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But Now I Must Go

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Bart: Work here is done. I'm needed elsewhere now. I'm needed wherever outlaws rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry out for justice!
Crowd: [in unison] Bullshit!
Bart: ...all right, you caught me. Speaking the plain truth, it's getting pretty damn dull around here.

AKA "Mary Poppins Syndrome". An easy way to add anywhere from a twinge of sentimentality to a whole extra Tear Jerker scene to the end of your movie: after helping out and saving the day, The Drifter character must leave forever. It's used a lot in solo series of many an Ensemble Dark Horse, as their adventures alone can't keep them in the small town forever; they have to plausibly be able to get back to the team.

Excuses for why they need to leave are varied. Perhaps once their job is done, they are no longer needed and must set off for a new job, as with the Knight Errant, or fulfill their longstanding promise to return to their distant home. Perhaps they are bound by a supernatural curse or spell that states they can only come back every X years or they can only stay for X days. Maybe they're really some kind of Fantastic Sapient Species or godlike being, unable to settle down in this world and enjoy human comforts. Maybe they're just a traveler and can't deny the call of the open road or the cry of the sea. Maybe they seek further adventure and danger or maybe they see civilised society as having no place for rough men like them. Maybe they're a Destructive Saviour whose continuing presence could do just as much harm as the threat they helped neutralize. Maybe they must Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Maybe they are starting or completing the Journey to Find Oneself. Maybe they want their heroism to remain Shrouded in Myth. Maybe the final cut is missing some scene that could explain this.

It doesn't count if the character was already dying for some understandable reason, has some kind of good, understandable, plot-related reason to leave, or goes off to a Heroic Sacrifice. This is when the character has become loved and respected by other characters and has to leave for no other reason than "he must".

This tends to happen a lot in Yuri anime, especially if the lovers in question don't end up crazy or dead.

Compare Riding into the Sunset, Off-into-the-Distance Ending, Save the Day, Turn Away, No Place for Me There, Walking the Earth. Also see I Choose to Stay, which is the polar opposite. Not to be confused with Potty Emergency.

As an ending trope, expect SPOILERS.

Example subpages

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 
  • A Verizon cellular phone commercial has a biker getting ready to leave and telling his lady love that she can't come with him because he rides solo... and then she asks about the crowd behind him. "Well, except for my Network."
  • In the original final video of Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like video series, the Old Spice man gives a fond farewell to his viewers:
    Old Spice Man: Well, friends, like all great things, this, too, must end. There's giant oaks that need chainsawing into yacht boats, Bermuda Triangle mysteries that need solving with huge magnifying glasses, and everyone knows I could use one or twelve medals for winning exotic car-drawing competitions. I must ride my jet-ski lion into the sunset. I know a lot of you have written me and commented on my works, but I am just one ridiculously handsome man. I can't write to everyone, but please know that I consider you my dearest and closest Internet friends. I'll never forget this time we've spent together. I love you, always. SILVERFISH HAND-CATCH!

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Batman: In Darkest Knight ends with Bruce Wayne flying into space to go after Sinestro, Star Sapphire and Binary Star while leaving the newest Green Lantern recruits Superman, Hippolyta and Flash with the responsibility of defending Earth in his absence.
  • Lucky Luke: Lucky Luke rides off singing into the sunset after every adventure.
  • New Avengers: Fongji, the Iron Phoenix, just disappeared after she merged with the Phoenix Force.
  • Star-Lord: A concept was that it was a disguised training manual to allow humans to survive the imminent invasion by the Interstellar Federation, and was published and edited by a benevolent being named the Starlord. In the last issue before Starlord merged with 2000 AD, the Starlord said he had trained humanity so well that the Federation was too scared to invade Earth, and so he was leaving to help other planets.
  • Superman:
    • Let My People Grow!: When Superman and Supergirl finally succeed in enlarging the Bottle City of Kandor, the Kandorians choose to live on a Brigadoon-style planet called Rokyn, which phases in and out of the universe at lengthy intervals.
    • Crucible: After succeeding in saving the titular interplanetary superhero academy, Supergirl is offered a job as a Preceptor, but Kara politely declines the offer and returns to Earth where she's starting a new a life and her help is very needed.
    • Many Happy Returns: After failing to save Kara, Linda retires from heroing and leaves her hometown forever.
    • The Immortal Superman: After saving Metropolis in the year 121,970 Superman finds he has no reason to stay in that era, so he jumps back into the timestream.
    • The Amazing Story of Superman Red and Superman Blue: After eradicating crime across the world and restoring Krypton, Superman Red, Lois and Supergirl move to New Krypton. Superman Blue stays on Earth, but he retires.
    • In Supergirl (1984), after defeating the witch Selene and restoring Midvale to normal, Supergirl says goodbye to the people she met and flies back to her hometown.
    • The Dominator War:
      • At the end, Cosmic Boy is visited by the Tempus Knights, a super-team hailing from the 41st century, who offer him membership. Cosmic Boy takes up their offer, goes away with them and is not seen again.
      • It is mentioned during the final sequence that Supergirl is again looking for a way to go back to the 21st century after the war.
    • Crossover From Eternia— With Death! ends with Superman admitting that, although he is happy to have helped to vanquish Skeletor, he does not yet understand a lot of what happened (including his arrival on Eternia). He-Man is willing to explain everything, but Superman has noticed another dimensional warp which can take him back to Earth, so he says goodbye and hurries into the rift before it disappears.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special: After helping the Legion defeat Validus, disable Computo 2 and cure Supergirl, Bugs Bunny returns to his century and his carrot garden.
  • Ultimate X Men: After defeating Apocalypse, Jean Grey took off into the outer space. She returned in the next issue, as it was revealed that was causing problems in the galaxy during her journeys.
  • X-Men: After the events of Fatal Attractions, Wolverine decides to leave the X-Men temporarily as he tries to figure out what to do while his body mends.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Reygoch": After saving the valley's children from a flood, the giant Reygoch immediately rushes back to Frosten, determined to never leave his beloved, lonely -and thankfully quiet- city ever again.

