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"Everybody Dies" Ending

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"A slaughterhouse, eight corpses all told"- The Player
"Deaths for all ages and occasions. Deaths of kings and princes...and nobodies."
"The bad end unhappily, the good, unluckily."

When Anyone Can Die becomes "Everyone Will Die".

Many series are noteworthy for the extremely high body count among the main cast that they rack up in their last few episodes. In some cases, all of the heroes make a Heroic Sacrifice, or otherwise find themselves wearing the Red Shirt. Occasionally, the protagonists simply fail to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, resulting in a Downer Ending. (Possibly Dying Alone to cap it all.) Depending on how literally the "everyone" in "everyone dies" is interpreted, this is also Apocalypse How.

Compare Everybody's Dead, Dave, where everybody except the main characters are dead. If just one person survives, it's Sole Survivor or Final Girl. Compare the Climactic Battle Resurrection. Also compare the Bolivian Army Ending, only we actually see the attack of the Bolivian Army. When a Sudden Downer Ending is planned from the start, it usually happens this way.

Usually, however, either they accomplish something in death, such as killing the Big Bad and thus preventing The Bad Guy Wins, or it becomes clear that likeable as they may be, the world is better off without them, or their deaths are clearly an escape from a Fate Worse than Death. If none of these happens, and they prove completely ineffectual in both life and death, it's a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending.

In a Prequel, they may be Doomed by Canon: all characters who do not appear in the sequel and can not be disposed of otherwise will have to die.

In Tabletop Games, this is called a Total Party Kill. Game Masters who are really annoyed with their group (or just sadistic) may invoke Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.

The funny thing about this particular trope, however, is that knowing that everyone dies is somehow much less spoiler-ish than knowing that, say, only your favorite one does. The wonders of some guy once allegedly said, "The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic."

Also see Dwindling Party, where the cast is killed off one by one from the start, and Characters Dropping Like Flies, when a work has a high body count throughout the story. Contrast Everybody Lives and Nobody Can Die.


This is a Spoilered Rotten trope, that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and will be unmarked. This is your final warning, proceed only if you really believe you can handle this list.

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Other examples:

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  • An unwritten rule in British PSA films of the 1970s through the early 1990s was that at least someone must die, no matter how trivial the situation is. And in the creepiest way possible to avoid Narm. Just like the kid who collapsed and died at The Finishing Line.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • 9. First, humanity is, apparently, completely wiped out. Then, the only two explicitly named human characters die, one before the movie even begins. Then, all of the stitchpunks, except 3, 4, 7, and 9, die along the course of the film. Granted, the ending itself isn't all that bleak, but that doesn't mitigate the loss of life.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a prized one. Only two characters survive at the end: Aki Ross (the main character) and Dr. Sid. All the other characters are killed by phantoms except Major Elliot (who gets shot) and General Hein, the antagonist, who is blown up inside his ship.
  • Logorama: The entirety of Logo Island is swallowed beneath the waves in an earthquake/gigantic oil spill; a scant few people are shown in the end to have made it to the tallest rooftops which remain afloat, while the only confirmed specific survivors are Big Boy, Esso Girl and (thanks to The Stinger) Ronald.
  • Transformers: The Movie killed off most of the first generation of Transformers, Autobot and Decepticon alike, in order to facilitate the introduction of the new toy line.
    • The later season of the cartoon series casts doubt on this, as many of the Transformers killed in the movie are seen up and walking around again, although some of these occasions are believed to have been animation gaffes. The impact of this is lessened since the highest-profile fatality, Optimus Prime, returned in the cartoon series. In the comics set after the movie, impressively, he stayed dead until he received his Powermaster body.
    • Starscream's death in particular was explored upon in the episodes "Starscream's Ghost" and "Ghost in the Machine". Finally regaining his body back in the latter episode with Unicron's help, only to be doomed to a lifetime floating in the void of space. Beast Wars would go on to explain that Starscream's spark rendered him immortal thanks to a mutation.
    • Oddly, although Jazz and Cliffjumper survived in the movie, Casey Kasem (Cliffjumper's voice actor) quit and all of his characters disappeared, and Scatman Crothers (Jazz's voice actor) died, so Jazz disappeared too.
  • Since it is set at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 64,000,000 Years Ago naturally ends with all of the dinosaurs dying, leaving the mammals as the Earth’s new dominant species.
  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio ends with all the cast dead barring Pinocchio himself (who, in the world of the film, is immortal). Unlike most examples, this is played as a happy ending, as the members of Pinocchio's family die peacefully of natural causes after long and fulfilling lives, and the film muses that part of what makes life meaningful is that it is finite.
  • The Spine of Night ends with all of the named characters perishing during (or most likely because of) Ghal-Sur's reign, except for Phae-Agura and Mongrel. Since the movie takes place over the course of centuries, it's likely they both died of natural causes off-screen.

