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Inferred Holocaust

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"What happens when you detonate a spherical metal honeycomb over five hundred miles wide just above the atmosphere of a habitable world? Regardless of specifics, the world won't remain habitable for long."

Fridge Logic doesn't just find plot holes; it can make your typical happy ending into a Downer Ending, and render even the most flawless moral victory into Black-and-Gray Morality. How? By helping the viewer realize that the "survivors" at the end of a work don't have a future. When authors use large and amazing technologies and world or even galaxy-spanning threats, they run the risk of letting the excitement of Stuff Blowing Up get the better of them and not think through how the survivors will make a living afterward, even though they can't help but celebrate as the Evil Tower of Ominousness explodes with its master's demise.

Y'see, Happily Ever After implies there's arable land to farm, electricity and running water, and a semblance of civilization to go back to, as well as at least several hundred to several thousand people surviving by the end.note  A Zombie Apocalypse, nuclear holocaust, Colony Drop, The Great Flood, or anything that can cause The End of the World as We Know It will have subtle and far-reaching effects even if it's stopped. Even if humanity does manage to survive (humans are clingy bastards) there are bound to be massive casualties. Even if the work runs with the above scenarios and makes it about characters from a Terminally Dependent Society surviving After the End, the author may end up seriously overestimating their and their civilizations' chances of survival.

The subversion of this trope is if the heroes fully realize the effects of their actions... and choose to follow through anyway. Maybe they are amoral sociopaths who do not care, maybe the Omniscient Morality License makes it such that the ultimate consequences will be preferable to the status quo, or maybe things are beyond the Godzilla Threshold and so anything goes.

Some common examples of this trope coming into effect include:

Keep in mind that this is an inferred holocaust. If the work explicitly states that there's a horrible aftermath or if it ends on a cliffhanger (for example, depicting an undetected bomb about to explode), then it isn't an example of this trope; you may be looking for Surprisingly Realistic Outcome. Also note that, despite the name, the "holocaust" doesn't have to involve massive death; it could be as simple as a criminal getting away because the writers didn't give the good guys enough evidence to convict.

A possible reason why audiences may see a "happy" ending as an Esoteric Happy Ending. Contrast Inferred Survival, and contrast No Endor Holocaust for when this possibility is nixed by Word of God or subsequent material. For more general plot points that are chilling when contemplated at length, see Fridge Horror. Compare Hero Insurance.

Ending Trope, so spoilers be ahead.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AIR: How many people got attached to Kanna's reincarnations, which caused her curse to kill both of them.
  • Blue Gender. A few humans have survived Gaia's Vengeance, and they can all live in harmony with mother nature, free at last of technology; then the Fridge Horror sets in — the only survivors will be physically strong people so if you're physically disabled, blind, deaf, have a terminal disease, etc. then you're hosed; Mother Nature hates you and you have no right to live. Also, without modern medicine, infant mortality rates are bound to go through the roof along with deaths from normally treatable diseases.
  • In Code Geass, Schniezel nukes and obliterates Pendragon, Britannia's capital, presumably killing millions in the process, and potentially shattering the main system of government. The implications and all the deaths are largely glanced over by the series and, after Lelouch's death, Schniezel is not charged or punished for anything.note  There is also the possibility that when Lelouch had the Damocles, he may have either used that or carried out unspecified acts of repression in order to firmly cement himself as the "Demon Emperor" for his Zero Requiem. Which, again, was neither confirmed nor denied after his Thanatos Gambit works.
  • Really, the champions at this are the Dirty Pair. Anything they get involved with has a 50% chance of causing mass collateral damage, and it's probably not healthy to dwell on the numbers of deaths that can (indirectly or directly) be laid at Kei and Yuri's feet. In any sane story, they'd be the villains.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The moon has been blown up a couple of times over the course of the franchise (God is capable of re-creating the moon, but whether he did it a second time after the end of the Freeza Saga is never mentioned). The problems this would cause are never mentioned.
    • Killing the Omnicidal Maniac Emperor Freeza is very much understandable, but he is still Emperor Freeza of at least 79 planets. The short term result is the absence of a dictatorial tyrant; the ugly civil war created by the power-vacuum in his sudden absence (He probably kept hundreds of warlords from starting their own private wars) would kill billions if not trillions of innocent, decent alien lives. The lead-up manga for Resurrection of F reveals that years after his death, Freeza's Planet Trade Organization is spread thin enough that it can't spare reinforcements to put down rebellions.
    • Buu destroyed two planets full of intelligent beings. Since one of those planets was not wished back into existence, then there's the Fridge Horror that the good people and animals on the planet died again if the wish accidentally included them. The fact that the resurrection also specifically excluded evil people raises the question of how many of those people were, say, parents or driving cars (and what exactly defines an evil person, anyway). Although, it's a Filler scene, so it's an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole anyway because those aliens were never killed in the manga or even existed there.
    • There's the time when everyone who Cell killed was resurrected. A lot of those were people living on islands that Cell destroyed. Unless the wish meant those islands were remade too, they likely drowned long before making land. Way to go, Yamcha, asking for wishes without thinking them first. Similarly, the people killed in the same saga by No. 20 and No. 19 were never resurrected.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Goku's fight with Beerus nearly causes the destruction of the entire universe. We see destruction occurring all over the universe as well, with many planets being shattered and disintegrating. The billions of aliens who must have died from this are never brought up, although later on it is revealed that the universe only has 28 inhabited planets remaining.
    • The movie "Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan" begins with an entire galaxy vanishing in seconds. The North Kaio takes notice, but the implications are never really brought up. Team Four Star parodied this by having the South Kaio calling the North Kaio about it, and the Kaio pointing out that he now has a lot more options for competing in the Otherworld Tournament. The South Kaio didn't think it was funny.
    • Jaco The Galactic Patrol Man saves East City from a rocket. Hardcore fans are likely to remember that East City would eventually be destroyed by Nappa. None of the citizens are revived in canon.
  • Ergo Proxy, though already post-apocalyptic, just made it worse when the last known bastion of humanity fell since its patron Proxy abandoned it, as well as almost every Proxy burns to death. The only survivors are a Proxy, two cogito-infected autoreivs, and a person who is either another Proxy or sterile. However, this is considered good because the small populations of humanity who retreated from the planet a thousand years before begin to return due to the Earth finally recovering from the nuclear winter. Every character we knew that even survived will likely be slaughtered because none of them were meant to survive — Proxies were genetically altered to have a deathly reaction to UV rays and autoreivs were meant to destroy all the sterile humans and then themselves by way of the cogito virus.
  • GoLion ends with the deaths of the Big Bad and his Dragons. Cue the ensuing war to take his place, and the billions of resulting deaths.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean ends with Emporio killing Pucci, which causes the new universe that Pucci created to collapse... along with, apparently, all the people from the original universe that Pucci's Stand kept alive during the transition. Another new universe appears to fill the gapnote , but the few of its inhabitants we meet are noticeably different from their original-universe counterparts, unlike Pucci's version where we see characters explicitly remembering the original universe. In addition, with the knowledge that people who died during the effects of Made in Heaven get reincarnated into new bodies, which applies to both Pucci's universe and the Ireneverse following his death, one has to wonder how many people ended up dying thanks to the law of conservation of energy. It's established that only non-living objects are sped up from the time acceleration, but that's bound to have intense repercussions. Car crashes would be about 25 times more likely, viruses are non-living organisms and could affect bodies at a rapid pace, and so on, thus making it seem as though living organisms would die from natural causes regardless of how much Made in Heaven speeds past the causes.
    • A more small-scale one occurs retroactively in Part 4, when it's revealed that the Nijimura brothers' father used to be a minion of Dio's, and Dio's death caused him to mutate into the pathetic monster he is now, either due to Dio granting him a Stand, or implanting a flesh bud in him like he seemingly did to all his underlings to either brainwash them into servitude or simply act as a killswitch if they become a threat to him. This implies that all the Part 3 villains that survived, like Hol Horse, the Oingo Boingo brothers, and even Mannish Boy, all met a similar fate, but this is never even brought up despite Jotaro being present for much of the story.
  • Macross: Do You Remember Love? touches on this at the end. The Macross and the few Zentradi turncoats were able to beat the Boddol Zer fleet. However, Exsedol reminds Britai that there are over 1,000 fleets of the Boddol Zer and Lap Lamiz classes in the galaxy, each one numbering in the millions of ships. What is not stated is that, the power of culture notwithstanding, it would still be a long, hard, and impossibly uphill battle of attrition against possibly billions of ships. The Macross and Britai's Zentradi would have to win all of those battles. Just one of those other fleets has to win and it's game over. Later Macross series address this with the Macross Colonization Fleets: the human-Zentradi civilization attempts to seed as many worlds as possible so that even if Earth was taken out by one of the other Zentran fleets, the human race and its allies would still survive.
  • Now and Then, Here and There. For all the inspirational music and pictures of the pretty archipelago the desert had become, there were inhabited villages and animals in that desert, and desert ecosystems are fragile in the best of times. The Great Flood just annihilated every living thing there, how do they expect an archipelago ecosystem to evolve from that? Even if the water seeps into the groundwater or evaporates, leaving the land water-rich but not a sea anymore, well, there's still that utter and complete destruction of everything to contend with. A possible explanation is that She only released the water to the south since it's shown at the end of episode one (when the camera pans back while Shu's hanging from the fortress) that everything south of Hellywood is already gone.
    • And then there's the rather obvious fact that the Sun's expansion isn't going to stop, and that Earth has only a few centuries of life left at best before it becomes an uninhabitable hellhole (and the knowledge and resources needed to leave and restart elsewhere are likely no longer extant).
  • With the frequency of large-scale monster attacks that occur in One-Punch Man, it's a miracle that there's anyone still alive in Tokyo.
  • The Place Promised in Our Early Days ends on an apparently happy note: Sayuri is awake, the Tower is destroyed and its effect ended, and the Velaciela makes it safely back to Honshu. Furthermore, the How We Got Here opening with an adult Hiroki saying that Ezo used to be foreign territory before the war war and not having to walk through a post-apocalyptic hellhole]] very strongly implies that not only did they manage to land properly, but also that World War Three eventually ended peacefully without going nuclear. That said... at a minimum, most of Hokkaido just got wiped out because the two leads were wasting time having a touching moment instead of launching the missile, including possibly Okabe's family. Furthermore, even if World War Three ended in peace, we don't know how many lives did end up getting lost before that happened.
  • After raising water levels by hundreds of feet and knocking satellites out of orbit, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea ends in a world which is survivable, but massively ruined.
  • Zig-zagged with the mid-city fights in Re:CREATORS. Attacks between Creations have been noticed and almost caused injury to civillians, as Mamika learned the hard way when her energy blasts gained the power of a bomb in reality. The biggest fight, on the other hand, didn't so much as get mentioned — keep in mind, this was an energy blast the size of a nuke going off above town. No crater, rubble, or reports of death from the battle between Mamika and the Military Uniform Princess are shown.
    • At the end, most of the Creations are shown going home to their own stories, save for Magane, who gets on a plane to see somewhere new. The writers made it clear that her sociopathic streak never went away, meaning she's got a fresh new place to start making victims if she so chooses, but since the story ends there, we never know (but can reasonably infer).
  • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0: Shinji rescues Rei, though as a result triggers the Third Impact. It takes a timely intervention with Kaworu to stop it. 3.0. takes the "Inferred" out of it.
  • In Robotech:
    • The Motherships of the Robotech Masters contain large civilian populations, ranging from 150,000 to 270,000. In the war, the Army of the Southern Cross and the reinforcements sent back by the Robotech Expeditionary Force destroy them all, at least two with all hands (the first REF ship to return rammed the closest mothership and then self-destructed inside before they could even realize they needed to run to the escape pods, and later the Tristar repeated the feat). The death toll is not shown but is likely enormous.
    • As the producers apparently hated the Tirolian race the Robotech Masters belong to, the aborted Robotech II: The Sentinels show the Regent's Invid conquering Tirol, herding the population into shelters, and then Tesla goes to a shelter, interrogates the prisoners about the Flower of Life and leaves a bomb once he's finished. The dialogue states in no uncertain terms he intends to do it to the entire planet unless someone actually leads him to the location of the Flower, at which point the Invid will kill them all in one go. Good thing the only Tirolians who know where the Flower of Life is are all with the Masters...
  • Halfway through R.O.D the TV, an extremely overzealous Self-Destruct Mechanism set off by a Nebulous Evil Organisation causes the entire city of Hong Kong to sink into the ocean. All the heroes survive, but it's hard to feel good about it when hundreds of thousands of innocent people presumably drowned. No dead bodies are shown, so maybe we're supposed to assume they all escaped somehow?
  • Sailor Moon:
    •  In Sailor Moon R, Prince Endymion tells the present-Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen that one day a great disaster will overcome the Earth. He can't tell them when or where, only that Sailor Moon uses the Silver Crystal to save everyone, transform into Neo-Queen Serenity, and create Crystal Tokyo. It's highly possible that it may have wiped out the girls' families, given they are nowhere in sight in Crystal Tokyo. The Senshi miss the implications because Sailor Moon is more shocked that she will be Queen of the Earth. Endymion proceeds to outline that the Black Moon tried attacking twice, and were successful the second time in laying waste to the city. We see the damage, but no bodies or such. It is a bit sobering, however, that the other Inner Senshi are revealed to be the only intact survivors — Endymion and Neo-Queen Serenity got badly knocked out and were rendered comatose, with Endymion using a hologram to talk to the Senshi and comfort Chibi-Usa. 
    • A scene in Season 3 has Mamoru giving exposition on the Outers to the Inners. The audience is shown a slide show of each Outer with their corresponding Talisman and planet. The (dwarf) planet Pluto is depicted as a gas giant. Suddenly, Sailor Pluto's utter terror at the prospect of Saturn awakening makes a lot more sense. Shadowjack Watches Sailor Moon draws explicit attention to that scene:
      Ami: …Pluto isn't a gas giant with multiple moons.
      Mamoru: It isn't now.
    • In the manga, at the end of the "Dream" arc, it's revealed that the Amazoness Quartet are the Asteroid Senshi. Saturn was the only one who knew this before they got purified. Afterwards, they reveal that they're not supposed to be awake yet, implying that their celestial bodies are significantly younger than the rest of the solar system. Again, Saturn was the only one who knew who they were, and making things even better? She went in with the express purpose of rescuing them.
    • The manga also has a moment where it's implied that Galaxia wipes out all life on Earth while Sailor Moon, the Stars and Amazoness Quartet are traveling to stop her and save lives. Sailor Moon sacrifices herself to the Cauldron of Stars to stop Chaos rather than destroy the Cauldron as Sailor Cosmos urges her. She wakes up in Crystal Tokyo, with Mamoru and her friends revived. In addition, Usagi has become Neo-Queen Serenity as she saw in the R arc.
    • Galaxia´s conquests in general. Even a typical planet can have millions or billions of sentient people on it. The Milky Way has hundreds of billions of planets in it. Just how many quintillions of people did Galaxia murder along her devastating journey over so many sextillions of cultures, civilizations, nations, and ecosystems?
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has an inferred extinction: After humans retake the surface, they live (largely) at peace with the Beastmen. However, Beastmen can't reproduce and all of the existing ones were made in People Jars by Lordgenome. Since they're apparently not making any more Beastmen, they'll eventually all die out (except Viral, because he's immortal) unless Beastmen have access to the cloning technology that Lordgenome used in the first place.
  • The ending of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds features the defeat of Big Bad Z-One, who came from a Bad Future, with the protagonists talking about how hope and bonds will see them through his despairing proclamation. Except... that hope and bonds speech didn't exactly include any plans for how they're going to work to stop the Bad Future, and in fact, the team ends up splitting up and retiring only a year after. As far as the viewer can tell, it seems that there's indeed still going to be a machine apocalypse a few centuries down the line.
    • The finale actually has a quick scene where Yusei helps develop a system to prevent the Momentum reactors from going out of control, which was what caused the apocalypse in the first place. The dub, however, adapts out everything after Aporia's defeat in the WRGP, with the Divine Temple/Ark Cradle disappearing as a resultnote . At the end of the episode Yusei comments that the world is safe now... but the robot apocalypse is still a possibility because, as mentioned above, they didn't make any plans on how to stop it.