    Fan Works 
  • AbraxasVerse: The Timeline reveals that within a year following the main story's events, Godzilla, who's been active for nearly two years and forced to fight for the fate of the world twice in that time, seeks out a new lair and goes into dormancy until his global territory needs him to maintain the balance again.
  • The Pony POV Series uses this at the end of the Dark World Series — Twilight, having worked hard with her friends to earn their happy endings and succeeded, becoming the Alicorn of Happy Endings in the process, accepts that she now has a duty to help as many beings everywhere earn their happy endings as well, and tearfully says goodbye to her friends (with Apple Pie admitting that while she doesn't like it, this is how it has to be).
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: After turning back the forces of Chaos in the Siege of Terra, The Emperor leaves the Imperium in the hands of the surviving Astartes and Imperial commanders before ascending into the Warp to fight the Gods of Chaos, beginning the path that would lead Him to becoming Princess Celestia.
  • The Ultimate Evil:
    • After the last Demon Portal is closed, Nataline parts ways with the J-Team to continue hunting monsters elsewhere. However, she makes it clear that if they ever need help with demons again, she'll be more than happy to help.
    • The story ends with Valerie leaving Uncle's Rare Finds to catch up with her mother in Toronto and sort out her mixed feelings about everything that's happened, promising to return (which she does in the beginning of the sequel).
  • The Vow: In the epilogue, Zhan the Wolf Boss leaves China and takes his pack with him in order to find for all of them a new life somewhere in the West, free from the impressions of China's people that have been worsened due to their actions under Lord Shen. Jade accompanies them out of love towards Zhan.
  • Children of an Elder God: After the War, Shinji and Asuka leave their remaining friends. Misato and their friends ask them if they really have to go, and Shinji and Asuka reiterate that they can't stay because they don't belong among humans anymore. Subverted because Misato and their friends followed them a while later and they were together again.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl must leave Sunnydale after the team manages to defeat Zol-Am. Kara doesn't want to go but Buffy warns her the Powers That Be might hurt her if she stays, and asks her Kryptonian friend to trust her to handle Sunnydale.
  • In the House fanfic "Invasion of the Cuddy Snatchers" the homeless man who thinks he's Batman and may actually be Batman! says this to Foreman.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Variant at the end of the fourth arc, in which it's the main characters effectively saying this to the characters from Canterlot High before returning to their native dimension, and the story continuing their adventures from there.
  • Subverted and Defied in Vision of Escaflowne Abridged, in an ending that's widely considered better because it doesn't involve this trope. And unlike the Maybe Ever After of canon, in the abridged ending, they get together. When Hitomi tells Van she can't stay forever since she has a family, friends, and life back on earth...
    Van: Oh, well... I understand...
    Hitomi: Oh, don't take it like that. We can see each other any time we want.
    Van: Well, yeah, but you mean in that lame, symbolic, "I'll see your face whenever I close my eyes" way, right?
    Hitomi: What? No! What kind of a weak, cop-out ending would that be? I mean, I have a magic "instant teleport anywhere" pendant, and since Gaea runs on Narnia Time, if you play your cards right, I can be Queen of Fanelia during passing period and never be late for math.
  • FIRE! (DarkMark): After the conflict is over, Thor, his wife Sif and their Asgardian companions return to Asgard permanently.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily opens this way, as Gladion decides to tackle the Grand Trials in order to become stronger. He also has no intention of letting anyone know what he's doing; Ash and Lillie only find out because they catch him out on the beach before he goes. The confrontation that follows triggers the Crossover element of the work, as he finds himself pulled onto the Train instead.
  • At the end of The Day After You Saved the Multiverse, Superboy has rescued his parents from a Mafia Boss, but he realizes that his presence is putting them and his girlfriend in danger, so he leaves a goodbye note and takes off for parts unknown.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters: After waking from his Oni Mask-induced coma, Aldarn leaves the Rebellion to wander Meridian in order to try and learn to let go of his hatred for the nobles that consumed him.
  • The first installment of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars fanfic By the Sea ends with Cody reluctantly leaving Obi-Wan behind to return to the war that nearly claimed his life and fight alongside his people. Cody begs Obi-Wan, with everything he has, to stay and wait for his return so that they can get married.
  • Skylanders Academy: New Horizon ends with Cyrus leaving to try and find his and Spyro's parents, feeling that they're the only ones who'll be able to forgive for the actions he committed while he was the Tyke Bomb of Omen, and offers to let Spyro come with him. Spyro rejects the offer saying that he has his duties as a Skylander, with Cyrus admitting he figured such would be the case, though Spyro tells Cyrus that he'll be waiting for him if ever decides to come back.

