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A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

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"Somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now."
Original Star Wars: A New Hope trailer

Space is big. Really, really big. So big in fact, that most of it can't even be seen from the Earth. So what exactly is out there? This trope is what happens when writers try to answer that question.

A galaxy far, far away is a setting for a story which is so far away from Earth, that the very fact of its distance lends an air of credibility to even the most fantastic of plots. After all, no one really knows what's out there in the vastness of space. There may be elements we've never heard of. The laws of physics may not work the same way. There may be space gods, ancient civilizations, Rubber-Forehead Aliens, all kinds of Applied Phlebotinum. Just about anything is fair game, because no one can prove that a given aspect of the story is impossible.


People have set their fantasy stories "far far away" for as long as they've been telling stories, but how far qualifies as "far away" changes as Technology Marches On. Once upon a time this might have been "about 30 miles south of the village", but as humans were able to travel further and faster, the plausibility of a troll living just over the mountain became less believable, so storytellers began conjuring up distant continents and Lost Worlds that explorers had yet to discover. When Earth was mostly mapped, writers began looking to Mars, Venus and the Moon, and once we were able to get a good look at those, they started setting stories in distant, unknowable space.

One doesn't actually have to give too much detail about their corner of the void to invoke this trope. They don't even have to make direct reference to the Earth. If a story takes on a planet that's clearly not Earth, and Earth is never mentioned, it will usually just be assumed that the planet in question is so far away that they've never heard of Earth. If the writer feels a need to explain why most of the characters are (apparently) human or everyone seems to speak English, they may include some vague reference to a "theoretical ancestor planet", or Translation Convention may be invoked. If they don't even try to explain it, then it's probably an unimportant coincidence.


The Trope Namer is, of course, Star Wars: A New Hope, although that movie was just adding the word "galaxy" to the fairy-tale trope about a land far far away in order to evoke a Space Fantasy feel.

See also: Insignificant Little Blue Planet, Earth That Was. Compare with Constructed World, where the story is set on a single planet/world that does not exist in real life.

