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Exit, Pursued by a Bear

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Or in this case, a crocodile. "SMEEEEEEEE!"

"Exit, pursued by a bear."
— Stage direction for The Winter's Tale

When the bad guy is finished off by a large, vicious animal.

This is a method to keep the hero's hands clean while still dispatching the villain. The difference is that that trope is more removing an obstacle without losing karma for the heroes. Often, the death happens entirely off-screen, with the villain's gruesome mauling being implied instead of shown, though sometimes you will hear sounds or see a silhouette of the carnage. If the work doesn't allow death, or if killing simply goes against the tone of the story, they may simply be Chased Off into the Sunset or non-fatally mauled by the beast. Of course in such cases, Fridge Logic may set in about their actual odds of escape/survival.

This can also be used to easily bring the villain Back from the Dead, since really, did you think a mere bear would stop him?

Despite mostly dealing with death, this trope can be used in a non-lethal (and comedic) way, being the final part of a villain's Humiliation Conga, where following their defeat by the hero, they are forced to run for their lives while being chased by an animal over the horizon and out of sight, possibly never to be seen again.

Though it doesn't have to be a literal bear, it often is, since Bears Are Bad News. If it's another creature rather than an outright villain that gets chased away by the bear, it's because there's Always a Bigger Fish. If the heroes called the bear here themselves, then it's Summon Bigger Fish. If it was the villain's own mistreated pet doing the mauling, that's a case of The Dog Bites Back. The hapless character may also simply take a fall into the Shark Pool or the Snake Pit.

Inverse of Villain: Exit, Stage Left. Compare We Will Meet Again, and see also Just Desserts. If the individual doing the chasing is also an established villain, see Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work. May invoke Offscreen Inertia. Compare Chased Off into the Sunset, in which the pursuer is another person rather than an animal. This sometimes overlaps with Uncertain Doom in cases where it's not clear whether the beast actually succeeds in killing the bad guy.

Related to Disney Villain Death, which serves a similar 'kill the villain without the hero doing it' purpose. If the hero (or villain) does do it directly, that may be Fed to the Beast.

This is an Ending Trope, so beware of unmarked spoilers!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles ~Animal Adventure~ have the villain, Sherman, who's the leader of a group of futuristic poachers who enslaved assorted wildlife, being thrown from his exploding beetle mecha and into a herd of pissed-off wild animals, including moas, saber-toothed tigers, wooly rhinoceroses, and other prehistoric animals. Cue Sherman running like crazy as a dozen of his formerly-enslaved animals give chase.
  • Dante, the Big Bad of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), is last seen being chased into an elevator by the now-mindless, ravenous Gluttony.
  • Ms. Goldenweek in the manga of One Piece was last seen being pounced on by Karoo, a giant riding duck, and not seen again until about 250 chapters later in a mini-arc. There were fan theories that she was eaten by said duck.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Eboshi is finally taken out by the decapitated head of the giant wolf spirit she just fatally shot. While she survives having her entire arm bitten off, she won't be using any of the guns her factory produced again.
  • This is implied at the conclusion of the Sherlock Hound episode, "The Adventure of the Three Students". Moriarty and his men flee across Loch Ness, only for a familiar shape to appear under the water. This is lampshaded when Moriarty senses that they're being followed.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Team Rocket has switched from Blasting Off Again into a Twinkle in the Sky to being "rescued" by a Bewear Once per Episode. The Bewear likes them, but doesn't know its own strength and terrifies them.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: At the end of episode 10, the bear which was going after Big M.'s bread comes back, this time going after some fish he has stolen from the heroes.
  • The Lamput episode "Skinny Monster" ends with a bear getting angry at the docs for bothering him and chasing them into the distance.