    Film — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Charlie leaves Anne-Marie for Heaven, despite saying that goodbyes aren't forever.
  • Cars 2: Lightning McQueen leaves Sally to go with Mater in the World Grand Prix.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World The dragons leave to stay in the hidden world. The film leaves the possibility of them coming back without definitely saying they will, by having Toothless reunite with Hiccup years later, but it's unknown if this was just a temporary reunion or not.
  • The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones: In this crossover film, Hanna-Barbera's two well-known families meet each other in the past after Elroy Jetson invents a time machine. They switch places (The Flintstones as well as the Rubbles go to the future where Fred and Barney work for Mr. Spacely while George works for Mr. Slate). Also in the past, Judy falls in love with a "stone-ager" named Iggy. At the end of the film, The families return to their respective time periods. Judy is crushed to leave behind Iggy but is consoled when she meets his descendant in the future.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Rose Wilson asks the Martian Manhunter to stay, but he's promised to protect our Earth. Wonder Woman tries to comfort him by pointing out there's likely another Rose Wilson on their Earth, but the Martian Manhunter gripes that she's probably evil.
  • Pocahontas — John Smith must return to England and leave Pocahontas's side.
  • In Pooh's Grand Adventure, Christopher Robin has to go to school, starting the end of his childhood. As he puts it himself, he's not "going to do just nothing anymore". This also leads to a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet Vanellope decides to stay in Slaughter Race, but she and Ralph keep in touch.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Maruti must leave the village and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence after turning into Hindu God Hanuman and saving the village from the volcano monster. He did seem to came back in the series adaptation though.
  • The Secret of NIMH: In the first movie, Justin & the rats leave Mrs. Brisby for Thorn Valley. In the sequel, Timmy leaves his family behind to fulfill an off-screen prophecy in the valley.
  • Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase: The gang leaves their clones for the real world.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Merlin blasts away to Bermuda after a falling out between him and Wart about becoming a squire instead being "able to amount to something" with knowledge. Merlin returns after Wart/Arthur became king after pulling the sword from the stone at the end of the film.
    Wart: Where did he go?
    Archimedes: To Bermuda, I suppose.
    Wart: Where's that?
    Archimedes: Oh, an island way off somewhere that hasn't been discovered yet.
    Wart: Will he ever come back?
    Archimedes: Who knows? Who knows anything?
  • Toy Story 4: Woody decides to stay with Bo Peep and says goodbye to the others.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • At First Sight: At one point during the movie's second quarter, Amy calls Virgil to tell him that she won't be able to visit him in a while due to an emergency regarding a construction project she's helming. Virgil is so emotionally affected that, when he tries to resume his dinner cooking, he accidentally burns his hands by touching the oven (he's blind, so he had no way to avoid it). Luckily, she returns to him later.
  • James Bond: 007 leaves every single Bond Girl to date, because he travels the world without a relationship.
  • MonsterVerse: Godzilla is (whether he's conscious of it or not) devoted to maintaining and upholding the natural order by destroying rival Titans who threaten it, but not only is his mere presence a threat to human life if he sticks around, the Godzilla: Dominion graphic novel also confirms that he suffers from The Chains of Commanding. In most of his appearances (sans Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)), once the hostile Kaiju threatening the world has been killed, Godzilla returns to the sea and implicitly doesn't approach humanity again until a new threat surfaces.
  • Pete's Dragon (1977): Once Peter is safe and Happily Adopted, Elliot tells him that it was time for him to go, as there was another orphan who needed him. Adding that they'd never see each other again. Peter is saddened to hear it, but says he understands and sees him off.
  • Mary Poppins: Once the affairs of the Banks Household are in order and properly squared away, the eponymous nanny takes her leave in search of another family in need of her services. The sequel follows suit too of course.
  • Nanny McPhee, A.K.A. the "modernized" Mary Poppins. She even lampshades it: "There is something you should understand about the way I work: When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Used movies one and three, with Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • Also with Will Turner at the end of the third movie, due to his new curse. However, a scene after the credits shows him returning to Elizabeth and their kid ten years later.
  • Blazing Saddles: Sheriff Bart provides the page quote, after saving the people of Rockridge from Heddy Lamar's ("that's Hedley!") ee-VILL, which can be seen, here.
  • The Santa Clause: Scott leaves Charlie forever, because a lot of kids are counting on him, and he couldn't let down, he had a lot of work to do, so Charlie let him go, even if it meant that he would miss him.
  • Pale Rider plays the trope straight, with the mysterious "Preacher" leaving town on his pale steed, after freeing its citizens by dealing with LeHood and his Hired Guns.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: the Ringbearers Frodo and Bilbo, together with Gandalf and the other bearers of the Elven Rings, take a ship from the Grey Havens to Valinor, leaving behind a world which they saved. The last Ringbearer, Sam, also departs 63 years later.
  • Michael, a movie starring John Travolta about an archangel who visits Earth. He ascends to a higher plane of existence at the end of the movie. Since he has used up all his visits to Earth, he can never return again.
  • Happened in Jack Frost (1998) (The family movie). The titular main character is trapped in the body of a snowman in order to say goodbye to his family. They spend a good deal of the movie trying to keep him from melting and getting him to a nice cold mountaintop. Upon accomplishing this task, he drops "but now I must go" for seemingly no reason and disappears into the wind.
  • The movie Finian's Rainbow ends with the dad (Fred Astaire) picking up his carpetbag and cane and heading out. On his beloved daughter's wedding day. And the only reason she gets to say goodbye and get half an explanation is that she spotted him leaving. Way to make your daughter's anniversary memorable, Daddy Dear.
    • Subverted in the musical theater show. Dad gives an explanation of what he's going to do next.
  • Averted in Chocolat; Vianne and her daughter Anouk had spent their lives moving multiple times per year, in part because they were often forced out of whatever town they were in, but also because Vianne's mother didn't like to stay in one place anyway, and Vianne just got used to living that way. After this story has settled, despite the fact that this town has accepted them, Vianne gets set to move on as she's always done — but then realizes that she wants to stay after all, and instead chooses to scatter her mother's ashes to the wind, leaving her mother's spirit free to roam while no longer forcing her descendants to accompany it.
    • This trope is played straight in the original novel by Joann Harris, however.
  • The titular characters of ¡Three Amigos!! pulled this one at the end of the movie because their characters in their Show Within a Show always did it.
  • Subverted at the end of the Good Burger movie: Ed gives Dexter a teary, heartfelt farewell speech, though neither of them is going anywhere.
  • The Hangover has Stu say his farewells to Jade as he must leave Las Vegas (and her by extension) to resume his usual life as a dentist in Los Angeles but does agree to one more date with her in Vegas.
  • Kevin Costner's character in Waterworld, who decides to set out on the ocean again once the protagonists and their people have found and established themselves on "Dryland", partly because he's used to the solitary life and also an ocean native, saying that solid ground "doesn't move right".
  • In Shaolin Prince, after the titular Prince had killed the main villain and avenged his family's death, he actually relinquishes his throne to his younger brother instead, deciding that he's better off spending the rest of his life in the Shaolin temple where he was adopted and raised by the monks, and to become the new head abbot of the temple.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Invoked after the T1000 terminator has been destroyed, along with the other traces of Skynet technology, leaving only one to be disposed of: the chip in T800's head. But because its programming wouldn't allow it to self-terminate, it needed John to do it for him.
    T800: "There is one more chip. And it must be destroyed..."
  • The plot of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium revolves around the titular character's sudden plans to "leave" for absolutely no reason.
  • The penultimate scene in Big Trouble in Little China inverts this when loner, truck-driving hero Jack offers would-be love Gracie the opportunity to settle down, only to have her lament that the only way she would stay with him is if he maintains his nomadic lifestyle.
  • Back to the Future Part III:
    • Doc Brown tells to Clara that he has to leave her and the town. He explains the reason to her, but she doesn't believe him (and thinks he got too obsessed with science fiction). This breaks his heart, but things get better for both of them since the parting doesn't stick.
    • Marty finally returns to the year 1985, but without Doc, who remained back in the year 1885 to save Clara Clayton. Before he can dwell on it, Doc appears in his newly created steam locomotive time machine, to let Marty and Jennifer know he was alright... and introduce them to his new family: his wife Clara, and their two sons, Jules and Verne. Doc also leaves Marty with a copy of the photo they took together, back in 1885, as a parting gift. Then bids him and his girlfriend farewell.
  • Lisa, at the end of Weird Science. She has successfully transformed the lives of Gary and Wyatt, getting them popularity, girlfriends, and most importantly confidence. So she decides to become a gym teacher...
  • Play It Again, Sam: Alan Felix (Woody Allen) imagines that Humphrey Bogart is with him and confers with Bogey to take decisions. In the end, Humphrey Bogart chooses to leave as "You don't need me any longer."
  • Óscar, Kina y el láser, a 1978 Spanish movie (adaptation of a short story) about a child who builds a speaking laser device. "The Laser" helps Óscar in his adventure and, when the plot is over and Óscar goes to bed saying goodnight, the Laser farewells him, apparently feeling there was no need for the Laser to stay.
  • In Going My Way, Father O'Malley likes St. Dominic's and would probably prefer to stay and be the parish priest. But he was sent there to right the ship for a church that was struggling financially, and that having been achieved, he is dispatched to another ailing parish. Father Fitzgibbon, the old priest at St. Dominic's, is disappointed.
  • Sanjuro: The Lord of the region offers him a job, but Sanjuro doesn't show up. The Lord reveals that he knew Sanjuro would never be able to settle down like that, and the young samurai Sanjuro had been tutoring chase after him to change his mind. Ends up subverted; after having to kill his adversary, Sanjuro's too upset to stay, but he won't be venturing on either, with the implication that it's time to retire his blade.
  • In Moonwalker Michael Jackson turns into a spaceship and flies away, while his young friends say "He's going home." Subverted though in the fact that he comes back...immediately.
  • In UHF, Philo makes his grand exit this way.
    Philo: You're welcome. Well, it appears that my work on this planet is finished, so I must now return to my home planet of Zarquon.
    George: [dubious] Oh...okay. Have fun!
  • In The Legend of Bagger Vance, after helping Matt Damon's character regain his golf swing, Bagger Vance leaves never to return, cementing his Magical Negro status.
  • Played With in Pulp Fiction, when Jules has a near-death and then near-life in prison moment in the same day, he decides he must leave and travel the world. Not only is he not a heroic character, but the story is told out of order.
  • In Prancer, the title character leaves Jessica Riggs for Santa's sleigh, in a streak of light.
  • In Stuart Little 2, Margalo leaves Stuart to fly south for the winter. However, Stuart believes that in a silver lining, Margalo would be back in the spring. This happens in the animated TV series.
  • Doctor Mordrid: The all-knowing Monitor commands Mordrid to return to the Magic Dimension after the villain's defeat so that the wizards' existence doesn't become known to humanity, though Mordrid returns right before the credits roll to be with his Love Interest.
  • At the end of Mad Max: Fury Road, Max doesn't join the rest of the heroes on the Citadel's elevator. He shares one last look with Furiosa before vanishing into the crowd. He helped them take the Citadel but he has no desire to rule it with them.
  • Rollo and the Spirit of the Woods: As soon as the Balance Between Good and Evil in the forest is restored and the eternal darkness is lifted, the Master of the Scales continues his journey without even joining the Dance Party Ending or offering more than a wave for the protagonists.
  • Averted in Queen of Outer Space. Once their rocketship is repaired the astronauts must depart to Earth, much to the disappointment of the Lady Land they've just liberated from the evil Queen Yllana. Then they receive a Video Phone message from their superior ordering them to remain on Venus rather than risk using a damaged rocketship. Unfortunately, it will take a year for a rescue ship to arrive. The final scene is the middle-aged professor saying joyfully, "A whole year!" as he's glomped en-masse by gorgeous man-hungry Venusians.
  • Wolves:Although all the bad guys are dead and Lupine Ridge is now safe, Cayden and Angel end the film riding away together on Cayden's motorbike (because Cayden being a fugitive no longer matters, apparently?). They plan to come back, though.
  • Cheeky version in the teen comedy Don't Talk to Irene. The titular outcast is a megafan of Geena Davis and talks to a League of Their Own poster on the ceiling of her bedroom when she needs advice and encouragement, imagining her responses — which are spoken by Davis herself, who also appears in a Dream Sequence when the heroine faces her Darkest Hour. After Irene proves her doubters wrong, she has one last conversation with Davis in which the latter says she must now go to inspire other girls, and Irene actually senses her leaving. Confirming that Davis is in fact a Spirit Advisor, the next day the bully tormenting Irene the entire movie apologizes to her, whereupon she hears Davis's voice in her head...
  • Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts steals a giant pin on the Isle of Bronze, which awakens the titan Talos. When Talos is defeated, he falls and crushes Hylas. Hercules leaves out of guilt; Hera explains this is actually because Zeus has other plans for Hercules at the moment.
  • A more extreme version of this trope happens in Harold and Maude. When Maude determines she has healed Harold from his self-destructive belief system, she decides to commit suicide, since her work is done.
  • Macho Dancer: Disillusioned by his experiences in Manila, Pol decides to leave and return to the province at the end of the film. He asks Bambi to come with him, but she refuses.
  • At the end of Violent Night, Santa tells Trudy that there are still kids on the Nice List who haven't gotten their presents yet, so he has to get back to work.
  • The Electric Grandmother must leave the family she was sent to, because of her 30-day money back guarantee. If the family isn't satisfied and happier within 30 days, she must return, and the daughter, Agatha, is very unhappy about a robot replacing her dead mother. At the same time, this trope is subverted in that ultimately, the grandmother does get to stay after Agatha warms up to her after the grandmother saves her life.