Straight examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise is about the development of spaceflight by a people who look identical to humans with a 1950s level of technology, but the geography of their planet doesn't resemble that of Earth and their cultures don't exactly resemble any particular one from Earth's history either (beyond some minor mixing of elements).
  • Lost Universe uses this trope, as it's in a different universe.
  • Mamoru Nagano and Yoshiyuki Tomino's Heavy Metal L-Gaim and Nagano's later Spiritual Successor The Five Star Stories do this with the Pentagona Solar System and the Joker Star Cluster (or galaxy, or multiple star system depending on the translator) respectively. In addition to being populated entirely by humans or genetically engineered variants thereof, nearly all the plants and wildlife appear to be ordinary things like cranes, antelopes, lilies of the valley, etc. (with a few dinosaurs and fantasy creatures like dragons and fairies and the occasional god thrown in). And yet Earth is never mentioned. In The Five Star Stories, the human race is believed to have originated on one of two planets, but it's not confirmed. Further complicating things is the fact that a planned future storyline involves a major character travelling through time and space to the last days of World War II.
  • Masamune Shirow's Orion is set in the fictional Orion Galaxy.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is the same as the games it's based on in that it focuses on the planet Pop Star and surrounding planets.
  • EDENS ZERO is about Human Aliens living in a region of space called the Sakura Cosmos that's separated from the rest of the universe by spaceship eating dragons.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • As shown in the official maps (and a few times in the animated series), the "Earth" of Dragon Ball is Earth In Name Only, with completely different geography. It's populated by humans, but also Funny Animals, sapient robots, and various other intelligent species who are all considered native Earthlings, and the humans themselves have advanced technology, a fantastical culture (albeit one clearly inspired by real-world ones), and often display non-human traits (e.g. some people can shape-shift). That's not even getting into the Supernatural Martial Arts and completely different laws of physics. Real world events and nations are never referenced (except sometimes for the sake of a joke), and the setting uses a fictional calendar system. In short, Dragon Ball would be a perfect example if they gave the planet any other name.
    • Many other planets are visited in the series, and none correspond to any real-world location. Also, as shown in Daizenshuu 7, Earth and all the other planets in the Dragon Ball universe are actually in a gigantic snow globe.
    • The parallel universes from Dragon Ball Super all have their own sets of planets and aliens. The only one that has an Earth is our twin universe, Universe 6.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest is set on "the World of Two Moons."note 
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, much like Star Wars, is a science fiction/fantasy hybrid that takes place in an unnamed galaxy. Human characters exist but the word "human" or the planet Earth are never mentioned.
  • Sonic the Comic says that Sonic's home planet Moebius is "in a small galaxy that is 117,63222 light years from Earth, in a parallel dimension, in a different time zone and the whole region is made up of dark matter".
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF is set in a region of space inhabited by FunnyAnimals with no knowledge of their origins. At one point a derelict spaceship is found with a human corpse on it, implying it's set in a distant future inhabited by Uplifted Animals.
  • Sharkey The Bounty Hunter by Mark Millar has played it completely straight so far. No Earth and the closest thing to Human Aliens are the Amazing Technicolor Population.
  • Dreadstar is set in the Empirical Galaxy. Dreadstar himself is a refugee from our destroyed galaxy after drifting frozen for a million years. He looks human but it's not clear if he's a Human Alien or can trace his origins to Earth.
  • Brian Konietzko's Threadworld is a series of graphic novels focusing on anthropomorphic rabbits living on five planets that share an orbit.
  • Astrid: Cult of The Volcanic Moon is a Star Trek type setting with humans with no named homeworld.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: The franchise is set in an unnamed galaxy in which humans exist and real-life animals sometimes turn up, but Earth and real-life stars are all entirely absent. A New Hope, the Trope Namer, used the phrase to set a fairy tale-like tone. The frequent jokes questioning the advanced technology of the setting despite it being in the past ignore the fact that being in a galaxy far, far away, technologies could well have developed much earlier than similar ones on Earth did — Decade Dissonance on an intergalactic scale. Depending on how meta one gets with the titles, the movies could take place in the future, the past or the present.
    • In-universe, the fact that humans are a present and widespread species despite not actually having a known homeworld turns up on a number of occasions. In the Star Wars Legends continuity, a number of theories are discussed in various works; most people assume humanity to have originated somewhere in the Core Worlds (Imperial propaganda claims that the human homeworld is specifically Coruscant, its capital), but Knights of the Old Republic brings up speculation that humanity may descend from the original natives of Tatooine, before they were enslaved and their homeworld bombed to slag by an empire of Abusive Precursors.
    • Lampshaded in the film novelization by having Ben Kenobi say "Still, even a duck has to be taught to swim." and Luke asking "What's a duck?"
    • One non-canon comic book went with the idea of Star Wars actually taking place about 200 years in the past from when the movies actually came out. Han and Chewie blindly jump into hyperspace to escape an Imperial fleet, coming out near and then crash-landing on Earth, where Han is quickly killed by natives. 126 years later, Indiana Jones comes in search of a beast the locals speak of having roamed the forest for decades and stumbles upon the wreckage of the Millennium Falcon. After giving it some cursory exploration, however, he decides to leave that mystery to the "great unknown", after finding himself disturbed over the strange feeling of familiarity he gets about the corpse within the wreckage.
    • The Revenge of the Sith novelization echoes the above tagline
      "Though this all happened so long ago and so far away that words cannot describe the time or distance, it is also happening right now. Right here. It is happening as you read these words."
  • Spaceballs, being a Star Wars parody, plays with this. The Opening Scroll begins with "Once upon a time warp... In a galaxy very, very, very, very, far away, there lived a ruthless race of beings known as... Spaceballs." The rest of the movie had everyone making references to Earth pop culture, and culminates with Dark Helmet declaring, "Even in the future nothing works." A movie called Rocky 5 thousand gets mentioned too.
  • The Warrior and the Sorceress is set in a distant galaxy, on the planet Ura.
  • Krull is completely set on the titular planet.
  • The Dark Crystal is set a thousand years ago on the planet Thra.
  • Starcrash is a Star Wars rip off, entirely set in a distant galaxy.
  • Galaxy of Terror: Earth is never mentioned.
  • The Asylum's Battle Star Wars is The Mockbuster of the Trope Namer and plays it straight.
  • Upside Down: The narrator at the start says that it's set on a unique set of two planets.

