->''"We were ''your'' team, Commander. With the ''Normandy'' destroyed and you gone, there wasn't much keeping us together."''
-->-- '''Joker''', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

A team falls apart after {{the heart}} or their {{magnetic hero}} [[TheHeroDies dies]], [[TheBandMinusTheFace leaves]], or [[AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascends to a higher plane of existence]]. Without his or her unifying influence, there isn't much holding them together anymore, so they drift apart to pursue their own endeavors.

WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou is a {{video game}}-specific subtrope, where the protagonist's death ends the game even if companions are still alive. Presumably they drift apart ''immediately'', without even stopping to use a [[Franchise/FinalFantasy Phoenix Down]].

If the hero comes {{back from the dead}}, expect {{putting the band back together}}. Compare TheFellowshipHasEnded, when the team was held together by a unifying purpose rather than a particular member, and LosingTheTeamSpirit.

''Be warned, this is often a {{death trope}}.''
!! Examples:


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* When Taichi was dragged back to the real world in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', the [[YearInsideHourOutside time inconsistency]] meant that the remaining Chosen slowly split apart over the course of a month or so, partially of their own devices and partially because of the influence of [[TheTrickster PicoDevimon]], to the point that Takeru and [[BondCreature Tokomon]], formerly very close, even got mad at and left each other. When he makes his way back, much of the next arc is him (and Sora, acting as a MysteriousProtector) trying to regroup the Chosen even as [=PicoDevimon=] continues trying to tear them apart.
** This also happens in the movie: After a long period of peace, the crew eventually just breaks apart with each member going their own ways. Tai and Izzy are the only ones who remain close and, for much of the battle against Diaboromon, are fighting the threat by themselves. Most of the rest of them remain completely unaware of the entire struggle, leading normal lives unrelated to Digimon.
** Although they were still friends that met and hung out regularly, just not as a group that had to remain together all the time. It's more that everyone was busy that particular day (Matt and TK were at their grandparents, Joe had a school exam, Kari was a party etc..) and wasn't expect a sudden Digimon problem again.
* Pretty much the entire plot of ''Anime/AnoHanaTheFlowerWeSawThatDay''. A group of childhood friends drifted apart when they were young because one of them died, and now are slowly getting together after the appearance of the ghost of their dead friend.
* This, combined with other incidents, is what leads to most of Tenchi's gathering of girls to go off halfway through ''Anime/TenchiInTokyo''. Once Washu figures out what's going on and Tenchi [[spoiler:and Sasami]] end up in trouble, they start to return.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', the Sun pirates were a RagtagBunchOfMisfits under [[TechnicalPacifist Fisher Tiger]] who managed to keep different factions like the Arlong pirates and the Macro pirates under his control despite a precarious AHouseDivided situation. After Tiger's death, Jinbe became a new captain who was able to gain command of the crew for a while, but eventually the Sun pirates were disbanded.
* A particularly horrifying version in ''{{Manga/Berserk}}''. Griffith's Band of the Hawk has just won a decades-long war for their employer the king of Midland, who gives Griffith a knighthood while the Band celebrates. Guts, seeing as there's nothing left for him to do in peacetime, decides to leave, but Griffith forbids it, willing to kill him before he'll let him go. Guts easily beats Griffith, causing a mental breakdown that leads to him sleeping with the Midland princess, who had a crush on him. He is found out and arrested, while the Hawks barely escape a massacre by the army, some splitting up and going their separate ways. A while later, Guts hears about the Hawks' troubles and shows up as they're about to rescue Griffith. They succeed, but Griffith has been crippled and tortured to the point where he can't speak, walk, or move his arms, let alone lead a mercenary company to victory. This, coupled with Griffith's jealousy, leads him to summon the Godhand, sacrificing the Hawks to his ambition.
* In ''Anime/ThePlacePromisedInOurEarlyDays'', Sayuri's disappearance causes Hiroki and Takuya to drift apart. Reuniting to finish the Vielaciela for her sake brings them together again.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'', it was Superman's retirement (after the death of Lois Lane, and the public favoring the AntiHero Magog over him) that caused most other heroes to also retire. Similarly his return years later inspires them to come back.
* In the "Breakdowns" arc of ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational'', it was the ultimately unsuccessful assassination attempt on Maxwell Lord, which nevertheless left him in a coma, that broke up the team. The apparent[[note]]he was actually just sent to the distant past[[/note]] death of ComicBook/CaptainAtom, the field commander of the JLE, probably didn't help either. An interesting case, because neither man was particularly beloved by the team, but they were the ones who could impose some discipline and organization on a gang of super-powered egomaniacs.