  • In The Protomen's Act I, Dr. Wily orders the robot army to kill the crowd. In live performances, he sometimes says the line verbatim.
  • Iron Maiden's concept album "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". A town is wiped out due to an disaster, and Lucifer plans on canceling mankind.
  • It's The End of the World as We Know It...
  • Played for laughs in not one, not two, but three songs by Tom Lehrer. "The Irish Ballad" is about a woman who murders every one of her relatives (and is then arrested), while "We Will All Go Together When We Go" and "So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)" are both about nuclear war.
  • Metallica provides the former Trope Namer: Kill 'Em All is the name of their first album (a Stealth Insult towards music executives: as their Intentionally Awkward Title Metal Up Your Ass received an Executive Veto, bassist Cliff Burton reacted with "Those record company fuckers...kill 'em all!").
  • When I'm a god, everyone dies!
    • An alternative explanation is that this didn't mean that everyone would be killed, but rather that instead of eternal paradise or damnation (noted as lies in the previous line), people Take a Third Option and just...end.
  • The Legendary Pink Dots' recurring character Lisa bakes cyanide-laced mince pies for her guests in "Lisa's Party", which they all eat with fatal results. She cheekily suggests to them beforehand that she added almonds to improve their flavor.
  • Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Not only is it in the collective's name, but at the end of the song "Window", Tyler, The Creator kills the main members of the group, minus Earl Sweatshirt.
  • Porcupine Tree's "Strip The Soul," from the 2002 album In Absentia: "Strip the soul, kill them all.."
  • This is how the "Legend of Archery" music video by Driftless Pony Club ends, though it's not as extreme as other examples here, where ninja! Sam Grant (the bassist) kills the other three members. Subverted shortly after, though, as three babies are left behind.
  • Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," about the real-life sinking of the titular ship on Lake Superior, killing all twenty-nine crew members, in 1975.
  • The main goal of the band GWAR.
  • Weird Al's bizarre Christmas song, "The Night Santa Went Crazy," is about a night at the North Pole in which Santa Claus loses his mind and goes on a killing spree. More than half the elves and all but two of the reindeer die. In the "Extra Gory Version", even Santa himself dies (whereas in the regular version he survives, but is given a prison sentence so long that he won't be eligible for parole for 700 years).
    Santa: Merry Christmas to you're all gonna die!
  • Awolnation's song "Kill Your Heroes" mentions the fact that "don't you worry, but everybody will die."
  • Anaal Nathrakh has a song entitled "Sanction Extremis (Kill Them All)" and while we can't be sure of all the details due to Anaal Nathrakh's unwillingness to release lyrics and the large amounts of Indecipherable Lyrics, just look at the title...
  • 'O'Malley's Bar' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has a man walk into the aforementioned bar, order a drink and then graphically slaughter all the staff and patrons.
  • Lemon Demon's The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny culminates with everyone dead except for Mr. Rogers, who then proceeds to kill himself via Seppuku.
  • The Mechanisms' Rock Operas tend to end with everyone dying, and their farewell performance outlined how all the characters of The Mechanisms die as well.

