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Ratchet: What the...where is everyone?
Clank: I tried to tell you, Ratchet. The database said this planet was deserted ages ago!
—The duo upon landing on planet Fastoon, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

What you get when a Ghost Town is global in scale. Another planet or Another Dimension that, by the time we get to see it, has been left in ruins for a long, long time. There are signs here and there that this world once boasted a civilization, maybe even a great civilization, but all that's left now are a few decaying remnants. The world need not be entirely barren of life, but, generally speaking, if there are enough of the original denizens left to form a town or city, it's not a Ghost Planet.

Please keep in mind, a Ghost Planet should not be a future version of our own Earth (or at least not explicitly so). A desolated future Earth would go under Earth That Was. Only alien worlds which have gone through their own Armageddon (somewhere between Class 2 and Class 5 on the Apocalypse How scale) need apply.

Not to be confused with Space Ghost's home planet, or Ghost World.

Compare Ghost Town and Ghost City. May be a Beautiful Void.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Shinigami World from Death Note has hints that things other than shinigami once dwelled in it, or, at least, that shinigami were not always like they now are. There are a few remaining signs that the world once had buildings and maybe even cities, something the dozen or so shinigami we see have neither the energy nor the manpower to do. When you add in the fact that the skulls shinigami gamble with had to come from someone, and Rem's comment that shinigami have "evolved" beyond the need for food, you get the impression that the Shinigami World was once a far less desolate place.
  • There are several in the Dragon Ball series, often due to the Monster of the Week wiping out all life. Early on, it's revealed to be the Saiyans' job to clear out planets and sell them, such as Kanassa and Meat. Later on was Namek, another victim of Frieza's troops. Then there was New Planet Vegeta, which was already ruined and about to collide with a meteor. After that was Earth itself, thanks to Buu.
  • Two in Kiddy Grade, first the space prison that Alv, Dvergr, Éclair, and Lumière are sent to investigate, and later, a space colony that Éclair and Lumière escape to.
  • The Moon Kingdom from Sailor Moon has sat in ruins for over a thousand years by the time it's seen in a non-flashback scene. In the fifth and final arc/season, it's revealed that most of the planets that hold life in the galaxy have been reduced to ghost planets, thanks to the main villain, Galaxia's, conquest.
  • One of the planets visited by the Nirvana in Vandread is like this. The only remaining activity is from an automated defense system left by the people who destroyed the colony there.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern: Sector 666, only 5 people survived the slaughter of every living being, all were held in a different sector. Even after the Red Lanterns use one planet in it as home base, it's still ruins as far as the eye can see.
  • Asgard in the Marvel 100th Anniversary Special has long been abandoned by the gods and Yggdrasil's roots have overgrown the ruins.
  • In Issue 14 of Planetary, Elijah Snow visits one of these. Yet another one of the Four's atrocities.
  • The Ghost Planet from Space Ghost wasn't an example of this trope until the Darker and Edgier reboot comic miniseries published by DC in 2005. That miniseries' version of Space Ghost's origin story had the future superhero left for dead on a lifeless world — and rescued by the last survivor of the planet's inhabitants, who created the weapons that killed the Ghost Planet, some of which Space Ghost would come to use as his own.
  • Superman:
    • "The Unknown Legionnaire": The Legion of Super-Heroes travels to a remote planet which was colonized by the advanced Llorn civilization in the past; climate change and several worldwide natural catastrophes and environmental disasters, though, resulted in their civilization's collapse. Nowadays, there are only ruins littering the planet.
    • "The Supergirl Saga": The Pocket Universe Earth was turned into one by the Phantom Zone criminals when they decided to destroy all life on the planet by destabilizing the Earth's core and destroying its atmosphere.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: At one point Calvin daydreams about Spaceman Spiff being stranded on one of these. Aided by the fact that he missed the lunch bell and is sitting alone in the classroom.

