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Doomed by Canon

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From the beginning, you know the end...

A story or series of stories have established a core group of heroes, villains, and a supporting cast. In order to add more depth to one or more of these things, the creator(s) put(s) out fully-developed back stories and prequels, or even interquels. While such efforts may produce many great things, they also doom characters and plots to inevitable failure or success. Why? Because the first story or stories established de facto canonicity.


Does the prequel involve a dastardly plot to kill one of the heroes of the original story? Too bad for the one doing the plotting—the readers already know that character will escape. Does the back story have a villain from the original story facing certain death in the face of failure? Great for him, he gets to stick around to at least make an appearance later on in the original.

When it comes to prequels and back stories, most readers familiar with the original plot will already know what the outcome will be. They are not so much tempted to participate in the story to see how it ends, but how it gets there. And as the Ancient Greeks discovered, if the audience already knows the ending, there is a huge potential for Dramatic Irony.

On the other side of the coin, though, the trope can induce some audience apathy towards the prequel, especially if the story is centered around a character who has been Killed Off for Real further down the timeline. Some would argue, that the prequel won't really matter much in such a case, since there already is a very definite ending to the character's story. If the character on the other hand had still been alive, the prequel could still have some potential to change things, either with a reference here or there or lingering effects on the Character Development.


If the prequel or back story involves a character who had hitherto not been mentioned and this character is killed in the course of the prequel or back story, it is usually not really this trope at work, as in most cases it would possible to account for the character not having been mentioned in the interim in other ways. If the character survives, on the other hand, it gives the author a new character to tie into a new installment of the main work. See the Comic Books folder for examples. However, sometimes the prequel includes a character whose death has already been mentioned in the original.

A subtrope of Foregone Conclusion and Anthropic Principle. Compare Death by Origin Story. Related to You Can't Thwart Stage One, which relates to prequel plots instead of characters. Contrast Plot Armor and Saved by Canon. Unrelated, despite similar-sounding names, to Doomed Protagonist. Different from Death by Adaptation.


This trope is not about someone who met their demise by cannon (regular or otherwise), you want There Is No Kill Like Overkill for that.

Naturally, this page is loaded with unmarked spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • We know in the Golden Age saga of Berserk that Guts, who starts off as a loyal mercenary soldier under Griffith, will eventually be betrayed by Griffith and gain the Mark of Sacrifice along with every one of his other friends in the Hawks, leading him to become the merciless Black Swordsman. But what we don't know is that two of the Hawks, one of whom wasn't there when the Eclipse went down, would survive, and that the most significant of them, who went through pure hell right in front of him at the hands of Griffith himself upon him becoming a demon god, would be left behind, and would ultimately become the reason for Guts to lay aside his vendetta against Griffith for her sake.
  • At some point in Claymore the protagonists have to face three former resurrected Number ones. We are given a flashback of the common backstory of two of them. But given that these soldiers are well...resurrected it is no surprise how this ends.
  • Any of the Gundam Interquel or Sidestory manga and games are doomed to suffer from this. Because the continuity has been set in stone for thirty-some years, it's a Foregone Conclusion that, for example, Zeon will lose the One Year War in Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO, or that the Titans will form in Gundam 0083, and that the major characters in whatever story will either die or fade into obscurity and whatever superweapon the enemy have will be destroyed.
    • Sometimes this gets toyed with by having the characters (typically from video games) survive and go on to participate in later conflicts. For example, Jack Bayard from Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu becomes an AEUG pilot in the IMAX movie Green Divers and Mobile Suit Gundam École du Ciel. Yuu Kajima from Blue Destiny and Robin Bradshaw and Kurt Roswell from Dual Stars of Carnage fight for their respective sides in Char's Counterattack.
  • Most of cast that appear in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, which is set before Final Fantasy XV, don't do so in the game.
    • Sylva (Ravus and Luna's mother) gets killed by Glauca during Niflheim's invasion of Tenebrae as seen in the Distant Prologue.
    • Crowe does not get mentioned at all in the game, since she gets murdered by Lazarus here.
    • The Niflheim invasion of Insomnia dooms a lot of characters, including Regis, Clarus, the Lucian Council, and the Kingsglaive save for Libertus.
    • Glauca does not appear in XV except in flashbacks to the film, and Ravus being promoted to supreme commander heavily implies that Glauca perished in his fight with Nyx.
  • Mazinger Z:
    • The Mazinger-Z versus Great General of Darkness is an alternate version of the final episode. So that watchers knew that Kouji Kabuto would be defeated and Mazinger-Z would be destroyed by the Mykene, but Tetsuya Tsurugi would show up and crush the Mykene War Beasts.
    • Shin Mazinger Zero is an Alternate Continuity of the original series. So what readers knew what, even though Kouji defeated Dr. Hell for good, the Mykene Empire would rise afterwards. And when a fortuneteller tried to warn Kouji about it, everyone knew that he was his father Kenzo disguised. And everyone knew what would happen when Kouji fought the Mykene War Beasts.
  • Naruto plays with this trope in Shippuden. Firstly, it is a filler so it isn't canonical to begin with. Orochimaru needs to absorb the energy of a girl named Yukimi in order to have enough energy to escape the Leaf Village. We know that he gets away so he has to catch her... and he does and absorbs her energy. He did the same to the rest of her clan (who can turn to smoke) but she was special. After he absorbs her energy, she turns to smoke and begins to blow away. Yamato attempts to keep her smoke together, but he just can't keep up. However, Yukimi's clan turned out to not quite be dead and use their remaining energy to bring her back to life.
  • Getter Robo: Shin Getter Robo is an Interquel that narrates the events between Getter Robo G and Getter Robo Go. So readers know that Ryoma and Hayato will survive but Benkei will die, the Saotome Lab will be destroyed and abandoned, Ryoma will quit and leave... and Shin Getter Robo is terribly dangerous.
  • The Legend of Galactic Heroes Gaiden OAVs fall neatly under here. Instead of Anyone Can Die, you get "that character there who doesn't appear in the main series will almost certainly die."
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden is about the adventure of the first girl to be sucked into the Universe of the Four Gods, Takiko who becomes the Priestess of Genbu. Miaka reveals in Fushigi Yuugi how Takiko summoned Genbu, but was killed in a murder-suicide by her father, because he couldn't bear to see the pain she was in, as Genbu devoured her. While Genbu Kaiden itself alters a few details and makes it first seem like Takiko will die from Tuberculosis before she can fully summon Genbu, it still retains the fact that Takiko and her father do not survive the end of the story.
  • Considering the main Saiyuki stars the reincarnations of the Saiyuki Gaiden characters... yeah.
    • Also certain characters in the prequel Saiyuki Ibun which details how Houmei becomes Koumyou Sanzo. Who dies before the beginning of the series. We know from the Burial chapters that his friend Toudai (the future Goudai Sanzo) will hold the Muten sutra, but will be killed by his pupil. Their youkai friend Tenkai will hold the Maten sutra but will die and Koumyou will inherit it in addition to his Seiten sutra.
  • The My-Otome prequel Sifr features a whole cast of main characters (Lena, Sifr, Bruce) who you know, as part of the back story for the main series, will survive the current events but become corpsicles in 15 years.
  • It's almost impossible to spoil Hetalia: Axis Powers because you know from history that, say, the Axis Powers lose and America won the Revolution. On the other hand, plot points relating specifically to character interactions aren't foregone conclusions.
  • Right of Left, anyone who doesn't die in the OVA dies in the first episode.
  • Legends of the Dark King, a prequel spinoff to Fist of the North Star, centers around Raoh's quest to achieve supremacy as the conqueror of the post-apocalyptic world. One of Raoh's rivals in the spinoff is the Holy Emperor of Nanto himself, Souther. Since Souther ends up being defeated by Kenshiro, and not Raoh, in the original manga and anime, Raoh does not get to defeat Souther in his own series, as their battle ends in a stalemate instead.
  • Lelouch and Suzaku show up in Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, which takes place between seasons 1 and 2 of the original Code Geass. Not only will they both survive, you also know they're not going to fix their relationship before season 2... though they get surprisingly close.
  • Dragon Ball Z gave us two TV specials, Bardock: Father of Goku and The History of Trunks. Anyone who knows the storyline of the original manga will know these specials do not have happy endings. Although, they do fall on the bittersweet side since they do end with a note of hope.
    • In the 2011 What If? story Dragon Ball – Episode of Bardock, Bardock gets retconned to survive Freeza's finishing blow and ends up transported into the past. However, since the setting - Planet Plant - is the prehistoric Planet Vegeta, it's quite apparent that those cute and lovable Plantians will eventually go extinct when the humanoid Tuffles and Saiyans populate the planet.
    • The prequel to Dragon Ball, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, reaches its climax when Jaco saves the people of East City. However, during the Saiyan Saga in Dragon Ball, East City is destroyed by Nappa and all of its inhabitants are killed. It is also not revealed whether they are revived by the Dragon Balls or not. Also, when it's revealed that the alien pod heading to Earth contains Goku, it becomes obvious that he will fail in his mission to intercept it.
  • The first episode appearance of Beyond The Grave is no spoiler to anyone who played Gungrave. But the show isn't about how Brandon Heat is doomed — it's about how his friendship is doomed, his romance, his career and his relationship with his father figure boss are all doomed.
  • In Peacemaker Kurogane the entire Shinsengumi is Doomed By History. Particularly heartbreaking in the case of Okita Souji who historically dies of tuberculosis. So when he began coughing...
  • Yomi from Ga-Rei -Zero-, prequel to Ga-Rei. This is in contrast to Kagura who has Plot Armor as thick as wall of concrete.
    • Ga-Rei -Zero- does this immediately and extremely, establishing a full cast of characters not present in the original manga, then killing them all off in the first episode. Then it rewinds back in time to tell the prequel story, leaving no doubts as to who is and isn't Doomed.
  • Messed around with in Puella Magi Oriko Magica, which takes place before Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Well, kind of. It's an Alternate Timeline that's part of the anime's "Groundhog Day" Loop, occurring before the anime's main timeline. Madoka's death is a Foregone Conclusion, but it's subverted for Mami, Kyouko, and Sayaka, all of whom survive - and Sayaka doesn't even contract. Yuma might also be a subversion if we had any idea what happened to her in the anime's timeline. It's inverted with Kazuko, who survives in the anime, but actually dies in this timeline. Her death is REALLY ugly, too.
  • Several chapters of A Certain Scientific Railgun depict Mikoto's attempt to stop the Level 6 Shift Program. The reader already knows the program is only stopped by the grace of Touma's intervention, and that by the end Mikoto will be driven so far as to be ready to give up her life to end the Sisters torment. This especially hits hard with the appearance of Misaka 9982, the Sister Mikoto originally meets and grows fond of during their time together. Readers of Index will also know that every clone before 10032 meets their end by Accelerator's hands, and sure enough 9982 dies, just as Mikoto shows up to the fight scene even.
    • Season 2 of Railgun also shows the horrificness of the project, and Mikoto's vain attempts to stop it. After seeing this, her rant to Touma in the Sister's arc of the first season of A Certain Magical Index becomes much more powerful.
    • During the Dream Ranker arc of Railgun, there's a subarc where Saten Ruiko befriends Frenda Seivelun. Readers know that the friendship isn't going to last because Frenda is murdered during the events of the Battle Royale arc in Index. In fact the subarc is in fact mostly a prelude to the events of the Battle Royale arc, with the exception of the subarc's ending, which takes place afterwards. The ending has Saten wondering why Frenda isn't coming over for dinner, not knowing of her death. As a kicker, Uiharu ends up showing up, with Uiharu having the injury she sustained from the Battle Royale arc.
  • Fruits Basket. You know from the beginning that Tohru's parents die, but when you finally hear their backstory, you get attached to them anyway.
  • Fate/Zero: It's a safe assumption any character not Plot Armored by appearance in Fate/stay night is as good as dead; this is especially certain with any Servant other than Saber or Gilgamesh. This makes Waver Velvet's aversion so surprising, as he seems the least likely to have come out of the War alive. It turns out that Waver was Plot Armored by appearance in Fate/stay night...he's just not called Waver Velvet anymore.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku dies, Sukeroku will eventually have Konatsu (which is quite shocking considering his womanizing ways), Miyokichi will not become a proper Geisha, Yakumo the 7th dies. All this is in the canon, since the first cour is spent in a continuous flashback of Yakumo the 8th's life and it becomes integral to the second cour (where Yotaro - having become the next Sukeroku - tries to grow out of the shadow of his predecessors).
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School: As the Despair Arc is a prequel to the rest of the series, we already know who's going to die and who's going to become Remnants of Despair. It just serves to fill us in on all the details. Exaggerated with the fate of Yukizome, who was killed off just before the premiere of the Despair Arc and whom posthumously comments on their doomed status in the first episode's intro.
  • The prequel light novel to Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Washio Sumi Is A Hero, features three Heroes: the titular Sumi Washio, Sonoko Nogi and Gin Minowa. Sumi and Sonoko both appear in the anime and have significant roles in the story. Gin, on the other hand, never appears in the series and is only referenced in passing by Sonoko, and not even by name. It doesn't take a lot on the part of the reader to work out that Gin's not going to make it to the end of the novel.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • There was an Emma Frost solo series that took place prior to the character's turn to villainy, and one of the supporting characters was her boyfriend Troy. Since Troy was never seen in any of the prior X-Men books, nobody was surprised when the poor lad caught a bullet to the head. Indeed, this served as a Start of Darkness moment for Emma. However, this is not a true example, since the story could also have evolved with Emma breaking up with Troy and then forgetting about him. This is exactly what happened when Uncanny X-Men #161 introduced Charles Xavier's former lover Gabrielle Haller in a story where Xavier remembers things that happened about two decades earlier. A couple of years later Chris Claremont not only showed that Gaby Haller was still alive and well, but that she had given birth to Xavier's son David aka Legion. On the other hand, another character introduced in the same story, Xavier's friend Daniel Shomron, who was still alive at the end of the flashback, was then revealed to have been killed in a terrorist attack in the course of the intervening years.
    • Another example that shows that you can't generally apply this trope to new characters is the first appearance of the Shadow King (Amahl Farouk) in Uncanny X-Men #117. In a flashback set at a time before Storm's puberty, Charles Xavier fights against the evil Amahl Farouk and in the end kills him. However, years later it was revealed that Farouk had survived in discorporated form as the Shadow King and would return again and again to attack his old nemesis and his friends.
  • There is a series called Testament about a young man named Max. He is a likable Jewish child in Nazi Germany. Since it is published by Marvel, we all know that his entire family will be killed in concentration camps, and his mutant powers will later manifest, and he will become Magneto, always caught in the Heel–Face Revolving Door because although sometimes he'd like to live in peaceful coexistence with humans, he doesn't think it can happen.
  • Before Mr. Magnus had Magneto's testament, a certain Latvarian Doctor had the title "Books of Doom" which told his story from the start. Whilst most of the story follows the general history of Victor von Doom with some extra padding on the sides which hadn't been explored, and some implications are made that the machine he built didn't even malfunction, it was... ahem, "the Demon" who blew it up, the part where he takes over Latvaria by forceful military conquest totally goes against the way he explained it in Fantastic Four Annual #2, where he wined and dined Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl. Given that the story is told by a Doombot who thinks he's the real thing, however, Unreliable Narrator may apply.
  • Marvel seems to enjoy this trope. Case in point: The Punisher: Born. Frank Castle has a family in Born.
  • There have been a number of stories about Jor-El and Lara, the parents of Superman, some of which chronicle their attempts to save Krypton from its inevitable destruction. Unfortunately, anyone with a passing knowledge of Superman knows their efforts will all be for nothing in the end, as Krypton is destroyed and their son ends up being sent to Earth. Similarly, the Silver/Bronze Age Superboy series sees a similar fate for supporting characters Ma and Pa Kent, who're destined to die shortly after Clark's high school graduation (most Superboy stories were set during Clark's high school years).
    • Another Superman example comes from the Superman: The Secret Years miniseries, which focuses on Clark Kent's college years and largely sidesteps the problem of knowing the likes of Lana Lang are safe. Not so for Clark's new-to-continuity roommate, Billy Cramer, who learns Clark's secret and becomes his best friend... just in time to perish in the third issue in a burning building, not knowing that his buddy Clark is on the other side of the planet at the time and can't hear his signal whistle.
  • Played with in the Green Lantern arc, "Emerald Knights", in which then-current GL Kyle Rayner meets a younger Hal Jordan. When Parallax shows up and confronts the younger Hal Jordan, Kyle realizes that the younger Hal has to become Parallax in order for The Final Night to happen.
  • Supergirl:
    • In Many Happy Returns, The Spectre informs the Pre-Crisis Supergirl -Kara Zor-El- that she has to return to her own timeline for the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths to happen (namely, her Heroic Sacrifice). Then-current Supergirl, Linda Danvers, tried to switch places with Kara, but it failed.
    • Convergence subverted it right at the end. In Convergence: Adventures of Superman, Silver Age Supergirl finds out -and accepts- that she is fated to fight the Anti-Monitor and die to save The Multiverse. However, post-Flashpoint Superman -and his family- and Parallax Hal Jordan join the battle and save her and Barry Allen's lives.
  • Both Star Wars and Star Trek had monthly comics published between movies. No matter what happened in the comics, all characters end up pretty much where they were at the end of the previous film and/or where they need to be for the start of the next. The Star Wars cast were never going to rescue Han Solo between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Likewise the comics had Spock completely restored between III & IV. A storyline was created to wipe his mind and make the main cast fugitives and back on Vulcan. A prime example is the "Hope Dies" arc of the recent Marvel comics, which kills off every Rebel commander who appeared in Rogue One and A New Hope but was absent in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Star Wars: Kanan: Depa Billaba is known to have been killed by her clone battalion when Order 66 was issued, so not only are the friendships developed between them and Kanan doomed their betrayl and murder of their general is shown in the second issue before they are developed further.
  • Kurt Busiek's Untold Tales of Spider-Man series takes place during the first few years of original Amazing Spider-Man comic. Thus any characters and status quo from comic has to be kept during Untold Tales. For example, in one issue where Peter reveals that he's the one who takes Spider-Man photos for the Daily Bugle, an impressed Flash Thompson actually drops his dislike of Peter and actually wants to become friends with him. But since Peter and Flash didn't really become friends until after high school, you know this new relationship between the two isn't going to last long, and indeed by the end of the issue let's just say Flash goes back to disliking Peter.
  • A saying in the Hong Kong comic The Ravages of Time goes, "Those who are fated to die, will die. Those who are fated to live, will live." That is to say, every character is going to die at the time that they did in the source material, even if the circumstances vary quite widely, while at least two original characters were created/centered around specific story arcs and thus were doomed to go when that arc was upnote .
  • Les Legendaires Origines being a prequel to the main series, this is to be expected; So, Danael had an Childhood friend secretly in love with him who never got any mention in the main series where he already is in a relationship with Jadina? Yep, she most likely won't make it until the end of the book. The Starscream plans to overthrow the Big Bad who we already know made it in the main series? Yeah, not gonna work. Even bigger case with the arcs that already got a mention in the main series (we all know very well Jadina will not marry Halan).
  • Before Watchmen: Minutemen focuses heavily on the badass lesbian vigilante Silhouette - who is long dead in the original Watchmen. The miniseries does throw a nifty curveball regarding the supposedly disappeared Hooded Justice, though: turns out that Hollis Mason accidentally killed Justice, having been led by the Comedian into believing that Justice was the "Friend of the Children" serial killer. All that speculating that Mason does in his book about Justice's disappearance was his way of covering up his actions.
  • Secret Wars (2015) #1 ends with the Marvel Universe colliding with the Ultimate Marvel Universe, and both worlds being destroyed as a result. The rest of the crossover deals with the surviving heroes on Battleworld, a patchwork planet created from bits of the various multiverse worlds that were destroyed. Despite this, Marvel launched a series of tie-ins branded Last Days, which feature the various Marvel heroes in the final hours before the fateful collision from Secret Wars #1. A few of the tie-ins (such as Captain America and the Mighty Avengers and Magneto) feature characters trying to avert the crisis by stopping the Earths from colliding, or at least saving themselves (like in Loki: Agent of Asgard) by severing their dimension from the doomed Earth, despite the fact that the readers all know the heroes are destined to fail no matter what.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender comics are limited in what they can do by the canon of the sequel series, The Legend of Korra. Katara, Zuko, and Toph can't die because they are still alive in Korra; Aang and Sokka can't die either, because their deaths are set by Korra's timeline as taking place over half a century later. We also know that Aang and Katara will remain a couple and have three children; that the Earth Kingdom will remain a rickety monarchy; that industrialization will take off big-time... there's rather limited room for suspense in a story with so many constraints. That isn't to say there's no room though, as not everything was spelled out in Korra. Azula is a major example. She does not appear nor is she mentioned in Legend of Korra, but it's also never stated that she's dead, meaning that the writers can do what they want with her without worrying about canonicity. Likewise, we know that Zuko eventually has a daughter (who will eventually become Firelord), but it's never stated who her mother is.
  • Since Injustice: Gods Among Us is a prequel to the game, any characters who show up only in the comic are all but certain to be killed off.
    • Subverted by Doctor Fate, who comes back in Injustice 2, although ironically he is killed off as well.
  • Spider-Man: Uncle Ben is the poster boy of "Death by Origin Story". His death, an unexpected consequence of Peter being selfish and using his powers for personal gain, made him learn that "With great power Comes Great Responsibility". That means that any adaptation of Spider-Man where Ben appears from the start (such as Ultimate Spider-Man or the first Sam Raimi's film) will have him die very soon.
  • Somewhat the case in Rough Riders. A majority of character deaths and survivals happen as they did in recorded history, but a fair amount are faked, occurred much less cleanly, or were undone by mad science. Notably, the Spanish-American War that Theodore tries to prevent with his team happens anyway despite his best efforts.