    Music Videos 

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The final battle of Ragnarok involves almost every living being in existence and, at the end of the battles, Surtr, the King of the Fire-Giants, will set the whole world on fire, effectively killing almost all life, including himself. Ultimately, the only survivors are Baldr and Hodr (who return to life after the battle), Vidar, the sun's daughter, the sons of Thor Magni and Modi, and a few humans who hid in the World Tree. Also, given the extremely robust roster of Norse Mythology, the list of named characters who kick the bucket goes well beyond just the Aesir.
  • The Book of Mormon manages to do this twice, since it's the record of a civilisation that also discovered records from a previous civilisation.
    • The Nephites eventually lose their hopeless war and are wiped out by the Lamanites; even the prophet who recorded the final battle is eventually hunted down and killed afterward.
    • The Jaredites kill each other until there is just one man left (plus the prophet in hiding whose ultimate fate is unknown). Since all the women and children were recruited into the war and killed off before the end, the nation is really most sincerely dead.
  • The Indian Mahabharata has very detailed lists of the two massive armies fighting in the Battle of Kurukshetra: 393,660 chariots, 393,660 war elephants, 1,180,980 horse riders, and 1,968,300 footmen, for a grand total of 4,330,260 soldiers, fighting over 18 days. Survivors: 10.
  • Arthurian Legend
    • The Arthurian Cycle ends with King Arthur facing his traitorous son Mordred at the Battle of Camlann. The only survivors are Arthur, two of his knights, and Mordred. Not satisfied, Arthur rushes the destroyer of his kingdom, leading to a Mutual Kill. One of the two knights dies of his wounds soon after.
    • Other versions leave a whopping five characters living: Lancelot and Guinevere (who join the Church and die anyway), Bediverenote , Morgan, and Arthur, who was carried off to Avalon with a mortal wound, to wait and sleep there until England needs him again. To put this into perspective, there are traditionally fifty Knights of the Round Table, and even more secondary characters.

  • Cool Kids Table
    • Laid out as a definite possibility at the start of the game Creepy Town, since the character deaths are decided by dumb luck rather than any planning and therefore it's easy for every single character to die. And that's exactly what happens.
    • In Star War, after Kip's stunt using an ion cannon to destroy a single foe, the Force abandons the Jedi and they all fall to their deaths as the castle crumbles around them. Even the cute sloths, which they tried to save, hurtle to their deaths as well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The basic premise of Exalted is that if things continue as they are, all that ends up happening is everyone keeps losing by inches, until one of three things happens: the Wyld dissolves the world, everything falls into the Abyss, or the Yozis take control of a blasted hellscape. Prior to release, it was a prequel to Old World of Darkness, so this ending was set in stone. Now, as with most things in Exalted, it exists mainly for the player characters to kick it in the nards and set it on fire.
  • F.A.T.A.L. has this as the eponymous spell, which destroys the universe. The spell can be cast as a random effect of a spell miscast. Given the kind of game it is, this is arguably a mercy.
  • The "Wrath of God" card from Magic: The Gathering. There are other cards with similar effects, including (but by no means limited to) Damnation (which is essentially the same as Wrath of God but uses black mana instead of white), Day of Judgement (which leaves out the "They can't be regenerated" part and is currently usable in the Standard tournament format, unlike Wrath of God itself), Akroma's Vengeance (which costs more than any of the so-far named cards but also destroys artifacts and enchantments), Chain Reaction (which is red, and although it doesn't explicitly have that kind of effect, it deals damage to each creature equal to the number of creatures in play, allowing it to do the same under the right circumstances), and Novablast Wurm (which is a creature that kills all other creatures when it attacks).
    • The biggest is are either Decree of Annihilation, which does about what you'd expect in such a way that not even indestructible creatures can survive it, or Apocalypse, which wipes out everything currently in play no matter what the card's type is and no matter what abilities it has.
  • Paranoia does this all the time. Repeatedly. If the PCs don't kill each other or themselves, the GM will. This is why they're each given a set of "backup" clones.
    • It's not uncommon for a PC to die during the mission briefing. And not unheard of for a PC to die before they even make it to the mission briefing.
    • The mission debriefing offers one last chance for the PCs to hand each other a death sentence, by bringing up all the evidence of treason they collected earlier and hadn't already presented. It also encourages them to kill each other during the mission to set up a Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit.
    • The "Tips for Traitors" section, when discussing how to manipulate the marching order for tactical advantage, includes a warning to not let the guy with the area-of-effect weapon take far left or right flank — the temptation to turn and wipe out all his teammates at once is way too high.
  • The finale of the Living Force campaign for Star Wars d20, set during Revenge of the Sith and the Jedi purge, was designed to be nigh-impossible to survive, especially for Force-sensitive characters. Any such characters who did survive were forced to go into hiding from the Empire.
  • Warhammer 40,000 lives for this. The Forever War nature of the setting means that horrific levels of death are the norm, and while there are a handful with Contractual Immortality for the vast, vast majority of characters a swift end could be around the next corner.
  • Oh boy did Warhammer Fantasy do this in their End Times story arc. After having the story stuck in the same place for years, the entire setting was turned on its head, with characters getting killed off left and right like it was going out of style.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse promised this end from the word go, and to its credit, most of the end-game scenarios defaulted to it.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade promised nothing of the kind, but in a couple of the end-game scenarios the best you can really do is "life will someday evolve again."