  • Animorphs: In the final book, Tobias vanishes after Rachel's funeral and isn't seen for three years, until Jake brings news of Ax's capture by the One and he joins him and Marco to go rescue him.
  • The Calf of the November Cloud: After his name has been cleared thanks to his elephant friends, Konyek walks out of his hamlet to see them again. When he spots Konyek, baby elephant Ol-Kulto cheerfully rushes to greet him, but his family calls him back. As the elephants trudge back into the trees, Ol-Kulto stares back at Konyek for the last time and trots behind his family. Konyek feels deeply saddened, but he realizes that his friends must say goodbye to him.
  • Dragoncharm: Wood pulls this on Fortune in the Heart of the Maze.
  • Kino's Journey: A recurring theme since the main character, as a drifter, has a self-imposed limit of staying three days upon reaching a town or rest stop and can give no exceptions regardless of the situation. This is in order not to form attachments to prevent the ideal of traveling. A little different in that the plot follows Kino to each next place. This is explored deeper when the main character, eventually revealed to be female, discovers a place she can finally grow used to loving while becoming acquainted with someone sharing many common and reminiscent traits with her. Coping on her decision on whether or not wishing to finally settle down, the conclusion is the final episode of the anime adaption, whilst the light novels simply continue, and still are, after that point.
  • Discworld: Mightily Oats leaves Lancre in Carpe Jugulum, after he and Forgiveness help fight the vampires; justified since he was a temporary stand-in for the injured Brother Perdore. He is spoken of later in Unseen Academicals and I Shall Wear Midnight.
  • Solomon Kane: Robert E. Howard wrote this kind of ending for "The Blue Flame of Vengeance":
    "I am a landless man." A strange, intangible, almost mystic look flashed into his cold eyes. "I come out of the sunset and into the sunrise I go, wherever the Lord doth guide my feet. I soul's salvation, mayhap. I came, following the trail of vengeance. Now I must leave you. The dawn is not far away, and I would not have it find me idle. It may be I shall see you no more. My work here is done; the long red trail is ended. The man of blood is dead. But there be other men of blood, and other trails of revenge and retribution. I work the will of God. While evil flourishes and wrongs grow rank, while men are persecuted and women wronged, while weak things, human or animal, are maltreated, there is no rest for me beneath the skies, nor peace at any board or bed. Farewell!"
  • Running with the Demon. John Ross drifts back out of town.
  • After half a book of back story, this trope basically becomes the entire premise for the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman books by Brian Jacques.
  • Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, resulting from Mandella and Potter's return to Earth after their first tour of duty, during which thirty years have passed on Earth due to Time Dilation from Faster-Than-Light Travel. Mandella's father is dead; his mother is dying of cancer which The Government's socialized medicine system refuses to treat because she is not worth it, and she has taken a lesbian lover. Potter's parents are forced out of their home for defying government regulations and end up on an agricultural commune under assumed identities. They are killed while Mandella and Potter are staying with them by raiders looking for food. Needless to say, the two re-enlist in the Army and get off that Crapsack World.
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville's defies this trope. At the end of the book, the protagonist Deeba is told that she has to return permanently to her home in mundane London because travel between London and UnLondon is too difficult to allow her to return. Her response is to burst into laughter, systematically list all the people in the book who've traveled back and forth between the two along with how easy it was for them to do so, and say, "Of course I'll come back!"
  • Five of the seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia involve the heroes being sent back to England in the end. Averted in The Horse and His Boy because the main characters were natives, and subverted in The Last Battle where they were Dead All Along, so going back wasn't an option.
  • In Poster Girl the main character Sonya Kantor eventually leaves the Megalopolis and everyone she knew behind, reasoning that as the titular Poster Girl she can never have a normal life there. So she instead settles in a place where nobody knows who she is. Though she still keeps in contact with her friends via letters.
  • A Wrinkle in Time has this with Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit.
    "I'm terribly sorry, but we can't stay. You see, we have to..." But what it was they had to do was never said, as there was a gust of wind, and they were gone.
  • At the end of the first part of Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra tells the group of followers that have gathered around him "Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves, and only when you have all denied me will I return to you." He does, indeed, return.
  • At the end of the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Kahless, the original Kahless tires of his life as The Emperor and decides to leave. His subjects ask him where he will go. Deciding to play up on their myths of him (mostly so they'd leave him be), he points to a random star and tell them to look there. 1500 years later, they do.
    • The whole point of the novel is demystifying the figure of Kahless and showing him as just a man. In fact, the whole idea of forging the first bat'leth from his own hair dipped in lava was merely a dream he had. He promptly makes a sketch of the weapon and takes it to a blacksmith.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force Ghost continued to advise Luke Skywalker for a while after Return of the Jedi, but he eventually moves on to the afterlife, much to Luke's sorrow.
      Obi-Wan: Not the last of the old Jedi, Luke. The first of the new.
    • Obi-Wan's Force Ghost does make two more appearances in the New Jedi Order series. First, to congratulate Luke on the birth of his son, then to celebrate the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • In Star Wars: Kenobi, the living Obi-Wan defies his character role as The Drifter by not leaving at the end of the story, even though it would be the simplest solution to the problems caused or aggravated by his arrival. Instead, it's his love interest Annileen and her family who leave, because Obi-Wan has to settle in as The Hermit to watch over the infant Luke Skywalker. Annileen's shock and dismay when he tells her that he can't go with them play out similarly to a scene of the Drifter saying he can't stay in town.
  • In Warrior Cats, several characters do this, most notably Cody, Shortwhisker, and Snookthorn.
  • In How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford, Jonah does this. After the death of his handicapped twin brother, he leaves for good. He even makes sure nobody can find him by taking all pictures of him post-puberty and putting his baby picture in the yearbook.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Virgil, being one of the damned, must return to Hell at the end of Purgatorio. Dante does not take this very well.
    Virgil to Dante: Await no further word or sign from me: your will is free, upright, and whole.
  • When deciding whether to stay Trapped on Draconica, Ben tries to Take a Third Option and go home but use his power to travel between worlds to visit Draconica, but Dronor says he has to take that power away. After thinking about his worried sick mother and encouragement from Erowin he decides to go home. It is understandable why he chooses to go back but why he has to choose at all is less so. Its a dampener on an otherwise unambiguously happy ending.
  • In Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, the title character has to return to his home planet in the end.
  • In the 1980s Care Bears book The Trouble with Timothy, Friend Bear explains herself this way to Timothy. "I'm your friend, your snuggly, furry friend. In fact, that's my name, Friend Bear, and I come from the land of Care-a-lot. I'll be around as long as you need me, but when you don't need me so much, I'll be on my way."
  • Due to her conscience conflicting with the group decision, Johanna Reyes leaves Amity in Insurgent.
  • The Cloud in Loskutik And The Cloud can't stay in the same place for very long, especially on the ground, so they have to leave in the last chapter, bringing a bittersweet tinge to the happy ending.
  • Inverted at the end of Seekers of the Sky. The protagonist Ilmar decides he can't follow Marcus (a possible messiah) where he's going and stays behind. The rest of the group rightly views him as a traitor, but he knows he's probably the only one who realizes that Marcus will never be a true messiah and will, at best, repeat the Redeemer's mistake (becoming a king of men rather than redeeming humanity in the eyes of God) and, at worst, become the Tempter.
  • Forest Kingdom: Rupert and Julia at the end of book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), because Rupert is not gonna be king, and no way is Julia gonna stay around for an Arranged Marriage with Harald.
  • In The Light Jar, imaginary friends always leave when they're not needed anymore. After Nate finds his mum, his childhood imaginary friend Sam leaves, although Nate begs him to stay.
  • Justified in The Murderbot Diaries. At the end of the first novel, the humans whose lives Murderbot saved buy it off the company and offers it a place on Preservation. However Murderbot would legally be required to have an 'owner', even of the token kind, and it also resists trying to fit in with a human society according to how they believe it should act, so Murderbot runs off instead. It does eventually return to Preservation however, but on its own terms.
  • At the end of Together with Kirby, the flower that had been growing on Kirby's head has turned into a seed head and tells Kirby its puffs must now be scattered on the wind to see the world. However, one puff takes root just outside of Kirby's house.
  • Goblins in the Castle: In the final chapter of Goblins on the Prowl, once they have the Black Stone of Borea, Edrick and Sophronia announce that they're planning to go to another world and take the Stone with them, to keep it away from evil wizards who would seek to use it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used straight in The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In the two-parter "Goodbye, My Little Viking", Little Pete parts ways with his best friend and personal superhero Artie (the Strongest Man - in the world!), who realizes that he is no longer needed more, and sets off to find a new kid who does.
  • Angel:
    • Parodied when Wesley joins the cast in "Parting Gifts". Wesley pretends he must do this, while secretly hoping to be invited to stay, but Angel and Cordelia play along with the pretense.
    • Later played straight in "You're Welcome" when Cordelia comes back for one last guest spot, gets "her man back on track", then basically says "now everything's going to be OK, a pity I won't be here to see it since I must move on". It's more Tear Jerker in the show than that description, obviously.
    • Also Lorne's final fate in the post-series comics.
  • Arrow: A few in quick succession in the season 7 finale.
    • In the flash-forwards, the older generation of heroes decide to take the blame for the damage done in the course of saving the city, meaning they have to go on the run. But they know the younger generation will keep the city safe without them.
    • Oliver and Felicity decide to move out to a small town where Felicity can give birth and they can be safe from the villains hunting them. They plan to return eventually, but the Monitor shows up to call in Oliver's deal. Oliver needs to come with him to help save the universe, and he will inevitably die during the coming Crisis. Oliver tearfully says goodbye to Felicity and their infant daughter. Partly averted because the Monitor uses Time Travel to allow Oliver to spend some time with his grown-up children and to properly say goodbye to them.
    • Back in the flash-forwards, Felicity says this is the last time she'll see her children. They're confused since she's been on the run before and managed to stay in touch. She says it's different this time. She then meets up with the Monitor, who warns her she won't be able to come back from where he's taking her. She accepts that and just wants to see Oliver again, and they walk through a portal.
    • Later on, Lyla uses a device the Monitor has William build, before telling John she has to go and steps through one of the Monitor's portals. However, she comes back at the end of the episode in a new outfit, claiming that she's Harbinger now, moments before the sky turns red.
  • Also the default for The A-Team, as they couldn't stay in one place too long without being caught by the military.
  • In the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, Adama does this rather abruptly. Starbuck jumps on the bandwagon and immediately ascends to a higher plane of existence.
  • On The Daily Show, when a longtime correspondent or contributor leaves the show, they receive a farewell, which includes a montage of amusing moments during their time. In 2015, before then-host Jon Stewart himself left the show, Stephen Colbert came back and humorously complained about how he didn't receive such a send-off, playing a self-prepared montage.
  • In Diablero, Mayaken feels that he's a monster and he doesn't deserve a happy home with Keta, so he tells her that he'll come back to her when he's had time to figure things out and flies off.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who shows something of this; he saves the day, and then leaves again, never staying. It's been suggested in the show this is because he's afraid to look back at the trail of destruction he leaves behind — or, more humourously, because he's worried about being asked to pay for the collateral damage he's caused.
    • A strange subversion of this trope is used in the Doctor's regeneration in "The Parting of the Ways". He tells Rose he'll still be there, "but not like this. Not with this daft old face."
    • He is forced to face the consequences of his own actions a few times, such as in "Bad Wolf", which takes place a century after "The Long Game". Instead of freeing Earth from the tyranny of the Jagrafess, his actions result in a complete shutdown of the government, followed by decades of chaos before an even worse example of tyranny takes hold, forcing people to participate in deadly games and others to watch them.
  • Game of Thrones: Benjen leaves Bran and Meera at the end of Season 6 as the Wall has magic spells carved into it which prevent the undead, and by extension him, from passing.
  • No matter how much the people he interacted with wanted him to stay, The Littlest Hobo would always leave at the end of the episode. As the show's theme song sums up: "There's a voice...that keeps on calling me...down the road, that's where I'll always be..."
    • Spoofed in an episode of Corner Gas, and Hank wanted Hobo to stay in Dog River. When Wanda explains that leaving when the trouble is over is what Hobo does, Hank wants to stir up more trouble to get Hobo to come back.
  • Chef Gordon Ramsay sometimes has this effect on Hotel Hell or Kitchen Nightmares when he's finally fixed the restaurant or hotel, but the owner(s) wish he could stay longer.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, several characters leave the show in this manner. Some of them return for a brief time, though. For example, Jax leaves the show halfway through season 3 after Stein's death. He returns for the season finale and reveals to have a wife and a daughter now. Rip also leaves the team in the season 2 finale... only to come back in the season 3 opener, revealing that he has set up a new Time Police agency to replace the defunct Time Masters. Amaya has always been aboard on borrowed time, knowing she would have to return to the 1940s eventually in order to ensure the existence of her granddaughter Mari.
  • Used quite a lot in The Lone Ranger, as he goes off into the sunset...leaving grateful townsfolk behind, wondering, "Who is that Masked Man?"
  • One episode of The Mandalorian has the titular character arrive in a small town that's coming under attack from raiders, and he agrees to teach them how to defend themselves and help them fight off their enemies in exchange for room and board. As it goes on he bonds with a woman there, they clearly have some feelings for each other, he wants to stay, she wants him to stay, The Child is happy there... and then a bounty hunter arrives gunning for them. He realizes he needs to keep moving to keep him, The Child, and the village safe, and so he bids them farewell and flies off toward the sunset.
  • Power Rangers did this a few times:
  • In the final "Adventures with Bill" segment of The Red Green Show, Bill reveals he's found love with a nurse and is moving out of the Possum Lake area to be with her. He and Red spend a last few moments remembering their time together before he hops in her car and heads out on what Red dubs "the biggest adventure of his life".
  • Played in The Secret Circle, as Jake does this after saving Cassie, though he soon returns.
    • Diana does the same in "Family" since she's lost her father and can't handle having dark magic.
  • In Supernatural, the Winchesters are constantly moving on to their next hunt, even if there are some cases where they meet someone who might inspire them to want to stay longer (Cassie Robertson, Sarah Blake, Lisa Baerden, etc.)
  • This is the default ending for most of the Ultra Series, as the Ultras are assigned to Earth from their homeworld and when their tour of duty is complete, they must return. In Ultraman and Ultraseven, this was given further meaning, as they were badly hurt and they couldn't be healed on Earth.
  • Van Helsing (2016):
    • Early on in Season 5, Doc parts ways with Julius and Axel so that she can finally be reunited with Jolene and ride off into the sunset with her.
    • In the series finale, Ivory leaves Jack to scour the Earth for other surviving members of the Sisterhood.