  • Alien Chronicles is a trilogy of novels by Deborah Chester and published by Lucasfilm. It was originally intended to be based in the Star Wars universe, until a disagreement between Lucasfilm and Ace Books led to the novels instead being set in a similar but original universe. One that, notably, has no humans in it. However, a couple of the main species depicted in the trilogy have been mentioned in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, implying that they may share the same setting after all.
  • Played with in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun/Book of the Short Sun cycle. Urth is not actually our Earth, but in a separate universe entirely. It doesn't even get mentioned by name in the Book of the Long Sun.
  • Mark Twain's unfinished work Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven is an Older Than They Think use of this trope. Heaven is a region far, far out in space, vaster than any planet since it has to have room for every generation, past and future, of every sentient race in the universe. Captain Stormfield arrives at the wrong planet's 'arrival gate' in Heaven and has a very rough time finding anybody who's even heard of the Earth. Eventually somebody narrows it down when he mentions that it's in the same solar system as Jupiter.
    "Oh, yes! We do know of your planet. We call it the Wart."
  • H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos is a direct invocation of the dark side of this trope; in the far, cold depths of the universe, anything can happen, and anything can be found, even your worst nightmare.
  • In Outlander Leander the characters live on a planet called Pressea. At least one country has begun traveling through space and is starting to explore the universe. No mention of Earth.
  • The Pearl Saga by Eric van Lustbader, which is set on the planet Kundala after a century of V'ornn occupation. Both the Kundalan and the V'ornn are called "human", despite sharing no evolutionary ancestry, and the Kundalan are identical to what we call human (the V'ornn really not, being hairless humanoids with two hearts each and turquoise blood), but Kundala is decidedly not Earth and neither is the V'ornn homeworld. There is no Earth mentioned at any time and Kundala is not a colony of anywhere.
  • The Witcher franchise is set on an unnamed planet populated by various races displaced from other worlds through portal storm events. The one that brought the humans (among other other, non-sapient races) was called the Conjunction of Spheres, and it occurred 1,500 years before the events of the books. Elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes arrived on the planet in earlier events, as did now near-extinct races like orcs, vran, and ogres. Due to some characters (including the Greater-Scope Villain's army) having the ability to open portals to other worlds, several other planets are either visited or referenced over the course of the series, and while visuals in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make it clear that these are actual planets and not simply fantastical realmsnote  no hints are ever given as to their location. It's lightly implied that the original human home world could've been Earth All Along, but nothing's confirmed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Killjoys takes place in a star cluster known as "The J". Although populated by humans, there are no direct references to Earth. So the where and when of the story is completely up for grabs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ironsworn: Starforged is set in The Forge, a globular cluster located above an unnamed and fictional galaxy.
  • Based on their language (English) and dating system (24 hour days, 365 day years) it is strongly implied that the humans of the Three Galaxies setting in Rifts came from an Earth, either in their own dimension or an alternate one. However, since they have lived in the Three Galaxies for thousands of years as compared to the present date on Rifts Earth, they must have been displaced in both space and time.
  • Star Frontiers is set "near the center of a great spiral galaxy, where stars are much closer together than Earth's sun and its neighbors". Humans are explicitly not Earth humans but are extremely similar.
  • Spelljammer is Dungeons & Dragons in space with all the previous campaign settings appearing as planets.
  • Starfinder is a similar concept with Pathfinder set in space and the latter game's Earth equivalent, Golarion mysteriously disappeared.

  • LEGO;
    • In the European continuity, the Slizer lived on a series of Single Biome Planets but the American version had them on the Patchwork Map planet Slizer.
    • BIONICLE is primarily set in the Matoran Universe, which despite the name is actually a series of islands inside of a 12,000 kilometer tall Humongous Mecha cum artificial planetoid. In the same area is the more conventional planet of Spherus Magna which eventually splits into three planets. There are no hints as to the location of the sector of space where all of this happens and there are no references to humans or Earth.

