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Deadly Deferred Conversation

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Luisa Rey: I promise I'll tell you everything that happened ... in the morning.
Javier Gomez: Okay, but I hope you realize you just said exactly what every character in any decent mystery says right before they get killed.

Two characters are about to part for what may be a very long time, but there's an important topic of discussion for the two to discuss. Whether it's nerves, lack of information or whatever, the conversation is deferred until the two meet again...practically guaranteeing that one or both of them will be dead before they can meet up again, or at least that they will never get to see one another again.

Part of the Rule of Drama, as Real Life doesn't have a narrative. Compare Doomed Appointment, Retirony, If We Get Through This…, and Fatal Family Photo, all of which are tropes involving an indication that a character is slated for death. See also How to Kill a Character.

As a Death Trope all spoilers on this page will remain unmarked.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In one RIN-NE story, one ghost was a Cute Sports Club Manager for a baseball team. The captain of the team said he had something to tell her, right after the team wins this game. But they don't win, so he puts it off, and the team goes into a long slump. Finally, the team wins and the girl is so excited by the win and the captain at last completing the conversation that she leaps up and smashed her head on the dugout ceiling. She died, and the ghost has been holding out ever since waiting to hear what he had to say.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Before a major battle with the beast men, Kamina and Yoko kiss, and Kamina says when he comes back "he'll return that 10 times more". He tragically dies from a fatal wound in the subsequent battle.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul :Re, Haise Sasaki reassures a nervous Ginshi Shirazu that they'll talk about things later on, after they return from a combat operation. It proves to be the single most violent battle of the entire series, with numerous characters ending up dead. Shirazu is among those killed in action, while Sasaki resigns from his role as the mentor of the Quinx Squad shortly afterwards.

    Comic Books 
  • This happens in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #15 between Chromedome and Rewind, after Rewind finds out that Chromedome not only used his dangerous mnemosurgery skill after he asked Chromedome not to, but also hid the fact that he did so from Rewind, who is the Cybertronian equivalent of his husband.
    Chromedome: You're angry.
    Rewind: No, I'm past that. It's - what I feel is worse than anger. In fact I don't know—
    Chromedome: What?
    Rewind: I really don't know if I can forgive you for this.
    Chromedome: We'll finish this conversation later. We will. I promise.

    Fan Works 
  • Dear Diary: After working up the courage to talk to Dreamtide, wanting to work out their issues with each other, Stravin winds up getting kidnapped by Team Plasma and is killed during the rescue attempt.
  • Fractured Fates:
    • In Part 4 of Chapter 2, Hana and Asuna notice that Kaneki seems oddly anxious and subdued. When they ask what's wrong, she promises to explain everything the next day, only to get murdered that night.
    • Chapter 5 sees this happening again with Hiroshi, who tells Hana that there's "something important" he needs to discuss with her, only to disappear and turn up dead before she can learn what he means.
  • At the opening of chapter three of The Wrong Reflection, Eleya is catching up with her old friend and former subordinate T'Var, but has to break off the conversation to go change into her vacsuit, saying they'll talk more later. In the subsequent battle T'Var uses her ship to stop a ramming attempt against Eleya's ship. Despite ordering her crew to abandon ship, she doesn't make it to the escape pods in time.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Discussed in Cloud Atlas:
    Luisa Rey: I promise I'll tell you everything that happened in the morning.
    Neighbor Boy: Okay, but I hope you realize you just said exactly what every character in any decent mystery says right before they get killed.
    • Immediately subverted with a dark figure waiting in Luisa Rey's apartment ... who turns out to be a friend.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots! when Dead Meat tells his wife he can save talking about his life insurance, his solution to global warming, and his JFK assassination evidence until after he returns from his mission.
  • Subverted in Irrational Man. Jill realizes that Abe has killed a local judge and confronts him about it. This is compounded when an innocent man is arrested for the murder. Despite promising he'll come clean, Abe resolves to kill her because She Knows Too Much. Meanwhile, Jill reconciles with her boyfriend Roy and promises to explain everything later. Abe makes his attempt to kill her beforehand, but Jill survives while Abe falls into the open elevator shaft he had rigged.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Harry tells Eggsy that they'll continue a conversation about duty when he gets back. He doesn't come back.
  • Versions of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope starting with the Special Edition restore a deleted scene right before the attack on the Death Star where Luke and his old friend Biggs Darklighter promise to meet up after the battle so Luke can tell him how he got there. Biggs is killed by Darth Vader while covering Luke during the trench run.
  • In the 2002 adaptation of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine Alexander is arguing with his friend after the death of his fiance. They agree to continue the discussion in a week but by that time Alexander is stuck in the future.
  • In The Train, Burt Lancaster plays the leader of a group of French Resistance fighters who are trying to prevent the Nazis from taking a trainload of paintings to Germany. In one scene, one of the fighters asks Labiche (Lancaster's character) if he has ever seen the paintings. Labiche says no. The other man says maybe they should go to a museum and see them after the war. He gets killed shortly thereafter.