    Fan Works 
  • Happens a lot in fan works due to writers' opportunity to focus on side characters or off screen adventures.
    • Especially notable is the Harry Potter fics, because so many side characters are killed off screen - including fan favorites like Lupin.
      • Wormtail should also be mentioned. If you write a story set during the Marauders' Era, you have to portray Wormtail being BFFs with the others when everyone reading it knows he will grow up to join Lord Voldemort and betray everyone. This has led to the much reviled cliché of portraying Marauders' Era Wormtail as an Obviously Evil Devil in Plain Sight.
      • Similarly, any OCs paired with Sirius or Remus in Marauder-era fics usually end up dead by the end of the story in order to explain why they don't show up in canonicity.
  • It's also par for the course in regards to The Stations of the Canon, especially with fanfics that don't shake up the formula, resulting in similar conclusions. Using Harry Potter again, this would be akin to Harry Potter gaining Chakra and the ability to do Ninjutsus, but reading ahead and seeing that despite all the potential this could have, events still unfold as they did throughout the series (i.e., important characters dying, Voldemort's return, etc.)
  • In The Very Secret Diary, which is about Ginny's struggle against Tom Riddle's diary, Ginny has to eventually succumb completely to the diary, since she's totally under its spell (and unconscious because it was draining her energy to make Tom Riddle more real) in the climax of the original book. This does at least give a Downer Ending a happy epilogue, since we also know that Harry's going to destroy the book with a basilisk fang and save her.
  • Subverted in Renegade, where Nihlus survives due to timely intervention on Shepard's part; thanks to GDI's jetpack technology, she's able to get to him faster and shoot Saren before he can kill Nihlus.
  • Played straight in Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns by King Endrin Aeducan, Duncan and King Cailan Theirin, although the latter two get a Dying Moment of Awesome and an arguable Alas, Poor Scrappy, respectively. Nevertheless, it is subverted more often than not. Not only do all potential player characters survive to become wardens, but Trian Aeducan lives and actually turns into a Wise Prince later on.
  • Gonjiki Yasha – Meiji Onmyōji Tales: Of course Yosano Tadayoshi ends up murdered and Hagiwara Sakura loses her lover, this being an adaptation of the game's main story mode, even when the former receives a slightly luckier fate than in canon due to actually appearing alive on-screen once.
  • In Touhou Tonari you know what will happen to Yuyuko since it takes place in her past while she was still alive.
  • Go ahead and find a fanfic about the first generation characters in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War... there's a reason why most of those are short.
  • Mass Effect Interregnum details what Garrus and his vigilante group did between Shepard's death and resurrection in Mass Effect 2. As we know from the game, they're betrayed by one of their own, and he and Garrus are the only survivors.
  • Averted twice in Mass Effect Human Revolution. Jenkins, the Redshirt, survives and becomes promoted to a Mauve Shirt. Secondly, Shepard herself is successfully assassinated on the Citadel.
  • Averted then Double-Subverted in Protoculture Effect (This happens a lot in Mass Effect crossovers, doesn't it?). Jenkins survives, as does another minor Posthumous Character, due to the toughness of Cyclones. Then the second character ends up dying in a later mission.
  • So, so many fics teaming up the original G1 Transformers and the characters of Beast Wars prior to the reveal at the end of Season Two. Many a fic writers had to scramble around and revise or retcon stories involving interaction, fights and especially romances between the two factions, when it was revealed the Beast Wars characters were merely a quarter of the size of their G1 counterparts. A fic that had Arcee cooing over Cheetor after it's revealed he only comes to her knee is especially Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Field Of Innocence centers around Iroh's son, Lu Ten. You know he's not going to make it home from war, or be able to protect his cousins from Ozai.
  • Subverted in the Earth-2706 universe when it comes to Spider-Man. The vast majority of adaptations follow the comics' formula of having Peter Parker's Uncle Ben being killed by the burglar, Gwen Stacy either being killed or otherwise replaced by Mary Jane Watson as Peter's love interest. In this version, however, Aunt May is the one who was killed by the burglar while Uncle Ben lives, Gwen Stacy is alive and well and still Peter's girlfriend, and Mary Jane is Peter's Distaff Counterpart with the two of them being more Like Brother and Sister rather than romantically interested in each other.
  • The former Arrow story 'Red' had a subplot of Sara Lance being in love with the protagonist Thea Queen. However since it was later in the show Sara was killed by a brainwashed Thea, the story became highly inappropriate.
  • Guardian details Lulu's adventures before Final Fantasy X... starting off with her pilgrimage as guardian of Lady Ginnem, who appears in the game as an Unsent. Later we see her burgeoning romance with Chappu, who is visited on the Farplane during the game.
  • An Ace Attorney fanfic, Somebody That I Used To Know tells an expanded and heavily re-imagined version of the backstory of Juan Corrida, victim of the Farewell, My Turnabout, the fourth case of Justice For All. He does not actually die during the course of the fic, but the story leaves off the night before the events of the game are set to happen, so it's a fair assumption that he dies soon after. Similarly, Celeste Inpax dies about halfway through the story, as her death in the backstory of Farewell, My Turnabout was one of the keys to the entire case.
  • The Bloodborne fic Childhood's End focuses on Eileen the Crow saving Father Gascoigne's daughters before they go through the chain of events that lead to their deaths in the original game. Unfortunately, despite Djura's hopes, the same doesn't apply to Gascoigne himself. Or his wife for that matter.
  • In Hunger Games fanfics, characters can become Doomed by Canon in the following ways:
    • Being a tribute in the same Games as one of the canon victors. Since we already know who's going to win, it's not a question of if any of the other tributes are going to die, but when and how.
    • Being a tribute from District 12 other than Lucy Gray Baird (victor of the Tenth Games), Haymitch Abernathy (victor of the Fiftieth Games) or Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (joint victors of the Seventy-fourth Games). It's clearly stated that these four are the only victors District 12 produced, so any other tribute from that district is going to, at best, place second - if they even make it to the latter stages.
    • Being a girl tribute from District 7 other than Johanna Mason. Johanna is her district's only surviving female victor at the time of the third Quarter Quell, which means any other girls from 7 who became tributes will, even if they survived their Games, have died some time prior to this.
    • Being a twelve- or thirteen-year-old tribute. Finnick Odair is said to have been "one of the youngest victors", if not the youngest, when he won the Sixty-fifth Hunger Games at the age of fourteen. While this doesn't rule out the possibility that there were other fourteen-year-old victors, it means anyone who gets reaped below that age is not going to get out of the arena alive.
    • Being a victor other than one of the seven note  who are still alive at the end of the second rebellion. Sixteen victors died prior to the announcement of the third Quarter Quell, which claimed the lives of a further eighteen. Most of the remaining forty-one victors were killed in the rebellion, targeted by the Capitol if they were thought to be allied with the rebels or by the rebels if they were thought to support the Capitol.
  • Most of the cast of the Pokemon Rejuvenation prequel Where Love Lies ends up either estranged from each other or dead.
    • Kenneth, the main character, is an idealistic and friendly man living with his wife Taelia and daughter Nora. In the main game, he lives alone and has separated himself from his emotions. It is obvious that his happiness won't last, and neither will his family.
    • Deagan, his estranged brother, reconciles and promises to return to his family and be a better person. Considering how his daughter Amber despises her 'stupid dead father' who abandoned her in the present day, this could never happen.
  • In Not As Simple As A Happy Ending, an Undertale fanfiction, this applies to the fallen children as well as Gaster and his staff.
  • After their title fight in Well-Matched, Kate Kane and Sophie Moore agree to a rematch at the next year's Brigade Boxing Open. However, since the story takes place in their second junior semester and Kate resigned from West Point in her first senior semester, such a rematch couldn't happen.
  • Ruby and Nora has three stories that are prequels that contain this:
    • Pyrrha's Past involves Pyrrha's previous team, Team PEAR. You can basically figure out why her old teammates aren't around in the present.
    • Kuroyuri involves Ren's parents and his home village. Like in canon, his parents die and his village is destroyed.
    • STRQ involves Ruby and Yang's parents and Qrow. Given that in this continuity Taiyang is stated to have died, it's no surprise this story involves that character's death.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, the curse must still be in place in the end. Though interestingly, it's a story being told by the characters themselves, long after the curse has been lifted. For that reason, this trope also applies to Forte's villainy: we know all the heroes will survive and the curse will eventually be broken.
  • Tarzan II: Tarzan can't find out that he's a human, and has to come back with the gorilla band at the end.
  • With Monsters University, it's pretty clear that Mike is going to fail as a scarer, seeing as he's only Sulley's assistant in the first movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Along Came a Spider, Ben Cross has to survive.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man reboots the series by putting Gwen Stacy as Peter's love interest. The sequel makes sure her comics legacy remains intact.
  • In Amityville II: The Possession, the family has to die, and the spirits in the house have to remain active.
  • At the end of AVP: Alien vs. Predator and its sequel Requiem, the Weyland-Yutani Company has to exist, and the public at large has to remain unaware of the existence of the Xenomorphs.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice features Doomsday. His origin story gives him a clear role. Also, Lex Luthor ends up without any hair.
  • In the Tsui Hark movie A Better Tomorrow III: Love and Death in Saigon, the prequel to the first two movies by John Woo, Mark Gor has to survive and have no love interest.
  • In Butch and Sundance: The Early Years, Butch and Sundance have to survive.
  • In the prequel for Carlito's Way, Carlitos Way Rise To Power, Carlito Brigante has to survive.
  • Similarly, in The Cat's Meow, Thomas Ince has to die mysteriously, and the death must remain unsolved (or at least unpunished).
  • The movies of Che Guevara: Che: El Argentino and Che: Guerrilla. Che is killed by the CIA in Bolivia.
  • The Dark Knight has Harvey Dent, and he's constantly tossing a coin. Him becoming Two-Face is a given, with the only surprise being that the Face–Heel Turn happens in the same movie instead of being saved for a sequel.
  • The Day of the Jackal is about a mysterious Englishman who is hired by the OAS to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle in 1963. Since De Gaulle died in real life in 1970 of natural causes, it's foregone that the assassination attempt will fail. The source novel even points that out in the beginning.
  • Death Race starts with the death of Frankenstein, the sport's biggest star, whose mantle is then reluctantly taken by Jason Statham's character. Two direct-to-DVD prequels show how Frankenstein rose to the top in the first place, though the Frank who died at the beginning of the first movie isn't the star from the other two.
  • In Dumb and Dumberer, Harry and Lloyd must still remain friends, and have no love interest.
  • The Fast and the Furious:
    • Han is killed in a car explosion in Tokyo Drift but reemerges during the following two prequel films, Fast & Furious and Fast Five. The trope finally gets invoked in the stinger ending of Fast & Furious 6. It does however cast completely new light on his death. Subverted in Fast And Furious 9, which takes place after Tokyo Drift, where it's revealed Han actually didn't die in Tokyo and returns to help Dom and company.
    • This also seems to apply to Giselle, who is Han's girlfriend in the prequels but nowhere to be found in Tokyo. She dies in Fast & Furious 6.
  • Final Destination 5: This is combined with a Cruel Twist Ending. The film's antagonist has been killed and the three remaining characters have (at least by their interpretation of Bludworth's words) cheated death successfully. Then two of them get on a plane. Where six teenagers and a teacher are kicked off.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter, Domenica Santanico has to become the evil vampìre Santanico Pandemonium, who appears in the first film.
  • In Hannibal Rising, Hannibal Lecter has to go insane, and survive the movie. In Red Dragon, Hannibal has to stay in the asylum. (It's not really a prequel — the original book was written and published before The Silence of the Lambs — but most people see/read The Silence of the Lambs first so the trope pretty much applies.)
  • The Hobbit:
    • The Peter Jackson film is a prequel, released after The Lord of the Rings. Anyone who's seen the three LOTR films beforehand, even if they haven't read the books, may catch on that Balin will be killed by orcs between scripts, as he's the one buried in the Moria crypt from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The same goes for Ori and Óin.
    • Also, even if you have never seen The Lord of the Rings, it's pretty clear that Bilbo will survive the events in The Hobbit since the first film opens with his older self sitting down and writing/retelling the story of what happened.
    • Rather than being a case of the author writing himself into a corner, the issues are caused by the fact that Peter Jackson told the story out of order. The Hobbit isn't actually a prequel.
    • Legolas is practically invincible due to his inclusion in the sequels, and pulls off impossible maneuvers since he's Saved by Canon.
  • Inglourious Basterds is set up with the audience knowing the plot to kill Hitler will fail. Except it doesn't.
  • In Killing Bono, the Bono assassination plot will not succeed, and Shook Up! will not become the most successful band of all time.
  • Seemed to be a major point with the Planet of the Apes franchise, though the final film, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, was edited in its theatrical release to try and avoid it. The unedited DVD release makes it more clear that the film is setting up the "humans will be wild men, apes will rule and everything will explode". The prequel-reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes has this as well.
  • In Ringu 0, Sadako Yamamura has to die and her spirit has to remain bound to the videotape.
  • It doesn't really matter what good things Akkadian mercenary Mathayus does, who he falls in love with, how much ass he kicks, how many times he saves the world, or even who plays him: in the end, The Scorpion King is destined to become villainous enough to try and take over the world himself, fail, and sell his soul to the devil in desperation, before finally being killed by an archeologist in the early 20th century. Otherwise, The Mummy Returns can't happen. Bonus points: all of his women are doomed as well: if they don't get killed in the movie they show up in, they will be Back for the Dead in the immediate sequel ala Austin Powers, if they aren't Killed Offscreen.
  • Star Wars:
    • The entire prequel trilogy (and by extension, nearly everything in the EU set before A New Hope) is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Everyone that isn't in the original doesn't live through Revenge of the Sith, and everyone that is does. So what does that tell us about little Ahsoka? Apparently, it tells us that she does survive, at least to the events of Star Wars Rebels. However she'd left the Jedi before the events of Revenge of the Sith.
    • The entire main cast of Rogue One, as well. These badass heroes of the Rebellion stole the plans to the Death Star and made the heroic victory in A New Hope possible, so why aren't they around to celebrate Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie's victory? Because not a single one of them made it off of Scarif. Same goes for Blue Squadron, which took part in the aerial assault on Scarif, and the original Red Five (Luke's callsign in ANH).
  • No matter if the war is won or lost, in Terminator Salvation, John Connor must send Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor (and have sex with her so John is conceived), Skynet must send a T-800 back in time to kill her, John must send a reprogrammed T-800 back in time to protect his younger self, Skynet must send a T-1000 back in time to kill John's younger self, John must send another reprogrammed T-800 back in time to protect his past self, and Skynet must send a T-X Terminatrix to kill John's past self. The ridiculous recursions were finally addressed in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but unfortunately it only lasted two seasons.
  • In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, the Hewitts have to survive.
  • The Thing (2011) depicts the events that went down in the Norwegian base. Anyone who's seen the John Carpenter 1982 film knows that there were no survivors when MacReady arrives. Furthermore, they'll also know that the attempts by the two surviving Norwegians to stop the Thing from escaping will fail due to the actions of Garry.
  • The third Underworld (2003) movie is mostly all the stuff they spent most of the first movie finding out had happened.
  • In Vacancy 2 The First Cut, the killers have to survive.
  • Operation Valkyrie is Doomed By Reality. Hitler's gotta live, and therefore the operation's doomed to fail.
  • Wonder Woman: As this is a prequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the audience already knows how some things are going to turn out. No matter how much faith Diana has in humanity, she will inevitably lose a good chunk of it. Also her relationship with Steve will not last although the reason why is not predetermined. Though the fact that he's a World War I veteran, while Batman v Superman takes place in the modern day is as good an explanation as any...
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wolverine has to lose his memories and rename himself "Logan", Sabretooth has to distance himself from Wolverine to the point of giving him the silent treatment, William Stryker has to survive and so does Cyclops. Silver Fox has to either die or board a bus (since Wolverine doesn't have a girlfriend in the original movie).
    • In X-Men: First Class, Charles Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, Beast, and Moira MacTaggert have to survive, and Magneto and Mystique have to turn evil, leave the X-Men and create the Brotherhood of Mutants. Xavier also has to become wheelchair bound (although he's also walking in Wolverine and the flashback in X-Men 3).
    • Possibly Double Subverted by X-Men: Days of Future Past. On the one hand, the time travel plot of the film allows for the film continuity to be rewritten, enabling characters to avoid this trope e.g. Cyclops, Jean Grey, possibly Mystique. On the other hand, despite being given a 'second chance', most of the characters end up heading towards the same fates they originally did - for example, Magneto still becomes a mutant extremist at odds with Charles. Overlaps with You Can't Fight Fate.
  • The Italian movie "Il Primo Re" is based on the legendary tale of the founding of Rome, thus everyone knows Remus will die at the end, killed by his own brother. Much of the film's drama comes from him being the protagonist and slowly becoming a man Romulus is forced to kill for everyone's good.