  • The paintings of Thomas Kinkade, Painter of LightTM, usually show homes with a bright glow coming from within. But as this blog post points out:
    "All of Kinkade’s structures seem consumed from within by raging infernos. What might be laughed off as artistic excess suddenly trickles icily down your spine when you realize that Kinkade’s rustic incinerators are operating at full tilt regardless of the time of day, prevailing weather conditions, and the particular season depicted in the painting!"
    • The effect is compounded by many of Kinkade's regular motifs. Often, there are wild animals or livestock, but very few of the works have visible humans. Smoke rises from every buildings' every chimney, regardless of the season or time of day, and it tends to rise in high, thin columns, suggesting that the smoke is being generated by very hot fires. Along with the unnatural glow coming from buildings, Kinkade tended to use a somewhat surreal color pallet for the sky, which tended to give the paintings an ominous 'calm before the storm' or 'oncoming forest fire' vibe.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City has a beauty of a discussion of this trope — an aging superhero, who spent his youth as some hybrid of Golden Age Superman and Golden Age Batman, is called back into service again against a generic giant robot. Instead of MacGyvering — and he actually tells the audience the kinds of things he'd have thought of back in the day — he simply beats it to death, ploughing through six residential city blocks in the process. Afterward, he shouts at the policeman who thanks him for his help, telling him to look at the destruction and claim that his actions actually helped anything.
  • This trope can be found in more or less any issue of The Authority. Sure, they always save the world in the end, but not without L.A. being destroyed. Twice.
  • One 1970s Avengers story, in a clear homage to the recently released film Star Wars, had the team flying around in Quinjets cheerfully destroying an attacking spacefleet sent by Thanos. The Avengers have repeated many times that they never kill, but all those blown up spaceships had people... er, aliens on board. Oh well. It looked cool, though! This also probably counts as a What Measure Is a Non-Human? moment since many Marvel and DC heroes have this attitude toward aliens, surprisingly enough.
  • Lampshaded and parodied in Scott McCloud's one-shot, over-sized comic Destroy!: Two super-powerful heroes fight in New York City (and the surface of the Moon), destroying a good many buildings in the process. Until the very end, the only dialogue is Destroy! quickly met with Shut up!!; at the end, a bystander (police?) opines, 'Good thing no-one was hurt.'
  • At the end of Flashpoint, The Flash "fixes" The DCU by merging it with the WildStorm and Vertigo universes, resulting in the streamlined New 52 timeline. While it's understandable that DC would want to simplify its continuity, this raises some serious Fridge Horror. For one, when Flash's Cosmic Retcon made all the heroes Younger and Hipper, it erased a ton of characters from history. Given the obvious implications, fault for the incorrect "fixing" was later placed on the inteference of Dr. Manhattan.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Although the Hulk is ostensibly a hero, many of his Unstoppable Rage rampages have caused enormous and widespread destruction, which raises the question of exactly how many innocents have lost their lives as collateral damage. As it stands, only a single Hulk rampage (Incredible Hulk #300, which in Hulk's defense, was the result of Hulk being Mind Raped by Nightmare, and all of Earth's heroes knew this) led to deaths (the number varies but as of Civil War, the count is 26 dead men and women and one dog). Lampshading this is Amadeus Cho hypothesizing that the lack of carnage in every other Hulk rampage save the one from Hulk #300 is because underneath it all, the Hulk still retains Banner's super-math skills, maybe even to a greater degree than Banner, and so he's able to predict the trajectory of all the debris he sends flying and make sure it never hits anybody (Cho himself has a similar ability to instantly calculate trajectories). Even so, the Hulk's rampages still ruin people's lives, as shown by Jackie McGee's backstory in Immortal Hulk — her father worked himself to death trying to rebuild their lives after the Hulk destroyed their neighborhood. How many more like Jackie's father the Hulk's left in his wake is unknown, and probably unknowable.
  • Subverted and parodied by Plastic Man in Justice League of America ("Thank God for this crummy economy, or we'd never have abandoned buildings to smash!") but also played straight in the same Story Arc, when The Flash saves an entire city from destruction without anyone thinking of the after-effects and homelessness of the inhabitants. Though the JLA was actually in the process of helping to rebuild the country at the end of that story; it's the reason that Plastic Man hadn't seen his son in months.
  • During the "Dead-End Kids" arc of Runaways, Dale and Stacey Yorkes try to nuke New York City in the early 1900s. Even with Tristan picking it up and launching it into the air, and Karolina and Xavin combining their energies to create a massive forcefield, it's still implied that lots of people died, and the brutal gang-war between the Upward Path and the Sinners that was raging at the time probably didn't help things...
  • Secret Wars (2015) sort-of has one. It is the culmination of The Avengers (Jonathan Hickman), where the multiverrse is dying as parallel Earths collide with each other, destroying the universes that both belong in — unless one of those Earths is destroyed, sparing both universes. The event begins when the last two Earths, Earth-616 (the main Marvel universe) and Earth-1610 (the Ultimate Marvel universe) are about the collide — neither side is willing to destroy their own Earth, so both sides end up in a fight and the Earths collide, destroying everybody except Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange and those on a life raft built by Reed Richards. Doom creates a patchwork reality from what remains and it all ends with him and Reed having one final showdown, with Reed and his son Franklin building a new multiverse with the power Reed gained from Doom. Except these worlds are built from Franklin's imagination, with energy from Reed... this doesn't mean the old universes are brought back. Those trillions upon trillions of lives lost aren't restored because of this. Case in point: The destruction of the multiverse meant the annihilation of the Captain Britain Corps, the multiversal protectors, and they aren't brought back — them being extinct is a plot point of Excalibur 2018 and the X of Swords event, both of which Hickman had a hand in.
  • Star Wars InfinitiesA New Hope, a comic depicting What If? Luke had failed to destroy the Death Star, ends with Yoda crashing the Death Star onto Palpatine's Imperial Palace on Coruscant. The comic then immediately cuts to Leia being sworn in as Chancellor of the New Republic years later, with no acknowledgement of how this affected a City Planet with a trillion inhabitants.
  • The premise of The Thing from Another World Climate of Fear is that the titular Thing has made it out of the Antarctic and to the Argentinian rain forest. Given that the movie made it very clear humanity would be doomed if the Thing got to a populated area then, in spite of the destruction of the Things who had taken human forms in the comics, probably a lot of the wildlife has been assimilated and it won't be long before they've spread all over the planet.
  • Done deliberately in V for Vendetta; it's pointed out early on that the price of freedom in the comic's post-apocalyptic world could very well be starvation. It was a non-issue in the movie because there never was a nuclear war, just a breakdown of several major world governments. Alan Moore admitted that was a significant Plot Hole as humanity would have never been able to survive a nuclear war such as the one in the graphic novel.
  • In Watchmen, even without the Awful Truth about Veidt being responsible coming to light (or even believed, considering that Rorschach is certifiably Ax-Crazy), Dr. Manhattan tells Veidt that the world coming together and averting war due to New York being destroyed by what's believed to be an alien (or Dr. Manhattan himself in the movie) is a stopgap solution, at best.
    Dr. Manhattan: Nothing ever ends.
  • In Y: The Last Man, every male mammal dies, all at once. Humanity may or may not survive, but it seems to have utterly escaped the author that innumerable ecosystems would be devastated due to the sudden removal of pollinators, prey, and apex predators (mammals in general are not as essential to ecosystems as, for example, many insect species, so they wouldn't be outright destroyed). It is unsurprising that this was remarked midway through the series when geneticist Dr. Mann remarks that with no males, all mammal species would eventually become extinct. However, later on, he implies that this may not be the case when a couple of women see rats long after they were supposed to have all died. The Distant Finale shows Paris sixty years later, so clearly there was No Endor Holocaust.