    Comic Books 
  • The graphic novel La Débauche. The fact that it is set in a zoo provides a convenient tiger.
  • Doctor Doom once got assaulted by his own attack dogs, because he got in the way of a fox and then, long long long story, because Doom was fighting a Batman Expy he'd lost part of his armor, so he instead fell off a cliff.
  • At the end of Hack/Slash vs. Chuckie, Chuckie gets swallowed whole by an alligator while battling Cassie in a swamp.
  • In Tank Vixens, Udda and Hilda are last seen pursued by a headsman on a medieval-themed world. It is implied that they may survive, however.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: An inverted and comedic version of this trope is seen in "The Cakes," the ending of which depicts the pastry-covered Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino dashing for the doggy door with Penny's angry mom in hot pursuit.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The literal phrase was used by the young high school gang when they left in The World's End, but morphed into "Let's Boo Boo!"
    Gary: If we needed to make a quick getaway, we'd say: "Exit, Pursued by a Bear". And then, it was: "Exit, Pursued by Yogi Bear". And then, it was just: "Let's Yogi and Boo-Boo". And then: "Let's Boo-Boo".
  • In the Nicolas Cage/Samuel L. Jackson film Amos & Andrew, the bloodhounds from earlier in the movie go chasing after the police chief near the end.
  • In The Naked Gun 2 1/2, Robert Goulet's character survives a fall from a building unscathed, only to be mauled by a lion seconds later as a result of Frank accidentally letting some animals escape from the zoo earlier in the film.
  • The climax from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls seems to imply the villain is not so much pursued by the gorilla as pursued by it.
  • Galaxy Quest: Fred uses the transporter to bring the rock monster on board the ship to attack Sarris' minions.
  • Jurassic Park: This is the franchise's favourite way to dispose of villains to the point it's basically a Once per Episode deal (with the exception of the third film, because there's no human villains in it). If there's some nasty character, it's a very good bet they'll be killed by a dinosaur near the end.
    • The first film ended with the raptors getting eaten by the T. rex from earlier in the movie. Nedry, who causes the park sabotage, is also killed and eaten by a Dilophosaurus after he accidentally crashes his car into its enclosure.
    • The main villain in the sequel is ultimately devoured by a baby T. rex, but not before first having his leg broken by the baby's father to soften him up for the kill.
    • The Indominus rex in Jurassic World is finished off by the Mosasaurus dragging her into its tank, and Hoskins (the human antagonist) is cornered and devoured by Delta the Velociraptor.
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: The Indoraptor corners Ken Wheatley in its cage and mauls him to death, then chases Gunnar Eversoll into an elevator, whereupon the scene fades out and we're treated to an instance of Sound-Only Death.
      • Later, Ely Mills is torn in half and devoured by a T. rex and a Carnotaurus.
    • Near the end of Jurassic World Dominion, Dodgson is cornered, spat on, and killed by a pack of Dilophosaurus. Earlier in the film, Delacourt, the guy who kidnaps Maisie and Beta, is killed when a juvenile Baryonyx rips his face off.
  • Mola Ram, the villain of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, falls into a river full of crocodiles and gets torn to bits.
  • In Beetlejuice, Betelgeuse is apparently swallowed by a huge sandworm. Doesn't kill him (he's immortal), but it does prevent him from returning to Earth at any time in the near future.
  • Shaft knockoff A Low Down Dirty Shame has one mook being cornered & mauled by a pair of Rottweilers that the protagonist sics on him.
  • At the end of City of Ember, Mayor Cole is eaten by a giant mole.
  • Leopold, resident Jerkass and Butt-Monkey is eventually chased down by Harry the tiger near the end of The Worlds Greatest Athlete.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me henchman Jaws falls into a tank with a shark. They both go under and blood is soon seen floating to the surface. After the villain's lair is sunk into the sea, Jaws surfaces and swims off, reappearing in the next film.
  • In Skyfall, one of the Elite Mooks threatening Bond in the casino is taken down by a Komodo dragon.
  • Lon Chaney's character in He Who Gets Slapped is a circus clown. He takes revenge on his enemies by releasing a hungry lion, who proceeds to eat both of the bad guys.
  • Despite the fact that the title character killed the crocodile between the original story and Hook, it still got him in the end.
  • Employed twice via tiger in Welcome to the Jungle against Jean-Claude Van Damme's character, although he's more morally bankrupt than a villain, and even helps the protagonists. He's then teased with Phil, the film's actual villain, at the end.
  • In another Van Damme movie, Double Team, the villain is stuck on a land mine, and finds himself facing a tiger. No way to survive, he steps off the mine as it pounces on him.
  • The third act of Cabin In The Woods culminates in Dana and Marty releasing all of the Organization's monsters, resulting a very bloody finale as they slaughter everything in the building.
  • Anna and the Apocalypse: Most of the background characters from Turning my Life Around are last seen running off-screen with zombies ambling in pursuit.