  • The Penultimate Jedi Quest book has Obi-Wan's senate friend Tyro (whose just discovered some nasty truths about Chancellor Palpatine) calling Obi-Wan in the middle of a mission to stop assassin droids from being released into the senate rotunda, and urgently saying that he needs to tell him about something evil. Obi-Wan is too busy at the moment and tells him to wait until the mission is over. That mission sees Tyro become one of the droids victims.
  • Subverted in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The lines quoted below sound like they are going to be this trope, but both characters survive and the conversation presumably happens at some point. Faramir to Frodo:
    "I would gladly learn how this creeping Smeagol became possessed of the Thing of which we speak, and how he lost it, but I will not trouble you now. If ever beyond hope you return to the lands of the living and we re-tell our tales, sitting by a wall in the sun, laughing at old grief, you shall tell me then."
    • Played straight with Merry and Theoden when they intend to someday have a long talk about the origins of pipeweed. Theoden only has time to tell Merry he's sorry they'll never have time for this conversation before he dies.
  • In A Murder Is Announced, Miss Murgatroyd realizes "she wasn't there". Miss Hinchcliffe tells her they'll talk about it later—and Murgatroyd is murdered while Hinchcliffe is fetching a dog from the station.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • A Game of Thrones has several examples. Ned Stark promises his bastard son Jon Snow that they'll talk about Jon's mother after he returns to the capital, Jon's Uncle Benjen promises to talk about Jon becoming a ranger after he returns from a scouting mission, and King Robert tells Ned they'll discuss the exiled princess Daenerys after Robert returns from a hunt. Ned is unfairly accused of treason and executed, King Robert is manipulated by his wife into being killed by a boar and Benjen has been missing for two years and is possibly undead.
    • A Feast for Crows: Jaime Lannister recalls the last conversation he had with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, about how the prince had realized how badly his mad father King Aerys was ruling the realm and he had planned to summon a council and make changes. He promised to speak more on the subject when he returned from what became his final battle.