    Fan Works 
  • In the fan-made Mega Man movie, when Mega Man destroys Wily's castle all is well and the city is saved... Except for the fact that giant hunks of metal are raining down on the city and are most likely striking people down where they stand.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of Aladdin and the King of Thieves, when Cassim discards the Hand of Midas by throwing it into the ocean, it accidentally hits the ship that was used by the remaining seven thieves who evaded capture by the Agrabah palace guards and were tricked by Saluk that Cassim sold the thieves out. The ship turns to gold and sinks, and because the Vanishing Isle had submerged and would not rise until long after and there's no other land nearby, they must have drowned.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker invoked this trope twice. First was at the beginning of the movie, where Batman was trying to stop the Jokerz from making off with advanced equipment. One of the pods smashed into a building causing an explosion, as well as another one with the equipment itself exploding. Realistically, people would have been killed by the explosion. The second is near the end of the movie, where Joker was using his hacked into defense satellite "toy's" laser to gun down Batman and kill anyone nearby, even demolishing a theater that was implied to be full of people (in the uncut version, the edited version made the building abandoned), and later activated it (albeit accidentally) to have it target his own lair. Realistically, people would have died even before Batman managed to stop him once and for all.
  • Bébé's Kids ends with the baby causing a massive power outage across Las Vegas by pulling apart a giant cable on the ground. In the ending, the kids go back home to BeBe, who lives in the ghetto, who is at the very least an absentee parent. Leon has a shot, since he's not actually one of the kids, seems to be pretty decent, and his mother seems to give a damn about him but, seriously, everybody else is headed to juvie, if they're lucky. No parents, poor schooling, terrible diet, living in a bad neighborhood? Not exactly a recipe for success.
  • Inverted in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. All of the giant food that has fallen all over the world will most likely make the words "famine" and "starvation" archaic. As long as the food doesn't start rotting, of course, though the world's governments would probably move very, very quickly to preserve the sudden influx of food reserves. If it could be preserved and not rot (preferably underground), this could also potentially lessen the after-effects of nuclear war, as there would be enough food to stave off starvation...provided no one uses ground-bursts or bunker-busting weaponry, but even then, the food would probably be stored deep enough that no nuclear attack could touch it.
  • Despicable Me 3: Although Bratt was defeated and the Gru family saved, the expanding bubblegum in Hollywood probably caused a lot of casualties.
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Knights features multiple instances of Green Lanterns blowing up manned spacecraft, at one point wiping an enormous fleet. No escape pods are ever seen.
  • In Home (2015), just how many planets did the Boov lead the Gorg to that were then destroyed, and how many of them were inhabited?
  • The Iron Giant: During the Giant's battle with the military, most of the people in tanks and jeeps are shown escaping when their vehicles are destroyed, in keeping with the movie's anti-violence message. However, there are a few times when they aren't. We're never told what happened to them, but the implications are obvious.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 reveals that Po's home village was destroyed long ago in an attack by Lord Shen. It was already assumed that most of the villagers died as a result, but when you consider that this event was thought to have wiped out the entire panda species, it makes you wonder just how big the death toll really was...
  • In The Lorax (2012), a forest ecosystem is destroyed and the animals in it displaced, but it's very unlikely that all of them survived, and indeed, we never find out what happened to them. The story is recounted many years later and they are unlikely to have lived that long anyway. A cut song, "Biggering" included the lyric "Who cares if some things are dying?!" and may have been cut to avoid directly addressing this trope.
  • The opening of Minions depicts the titular creatures teaming up throughout history with various evil historical figures, including Genghis Khan and Napoleon. As one Tumblr post pointed out, those two alone mean that the Minions assisted in the deaths of tens of millions of people at bare minimum. The fact that they go into hiding long before World War II also implies that the only reason the Minions didn't assist in the Holocaust was that they didn't get the opportunity.
  • Monsters University, thanks to the knowledge of what will happen to the scaring industry at the end of Monsters, Inc. What will happen to all the monsters who built a life out of teaching how to scare?
  • Mulan II is pretty infamous for this trope: The main plot is that Mulan and company are moving three princesses to a neighboring kingdom as part of an Arranged Marriage to the other kingdom's prince. However, the three princesses and Mulan's old friends Ling, Yao, and Chein Po wind up falling for each other, so Mulan helps the princesses to follow their hearts and get out of the arranged marriage so they be with the ones they truly love. Happily ever after, right? Well...the thing is, the reason the princesses were in this arranged marriage in the first place was so both their home kingdom and the other kingdom could be united to repel an invasion by the Mongols. Mushu's deception causes the other kingdom to make the alliance, but it's unlikely it will last without the marriage to hold things together.
  • Next Gen has the villain's goal being to "put a Q-6 in every home" and he started by giving out free Q-6s to everyone who had attended his show. When Mai exposes the fact that the robots are actually remote-detonated bombs that he wants to use to kill the human race before he could get them sold worldwide, he starts detonating them all then and there out of pure spite. Given how unlikely it is that everyone in the city would be present at or watching that particular soccer game to get the warning they would explode, Ares' plan likely still killed thousands. That's to say nothing of the fight the villain then has with 7723 afterwards, with cuts a swathe through the city.
  • The ending of Disney's Pocahontas is optimistic and hopeful for a peaceful future... until you remember how the battle for land and freedom between the Native American people and European settlers really turned out. Or how badly the natives reacted to common diseases that the European settlers had long since been immune (or at least resistant) to.
  • The Prince of Egypt (based on the Book of Exodus) depicts Moses after his exile being welcomed and accepted by Midianites and even marrying one (indeed, the Bible states that Moses' first wife was a Midianite), however those who have read Numbers 31:17-18 will know of the massacre of Midianites perpetrated by the Hebrews and commanded by none other than Moses himself. Even funnier is that the movie ends with Moses descending from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments; presumably the movie cuts out just before he reacts to that whole Golden Calf thing. Then again, it could very likely be the second tablet (some of the tie-ins suggest as much; the read-along book and tape goes with "Time passed", and the coloring art book says years have passed by this point).
  • In Resident Evil: Vendetta, a Zombie Apocalypse is unleashed on New York City. Although the heroes are able to spread an airborne cure across the city and revert everyone who was a zombie back to normal, the chaos of the initial outbreak went on long enough that thousands would have died. That's not even getting into the emotional trauma the people who'd become zombies must be going through now that they're cured. Even if one assumes they won't remember anything they did while infected, many of them likely came to their senses over the corpse of a friend or loved one with the taste of flesh in their mouth.
  • Sausage Party: Just how many living, breathing food items were brutally carved up before the events of the film? Also, who's to say that people won't notice the death and destruction inside the supermarket? Even if the food manages to create evidence that the massacre was carried out by someone like, say, a jihadist or an Ax-Crazy psycho, they'll all most likely by considered either evidence or spoiled food, and they'll all end up in the trash.
  • At the end of Starchaser: The Legend of Orin, Orin has freed his people from slavery in the mines and led them to the surface — a deadly swampland filled with blood-sucking parasites, angry crocodiles, and feral cyborgs who capture humans for "parts". Even if there were arable land, not a single one of them knows anything about farming, Orin included. More importantly, by destroying their robot overlords' Evil Tower of Ominousness, he's completely obliterated the only source of food his people have known for twelve hundred years, meaning the vast crowd of survivors will begin starving immediately without outside help. (Fortunately an important princess has taken a shine to Orin because he's pretty, so help is probably on the way.)
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie has two regarding Brooklyn:
    • Mario and Luigi find the Mushroom Kingdom due to Brooklyn becoming flooded and the two venturing into the sewers to try to turn off the valve causing the flood. However, they never do, and although the flood is gone by the time Brooklyn is seen again, the flood would likely have caused mass property damage due to not being treated in a timely fashion.
    • When the Banzai Bill explodes in the warp pipe, the resulting explosion not only pulls Bowser's Castle into Brooklyn, which results in not only Bowser causing mass damage with his minions and fire breath, but the residue of the explosion ended up crossing over into Brooklyn, causing property damage en masse and likely causing a lot of deaths due to there being no time to prepare for it.
  • Turning Red: The climax features Ming heavily damaging the crowded Toronto SkyDome with a lot of children in danger from the debris and her enormous paws. She even comes close to killing the boy band and maiming Mei when grabbing her. The ending does show the family fundraising for the SkyDome's reconstruction, but lots of people could have been hurt from the amount of falling equipment, and the city would be well within their rights to ban Ming from setting foot there for life. That's not even going into the emotional damages from the trauma.
  • Responsible for a few changes to the end of WALL•E. During the previews, audience members expressed depression at the end of the film; they'd left with the impression that humanity was screwed on returning to the polluted Earth. The animators added on a series of images to the credits that showed the human race repairing the ecological damage and regaining the skills they'd lost aboard the Axiom, ending with a beautiful landscape. (Hundreds of years later, the plant that WALL•E found has become a gigantic tree.)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 28 Days Later closes with the revelation that the Rage virus didn't spread beyond Great Britain and the rest of the world is OK, but one is left wondering what effect the gruesome death of tens of millions of people, plus the full abandonment of one of the world's greatest economic and military powers (and a nuclear state to boot), would have on the global economy and political-military status quo. The picture gets grimmer in 28 Weeks Later, which ends with the infection crossing the English Channel into France.
  • The RiffTrax for Æon Flux hangs a lampshade on the "back to nature" ending:
    "Yes—leave your idyllic city life with its culture, lack of disease, and flush toilets. Go into the dank forest! Sharpen young ash branches, kill monkeys and eat their internal organs...learn to live without hygiene, without medicine, with no resistance to disease...enjoy the fruits of cholera, dysentery, and as-of-yet unidentified stomach worms..."
  • In Alien: Resurrection Ripley saves the day by crashing the xenomorph-filled ship into the Earth causing an impact blast hundreds of miles wide, most likely destroying the biosphere in the process. In the novelization (based on the original script) you learn that Earth was mostly screwed already, which is why one of the characters says, "Earth... what a shithole." The only people still on the planet are the ones that can't afford to leave for one of the colonies which may have some Unfortunate Implications of its own.
  • In AVP: Alien vs. Predator, our human survivor is left in the middle of Antarctica. Alone. Without a coat. In real life, she would've frozen to death before the credits rolled, but we can just assume it happened afterward. Unless, and this is not shown, she quickly uses the vehicle nearby and finds her way to the boat that brought them there which is still afloat with a live crew to drive it.
  • In Aliens in the Attic, Spark returns home after helping the kids prevent the invasion. But his two compatriots also return to their home planet. One would think that it wouldn't take long for the alien leaders to find out about Spark's betrayal, so that probably wasn't a happy reunion with his family.
  • In the remake of The Andromeda Strain, humanity in the future sends a sample of a Nanobot virus dead set on killing humanity with (very roundabout) instructions on how to beat it and (presumably) to keep some of that cure around for when it comes in the future. They stop the virus, but continue with the deep sea excavation that will cause the extinction of the only thing capable of stopping it, so the future is completely screwed because of us. This is not helped by the fact that a shadowy government organization kept a small sample of the Andromeda Strain, and it's even implied to have gotten loose since the message sent from the future referred to its storage code.
  • The source of much controversy surrounding the end of Apocalypse Now was, appropriately, the apparent apocalyptic fate of Kurtz's compound. Although Coppola explicitly said that he didn't mean that Kilgore called in an airstrike, the opening of the movie has been taken to be exactly that.
  • Intentionally invoked in Apocalypto, the protagonist of the film manages to escape from his captors and from a grisly fate as a Human Sacrifice in a Mayan city, he is also reunited with his wife and children. The problem? The Spaniards have arrived to Yucatán, and we all know that in a few years they will overrun the entire peninsula, subjugating any people they encounter.
  • Army of Darkness has this in both endings. In "I slept too long", his problem is pretty obvious, and in "Hail to the King", Deadites can still freely possess anyone, anywhere, and Ash is essentially doomed to live in a randomly zombifying world. The comics rolled with this.
  • Batman (1989): Axis Chemical is blown up by Batman, destroying the source of Joker's smilex gas. While this is good, there must have been at least a hundred people, henchmen granted, inside the plant, and a massive chemical fire spewing out fumes. Also, there's Batman's cutting the lines to the Joker's balloons and letting them float away, which was lampshaded in MAD Magazine's parody of the movie:
    Icky Vale: But won't the loose balloons fly over another city, and poison other people?
    Battyman: That's their problem!
  • During the climax of Bullet Train, the now out of control train rams another one, derailing it, and then jumps the tracks and crashes into a small town, demolishing several buildings. The odds that no one was killed in all of that are very low.
  • Blindness. How people survived the movie at all is a miracle in and of itself, several weeks without food or running water for at least the majority of the populace (in the novel, the female lead is the ONLY person to retain their sight). There are... surprisingly few corpses, considering how food production must have stopped entirely.
  • A smaller-scale example that draws upon Real Life; the movie Boogie Nights, which chronicles the changing fortunes of a porn star based on John Holmes through the 1970s and 1980s, ends at some point in the early 1980s with the characters reunited and getting back to work. It seems like a happy ending, but this trope kicks in when you realize that it ends just before the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS crisis which, among other things, ravaged the porn industry as numerous performers were infected due to unsafe sex practices. Among them was John Holmes, who the main character is based on.
  • The 1935 Errol Flynn movie Captain Blood ends with Flynn's character appointed the new governor of the English colony on Jamaica, based out Port Royal, by the new king, William III. The revolution that brought William to the throne took place in 1688. Port Royal was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1692.
  • At the end of The China Syndrome, the television broadcast from the nuclear reactor starts getting static, stronger and stronger, before the signal is lost. Cue Silent Credits.
  • Although not a "Holocaust" exactly, in Con Air, Garland Greene manages to survive the events of the film, and is last seen happily engaged in casino gaming. As we all know, demented, crazed serial killers, don't just "get better". Had the movie run just a bit longer, we might have gotten to see him convert Casino patrons into headgear.
  • In both Count Yorga and Return of Count Yorga, despite the title character being killed, No Ontological Inertia is not in effect. Meaning the people he turned are still vampires, no longer have their morality and will continue to feed, kill and spread the undead curse. Considering that all the protagonists are either dead or are turned into vampires by the film's end, it's largely implied those turned will continued to do so with no one to oppose them. Especially jarring in the second film when you consider it takes place next to an orphanage and, outside of Yorga, not one vampire was staked.
  • Cracked published a particularly disturbing (but incredibly plausible) interpretation regarding the ending of the movie Big. It's extremely likely that the missing persons case is going to be ongoing (especially since the older Josh had a pretty significant paper trail), Josh's parents are absolutely going to assume he was molested, and Susan, as the person closest to Josh, is going to be a prime suspect. And that's before you get into the fact that there's a wish-granting machine out in the wild, which has some pretty nasty potential.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In Batman Begins, Gordon says that "the Narrows is lost". That's an entire section of the city, albeit isolated from the rest of Gotham, consumed by the Scarecrow's fear toxin, including most of Gotham's available police force. The path the train took before it crashed probably wasn't too pretty either while Fox was mixing up a cure. Somehow, though, Batman and the remaining police apparently brought things back from the brink in time for The Dark Knight.
    • Parts of The Dark Knight's viral marketing campaign focused on the aftermath of the city being exposed to the toxin in Begins. The results was a sudden increase of mental illness in the city because of the contaminated drinking water; this could explain why Gotham's got so many madmen for the Joker to recruit, and why Arkham's got a revolving door. But there's no indicator that the people infected by the toxin were permanently damaged by the toxin; Rachel was a special case, as she was given a "concentrated dose" as said by Scarecrow. Odds are, most of the people infected by the fear toxin were able to recover after a time when the water vaporizer was destroyed.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises a city of 12 million people is taken hostage and cut off from the rest of the world. While food supplies are being brought in on the one remaining bridge, the logistics of fairly distributing them to a terrified populace without a police force almost certainly means rioting, anarchy, and mass starvation. It puts the eerily empty streets in a new light. During the climax, Batman destroys a skyscraper that's in his way, and during the battle a lot of other buildings are hit with explosives. Either it was an act of major desperation, or he felt confident no one was alive inside. Either way, that's a lot of deaths.
  • The Day After Tomorrow: The super-storm may be over, but there are two major world problems not addressed...The astronaut's hopeful line that "the air never looked so clear" demonstrates that the writers did not quite think this through.
    • An entire hemisphere is now buried under ice and snow, which is very concerning when you remember it happens to be the hemisphere with the majority of Earth's farmland. But that's probably of minor concern when you consider that all this extra snow is going to raise the Earth's albedo: the amount of sunlight that is reflected back into space. Once ice or snow fields pass under 20 degrees latitude, you reach a critical point where so much sunlight is being reflected Earth starts becoming even colder due to lack of heat, which obviously leads to more snow, even higher albedo, eventually resulting in the whole planet freezing into a giant snowball. Guess around which latitude the Mexican border (the first patch of land not covered with ice) is. Even if that won't turn Earth into a snowball, it will destroy most life on it thanks to huge climactic changes.
    • Tens of millions of refugees fleeing south all at once is going to destroy the economy of any country in which they settle. With most of the northern hemisphere in ruins, along with the millions who have already perished, hundreds of millions if not billions more are guaranteed to starve to death or die of exposure and disease. Of course, the writers weren't going for realism. The whole movie is an unsubtle political criticism of the Bush administration.
  • At the end of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Klaatu sacrifices his physical form to stop the Gort nanobot cloud... by unleashing a massive EMP like pulse that covers the entire Earth. The last few minutes of the movie show entire cities shutting down... and the movie ends. Now, there are two ways to interpret this: the pulse shut down all electronics temporarily (maybe even shutting down all mechanical devices as shown by how Helen's simple mechanical watch no longer works after the blast), which would cause the death of hundreds of thousands of people (such as airplane passengers, people dependent on life support, people with pacemakers, people undergoing open surgery...) or it shut down all electronics on Earth permanently which would not only cause the aforementioned deaths but eventually lead to the further deaths of millions due to lack of heating, food spoilage, and the inevitable global mayhem. Nuclear power plants would go into meltdown, chemical plants would spit toxic compounds into rivers and the atmosphere, many millions would die without access to modern medicine... the list goes on and on. The implications and the actual effect of such an event are simply ignored due to the movie's abrupt end. The lack of global communications also means that those who knew what happened and why would be unable to warn everyone else why they needed to change. Thus creating the very likely possibility that Klaatu will come back and think the players 'squandered' their second chance (when the warning was actually lost) and kill them all.