    Video Games 
  • In the Homeworld series, the player's faction appears to come from Planet Hiigara; the Earth is never mentioned in the entire storyline. The player, however, is eagerly invited to draw the conclusion that Hiigara is Earth. The final mission of the first game takes place near Hiigara and it has a very familiar looking moon orbiting it.
    • Due to the essential nature of the Homeworld games (the gameplay is 3D ship-to-ship combat), presenting actual beings that the user could care about was problematic. They hit upon the solution of simply not showing anyone; the only real character, Karan Sjet, is in possession of the Mothership, so you hear her voice a lot. With no real drawings of the people in the game, the player is invited to draw whatever conclusions they wish as to what the actual species is. The last mission is meant as something of a reveal, "they were human all along" kind of thing. For those who didn't get the clues in the first game, Homeworld 2 clarified things by actually showing Karan Sjet as being human (or exceedingly human-like). Karan also got bigger boobs, and shed the whole 'ripped open nerve trunks/crippling cybernetics' bit, too.
    • Though Hiigara shares many similarities with Earth, and the Hiigarans are eventually revealed to be humanoid, it is also made very clear that Hiigara cannot be Earth. This is because (1) Hiigara is located near the center of its galaxy, while Earth is in a completely different location in the Milky Way, and (2) we get a closer look at Hiigara in Homeworld 2 and the continents look nothing like Earth's continents.
    • Also, if you're an astronomy geek, you'll notice the galaxy Homeworld appears to be set in is M51 (aka the Whirlpool Galaxy). Which is about 23 million light years away from Earth.
  • Ratchet & Clank up the ante, spanning three whole "galaxies far, far away" over the course of the series: Bogon, Solana, and Polaris.
  • Most Square-Enix RPGs occur on planets with no visible relationship to Earth, or each other. Though, bizarrely enough, there's almost always humans, or just really Human Aliens.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 has a mini-side-quest that semi-confirms a direct connection between it and Final Fantasy VII, by implying that the Shinra in your group is the ancestor of those who will produce the technology to head to the stars and find a new planet thousands of years ago in the time-line of VII.
  • Z follows the war between two intergalactic robots that look and act a lot like humans. No mention is ever made to who, when, why or where they were made. Ditto that any organic people where ever around.
  • Due to the galaxy being randomly generated, FTL: Faster Than Light has humans but no Earth.
  • Ribbit King has a protagonist from the planet Hippitron who travels to five other planets with no Earth in this setting.
  • Magical Starsign takes place across six planets in another solar system.
  • Freedom Planet is set on the planet Avalice, inhabited by anthropomorphic animals and some visiting aliens but no humans.
  • The Jak and Daxter series is set on an unnamed planet populated mainly by Space Elves (who call themselves humans), and was visited and partially colonized by at least two species of non-native aliens.
  • Dr. Muto has to travel across four planets to restore his home planet, Midway. None of these are Earth.
  • Chex Quest seems to be set in a universe inhabited solely by various anthropomorphic breakfast cereal aliens.
  • Ristar is set in the Valdi System.
  • Alex Kidd platforms his way across various fictional planets.
  • Fantasy Zone is set in the titular region of space.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit is The Tortoise and the Hare but thousands of years later. It's never specified if the original planet the tortoise and the hare lived on was Earth or not.
  • Kerbal Space Program is entirely set in the fictional Kerbol System.
  • Cosmic Osmo is set in the Osmoian System.
  • Celestus is set in the Amatens Galaxy.
  • Noctis is set in the fictional Feltyrion Galaxy, about twice the size of ours.
  • LEGO Universe is set mostly in the Nimbus System in a fictional Lego universe with no realistic planets.
  • The setting of the Pokémon franchise has more or less become this thanks to Earth Drift.
  • Void Bastards set in the fictional Sargasso Nebula. Humans are implied to live in other parts of the universe but Earth isn't mentioned.
  • Warcraft: the franchise is primarily set on Azeroth, a planet in "an isolated corner of the universe." Many races live on it including both those native to it (e.g. humans, elves, dwarves) and ones that have come from various other planets that are occasionally visited thanks to dimensional gateways. Every single named planet (Azeroth, Argus, Draenor, etc.) is fictional and real-world stellar references never come up.
  • Star Ruler is set in a randomly generated galaxy with no real life stars.
  • Immortal Defense is about the planet Dukis fighting alien invaders with no Earth or humans mentioned.
  • Star Fox clone, Astrodogs plays it straight in a galaxy full of anthropomorphic animals and no humans.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Neopets is set on the planet Neopia. A few Neopets such as the Grundos and alien Aisha come from other planets but nobody mentions Earth.
  • Starbarians by Harry Partridge is set "Thirty thousand billion trillion years in the future" with no Earth.
  • Galaxiki is a galaxy full of fictional user designed planets.

    Web Videos 
  • Hilariously discussed in an Achievement Hunter Let's Play of Star Wars Battlefront 2. Gavin Free, who has somehow ignored the scrolling intro to the Star Wars franchise, is totally gobsmacked that it takes place in the past and really far away and wishes they put it in the beginning of the movie. The other Hunters respond by yelling "THEY DID!"