  • "I'll Follow the Sun" by The Beatles
    And now the time has come and so my love I must go
  • "Heard It in a Love Song" by the Marshal Tucker Band.
  • "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • "Sous le Vent", by Garou and Celine Dion.
    • Fait comme si je quittais la terre / J'ai trouvé mon étoile / Je l'ai suivie un instant...
  • Janelle Monáe's song BaBopByeYa.
    My freedom calls and I MUST GOOOOOO!
  • Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On"
  • Scot-Irish traditional song "The Parting Glass" doesn't make it clear whether the singer is dying, or simply leaving forever:
    • So since it falls unto my lot/ that I should rise and you should not....
    • The same goes for "Loch Lomond", in which the singer is most definitely dying. Me and my true love shall ne'er meet again...
  • "Farewell" by Gamma Ray is a clear example.
  • The Allman Brothers Band, "Ramblin' Man." "When it's time for leavin', I hope you'll understand..."
  • Supertramp: "Goodbye Stranger, it's been nice/Hope you find your paradise..."
  • "Back on the Road Again" by REO Speedwagon.
  • "The Stranger Song" by Leonard Cohen: "He'll say one day you caused his will // To weaken with your love and warmth and shelter // And then taking from his wallet // An old schedule of trains, he'll say // I told you when I came I was a stranger".
  • Kids Praise: The end of the second album has Psalty tell the kids that he needs to go visit other kids, but that he'll see them again.
  • Tom Petty's "Time To Move On".
    It's time to move on, time to get going
    What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing.
    But underneath my feet, grass is growing.
    It's time to move on, it's time to get going.
  • Zucchero: The theme of "Il Volo" (The Flight) tells about Zucchero's Love Interest needing to go elsewhere and thus preparing to bid him farewell. Over the course of the song, the poor man tries to convince her to stay, because he needs someone to bring light to his life.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: After His resurrection, Jesus says goodbye to His disciples and returns to Heaven.
    Jesus: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2)
  • In the canonical form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon, George refuses all offers of rewards for liberating the town and saving the princess, and instead rides away right after the whole town has been baptized. This does not apply to the many popular adaptations in which St. George marries the princess (which is out of place for a true saint).
  • After Paul Bunyan was beaten by a man with a steam-powered chainsaw in a tree-cutting contest, he and Babe the Blue Ox packed up for the Alaskan wilderness, realizing the era of the lumberjack was drawing to a close.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition: Artifacts are intelligent and self-motivated and will inevitably disappear to find a new owner. If the owner has been worthy, the artifact generally leaves with some kind words after they've shared a significant victory. If not, it might ditch them at the most inopportune moment.
  • Exalted
    • There is a charm, Hero Rides Away, that rewards heroic-themed Solar Exalts for doing this.
    • For the heroic Abyssals, they must do this even if they want to stay. Otherwise, the folks they just saved will be hit by an ultra-lethal death-wave, or worse.
  • This is implicitly part of the vows of the Brettonnian Grail Knights in Warhammer Fantasy. They are sworn to never sleep in the same place two nights in a row, so whenever they complete a quest, they are invariably required to leave in search of a new one, until the day when they either fall in battle or are judged worthy of drinking from the Grail.