    Fan Works 
  • The 16th episode of The Silverscale Arena takes place on the Planet Xena, which once had a civilization much like Earth's, but has now been reduced to a wasteland thanks to the constant storms and has been overrun with David 8's latest creations: the Vorealiens.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Treasure Planet the titular planet has been abandoned for at least a century, the only sentient inhabitant left is B.E.N. who was marooned by Flint, presumably right before the pirate's death as his body is seen clutching B.E.N.'s memory circuit. Doppler notes that the ruins on the planet look much older than that, implying that an ancient civilization was the one to construct the planet, and Flint later repurposed it for his own needs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle Beyond the Stars. Shad goes to a notorious Wretched Hive seeking The Magnificent Seven Samurai only to find the planet deserted except for Professional Killer Gelt (who's only there because he's hiding from everyone else).
    Gelt: The other planets in the galaxy formed a protective association. They raised an army and cleaned us out. We made them nervous.
  • Altair IV in Forbidden Planet contains many still-functioning relics of the hyper-advanced Krell civilization, despite the disappearance of the Krell themselves, which seems to have happened quite suddenly.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Morag, the planet Peter Quill finds the Orb on. At some point there was life on it, but something destroyed them a long time before and left the planet a volcanic ruin. It is strongly hinted to have been the deed of the Power Stone that's inside the Orb.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Titan, Thanos' homeworld, which suffered apocalyptic disaster related to their resources. All that's left is massive amounts of wrecked buildings and walkways, since Thanos long since left his home behind.
    • It's also implied that something else strange happened to the planet, which by the time we see it is experiencing gravitational and rotational anomalies, but this is possibly separate from what killed Thanos' people.
  • The Hell Planet in Pitch Black. Also, any world the Necromongers visit is left this way.
  • The planet Miranda in Serenity (2005). The Alliance tested an airborne drug meant to curb violent emotions on the people of the planet and make them compliant. The result was nearly all the population ceasing to fight... followed by them ceasing to do anything else, eventually laying down and dying. The tiny percentage of people who survived had the exact opposite ("paradoxical") reaction, becoming the psychotic and cannibalistic Reavers.
  • Planet Juran in Ultraman Cosmos 2: The Blue Planet, formerly full of life, until the Scorpiss invasion - a Horde of Alien Locusts - wipes it blank. The next movie, Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice: The Final Battle, have humans planning to transport earth's monsters to the now-deserted Juran, so that the monsters can exist peacefully in an empty planet without interfering with the humans, and eventually in Ultraman Saga it's revealed that Planet Juran was eventually restored to a lush blue planet filled with life and vegetation.

  • In The Chronicles of Narnia novel The Magician's Nephew, the city/world of Charn is one of these by the time Digory and Polly arrive. The buildings, sidewalks, and other examples of human industry are mostly intact, though in a state of ruin. However, except for the witch queen Jadis, every other living thing on the planet (including vines partially pulled down walls) was killed by the Deplorable Word. It's more than a little creepy.
  • The final act of Consider Phlebas takes place on Schar's World, where the inhabitants died off from biological warfare. Planets like these are preserved by The Dra'Azon as monuments to futility and destruction.
  • Eden Green has the title character explore an abandoned planet from which horrifying needle monsters are spreading onto Earth.
  • Paul S. Kemp's The Twilight War trilogy set in the Forgotten Realms reveals that Shar has been doing this to other worlds and intends to do the same to Abeir-Toril.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Earth, the characters discover some of the planets where space-faring humans first settled, in ruins and devoid of intelligent life.
  • The "pit-stop" planet and alien spaceport in Andre Norton's Galactic Derelict. The home planet of the alien spacecraft is still inhabited by two primitive alien tribes who are at war, but it is made clear that they are not the civilization that built the ruined city they dwell in.
  • Jonathan Lethem's Girl in Landscape primarily takes place on one which is being sparsely colonized by humans. There are still a few lingering aliens, but they have only a passive interest in either the humans or the relics of their ruined civilization.