    Western Animation 
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has a cast of various aliens, an Ambiguously Human title character, and no reference to Earth. However, the series' Future Slang mentions another planet from our solar system: "Sweet mother of Venus!".
  • According to the opening narration, The Herculoids is set "somewhere out in space."
  • Galactik Football is set in the Zaelion Galaxy.
  • Robotix is set millions of years ago on the planet Skalorr.
  • Lavender Castle is set in space with no humans or mention of Earth.
  • Insektors is set on the planet Marvin in the original French and Krud in the UK dub. The UK dub throws in occasional references to real life Earth locations.
  • Wherever the Planetary Cluster is located in Shadow Raiders Earth is never mentioned.
  • Tiny Planets is set in a fictional solar system consisting of four Baby Planets.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is set on the planet Etheria, though strange circumstances mean it's not initially obvious if other planets exist, much less would be relevant to the point. Unlike the original series (see next section), there's no mention of Earth whatsoever, though Eternia might still be a place considering it was used as a special passphrase.

    Real Life 
  • All of the galaxies other than Milky Way and its satellites. They are at least millions of light years away, and whatever state observed by us now represents what happened to them that many years ago.
  • A similar thing goes for any theoretical civilizations located around our own galaxy. Scientists estimate that there are 40 billion Earth-like planets orbiting the habitable zones of Sun-like stars, scattered throughout the 170,000 light-year diameter of the Milky Way. A theoretical alien lifeform on a planet orbiting a star a mere 10,000 light-years away both may as well not exist from our perspective and is currently having its star observed ten thousand years in the past.
  • To make things extra freaky, space itself is constantly expanding at an accelerated rate, pushing even nearby superclusters of galaxies away from us. Eventually, they will be pushed beyond an "event horizon" of sorts where they are so far away that their light will NEVER reach us. Only the local galactic supercluster that contains the Milky Way and Andromeda will be visible, held together by gravity until that, too, fades away...

Examples in which Earth exists but has little to no relevance

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics' last attempt to do Starman before Crisis on Infinite Earths was a benevolent planetary ruler named Prince Gavyn. He didn't come into contact with anyone from Earth until the end of the feature.
  • The Trigan Empire starts with a spaceship full of dead aliens crash-landing on Earth but the rest of the stories are flashbacks set on their home planet, Elekton.
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars is set in a region of space that the cartoon series named the Aniverse. Willy DuWitt travels there from Earth when his Photon Accelerator malfunctions.
  • Although Earth appears in Mark Millar's Empress, it's set 65 million years in the past and inhabited by Human Aliens that run a major space empire.
  • Don Lawrence's Storm was originally set on a post-apocalyptic Earth but the protagonists were later moved to the Pandarve multiverse, a bubble of breathable air containing Pandarve and thousands of other planets.
  • Even though most of the action in the Marvel Universe happens in the Big Applesauce, sometimes the setting shifts to the vast empires of the Kree, Skrulls, or Shi'Ar, all of whom have empires that span the greater part of a whole galaxy each (the Kree in particular often state that they control a "thousand, thousand stars" — but then, they are Space Nazis, and prone to bombastic claims of glory). Admittedly, if they count red dwarfs and brown dwarfs, a million stars (1000 squared) isn't really that much compared to 600 billion. Guess how many stars are estimated to be in our galaxy?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Chronicles of Riddick is a case of Earth Drift. The original movie, Pitch Black is the only one that mentions Earth with the rest of the movies feeling like this trope. Every planet referenced in the sector of space that the series takes place in is fictional, and Earth never comes up.

    Films — Animated 
  • Time Masters doesn't mention Earth but some real-life stars are alluded to, like a planet called Aldebaran and a race of aliens called Centaurians. Also Silbad sings about Peter Pan and Superman.