  • This is merged with And the Adventure Continues for Willy Wonka in the West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in what amounts to a Not His Sled twist on the ending of the source novel. In the book, Charlie won't inherit the factory until he comes of age, but here he becomes the new owner immediately and after a wild celebration, the boy and his family realize Mr. Wonka has already left ("Looks like he's left you to it"). After they enter the factory to begin their new lives, Mr. Wonka — concealed in the King Incognito disguise of an elderly tramp (who was last seen in Act One encouraging Charlie to buy the Wonka Bar that turned out to contain the last Golden Ticket) — appears and reveals to the audience that he is moving on to other worlds, such as theirs, to continue creating wondrous things now that he is no longer tied down to the factory. With that, he vanishes into thin air...
  • Hamilton features the song "One Last Time", dramatizing George Washington's decision to step down as president, as noted in the real-life folder.
  • The opera Paul Bunyan ends with the unseen title character bidding his friends goodbye, saying that he has to move on now that they have succeeded in taming the wilderness:
    All I had to do is done,
    You remain but I go on;
    Other kinds of deserts call,
    Other deserts whisper Paul;
    I must hasten in reply
    To that low instinctive cry,
    There to make a way again
    For the conscious lives of men.
  • Peer Gynt invokes the trope in running away from every responsibility and his true love in the process.
    I have a heavy burden to shoulder, I must carry it alone. You have to wait for me.
  • In L'Orfeo, Hope can guide Orpheus to the gates of Hades but no further, and when he presses on she returns to her usual abode.
  • HereLiesLove: Ninoy Aquino's "Gate 37" is his farewell song (to his family and the audience) before he is assassinated.

  • Mata Nui in the conclusion of BIONICLE after having completed his destiny.