  • The last book in most V. C. Andrews series are prequels told by the heroine's mother or grandmother, fleshing out how the drama and doom said heroine endures comes about. Thanks, Mom.
  • Animal Farm has to end with Napoleon winning and the pigs becoming indistinguishable from the humans, since it was explicitly modeled on the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union, which, when the novel was written during World War II, was under Stalin's iron rule.
  • In the two prequels to David Eddings' The Belgariad, written after the series and its sequel, readers know that the duchy of Vo Wacune and (almost) the entire population of Maragor are gonna eat it at some point since Vo Wacune no longer exists in the main series and Maragor is filled with the ghosts of the dead.
  • The BioShock novelization details the attempts of Bill McDonagh and Roland Wallace to deal with/kill Ryan and escape Rapture with his family. As we find McDonagh's corpse during the game, and hear an Audio Diary of Wallace's death, we already know that this isn't going to work.
  • In the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, a spinoff novel of the manga Death Note, we know from the beginning that Naomi and L will solve the case thanks to a comment made in the original series.
  • The titular character of Whortle's Hope, a prequel to the Deptford Mice trilogy, is one of the fieldmice who ended up murdered in The Crystal Prison, the second of those books. As anyone reading Whortle's Hope likely has already read the main trilogy, they know full well that soon he'll be dead.
  • Pretty much any Doctor Who Expanded Universe media featuring a past Doctor is constrained by this. Lawrence Miles did attempt to change this with his book Interference, which had the Third Doctor die in a completely different way thanks to the meddling of Faction Paradox, a Temporal Paradox-obsessed cult. It was Miles' hope that other writers would follow his example and no longer hold the Doctor's past sacrosanct. However the alternate timeline was never explored (by editorial decree; it's not known if any writers aside from Miles had intended to write books set in it).
  • Dune: In The Great Schools of Dune trilogy (taking place eight decades after the Butlerian Jihad), the main conflict is between the rabid anti-technology fanatics, whose movement was started by Rayna Butler during the Jihad and continued by her successor Manford Torondo, and the Corrupt Corporate Executive Josef Venport, whose Mega-Corp Venport Holdings is striving to restore its monopoly on foldspace travel, as well as to ensure eternal technological and economic progress by eliminating any rival, including the Butlerian fanatics. Both sides are seen as extremes by Imperium at large and House Corrino and are too powerful to be eliminated by the Emperor without consequences. However, since the Imperium has neither completely abandoned all technology nor become a cyber-paradise by the time the original Dune takes place ten millennia later, it can be surmised that neither side emerges victorious. Indeed, both extreme factions end up crippling one another, allowing Emperor Roderick to mop up the remains.
    • In addition, an important faction in the Legends of Dune are the Sorceresses of Rossak, who possess psychic powers well in advance of what the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood will have thousands of years later. Something has to happen to get rid of the Sorceresses and allow the Sisterhood to rise in its place. Indeed, the plague spread by Omnius ends up hitting Rossak especially hard, killing many Sorceresses, and many also perform Heroic Sacrifices during the Butlerian Jihad to kill cymeks (sending out psychic blasts that fry any living brain within a particular area, including their own). With birth rates already low, the Sorceresses are pretty much doomed to extinction by the time the Jihad ends. By the time of the The Great School of Dune, only a few are left and they train the Sisters as their replacement (despite different powers). When the Emperor appears to shut down the the school and orders his men to shoot several Sorceresses in reprisal, the rest attack the Emperor in anguish and are quickly cut down by soldiers.
  • Everything's Better With Elves: Adrav has to die, because it was established in the first book that Sal only has one living sister.
  • Fate/Zero goes the "everyone who wasn't in the original is likely to die" route. The only surprise was an inversion Waver Velvet survived.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's Dances on the Snow takes place about 100 prior to the events of Genome. While none of the characters from the prequel are present in the first novel (the stories are simply set in the same 'verse), the main event that defines the prequel is an attempt by a coalition of planets to take over The Empire from within, and it appears to be succeeding rather well by brainwashing entire planetary populations. Since the Empire is alive and well in Genome, it is easy to figure out that the Big Bad's plan will fail. Additionally, the main character's childhood female friend laments that Faster-Than-Light Travel is lethal to women who are not in a Human Popsicle state. This is never mentioned in Genome, which is all about genetic engineering, meaning the problem will be resolved by the end of the prequel via gene therapy.
  • The outcome of the novel Guild Wars: Edge of Destiny. The protagonists plan to take down one of the Elder Dragons. But before the release of the books it was already stated that Guild Wars 2 (chronologically one year after the events of the book) will focus around killing the Elder Dragons, including the one they planned to attack. It leads to a Downer Ending.
  • Mauve Shirt Andrej of the novel Helsreach subverts the trope. While it's "Common Knowledge" in the Warhammer lore that Grimaldus is the Sole Survivor of the final battle, Andrej ultimately manages to make it through the entire thing and is picked out of the rubble (along with a handful of other random survivors) alongside him. Andrej himself hangs somewhat of a lampshade on the situation; it's not actually that Grimaldus was the only survivor, it's that he was the only notable survivor and thus the only one people remember. The storm trooper is more than happy to keep quiet and let Grimaldus have his fame.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Last Herald-Mage trilogy tells the story of Herald-Mage Vanyel, and Brightly Burning tells the story of Lavan Firestorm. The deaths of both characters were first described in the very first book of the entire series, well before the books featuring them were published. (Additionally, the title "Last Herald-Mage" made the fate of all the other Herald-Mages in Vanyel's story pretty clear.)
    • Similarly, in the Mage Wars trilogy, we already know that the Cataclysm happens, and to a certain extent why. We know that the Kaled'a'in split off into the Shin'a'in and Tayledras. If you've read Mage Winds, you also know the fate of Big Good Urtho and Big Bad Ma'ar.
  • Saving Charlie is not going to work out the way Hiro wants, as anyone who has seen the end of the Heroes episodes it's based on can tell you that Sylar kills her. A few seasons later, Hiro manages to save her from both Sylar and her blood clot, but then loses her again when a fellow time-traveler drops her off in the 40s and she decides taking The Slow Path isn't for her and starts a family with a WWII vet.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The primary plot — before it goes Off the Rails, anyway — is Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!. There's several characters whose names are rather blatantly based on the real-life people of whom the characters in question are expies, especially Rob S. Pierre, who is, of course, an expy of Robespierre. Anyone who knows their history can see how the Havenite side of the plot is going to progress — up until somebody nukes Napoleon and the entire plot veers rather startlingly Off the Rails.
    • A new Doomed By Canon is forming around Oyster Bay, the in-universe equivalent of Pearl Harbor, despite side stories that promise the potential to stop it. All these plots fail because Oyster Bay is the catalyst for — well, basically everything that's going to happen in the remainder of the series.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel Bloodlines, Davvol is given immortality and appointed as evincar of Rath. However, we know he won't survive the book because it's a prequel to Rath And Storm, in which Rath has another ruler.
  • Odtaa is set during a revolution in the fictional republic of Santa Barbara, and is a prequel to another novel which already established the outcome of the rebellion and the fates of the dictator, the rebel leader, the rebel leader's fiancée, and so on. However, the protagonist of Odtaa is a new character, and so is his love interest, so there is room for dramatic tension regarding how things will turn out for them personally.
  • In the Redwall book Martin the Warrior, the titular character's love interest Rose has to die by the end because he is traveling alone in Mossflower, which takes place later.
  • Donna Tartt's The Secret History opens with the murder of one of the characters, then proceeds to show how they got there.
  • Any reader of Irvine Welsh's Skagboys who's already read Trainspotting will already know that Matty and Tommy both will die of AIDS, and Mark's older brother Billy will be killed in an IRA ambush while serving with the British Army in Northern Ireland.
  • From the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch: The TV Series included Coridan as a member of the fledgling Coalition of Planets. However, it had previously confirmed that the United Federation of Planets which grew out of the Coalition was founded by Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites - no Coridanites. Hence, while the first novel in the relaunch has Coridan as part of the alliance, it also has them withdraw before the Coalition Compact is signed. This of course is no surprise to readers familiar with Trek lore. The Rigellians and Denobulans were also part of the initial Coalition talks, but their absence is explained as their having been frightened off by Terra Prime in the series' penultimate episode.
    • To underline just how doomed Coridan's membership was, the very episode that introduced the Andorians and Tellarites to Star Trek centred around a conference about admitting Coridan to the Federation, with Coridan established as underpopulated. That episode took place over a century after the events of Enterprise.
  • In Star Trek: Stargazer, the Ubarrak Primacy is shown as a powerful rival to the Federation and Cardassians (at least in one particular sector). However, their lack of appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine means they obviously can't become the major power they're aiming to be.
  • One Star Trek: The Next Generation novel has an Alternate Universe Jack Crusher discover that he is the only him in the multiverse, as he bites it in every other timeline. He doesn't take it well.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Prince Xizor plots to kill Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker during his first appearance in Shadows of the Empire. Little is he aware that both characters are slated to appear in Return of the Jedi, which occurs in the future. In this instance, Prince Xizor was doomed by canonicity to failure. It was inevitable.
    • The Thrawn Trilogy, first epic of the original Star Wars EU and taking place five years after Return of the Jedi, established several hundred things, including that the Empire's capital planet was called Imperial Center, then got captured by the New Republic and restored to its Old Republic name, Coruscant. The first books of the X-Wing Series, set three or four years after the movie, detail the New Republic's efforts to capture the Empire's capital world. Unexpected things certainly happen, of course, some of them very dramatic, but we know how it ends. Similarly, Aaron Allston's run on that series deals with the New Republic's fight against Warlord Zsinj, who dies in The Courtship of Princess Leia. And Courtship itself was largely about Han competing with Space Fabio in wooing Leia, when from the Thrawn Trilogy we know that not only did Han and Leia marry, they had twins.
    • Similarly, Outbound Flight is a prequel to the Thrawn Trilogy, fleshing out events of Thrawn's first contact with the Old Republic and the future Emperor. Most people reading the novel already know the titular ship will be lost and the mission will fail. Thrawn will also leave the Chiss and serve the Emperor, becoming even more ruthless. Jorj Car'das will become a merciless criminal. It was also released two years after Survivor's Quest, which had future Luke and Mara piecing together what happened from the wreck (although half the fun of Outbound Flight is finding out how much they got wrong).
    • The Han Solo Trilogy has this in spades. About fifty pages from the big finish, Han Solo has an (adoptive) son, an old girlfriend he reconnects with and a great reputation. It appears that this was the point where the author re-watched A New Hope, sighed and got the character scythe out of the tool shed.
    • Darth Plagueis, while exploring the sith's life, was informed by the only things know about him from Revenge of the Sith; he was a sith, he had an apprentice, Palpatine was likely his apprentice, and said apprentice murders Plagueis in his sleep. Guess how the story ends.
  • A Tale Of...:
    • A Tale of The Beast Within tells the background of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, expanding on how he was cursed. He initially has a relationship with Circe, who turns out to be the Enchantress who placed the curse on him, which is automatically doomed to fail and lead to him being cursed. When he later enters an engagement with princess Tulip, the reader again knows that nothing will come from it, as it is after he is cursed and Tulip is not Belle.
    • In A Tale of the Wicked Queen, the Queen has a wonderful husband, but he's never mentioned in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It's thus unsurprising that he dies in war partway through Snow White's childhood. Likewise, the Queen has a faithful lady-in-waiting that she treats like a sister. Verona is banished from the land when the Queen grows jealous of her beauty near the end.
    • Gothel never mentioned siblings in Tangled but she's a set of very close triplets in A Tale of the Old Witch. Primrose and Hazel die of illness partway through the book, sending their remaining sister into a dark downward spiral.
  • Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm is a historical fantasy series written in reverse chronological order; each book is set over a century before the previous one. This leads to some obvious foregone conclusions (historical events alluded to in previous books actually occurring) and some more subtle ones (Noble families clearly named for major characters in later books, a character vowing to uphold his faith but the previous book revealing his daughter converted).
  • In Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Bree has to stay with the vampire army, fight the Cullens at the end, and die by the hands of the Volturi. Although it's arguable as to whether or not it counts as canonical, she also has to fall in love and lose said love interest, since Meyer said before the book was published that Bree "found and lost love".
  • The fifth volume of The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign is centered around Kyousuke's past with the White Queen. The basic outline of this was already revealed in the very first volume - Kyousuke summoned the White Queen into the world, she fell in love with him, and later killed countless people. It's therefore clear from the start that everyone who isn't Kyousuke, the White Queen or Biondetta (another character known to survive) is going to die.
  • Those familiar with the comic know that Penny in The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is set to become a zombie.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The whole of the Horus Heresy series, with the Back Story of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
      • In Graham McNeill's False Gods, Magnus the Red is not going to persuade Horus not to betray the Emperor.