  • Airborn: Szpirglas, the infamous Sky Pirate, is killed by a pride of the huge, flying, predatory felines aptly named cloud cats. Interestingly, despite several attempts to do so, the cloud cats never seriously injure any of the good guys.
  • The Cat Who... Series: In book #18 (The Cat Who Said Cheese), an abusive ex-husband tracks his ex-wife to Moose County, using the fact that back in the navy he saved a shipmate's life (said shipmate still suffered brain damage) as leverage to coerce the local, now a beekeeper, into becoming an accessory to the bombing of said frightened ex's hotel room. When he comes back to try and cover his tracks and finish the job — the intended target was out and about but someone else died — the beekeeper inadvertently gives him a wool blanket and the bees swarm the murderer, who is found dead the next morning.
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Tenris, the main antagonist of Spirit Walker, is dragged underwater by an orca whale for killing its young kin.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain: The villainous bandit Dorath is torn apart by wolves just as he's about to "remove the charms" of the princess Eilonwy.
  • The Space Trilogy: Happens in That Hideous Strength with Mr Bultitude, an actual bear.
  • In the Sister Mary Helen mystery Death of an Angel, the B plot covers an alumna's plan to murder her domineering, abusive mother. Her plan for disposing of the body is to underfeed her mother's standard poodles, and then set them on the dead body so that there will be nothing to implicate her. However, in the confrontation, Mama injures her face. Then the rapist-murderer from the A plot invades the house, and then the two nuns who are the amateur sleuths in the series arrive, as do the police. The rapist is stopped but then dogs come from the basement and smell the blood on Angelica's face and attack her. Inspector Gallegher shoots them dead, but Angelica is mortally wounded and succumbs to her injuries the next morning.
  • The Divine Comedy: A thief in Hell curses God and gives the finger to the sky, only to be attacked by snakes so severely that he has to shut up and exit the story as a whole.
  • Shannara: In The Druid of Shannara, Psycho for Hire Pe Ell is killed by the Koden, a gigantic bear. It's implied to have been set up by the King of the Silver River, as revenge for the death of his daughter. In High Druid of Shannara, the Shapeshifting Moric is last seen lying on the ground as an actual Dragon approaches it. Meta-irony much?
  • Doc Savage: In Fortress of Solitude, the escaping John Sunlight is followed to a point where his tracks meet those of a polar bear next to an open lead in the ice. Since there's a lot of blood and no tracks leading away, they draw the obvious (and incorrect) conclusion.
  • Gods and Warriors:
  • Grailblazers: The ghost of Shakespeare himself appears and invokes this trope. As a literal ghost writer for the British soap Coronation Street, he ends one scene in his script with "Exit Ken Barlow, pursued by a bear."
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: At the end, Umbridge is captured and carried away by a herd of centaurs. Dumbledore somehow persuades them to let her go between chapters, and she turns up in the hospital wing relatively unharmed, though she jumps if someone mimics the sound of hooves. (What exactly happened to her while in their custody is never revealed, though the usual suspects put forward their own theories.) When she tries to sneak out of the castle, Peeves catches on and she ends up exiting, Pursued by a Poltergeist with a Walking Stick.