    Visual Novels 
  • Akai Ito: In the end Tsuzura must go, because she lives in a completely different world from Kei. She even enforces a Laser-Guided Amnesia to make sure it sticks! But if Kei's love for her is strong, she will overcome this amnesia. It's actually rather jarring because, in one of her non-true endings, she actually transfers into Kei's school because she loves her a lot.
  • Multiple characters do this at the end of Daughter for Dessert:
    • Saul after getting the protagonist acquitted at his trial.
    • With his nameless mention in Double Homework, it is clear that Mortelli does this as well.
    • Lily will eventually leave the diner to travel around again. In her own "bad" and "neutral" endings, she leaves alone, but in her "good" ending, the protagonist travels with her.
  • Double Homework:
    • Subverted with Dr. Mosely/Zeta. After telling the protagonist that he’s in the clear, taking Dennis to his fate, and assuring the protagonist that he won’t see her again, Zeta returns to the ski lodge after learning that he knew too much about her experiment.
    • Played straight with Dennis’s dad. After questioning the protagonist for details on Dennis’s death, he promises not to contact him again out of respect for his supposed friendship with Dennis.
  • Two of the endings in Saya no Uta don't really count, since the eponymous character had completely uncontrived reasons for leaving Fuminori in the asylum ending, and was killed in battle in one of the other endings. However, in the remaining ending, Saya becomes ill and dies after just having killed Kouji. We know it's meant to be depressing and cynical, and we know this is what leads up to the worldwide plague of mutation spores, but she seemed perfectly fine up until that point, and nothing was ever mentioned that she would die after fulfilling her biological purpose of reproduction.
  • Kinoko Nasu loves doing this to his characters, apparently:
    • Saber in Fate/stay night, in a tear-jerking scene in which she finally confesses to the protagonist that she loves him, right before vanishing forever. Although in the True Ending of Fate in Realta Nua, it turns out that Saber and Shirou are reunited in Avalon after his death, as long as their hearts and feelings are still connected and they're willing to wait for one another.
    • Archer does this at the end of Unlimited Blade Works, as well as Saber in one of the endings.
    • Several endings in the first storyline of Melty Blood have female protagonist Sion Eltnam Atlasia leaving the town for various reasons, generally to continue her research on curing vampirism. Just about the only exception is the ending where she and Akiha bond. Shiki ponders cutting himself.
    • In the original Tsukihime, it happens to Arcueid in her route. And since the anime is based primarily on the latter, it features this as well. Made extremely jarring by the fact that literally the only difference in her two endings are whether she thinks she can restrain her vampiric impulse. Her "True End" fits this trope and is quite moving. Her "Good End" has her instead laying low until enough of her power returns to resist the impulse, and sticking around.
  • The Bad endings of Yo-Jin-Bo, usually thanks to the pendant taking Sayori back to her own time in spite of her wishes. In Jin's Bad ending, he beats it to the jump, taking off without even waiting around to get paid.
  • Done by Rin Tezuka and Lilly Satou in their bad endings from Katawa Shoujo. Rin transfers from Yamaku to an art school in Tokyo to pursue her artist career, though she's aware that this will emotionally wreck her in the process; Lilly goes to Inverness (Scotland) to rejoin her parents, who left her in the care of her older sister Akira as a child and now want to mend their family bonds (Lilly doesn't want to leave her quiet life in Yamaku, but she feels obligated to reconcile with them.).
    • Additionally, in Lilly's Good Ending, Lilly stays with Hisao after he pulls an almost fatal Race for Your Love... but Akira and her boyfriend decide to go to Inverness instead.
  • Tales of Asteria: After the events of the main story, Tirug decides the world of Asteria no longer needs his help or protection, and decides to leave for the next world that might need him.

    Web Comics 
  • Everyone Is Home: At the end of the "Reviving Characters" arc, Isabelle 2 claims that since her work is done reviving the Smashers murdered by Sephiroth, she has to return to Buttville, and she and Isabelle 1 are shown to have had a very tearful goodbye.
  • At the end of Joyce and Walky!, which ended the Walkyverse as a whole, Dorothy, who spent the last story arc possessed by Head Alien, and was modified into an abductee, decides to go with Joyce and Walky's Kid from the Future Bobby to the future, citing that her family was dead and her business failed, so there was nothing tying her to the present, and that she felt she could do a lot more in the future with her superpowers, especially since the Martians had returned in the future. It's probably for the best anyway, as Bobby was only able to suppress Head Alien's influence in her mind, and there was always the chance he could resurface. okay with this.
    Walky: Yeah, watch her closely.
    Bobby: [blushes] I...I will watch her v-very closely.

    Web Original 
  • Hamburger Pattie in the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions to return to her own universe (another cybersoap) to settle things there & when things were settled that universe was sealed off & she could never return.
  • The Meme I Must Go, My Planet Need Me.
  • "My Dog, The Paradox" by The Oatmeal:
    "Hello friendbeast, I'm 15 years old now. I have chewed, licked, and humped everything I was put on this Earth to chew, lick, and hump. For now, I must die."
  • Surprisingly for Creepypasta, a few of them pull this off:
  • The SCP Foundation tale "Quiet Days" depicts the organization disbanding after all the weird phenomena they'd been keeping under control suddenly vanish, leaving them with no further purpose.
  • Vegeta leaves with Nappa, Raditz, Buzzkill, and Mufasa at the end of Ducktalez 7, as he regained his confidence.
  • In the My Little Pony Meets, whenever the character the episode is focused on, needs to return to their daily lives or their destination
  • Deconstructed in Red vs. Blue where Epsilon decides to leave with Carolina to investigate Freelancer equipment without saying goodbye to Caboose or Tucker. The next two seasons show the results of this, as Caboose spirals into a depression and latches onto a very dangerous Mantis assault droid as a replacement for Epsilon and Tucker becomes very bitter and angry at Epsilon for essentially abandoning them and constantly clashes with the latter when they are reunited. Epsilon later admits it was a jerk move to do to his friends.
  • Captain Disillusion used to end his videos by realizing some far-off event needs his attention and saying "But now it's time for me to go, kids."