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation: Animator vs. Animation III ends with the Chosen One and the Dark Lord destroying the PC, killing every character except the Animator, the Token Human who was outside the PC. The Chosen One and the Dark Lord were eventually retconned back into having survived.
  • In The Demented Cartoon Movie, the ending credits point out that only one character survived the movie. Everyone else died in explosions, head explosions, car accidents, explosions, crushing, and explosions.
    • The credits were clearly referring to the stick figure who ran off the left side of the screen after watching a car hit a wall and explode. However, since another car came out from that part of the screen, it's possible that he was promptly run over. And if not, he would've been killed in the Earth-Shattering Kaboom thirty seconds later. Perhaps Mr. Weight would be a more likely example.
  • There are a few episodes of Happy Tree Friends where either nobody survives an episode, or only one character survives an episode.
  • In Klay World's movie, 95% of the cast dies at the end. Almost all of the Klaymen, Marv, Mr. Black, Smiling Gary, Vince, all the Aliens, Rick, the armless guy, a news anchor, one of the cavemen at the beginning, Dr. Brown, the ax guy, and the long arms guy, leaving Chip, Pick, and Dr. Bob as the only survivors. Most of the klaymen are "rebuilt" by the survivors in the end.
  • Played for laughs in one of the alternate endings of the original Red vs. Blue series. "Son of a bitch!"
  • Madness Combat:
    • Episodes 3 and 4 are straight Kill Em All episodes.
    • Through the series as a whole, every character except Sanford and the Hot Dog Vendor dies at least once, with some characters dying multiple times an episode. If you live in Nevada, you WILL die.
  • In the final episode of Llamas with Hats, everyone on Earth, including the two main characters, end up dead.

  • College Roomies from Hell!!! seemed to be heading in this direction, with Mike murdered by April and Marsha gunned down by Mike's mother to keep her from killing April...before she could do it herself. They all recovered. For a given value of "recovered", that is, considering that this is CRFH.
  • Homestuck is the embodiment of this. Whilst the death of a character is usually a spoiler, it is safe to say that at some point, a character will die. This does not always matter, however, as Death Is Cheap. Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 is pretty much this incarnate. SEVEN main characters are confirmed dead by the end of the act, and the ones that could revive died in a manner that nullifies their resurrection. The best part is that the entire act is about 5 minutes long!
    • Before Homestuck, Jailbreak was able to kill its entire cast in under 109 pages, with the very last one being a Last Survivor Suicide. The reset, on the other hand, kept everyone alive.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND has its reasons to kill of most of the main cast.
  • In Nobody Scores!, the main characters have a low chance of surviving any single comic. As the author puts it, each scenario is a "more or less intricate machin[e], the end result of which is always failure".
  • Paonia Pawns has a villain literally nuke the entire cast, including all of his fellow "Players". Only five characters out of dozens survive. It eventually is undone, or at least everyone gets saved.
  • In the circus arc of Schlock Mercenary, Schlock is getting a little twitchy about his undercover janitor job, and comes up with a simple solution:
    Schlock: I say we burn the place down until the smells go away, then interrogate the survivors.
    Chelle: Would there be any survivors in that scenario?
    Schlock: Probably not. What a time saver!
  • Word of God is that Ugly Hill was originally going to end with one of these, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