      • In Ben Counter's Galaxy In Flames, the loyalist Space Marines are not going to survive.
    • Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Armour of Contempt takes place centuries before the "current day". As a consequence, we know that the Inquisition is not going to find the treatment against Chaos they think might be on Gereon: it would have changed history and acted as a Game-Breaker.
    • Similarly, Abnett's Eisenhorn has to end with Eisenhorn and Cherubael alive, although mostly the question is whether Eisenhorn will slip into heresy, rather than die. And it's only "whether" because it doesn't have to happen in this prequel. (Or in the Ravenor one, either. But it's coming, we know, because it's in the Gaunt's Ghosts series.)
    • As several books of Space Marine Battles are retellings of stories established in Warhammer 40,000 canonicity, some of this is bound to happen.
      • Sergeant Namaan doesn't get out of Siege of Kallidus alive.
      • The Ultramarines eventually leave the Damnos to the Necron - it's even right in the title of Fall of Damnos.
      • The Crimson Fists losing their Fortress Monastery to a faulty missile battery and nearly losing their home planet to the Orks has been part of their characterization nearly since their first appearance.
      • The Astral Knights sacrifice their entire Chapter to destroy the World Engine - the World Engine crisis is, in fact, the only time the Astral Knights are mentioned in canonicity.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In the prequels, we never heard about characters like Snowfur, so they have to die.
    • The leaders have to die so they can be replaced.
    • Willowbreeze, a cat who the author explained would appear, be in an Official Couple with a main character, and then die.
  • Wicked:
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: Anyone who has read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories knows that nothing lasting can come of the relationship between Sherlock and Virginia.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first season of Fargo sees Lou Solverson as an aged widower. The second season, which serves as a Prequel and follows Lou as its central protagonist, sees him with his wife Betsy, who's been diagnosed with some form of cancer. Viewers know she doesn't live to see the events of the first season, but she ends up dying offscreen.
  • Two examples from Season 5 of Lost, during the time-travel saga:
    • Jin meets Danielle Rousseau's science expedition. You know, the same team we know all died?
    • The time-shifting islanders come to join The Dharma Initiative when they're stranded in the 70s. We already know that there will be both an "Incident" and a Purge, the latter wiping out almost every remaining member of Dharma.
  • Babylon 5: In The Beginning is a prequel film detailing the events of the Earth Minbari War (by way of a Clip Show summing up a large chunk of Back Story for new viewers after the show changed networks). Mostly we have characters that we see from the show, doing whatever they were doing before the war broke out, with three notable exceptions: Captain Jankowski, Captain Sterns, and Lenonn. In the movie, two of the three don't survive (one of the Captains, notably gets part of the bridge dropped on him during a brief battle). In the novelization, it is mentioned in passing the other character, upon realizing what his actions had brought forth put a gun to his head.
  • The Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica. It's clear at least Willie and Joseph Adama cannot die. Willie since he's in Battlestar Galactica and Joseph because both Lee and Lampkin state they knew Joseph personally, whereas both won't be born for at least a couple decades. Everyone else, however, was neither seen or mentioned in the series-so their eventual fate is unknown, meaning they're all fair game...
    • Subverted: Willie does die. It turns out he wasn't Commander Adama after all, but rather an older brother who the commander himself was named after.
    • In the main series, there's also Kendra Shaw, who appears in a extended-episode set in the 2nd season's continuity. However, since the show itself was in the 4th season at the time, and despite her high rank and prominent position we'd never seen her in all of the intervening episodes...
  • Doctor Who:
    • An example from the Classic series could also be "Genesis of the Daleks", where the Doctor is sent back in time to destroy the Daleks before they can even be created. However, because of the number of adventures involving the Daleks, this is clearly not possible. The Daleks do end up entombed in the Kaled Bunker, though one of them makes it clear that this will make no difference in the long run:
      We are entombed, but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare. We will grow stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge to take our rightful place as the supreme power of the Universe!
    • Most of the episodes that take place in the past fall under this trope, as the writers don't want to rewrite history too much. Donna can't allow the people of Pompeii to escape Vesuvius, the Doctor and Amy can't save Vincent van Gogh, Barbara can't convince the Aztecs to give up human sacrifice, etc.
    • Some fans believe that the story "Utopia"/"The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords" (in which it's revealed that the last sentient entities surviving before the heat-death of the universe will be a small group of humans who devolve into nihilistic, psychopathic cyborgs) does this to the entire universe.
    • An interesting example: while it doesn't involve prequels in the sense that it moves forward in the Doctor's personal timeline, River Song can't die in any of her appearances after "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", since we already saw her final fate. In an attempt to counterbalance this, the Doctor makes a point of mentioning every time River Song shows up that history can be changed and that she could die some other way instead.
    • Played with in "The Waters of Mars", where the Doctor decides Screw the Rules, I Make Them! and tries to save a (future) historical character whose death is a fixed point in time. She dies anyway, committing suicide to preserve the timeline after being freaked out by the Doctor's A God Am I behavior.
    • Subverted in "The Snowmen". The Doctor suspects fairly early on that Clara is the same person as Oswin from "Asylum of the Daleks", and as Oswin died in that episode, she can't die in "The Snowmen", right? Wrong!
    • Inverted in "Listen". Clara and the Doctor meet Orson Pink, Danny Pink's identical descendant. This plus Danny and Clara's relationship makes it seem very unlikely Danny is dead for good in "Dark Water"/"Death in Heaven". He's really dead. Word of God is that Orson is a lateral descendant.
    • Due to the nature of the series, in which the Doctor changes form and personality periodically and is, to a degree, immortal, the notion of a "happily ever after" with any romantic interest who is not, like him, immortal, is doomed by the established canon of the series. To date only two confirmed loves could possibly have fulfilled this, however: River Song is doomed by established canonicity that says she must die in "Forest of the Dead", and loses her ability to regenerate in order to save the Doctor in "Let's Kill Hitler", while Clara Oswald likewise must die as shown in "Face the Raven", making her subsequent technical immortality only temporary.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, even though the details differ, both Earl McGraw and the Geckos’ original hostage die at more or less the same point in the story as they did in the movie.
  • How I Met Your Mother loves to reveal bits of the future in advance, usually through Future Ted's narration (but sometimes by standard flash-forwards). As a result, while Ted has to marry someone, most of his steady girlfriends are ruled out for us viewers before the relationship even begins. The most extreme case was Robin, who was his love interest for two whole seasons; we knew from the PILOT that she wasn't the Mother. Which doesn't mean they don't get together in the end.
    • The Series writers were upset about having Ted's narration say he never found out why he woke up with a pineapple after a heavy night of drinking. In many cases minor mysteries like these would be explained in later episodes, but this was one of the few mysteries they couldn't touch.
  • Everyone knows how things are ultimately going to end for the Merlin characters, once they hit the legendary era. Lancelot returned from the dead briefly, but in the end, the inevitable did happen.
  • In High&Low, the first half of season 2 focuses on how the Mugen gang came to be and their eventual fall. Since you already know Mugen was pretty much wiped off the map, you know things don't end pretty. You also quickly realize that Tatsuya isn't seen anywhere in season 1...
  • In How to Get Away with Murder, the story develops in two alternate timelines: the present day and the night of the bonfire, the latter which is set at some point in the future. In the Night of the Bonfire storyline (called "Flash-Forwards" by fans), the protagonists deal with burying the murder of Annalise's husband, Sam Keating, whose identity as the one being murdered by the protagonists was revealed in the pilot episode, and while we see him in the present day storyline, we already know he'll inevitably die when the narrative timeline reaches the Night of the Bonfire. Which it does on the Wham Episode "Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me".
  • Joanie Trotter was Dead to Begin With in Only Fools and Horses, so it's not hard to work out where the story arc in prequel Rock and Chips was going had it not been cut short by John Sullivan's Author Existence Failure.
  • In a similar vein, Quantico has two simultaneous story arcs, one taking place during the training and one in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack in New York some time after the training. The show does a good job at keeping key revelations to a minimum, but certain events become obvious, including who will be cut from the program and whose relationship will fail.
  • Smallville:
    • If you are an original character, you have a very high mortality rate. Not even being a main character could save you. Chloe Sullivan is the only original character from the main cast to survive the entire series as Whitney Fordman, Jason Teague, Davis Bloome and Tess Mercer all died.
    • Jonathan and Martha Kent never have a biological child, which concludes a plot point from Season 2 very early for anyone familiar with the comics.
    • Everyone knew that the romance between Clark and Lana wasn't going to lastnote  and that any advances by Chloe towards Clark were ultimately going to be ineffective (eventually, Chloe outgrows her teenaged crush and matures). Especially after the one and only Lois Lane was introduced, and Clark gradually began moving towards his relationship with her.
    • Lex in the first couple of seasons makes sincere efforts not to be the Corrupt Corporate Executive his father is, or if he must be one of those, to at least work towards noble goals and help his friend Clark. It is even implied that The Power of Friendship could have saved him if only Lex had been willing to let go of his obsessions.
  • While this trope - retitled "Doomed by History" - can apply to every single production depicting real-life events and the lives of historical figures (for example, we all know how the story of President John F. Kennedy ends), there have been occasions where fans have hoped for an aversion. An example is Victoria, which depicts an implied May–December Romance (with varying degrees of Truth in Television) between Queen Victoria and her prime minister, Lord Melbourne. However, regardless what the show did with the two, history shows that Victoria subsequently fell in love with Prince Albert and "Lord M" withdrew from her life soon after.
  • Young Sheldon, which is a prequel Spin-Off of The Big Bang Theory falls under this.
    • The Big Bang Theory explains that Sheldon's father, George Cooper, Sr., died when Sheldon was 14, so if the show lasts long enough, George will have to be Killed Off for Real (foreshadowed as he already had a heart attack in the third episode).
      • It's also mentioned that George and Mary's marriage was in such turmoil before this that George had an affair. So far their marriage on the show is no where near as bad as TBBT claims, meaning things are bound to go to shit sooner or later. George and Mary begin fighting a lot more often as the series progresses, and after a particularly nasty fight in the season 4 finale, George runs into recently-divorced neighbor Brenda Sparks at a bar, implying that she is the other woman.
    • Sheldon has a friend in high school named Tam that was never seen or mentioned in TBBT until season twelve episode "The Tam Turbulence" which explains that Tam and Sheldon stopped talking after Tam chose to stay in Texas with his girlfriend rather than moving to California with Sheldon. The season two finale "A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast" implies that Sheldon and Tam's friendship is already starting to suffer, as Tam did not attend Sheldon's Nobel Party and he was Demoted to Extra starting in season three.
    • Sheldon's Meemaw begins dating Sheldon's professor, Dr. John Sturgis. But since Meemaw is still alive in The Big Bang Theory and John is never seen nor mentioned, it means that John is either dead by that point, or he and Meemaw ended their relationship. Dr. Sturgis broke things off in the third season as he didn't want to saddle Meemaw with his progressing dementia (he had gone to a psychiatric facility in the final episode of the previous season). The same applies to Meemaw's next boyfriend Dale Ballard.
    • Georgie Cooper's Ship Tease with Veronica Duncan is this, seeing as how Georgie in The Big Bang is mentioned to have been married and divorced twice. Though it's possible that Veronica might have been his first wife, since it happened when Georgie was 19, which, if true, it means they won't stay together in the long run.
    • "Albert Einstein and the Story of Another Mary" deals with Mary suspecting that she's pregnant and getting a positive from a home pregnancy test to seemingly confirm it. However, The Big Bang Theory established that she only had three children and having a previously unmentioned fourth child showing up on either show would be too ridiculous, so it was obviously going to be either a false positive or a Convenient Miscarriage. It turned out to be the latter.
    • "A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast" revolves around Sheldon trying to win a Nobel Prize for his discovery of neutrinos. Given that his life goal throughout The Big Bang Theory was to win a Nobel Prize, he was doomed to lose, especially when you consider the series finale of TBBT, in which he finally won it for his discovery of super-asymmetry, aired before the Young Sheldon episode in question.
    • "A Musty Crypt and a Stick to Pee On" is similar to "Albert Einstein and the Story of Another Mary". Georgie's girlfriend Jana thinks that she may be pregnant. While Georgie is mentioned to have been twice divorced in his adulthood, there was never any sign or mention of him having any children. Jana takes a pregnancy test and it came back negative.
    • In "An Existential Crisis and a Bear That Makes Bubbles", Sheldon's worldview is shaken by his philosophy professor and he decides to switch his college major to philosophy. Since Sheldon is a theoretical physicist in The Big Bang Theory, he can't go through with it and decides at the last moment to stick to science.
    • In "A Second Prodigy and the Hottest Tips for Pouty Lips", Sheldon and his academic rival Paige acknowledge that they have mutual crushes on each other and they decide to kiss. Anyone who has watched The Big Bang Theory knows that Sheldon never had sex, had never went on a date and had never even kissed a girl before meeting his girlfriend and eventual wife Amy Farrah Fowler. When Sheldon closes his eyes, Paige draws a mustache on him.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Speaking of doom, Rev 20:7-10—>"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
  • Ragnarok. In fact, end-of-the-world prophecies in general.