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia ends with Anne, Sasha, and Marcy, the three human girls who lived in Amphibia for months, parting ways with all their loved ones there and returning home to Earth permanently, as they have no way of coming back there once they leave.
  • Numbuh One chooses to leave in the Grand Finale of Codename: Kids Next Door to join the Galactic Kids Next Door.
    • Also done to a degree at the end of Operation: Z.E.R.O.; Numbuh One's dad Monty Uno, the titular Numbuh Zero, allows his restored memories to be re-erased as part of the plan to destroy Grandfather, and beforehand destroyed the Recommissioning Device so Numbuh One can't re-restore them. As Monty says in a recorded message, he did it because, "…I'm…just not a kid anymore. I'm an adult. And I have the most important mission of all; Being a good father to my son." In this case, Monty's not physically going anywhere, but removed his Numbuh Zero identity as part of this trope.
  • In the first episode of Darkwing Duck, after dropping off a couple petty criminals at the police station: "Now I must go: The scent of crime is in the air!"
  • Final Space:
    • Little over midway through Season One, Nightfall takes her leave of the Team Squad after bringing them to Bolo, saying they don't need her anymore. She returns at the start of Season Two full-time.
    • Midway through Season Two, Tribore leaves the Team Squad so he can rebuild the resistance.
  • A recurring theme of The Galaxy Trio was how, whether they wanted or were even invited to stay on whatever planet they had just saved, the Trio had to move on: "Our job is out there."
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Played for laughs in "Irrational Treasure". After escorting Dipper and Mabel back to Gravity Falls, Quentin Trembley announces he's "needed elsewhere" and, after a brief reassuring speech, rides out of town on horseback facing backwards.
    • In the final episode, Stan announces at the Twins' 13th birthday (which also happens to be their last day in Gravity Falls) his intention to join on Ford's expedition at sea, like they planned to do as children, and puts Soos in charge of the Mystery Shack. And at the very end, Dipper and Mabel return to California. "Ready to head into the unknown?" "Nope! Let's do it."
  • Harvey Beaks ends with Foo and Fee reuniting with their long-lost parents, and moving away from Little Bark to live with them. While Harvey is initially upset, he's able to accept their absence, appreciates how they helped him grow as a person, and it's shown they'll be sure to keep in touch.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • In "For The Man Who Has Everything" Superman is attacked by a plant called Black Mercy and lives an "ideal" life, complete with a son called Van-El. When he realizes this is just a dream, he has to say goodbye to him as he returns to real life.
      Superman: You are everything I ever wanted in a son. This is everything I ever wanted in a life. But I have responsibilities, Van, and I... have to go now.
    • In "Divided We Fall" Flash is sucked into the Speed Force and nearly dies (sort of) to it, until the rest of the Founders form a Chain of People to pull him out.
      Flash: Shayera? It's so beautiful here. There's a force. A Speed Force. I have to go now.
  • "The Boys of the Chorus" from the Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Up Doc?" is a quick hello-goodbye.
    Oh, we're the boys of the chorus,
    We hope you like our show.
    We know you're rooting for us,
    But now we have to go!
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the episode, "That's My Baby," Daffy derails into mentioning frozen yogurt, leaving Tina behind, into the sunset.
  • My Little Pony:
  • The Owl House:
    • After spending the first few episodes of Season 2 as part of the titular house gang, Lilith decides to leave in "Keeping Up A-fear-ances" to reconnect with her parents, much to Hooty's dismay.
    • From the very beginning of the series, it's made clear that Luz will eventually have to go home to her mother at the end of the summer no matter how attached she may grow to her new friends and loved ones on the Boiling Isles. The series ultimately subverts it though, as while Luz does go back to Earth after Belos' defeat, she still has ready access to the Demon Realm thanks to the Collector building a new portal door and remains in constant contact with everyone before eventually moving back to the Boiling Isles full time after graduating from high school so she can attend Eda's new University of Wild Magic.
    • The Collector decides to go on a journey of self disovery in space after the final battle, though it is at least indicated that he visits every once and a while (even briefly stopping by to put on a light show for Luz's 18th birthday party).
  • Disney's Paul Bunyan ends with Paul and Babe leaving after losing a logging contest to a steam-powered saw and locomotive, realizing that their time has passed. Still, they're happy horsing around in Alaska.
  • Parodied in an episode of Recess where Gus goes to his old alter ego of El Diablo the Dodgeball Player in order to win the game for his friends. After he wins, Gus turns around and goes off into the sunset...until one of the kindergarteners reminds him that school wasn't over yet.
  • Parodied with Rugrats after dealing with a bully, Tommy and Chuckie prepare to head home for the day. The girl the two befriended is sad and asks when they'll come back. Tommy shrugs and goes "I dunno. Maybe tomorrow."
  • The Simpsons
    • Parodied in "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show", where this is the extremely poorly-done manner in which the hated Poochie is Put on a Bus out of the "Itchy And Scratchy" cartoon, from out of nowhere. Apparently Poochie is an alien. And his home planet needs him. And he dies on the way back. Afterwards, Krusty and a lawyer make it clear that he is never, ever coming back, much to everyone's delight...with the exception of Homer, his voice actor.
    • Played straight for the episode "Stark Raving Dad", when Michael Jackson/Leon Kompowsky leaves for places unknown after saying "My work is done here."
    • Parodied in "Marge Vs. The Monorail", after the monorail crisis is resolved:
      Leonard Nimoy: Well, my work is done here.
      Barney: Whaddaya mean, "your work is done"? You didn't do anything.
      Leonard Nimoy: [chuckles knowingly] Didn't I? [beams away]
    • In "Lisa's Substitute", Mr. Bergstrom leaves Lisa for another school in Capital City.
    • In the Mary Poppins parody episode, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", Sherry Bobbins leaves the Simpsons after she thinks her work is done, but agrees to stay when it's clear the family won't permanently change. Eventually does leave at the end, but not because her work is done:
      Don't think it's sour grapes,
      But you're all a bunch of apes,
      And so I must be leaving you!
    • In "The Homer They Fall", Moe of all people does this: After hijacking a one-man propelled flying machine to save Homer from being beaten to mash in a boxing ring, he says goodbye to the Simpsons, telling them that he needs some time to think over everything and then takes off with said flying machine. The epilogue reveals he is doing charity work all around the world. This is all the more surprising considering we're here talking about... well... Moe.
  • Steven Universe: Future:
    • In the episode "Little Graduation", Lars and the Off Colors decide to return to space to explore various planets and meet new people across the galaxy.
    • In the finale, Steven himself decides the best thing for himself would be to move out of Beach City and start exploring the country.
  • A Thousand and One... Americas: After having barely survived a violent tropical storm that ravaged a local coastal village in the eighth episode, Chris is told by Tiau (a little girl he met in that episode) that she has to leave him so she can help the villagers rebuild their homes. She silently part ways, and Chris immediately begins looking his pet dog Lon (who got separated from him by the violent waves during the storm).
  • Tom Terrific and Manfred are in the Old West helping a prospector to the California gold rush (story arc "Go West, Young Manfred"). Towards the end of the arc, Manfred is taken in by a tribe of Indians. Tom asks him to come back home with him and he'll get Manfred a new mattress and an extra jar of peanut butter. Manfred is sold, and he addresses the tribe:
    Manfred: Dear fellow native behooves me on this great occasion to leave the home of my redskin blood brothers for the home of tiny paleface Tom Terrific who needs me on his next really great adventure. Farewell, kemosabes!
    Chief: Kemo who?
  • This is how the final episode of Transformers: Prime ends. Their mission over, the Autobots must leave Earth and their human friends behind. Except Ratchet, who decides to stick around.

    Real Life 
  • George Washington: served two terms as President, then retired. The precedent he established protected the United States from strongman rule for more than a century afterward.
    • In fact, it wouldn't be until Franklin Roosevelt served four terms as president (he died in office during his fourth) that the government felt it was necessary to add a "two-term limit" stipulation for the president to the constitution.
    • During their last week, the departing president typically delivers a farewell address to the nation.
  • The letter anime director Satoshi Kon wrote when he learned he was dying of cancer ends with the phrase "Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go". The Japanese phrase used has the connotation of someone apologizing for leaving the office before everyone else is ready. This only adds to the Tear Jerker quality of the farewell.
  • Inverted at many graduation ceremonies. Many a commencement speech can be boiled down to "But now, YOU must go."
  • Taken to nations range during World War II for the Americans and the Soviets. After pushing the Nazis all the way back to Germany, most coalition soldiers only stuck around long enough for the fires and shooting to stop before redeploying to the Asian theater of the war, where they did it again after Japan signed its capitulation treaty and left only a token force there while the rest went home.
  • Dave Della Terza, the creator of the infamous American Idol snark blog Vote for the Worst, gave this as his reason for shutting down the site in 2013. By that point, the show's ratings were circling the drain (it would only last another three years afterwards), so as far as he was concerned, he and others like him had effectively won in terms of shining a spotlight on all the show's flaws and making it impossible to take it seriously, and there was no point in kicking a dead horse any further.
  • Hồ Chí Minh wrote in his will that he's "leaving a few lines so that, should I go to meet with Karl Marx, Lenin, and other predecessor revolutionaries, my countrypeople, Party comrades, and friends everywhere would not feel it so sudden" because he was already 79 with a heart condition (which was what ultimately killed him) when people weren't expected to live past 70.
  • Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Carlo Rambaldi gave this as the reason for his retirement in 1989, citing his belief that advances in CGI had rendered his line of work obsolete.

Thank you for reading this page, fellow troper. But it is time for you to go. There is nothing left for you to here.

Alternative Title(s): My Work Here Is Done, Mary Poppins Syndrome


I'll Be Right Here

Elliott says goodbye to ET, who tells him they'll always be together in their hearts.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ButNowIMustGo

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