  • Iain M. Banks' The Culture novels mainly concern the spacefaring non-empire "The Culture". The appendix of the first novel states that the interstellar war described ended in the 13th Century AD. In the short story State Of The Art, a Culture ship visits Earth in 1977, stays to study us for a while and leaves without being noticed. The attribution of the epilogue to Consider Phlebas suggests that Earth gets contacted (as opposed to Contact-ed) in the 2100's.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation: This series is set so far into The Future that the Milky Way Galaxy has been fully colonized, but Earth has been lost to human knowledge, leading to a setting where at least two subspecies of humanity have developed. Later in the series, the protagonists embark on a search to find the origin planet of humanity, and eventually succeed.
  • The Discworld franchise is set on the titular world that rests on the back of a giant turtle that swims through space. In the first book, Tethis claims that the rest of the planets he saw were also discs on turtles' backs.
    • Also in the original novel, Rincewind visits our world briefly in Another Dimension.
    • The Science of Discworld is about wizards of the Unseen University creating a world without magic (Earth) and dubbing it "Roundworld".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica. In both versions, the characters are human spacefarers inhabiting a fictional sector of space (the Cyrannus cluster), but not from Earth even ancestrally. They are from the Twelve Colonies that were settled by humans from Kobol and are looking for Earth, which is mentioned in their sacred scrolls as the 13th colony of Kobol. The original series was set in The Present Day, while the series finale of the 2000s version ultimately reveals that (major spoiler) this is a long time ago far, far away (although in the Milky Way galaxy) when the fleet finally arrives on Earth and it's still the prehistoric era. They leave their ships and become the ancestors of Earth humans.
    • Its Spin-Off Caprica played around with that a lot in trying to depict a human civilization that had nothing to do with Earth. Arguably it was the only TV show in recent history to have a go at that.
  • This is the setting in Farscape for all practical purposes. While protagonist John Crichton is from Earth, no-one else in the universe has ever heard of his species or planet, and the location of the show's setting, the "Uncharted Territories", in relation to Earth is never really established; the closest it gets is near the end of the third season, when Scorpius reveals that he has discovered the location of Earth, and says that if John doesn't cooperate, he'll destroy it even though, going as fast as they can, it will take sixty years to reach it. "As fast as they can" is never really specified.
  • Firefly is set in a quintuple star system containing five dense planetary systems in a sector of space referred to as "the Verse" with occasional references to Earth That Was but no explanation. The Opening Narration to the Serenity movie explains that Earth was evacuated centuries ago and humanity now inhabits a star system with five stars and dozens of terraformed planets, dwarf planets, and moons.
  • Lexx starts off in Another Dimension called the Light Zone with occasional mentions and visits to a Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is later revealed to be our universe and most of season 4 takes place on Earth.
  • Star Trek: Voyager focuses on the titular ship getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant on the other side of the galaxy with no Federation presence and encountering various alien civilizations within it. It would take them 70 years to get back to Earth if they couldn't find a wormhole or some other shortcut. A downplayed example in that most of the main characters are in fact humans from a society where Earth is the capital.

