup by Khaled al-Assad, and you get to watch the former president's execution from first person. Then at the end of the first act, Assad nukes the capital city.
  • Many, many games set in World War II will have a whole bunch of countries that exist solely to be conquered by the Germans and are never mentioned again. Poland is the most prominent example of this - the Germans often get to show off their sleek new gear against the hapless, expendable Poles, who serve as a sort of tutorial for the aspiring German commander (historically it didn't go that smoothly).

    Webcomics 

  • In Funny Farm, the rogue AI (simply called "PC") conquers Denmark effortlessly and sets up a robotic country called Siliconopolis. The story suggested that all the humans were removed somehow without anybody seeming to care about them.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Torg, Riff and Bun Bun accidentally destroy an entire dimension (the anime dimension) and all of its inhabitants. It is later discovered that the dimension was part of an experiment by really big aliens, but neither the plot nor the poor suckers that lived in it are ever mentioned again.

     Western Animation  

  • In Drawn Together, nobody ever seems to mention the destruction of Captain Hero's home planet after the episode "Orphan Hero" (although given the nature of the show, this is to be expected).
  • Used to hilarious extremity in one episode of Superfriends. Black Manta has just caused a fire on an island. Aquaman summons sea creatures to create a giant tidal wave to put the fire out. Only it backfires and he ends up accidentally flooding not only the island, but every coastline in the Western Hemisphere. Aquaman and the rest of the Superfriends are rather unalarmed at the massive death toll. (Earlier in the episode, several major U.S. cities were completely frozen, but this too goes without comment.)
  • In South Park San Fransisco is gets hit with a Smug storm and disappears completely up its own anus. Of course, this is less neglect and more writer wish-fulfillment.
    • In the "Pinewood Derby" episode, Randy and the rest of the world nuke the entire country of Finland because its president was going to tattle to the intergalactic cops about the space cash they hoarded, which, of course, turned out to be fake anyway - Finland was wiped off the map for nothing.
  • G.I. Joe: Resolute begins with Cobra blowing up Moscow to demonstrate their Kill Sat. Warren Ellis originally planned for it to be Beijing, and summarized what happened thusly:
    HASBRO: No, Warren, you cannot wipe Beijing from the face of the earth.
    Me: Shit. (pause) What about Moscow?
    HASBRO: Wiping Moscow from the face of the earth would be fine.
    • Ironically, Ellis had previously blown up Moscow in The Authority.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Rebel Rabbit", Bugs Bunny is trying to cause as much trouble as possible. This leads to him sawing off Florida and kicking it off into the ocean.
    "South America! Take her away!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer Simpson starts working for Affably Evil supervillain Hank Scorpio, they demonstrate this trope along with Acceptable Targets:
      Hank Scorpio: (as he warms up giant doom laser) By the way, Homer, what's your least favorite country? Italy or France?
      Homer: France.
      Hank Scorpio: He he he, nobody ever says Italy.
    • When Bart and Milhouse run Comic Book Guy's store for a week, they discover his stash of secret video tapes. One of them contains nuclear war orders from the 50s where an army high commander declares Springfield a "nuclear whipping boy". If nuclear war breaks out, all allied countries will target ALL their nukes on Springfield to "calibrate targeting."
    • In a 24 parody episode Jack Bauer came to Springfield school to arrest Bart for making a prank call, while abandoning what ever he was doing before. Then a nuclear explosion happens in the distance, Bauer states that it was just Shelbyville, and everyone sighs in relief.
  • In the new Thundercats, Mumm-Ra is guilty of extinguishing a sun and killing off an entire solar system with three life-teeming planets... just to satisfy the Ancient Spirits' wish for a wicked powerful sword.
    • In the very first episode the Kingdom of the Cats gets decimated by the Lizards in a single night. It helps that the Lizards are armed with high tech weapons, while the Cats are armed by medieval spears and shields.
  • In Ben 10 Vilgax test out a superweapon on Tetrax's homeworld, right after Tetrax gave him the crystal for his weapon to work.

    Real Life 
  • Before World War 2, Superpowers, and the United Nations, one country "annexing" all or part of another was considered a legitimate part of international relations. Only "Powers" were assured of territorial integrity and all others had to either had to rely on a Power to protect them or be wily enough to remain independent. This practice was at its most rampant during the Scramble for Africa and later after World War 1 when all the previous maps were re-drawn to reflect the outcome of the conflict.
    • Most blatant example was probably Czechoslovakia in 1939 which was sacrificed to Nazi Germany by the other Western Powers to maintain "peace".
  • Europe felt this way during parts of the Cold War where it was clear that any battles, be they conventional or nuclear, would be fought on their territory by the United States and Russia.
  • Much of central Asia was considered to be disposable in The Great Game between Britain and Russia. The real prize was India with other countries providing ways to get at India.


Sacrificial PlanetThis Index Is ExpendableWe Have Reserves
Scavenger WorldYou Would Not Want to Live in DexUsed Future
Three-Point LandingAction Adventure TropesThrown from the Zeppelin

alternative title(s): What Measure Is A Non Plot Relevant Place
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
85608
0