    Web Original 
  • By the end of The Backwater Gospel, everybody except for the Undertaker kill each other after a Mass "Oh, Crap!" that he wasn't going away after killing the Tramp.
  • Dark Simpsons:
    • In "Black Sheep", Bart decides to shoot everyone in his school after failing an exam and having an awful day. In the comic strip "Grade School Massacre", which the video is based on, Bart is stopped and killed by the cops.
    • In "The Fire Alarm", Homer starting a fire in the Nuclear Power Plant somehow causes everyone except him to die of possible nuclear fallout.
    • "Lenny's Not Supposed to Get Pudding in His Eye" ends with Homer attempting to drive his family home while wearing an eyepatch. The car spins out and smashes into a telephone pole as a result, burning them all alive.
    • In "Skinner's Sleazy Shenanigans", after Chalmers catches Skinner wanking off on stage in front of everyone and is about to reprimand him, Skinner kills him, making students ran out of class in panic and causing the school to be surrounded by people (including cops). Then Skinner decides to blow up the school and kill everyone there.
    • Everyone in Springfield dies when the meteor hits the Earth in "Deep Space Homergeddon". Earlier on, Homer killed two astronauts while on a spaceship in an attempt to stop a meteor, but the spaceship instead hits the building back on Earth and destroys Springfield's only bridge and the only way to escape their doom.
  • The Day the Music Died: In-universe, Carverquest's hotly anticipated 10th book is revealed to suddenly and brutally kill off everyone in a content leak. As the author was nearing his deathbed, the narrator suspects it was a last-ditch effort to not get any continuations made. As he puts it:
  • Demo Reel: Donnie gets his personality and life erased by reawakening as The Nostalgia Critic, and the others stay in the Plot Hole as a Together in Death.
  • The Epic Rap Battles of History installment pitting Romeo and Juliet against Bonnie and Clyde ends with the ERB narrator as the only survivor, and he's clearly shaken by the ending.
  • The last two chapters in Farce of the Three Kingdoms are "In which practically everybody dies" and "In which everyone who didn't die in the last chapter dies." Most of the original characters die much earlier — inevitable, given that the book spans nearly a hundred years.
  • Fate/Nuovo Guerra, Alternate Universe game that it is, hinges its Back Story on a Point of Divergence where Fuyuki City is destroyed by a berserking Holy Grail.
  • Fine Structure ends with nearly the entire named cast dead, usually by Bolt of Divine Retribution, Heroic Sacrifice, or old age.
  • In the Hardly Working episode "Hardly Working: The Cartoon", everybody in the office end up killing each other off in cartoonish fashions.
  • Life SMP: It's a Foregone Conclusion that all but one of the perspective characters die, by the Deadly Game premise of the series, usually by another player, mobs, by accident, or by mistake. However, there's been a tradition for each season to end on a Last Survivor Suicide (either directly or by proxy), leaving all perspective characters dead. The Limited Life SMP (Season 4) plays this trope the straightest, where the gimmick is that everyone has 24 real-life hours to live and when the life-timer runs out, the player dies, so even the winner doesn't have to kill themself to die off in the end anyway. The only season in which this has been averted so far is Secret Life SMP (Season 5), where the winner doesn't do a Last Survivor Suicide.
  • Pwnage: Their Conker's Bad Fur Day video ends with both Kyle and Damian and the two other AI killed Mafia style due to their inability to steal the money.
    Damian: Yeah, we're dead!! Haha! We're all fuckin' DEAD!! So funny!!!
  • The premise of Survival of the Fittest (although it's something of a given, considering it is based off of Battle Royale). By the end of the game, only one student it going to be left alive, something which entails the death of over 100 named characters to get to that point. Even then, one of the winners was thrown back into the game and hasn't been heard from since that version's conclusion, and another winner was killed a year after their game.