    Play-By-Post Games 


  • The Metru Nui saga in BIONICLE was a two year-long (2004-2005) flashback, so fans already knew that: Vakama and his team would have to give up their Toa powers and turn into weaker Turaga elders, their mutation into animal-like Toa Hordika would be undone, Vakama's Face–Heel Turn would be temporary (these last two were no-brainers even for new fans because 2005's story was an interquel to the already concluded 2004 plot), they would fail at stopping Makuta from putting Mata Nui into a coma, also that Makuta's defeat at their hands would not last, and that the city of Metru Nui would be abandoned with the knowledge of having lived there wiped from the islanders' memory.

    Video Games 
  • Nosgoth is a multiplayer arena battle game in the Legacy of Kain series. One of the playable classes is the flying Sentinel. Those familiar with the Legacy of Kain series will note the bitterness of playing this class as, as per games set later in the series' timeline, the entire clan making up the Sentinel class has been slaughtered and indeed is never even seen in the rest of the series at all.
  • The Halo series: Halo: Combat Evolved begins on a ship which fled the complete annihilation of the planet Reach and the destruction of almost the entire remaining human fleet, which almost seals the inevitable defeat of the human race in the nearly 30-year-long war against the Covenant. Throughout the series, the Fall of Reach is treated as one of the darkest moments of human history. The later prequel Halo: Reach takes place on said planet, so it's a foregone conclusion that that almost none of the characters will survive. And throughout the entire game, most players would have been aware that any attempt at defending the planet and each minor victory would be completely irrelevant in the end. The only character introduced in Reach who survives is Mauve Shirt Jun.
  • The DS remake of Chrono Trigger adds an extra ending where the party and Anti-Villain try to rescue Schala from the Devourer. The sequel, Chrono Cross, is also about a different party trying to rescue Schala from the Devourer, so obviously Crono and the party didn't succeed. But that's the only ending doomed to failure thanks to the use of parallel worlds in Chrono Cross all the endings can be considered canonical. For instance, the future from the ending where humans were replaced by dinosaur people is where and when the Terra Tower comes from.
  • Zigzagged by Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, which is a prequel to Lufia & The Fortress of Doom. There's a Disc-One Final Dungeon that Maxim makes it through unscathed... but the first scene of Lufia I, in which we see some legendary and ancient hero named "Maxim" making a Heroic Sacrifice, turns out to also be the closing scene of Lufia II.
    • The Disc-One Final Dungeon is arguably an example as well. Maxim is going to live because he has not married Selan yet and had a child (the Hero of Lufia and the Fortress of Doom is Maxim's descendant). Though this can be defied in a New Game+ of the remake Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is an Interquel between Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2. As such, the fate of the game's villain Col. Tungsteena Zarpedon is obvious from the get-go. Most of the other characters introduced however presumably survive due to the fact that the game takes place on Pandora's moon rather than Pandora itself.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core has the difficult task of working Zack, Aeris and Sephiroth into an interesting plot despite the player knowing how it has to end. It does pretty well. The developers commented that writing the story was similar to writing an adaptation of a historical event, because these doomed side characters did not have the sort of storylines that you would normally tell a game story with, but could not be contradicted.
      • Likewise, Before Crisis introduces a large team of unnamed Turks as the player characters. All but Shuriken Female aren't seen in other media and the end of the game has all Turks except the big 4 (Reno, Rude, Elena and Tseng) go into hiding. The one member who does appear in other media? Cissnei who appears in Crisis Core, which is in the MIDDLE of Before Crisis.
    • Considering the above examples, by now it seems that Square Enix has learnt the "don't-make-handheld-prequels-if-they-don't-end-well" lesson with their latest title, "Dissidia Duodecim 012 Final Fantasy", where, while narrating the second-to-last war cycle prior to the first Dissidia and therefore being somewhat of a Foregone Conclusion, after completing that war cycle there's another - namely, the 13th seen in the first Dissidia, as a redone version, promptly subverting the Downer Ending.
  • Ditto Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, which stars the Big Bad group whose members all die by the end of the next chronological game.
    • You never heard of Xion during Roxas' flashbacks in Kingdom Hearts II, despite her important role. So that helps guessing she was Ret-Gone.
    • Most likely almost everyone in Daybreak town in Kingdom Hearts χ as the events of the game happened before the First Keyblade War which wrecked the universe.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle has a story event called "Low-Class Warrior: Raditz's Pride", in which Raditz, motivated by Bardock's spirit, trains to become stronger just to be seen as someone worthwhile in Vegeta's and Nappa's eyes. He succeeds, but unfortunately for him, this event takes place before the Saiyan Saga...
  • In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, there's the flashback mission with Captain Price where the objective is to assassinate the Big Bad Zakhaev. Naturally, you fail; you "only" take his arm off.
  • Ace Attorney: All of the flashback cases in some way or another have this by virtue of what characters are involved.
    • Case 3 of Investigations 2 is a big offender. You know that no matter how hard Gregory tries, he can't get a Not Guilty verdict for Tenkai. And that exposing von Karma's forgery isn't going to end well for him... Fortunately, you get to solve the case for real as Miles in the present.
    • Apollo Justice is especially cruel about this. You, as the player, are forced to make Phoenix present evidence that you know will ruin his career.
  • The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian is a prequel to The Scorpion King and both Mathayus' mentor King Urhmet and his enemy Magus die at this point.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, as the prequel to Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, has multiple characters that are either depicted this way or implied to turn out that way given that only a handful of the Blazing Blade playable cast even shows up in the previous title. Since Binding Blade was never officially released outside of Japan, however, many players don't actually realize this and the deaths have less impact.
    • Canas the Shaman is clearly intended to be the father of Hugh and son of Niime, given that he looks like both of them. Regardless of supports, Canas' epilogue notes that he and his wife die in a blizzard between games, hence why Hugh is being raised by his grandmother by the time of Binding Blade.
    • Hector, despite being easily the most powerful unit in Blazing Blade, is killed within the first chapters of Binding Blade as a much older man. One of the support chats in Blazing Blade notes that he had a premonition of his death, though he misreads the circumstances. He also eventually wields a weapon that comes with a curse that its wielder will die in battle, a clear reference to his death in Binding Blade. Additionally, as Lilina's mother is dead by the time of Binding Blade, any of the women Hector gets an A support with and marries in the epilogue are also doomed to die between games.
    • Similarly to Hector, Roy's mother is dead by the time of Binding Blade, which dooms all of his father Eliwood's potential brides to the same fate.
    • The Black Fang do not appear in Binding Blade, which is a pretty clear clue that they will not survive the events of their game.
    • Nino, the mother of Binding Blade mages Raigh and Lugh, appears in Blazing Blade. The player recruits them in an orphanage in Binding Blade. All of her endings have her disappearing to protect her family from bounty hunters who are after the remnants of the Black Fang. Jafar, one of her marriage options, is also likely to end up the same.
    • Erk turns into this if he gets A support with Nino, though his other two marriage options would canonically allow him to live happily ever after (even if he'd never admit such a thing if he marries Serra).
    • Lucius is mentioned to have opened an orphanage in Araphen in his ending. Lugh, Raigh, and Chad, who were raised in an orphanage in Araphen, inform the player that the priest who raised them was killed by invading Bernese soldiers.
    • It's not stated what happened to Rebecca, but her son Wolt never mentions her, so this may have caught up to her as well.
    • If Lyndis married Eliwood or Hector in her ending, she gets this by default. One of her endings also puts her as the mother of Sue in Binding Blade, though neither of Sue's parents actually appears in that game, so she may still be doomed.
    • Karla is the mother of Fir in Binding Blade, who explicitly became a sword fighter in honor of her dead mother.
    • Athos and Brammimond, the final two Legendary Heroes. The Legendary Heroes are all deceased by Binding Blade. Athos kicks the bucket on camera and his death also implies Brammimond died as well.
    • It is assumed Hawkeye died between games as his daughter is doing his job in Binding Blade. it's never stated, however.
  • RayCrisis, the prequel to RayForce. Despite your efforts, Con-Human succeeds in taking over the planet, according to the story of the first game. Makes the prequel a Shoot the Shaggy Dog story too.
  • Portal:
    • In Portal: Prelude, an unofficial 3rd party mod. GLaDOS goes berserk and kills everyone. Apparently, even the main character. Mike and the main character (Abby) MAY have survived, but even if they did, they hastily abandoned Aperture.
    • During the Old Aperture segments of Portal 2 you can hear recordings of Cave Johnson throughout the different eras of Aperture Science. From its bright and golden beginning to eventually what happens to it in the present day. Since the only three things still left in Aperture at that point is Chell, Wheatly and GLaDOS, you know the story isn't gonna end on a happy note, especially for Cave Johnson since he canonically went crazy just before dying.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel to the entire Metal Gear series, having Snake or Ocelot killed will result in a Time Paradox since they were important characters in the previous games. Likewise, killing off EVA will result in a game over too, since her presence is needed for the game to progress. On the other hand, the game forces the player to kill off The Boss after defeating her, since her death is necessary for Big Boss' descent into villainy. If the player doesn't pull the trigger when prompted after a while, Snake will do it automatically anyway.
    • Also, Naked Snake is none other than Big Boss himself, who in the other games appeared as an old man with an eyepatch. So his eye had to go, and he indeed loses it saving EVA.
    • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, we're introduced to Huey (Otacon's father) and Kaz (aka Master Miller), both minor but rather pivotal background characters in Solid Snake's timeline. Both of them are doomed to die in the chronological later games; Huey kills himself and attempts to take his step-daughter with him sometime when Otacon was still a teenager (as we find out in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty), while Miller is murdered and has his identity stolen by Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Khamsin is introduced in the "Bladewolf" DLC as a member of the Winds of Destruction. Considering that said DLC is a prequel to the main game and Khamsin never shows up in Raiden's campaign, he's fated to die by the claws of Bladewolf.
  • The Dead Space Wii prequel Dead Space: Extraction. Anyone who has seen just the first ten minutes of the original should know what to expect...So yeah...
  • The Street Fighter Alpha series started out as a prequel to Street Fighter II. Because Guile's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in II depends on Charlie being killed off sometime before the World Warrior tournament, Charlie ends up being killed off in both of his endings in the first two games. In the original Alpha, he ends up being taken by surprise and stabbed in the back by Bison while contacting his base, while in Alpha 2 Charlie is shot in the back by his own backup. However, Alpha 3 deviates from this pattern by having Charlie not only survive his encounter with Bison, but he ends up being the one who destroys Bison and his base at the end. The console ports brought back the tradition of killing off Charlie with the addition of Guile to the playable roster by having Charlie die in a Heroic Sacrifice in Guile's ending instead.
  • Mega Man X has a 10-Minute Retirement at the beginning of X7, getting tired of the more unscrupulous methods of the Maverick Hunters and trying to find a better solution to peace... and the Mega Man Zero series, set a hundred years later, shows that the war never even ended; in fact, the situation had gotten even worse!
    • Well, not exactly. The war they were fighting ended. Then a new war that nearly wiped out all life began. Then, when that was done, another war began, this time because of scapegoating due to an energy crisis. At least after the Zero series, the wars actually stop. For a while. With Legends being in the main canon, you can only wonder what the hell went wrong even later when you learn certain details about the world...
    • There's also the Day of Sigma OVA that's part of Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X. Justified since it's a prequel.
    • Considering Axl is never even referenced in the Zero series, there's a Biometal based on him in Mega Man ZX Advent (even if it's not actually him) and Lumine implants him with... something, leaving him comatose at the end of Mega Man X8, it's safe to say he's a dead Reploid walking.
  • Mighty No. 9's RAY and her DLC appearance in Mighty Gunvolt Burst, which involves her trying to find her creator Professor White and the answers behind her perpetual xel deterioration in the former, which unfortunately did not go well as she nearly broke down for good thanks to her faulty xel core programming at the end of her DLC campaign, but was resuscitated by Beck after Professor White found her, ashamed of his past failed creation, and was taken for examination to the lab at Sanda Technologies only for RAY to eventually lost control of herself and thrashed her way out of the escort vehicle, roaming rampantly as the Vermilion Destroyer. Her Mighty Gunvolt Burst appearance sees RAY trying to make one last-ditch effort to stay sane as she was being taken to Sanda Technologies and find the missing pieces of her past through cyberspace, but it was already too late for her by the end her campaign.
  • In Phantasy Star Portable (which takes place between the first Phantasy Star Universe game and Ambition of the Illuminus, Vivienne is introduced as a new type of CAST who ends up performing a heroic sacrifice. She doesn't make any future appearances within the time line, thus making her fate somewhat of a Foregone Conclusion. ...That is until the last chapter of Episode 3, where she remembers the player character (after, as a side story indicated, her memory of you would be erased) when she possesses Lou's body. But even then it's implied that she'll forget the player character afterward.
  • The goal of Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is to kill the Valkyrie Lenneth. This is a prequel to the original Valkyrie Profile, which starred Lenneth. The best you can do is not get anyone sent to hell who wasn't already from it. However, strictly speaking, it doesn't state anywhere in the opening that it's a prequel, so it's not a foregone conclusion when you start... although Fridge Logic states that it couldn't very well be a sequel, now could it?
    • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is -also- set up as a prequel to the first game but averts this trope anyway. Due to time travelling shenanigans, it ends entirely differently.
  • Ninja Gaiden III for the NES is actually an interquel set after the events of the first game, but before II. This fact is vaguely implied in the instruction manual, but not outright stated, which helps hide the fact that Irene Lew, who is supposedly killed in the intro, isn't really dead at all since she returns in II. One big giveaway that III is set before II is the fact that Ryu still has the Dragon Sword, which he loses at the end of II.