  • Judge Dee: The Haunted Monastery ends like this, involving an actual bear. After the man behind several murders of women affably points out that he is untouchable due to the lack of evidence and his connections in the Imperial Court, Dee agrees with his assessment, then lures him into a courtyard being used to exercise a savage bear owned by a visiting theatre troupe, that can only be controlled by his master. Dee says he will leave the villain's fate in the hands of Heaven. If the bear's owner hears his screams and comes in time to rescue him...well, he doesn't.
  • Live and Let Die: Mr. Big tries to feed James Bond and Solitaire to sharks and barracudas, by dragging them behind his boat. However, the bomb Bond had planted in the boat detonates, and Mr. Big falls in the water, to be eaten by the sharks and barracudas himself.
  • Peter and the Starcatchers:
    • Slank is never seen or mentioned after running away from a pack of wolves in the second book's climax (although Captain Nezerra, who fled with him, does reappear).
    • At the end of Peter and the Sword of Mercy, O'Neal and Nerezza are eaten by the giant crocodile Mr. Grin.
  • Redwall: In Mariel Of Redwall, Gabool falls into the pit where he keeps his pet scorpion.
  • The Reynard Cycle:
  • Sharpe: Subverted. Sharpe leaves his enemy Obadiah Hakeswill to be killed by beasts several times, but it never works. The man-eating tigers were recently fed, the executioner elephant didn't get the right command, etc. This all feeds Hakeswill's conviction that he cannot die.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The loathsome Ser Amory meets his end when his captors throw him, naked and unarmed, into a pit with a starving bear.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "The Zeppo", the villain is making a speech about how he will be coming back to seek revenge when he opens a door on Werewolf Oz. He is not seen again, and in the next scene, Human Oz remarks that he feels full for some reason.
    • In "The Pack", the evil zookeeper ends up being eaten by hyenas after Buffy hurls him into the hyena pit. Knowing her, she probably didn't mean for him to end up in the pit, but she doesn't shed any tears about it later.
  • The Master and The Rani end one episode of Doctor Who trapped in a malfunctioning TARDIS with a rapidly-growing T. Rex bearing down on them. They come back later with no explanation, natch.
  • Game of Thrones: Rast escapes the attack on Craster's Keep only to be killed by Ghost.
  • In the Merlin episode "Lancelot and Guinevere", Hengist is trapped in the widderen's cage and eaten alive before he can pursue the main characters.
  • Helen Cutter's death in Primeval is between this and a Shut Up, Hannibal!. Her Breaking Speech to Danny is rudely interrupted by a velociraptor that knocks her over a cliff.
  • In the Good Eats episode about dried fruit, Alton offers his homemade trail mix to two hikers, then warns them to run. The hikers are chased off by a guy in a bear suit.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • A less-taught passage from the Old Testament has the prophet Elisha being mocked by a large group of young bandits, who essentially tell him to drop dead, thus revealing their contempt for God. God's response to that? Sending out two female bears from the nearby woods, who maul and kill 42 of the bandits. note 