  • This is a fairly common way for episodes of Teen Girl Squad to end. Played for Laughs thanks to Negative Continuity.
  • Ten Little Roosters, as it runs with the Ten Little Murder Victims trope, uses this trope with all save one dead by the end of the series.
  • There Will Be Brawl ends with damn near the entire cast getting killed off, many of whom die in the last episode.
  • Walrusguy's final YouTube Poop is somewhat infamous for this.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood, while it ultimately has an Earn Your Happy Ending, has a massive body count for a children's cartoon. Only eight of the twenty-nine characters introduced in season one make it to the end, and that's not counting the casualties among later introductions.
  • Animaniacs (2020) ends this way. In the final episode as a form of End-of-Series Awareness, a meteor strikes the Earth killing everyone, including the Warners.
  • Arthur: In one "A Word from Us Kids" segment, a class makes a movie loosely based on Three Billy Goats Gruff. In this version, the troll bites the heads off all three goats before getting hit by a car.
  • Beast Wars and its sequel series, Beast Machines, killed off every Transformer except Cheetor, Rattrap, Blackarachnia, Silverbolt, Nightscream, Botanica, and Waspinator.
  • By the time Frisky Dingo wrapped up, only 6 characters of importance — Killface, Xander, Simon, Stan, Wendell, and Valerie — were left standing.
  • Subverted with G.I. Joe: Resolute, which promised a high body count and by all means delivered on that promise...with Cobra. While a pretty good amount of known named Cobra characters were killed (some more gruesomely than others) the G.I. Joe team was for the most part pretty much intact. The only named G.I. Joe character who was killed is Bazooka, who died offscreen and his corpse is perfectly clean and intact (while some of the Cobras can't quite say the same thing about their fatalities).
  • Scooby-Doo:
  • In the Young Justice (2010) episode "Failsafe", by the end the entire Justice League and Team is dead, as is good portions of the world's military, with the exception of Miss Martian and the Martian Manhunter, who later punches through M'gann's chest. Thankfully, it was just an Unwinnable Training Simulation Gone Horribly Wrong, but still.
  • While Death Is Cheap in Aqua Teen Hunger Force thanks to Negative Continuity, normally episodes end with only one or two of the main four characters dying. Both "Sea-Creature" and "Knapsack!" are the only episodes to kill off all four.
    • Both "The Last One" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (the last episode of the series) engage in mass executions of old villains from the show. The former kills off Oog, Travis of the Cosmos, the Dumbassahedratron, DP and Skeeter, Randy the Astonishing, the sentient trees, Flargon and Merle, the Brownie Monsters, MC Pee Pants, Happy Time Harry and Ol' Drippy, and none of the deceased characters ever return (with the exception of MC Pee Pants, who's entire schtick is dying and reincarnating between episodes anyway.) Meanwhile, the latter kills off the Mooninites, the Plutonians, Markula, Handbanana, the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From The Future, Romulox, Mothmonsterman and Zucotti Manicotti. Only Rabbot appears in and survives both episodes.
  • The Drawn Together Movie ends in the deaths of every single character, even the ones introduced for the movie. Most of them die in the last 10 seconds of the movie when Spanky accidentally steps on an eraser bomb.
  • Once there was an Ugly Barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The End.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Everyone Dies Ending


"...and then, we are gone."

True to Death's earlier warning, Pinocchio outlives all his loved ones, burying them one by one before wandering the Earth alone. But Sebastian says that maybe someday, he'll die and see everyone again.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / EverybodyDiesEnding

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