    Video Games 
  • While Earth exists and is an important part of the Mass Effect franchise, Mass Effect: Andromeda follows the journey of 100,000 colonists from various Milky Way species (only a quarter of whom are humans) trying to establish a long term civilization in the Andromeda galaxy. After extensive recon and survey, they settle on colonizing the Heleus Cluster, a sector of space with 38 star systems and hundreds of planets, and have plopped down on five of them by the end of the game. It takes six hundred years for the sleeper ships to arrive, so while occasional references are made to old home worlds, none of them play any role in the plot and all of the characters acknowledge that they'll never be able to see anyone from the Milky Way ever again. Due to the Multiple Endings of Mass Effect 3, it's even possible that there is no sapient life left in the Milky Way while the events of Andromeda are taking place.
  • Albion is a Planetary Romance combining science fiction and magic — and the Hand Wave given for the magic by The Smart Guy is that we shouldn't expect the other, distant planet to work like the Earth.
  • In the online Turn-Based Strategy game Ultracorps, there are no references to Earth or humans except for one line about "that legendary creature of ancient Terra, the cockroach" in one race description.
  • Xenosaga has this in the form of "Lost Jerusalem", which is the colloquial term for the ancestral planet of humans. Humans have been living in space for a good 4000 years, and Earth has long since been lost and forgotten over time.
  • The Star Fox series is mostly set in the Lylat system with occasional visits to other parts of the sector and no mention of Earth. The system's location is never given in the games, but the instruction booklet to the first game says is at the center of our galaxy. Starfox characters appearing in Starlink: Battle for Atlas confirm that Earth and humans exist in this setting, but they're far off from any of the goings-on of the series itself.
  • The Bomberman games were originally set on Earth but were later retconned into being set on the Planet Bomber in the Bomber Nebula. 100-hito Taisen Bomberman calls it the Bomber Galaxy and says it's hundreds of millions of light-years away from Earth.
  • EVE Online is set in the New Eden galaxy. The people are descended from Earthlings but the connection between the two galaxies was permanently severed when a wormhole collapsed thousands of years before the game begins.
  • You can find Earth in Spore but it's uninhabitable and there are no humans in this setting.
  • The Kirby games are mainly set on Planet Popstar which according to the manual for Kirby's Adventure, is too far away to be seen from Earth. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards features a planet called Shiver Star which is heavily implied to be Earth After the End, but it seems to be in the same star system as Pop Star.
  • Freelancer: the opening movie makes it clear that humanity emigrated from Earth towards the forty-eight systems of the Sirius sector, and the places are named after actual locations in the Earth, yet nobody in the entire game makes even a single reference to Earth.
    • "We have grown. We have prospered. We have flourished. But we will never forget." My ass.
      • The original E3 trailer showed a Nomad ship arriving after the Exodus and destroying the Solar System. A single ship survived the nova and took off after the colonists to warn them. Suddenly, the "we will never forget" line takes on a whole new meaning... But yeah, they still forget. Then again, it's centuries after the Sirius sector is settled. There've been dozens of wars in the meantime. Who cares about Earth That Was? They got their own problems.
    • Earth is never mentioned by name, but several people obviously have detailed information about its geography, given that not only are various planets, stations, and ships named after locations on Earth, but their roles and importance match up. For instance, the planet Cambridge is home to a major university, while Newark Station is in its proper position orbiting Planet Manhattan. There are only a handful of locales that aren't named for places on Earth.
  • Super Mario Galaxy thanks to Earth Drift making Mario originate from whatever fictional planet that the Mushroom Kingdom is on.
  • Subverse is set in the Prodigium Galaxy, a "mysterious galaxy tucked firmly away in the asshole of the universe". But it does have human residents who got sent there by an Unrealistic Black Hole.
  • Elite is this because of Gameplay Story Segregation. Supplementary materials mention humans coming from Earth but the gameplay consists of fictional planets in eight procedurally generated galaxies. From Frontier: Elite II onwards, Earth and nearby stars were featured in a realistically sized galaxy. The eight galaxies from the original game were generally considered to be distant sectors of our own galaxy.
  • The StarCraft franchise mostly functions this way. With two exceptions (one of whom dies in the same game he's introduced in), every human character (usually referred to as "terrans") is descended from a group of colonists who arrived in the Koprulu sector when their ships' FTL drives malfunctioned and they wound up being blasted so far into deep space (a good sixty thousand light-years from Earth) that there was seemingly no hope of ever contacting their homeworld again. Hundreds of years later, the terrans have built up their own societies across dozens of planets and moons, and start to encounter sapient aliens also in the sector, namely the protoss and zerg. The terran characters almost never refer to Earth and the Koprulu sector is usually treated as synonymous with all of existence to them - even Arcturus Mengsk only desires to rule the sector rather than seek out Earth. Brood War fits Earth back into the story via a long-range expeditionary fleet sent by the United Earth Directorate, but the terran characters don't identify themselves with the invaders at all (pulling an Enemy Mine with the protoss and zerg factions to repulse them), and it's gone by the end of the same expansion that introduces it. After the UED's defeat, Earth goes on to play no role in the rest of the series (beyond one of the survivors of the UED expedition becoming a minor recurring character who sometimes references it).
  • The Phantasy Star series focuses on Human Aliens in the Algol System in the Andromeda Galaxy.
  • In Stellaris, if humanity is not already present on the galactic stage, you can potentially find Earth as a primitive world, undergoing a random period of human history up to the Space Age... or you can find it After the End, a bombed-out husk populated by giant cockroaches with budding sapience.

    Web Comics 
  • Cosmic Dash is set in a galaxy called the Silver Spiral, which has known human immigration for a few generations. Walter Kimney is described as "a second generation human resident of the Silver Spiral Galaxy", while the three human fleet commanders of the Federation, who appear younger than him, are listed as third generation citizens.