    • This article brings up the possibility that humans could tap into one of the most reliable yet largely discredited 'analogue' tech we've had access to in the last couple of centuries — steam power. The author of this article suggests that should humanity gain access to steam power, thus giving them the ability to construct working steam engines and turbines, some semblance of normalcy may be regained, but it's still on an irradiated and severely damaged version of how life used to be. Electricity may even be possible if Faraday cages are used. Any subsequent alien visits would find a slowly recovering Earth, populated by a still-surviving and vengeful human race, hiding their shielded weaponry beneath irradiated tracts of ground and sea, waiting for the opportunity to get their revenge at a race that took everything from them.
    • The original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) put more thought into this — when Klaatu shuts down the Earth's machines for a half-hour, hospitals, aircraft in flight and other time-vulnerable locations are specifically exempt. It's not perfect, though. Hope you didn't crash when your car shut down while driving the freeway, because you can't find a functioning phone to call 911 and the ambulances aren't working anyway.
  • Death Proof ends with the heroines beating the crazed stunt driver to death — but makes no mention of what will happen when they come back from their test drive with major damage to the seller's car. Then there's the girl they left behind as collateral for the test drive, implying that she was a porn star...
  • District 9, even though the ending itself was bittersweet enough, with Wikus losing what remaining humanity he has left, there is the possibility that once Christopher returns to his home planet the other Prawns won't be too pleased to know what happens to the others who are still held captive. Given the kind of technology they have, the human race will not only be facing a possible alien invasion but also suffer a similar fate, or something much worse than what they put the captive Prawns through.
  • Drive (2011): The main character drives off into the sunset after getting everyone who might go after Irene and Benicio. But, he's just been stabbed in the gut by a guy who killed his last target with a single quick slash. Now that the leaders of much of the LA mob are dead there's going to be a mad power struggle and, maybe, a war with the East Coast mob at the same time.
  • In Escape from L.A., Snake Plissken stops all electricity over Earth. Actually, it does not seem like anyone could really consider there to be any "winners" in that movie, unless you think that cutting the power was going to stop the worldnote  from tearing itself apart. In the original film, Snake destroys the nuclear fusion tape, sabotaging the post-war conference between the United States, the Soviet Union and China. (The novelization, which gives a lot more background and character detail, subverts this neatly: said tape in question is what the slimeball US President is hoping to use as an ace in the hole to force the Soviet Union and China into doing what he wants. Plissken's destruction of the tape isn't going to cause another war: it's just going to ensure that the balance of power remains unchanged and business carries on as usual.)
  • Eternals: Even though Tiamut's complete Emergence was halted, a gargantuan, planet-sized entity bursting out of the Earth's core and displacing incalculable amounts of water should have caused massive earthquakes and tidal waves all across the world, but the news reports in the denouement focus only on Tiamut's presence and nothing on the effects it had on the world around it.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ends with Galactus (who in the film appears as a huge sentient cloud several times the size of Earth) exploding in a suitably impressive fashion, all while he was about halfway through munching on the Earth's core. Basically, it's the Independence Day mothership times a hundred, plus whatever damage you would expect from having huge, miles deep holes buried in the planet's crust.
  • Another character-specific example is found in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Cameron Frye is last seen resolving to, for the first time in his life, have it out with his domineering and emotionally distant father after accidentally totaling the latter's priceless Ferrari. This is the final step in his metamorphosis from a sad, shy hypochondriac to an assertive, confident adult. But the facts remain thus: the Ferrari is beyond saving, and the elder Frye, who prioritizes his material wealth, especially the Ferrari, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else, will be home shortly. If Cameron pre-Character Development was as deathly afraid of his father as he said he was, one can safely infer that his father has given him damn good reason to be. So despite his newfound strength and confidence, the ensuing confrontation very likely did not end well for him. Suffice it to say, many fanfics have been written depicting this scene, with varying outcomes.
  • The Cult Classic Flash Gordon movie has Gordon stopping Ming from sending the moon crashing into earth. Gordon tracks how long this will take, using a Magic Countdown device, stopping the collision Just in Time. Even if that's enough to save the world, the moon's orbit is now royally screwed, and the Earth should have already been subject to catastrophic tidal effects. The opening sequence of the movie indicated Ming was playing with Earth's geological and meteorological events for fun, making it worse. The novelization stated that time moved differently on Earth and Mongo, so while Ming has been playing with Earth only quite recently, the effects had been happening for several years. This also implied that the Moon would still be safely away from Earth to maintain a stable orbit once Flash wins.
  • Freaking ghosts are rampaging through the city, the Mayor is seeking counsel from New York's Archbishop, and one of the heroes points out the biblical implications of the dead rising from the grave. How likely is it that the church Mr. Stay Puft stomps on in Ghostbusters (1984) would not be full of frantically praying believers when it got flattened?
  • Goldfinger: US-Chinese relations in the aftermath of Goldfinger's plot: China has just financed and supplied a terrorist attack and attempt to detonate a nuclear device on US soil. Worse, despite his globe-trotting nature, Bond never visits mainland China (he does visit Hong Kong, but as a British colony it would be spared in an all-out nuclear war between the US and China).
  • As pointed out in this Cracked article, the Kessler Syndrome portrayed in Gravity would disrupt or destroy much of our modern-day technological infrastructure, thus effectively causing the collapse of civilization itself. Even if that doesn't happen, the fact remains that Russia has inadvertently destroyed every single satellite and space station in orbit, killing at least four people, which will have all kinds of nasty political fallout.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army has the fairies forced underground by humanity's expansion into their rightful territory. With the entire royal family dead and the Golden Army unusable, their civilisation will most likely be split by rival claimants to the throne, and the BPRD has lost its heroic members, so there's nothing standing in humanity's way to continue expanding, driving the fairies to extinction. This is without taking into account that in the films, Humans Are the Real Monsters, to the point that when the forest god dies it creates a forest compared in the novelisation to Eden — which humans then pollute and destroy.
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the entirety of Whoville exists on the surface of a falling snowflake. What happens when that snowflake melts?
  • In I Am Legend, a cure is found and delivered to a walled city housing some survivors. But considering the infectees' physical capabilities, how is that city wall going to stop them? And what good will the cure be if it requires that the infectees be captured alive, restrained, and packed in ice while it's administered? The opening narration says that The Virus killed 90% of humanity, with almost every survivor instead becoming a Dark Seeker (only 12 million of 600 million not killed by the virus were straight up immune). "Curing" them is logistically impossible. Also, what's the point? It's hard to imagine the surviving pockets of humanity wanting to mount a planet-wide kidnapping war just to end up with half a billion bed-ridden invalids. After years of being monsters, what kind of lives can the cured have? The original (alternate?) ending would've implied all that; there the Dayseekers weren't mindless creatures but trying to rescue one of their own. Even with a cure, sheer numbers would've forced a coexistence, at best. According to the director's cut advertising, this was a controversial idea. This article addresses it pretty clearly.
  • In Independence Day, the unmitigated and total victory over the aliens is wonderfully uplifting, until you realize that the aliens blew up all the major nations' capitals and several dozen of its primary cities in the days they went unopposed. Did we mention that, thanks to industrialization, around 90% of the developed world's population now live in cities? Also, the effects of a ship 1/4 the size of the moon blowing up (due to a nuclear explosion, no less) cannot be good. Especially not if the theory that the alien weapons were powered by antimatter is correct.
  • In Interstellar, due to the crop failures and massive dust storms, it's not hard to imagine that a good percentage of the human population had starved to death by the time the film starts. With the multiple ships en route to Saturn in the finale, there might have only been a few million people left. Them seemingly all being American ties logically to corn being the last of the big 5 staple crops to die out. Corn is not one of the higher ones. Rice and wheat sustain the vast majority of the world.
  • Ip Man concludes the final fight with the speculators overpowering the Japanese guards to get to the wounded hero, then cuts to him being taken to safety and later to his real-life success. What happens to the Foshan townsfolk as a result of the most probable Japanese response is left unknown. The sequel shows the Japanese taking out their anger on one of Ip's allies, but the fate of the rest remains unknown.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life Pottersville has more excitement and a superior economic infrastructure. Bedford Falls only has a moderate manufacturing economy and no obvious places to find excitement. Once the factory closes down, Bedford Falls will suffer depression and unemployment. Pottersville has backup industries, such as the nightclubs, that can encourage outside investment.
  • Judge Dredd: The Council had already said so many Judges were murdered that even if they promoted cadets they wouldn't have enough to enforce laws effectively in the city, with the threat of city-wide disorder otherwise. It was this fear that convinced them to unlock the Janus files and clone new Judges rapidly. However, during the climactic fight the clone lab is destroyed, so presumably the technology is not available (at least right away). Yet the film ends with the impression everything's fine. Given the above and what they said, even Dredd may be hard-pressed to control the devastating riots that could wrack Mega City One in the coming months.
  • Jurassic World: The main characters get away unscathed, but there were countless people injured or killed by the dinosaurs. Claire and InGen are going to face years of litigation for that. Their company will collapse since no one will want to see another dinosaur theme park. Ever. In fact, the sequel explicitly states that the disaster resulted in the ruin of both companies. The ending of that film also averts this trope, making it clear that Maisie freeing the remaining dinosaurs with no opposition from Clare and Owen rather than letting them perish, combined with corrupt goverments striking out with dinosaurs and cloning means of their own, is forcing humanity into a horrible new age where it will constantly be dealing with, if not at the mercy of, wild dinos.
  • Jurassic World Dominion reveals that Blue the Velociraptor has asexually produced an offspring named Beta, which is treated as a good thing...even though the idea of asexually-reproducing feral raptors on the North American mainland is a massive dose of Fridge Horror. Blue and Beta may be more tame than previous JP raptors, but can the same be said of their potential descendants, however numerous they may eventually become?
  • Military-history experts agree that none of Kelly's Heroes would have had much chance to spend any of the gold they stole. Kelly's group would have been shot at and/or arrested when they tried to move back across the American lines in a German truck, and Oddball's crew would've almost certainly gotten killed, leaving the scene in a defective Tiger while the General's forces are securing the area. Though given the era that the film was made it's a safe surmise that they deserted at the end.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: It's never spelled out just how many people were killed by the Klowns, but they were scooping people up all over town (to the point that they needed a giant vacuum cleaner for the job) and there were a lot of cotton candy cocoons in the tent ship. The number's probably in the hundreds. The movie ends on a lighthearted Pie in the Face gag however.
    • And even THAT is scary if you remember that early in the movie, the Klowns used pies to melt a cop down to a bloody puddle of bones and gore...
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Valentine's Hate Plague signal was in full effect (with a brief interruption) for about five minutes. It stands to reason that several millions of people, all over the world, would have killed each other by then. Valentine may not have reached his full goal, but he probably came a long way. It's hard to imagine how the Kingsman could ever hope to cover up this story. It goes further than that. By the end of the movie, an enormous number of world leaders, military generals, and scions of industry are dead, and it would appear nobody knows why. Granted the movie's satire argues they're no great loss, but society would grind to a halt as people worked out and/or started fighting over who was in charge. The rest of the Kingsmen probably had a hell of a mess to clean up. The fact that even people like Dean and his crooks managed to survive suggests that Eggsy, Roxy and Merlin did manage to avert most of the catastrophe. The keyword being most, as very likely the situation is still a terrible one in the aftermath.
  • At the end of The King's Speech, Bertie finally conquers his speech impediment and delivers an address which unites his troubled kingdom - a personal triumph. And what was so troubling his kingdom? Well, only the start of the deadliest war in history. The film ends on an uplifting note as millions are sent to die in the trenches.
  • Live Free or Die Hard. Okay, folks, imagine you had basically shut down the country's entire infrastructure, including police and firefighter communications, programmed traffic lights to give contradictory instructions, and done your best to inspire a mass panic by transmitting nationwide a (faked) video of the White House blowing up. Merely shooting the bad guy is not going to clean all this up.
  • In Logan's Run, all the people are forced to evacuate their city of Crystal Spires and Togas, when the Evil AI that ran it is defeated. Despite the evil, it was a beautiful and decadent Utopia where no one had wants or needed to know a valuable skill or trade. The downside was it killed them at 30. To put it plainly, these humans are entirely dependent on machines to provide and don't even know what the Sun is. The Sun! Saying 90% of the thousands of refugees died in the winter would be optimistic, as they knew nothing about wilderness survival and had only one senile elder human to teach them how to survive.
  • Man of Steel:
    • The battle in Smallville not only involves Supes and the other Kryptonians fighting in a populated town smashing through inhabited buildings with reckless abandon, but the US military fires missiles into the town, yet not a single civilian death is seen or mentioned.
    • The final battle sequence involves General Zod's ship destroying a major chunk of Metropolis' core, and the ensuing evacuation shots show pieces of (and entire) buildings collapsing and falling on fleeing members of the populace. In addition, the World Engine at the Ship's antipode undoubtedly killed thousands when it landed in the Indian Ocean, sending a huge wave towards a nearby inhabited island. Likewise, the final fight between Clark and Zod results in at least one building's structural integrity weakening (due to Zod using his heat vision to incinerate the supporting columns), and a satellite crashing into the city. Yet, in the final scene (where Clark bikes to the Daily Planet), life has seemingly returned to normal and no civilian causalities of any kind are mentioned.
    • The massive probable civilian death toll of the climax of Man of Steel in any kind of naturalistic universe led to a full-scale backlash against this trope among both fans and mainstream media film critics, which led to several superhero and SF films of 2015-16 (such as Captain America: Civil War and Star Trek Beyond) taking great and unsubtle pains to either avoid it and/or acknowledge it: Civil War has the conflicts with Loki, Hydra, and Ultron lead the United Nations to establish a Super Registration Act, while Man of Steel's sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice used it as partial motivation for both Batman and Lex Luthor (as well as having Supes throw Doomsday to an abandoned dockyard before fighting him).
  • In The Matrix Revolutions, as pointed out in this Cracked article. Neo wins! All people can be free from the Matrix if they want to leave! Yay!...Oh wait that means billions of people finding out their life is a total lie and they can choose to keep living knowing it's a lie. Or they can go die in a post apocalyptic wasteland. The Matrix Online has the Machines not objecting to the pre-existing freeing process — people are still offered the choice of red pill (freedom) or blue pill (this is a dream, nothing's unreal about the life you lead), but humans don't have to. There is simply no more war in the real world, so freed humans who would or previously would have lived in Zion before moving permanently to their hovercraft may choose to work for the Merovingian or the Machines themselves; the insinuation is that the real world is meaningless with the Machines' willingness to kill all the humans now gone, because the humans can't populate the surface, and the Machines still need live humans for the processing power of their brains. In the end, nobody can use the real world, but everyone needs the Matrix to keep running as usual. Elements of this are both acknowledged or avoided in the sequel The Matrix Resurrections. A second war between humans and machines occurs because the effect of so many people leaving the Matrix was that it caused a massive energy crisis, leading to the Architect being overthrown by a new Machine faction eager to conquer back their lost power. On the other hand, more machines and humans live together in harmony in the city of IO, and their cooperation has led to technological advances that provide a greater standard of living and is slowly repairing Earth's habitat.
  • The fact that the workers and the capitalists reconcile at the end of Metropolis doesn't change the fact that the city is in ruins and all the machines it depended on were destroyed. Sure, Joh Fredersen knows how to build the city, but the man who took care of all the tech details just fell off the cathedral roof. Besides, where are all the workers supposed to live after their homes flooded out?
  • Oblivion: Even with the Tet gone, humanity is screwed. The planet is a wasteland, most of its water is gone. The survivors have no chance of rebuilding civilization again because the planet now lacks the necessary resources for it. Also, the remains of the Moon are still in orbit and will provide a constant source of large-scale impact events that through their sheer number eventually WILL cause a massive extinction of whatever multi-cellular life still lingers on.
  • Of the Dead films:
    • Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Land of the Dead have the remnants of humanity holed up and later get eaten, save for a handful of survivors. At least in the case of Land of the Dead the zombies were growing smarter, so maybe they'll evolve back to a human intelligence and live happy but smelly lives themselves. Except even that wouldn't last, as zombies are presumably incapable of biological reproduction and, once there are no living humans left to "recruit", will inevitably die off by mishap, conflict among themselves, and/or rotting to the point of disintegration.
    • The original Night of the Living Dead (1968) is less explicit in its implication that the remainder of humanity is doomed at the hands and mouths of hordes of zombies, and more implicit that the remainder of humanity will destroy itself due to paranoia and mob rule. At the end of the film, Ben is the only survivor of his group. Upon trying to signal a posse of gun-toting zombie hunters, he's mistaken for a zombie, shot in the head and killed. The posse piles him up with other dead zombies, specifically laying him next to the first zombie seen in the movie. The implication is that this posse will shoot first, ask questions later, a rather hopeless situation for Ben and other surviving humans in his same position. There was also a mention of how the posse kept making their way into places heavily surrounded by zombies in order to find survivors, but never found any. Meaning that no one was able to tell the living from the dead and just kept shooting on sight.
  • In the Brows Held High episode about Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, horrifying implications are pointed out about the penultimate scene, where Grenouille uses his perfect perfume to cause the crowd at his execution to forget about it and start screwing each other. One, people came with their families for the execution and the scene shows the amorous citizens grabbing the closest person to them. Wouldn't this mean many people would end up screwing their relatives? Second, executions back then were publicly open for all ages. Wouldn't this mean some people would end up screwing their children?