  • The Lost Fleet series details a number of solar systems that had once been host to heavy traffic but have been bypassed by the time the titular fleet passes through because the Portal Network rendered the old mode of system-to-system hyperspace travel obsolete. Some of these systems have been completely abandoned, while others still have dwindling populations that lack the means to leave (there aren't any spaceships passing through anymore, after all).
  • Mars in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is like this, showing signs of a Crystal Spires and Togas civilization.
  • Mars in H. Beam Piper's short story "Omnilingual" .His short story "Graveyard of Dreams", later expanded into the novel The Cosmic Computer, took its title from a poem by a colonist on Mars who was apparently inspired by the planet's ruins.
  • Alastair Reynolds:
    • Revelation Space has an archaeologist main character and the plot centers on the mystery behind the dead Amarantin civilization.
    • House of Suns has the galaxy littered with the remnants of human civilization; in an Ungovernable Galaxy with no Faster-Than-Light Travel or Subspace Ansible, human civilizations surge up before withering away after a few thousand years from internal pressure. Every system that the protagonists visit have some trace of human habitation, such as an asteroid belt littered with derelict ships or nanotech-infused clouds on planets.
  • The fourth Skulduggery Pleasant book features a Ghost Universe. Everything in it has been murdered by the Faceless Ones.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In the Short Story The End of History, Antron Back hides himself and a collection of Jedi artifacts on a nameless and abandoned moon that had once been colonized by Geonosians, who left tunnel systems the size of cities behind which made for a perfect hiding spot.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Kiva, in Galaxy of Fear. It's without life except for the furious ghosts of the people who lived there, and mentioned to be charcoal-colored when seen from orbit.
    • Revan, a tie-in novel to Star Wars: The Old Republic, reveals the Sith Emperor's homeworld of Nathema to be one of these. His ascension to immortality involved a Force ritual that consumed every living thing on the planet. Several hundred years later, the bodies are still there exactly as they died, because the microorganisms that would normally decompose them were all killed. It's hinted that the Emperor intends to repeat this process for the entire galaxy, and this scares the handful of Sith who know about it enough that they're secretly planning to assassinate him.
    • Darth Bane: Tython, once the home of the first people to use the Force, has become this by the time Bane passes through.
  • In The Wandering, Neshi visits many of these, all of which were destroyed (presumably) by the Natasians.
  • Charles Stross's A Colder War: The Downer Ending involves the remnants of humanity eking out an existence in the Domed City XK-Masada, entered through a Cool Gate to a planet nearing the end of its tectonic life with the ruins of a long-disappeared civilization. The Rule of Symbolism is obvious to everyone. Earth That Was has long since become this trope once the Eater of Souls consumed everyone there.
  • Shades of Magic: Black London, the world whose life was devoured by the magical entity Osaron, is left in an eternal twilight where dust hangs forever in the air and everything that remains is transmuted into black glass.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Maveth has become one of these. The ancient civilization has long since fallen, and the planet is reduced to a desert that is nearly Always Night, and there is something malevolent controlling the frequent sandstorms.
  • Markab Prime and Daltron 7 become ghost planets in Babylon 5.
    • In the B5 spin-off Crusade, a number of these are also visited.
  • Kobol, Caprica, and "Earth" in Battlestar Galactica. Technically, New Caprica also becomes one, though only after one year of habitation.
  • Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (a documentary series) included model shots of a fictional Mars fitting this trope, before going on to describe what Mars is really like.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Skaro, the Dalek homeworld also counts for a large part of the series between the times when the Daleks would abandon and reclaim it.
    • Several examples in the old series, too, including Exxilon in "Death to the Daleks".
    • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit": Krop Tor was once inhabited, a long time ago, by people who left behind ruins and writing. But now, it's a desolate rock in an impossible orbit around an Unrealistic Black Hole.
    • The planet-sized Library has a million million intelligent lifeforms following a catastrophe 100 years prior, though the Doctor and his allies can't seem to find any of them. There's a species of flesh-eating bacteria that can move small objects and think through a hive mind, but are generally stupid due to their weakness to light and subsequent minimal populations — then they get into a library through infested paper, and it turns out there's enough darkness, unwitting civilians, and information to develop sentience.