  • The Older Than Steam Trope Namer is Antigonus from William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Though not truly the villain, he is dispatched in this manner. (And unlike most of the other examples on this page, the bear literally comes out of nowhere just for this scene.)note 
    • A stage show by Ishmael Skyes, playing one of Shakespeare's actors, narrated an incident where he couldn't see out of the bear costume, leading to the memorable line:
    Exit a bear, led by Antigonus.
  • Lucius Malfoy gets attacked by Lupin in wolf form and dragged into the Forbidden Forest in A Very Potter Sequel.
  • The crocodile finally gets Hook in the climactic scene of Peter Pan.
  • Nan, Sweetheart, and Simon try to invoke this with Kyle in Lauren Gunderson's aptly named play Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Ultimately subverted.
  • The Jurassic World Live Show has “exit, pursued by a T.Rex” for its villain in the ending.

    Video Games 
  • Desert Assault have an example happening to your player character instead of the villain. After finishing the final stage and sending the terrorist's flying base crashing into the ocean, your superior then radios that help would take a bit of time to arrive... just as you notice a shark behind you. Who then chases you offscreen as the credits roll.
  • In Turok: Evolution, Tal Set defeats Bruckner but will not kill him because he "does not deserve a warrior's death." The compsognathus eat him instead.
  • Mr. Kincaid in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia is pursued by a Wailord.
  • During the credits of Mega Man 9, you see what happened to the 8 Robot Master bosses; the Mighty Glacier Concrete Man is seen chasing Dr. Wily. Whether his programming would allow him to actually hurt the weak, human man remains to be seen.
  • In Paper Mario, Chapter 2's boss, Tutankoopa, exits pursued by his pet Chain Chomp. He's still being chased by them in the ending parade.
  • Mimi exits one chapter of Super Paper Mario chased by a giant Gnip named Gnaw. Although she's back in the next chapter without explanation.
  • In the credits of the Madagascar video game, the Fowl-Mouthed Parrot that Alex encounters in "Mysterious Jungle" is chased offscreen by a swarm of bees.
  • An In-Universe example can be found in a fairy tale book in Drakensang: in the tale, a jerkass kraken keeps all the treasure from a sunken ship for himself, and won't share it with his friends. Later, a massive Water Dragon arrives (enticed by the Kraken's treasure) and chases him "so far away that no one ever saw him again".
  • At the climax of Soma, after potentially poisoning the WAU and attempting to murder Simon, Johan Ross is bloodily devoured by the Leviathan, who then chases Simon out of the area. Like most things in the game, however, how much Johan qualifies as a villain depends on your interpretation of his actions and goal.
  • In Assassin's Creed Origins, Aya is ordered by Cleopatra to assassinate Ptolemy XIII only to find herself unable to do so once she gets a chance to shoot him with a bow due to his age. Nonetheless, almost immediately afterwards, his boat is attacked by crocodiles.
  • In a phone app game featuring Little Red Riding Hood, if the specified task is not accomplished, a shadow of the predatory wolf looms over Red Riding Hood.

  • Near the end of the Dominic Deegan storyline that introduced the Infernomancer, Stunt and Bumper exit being chased off by the Infernomancer's lackey. They survive, though we never find out how they did it (only that Bumper came up with the plan) and the lackey is never seen again.

    Web Original 
  • Done literally in the Coriolanus episode of Ninety Second Movie Reviews
  • The Fire Never Dies: When a reader asked Meshakhad about the fate of Kaspar K. Kupli, a KKK[[Politically Incorrect Villain-backed Oregon politician]], she replied that he was among the Oregonian troops that fled to California after the fall of Portland and was subsequently mauled by a bear.
  • In RWBY, Roman Torchwick corners Ruby Rose with a grand speech about using villainy to survive before being devoured by a Griffon.