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Dead Man's Chest: It's strongly implied this happened to most of the Pearl's crewmen, when Will Turner finds Cotton's parrot, and it squawks "Don't eat me!" Later on, Will is in a cage made out of bones with the other pirates...
      Will: Where's the rest of the crew?
      Gibbs: These cages we're in... were not built until after we got here.
    • On Stranger Tides: From Barbossa's account of the Pearl's capture, the audience can assume that Jack, Barbossa, Gibbs, and Jack the Monkey are the only survivors left of the Pearl's crew. Granted, Jack the Monkey was alive aboard the bottled Pearl, but he's immortal anyway. Cotton's parrot is also seen, which might mean that the rest of the crew is still alive on it. Or that the parrot survived on its own.
  • In Plan 9 from Outer Space the alien Eros claims that the human race must be destroyed to prevent it developing the solaronite bomb, a weapon that will explode the atoms of sunlight, thereby destroying the entire universe. Since the aliens are defeated at the end, we must assume that either a) more of the aliens will arrive to complete the destruction of the Earth, or b) humans will develop the solaronite and destroy the universe. Either way we're screwed. Alternatively, that's not so much a research and logic failure as it is Eros not actually having any better understanding of what he's talking about than the movie's writers. Since it's Plan 9 From Outer Space, the fact that all life in the movie's universe could be destroyed isn't necessarily a bad thing, and many viewers would likely consider it a relief or even a mercy.
  • Predators ends with the two surviving main characters killing the final predator as the next 'game' begins. They mention how they're going to try and find another way off the planet they are on. Which is well and good, but if Crazy Laurence Fishburne is anything to go by, there will be another group of predators for that game, and they have absolutely no intention on letting them get off. Even if they find another ship and somehow get it to fly offworld, they better hope it has a map to Earth... (a comic set two months later showed them still stranded on the planet - albeit the game Predator: Hunting Grounds implies one of them did return to Earth)
  • Prey (2022) ends with Naru having proven herself a hunter capable of killing an alien who likes Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. And revealing the flintlock pistol given to her by a Frenchman is the same one from Predator 2, meaning the Predators will retrieve it at some point to have that gun in their posessesion almost 300 years later, so combine that with the animated credits showing two Predator ships coming to Earth...
  • Resident Evil: Extinction has the last known remnants of humanity flee to Alaska in a four seater helicopter (don't worry, it managed to carry all two dozen of them. It was made out of a Clown Car, you see). It's worth mentioning that the T-Virus has completely killed all other plant and animal life. So really, humanity is boned with or without the zombies. The last movie implies that the Umbrella Corporation is still active and functional, and could potentially save humanity if they would just pull their head out.
  • Combined with some historical Foregone Conclusion and Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending in the period dramedy Ridicule. It's set in the court of Louis XVI shortly before The French Revolution, and the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue indicates that the hero and heroine (both low-ranked nobility with a social conscience) are married and involved in philanthropic work in Revolutionary France. The film also indicates that the heroine's father has fled to England and is doing well there. No mention is made of the fates of the other characters, who were also aristocrats at court.
  • Riot Girls: While Jack is rescued and everyone gets away, it's not hard to imagine that the Titans will go after them all later. Plus, everyone still lives in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where life is dangerous regardless, so many likely won't live that long due to disease or starvation.
  • RoboCop 3: During the climax of the film, a self-destruct device is set off that Robocop and two other characters narrowly escape from by flying away on a jetpack. The implications of a thermo-failsafe device obliterating OCP's headquarters (the tallest and largest building in the city) and causing an explosion that engulfed the entire surrounding area are never discussed or elaborated upon. Apparently, the viewer is supposed to be happy that Robo and his friends successfully stopped McDaggett and OCP from bulldozing Old Detroit, while ignoring that at least dozens of OCP employees (and presumably a large chunk of Detroit's downtown core) was just destroyed.
  • Most Slasher Movies portray anyone who doesn't believe in the killer doll, the killer cyborg, or the killer dream ghost as jackasses who deserve to die, but in reality, why would anyone? There's a good chance that the heroes just survived Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees only to go to jail forever. Imagine that you just walked into a crime scene with 10 people's entrails all over the floor and a blood-soaked sorority sister holding a butcher knife saying a reanimated corpse did it. Would you take her seriously, and on the off chance that you did, do you think there's a judge, a defense attorney, and 12 other people who would agree with you?
  • At the climax of Small Soldiers, Chip Hazard hijacks the truck containing all the toys, and unleashes several hundred Commando Elite toys on our heroes. It's probably best that the movie didn't go into what most likely happened to all the Gorgonite toys that were in that truck. Also, at the end of the film, Gil Mars plans to manufacture more of them, add a few zeroes to the price and sell them to the military. "I know some rebels in Central America who will find them quite entertaining."
  • The Korean film Snowpiercer invokes this trope two different ways. The eponymous train is basically run on slave labor, by a corrupt engineer who won't hesitate to use children to power his supertrain. While the idea of revolting against the engineer and his staff is a good thing, it falls apart when the locomotive section is destroyed, causing the entire train to derail and crash. At this juncture, it really doesn't matter that the evil overlord and his henchmen were killed: with the entire world being a frozen wasteland, all of remaining humanity and life were contained on that one train. Two kids surviving the wreckage, in an environment that experienced mountain men have trouble with, doesn't seem inspiring. The sequence at the end, with the polar bear in the distance looking at the kids, was supposed to inspire hope for life.note  Only, polar bears are super predators, and known Man-Eaters. Even if the kids could somehow find food, and survive the terrain, there's a non-negligible possibility that they were killed outright 2 minutes after the credits ran.
  • Famously, The Sound of Music ends with the von Trapps heading off on foot to Switzerland, which they claim is "just over the mountains" from Salzburg. The problem is, it's not. Germany is though. That is of course considering whether or not they make it over the Alps in the first place, with no protection or supplies. Which is why the real von Trapp family escaped to Italy via train, then sailed to America from there. But that would've been too complicated for a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
    • The heroic nuns who sabotaged the Nazis' vehicles were probably treated to more than a slap on the wrist. Nazis, eh? Bastards.
  • Soylent Green: Okay, so maybe for sake of argument, the secret does successfully get out, and the Soylent Corporation is shut down. But what are the common masses going to do? The Earth, for the most part is screwed ecologically, the only way to get a decent meal without paying for it is to steal or kill for it. The world is headed for anarchy, if it isn't already. Most likely though, the company's influence will keep the secret suppressed, only allowing it to survive in small rumors and urban legends amongst the people. The whole reason there was a secret was that the environmental damage is far worse than the public is aware (the oceans are dead not dying). Soylent Green is the only sustainable food source left, though unfortunately about as sustainable as a cat and rat farm.
  • Spaceballs. Unless they somehow get decent leaders and some humanitarian aid, everyone on Planet Spaceball is apparently going to die of hypoxia. They're all assholes anyway.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, V'Ger is seen to destroy objects as it stores them as information in its memory. Inside V'Ger, Enterprise encounters several representations of things that have undergone this process. These representations include entire planets.
    • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the only Trek film with no deaths...on-screen. As badly as the whale probe was wreaking havoc with Earth's biosphere — it was even in the process of evaporating the oceans — the probe probably killed thousands and caused years worth of climate change.
    • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the explosion on Praxis was powerful enough to pose serious risk to Excelsior as far away as the Federation side of the Neutral Zone. Hard to imagine what it did to Qo'noS, the capitol of the Klingon Empire and the planet that Praxis was in orbit of.
    • Star Trek (2009): Vulcan was the voice of peace and reason in the Federation. With it gone we should expect a much more violent history. This means less hippie-talk of peace and diplomacy, and more shooting bad guysnote . Furthermore, with many of the Federation's current best-and-brightest gone with the Vulcan Science Academy (and many more never to be born)... its technological future looks pretty grim. Unless Future!Spock intervenes pretty heavily and often, you have to wonder what will happen to the Federation when the Borg eventually stumble across it.
    • Not exactly a "holocaust" in the traditional sense, but Krall's attack on the USS Enterprise in Star Trek Beyond results in a ruinous death toll among the Enterprise crew. Likely less than 10% of a crew of 1,100 survived.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness: The crash of the Vengeance in downtown San Francisco must have caused a remarkably high number of civilian and military casualties.
      • An establishing shot of Qo'noS shows that the above mentioned Praxis disaster happened decades earlier than it did in the prime universe (and the film suggests that, at least in this timeline, Section 31 was responsible for it). When Kirk leads an away team to Qo'noS' surface, several scenes show an abandoned city and industrial area that makes the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone look like Disneyland. It's not clear if the two events are connected, but clearly something very, very bad happened there.
  • Star Wars:
    • The destruction of Alderaan must have had some effects on the rest of the galaxy. It was a Core world and implied to be powerful and rich. Surely the complete explosion of an entire world would cause economic collapse on other planets that relied heavily on trade with it. Additionally, even ignoring the economic and political consequences, a planet exploding and leaving chunks of debris scattered around would make the whole solar system uninhabitable and likely destroy any ships nearby.
    • A classic example is the destruction of the Death Star II in Return of the Jedi. Some fans claim the effects of a moon-sized ship being blown up in orbit around Endor's moon would have almost annihilated all life on the planet, supported by the Special Edition showing chunks of the Death Star II raining like hailstones. Star Wars Tales even had a story about this ("Apocalypse Endor", in issue #14, told from the perspective of a former stormtrooper). George Lucas stated that it didn't happen, with the result naming a trope. See this website for details.
    • The trope as it applies to the personnel aboard Death Star II is discussed at length in Clerks, pointing out that since the station was still under construction, there were surely plenty of civilian workers. A construction worker who overhears mentions that this was the very reason he turned down a roofing job for a known mafia boss; his friend who took the job was not so lucky.
    • A canonical example is the Death Star holocaust, i.e. the rank-and-file Imperial troops, contractors, etc. that died when the rebellion blew up the first Death Star. In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the New Republic put the official number of deaths as 500,000, but the real number is more like 5 million, and the lowered estimate is pure propaganda.
      • Addressed in The Mandalorian, when a Death Star veteran confronts an Alderanian. The imperial spits in her face, as all of his friends and comrades died in the same way hers did, in a massive explosion.
    • A smaller example is the Battle of Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith: That battle wasn't in space, but rather the planet's upper atmosphere. That one Separatist frigate, and other ship in the battle that gets shot down is going down, and given the fact that the planet is one big city, is guaranteed to hit something. For that matter, we actually see the ship the Jedi crash down in knock over buildings; the inevitable death toll is never acknowledged.
      • Acknowledged in the novelization. Obi Wan waves off medical attention, stating it “Must be needed elsewhere.” Mace Windu confirms that it is, and there isn’t even an estimate on casualties yet, implying that it must be huge.
    • Any story involving Jedi in the Clone Wars era, especially Padawans, becomes this in light of Order 66.
  • Played for Laughs in "The Case" short film filmed by the kid protagonists of Super 8. The detective finds the only sample of the zombie plague cure, and uses it to cure his infected wife. A happy ending, until the audience remembers that there's still a Zombie Apocalypse out there, the detective just used up the only antidote, and the scientist who made the dose is dead.
  • An earlier Superman example, in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Superman moves the moon to create a total solar eclipse and de-power Nuclear Man. No mention of how this would have completely mucked up the tides and endangered countless lives. But then again, it's not the only thing the film casually overlooked (such as the ability to breathe, even talk, in space...)
  • Surrogates: Somebody sets up a plot to destroy all the surrogates and kill the humans linked into them in the process. The hero manually engages the safety overrides on all the pods, but at the last minute, decides to have the weapon go off anyway, destroying the surrogates while leaving human beings intact. So one billion surrogates conducting business, operating machines, driving cars, etc, suddenly shut down and one billion atrophied shut-ins must now emerge to try to deal with the ensuing mayhem. In addition to people living lives via surrogate clearly suffering from sunlight deprivation, malnutrition, and the ill effects of sedentary lives, it's obvious that people have lost interest in having sex with their actual bodies or with actual people. Birthrates would have probably fallen to near extinction levels. The graphic novel at least plays the ending for ambiguity — sure, all the shut-ins are back out in the real world, but it's only a matter of time until someone redevelops the Surrogate technology. The main character's wife kills herself because she can't stand the idea of being seen as-is.
  • At the climax of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Lohmann entirely fails to prevent Dr. Baum from setting fire to the chemical works, which Dr. Mabuse's notes predicted would kill thousands of local residents with poisonous fumes. Possibly averted since both Lohmann and Baum spend some time chasing each other around the burning works with no kind of protective equipment, and don't suffer anything worse than brief coughing fits.
  • In The Time Machine (2002), the leader of the Morlocks says that there are many more Morlock colonies other than the one the hero blows up in the climax. Add to this the fact that it's made clear that You Can't Fight Fate and that the hero sees a future in which the Morlocks have conquered the Eloi and the only logical conclusion is that the other Morlocks will eventually kill him and all his friends.
  • Transcendence: How many millions of people died when the crash of the entire world's power networks shut down hospitals, stopped providing refrigeration for food, stopped helping regulate temperature in extreme regions, etc.?
  • TRON:
    • TRON: Uprising: It's barely inferred. Take a cast Doomed by Canon, and add a Bolivian Army Ending of Clu bringing enough tanks, Recognizers, ships, and troops to reduce the whole sector to digital rubble. We have confirmation that one secondary character (and possibly a second) from the series survived, only to be killed in Legacy.
    • TRON 2.0: Well, defeating the Datawraiths in the system get them kicked back to analog, alive but unconscious (which was likely a dodge on Disney's part to keep Team Bradley from actually killing humans. Programs could be killed without issue)...only, we don't see whether the Wraiths survived for very long after that. Team Bradley also very literally crashes a server full of Wraiths and F-Con security Programs and there isn't much time to escape afterward. Again, we don't see those Wraiths getting kicked out safely. Then there's what happened to Baza, Crown, and Popoff. It's dubious that they can be saved, and Alan is in no hurry to try.
  • True Grit (the 2010 version) in regards to Matt Damon's character LaBoeuf. His last appearance consists of him being left behind as Rooster rides off to get Mattie's snake bite treated. But the problem is that just a few moments ago he had suffered a horrible whack over the back of the head with a large rock, bad enough to knock him out cold, and at this point he is visibly bleeding from the mouth and his speech is slightly slurred. That, added with the length of time it takes for Rooster to get help for Mattie (it's night when they reach a doctor) it's entirely possible that LaBoeuf died of his head injuries before Rooster could get back. That's supported by Mattie's comment 25 years later that she never heard from LaBoeuf again after the shootout, and the fact that this head injury did kill LaBoeuf in the original 1969 movie.
  • The Truman Show: No one can say that Truman escaping from what was essentially a one-way glass prison that lasted his entire life wasn't inspiring. But he's probably going to have a lot of trouble adapting to the real world, serious psychological issues due to everyone in his life lying to him, and being mobbed by a myriad of fans he has generated over the course of his life. A corporation that produced "the wealth of a small country" has now lost its source of revenue, and is facing serious lawsuits by a guy they imprisoned and spied on for thirty years, which means countless jobs will be lostnote .
  • At the end of Truth or Dare (2018), Olivia releases a video online in which explains the curse and the game. She ends by asking "Truth or dare?". As the rules are "once you're asked, you're in", everyone who watches in now part of the game, and anyone they ask is part of the game. The logical inference is that this will cause a genocide that wipes out the majority of the world's population.
  • By the end of War of the Worlds (2005), the main characters are fine, but billions are dead and the planet is in ruins.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, unlike the book it was based on, doesn't show the bratty kids making it out of the factory. Wonka assures Charlie that they were all fine, but given Wonka has also been shown to be an Unreliable Expositor, some fans theorize that he's just sugarcoating it for Charlie's sake.
  • If the film itself hadn't been enough of a disaster for musicals, the titular disco club from Xanadu opens right at the point when disco is dying, and barring some radical re-design — which neither of its male leads can probably afford, no longer having any magical Muse-patronage to help them out on the sly — will be going out of business within a year or two.
  • X2: X-Men United:
    • William Stryker uses a Doomsday Device that would cause the death of every mutant in the world. Magneto, the only one outfitted with a protective helmet, stopped the device half way and turned it against humans. Everyone on earth suffered seizures, first a tiny minority all at once then the rest of the population all at once, within a few minutes. Commuters, pilots, swimmers, skydivers, people with heart conditions, everyone in a hospital... at least thousands of people must have died. The third movie not only ignores these events, they suggest that the relations between humans and mutants somehow got better! Plus, even if no one died, every mutant in the world just had painful, highly visible seizures in front of their normal human neighbors, and in turn was perfectly fine when every human had them. If Mystique's small scale Superpower Meltdown is any indication, some of them will also have very noticeably blown their cover and taken all ambiguity out of existence, and made themselves even bigger targets for hate crimes.
    • Storm calls down four tornadoes to do away with some pursuing jet fighters tailing the Blackbird. It was a cool scene, but she could have caused quite a bit of damage to the New England countryside in the event that she was not careful and did not keep them in the air. The pilots bail out of the two F-16s she takes out, but who knows what they hit on the ground? Two out of control fighter planes, loaded with fuel and live weapons.
  • In X-Men: Apocalypse, part of Apocalypse's plan involves using Magneto to manipulate the Earth's magnetic poles and bring metal out of the ground, destroying major cities and paving the way for mutants to lead. Although Magneto eventually performs a Heel–Face Turn and helps the rest of the students bring Apocalypse down for good, his actions still result in untold damage, cities shown being destroyed on-screen and an explicit mention of millions of casualties. Despite this, the government apparently acknowledges him as a hero and are stunned to learn that he helped stop the threat. The supposed casualties are never addressed after this, and the ending is otherwise positive.
    • On a lesser note, Apocalypse uses Cerebro and Xavier's powers to launch all of Earth's nuclear weapons into space so as to erase the biggest weapon that could threaten him, and the line "A psychic event just destroyed every nuke from here to Moscow" implies the expected aftermath of all the missiles falling and burning up on re-entry (not even the most mobile ICBM has fuel or speed enough to enter orbit). While explosions are unlikely — Apocalypse launched the missiles, but did not arm them, and fail-safes are usually built to prevent accidental detonations — but any pieces of the weapons that make landfall are irradiated and potentially dangerous.