    Live Action TV 
  • Blake's 7. In "Death-Watch", Del Tarrant's older brother (who he hasn't seen in years) is taking part in a televised Combat by Champion. Because he needs to focus on the upcoming Deadly Game he decides to talk to his little brother after the match. Unfortunately he loses, and has to deliver his final message to Del with millions of people listening in, as his killer walks up and puts a bullet in his head.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Justified when Jon Snow expressed his wish to learn about his mother, and Ned Stark promises Jon they'll talk about his mother when he returns from the capital. Ned Stark is executed before they can discuss it further. Ned's reluctance to discuss the matter makes sense once the audience learns that Jon is not Ned's bastard son, but the offspring of Ned's sister and a Targaryen prince and therefore a claimant for the Iron Throne. Delaying the conversation ensured that Jon Snow joined the Nights Watch and legally gave up his claim to any inheritance, land, or titles.
    • In Season One, Ned Stark is investigating the death of the previous Hand, and sends his guard captain to interrogate Ser Hugh, who arrogantly refuses to speak to an underling, but states he will speak to Lord Stark himself. Ser Hugh then dies in a suspicious jousting accident, so Ned doesn't have the opportunity to find out what he knows.
  • Lost: Ana Lucia's final flashback shows her calling her mother from Sydney airport to ask her to meet her flight when it lands at LAX, with the promise that they'll finally talk about their issues when Ana Lucia arrives. The flight ends up being the one that crashes in the pilot episode of the series, and after surviving for a few months Ana Lucia is shot and killed meaning she never gets to see her mother again.
  • A Season 1 episode of NCIS has Chris Pacci about to ask Gibbs for help on a cold case, but when he sees that Gibbs is busy, he decides that it can wait a day. The next episode starts with someone finding Pacci's disemboweled body.
  • No Ordinary Family:
    • In "No Ordinary Sidekick'', Dr. Chiles convinces Stephanie that there's something to his You Have to Believe Me! ranting about Dr. King and tells her to come over, as he wants to explain everything in person. She arrives to find him dead.
    • In "No Ordinary Animal", a medical examiner finds a mysterious chemical substance in a victim's bloodstream and tells George that he's made a discovery that George needs to say but there isn't time to describe it on the phone. George and Jim arrive to find out that the Villain of the Week has killed the medical examiner and stolen the body.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed II: Giovanni sends his son, Ezio, on some courier missions and says there's something important they need to discuss afterward (implied to be Giovanni's membership in the Assassin Brotherhood). By the time Ezio returns, his home has been raided by Templar-backed guards and his father sentenced to death.
  • In Baldur's Gate, as you and your adoptive father Gorion are fleeing Candlekeep for reasons unknown, Gorion promises to explain everything once they've made it to safety. Sure enough, he gets butchered minutes later leaving you with no answers to speak of.
  • In Empire Earth's Greek campaign, this is how king Phillip of Macedonia's death is presented: Alexander asks to speak to him after a battle, but the king is busy, and is killed by assassins before he has a chance to talk to his son.
  • Happens twice in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The first time is when Jeralt tells Byleth that he has something important to say after the month's mission ends. And the mission ends by him being stabbed by Kronya. The second time is near the end of the Verdant Wind route when Rhea promises to explain more to Byleth and Claude before getting mortally wounded in a Heroic Sacrifice. However, in the latter's case, they actually do end up having that conversation with the time they have left.
  • In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Dr. Eli Vance talks to the player about "Our mutual friend" (the mysterious figure otherwise known as the G-Man) and promises to explain more. The episode ends with Gordon and Alyx having to set off immediately, with the Fade to Black coming after a Combine attack during which Eli is killed by an Advisor.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Togami talks about "things" in his past he can't tell anyone about, yet defers the question when Hinata asks him to elaborate, saying only that he can (and indeed may have to) explain later. Unfortunately for interested players, Dangan Ronpa is a murder mystery game, and Togami ends up being the first victim. There is good reason why his past isn't brought up - he isn't the Togami we knew.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius Klaus' promising to explain everything to Gil is somewhere between this and Tempting Fate, ensuring that something would happen to prevent it. Klaus has been subsequently wasped and frozen in time, and the imprint of him living in Gil's head doesn't seem particularly inclined to share information.
  • Hark! A Vagrant: In the Kokoro comics Sensei's reluctance and hesitance to share his backstory with the young man, and the fact that he only does so in his suicide note after the both of them spend the rest of the story dithering for years rather than accomplishing anything, is lampshaded in "The Heart of Things (But Later)"
    I would like to tell you about my past juicy secrets, and yet I think a dog will bark somewhere so that I cannot continue my story.
  • In Homestuck, Vriska messages John, telling him they'll talk more when they actually meet up in person, right before Terezi confronts and kills her. Of course, this being Homestuck, this doesn't actually stop her from having the conversation, at least with a John.
  • Unsounded: Lemuel changes the subject rather than answer Duane's question on what Lem meant when he said he'd "fix it", even though Duane promises the conversation isn't over. Duane gets murdered on his way home that night and Lemuel knew it was going to happen, it was why he was so upset and off balance during the day as he regretted what was going to happen to his brother.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in the Grand Finale of Danny Phantom. Before leaving to round up the ghosts needed to save the world, Danny says he has a few things he needs to talk to Sam about after the world is saved (namely, their relationship). While everyone (except the audience) thinks he perished in an explosion, he survived and saved the world, with the episode ending on Danny and Sam's Relationship Upgrade.