* Quite a few ''Manga/OnePiece'' ones had the Straw Hats disbanding once their captain Luffy was gone.
** Also happens to a number of ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' fanfics that have Usagi gone or killed off.
* In ''Fanfic/FallenKing'', Yugi kept his friends together. Tea points out at the end that if he were there, he wouldn't have let them split apart.
* In ''Fanfic/OneYear'', this is averted with [[VideoGame/Persona4 the Investigation Team]], which remains close after Yu returns home. It's played straight, though, with Yu's [[OriginalCharacter old group of friends]], who drifted apart in the year that he was gone. Yu, who hadn't been much for making deep friendships before coming to Inaba, is surprised and somewhat upset to find out that he'd been the glue holding the group together, as he'd hoped that they would have been able to go on without him.
* In ''Fanfic/PanopticonQuest'', Reina was popular and respected across the Order/Union and her death was the catalyst for many changes in the Technocracy, including the Electrodyne Engineers' disagreement turning into outright defection and the Invisible College's reformation as Control.

* In Herman Hesse's ''The Journey to the East'', the tight-knit group H.H. is traveling with completely falls apart after their servant, Leo, disappears in Morbio Inferiore. [[spoiler: H.H. later finds out that Leo was actually the League president all along, traveling with them in disguise. His disappearance was a SecretTestOfCharacter which everyone in the group failed miserably.]]
* In ''Literature/SkippyDies'', Skippy's group of friends (Ruprecht, Geoff, Mario, Dennis) all stop hanging out with each other and find separate groups of friends after Skippy's titular deaths; turns out Skippy was what held them together all along.

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* Happens between the second and third seasons of ''Series/RobinOfSherwood'' - the merry men disbanded after the death of the original Robin (Michael Praed) and it takes the coming of the new one (Jason Connery) to pull them back together.