  • The much-discussed appendix of 1984 is an inverted example: if no one can topple Ingsoc, it is curious that an in-universe document talks about them in the past tense. On face, this could mean that they imploded under their own weight. However, Orwell once said that the appendix didn't necessarily mean Ingsoc and Oceania fell. There's also the theory that Airstrip One (aka Great Britain) is a North Korea-esque state, and the rest of the world is much the same as our world.
  • In the final book of the Artemis Fowl series, The Last Guardian, Opal Koboi's past self dies, which causes a paradox when everything she interacted with spontaneously explodes. This includes most of our technology. Obvious problems, such as planes falling from the sky, are addressed and forgotten about, but this would cause death and destruction on an unimaginable scale, even if they were "small" explosions (not even taking into account all the explosives like nuclear missiles), followed by panic and mass deaths from medical emergencies and starvation, and the collapse of human civilisation as we know it.
  • By the end of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, virtually all industrial facilities have been destroyed or abandoned to ruin, and virtually all oil wells and mines in the world have been abandoned as worthless when they weren't blown up by the heroes themselves, but it's OK because the evil collectivists have been deposed (and most of them aren't actually killed). Even having one productive copper mine makes up for all the rest that were blown up, because those were subject to taxation and therefore worthless. Sure, the heroic capitalists may have their Lost World up and running fine, but it is unlikely that their egoistic powers are really enough to save the country from spiralling into mayhem and civil war? Even so, they weren't necessarily going to save the world from mayhem and civil war. Utopia Justifies the Means; they were waiting until everything was screwed and civilization would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. If one subscribes to the theory that Anthem is the Atlas Shrugged world in the future, then there was indeed some sort of holocaust.
  • In the Chinese science-fiction story ''Barrage Jamming''/''Universal Jamming''/''Full-Band Interception'' by Liu Cixin, The Russians/Chinese (depending on the version you're reading) defeat NATO by ramming the SUN with a gigantic fusion-engine laden spaceship thereby creating a ridiculously huge EMP. NATO loses all communications and is defeated. Nobody seems to give a damn how to deal with the magnetic field of the earth and all the radiation afterwards. Though in some parts of the story, it is referred to as "history", so humanity must have survived somehow. Later, Liu Cixin remade parts of the story into Ball Lightning, to avoid the sun-ramming part.
  • In Brigadoon, the eponymous Scottish village appears on earth for one day every hundred years. This seems fine until you realize that by the time one year has passed for the villagers, 36,500 years have passed on Earth! How many years will it be before the land the town inhabits is rolled over by an ice-age glacier, or flooded by the polar ice caps melting, or the Earth becomes uninhabitable in some other way? And this was supposed to keep the townspeople safe!
  • All those times that Cadfael eludes, embarrasses, or deftly out-argues Prior Robert or Brother Jerome in the Brother Cadfael novels become rather less cathartic if you know that, within three years of the series' last novel, the historical Prior Robert became the new head of Shrewsbury abbey. Cadfael's life as a monk-slash-Amateur Sleuth probably got a lot more circumscribed and frustrating once it was Abbot Robert and Prior Jerome dictating what he can or cannot investigate ...and heaven help any innocent suspect they'd deny him the chance to exonerate.
  • Mythical creatures in The Chronicles of Narnia will far outlive their beloved kings and queens (the ones that don't get zapped back to England, anyway), and the kings and queens will far outlive their animal friends. Although animal life-spans must be enhanced somewhat, seeing that Reepicheep appears in two books that take place three years apart, and under the best conditions mice only live about two years.
  • In Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, the happy ending involves the destruction of whole civilizations and the deaths of trillions upon trillions of people. Which leads one to wonder, how bad was the Blight anyway, if that was the better option?
    • For every civilization killed a thousand survived. If the Blight had been allowed to spread unchecked, it would have become the only sentient being in the entirety of the Beyond — a "stable necrosis" as one character put it. It was a cancer spreading through the galaxy, and the only way to kill cancer is to kill a bunch of noncancerous cells as well....the Countermeasure was a focused radiation beam on the grandest scale imaginable, a partition to the entire galaxy to isolate and kill the cancer.
  • For All Time takes place in a truly Crapsack World. For example, the use of nuclear weapons in warfare is normalized after the use of no less than six nukes to end World War II here. As a result, not even thirty years after the war's end, 27 nuclear weapons are dropped on targets around the world, killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people from the blasts and radioactive fallout. The body count gets absolutely, horrifyingly absurd with the Sino-Soviet nuclear war of 1973, the surprise nuclear attack on the Middle East in 1975, and the Soviet Civil War in the 1980s, events that no doubt have a total body count stretching past one billion.
  • In Dennis Lehane's novel The Given Day, Luther Laurence, a black man in 1919, goes through a lot of crap just so he can be reunited with his wife and a child he's never seen in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the most prosperous black community in America at the time. The problem the novel doesn't address? Tulsa's prosperity only lasts another couple years. Then shit really hits the fan.
  • The Gripping Hand, the long-awaited sequel to The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, has the Moties' disastrous breeding cycle fixed by a parasite spread by air-borne cysts. "Only Moties carrying the parasite will be allowed to leave the Mote system." All it takes is one unscrupulous physician to find a way to kill the "Crazy Eddie Worm" without killing the Motie hosts and bingo, the disaster for the entire galaxy envisioned in the first book is now inevitable. Or something else happening to make the parasite no longer viable in Moties. That doesn't even count the Moties that reached the brown dwarf system.
  • Harry Potter:
    • By the end of the series, while Voldemort is killed, and his clique is scattered or apprehended, the horde of depression-inducing and soul-sucking demons they unleashed upon the world is still around, and never addressed. In addition, Voldemort's racist and genocidal puppet government ran wizarding Britain for almost a year, all the time brutally persecuting muggle-borns and political opponents. It's safe to say the death toll was probably very heavy, and the muggle-borns in particular may have been almost wiped out. Worse, think of how small the Wizarding community is and how much intermarriage there's been with "purebloods". The muggle-borns that diversified the wizarding gene pool are not only probably gone, but anyone outside the wizarding world who knows about the wizards is far less likely to trust them.
    • Considering just how common Love Potions are in the series and how casually they're treated (to the point of being sold in joke shops to teenagers), instances of sexual assault and rape under the influence in wizarding society are likely through the roof. There's one confirmed instance of this happening, which even produced the series's main villain, but otherwise, even in the post-series days of Cursed Child, slipping someone a love potion is seen as about on the level of a kick-me sign.
  • The Fairy Tale "Jack and the Beanstalk" ends with Jack chopping down the massive eponymous plant stem, causing the sky-dwelling giant to plummet to his death, and they all lived Happily Ever After. Until a few months later, when the stench of the giant's rotting corpse (plus the tons of decaying plant matter) renders the entire area unlivable and fraught with potential death from disease.
  • The Rapture, as depicted by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in Left Behind, means the sudden disappearance of every premillennial dispensationalist Christian and every child in the world (including unborn children), and causes thousands to die in plane crashes. The authors, however, seem to have no idea of how devastating a catastrophe like this would be, and life returns to normal a few days later.
  • In The Martian Chronicles, humanity is nearly completely wiped out by a nuclear war, and the last three or so stories in the anthology deal with its aftermath. In them, it is established that the number of survivors could be counted on one hand; of them, only two pairs were couples who later had children. The last story is meant to imply that the two families met up and intermarried, but even then, there is not enough genetic diversity for humanity to continue reproducing. In a few generations, the fertility of everyone will drop to zero due to genetic diseases and the negative effects of inbreeding. It's written by Ray Bradbury, so this is probably intentional.
  • Bulgakov's novels The Master and Margarita and Heart of a Dog are both set in the early Soviet Russia before Stalin's Great Terror was started. There is no way openly Anti-Soviet Professor Preobrazhensky from Heart of a Dog can survive the Stalinist purges. Likewise Ivan Bezdomny from The Master and Margarita (in fact, Ivan's character was based on poet Ivan Prubludny, who actually was executed in 1937).
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress: Two words: impact winter. Suddenly, all that care taken to only Colony Drop on uninhabited areas seems just a little pointless.
  • In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the protagonists are a man and his son, headed south through the ash-covered ruins of America. They reach the southern United States, predictably finding it just as dead as the rest of the country. On top of this, the boy's father dies. The boy is found by 'the good guys' in what feels like a forced happy ending, but then you realize that there is no biosphere. Everything is dead. Eventually, everyone is going to starve to death, be eaten by cannibals, or die of some horrific lung disease. And that will be it.
  • Easy to miss in H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time due to the focus on the weird experiences of the human protagonist, it's established that the Great Race of Yith escaped extinction at least twice by means of collectively employing their trademark body swap technique and then just never switching back — once in getting to Earth in the distant past from their homeworld, and once to escape their flying polyp antagonists by jumping far into the future to take over bodies from an insect civilization that doesn't exist yet, but one day will. This means that at least twice they've left the original owners of the bodies they took over to die en masse in their abandoned old bodies that they'd suddenly find themselves stuck in with no explanation instead...
  • Twilight: Breaking Dawn ends with the Volturi admitting defeat and leaving the Cullens alone and Bella and Edward being left to have a happy marriage for eternity, with no one else wanting to shanghai members of the family or kill their daughter. They all apparently have forgotten that Aro touched Edward's hand during the climax, thus giving him access to all of Edward's thoughts and thus now has knowledge of all of the powers of the gathered vampires, including Bella, who was supposed to be the secret ace-in-the-hole. The book insists that the Volturi would never give up trying to have their way. More generally, there are very few Vegetarian Vampires. There are probably millions of them in the world, feeding every night.
  • L. Ron Hubbard's Typewriter in the Sky has the main character falling into a story. When the story ends, that universe collapses and everyone dies except our protagonist, who returns to the "real world". We, however, know that it's just a story, so once the book ends his universe must be destroyed too.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Victory Unintentional": What will happen when the racist, warmongering, and genocidal Jovians inevitably discover that the ZZ robots are not the dominant beings on Ganymede? Consider how angry they were just by the humans not mentioning they weren’t from Jupiter. Sure, they eventually break down and worship the superior “humans”, but if they ever find out they were fooled, they may very well decide to wipe out the human race as punishment for the deception, since they now know that Earthlings are so weak by comparison, and the heroes already admitted that if war were actually to break out, humanity would not stand a chance, since Jupiter has exponentially more resources and population.
  • At the beginning of Lauren Kate's Waterfall the Earth is flooded as Atlantis resurfaces. People die, animals die, plants die (after all, they are flooded by saltwater). In the end, when Eureka's spirit is leaving this world, she looks at people and the world being reborn. Let's assume that plant and animal life is also reborn, along with people — but what about cities and technology?
  • Downplayed in Roald Dahl's The Witches. The protagonist not only accepts that he will remain a mouse forever, but he is also extremely optimistic about his short life span, glad that he won't outlive his grandmother. (This only applies to the book and the 2020 movie, though. He gets turned back into a human by the Grand High Witch's assistant at the end of the 1990 movie.)
  • World War Z:
    • Although the book ends on a hopeful note, it's also set up in such a way that one person not being careful enough could start the whole thing over again. But it's also set up in such a way as to indicate humanity has learned much from the experiences chronicled in the book, so it might not be such a horrible fight the next time.
    • If you ignore the catastrophic environmental damage, collapse of many state governments, tension between those that are still around... Humanity has learned to fight off the zombies and many people have overcome their differences to work towards rebuilding, but there's the implication that it may be too little too late, especially considering the Holy Russian Empire's freely admitted ambitions of outbreeding and conquering the west.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jon Bois makes the case that in the world of 24, while the show usually depicted the good guys saving America every time, America itself is probably on its last legs. With nine Presidents in the past twenty years (almost none of which saw a standard peaceful transfer of power), multiple far-reaching government conspiracies being uncovered and purged, and a nuclear device going off on US soil, the government's ability to function is probably in tatters, and faith in it is similarly long past the point of salvation. Chances are pretty good that the nation is going to be spending the next few decades rebuilding, if not outright collapsing.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica was essentially a show about some 50,000 people surviving after their home planets were wiped out. Despite this, by the end of the Pilot, the cast essentially ignored the genocide.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), the realisation that there's no one left is brought crashing down on the survivors in all subsequent seasons (though the losses they all would have suffered in the initial attack are continually ignored). But in the ending of the series, the survivors (humans and friendly Cylons) end up on our Earth in the past and throw away all available technology and start over. The idea that this means plowing fields by hand, building houses by chopping down trees with stone axes, dying in childbirth, being killed by starvation and disease and wild animals, and losing most of their culture, while being completely unable to warn anyone about the cycle of history seems not to occur to anyone. Given that the finale implies the Colonials will be introducing language (presumably with writing) and farming but such things didn't show up for another 100,000 years in real life, there is even more support for the idea that things didn't go very well. The fossils found in the Distant Finale indicate that even Hera died young.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Chaotic Good Michael Westen and his crew save people's lives from Drug Cartels, Street Gangs and many other kinds of nasty people, but he usually does this by scamming government employees, security guards and many innocent bystanders into giving him the information he needs, usually in the form of documents. Though rarely shown, one can assume that when their employers notice the documents missing these people will be fired and their lives possibly ruined. In a Season 3 episode where his own mother calls him out on this after she witnessed firsthand what her son has to do every day in order to save lives. Seems to be a B-plot point in Season 4, with several characters (notably Fiona) questioning Michael's adherence to his own principles. An example being an episode in which Fiona tells Michael off for being someone that only cares about the idea of people, but is increasingly disturbingly casual about not caring about actual, specific people he meets and even relies on.
    • In the pilot, Michael heads off a bad guy by hijacking a stranger's car and crashing it into the bad guy's, with no airbags and with the stranger still inside. He walks away afterward and leaves the stranger to deal with the damage and possibly serious injuries. Seriously, was there no other way to protect the kid?
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Dominators", the Dominators' plan to explode the planet into a radioactive mess as a fuel source is foiled. But the Dominators have been repeatedly sending messages to the main fleet to come that way. When the fleet arrives, will it sit back and take it? Especially against a Perfect Pacifist People?
    • "The Time Warrior". So, the kitchen staff got out of Irongron's castle before it exploded...right?
    • In "The Armageddon Factor", it's implied that the Atrians unknowingly managed to wipe out the Zeons very early on in the war, and that the subsequent conflict was engineered by the Shadow simply so that he wouldn't get bored waiting for the Doctor to arrive.
    • Multiple episodes end with it being very unclear whether things won't just go back to normal after the Doctor leaves, or if he has actually improved anything at all. Became Ascended Fridge Horror in "Bad Wolf", which explicitly states the Doctor's actions in "The Long Game" made things many times worse.
    • "The Sound of Drums": Six words: "Remove one-tenth of the population." And that's not even covering all the deaths that potentially happened during The Year That Never Was. "Last of The Time Lords" reveals that The Master burned Japan to the ground and, out of 128 million people, Martha Jones was the only survivor. Fortunately, an In-Universe Reset Button ensures that only a bunch of politicians end up permanently dead.
    • The climax of "Journey's End" has Earth dragged through space at phenomenal speeds, which is shown to cause such a large amount of shaking that characters have to take shelter to protect themselves from the wind and flying debris, as well as hanging on tight to something or ducking under tables. What is essentially a world-wide earthquake would have caused widespread damage, killing thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people, and would be worse than normal given all the damage the Daleks did beforehand. Yet the only thing that Doctor comments on is that the disturbance will lead to a lot of rain. Despite all this, the Earth-pulling is treated as a happy moment. There's also the gravitational disturbances throughout the Solar System and the Moon getting back into place. The original script has the Doctor say they still have time before the system falls apart but this goes unmentioned.
    • "The Lodger", made and set in 2010, mentions that the population of Earth is several hundred million less than the real-life 2010 population. This leaves the conclusion that all the alien invasions the Whoniverse Earth has experienced have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. (One possibility is that these people have been erased by the cracks, meaning that they're back at the end of the season. Still an inferred holocaust, albeit a temporary one.)
    • In "Time Heist", the solar storm causes a literal holocaust as waves of fire wash over the surface of the planet. The bank patrons are last seen shouting in alarm, and Madame Karabraxos flees with what valuables she can grab, an act that suggests that even her most secure vault will eventually be destroyed by the flare.
    • In "Kill the Moon", mention is made of horrendous destructive tides. The moon's increase in mass would have many other repercussions for the weather, plate tectonics, etc. But no specifics are given; the only report from the earth is that things are going "badly", but apparently the developed world still has electricity, even the parts along coastlines.
    • "In The Forest of the Night": What happened to aeroplanes in flight when every runway in the world was suddenly taken over by the forest? If animals could escape from the zoos thanks to the trees, could prisoners escape from prison thanks to the trees? How many structures collapsed worldwide? There are no ambulances to deal with medical emergencies or accidents. And what about the astronauts? Everybody on the space station probably got fried, unless it happened to be behind the earth at the time. (Is this why humans gave up on space travel by 2049?)
    • In "Sleep No More", set in the 38th century, India and Japan have become one nation. Remarks by the Doctor imply physical merger in the wake of a "Great Catastrophe", not solely a political alliance.
  • The ending of Game of Thrones has the kingdom switching to a different means of succession to undo the mistakes of the past... and one that seems likely to collapse in about a week. Elective Monarchy in real life (and in the show's universe) resulted in functional hereditary monarchies, incredibly disorganized warring states, or states that were quickly puppeteered by more organized foreign power. In the same meeting, a major region casually secedes, creating a precedent for others to do the same, and the majority of people appointed to various jobs are clearly out of their depth (especially Bronn, a mercenary with no financial experience, being made Master of the Coin). On top of that, their choice for King is probably the worst possible one: an ageless omniscient sorcerer running on Blue-and-Orange Morality who possesses no military of his own, controls only the now-ruined Crownlands, hails from a non-member state, and has openly claimed to not care much for governance.
  • The Villains of the Week in the original Kamen Rider were civilians who had been brainwashed and transformed into Cyborgs by Shocker. Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that throughout the series, the heroes are murdering dozens of innocent people who have no control over their actions.
  • Every episode of Power Rangers becomes disturbing to watch when you see how many buildings are toppled by megazords and giant monsters. To be fair, the writers sometimes Hand Wave this by putting in abandoned places or quarries. Also, one has to wonder what the casualties were in such episodes like "Countdown to Destruction", where all of the Big Bads from the first six seasons decided to conquer Earth and some other planets. The whole city gets raided. Even a megazord gets toppled by a bunch of Mooks.
  • Not simply averted, but outright inverted in the Red Dwarf miniseries "Red Dwarf: Back to Earth": though the heroes had spent the second part fearing that they, as fictional characters, would cease to exist when their series was cancelled in the "real" world, the very end explains that, though that "real world" had just been a hallucination, quantum mechanics caused it to have a real existence that would persist even once the gang woke, and, more, every world ever hallucinated, dreamt or imagined becomes entirely real as an alternate dimension, and goes on existing forever.
  • The BBC's Robin Hood ends with both Robin Hood and Maid Marian (and a couple of Merry Men) dead, and the remaining outlaws promising to fight on in his name and defeat Prince John. The show was cancelled after this, but since history tells people that in a few years time the prince becomes King John, they obviously failed utterly (and may well have been killed in the attempt).
  • Sesame Street has this in Elmo Saves Christmas. Grover mentions in a Running Gag that Christmas trees have become an endangered species thanks to Elmo wishing for Christmas Every Day. This happens over a year, to the point where Grover resorts to selling coathangers. Not to mention all the businesses on Sesame Street have closed down due to everyone running out of money and businesses not being allowed to open. Elmo knows that things are bad when the Fix-it shop closes down for good, with Luis hammering the wooden boards and Maria admitting she doesn't know what they'll do.
  • Space: 1999 starts with the Moon being blasted out of Earth's orbit, and follows the inhabitants of the moonbase. How badly did Earth suffer from this? We find out via Negative Space Wedgie Subspace Ansible that humanity survives for several thousand years... but the planet did not. In a second season episode, the Alphans make contact with Earth and discover that everybody is now living in domed cities because the planet's natural environment has been totally destroyed.
  • Space Precinct is about Police Recycled In Space; on the planet Demeter, there are 3 races, Humans, Crocs and Blues, there are police from all 3 races and each criminal gang includes people from all 3 races. In that one episode, the Crime of the Week was racism, so the Writers had to invent a 4th race of Space Jews for the criminals to be racist at. Police arrest the criminals, Happy Ending, but we never, ever see any Space Jews in any subsequent episodes.
  • In Stargate SG-1, every time a System Lord is killed they are killing a sapient, innocent human being who never asked to be taken over by a slimy body-controlling snake. This is addressed a few times throughout the show and eventually, the Tok'ra find a way to extract the Go'auld without killing the host, but it is rarely used. However, said humans are usually quite insane after having been a meat puppet for centuries/millennia, and such unnaturally long life often leaves them incapable of surviving without the symbiote anyway. Apophis' host, when captured by the Tau'ri, would have died within days and even begged for death after all the suffering he had been through; chances are, most long-time hosts would feel similarly.
    • The original Stargate concludes with a bunch of innocent children (Ra's servants) getting nuked. (That part was averted in the novelization: the eldest of the kids gathers them all and they get off the ship in time.)
  • Star Trek:
    • Nearly every Borg that dies is an unwitting victim of The Virus. This is demonstrated in-universe as a very necessary evil.
    • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" ends with Scotty revealing that he beamed all the tribbles on the Enterprise into the engine room of the Klingons who served as the villains of the episode, "where they'll be no tribble at all." Knowing Klingons and their attitude towards tribbles, it might have been more humane if he had just beamed them into space. When Deep Space Nine revisited the episode Worf reveals that the tribbles escaped and ecologically devastated several planets. The Klingons eventually completely eradicated the species out of sheer necessity. This leads to another example, as the crew ends up bringing them back at the end of the episode.
    • In a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, the Enterprise happens upon a planet in the grips of a pandemic. Another planet produces a cure for them, but Picard discovers that the plague is long gone, but the "cure" is actually a highly-addictive drug. The episode ends with Picard refusing to help the aliens fix their last few functional ships, citing the Prime Directive as an excuse. His intention is to resolve the problem by having the aliens discover, after their last few ships break down, that they don't actually need the drug. But how many people in the throes of an excruciating withdrawal period committed suicide because they thought they were dying of plague, and what would happen to the economy and infrastructure of the world as all of its citizens start undergoing detox against their will simultaneously? Likewise, the supplying planet's entire economy was devoted to producing the drug, so they would undergo severe economic collapse as well. When the dust settles from all that, there's the question of how the "plague victim" planet will repay their "benefactors" when they realize the truth. To be fair, Dr. Crusher points out that there will be terrible repercussions for not assisting the aliens, but Picard decides that there is no reasonable way to prevent the eventual catastrophe, and providing repairs for the ships would only delay the inevitable.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, the infamous episode "Dear Doctor" where Phlox and Archer commit genocide, by letting the Valakian race die so that the Menk can evolve. Despite Phlox's assertion that the Menk are on the edge of an evolutionary breakthrough, it's only a theory he has (based on an absurd misunderstanding of evolution) and there is no certainty that it will actually occur. Since the Valakians take care of the Menk, it's possible they all starved to death.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, the Ocampa are completely reliant on the Caretaker's technology, who gives them 5 years of power for their city, upon realising he's dying. Given how in "Fury", set 5 years later, an older Kes shows up and she's incredibly pissed off, it's likely she returned home only to discover her race either died out or were enslaved by the Kazon.
    • Any episode or movie where time is shown to be mutable. When something goes wrong in the past, the crew usually tries to fix it or make it better, however, that leads to a couple of nagging questions, such as "how do they know they're in the wrong timeline", and "what counts as fixing the past?" Many times, the crew just assumes that the past was fixed and everything is OK because the keys to the Enterprise still work, and Earth is still the capital of the Federation. But despite all the major stuff looking OK, there's a good possibility that hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of people have ceased to exist in the interim, because someone took a second longer to die than they should have, because someone was later or earlier than they should have been, because someone who shouldn't have existed at all was somewhere, preventing something from happening. This just becomes Fridge Horror when you look at all of the contradictions in canon and consider they're all explainable as being side effects of missions to change the past that didn't work out as well as the crew thought, and they didn't even know they had failed. Ultimately any time traveling ep becomes a case of Protagonist-Centered Morality, where everything is OK merely because it's OK for the 5 or 6 people with the most screen time.
  • Supernatural:
    • Demons most of the time inhabit innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Winchesters always kill the person when fighting the demon (especially in the later seasons) even though using exorcism is a way (granted, a slower way) to extract the demon without hurting the person. This issue is brought up a few times in the show but with the demons being the show's disposable Mooks, they never dwell on it for long. However on occasions when the demons smoke out of their hosts to escape, the hosts drop lifelessly to the ground, implying that they were already dead.
    • The Angels, who in the fifth and sixth seasons also start becoming disposable Mooks. Like the demons, when Angels die, they also generally take their human hosts with them. However, in this instance, the human hosts gave the Angels their consent to inhabit their bodies in the first place. Additionally, the civil war that occurs in Heaven post-Season 5 is shown to have massive casualties. Castiel is said to have smited thousands during his brief Face–Heel Turn and thousands more died when Metatron caused them all to fall. By the final seasons, it's made clear that there are only a small handful of angels left.
  • Many many times in Super Sentai, the heroes have a Humongous Mecha battle against a monster that's been enlarged and is in the process of destroying an entire city block. One has to wonder how many innocent lives are taken every time the monster knocks over a building, or how Japan is able to recover from so many monster attacks.
    • The villains of Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman are confirmed to have destroyed 999 planets full of life prior to the beginning of the series. That's a body count potentially in the trillions, if not moreso.
  • Episode 3 of Walking with Dinosaurs has a Bittersweet Ending, in that a huge storm has demolished most of the island and killed many animals, but the giant Liopleurodon was among them, and he became food for a bunch of lucky Eustreptospondylus dinosaurs. The book version on the other hand goes on to mention that all the dinosaurs attracted by the food will destroy the local ecosystem by the time the Liopleurodon is gone (we see what riot a single one can cause in the episode), and nothing short of another mega-storm (which would wreck the place even further) could drive the Eustreptospondylus away until then.
  • At the end of War of the Worlds (1988), the Blackwood team manages to make peace with the Morthren, after the last-second Retcon that the entire war had been orchestrated by a single madman. Everyone walks off optimistically into the sunset. However, civilization has mostly collapsed, crime and decay are rampant, the world is a polluted cesspit and the heroes are still homeless. The Morthren are in even worse shape, as their population numbers something near 20, and they've had extremely limited success at reproduction on Earth. Better yet, if you factor in the unresolved plot points from the first season, there's an entire Morthren invasion force that's set to arrive at the planet in three years. "Nice morning," indeed.