    • San Helios in "Planet of the Dead". Despite no signs of life apart from the planet-destroying stingrays, the city was fine a year a before the story. Carmen the psychic can hear the voices of its dead residents.
    • "The Ghost Monument" has the appropriately-named Desolation. The Doctor, searching for what happened to destroy the planet's civilization, discovers that the Stenza conquered the planet and forced kidnapped scientists to create horrific weaponry that destroyed the biosphere.
  • Lost in Space - Although not developed afterwards, implied by the subterranean dead city on the Robinsons' first planetfall.
  • Red Dwarf: The episode "Back to Reality" has the main characters exploring an ocean moon where they've found a crashed ship, and despite the log mentioning plenty of life, all the boys find as they explore are lots of corpses. Suicide corpses. Turns out one specific example of that wildlife is responsible.
    Lister: What are you implying, Kryten?
    Kryten: No implication intended, sir.
    Lister: Yes there is. You're implying there's something out there. Some weird prehistoric leviathan that's porked its way through the entire ocean.
    Kryten: That is one possibility.
    Lister: Any alternatives?
    Kryten: None that occur.
  • Stargate:
    • Happened quite often in Stargate SG-1. Sometimes it was a plague, or technology gone wrong, or something else horrible happened to wipe out life on the planet. It was rarely not spooky. It's also mentioned frequently that the Goa'uld will take steps to cripple or wipe out any culture within their territory whose technology level begins to pose a threat. Also, the Ancients left a lot of places and things behind when they decided it'd be a good idea to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence without doing anything about the various powerful artifacts of doom they left lying around.
    • On the spinoff series Stargate Atlantis, the main team operates out of a formerly dead city left behind by the Ancients ten thousand years ago, and finds many more ruins left behind by them.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield", the planet Cheron ended up this way. So was the Time Vortex Planet from "The City On The Edge Of Forever" and "Yesteryear", but for different reasons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Echo V was home to the Iktomi in Eclipse Phase. Now there's nothing but cobwebs. Literally.
  • The Fate Core setting Ghost Planets has this as it's main premise. In the 23rd century, humanity finds itself alone in the galaxy but there are remnants of thousands of alien civilizations. Figuring what mysterious event destroyed these civilizations and how humanity can avoid it is the main goal of the player characters.
  • Several Classic Traveller adventures had planets like this, including Adventure 4 Leviathan and Double Adventure 5 The Chamax Plague.
  • Happens occasionally in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
    • Sometimes it happens when a planet gets swallowed up in a Warp space related-anomaly, and that world is physically twisted, or sometimes it becomes a haunted planet with no sign of the original human population. Most often, however, this trope describes worlds that were all that was left behind after an Exterminatus.
    • On other occasions, an entire planet's populace may be abducted by hostile aliens, particularly the Dark Eldar or Necrons.
    • During one notable incident, a Night Lords raid killed the population of an entire planet... without damaging a single building.
  • Phyrexia was this in Magic: The Gathering and ultimately became one again. Created by a powerful god-like being, the plane was abandoned after his death. It was eventually discovered by the outcast physician Yawgmoth. After suitable scheming Yawgmoth then fused himself to the plane arcane ritual, transforming himself into Yawgmoth the Machine-God, preeminent villain of Magic's multiverse. Phyrexia—composed of nine concentric spheres reminiscent of Dante's nine circles of Hell—was ultimately doomed. Without its creator to correct it, the unnatural plane would slowly collapse, eventually crumpling entirety. Yawgmoth's master plan was to invade his home plane of Dominaria and use it as a permanent seat of power. This invasion ultimately failed, killing Yawgmoth in the process. Years later, the godling Karona would visit Phyrexia, and find it again abandoned, awaiting its final collapse.
    • This trope was narrowly averted for the plane of Zendikar during the events of the Rise of the Eldrazi, Battle for Zendikar, and Oath of the Gatewatch expansions. When released from their prison, the Eldrazi began to consume the planet down to the bedrock, leaving only pearlescent wastelands behind. It was strongly implied that Zendikar was doomed to be converted into a Ghost Planet this way. Thanks to the quick actions of the Gatewatch, the planet was merely maimed, rather than destroyed.