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* In the [[Literature/TheBible New Testament]], after UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} is arrested and crucified, his disciples are scattered across Jerusalem, not knowing what to do next. Peter even denies ever knowing him (three times). However, then Jesus comes back and rounds them all up again. After his ascension, [[LetsSplitUpGang they once again split up]] to carry out his will and convert other countries.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]]'s sheer [[MagneticHero magnetism]] kept the [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits very mixed]] ''Normandy'' crew together even after the Saren crisis. When s/he was killed, however, they fell apart... [[TropeNamer See Joker's quote on that above]]. Shepard's return eventually draws almost all of them back together, aside from those who have other obligations [[spoiler: like Wrex reforming the Krogan or Liara being the Shadow Broker]]. The bulk of Shepard's crew [[spoiler: and whichever squadmate you chose to save on Virmire]] however left on other Alliance business and invoke WhatTheHellHero for Shepard working for Cerberus.
** This is lampshaded late in the game, when Miranda points out that Shepard must have a magnetic personality and gobs of charisma to get so many people not just working together, but working together well, despite their misgivings about each other. In short, Shepard's superpower is their ability to engender trust and rally people.
** Happens again in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', albeit for different reasons. After the events of the ''Arrival'', Shepard turned themselves and the ''Normandy'' over to the Alliance and spent the next six months under house-arrest on Earth awaiting trial for [[spoiler: causing the [[RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun destruction of the Bahak System]] (or ties with Cerberus if you didn't play ''The Arrival'' DLC)]]. The survivors of the Suicide Mission have again been scattered across the galaxy, with only Garrus, the Virmire Survivor, Liara, and Tali able to rejoin your squad, while everyone else appears [[HeroOfAnotherStory during side-quests]] or as playing important roles in the conflict at large.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** This happens to the Warden's companions in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' [[spoiler:if s/he dies in the FinalBattle. Of course, [[TheFellowshipHasEnded they still leave]] even if s/he survives]].
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', after the events at the Gallows, Hawke and their companions are forced to flee Kirkwall and go their separate ways, with the exception of Hawke's LoveInterest who joins them on the run. By the time of ''Inquisition'', Hawke is revealed to have also parted ways with their love interest in order to [[spoiler:focus on their investigation of the false Calling without interfering with whatever personal business their lover had. However, Varric is still maintaining contact with all the old gang and if Hawke survives the Fade, they are reunited with their family (what's left of it)... at least [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed until the next crisis]].]]
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', the main character will always survive, but the title organization faces considerable pressure to disband or downsize in the last story [=DLC=]. [[spoiler: The Inquisitor can pick either option, but most companions will return to their own lives and affairs, albeit staying in contact.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', [[spoiler:after the PlayerCharacter ventures alone into Unknown Space after the events of the game]], the ''Ebon Hawk'' crew likewise falls apart, with only a few reappearing in the sequel.
** They didn't just fall apart; they were assigned to different tasks. Canderous was assigned to reform the Mandelorians, Carth is rebuilding the Republic military, and Bastila (and possibly the other Jedi) are rebuilding the shattered Jedi order in secret.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}: [[ExpansionPack FES]]'', the SEES members admit they've fallen apart, despite being dorm mates, after the events of the main campaign [[spoiler:in which the main character died, though this doesn't stop them all from forming the Shadow Operatives in the future, suggesting they all grew fond of each other to some degree]].
** Subverted with ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}''. The group of heroes all stay together in spite of the protagonist leaving the town for awhile at the end of the game. And when he returns in ''Arena'', and in ''The Golden'''s epilogue they all fall in as if he'd never left.
** Both teams are contrasted with each other in ''VideoGame/PersonaQShadowOfTheLabyrinth'', where [[spoiler: the P3 cast has to deal with realizing how much closer the P4 cast is as a group than they are, suggesting the only reason most of these people are even in the same team is that their leader is the glue keeping them together]].
* This can happen in ''VideoGame/FootballManager'' and whilst it may seem like a weird example all the rules of this trope apply. If you resign or leave your club for whatever reason and you have built a good rapport with your staff then they may leave alongside you.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather 2'' Michael Corleone discusses this, saying that [[spoiler:Aldo Trapani]] was the only one holding the New York mob together. Sure enough, with his death, breakaway splinter groups have started to form.
* In ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'', Captain Garland was charismatic and magnetic enough to keep the incredibly diverse folk of the Unity together. When he dies before the game starts, all the factions fall apart.
* Several of the party members that the Nameless One can recruit in ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' turn out to have accompanied at least one of his previous incarnations. Over the course of the game, they are drawn to him once again.
* The title organisation from ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' had this happen hugely after Reinhardt Wilhelm was forced to retire. His influence both kept the individual members together and gave the organisation a moral compass; without him there to object, Blackwatch started doing questionable stuff that the public wasn't happy about when it came to light. Once Jack Morrison (the actual leader of Overwatch) and Gabriel Reyes (leader of Blackwatch) had their scrap and were both presumed dead, Overwatch was disbanded and without any real leader figure left, the team split up to go their own ways.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This is what happens to the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' in the episode "How Long Is Forever" after Starfire [[GoneToTheFuture disappears]] (while not the leader, she was the [[TheHeart most good-natured and optimistic]]). The rest of the team are actually in disbelief that their friendships were so weak to allow that to happen, resolving to become closer as a result.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'' has a BadFuture episode even bleaker than ''Titans''. Without Donatello's "[[TheSmartGuy level head]]", the Turtles no longer work as a team and Shredder takes over the world.
* In the one episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', when it seems that {{Superman}} has been killed, the League briefly considers disbandment. Subverted twice: in the original timeline, they recruit Aquaman and stick around (but don't last long before being wiped out); and when [[spoiler:Vandal Savage]] fixes the timeline, and Superman returns to his time, the League proceeds like they did before.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Korra was poisoned by Zaheer and needed to leave the team to recover. When it was clear Korra would be gone much longer than they expected, Team Avatar disbanded and all except for Bolin gave up their heroism and led regular lifestyles. By the time Korra returned, the team is back together for one last mission against Kuvira, and with more members that time around.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'', the Six Forgotten Heroes were implied to have been like this - after Captain America did a HeroicSacrifice, they each went their separate ways, and most of them gave up superheroism eventually. Although the team is put back together by Spider-Man, not Captain America.
* Done in an... interesting way in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls''. In [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic the show proper,]] while it's implied that the rest of the Mane 6 knew each other prior to Twilight Sparkle's arrival, they didn't really get to know each other and become friends until Twilight pulled them all together. When Twilight enters the HighSchoolAU in ''Equestria Girls'', she finds out that the human versions of the Mane 5 were friends until AlphaBitch Sunset Shimmer manipulated them into breaking apart. Not two days after Twilight's arrival, the Humane 5 are once again friends.

* When the family head, usually the grandparents, die, very often the rest of the family will drift apart without the patriarch/matriarch keeping them together.
* Relatively common in martial arts schools when it comes time for the sensei/head instructor to pass on their title (especially if said instructor dies unexpectedly or is otherwise incapacitated without leaving instructions on who should take over). Students who disagree with the choice of successors, or who don't get along with them, will often leave or start their own group.