  • One of Mystery Science Theater 3000's host segments for the episode Monster a-Go Go involves Joel and the Bots analyzing the Rupert Holmes song "Escape", better known as "The Piña Colada Song". The song revolves around a married man answering a personals ad for a date, only to find that his own wife is the date. The finale of the debate (in which they give the song's protagonists the names of Rick and Julie for the sake of argument) is Tom's interpretation of the finale.
    Tom Servo: And although the song tries to paint a rosy picture of a relationship reborn, it is human nature that either Rick or Julie — maybe both, I don't know — would harbor at least a fragment of resentment that the other set out to cheat on him or her, which would unleash itself in fits of passive-aggressive behavior and bitter incrimination!
    • For that matter, two people who'd never really been interested enough in each other to know that they had similar tastes in drinks probably weren't much of a couple to begin with.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Since the Book of Exodus centers around the Jewish slaves and not the Egyptian slaveowners, it's easy to miss the implications of the facts that the Egyptians suffered ten (un)natural disasters in rapid succession, including a locust swarm eating a good part of the harvest and a plague killing at least one person in every household. This was then followed by a sizable portion of the country's workforce leaving the country, and a good chunk of the military drowning in the Red Sea. Egypt must have been in pretty bad shape for the next few years.

  • Bleak Expectations:
    • In the second episode St. Bastards is blown up, killing the tyrannical headmaster Jeremiah Hardthrasher... and by implication, all the students who were still inside at the time, and too starved and beaten to possibly escape. At no point do any of the characters consider this.
    • In a later episode, Pip Bin capsizes a ship while its crew are all on board, and the narration confirms that no-one but Bin escapes alive. He never shows any remorse for killing them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons supplement "Elder Evils" is basically designed around this concept. Yes, all of the Big Bads can be defeated (or at least can be temporarily driven off), but their appearance irrevocably changes the world. Take Atropus, the World Born Dead, as an example: even if you manage to repel him, his presence has unleashed hordes of undead upon your world and killed off most of the living inhabitants. The awakening of Leviathan, a serpent so large it encircles the planet, has caused earthquakes and tsunamis that have decimated civilization. Yeah, you defeated the monster... but at what cost? Some of them, such as Father Llymic, specifically bring up the resultant epic-scale disaster.
  • Even the best endings in the "Time of Judgement" supplements for the Old World of Darkness are usually a little horrifying.
    • Only Wormwood, one of the four scenarios for Gehenna in Vampire: The Masquerade, is limited in its scope, and even then it would have a significant impact. (With all those ancient, powerful, influential vampires ashes in the wind, what happens when, say, the creature that had turned the CEO of Pentex into little more than a hand puppet abruptly vanishes? Still, Wormwood was clear that despite all the rationalizations, Vampires ARE A BAD THING. If nothing else, in the Crapsack World that is the Old World of Darkness, the loss of all Homo Nocturnis is only a benefit.)
    • In just about every other possible ending for the other gamelines humanity is almost wiped out, and much of the planet lies in ruins. Most of the Time of Judgment scenarios for Werewolf: The Apocalypse ended with societal collapse and significant global body counts.
    • For all the apocalyptic doom and gloom, one of the endings to Mage: The Ascension DID imply the end of life as we know it... but only because all of humanity had transcended mortality, awakened as mages, and combined once more into the One and recreated the universe from the beginning.
    • The final book in the original OWoD run, Time of Judgment (a "end of the world" book for the series that didn't get one of their own), didn't even bother with the "Inferred". The very end of the book is a short fiction segment that is the end of the world, ending one second before the curtain comes down.