    Video Games 
  • A ghost system in Alien Legacy. When the UNS Calypso arrives to the Beta Caeli system, the crew is woken up from cryosleep, and the Captain reads all the messages received from Earth since their departure centuries (if not millennia) ago. One of these notifies you that another ship was sent to the same system just over a decade after the Calypso's departure. However, due a slightly more efficient drive, it was supposed to have arrived to Beta Caeli about two decades before you. So, naturally, you expect to find a colonized system with thousands of settlers awaiting your arrival. What you find are planets filled with ruins of the colonies and no trace of the UNS Tantalus, the Calypso's sister-ship. Besides settling the system, much of the game involves tracking down the clues and figuring out what happened to the other ship and the colonists. The ship was scrapped for parts by order of her captain, and most of the shuttle fleet was later wiped out in a suicidal charge on the H'riak seedship hiding in the system, leaving the major colonies on the two habitable worlds and numerous tiny outposts isolated from one another; then the habitable planets' native life went insane and wiped out the colonists there; eventually, the isolated outposts died out too.
  • In the higher levels of City of Heroes, you get the chance to go dimension hopping, discovering several Ghost Dimensions, including a literal Ghost Dimension where the calamity that wiped out the entire population was you. Needless to say, the ghosts aren't happy to see you.
  • Dead Space 3 takes this to a chilling extreme. Not only is the planet of Tau Volantis a ghost planet, this game reveals that the setting is essentially a ghost galaxy thanks to the Brethren Moons periodically turning the populations of entire worlds into Necromorphs and consuming them to propagate their own race.
  • LucasArts' old PC adventure game, The Dig. Astronauts end up playing archaeologist in the ruins of an alien civilization.
  • It is only a minor element of the setting (absolutely nothing encourages you to land, it's just possible in case you want to read the flavour text), but Neo New York in Escape Velocity Nova is this — once a prosperous colony, a terrible plague swept through it, destroying the entire biosphere. The planetary image wouldn't look out of place for any of the more inhabited Federation colonies, although the fact that the fog surrounding the skyscrapers is green is somewhat telling...
  • Final Fantasy XIII: 500 years ago, there was a war between the Floating Continent of Cocoon and the planet Pulse, and the inhabitants of Cocoon still fear Pulse. When we reach Pulse, there are a lot of animals and some ruins, but no people. The former inhabitants seem to have died off after the war, but the game doesn't go out of its way to explain what happened to them.
  • Halo: The myriad planets and installations built by the Forerunners, including the eponymous ringworlds, are ghost space constructs.
  • Haven (2020): While Kay and Yu initially assume the planet Source is untouched by humans, they eventually discover buildings, tech installations, and entire villages that were abandoned long before they fled to the planet from the Apiary. They later learn that the Apiary had colonized Source in order to harvest its flow, but neglected to properly maintain their main flow drill while simultaneously pushing it to its limit, causing a destructive event that shattered part of the planet's surface and necessitated its evacuation.
  • Lh'owon from Marathon was razed by Pfhor slavers. It is mostly a desert, with a few instances of nasty wildlife and a token Pfhor garrison.
  • Mass Effect
    • Ilos from Mass Effect fits the bill, and the place is appropriately creepy to boot. Every party member comments on how unsettling it feels, and that they shouldn't be there, except Wrex (who's just happy to kill stuff) and Liara (who is practically bouncing with excitement). Earlier on, you also visit Feros, a former City Planet built by the Precursors, now comprised only of lonely skyscraper spires jutting up from the perpetual layer of dust that still hasn't settled, 50,000 years since the planet's demise.
    • In Mass Effect 2, once you start looking at places off the beaten track you'll notice that there are a lot of dead planets out there. Time and again seemingly empty systems will have burial grounds, ruins or even just million-year-old mass accelerator craters spread across the planet. The phrase "Bombardment was focused on population centres" appears far too often for comfort. Of course, this all makes sense, since every 50,000 years the Reapers show up and kill all sentient lifeforms.