  • Averted in Fear Effect 2. This game is a prequel to the original and introduces Rain, Hana's love interest. She's in danger a lot and you'd think she'd be killed since she isn't in the original game. She's not killed and apparently was just off-screen then.
  • In a Multimedia example, ''The Web of Arachnos'' tells the story of Marcus Cole and Stefan Richter; best friends who grew up in the same household and later became soldiers of fortune. Marcus's brother Ezra and Stefan's sister Monica also make appearances. Anyone who has actually played the game (or looked at the cover of the book) knows that Marcus Cole becomes Statesman and Stefan Richter becomes Lord Recluse after achieving their goal of reaching the Well of the Furies. Monica goes on to marry Marcus, but Ezra was never mentioned before the novel's release.
    • MMO time creates some wacky examples in City of Heroes. Any arc where the goal is to prevent the Second Rikti Invasion is doomed to fail, because that storyline has to begin when you reach level 35. Praetor Duncan's plan to kill Diabolique fails because Diabolique's One-Winged Angel form from her Incarnate Trial was used in the promotional material for the issue that arc appeared in. Most importantly, no matter what you do in Praetoria Tyrant will still blow up it's capital out of spite.
  • In Metroid: Other M, a prequel to Metroid Fusion, Adam has to die (as he becomes Samus' computer guide) and two bosses, Ridley and Nightmare, will at least leave corpses which will be brought to the BSL and copied by the X Parasites.
  • Perfect Dark Zero's plot involves the death of Dr. Carroll, who uploaded his mind before death and appears as a floating laptop computer in the first game.
  • Starkiller, in The Force Unleashed. A powerful Sith apprentice just running around pell-mell, slaughtering stormtroopers and rebel soldiers alike, before A New Hope? There was never any doubt that he was going to kick it.
  • The GameCube version of Resident Evil added the option to rescue Richard Aiken by healing his poisonous snake wound on time. However, since the sequels require the deaths of all the Bravo Team members (except for Rebecca) for the storyline to make sense, Richard will simply die at a later point of the game.
    • A new facet of the plot in the Resident Evil 3 (Remake) involving Jill and Carlos trying to prevent the destruction of Raccoon City by giving the US goverment a cure for the T-Virus will obviously fail, as the destruction of Raccoon City is one of the pivotal events in the universe's timeline. Sure enough, Nicholai destroys the only sample of the cure For the Evulz.
  • Left 4 Dead:
    • The Sacrifice DLC. Since Bill was already dead in The Passing, you know that he will always be the one to die by canonicity, even if the player sacrifices a different survivor in The Sacrifice.
    • Similarly, in the tie-in comic (which chronicled the events from Blood Harvest till the end of The Sacrifice) didn't even bother trying to hide it, by opening in media res to show Bill's final moments, before starting the story proper.
  • A somewhat interesting example in Ōkami as it happens over the course of the same installment. The start of the game tells the legend of Nagi and Shiranui, a warrior and white wolf respectively who slay the evil Orochi... at the cost of Shiranui's life. Then the game starts proper, you play a depowered Shiranui (actually the sun goddess Amaterasu), and later in the game you're thrust into the original battle with Orochi via Time Travel (need I remind you you're depowered?)... A Downer Ending seems inevitable. But you live, and the legend still manages to play out as normal. No Timey-Wimey Ball here!
    • In Ōkamiden, there's more Time Travel. The instant you go back in time, you realize that you're in mid-air over an ocean. Luckily, a ship called the Goryeo comes and its friendly crew take you on board. You explore the ship, and find that it's the sunken ship from the first game. The one loaded with evil and bad stuff. This trope possibly makes it even scarier.
  • You may not know this the first time you play through Tactics Ogre The Knight of Lodis, but you have two routes to take in the game. The canonical option is Path "A", wherein Alphonse kills his best friend and commander, Rictor, as well as his second in command Orson, and his love interest Eleanor sacrifices herself, making them examples of this trope, and the official ending is the Downer Ending / Bittersweet Ending
    • Say, you know those two from Ogre Battle? Holy knight Lans and Warren? They make it to episode seven, along with Canopus, except They don't wind up making it out - Warren sacrifices himself to save everyone from being sucked into a Chaos gate, whereas Lans was driven insane by torture. The remake implies otherwise though.
  • The prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, The Stolen Throne, is absolutely loaded with this. Like the anti-heroic badass Loghain Mac Tir? He's the villain of the main game. Boy, Maric really came into his own as King! His rule is pretty darn short. Look at adorable little Prince Cailan in the epilogue! Aww! He dies young at the beginning of the game, and is hinted to be a mediocre king at best. Dragon Age taking place in a Crapsack World, this isn't entirely unexpected.
    • Played in-universe in Dragon Age II, however. The game is a story-within-a-story concerning Hawke's rise to power, and his/her role in events that have torn the Chantry apart and flung Thedas (the setting) into war. Played with in that the storyteller and listener know the ultimate outcome, but the player has a lot less information.
    • Also, The Calling prequel. The two people who will definitely survive will be King Maric and Duncan (he dies pretty early in the game).
  • In the Second Super Robot Wars Z: Hakai-hen, there's nothing players can do to prevent the deaths of Euphemia li Britannia, Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy or Kamina, in defiance of franchise tradition of usually letting the player prevent plotline deaths. However, this is a special case, as these characters' deaths are arguably so plot-critical to their home series, they have to happen. In fact, the sequel Second Super Robot Wars Z: Saisei-hen plays with this: Neil and Kamina remain dead, but Euphemia becomes Not Quite Dead, provided certain requirements are met. Ultimately subverted in the Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-hen, where events state Euphemia is Killed Off for Real.
  • In Suikoden II, if you had Georg Prime investigated, you would find out that he killed the queen of Falena, Queen Arshta. Suikoden V, set a few years before Suikoden II, highlights the entire events.
  • Considering the state Max Payne is in in the trailers for the third game, the alternate ending in which Mona lives is not canonical.
  • In Ys Origin, the demons can't be defeated permanently. We know this because Adol did that in the first two games, which take place 700 years later.
  • Persona 3: FES contains a sidequest that lets you save Chidori, but "The Answer," a canonical epilogue added to the FES version, mentions the character's Plotline Death.
    • There's also a massive amount of argument over whether this applies to Shinjiro.
    • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, this is actually a source of angst for Margaret; being from two years in the Persona 3 cast's future, she knows that the protagonist of Persona 3 will be dead/comatose in 6 months, and most likely also knows that Shinjiro only has two weeks left.
  • In The Quest Of Ki, the prequel to The Tower of Druaga, Ki climbs the tower to the 60th floor, finds the Blue Crystal Rod... and then Druaga appears and turns her to stone, which is why Gilgamesh had to rescue her in the original game.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, if you've played more than ten minutes of Eternal Wings, you can probably guess Verus and Baelheit are going to be killed off, simply based on the fact that Geldoblame is in power in Eternal Wings, twenty years later. Sharp-eyed players will pick up on a few others.
  • In Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (a sequel of sorts to Blood Covered), we are introduced to Kai Shimada and Naho Saenoki's friend Sayaka Ooue. Shimada is part of the same group of friends at Byakudan High School, where he has a one-sided rivalry with Yuuya Kizami, and Sayaka is mentioned in Naho's Notes. You find their bodies in Chapters 2 and 5 of Blood Covered, respectively.
  • In Sonic and the Black Knight, Merlina plans a Face–Heel Turn in order to prevent Camelot's fall, to keep it alive eternally. Sonic doesn't like the idea of an entire kingdom being trapped and frozen in time and knows Camelot must fall, thus he has to smack her around to get her back to normal and see the folly in her plan.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • While the franchise had been going on for twenty-five years by that point, we've never known of Fi's existence outside of the chronologically first game, Skyward Sword, despite her being the spirit of the series' iconic weapon, the Master Sword. You can probably fill in the blanks for yourself. Which is why it's a bit of a shock when she briefly reappears in Breath of the Wild.
    • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity takes place 100 years before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when the Champions and the King of Hyrule were still alive and just before Hyrule was essentially destroyed by Calamity Ganon. It's a given that none of these characters survive the story, since they were all killed when Calamity Ganon took over. Subverted when intervention from time-travelers creates an Alternate Timeline where Everybody Lives.
  • I Miss the Sunrise actually inverts this in a few cases — Marie, Rami, and Mahk are all alive and well in The Reconstruction, so they can't die (though something does have to happen to Mahk to make the crew believe he died). Played straight with Tezkhra, however.
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron: Lucifel. Pretty obvious who he'll become someday. Then again, Enoch averted the Great Flood, so who knows?
  • Vic Vance, the protagonist of prequel game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, is unceremoniously gunned down in the introduction of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, set two years later. He is one of only two playable protagonists (the other being Johnny) to canonically die during the series, unless you count Endings A or B in Grand Theft Auto V.
  • Hard Corps: Uprising has the main hero, Bahamut. He's the Big Bad in Contra: Hard Corps, who you have to kill in three of the five endings. The producers, however, have stated that he could be someone else entirely, only sharing the same name.
  • Followed in an odd yet internally consistent way in Dynasty Warriors. The main feature of the games is the 'story mode' which tells the tale of whichever of the Loads and Loads of Characters you happen to select. While Koei takes some liberties with the history, iterations such as 5 and 7 in particular are surprisingly true to the source material, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This means that some games with prequel missions which feature certain characters already tell you how they're going to end due to the presence of later stages. For instance, in the Expansion Pack for 5, a mission is introduced with the imperial guardian He Jin as an important NPC, against a rebel cadre of eunuchs. No matter how you do in this prequel stage, though, He Jin must die either in the course of gameplay or shortly after, as both Dong Zhuo and Yuan Shao are shown ascending to power in the early stages of 5, after He Jin's death at the hands of the eunuchs' conspiracy (as the actual facts of history tell).
  • The God of War series has two spin offs on PSP: Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. The former is a prequel to the original game and the latter is set between the first and the second. The plots of both games are predictable due to this trope. I wonder if Kratos will succeed in saving his brother..
  • The Walking Dead video game has you meet a young man named Shawn Greene and his father, Herschel, both of whom live on a farm. Anyone who watches the show and/or reads the comics obviously knows Shawn is toast, no matter what decision the player makes.
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag players could be forgiven for being unaware that everything they do in the game, even if they go for 100% Completion, will be undone in the end, since while some of that is a given due to him returning to England with riches enough for land, finery, and title as per the ending, Assassin's Creed: Forsaken already revealed — hence why his own Database entry in IV does — that Edward dies in 1735, his daughter is still estranged from him, and shows that his son Haytham goes on to become a Templar Grand Master... who in Assassin's Creed III will be killed by his son, Edward's grandson, Ratonhnhaké:ton aka Connor Kenway.
  • Because The Sims 3 is a prequel to the two previous games, characters carried over from the older games (who are mostly children and teens in this version) more or less have their lives mapped out for them right up until they die of old age (or otherwise). Of course, since it's an open-ended simulation game, it's entirely up to the player whether they play this straight or avert it in game-play, though this doesn't affect the characters' official canonical fates.
  • Players won't realize that this happens in Five Nights at Freddy's 2 until near the end when they find out it's a prequel to Five Nights at Freddy's. The old robots were being decommissioned because they were old, not because of their murderous rampage in the original game. The new robots were the ones who malfunctioned and thus destroyed, while the old robots (who were haunted) were rebuilt so the restaurant could reopen.
    • Also, on Night 6, Phone Guy says that when the place reopens, he'll take the night shift himself. Anyone who's played the first game knows it didn't work out as planned...
  • Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall is set in a 2053 Anarchist free state Berlin in a game whose source material ran forward to 2073 at that point. Anyone with knowledge of the Tabletop Game knew there was no way to save the F-state since it was canonically dissolved in 2055 by the German government.
  • The Selvaria DLC of Valkyria Chronicles follows an Imperial Engineer by the name of Johann who by the end of the campaign is promoted into Oswald the Iron, one of the named Elite Mooks of the main storyline.
  • Endless Legend, the prequel Science Fantasy spinoff to Endless Space, eight separate empires are fighting to get off of the dying world Auriga before it is plunged into an eternal winter. Come Endless Space, the only faction that makes it off the planet wholesale are the Vaulters, a human empire that remembered their origins in space. However, there are a few survivors from other races, including a Broken Lord hero that appeared in Endless Space before Endless Legend was even announced.
  • Shovel Knight Specter of Torment is a prequel featuring Specter Knight as the protagonist, on a quest to regain his humanity. Sadly for him, he's still undead in the game modes taking place in the present.
  • Hiveswap is a prequel to Homestuck, partially taking place an unknown amount of time earlier on the alien planet Alternia. Trizza's plans to usurp the Condesce and Dammek and Xefros' rebellion against the The Empire and its Fantastic Caste System are thus both doomed to failure, as Alternia is ruled by Condy and heavily divided by caste when the setting is introduced in the comic.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War is about main characters Talion and Celebrimbor trying to conquer Mordor and overthrow Evil Overlord Sauron. Since the game is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings and Sauron is the creator of the most famous Soul Jar in fiction, the chances of Talion and Celebrimbor succeeding are terrible.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the original game that follows the gang that John Marston was in. As such, much of the cast will inevitably wind up dead by the very end, including protagonist Arthur Morgan, who contracts tuberculosis partway through the game. However, some of the characters that don't show up in 1 end up surviving past the end and are implied to live decent lives away from the events of the original game.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic gives you an extended tour of the beautiful planet Alderaan, with its appealing Feudal Future vibe and gorgeous music. You help sort out a nasty succession crisis. Of course, anyone who's remotely familiar with the first movie will know what happens to it 3600 years later.