    Western Animation 
  • The Masters of the Universe franchise is mostly set on the planet Eternia with the main connection to Earth is that He-Man's mother, Queen Marlena originated there.
    • The Universe Bible for He-Man and The Masters of The Universe says that Earth and Eternia are in different universes with Queen Marlena being a human astronaut sucked through a Negative Space Wedgie to get to Eternia. The astronauts from the Visitors from Earth episode also got sucked through a similar vortex.
    • He-Man's mother coming from Earth was only written in for a Superman crossover mini-comic to explain the He-Man recognised Supes because his mother had described him before.
      • This and later DC Universe crossover had Eternia in Another Dimension from Earth. Though they specify that the DC Earth is the same one Marlena came from.
    • The Opening Narration to the live-action Masters of the Universe movie says Eternia is at the center of the universe. The movie has He-Man and Skeletor chase a MacGuffin to Earth. Word of God says the reason for this Human-Focused Adaptation was because it was originally meant to be a New Gods movie but he couldn't get the copyrights.
      • Early drafts and the Comic-Book Adaptation reveal near the end that Eternia exists in the future and was settled by stranded space travellers from Earth.
    • The She-Ra: Princess of Power spin-off is set on the planet Etheria in the same solar system. As mentioned above the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power plays the trope straight. With Etheria being trapped in Another Dimension for most of the series and no mention of Earth when they return to the main universe. For copyright reasons, they weren't allowed to mention Eternia or anything from other He-Man cartoons.
    • Happens again in The New Adventures of He-Man where time travelers bring He-Man to their planet Primus in the future.
  • Wander over Yonder takes place in a galaxy full of Baby Planets, all of which seem to be inhabited by different alien species. The only possible connection to Earth occurs in the the last shot of the series, which implies Lord Hater is an ape astronaut, and shows a wrecked spaceship with what appears to be a US flag.
  • Loonatics Unleashed focuses on the descendants of The Looney Tunes living on the City Planet of Acmeopolis.
  • Third Earth of ThunderCats (1985) was originally said to be post-apocalyptic Earth, but the show stopped mentioning it after the beginning. The 2000s comic book series, which included a crossover with G-Force from Earth, claimed that it was another planet after all.
  • SWAT Kats was set on a world inhabited by anthropomorphic cats. The aliens from the episode "When Strikes Mutilor" were originally going to be revealed to be humans, complete with an American flag, but Hanna-Barbera executives found this confusing and made the writers replace them with cat aliens.
  • Visionaries is set on a planet where magic has become more powerful than science. The opening narration of the first episode begins:
    Far away in a distant galaxy, the people of the planet Prysmos lived in an age of great technology.

Examples that seems to invoke this trope but turns out to be Earth All Along (unmarked spoilers below)

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • The "Captain Sternn" segment of Heavy Metal is set on a Space Station that you'd assume would be in The Future but it originally lead into a Deleted Scene called "Neverwhere Land" where the Loc-Nar crashes on a nearby planet that turns out to be Earth and starts life. The short would be a montage of human history up to World War II, bridging the "Captain Sternn" and "B-17" shorts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Ice Pirates plays the trope straight, but the original ending was going to have the ice planet turning out to be Earth.

    Video Games 
  • Thunder Force I through IV are set in a distant galaxy known as the Galaxy Federation. V, on the other hand, changes the focus from the Galaxy Federation to Earth.
  • Tyrian 2000 has Trent Hawkins jump into hyperspace, set for an unheard-of planet 100 light years away. The planet in question is Earth.
  • Pikmin appears to be on alien world being explored by diminutive humanoid space explorers, but it's heavily implied (and outright shown in Pikmin 2) to be Earth All Along after the humans died out.
  • No Man's Sky is set across 255 fictional galaxies with no Earth or humans. The Waking Titan Alternate Reality Game reveals it's set in as computer simulation being run on Earth.

    Western Animation 
  • Famously, Beast Wars takes place on a strange, two-mooned planet with identical-to-Earth fauna, until one of the moons is revealed as an alien superweapon. The other moon, which we never got a good look at until then, looks very familiar. Earth All Along; prehistoric Earth due to a time warp they ran into on the way. One of the bigger twists at first, It Was His Sled by now.
  • Retconned away (or never happened, depending on whom you ask) in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. In the West, the series took place on the planet Mobius, with no mention of Earth. However, in Japan, the series was always set on Earth. Beginning with Sonic Adventure, the series officially took place on Earth in all regions (though Mobius survives in the Archie comic, itself plagued by retcons to make everything fit).
    • Sonic Underground and Sonic the Comic still took place on Mobius even at the time of Sonic Adventure. Sonic the Comic even mentioned Earth as being a different planet with a similar evolution, thus explaining the talking animals. The other two DiC cartoons, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) (aka SatAM) also took place on Mobius; SatAM had planned to make The Reveal of it being Earth in the third season, but it was Cut Short. So there are some more Sonic examples. Though in the Archie comics, it was revealed — and thus the trope inverted with — that Earth and Mobius are one and the same. Turned out humanity's paranoia towards aliens was their downfall, as when the Xorda emissary that had actually come in peace, was captured, and subsequently dissected by humans, the Xorda got rightfully pissed and unleashed Gene Bombs (bombs that destroy DNA) on the planet. However some people and animals survived, with the latter's DNA mixing with shredded bits of human DNA, thus turning them into the anthropomorphic creatures they are today.

Alternative Title(s): In A Galaxy Far Far Away, A Galaxy Far Far Away, A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Away