    • Mass Effect 3 reveals that Ilos was a ghost planet when the Protheans found it, and the statues are implied to depict the once native Inusannon. Subsequent playthroughs of the first game, knowing that both the Inusannon and the Protheans became extinct on this world makes it even more creepy.
  • Metroid: Most of worlds visited by Samus Aran. And if they weren't at first, they are when she leaves. If they're still there.
  • Nexus Clash: In one sequence, some of the ways to get lost in a planar maze left in the wake of a Spacetime Eater can drop players into one of these. It has no name, few surviving plants and animals, no useful resources, and the few signs of habitation all suggest that its entire history consisted of plague, failure and neglect. In contrast to the exhaustive histories provided for most Nexus locations, good or bad, we never get any explanation for it.
  • Radiant Silvergun's prologue has the Stone-Like destroy all life on the planet, leaving only four humans and their robot companion as the survivors because they managed to escape the Earth's atmosphere beforehand. The game's first stage takes place a year after the catastrophe, with the survivors having to return to Earth due to being low on supplies.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • The page quote comes from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction—the titular duo learn about a planet inhabited by Ratchet's species the Lombaxes named "Fastoon," and immediately take an escape pod to go there. Once they arrive, Ratchet discovers that the Lombaxes had long abandoned the planet, a fact that Clank had tried to tell him beforehand.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus has an entire ghost sector — the entirety of Zarkov Sector of the Polaris galaxy was evacuated by order of a former galactic president due to it being "haunted." In reality these "hauntings" were the result of the game's villains Vendra and Neftin Progg trying to bring the Nethers into their dimension. Planets explored in this sector are Yerek, Silox, Kragg (which acts as the game's Gladiator Subquest due to the Thugs-4-Less moving in), and Thram.
  • Schizm: Mysterious Journey cribs from Forbidden Planet as well—everyone on the world you're exploring just vanished in what must have been a single day, leaving behind unfinished work and uneaten meals. The initial research team vanished more slowly, and had enough time to leave behind increasingly panicky audio diaries speculating on what the hell was going on. What's left is a rather sinister Beautiful Void. Subverted in the end. Everyone is still alive, but they were transported into separate dimensions so that the planet's defense system could observe them and determine if they were a threat.
  • The "Forbidden Planet" in Sigma Star Saga takes this trope more literally than most—you'll find yourself under attack from levitating tombstones. Turns out the former inhabitants had(/have) a serious grudge against the aliens you've allied with, and not even death is stopping them from revenge. In a notorious bug, those tombstones are the most lethal enemy in the game; killing one to end the level will instead trap you in purgatory forever.
  • In Spore, one of the planets in your home system has a crashed alien spaceship on it. Before they died, the survivors left directions to a nearby system, which turns out to be a ruined planet that was devastated by the Grox. Some theories suggest that the ruins may be human in origin, especially when you consider that Earth is deserted when you discover it.
  • Starbound has Barren planets, which are, well... barren. Barren planets are contrasted with other worlds by their absolute lack of anything; creatures, ores, plants, even weather. Generally, the whole point of such planets is to construct buildings and settlements on them thanks to their relatively flat topography and lack of hazards (barring fall damage, of course).
  • Star Control 2 - the Taalo homeworld (sterilized by mind-controlled Ur-Quan), the Burvixese homeworlds (wiped out by the Kohr-Ah after being betrayed by the Druuge), and the Androsynth's adopted homeworld ("Androsynth are not here. Only Orz is here"). Also, any alien homeworld becomes one once the Kohr-Ah reach it on their Death March.
  • The planet Ultimacrash from Starshot: Space Circus Fever is another literal version of the trope. It's surrounded by spaceship debris and is inhabited by the ghosts of space travelers whose ships crashed into it, hence its name and reputation as "the gloomiest place in the galaxy".