    Web Animation 
  • The Project Freelancer Saga, seasons 9 and 10 of Red vs. Blue, is half prequel, showing the Freelancers, most of whom have appeared (or have been mentioned) before.
    • Alpha will be tortured by the Director, and eventually become Private Church. He will then sacrifice himself to stop the Meta, dying in the EMP that Wash sets off.
    • The other AI Fragments (sans Epsilon) will be collected by the Meta, and die in the EMP.
    • Agent North Dakota will be betrayed by his sister, South, and killed by the Meta.
    • Agent South Dakota will betray her brother and Washington to escape the Meta, only to later be shot in the head by Washington.
    • 479er will be grounded and become Recovery Command.
    • Agent Washington will be implanted with the Epsilon AI, which will break down inside his head. He'll survive, but his Endearingly Dorky nature will be long gone, and he will remember everything Epsilon knew, which will eventually drive him to destroy Project Freelancer himself.
    • Agent Maine will become mute and later be driven insane, becoming the Meta. He will then hunt down other Freelancers for their A.I. Fragments and armor enhancements, eventually losing said A.I. Fragments in the EMP, and will die himself after a confrontation with the Reds and Blues.
    • Agent Carolina receives two AI and is driven insane. It's subverted, since she survived both that and the Meta attacking her for her AI (Which was thought to have killed her), and shows up in the present in the end of Season 9.
    • Agent York leaves the program, but is killed by Wyoming while trying to help Tex.
    • Agent Wyoming will become one of the villains of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, and will be killed by the Blood Gulch Crew.
    • Agent CT is killed by Epsilon using an alien artifact laser. It's subverted when she later dies in the prequel segments, and we find out that the CT seen in Recreation was actually the Insurrectionist Leader, who took up her armor and name after her death.
    • Agent Florida/The Mysterious Blue Guy is an odd case, since we only learn the role that he's been playing all along at the end of season 10, so his fate is still spoilery. He is assigned to Blood Gulch to watch over the Alpha, and he's the Blue Team's former leader, Captain Butch Flowers. He will inadvertently kick off the plot by tripping over one of Vic's cables (causing Caboose, Donut and later Sister to be sent to Blood Gulch) before dying prior to Season 1 (which may or may not have been caused by Church). He'll then be resurrected by the Alien, only to be killed for good shortly afterward by a mysterious sniper (actually a time-travelling Tucker by accident when he's looking through the sniper's scope).