    Western Animation 
  • In an animated version of one of The Brothers Grimm's lesser-known fairy tales, Jorinda and Joringle, the witch is subject to a Forced Transformation into a rat and pursued offscreen by her Right-Hand Cat.
  • One Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? episode has Zack and Ivy chased by jaguars in a Mayan temple before running into VILE henchmen. The bad guys ended up at the bottom of a pit with the jaguars drawing near.
  • Snidley Whiplash ends one episode of Dudley Do-Right being pursued by the rotating blade of his own sawmill.
  • Considering that Wild Kratts is a lighthearted kids' show focused on animals, this happens all the time to the three main villains.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Pop Goes the Ed", the Eds at the end get chased by a swarm of bees. Feel bad for them? Well, remember that at the beginning, they whacked the beehive with baseball bats.
  • In "Cubby's Pet Problem", an episode of Jake And The Neverland Pirates, Captain Hook ends the episode being chased by both the ever-present crocodile and the octopus from Return to Neverland.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Happens to SpongeBob and Patrick chased by a jellyfish in "Jellyfishing".
    • Plankton gets chased by Bubble Bass's hand who mistakes him for a jellybean in "F.U.N."
    • Happens to Squidward with an angry guard worm in "The Lost Mattress".
  • Happens to Eustace by a rattlesnake in Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Watch the Birdies". Except then we learn he was "rescued" by a mother vulture who decides to make Eustace her new husband.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • In "Lights, Camera, Garfield!", Garfield is working on a movie as a stunt cat and put in several dangerous stunts. Garfield looks through the script to see what's next and finds out it involves him apparently being mauled by a bear. Garfield pours honey on the director's chair and when he sits down he gets stuck. The bear is attracted by the honey and chases the director who has to hop off the set.
    • Many U.S. Acres segments have Orson's brothers being chased away by a bull at the end. "The Orson Awards" has this happen to Roy instead but being chased by Orson's brothers.
    • One particular U.S. Acres segment, "Gort Goes Good" provides another literal example; Gort pretends to go good as part of his plan to steal Orson's apples. When Orson gives him the job of guarding the apples, Gort finds out that the key to the silo that Orson gave him doesn't fit the lock, so he, Wart, and Mort demand to know where the real key is. Orson tells them it's in the tub of honey. Gort, Wart, and Mort search the tub of honey, but find no key. They only manage to get themselves covered in honey, which attracts a bear who chases them away.
  • Transformers: Prime: Starscream is last seen at the end of the Finale Movie, Predacons Rising, being pursued by Predacons Skylynx and Darksteel. Unfortunately, the sequel series shows that he survived out of sheer luck after finding a weapons cache while fleeing from his Predacon pursuers.
  • The VeggieTales Silly Song "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps" literally has a bear chasing the titular character (played by Larry) off the stage at the end. Because yodeling to him didn't cure the bear traps on his paws.
  • Several episodes of the '70s Jaws cash-in cartoon Jabberjaw ended with the eponymous shark either doing the chasing or being chased.
  • Some villains of Jonny Quest ends up like this.
  • Several episodes of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog end with Robotnik being chased by something, and at least one ends with him chasing someone else.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Keith and Krolia deal with Commander Trugg by tricking her into opening a cell containing a feral Robeast. We don’t see what it does to her and her henchmen, but the noises we hear make it obvious they won’t survive the experience.
  • The Dennis the Menace episode "Wheeling and Double-Dealing" features two examples:
    • The first one is perhaps a literal case. PeeBee and Dennis' perpetual motion race car is stopped by Winston's lackeys, both of whom are disguised as bears. The two bullies are then chased away by a real bear, who is in a lovestruck state.
    • After losing the race, Winston and his two lackeys are chased away by a swarm of rats after the former insults the three that powered his perpetual motion race car.
  • "Good Warner Hunting" from Animaniacs (2020) ends with Chicken Boo being chased by the cast of characters he hunted and mounted in revenge for not being invited back to the reboot.
  • The Action Man (2000) episode "The Triton Factor" ends with Dr. X having to flee from the sharks that Action Man had just freed from his control.
  • Total Drama All-Stars: Heather and Alejandro's last scene is them frantically swimming away from Fang, the man-eating mutant shark that Mike had sicced on them earlier.


Video Example(s):


A Stupid F-F-F-Flower Garden?!

After the Wiggler boss fight that Popple roped Mario & Luigi into doing, the caterpillar complains that it just wanted to plant some flowers for its garden, causing the self-proclaimed Shadow Thief from the Beanbean Kingdom to flip out over the Wiggler's true intentions. Unfortunately, this causes the Wiggler to go angry and chase him off, promtping Popple to say he had enough of Pi'illo Island, which is probably for the best.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / LetMeGetThisStraight

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