  • Stellaris
    • Tomb Worlds are blasted, irradiated hellholes that are usually the result of a species wiping itself out in a nuclear war, though certain factions able to use the "Apocalyptic" Orbital Bombardment policy can make a "fresh" Tomb World. Most species in the galaxy can only colonize a Tomb World through the use of lategame technologies, but races with the "Post-Apocalyptic" trait can settle them from the get-go. In rare cases, a planetary event may have colonists discover bomb shelters that the Tomb World's original inhabitants built, which may or may not be occupied. Another event has colonists shift towards the Pacifistic ethos after being surrounded by reminders of the horrors of war.
    • With the Apocalypse expansion, you can cleanse a world of higher lifeforms while leaving its infrastructure intact with the Neutron Sweeper superweapon, though if you colonize it immediately afterward there will be a habitability penalty due to lingering radiation.
    • The Ancient Relics expansion introduces Relic Worlds, former City Planets that have been reduced to planet-wide ruins. They can be refurbished at great expensive, but their real value is in the archeological artifacts left behind.
    • This is also the doom of colonies that have fallen to the Unbidden - the buildings remain, but the colonists are just gone. Which makes them a really nice spot to (re)settle once the Unbidden are taken care of.
  • Tales Series:
    • This is the planet Quartia in Tales of Hearts. Everything inhabiting the planet quite literally had the life sucked out of it.
    • Similarly, Fodra from Tales of Graces, however there are a few survivors, instead of machines.
  • In the Xtended Game Mod for X3: Terran Conflict, the Expansion system Portal Network is littered with the remnants of Terran colonies that were wiped out 800 years ago when their AI terraformer fleets went haywire and started "terraforming" inhabited worlds. The modern Terrans under the Earth State government control the majority of these abandoned ghost planets, but a few are under the control of the Boron Kingdom or Split Dynasty, which has caused some friction between the races.
  • This trope certainly applies in force once you reach Old Miltia in the third episode of Xenosaga - the entire planet is completely devoid of human life, though all the trappings of the setting's technologically-advanced society are in place, adding to the creep factor.


    Western Animation 
  • Filmation's Ghostbusters was fond of ghost planets, featuring at least two or three throughout its 65-episode run.
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures implies that the Ghosteroids are the ghosts of life-bearing planets that suffered a Class 6 Apocalypse How and the alien ghosts that live on it were the natives on that planet, thus making this a literal case of this trope.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Sacrifice", Yoda journeys to the long-abandoned planet Moraband, the Sith homeworld (better known as Korriban) as the final stage of his Vision Quest. Between the stains of the Dark Side and the ancient ruins, the place has an appropriately creepy air.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • When the Ghost crew first visits Geonosis, in "The Honourable Ones", they find they can't detect any life signs from the planet, and Ezra can sense an aura of death surrounding the planet. On their return visit in "Ghosts of Geonosis", the crew finds evidence that the Empire deliberately wiped out the Geonosian species, although why they can't figure.
    • "Twilight of the Apprentice": Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka travel to the planet Malachor, a former base of the Sith. Underground, they find extensive ruins surrounding a Sith Temple, the entire area littered with the petrified corpses of participants in a long-ago battle.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Core Problem", Kaz and Poe follow a lead to a desolate star system destroyed by the First Order. The system includes a formerly-inhabited moon with signs of a massacre among the ruins left behind.
  • The Transformers:
    • "Cosmic Rust" has the Decepticons stumble across an old Autobot colony world where everyone long ago died of a plague (a micro-organism that can cause even Cybertronian alloys to rust away to nothing). Naturally, they accidentally carry the plague back to Earth.
    • In Season 3, The Decepticons settle on the barren planet of Chaar, whose previous civilization was mysteriously wiped out by the time they got there.

    Real Life 
  • Pretty much any planet that orbits a stellar remnant, such as a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole would definitely qualify.
  • This is pretty much the main premise of the Great Filter, a hypothesis related to the Fermi paradox that suggests that there is always an imaginary filter that permanently wipes out any intelligent species in less than a million years.