  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND tells the story of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad you fight in Metal Gear Solid, starting several years before the events of said game and with the end of the comic coinciding with the game. Given that you killed the entire squad over the course of the game, their fate in the comic is a Foregone Conclusion. Not that this subtracted at all from the second to last page.
  • In The Order of the Stick prequel Start of Darkness, several characters try to kill the lich Xykon, including one who is hinted at having disappeared off the face of the earth in the main comic. Obviously, their attempts failed.
    • It's also a foregone conclusion that Redcloak will not betray Xykon and will continue working for him, Xykon will become a lich, and the Monster in the Darkness will be recruited by Xykon.
  • Bob and George, a Mega Man (Classic) webcomic, a cataclysm is constantly referred to, in which Zero is awakened early and kills off the main cast, explaining why almost none of the original Mega Man characters appear in the Mega Man X games. However, Wily learns of the cataclysm and does not activate Zero. But to avoid a temporal paradox, has everyone fake their deaths and move to Acapulco.
    • Also, in the adaptation of Mega Man 6, Wily is looking for a volunteer in the group to stop a rampaging Mega Man. When he asks Bass (called Bass Man, who did not really appear in 6) to slow down Mega Man, Bass says "Screw you, old man. I'm in the next game!" Making sure he survived until Mega Man 7, which was not adapted.
  • Jeneviv from the Dreamkeepers series is seen as having a rather grisly end in the first few pages of the graphic novels, which makes her appearance as a childhood friend of Lilith in the prequel webcomic rather bittersweet with that in mind.
  • Due to a lot of Weird Time Shit in Homestuck, very many events are foretold before they happen. For example, the troll's session ends badly, and Aradia's soulbot explodes.
    • Inverted with the deaths of John, Karkat and Terezi. All three have been shown to be alive and active at future points shown earlier in the story as flash-forwards or other instances of weird time shit. At this stage only John is a definite, having been explicitly confirmed to have survived shortly after the fact owing to his God Tier-derived immortality; this being Homestuck, there's room to be incorrect in the case of Karkat and Terezi.
    Doc Scratch: What sort of story would this be, with our [human Hero of Breath / Knight and Seer] made to stay a cadaver(s)? Definitely not one the alpha timeline would allow.
  • Burning Stickman Presents... Something!, based on the Mega Man X series, featured Iris, who gets killed off in the fourth game of the series. One of the genre savvy protagonists, knowing this is supposed to happen, subverts this by taking steps to prevent it from happening. This led to a rare inversion of Like You Would Really Do It, as after that, the comic's readers kept expecting her to die for the timeline to "correct" itself.
  • Final Fantasy VII: The Sevening: Aeris is of course going to die. This is acknowledged and lampshaded from time to time.
  • The Unsounded side story Vienne of Seferpine stars a character who is dead by the events of the main comic, but opens with her trying and failing to sew Matty's stuffed animal Chitz. Chitz is complete in the present day, so we know she can't die until she finishes it. Her construct Uaid is also in a much earlier state than it is in the comic, so she has to survive long enough to complete those upgrades too. The first requirement is eventually completed, but not the second. She actually survives to the end of the short story, despite what some readers might have been expecting.
  • Since Prequel takes place one week before the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it is safe to assume that every named character living in Kvatch that is not present in the game died when the Daedra attacked.
  • Magellan, the "Families/Cемьи" side story/incentive comics tell the tale of Soviet heroes Red Vlad and Comrade Katyanote . The comic's prologue, "History", tells us that Vlad and Katya were among the first to fall during the Q'Arth invasion.

    Web Original 
  • One Whateley Universe tale set in the near future hints strongly that Phobos will die this year (Whateley school year 2006-2007). Which means everyone is waiting to see what happens in the rest of the school year...
  • Arguably, any character in The Slender Man Mythos. The Slender Man can't be killed or harmed; the best result is delaying him long enough to go on the run and then staying on the run for the rest of your life, and most Runners still suffer horribly at his hands or eventually get caught. Pretty much as soon as the man shows up, insanity, enslavement, or death are on the cards—no exceptions.
  • In Little Lenny Penguin And The Great Red Flood, the entire Multiverse is pretty much screwed, as JIM is telling the story after the events of the vast majority of it. Although it ends up being a Happy Ending, JIM and the other characters coming back to life and killing the Eldritch Abominations with The Power of Friendship.
  • Hanzo Hasashi's family and Hasashi himself have to die in Mortal Kombat: Legacy in order for Hasashi to be reborn as Scorpion and swear revenge against their killer Sub-Zero. The twist here is that Sub-Zero didn't kill them; Quan Chi and Shang Tsung did and framed Sub-Zero.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien is set before the Madagascar movies, which introduces the royal bodyguard Clover, who is so good at her job, fossa start staying away from the kingdom in fear of her. Given that the fossa are once again a major threat in Madagascar 1, it's safe to say she fails to keep up the good work. To say nothing of any friendships Julien forges that he will simply abandon at the beginning on Madagascar 2. The series Finale has Clover marry her love interest Sage, resulting in her having to leave the kingdom to live with him, and the fossa immediately beginning to attack the kingdom again as a result.
  • Dawn of the Croods is a prequel to The Croods set in a large caveman community. Other families are briefly mentioned in the movie as having been killed off, so the fate of every non-Crood between the cartoon and the movie probably isn't good. The series finale plays with this, but simply has their community fall apart in the finale, leaving the fate of the other families vague (although chances that they survive The End are probably still low).
  • Because of the existence and continuity connection of Batman Beyond, moments in the DC Animated Universe that chronologically take place before Batman Beyond sometimes fall into this trope.
    • The big ones come from the entire premise of Batman Beyond, which is that Bruce Wayne becomes an elderly recluse and Gotham goes to hell without a vigilante to keep criminals in check. No matter what the shippers say, Bruce has to end up old and alone. There is no happy ending for him in regards to any romance which takes place before Batman Beyond. Similarly, his relationship with the Justice League has to sour to the point where they lose contact. Finally, he must lose contact with all members of the Bat-family, who also have to quit crime fighting, and they can't have anyone else take over for them.
    • An example that doesn't involve Batman Beyond is the Superman: The Animated Series episode "New Kids in Town". The episode establishes that Brainiac will survive at least as far as the 30th century, and this future incarnation of Brainiac goes back to when Kal-El was a teenager to try and kill him before he became Superman. By the end of the episode, Brainiac is apparently destroyed for good when he is hurled into the sun. Brainiac's appearances in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited take place before the events of "New Kids in Town", meaning that even if a fragment of Brainiac remained after he, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid ended up in the Source Wall during the Grand Finale of Unlimited, he'll still be permanently destroyed in the long run.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! and its two sequels are set 13 years after the series proper, with them revealing that Timmy doesn't have a girlfriend, is still in fifth grade note , and still has Cosmo and Wanda as fairy godparents. What this means is that in the series proper, he'll never win over Trixie Tang (or be with any other girl) and any threat of losing Cosmo and Wanda is going to fail.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, because most of the series takes place before they meet in the film, Hercules has to remain unaware of Megara's existence. The show does find a way to have Megara and Hercules interact, but they had to have their memories erased afterwards.
  • The Lion Guard is set between Kiara's first interaction with Kovu as a cub and her first hunt as a teenager. The fact that she had a little brother leading a team to protect the Pride Lands who did not appear in any of that is rather suspicious. This means that Kiara cannot meet Kovu again until she's a teenager, and her younger brother Kion cannot defeat Zira during the series proper.
  • In The Little Mermaid TV series and The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning, Ariel has to be unaware of Eric's existence. Conversely, Ariel's Beginning is the earliest-set installment of the franchise - and the only one to feature Ariel's mother. Mom's totally doomed, isn't she? Yes, she is. Also, Marina's goal in Ariel's Beginning is to steal Sebastian's job as King Triton's advisor. Sebastian is seen holding the job in the other installments.
  • Curiously, this Trope was averted in the 90s Spider-Man cartoon. The creators felt it'd be insulting to the comics if they included Gwen Stacy and didn't kill her off, but at the same time felt uneasy about the idea of including her in the story knowing she'd eventually have to die. They instead just didn't feature her in the cartoon at all, using Felicia Hardy to fill her slot in the Peter-MJ-Gwen Love Triangle. She did cameo in an episode toward the end, when Spidey was visiting another universe where she was his fiancée.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Word of God has stated that the first movie is chronologically at the end of the series, and it depicts SpongeBob still not having his boating license, meaning that he'll never get it in the series proper. It also means that Plankton will not succeed in getting the Krabby Patty formula in the series itself due to the fact that he finally does so in the movie.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has some leeway with this trope due to the fact that it is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in addition to the fact that a Moral Event Horizon occurs in Revenge of the Sith (which is set after The Clone Wars). Still...
    • The true Big Bad must stay undiscovered and the faux Big Bad as well as The Dragon cannot be permanently caught. Any mission that has Grievous and Dooku, and Anakin and Obi-Wan has to ultimately end in a stalemate.
      • Anakin also cannot come face to face with Grievous due to one throwaway line in ROTS. There is, however, an episode where both characters are exchanged in a Prisoner Exchange.
    "General're shorter than I expected."
    • Something has to happen to take Ahsoka out of action so that she's nowhere to be seen as of Revenge of the Sith and doesn't do anything of significance afterwards, although they have quite a bit of leeway in how that happens. At the end of season 5, we find out what happens to Ahsoka: She is framed for treason against the Republic and expelled from the Jedi Order, and though Anakin finds the real culprit, Ahsoka's faith is shaken enough that she quits. Triple Subverted in the series true finale: She was involved in the events of Revenge of the Sith, just offscreen(a number of scenes are added showing her appearing or being addressed seconds after a scene in ROTS ended). She still survives, though Saved by Canon by prior-animated appearances in Rebels.
    • The worst part is whenever the clone troopers are involved. Every episode dedicated to them explores them as individual characters and not as an army of faceless mooks; we see defections, questioning of the moral integrity of their duty and commanders, and moments where it's shown that the reason they're better than droids is because they're human (or at least, close to humans). Exemplified with the episodes focusing on Domino Squad, who over the course of the series show that they're more than just soldiers, but compassionate beings with a benevolent sense of honor and morals. If you know what happens in the Revenge Of The Sith, you know the horrible fate the clone troopers are doomed to and how they eventually inherit the mindless obedience of the droids they once so hated due to the inhibitor chips that the Kaminoans implanted into their brains (which override their personalities in order to force them to be programmed to kill any Jedi that they see). As for Domino Squad, they are all slowly but surely killed over the course of The Clone Wars, usually in the line of duty suffering indignant deaths. Fortunately, with storytelling leeway, some clones like Rex would get wind of the conspiracy and successfully take measures to avoid this fate.
    • In the Order 66 arc, the audience knows Fives won't be able to reveal the truth behind Order 66, because it remains unknown in Revenge of the Sith. Most of the tension comes from the fact that even though he can't succeed in his quest, there's still hope he'll at least survive.
    • Notably, due to The Clone Wars having a higher canonicity than most of the old expanded universe material, certain things actually managed to blindside the more dedicated fandom audience simply by retconning some of the "less hard" stuff and averting this trope. Namely, in the aforementioned Ahsoka's framing, no one saw it coming that it was Barriss Offee who did the deed, as she was suppose to die during Order 66, and even more jaws were dropped when Darth Maul of all people came back, robot legs and all.
  • Likewise, Star Wars Rebels has to be consistent with the original film trilogy, so the protagonists can't overthrow the Empire, prevent the Death Star from being built, or defeat Vader or Palpatine. Even if they do defeat Vader, expect it to be temporary. It's also a safe bet that any Jedi associated with the nascent rebellion won't make it through the series alive, since this would raise the question of why they couldn't help out with Luke's training, though the pre-Disney canon held quite a few surviving Jedi, including at least one former member of the Jedi Council. Word of God has stated their intention to defy this trope, however. Though Kanan and Ezra are technically still under the knife (as is Ahsoka, once again), they have stated that they have not been obligated to kill anyone yet. However, a Jedi's "death" can take another meaning by having them fall to the Dark Side. By the end, Kanan makes a Heroic Sacrifice, but the writers took a kinder route with Ezra and made him disappear without a trace. As for the Death Star, some of the Ghost crew will at least be part of the efforts towards its destruction in Rogue One.
    • This is explicitly subverted with Rex, Sabine, Chopper and Hera. All are canonically established to have survived into the Original Trilogy era, and at least in Sabine's case, beyond.
    • Played for full drama with the second season finale, in which Ahsoka gets into a one-on-one duel with Darth Vader. Then subverted in the final season, in which we see that she survived that, and even lives past the events of the Original Trilogy, arriving on Lothal post-Endor to pick up Sabine so they can search for Ezra.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch also runs with this when it features Depa Billaba in the series premiere. As she is intended to be killed while her padawan Caleb Dume aka Kanan Jarrus survives, Order 66 is issued and a squad of clones kill Billaba. The show itself also is set around the time of the Empire's birth, meaning the titular batch can not stop the Emperor.
  • TRON: Uprising: The audience knows from the start Beck's rebellion against Clu is not going to do a pixel's worth of good, since TRON: Legacy takes place about 20 years later, and the Grid is even more of a totalitarian nightmare (though there is a passing mention of a "resistance" in the film). The season (series?) finale being a Bolivian Army Ending certainly points to most or all of the cast ending up de-rezzed or worse.

Alternative Title(s): Death By Sequel


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