  • From this very Wiki's Guilt-Based Gaming page: when was the last time you saw someone with or even mention a Tamagotchi? You know, the virtual pets known for dying if you leave them unattended? That's right. The fad's long over, so just about every Tamagotchi is dead.

    Video Games 
  • Discussed by Spoony in his review of BioShock Infinite. Although there is a brief scene in which it's shown that at least one Booker survived their time-wipe, this still ultimately leaves baby-Elizabeth in the care of a violent, alcoholic, self-destructive Booker who may or may not be neck-deep in gambling debts to a lot of bad people.
  • This also happens to Crono's mom and cats after Chrono Trigger.
  • City of Heroes features a bit of this towards the end of the Warden Resistance arc, in which you end up destroying the water-treatment facility of Praetoria, removing the mind-control drugs the government puts into the water, but also (explicitly) destroying the only source of drinkable water in a way that would take months to repair. The number of deaths that would result from this is obviously quite large (if not exactly earth-destroying) but the interesting point is that this is the most "good" of the Praetorian arcs ...and yet it ends with the largest (inferred) amount of civilian casualties. The Responsibility Loyalists end their campaign by slowing down Tyrant's invasion of (Primal) Earth... specifically to avoid civilian casualties from both riots in the streets for not using the army to help protect the Crapsack World as they recover, and to minimize the blood on our side.
  • When you think about it, all 4X games, from Civilization to Total War end this way, win or lose. Yay! You've won! What's the death toll of your supreme greatness? Bummer, you lost. Not only did your plans suck and got your ass conquered, but you took most of your population down with you in that desperate last stand. Even games which, like Civilization, allow for peaceful victories, it's often necessary to butcher quite a lot of people on the way, especially when your victory is at hand and everyone freaks out and dogpiles you, crab bucket-style.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth opens up some horrifying implications about nations with vastly different ideologies conquering each other. Especially in the case of Purity civs taking over Supremacy or Harmony population centres, as their new rulers are devoted to the philosophy that they should not exist. Adding to the horror is the threat of forced augmentation, or forced de-augmentation — imagine being pinned to the table and your cybernetic/biological enhancements removed painfully, ending up as a physical or even mental cripple. That's not even getting into psychological damage from lost aspirations, perceived violation of the soul and forced return to mortality; somebody whose lifespan was just shortened from "indefinite barring major incidents" to "a couple hundred years, tops" is bound to have some big existential issues, or see what was done to them as a roundabout way to murder them.
  • Although Dead Island wasn't quite the emotional rollercoaster that the heartbreaking trailer promised, it does explore this in several ways. One is by making it very clear that each and every one of the zombies you're cheerfully dismembering was a human being, either by interaction with NPCs, discovery of supplemental materials, or the subsequent trailer showing holidaymakers alive and well, and being recognisable from the game as being the same zombies you fight. The second is that a decent amount of the fetch quests aren't just to keep people happy, but are for medical supplies for the wounded and prescription medicine such as insulin and asthma inhalers, without which the patients would die.
  • Dead Space:
    • In the first game, there's whole thing with Ishimura, where one of the biggest mining spaceships ever built is heavily damaged (and it causes several subsequent Necromorph outbreaks). That's not so bad, if mankind wasn't relying on tearing planets apart to cover its resource needs. It gets worse when Isaac drops an already pulled-out chunk of Aegis 7 back on its surface, effectively destroying the whole planet. By that point it wasn't inhabited, but still.
    • In the second game, it pushes this beyond mere material horizon by having a Necromorph outbreak in a densely populated space station. While some evacuation ships are seen to take off and there are emergency prompts, there are also quite a disturbing number of on-screen human casualties. The whole station eventually gets destroyed, along with the spaceship Ishimura from first game.
    • The third game forgets about some working civilisation — after three years have passed, full scale war between the Unitologists and Earth Government has begun, and worse, the Unitologists are winning. Even the task force retrieving Isaac refers to themselves as "Earthgov's last battalion", which means that this conflict is likely coming to a (bad) end. In the first mission, the player gets to look into this war — essentially urban warfare combined with Unitology-caused Necromorph outbreaks, and this is implied to happen all over the colonies.
    • Awakened DLC shows giant Necromorph moons attacking Earth. Depressing end, indeed.
  • If Markus detonates the dirty bomb at the end of Detroit: Become Human, it's implied that every human that wasn't caught in the blast or already evacuated the city will be killed by the ensuing radiation. Any possibility of peace between humanity and the androids is likely ruined by this decision; the US President herself makes it clear that the only acceptable outcome is the city being taken back and every android being destroyed.
  • Deus Ex: Background information in the original game reveals that a massive earthquake hit the west coast in 2030. It was powerful enough to destroy most of San Francisco and cause most of California south of Lompoc to sink into the ocean. Lompoc happens to be north of places like Los Angeles and San Diego. Not only that, but considering in-game maps of North America, "south of Lompoc" included the entire Baja California peninsula as well. Altogether, that's 25 million casualties from the sinking alone. Then there's the giant tsunami that would arise from the event and then spread across the Pacific...
  • Diablo II. Although you've defeated the three prime evils, the world is still overrun by possessed critters that have wiped out most of the world's population. Confirmed by Diablo III, with necromancers running amuck, cursed forests, crazy cultists and the Kingdom and probably the entire world have been smashed down to rubble basically. Oh, and Tyrael is apparently now crazy and all the Prime Evils, plus Lilith, are back, and we find out that Tyrael's destruction of the Worldstone blew up Mount Arreat and corrupted the lands around it. All those barbarians you were helping throughout Act V were probably instantly killed — by your ally, no less — just to save the rest of the world. There is some good news though! Now that the Worldstone is gone, all humans will apparently now become super strong half angel, half demons like they originally were.
  • There's an interesting example in the novelization of the LucasArts game The Dig, albeit part of the Back Story rather than the main plot. The Cocytans, a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, decided to share their technological wonders with the rest of the galaxy, so they sent off a bunch of probes disguised as asteroids. These probes were programmed to "show up" in close proximity to likely planets and (apparently) threaten to crash into them unless the inhabitants of said planet came to take a look, at which point they would be kidnapped and whisked off back to Cocytus to meet the friendly aliens. (Meanwhile, the Cocytans Ascended To A Higher Plane Of Existence and got stuck there, leaving rather a cold reception back at home.) The Fridge Logic comes in when you ask yourself the question: would the asteroid ships have crashed into the planets they targeted if they didn't happen to have a native society that was sufficiently developed to stop them? This is, perhaps mercifully, left unanswered.
  • The "true" ending of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest features Crocodile Isle, the setting of the entire game, exploding and sinking beneath the waves, and the only survivor that we see is K. Rool sailing away by himself on a raft. Obviously, the Kremlings weren't completely wiped out, considering that we see more of them in the following games, but that had to cause a lot of casualties.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins the Dalish Warden can request to have the Hinterlands set aside to become the new Dalish homeland, as their boon for ending the Blight and slaying the Archdemon. It's vague what actually happened, but Dragon Age II hints that this didn't go well;
    Merrill: We... we heard the Dalish were given land in Ferelden. Is it true?
    Alistair: Yes. I wish I could say that went better.
    Merrill: Why? What happened?
    Alistair: It's... a long story. I intend to make it up to your people, however. I owe an old friend of mine too much to do otherwise.
  • Dragon's Dogma has you defeat the Seneschal, whose job is to will the world to continue to exist, and take his place. He then asks you to kill him, as he's tired from eons of sitting alone beyond the Rift. Unfortunately, the only way to end the game at this point is to turn the Godsbane on yourself, killing the being responsible for the cohesion of the world before a new replacement comes along. The New Game Plus makes it clear the world didn't end, and perhaps even that stabbing yourself didn't work, as you'll eventually come face to face with your old Arisen as the new Seneschal when you again reach the final boss. It doesn't make it clear exactly what stabbing yourself did if it didn't kill you the first time around, though.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest II lets you visit Alefgard from Dragon Quest. All the towns are gone except Tantegel Castle and Brecconary (which have merged into one location). Of course, this is because the designers wouldn't or couldn't add all those locations, but assuming that all of Alefgard (the places occupied by humans, anyway) has been wiped out except for one town which was forced to move behind castle walls is definitely a valid interpretation.
    • Dragon Quest III's World of Darkness is covered in constant night, and happens to have another world directly above it. When the hero uses the Ball of Light, the source of the darkness is destroyed so it is always daytime. Either the ball is providing the source of light, or the world above was destroyed to let the light in.
  • Between EarthBound (1994) and Mother 3. Because of the "End of the World" revealed by Leder, everyone from EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound died, excepting a select few. This includes the lovable Tendas, Ness and Ninten's families, Teddy, Ana, Paula, Loid, Jeff, Poo, and possibly the innocent Mr. Saturns, although it's possible that the Mr. Saturns came on their own "White Ship", or that the Tendas hid in the Lost Underworld. Because of the purposely ambiguous ending, it's left to the player to decide whether all these people come back to life or not. Of course, this all depends how long after EarthBound MOTHER 3 takes place. So we KNOW about the Holocaust, it's just the inferred part is who died because of it.
  • The in-game books in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind state that the rock hovering over Vvardenfell is effectively a meteor only held in place by Vivec's power. Without him, it will resume it collision course and cause untold levels of devastation to the island. At the end of the Main Quest, the Heart of Lorkhan, which provided Vivec with his power, is destroyed. According to both The Infernal City and Skyrim, the island was indeed destroyed and rendered inhospitable. The rest of Morrowind suffered even more once Red Mountain erupted again in the aftermath. And then the Argonians took advantage of their longtime enemies' weakness by embarking on a raid across the country. In the end, millions of people died and the Dark Elves lost most of their homeland.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:
    • The main plotline ends with Emperor Martin sacrificing himself in order to stop the Daedric invasion. Unfortunately, this left Tamriel without an Emperor, and with massive casualties in Cyrodiil and beyond courtesy of Mehrunes Dagon's armies. Eventually, in Skyrim, the "inferred" became explicitly stated: the Empire is a shadow of its former self, and the Aldmeri Dominion is the main superpower.
    • A rather sad example in the Shivering Isles expansion — So the Player Character succeeded in putting Sheogorath's curse to an end, freeing Jyggalag to be himself again, protecting the Realm of Madness from destruction and becoming a Daedric Lord themselves. A God Is You! But Jyggalag, by nature, hates madness utterly and violently. You are now the god of madness. The two of you used to depend and like each other... once. Skyrim leaves things ambiguous, but this much is clear: there are only a few hints to prove that the being now called Sheogorath was ever the Champion of Cyrodiil, and Jyggalag is nowhere to be found.
  • In EVE Online, the player character cannot be killed even if the ship they're on is destroyed, but it is made explicit in the supplementary materials supplied by CCP that the ship has a largely-full conventional crew (the player character, a "capsuleer", replaces all command and control crew, but maintenance, etc. is still needed, and on large ships, that's a lot of people). A ship being destroyed is an inconvenience for the player, who in the worst case scenario is transferred to a clone and can start again in a new ship. As for the the rest of his crew (who may number one or two in the smallest of the frigates all the way to tens of thousands in the city sized titans), it's better to just not think about. Then there are the NPC ships you can fight, most of which are not capsuleer-controlled, so even the smallest involve full crews being killed off for (virtual) real.
  • All the Fallout games (barring 3 and 4) usually discuss aspects of this trope in each town/person's ending. You killed the rampant raiders? Good now people won't be dragged off and killed. You didn't teach the lowly village about crop rotation? Half the village dies of starvation during a drought later and the rest disbands, scattering into the wasteland.
    • Particularly Fallout: New Vegas, with its focus on political warmongering and no clearly "good" side in the conflict. No matter what side you take in the endgame, the other sides will suffer, your side will carry a burden for a long time, and many minor factions will get the short stick no matter what. The Brotherhood will either take up banditry or get blown up in their bunker (unless you have them sign a truce with the NCR, which is only possible if McNamara remains Elder). The Great Khans may evacuate en masse, or they get killed off, go out in a suicide blaze of glory, or assimilated by the Legion. The Followers of the Apocalypse, the brightest and most idealistic in the whole Fallout universe, have one ending where they don't get exterminated, kicked out or saddled with impossible workloads. If you persuade the Remnants and Arcade Gannon to pull a Big Damn Heroes and aid the battle while you side with the NCR, guess who ends up arrested as a war criminal? If you are smart and savvy enough you can make sure that almost everyone gets a relatively good ending. To do that however you must explore every loop of dialog and every possible story pathway and that can be very time consuming.
    • Fallout is a fairly nasty example. In a subversion of Take Your Time, most of the game's areas will have their endings change from whatever was the result of the quests you did there, to being overrun and wiped out by Super Mutants, if you fail to complete the game within a deadline that varies from group to group. Lost a few weeks Level Grinding and scrounging for ammo? There goes the Hub... Spend an in-game year or so striving for 100% Completion, and the victory against the Mutants becomes truly pyrrhic.
    • In The Pitt, no matter which side you take, it is unlikely a cure for the plague will be realized, dooming the residents to slow extinction via mutation.
    • If you infect the water supply with the Modified FEV, it is implied that it will eventually kill everyone on the planet, not just the mutants and corrupt humans in the Wasteland. If you purchased and installed the Broken Steel DLC, you can see the early effects of the FEV in motion, including dozens of wastelanders collapsing of the mutation while clinics are overflowing with patients.
  • Final Fantasy II is very guilty of this. There are a grand total of three populated cities on the entire planet still standing at the end of the game (down from ~10 at the beginning). It's almost impossible to think that a vibrant or even viable humanity could still be left to rebuild by the end of the game. The town of Salamond, one of the three survivors, was explicitly founded to sell mythril to the rest of the world, but without any significant trading partners and with transportation almost cut, the town would starve. Fynn shows no signs of abilities to support itself, either.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has this. In the wake of Orphan's death, Cocoon falls quite a distance, which would have killed thousands, if not millions of people. Carbuncle, the fal'Cie which grew most of Cocoon's food, died. While Gran Pulse itself is not a wasteland, how quickly can a formally city dwelling people learn to live off the land without knowing what is safe to eat while fending off the many monsters than inhabit the surface? However, Final Fantasy XIII-2 turns it into No Endor Holocaust, which is subverted in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII by Vanille, who mentions the thousands of people that died due to her actions, which implies that there were casualties during the fall.
    • XIII-2 also confirms that people died in the fall. One sidequest involves bringing rare flowers to a man to give to his deceased niece.
  • Genshin Impact: In version 3.0's Archon Quest, The Sages of the Akademiya lock down Sumeru City completely for at least a month and keep the residents in a forced shared dream coma, harvesting their dreams through their Akasha Terminals. Nahida herself says that many people will not be able to endure this process and the Traveler's friend, Dunyarzad, nearly dies during this time to her Eleazar. Presumably many more people fell ill and/or died during this month-long period from dehydration, hunger, and sheer exhaustion, though Sumeru City doesn't seem much worse for wear at the end of it. The Sages even mention they will continue despite casualties, suggesting that there were people who died during this process.
  • God of War III: Well, Kratos, you've successfully killed most of the gods. Hooray! Now we have to deal with the fact that the underworld has no guardian, meaning that all the demons will probably find a way to break out and roam the earth, which might not even exist anymore because there's no ocean god alive to make sure that the sea doesn't engulf the entire land masses which are dead anyway since there's no one to pull the sun around and keep life alive. All because Ares tricked you into killing your family. Somewhat mitigated by the sequels revealing humanity did survive and other gods took the mantle of the old ones.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force has the G-man detonate a nuclear warhead to destroy the Black Mesa Research Facility, presumably on the orders of his unknown "employers". Anyone who didn't manage to escape (read: hundreds if not thousands of Black Mesa employees and abandoned USMC soldiers) is presumably killed in the blast, or the ensuing spread of radiation.
  • Half-Life 2 and its subsequent Episodes manage to avert this trope and play it straight simultaneously. On the one hand the horrors suffered by humans due to the years of Combine rule and the various alien species now populating Earth is heavily shown, not the least being the hundreds of corpses Freeman finds (and the less said about Ravenholm, the better), and the devastation to City 17 and its populace during and after the destruction of the Citadel. On the other hand, it seems to ignore how completely and utterly screwed the entire planet is, considering things like the Combine draining the oceans, the extinction of most of Earth's species and how bloody numerous all those aliens are (a single Antlion hive contains hundreds of the damn things). Otherwise, Earth's inhabitants will have to adapt to how the destruction of Earth's biosphere is being replaced by an alien one from Xen. Citizens can be overhead discussing the taste of Headcrab, the Vortigaunts are known to farm Antilions, and it is mentioned by the fisherman in Lost Coast that Leeches are eaten due to the absence of native fish, so they are off to a good start.
  • In Haven (2020)'s "Good" ending, Yu and Kay sever the Flow Bridge linking Source with the rest of the Galaxy, preventing the Apiary from capturing them but permanently stranding themselves on the planet, and in the process, one of them ends up disfigured by a Rust explosion, which is likely cause health problems for them down the line. Furthermore, in the epilogue, Kay notes that Source's orbit has "deviated", implying that it is drifting out of the "Goldilocks zone" of its star system. And if the two were to have offspring, they'd likely go extinct within a few generations due to genetic meltdown. Not to mention the continued fracturing of the planet's islets, or what other adverse effects the severing of the Bridge may have on it.
  • Homeworld:
    • The first game ends with the Hiigaran Exiles defeating The Empire that saturation-bombed their adopted home planet with thermobaric weapons, killing three hundred million people, for violating a treaty signed by members of their species from four thousand years ago and killing its deranged tyrant, aided and abetted by rebel Imperial Navy units. A player might well wonder what was going to happen to said empire now that its God-Emperor of Man expy was dead and buried. According to background material in ambiguously-canon midquel Cataclysm, the answer is "nothing good": The resulting power vacuum kicked off a civil war that ended with the old Empire messily Balkanised and an awful lot of military hardware in the hands of Imperial loyalists, warlords or pirates. Then the flesh-eating technogenic monster turns up.
    • The game's ending kind of glossed over the question of whether Hiigara had an existing population, and what might have happened to them after the Exiles took possession. The fluff for Cataclysm also establishes that a large percentage of the surviving Hiigarans are very very bitter, and that Hiigara is still very sparsely populated. The best-case scenario is that a whole lot of people got forcibly displaced from their homes for the sake of a much smaller group of refugees, whose actual claim to the planet after a four thousand year absence is frankly somewhat shaky, note  and the worst-case scenario is a literal Holocaust.
  • Iji opens with the entire planet bombarded from orbit, wiping out most of everything. The ending shows at least some humans have survived some unspecified time after the game's events, but really, the vast majority of people who survived the initial blasts would have died of disease, starvation or exposure, and that's before considering the horrific damage done to the biosphere. As for the Tasen, even in the best possible outcome only a handful survive, far too little to preserve the species. It's implied the Komato will collapse into civil war now that their hated enemies are gone. Daniel Remar said much of this was going to be explored when he was thinking of things to include in a sequel, but then he lost interest in making one.
  • Indivisible gradually turns out to be a Deconstruction of this in RPGs. Your Player Character spends most of the game's first half acting like a typical Munchkin and rushing through the Adventure Towns with no concern beyond beating bad guys up, figuring that all the fine details will work themselves out offscreen and she needs to focus on the big picture. Naturally, all the classic Inferred Holocausts end up actually happening as a direct result of your problem-solving; beating the Arc Villain in Tai Krung just lets his eviler and more competent Dragon kill him and take total control of the city, destroying the Doomsday Device in the Iron Kingdom leaves the city even more horribly polluted thanks to the toxic Magitek slime that powered said device spilling out, defeating the supposedly evil queen (who was not actually evil) in Kaanul causes the people to be demoralized and defenseless against the Big Bad, and trying to storm Mt. Sumeru too early ends with the village at its base being destroyed in the crossfire and one of your party members dying. A great deal of the second half of the game is spent going back and fixing all the Inferred Holocausts you caused the first time around.
  • The Heartless in Kingdom Hearts go around and attack the Keyholes in each world, destroying the world and making their residents fall into darkness forever; or, if they're lucky, they'll end up in the refugee world of Traverse Town. It isn't really discussed in the games beyond witnessing the Destiny Islands fall in the first game, but at the end of that game you see all of the destroyed worlds get restored, represented by missing stars reappearing in the sky, and there is a lot of them.
  • In The Last of Us Part II, Isaac's death leads to the complete destruction of the WLF assault force attacking the Seraphites. This implies the civilians the WLF were protecting are now utterly helpless against the Seraphites since the WLF committed their entire military force to the assault. At best, the remnants of the WLF will be besieged in their largely fortified and self sufficient headquarters with no hope of escape or help from the outside. At worst, they will all be murdered or forcibly converted by the Seraphites.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Skyward Sword:
      • The war between the demons and the goddess from before the game even starts. This winds up killing all but a dozen Hylians and most of the Gorons.
      • Whatever caused the ancient robots to deactivate and turn Lanayru into a desert. While the robots' and enemies' corpses remaining in the same position where you last used the timeshift stone is mostly for gameplay reasons, it implies things went to hell very shortly after link left.
    • Majora's Mask, every time you go back to the beginning. Cremia's cows get stolen, Romani's memory gets wiped, the monkey gets boiled in oil, Kafei and Anju don't get married, and all that pales to insignificance by the fact that the moon crashes into Termina. Killing Majora magically makes everything turn out OK... unless you believe the game does have multiple timelines. What if by playing the Song of Time, you just hop over to a different timeline while the rest of the world burns? So while you decide to live in the timeline where everything turns out fine, there are countless others that you left to die.
      • Even without the above, there are canonically two alternate timelines where Link never went to Termina, and thus wouldn't be around to save it from destruction.
    • Twilight Princess:
      • The first time you reach Kakariko Village, you are welcomed by three Shadow Beasts, and all the houses windows are boarded up, as if the inhabitants tried to improvise a protection against invaders. The only survivors are Renado, Luda and Barnes who are hiding in the sanctuary with Ordon children, and all the other houses are empty except for Shadow Insects and Shadow Bokoblins.
      • Also, Barnes mentioned that the old shopkeeper was turned into a Shadow Beast, and Midna later mentions that Zant transformed all Twilis into these creatures. This means that to save both worlds, she has to kill her own people, and that the Twilight Realm will probably be much emptier at the end of the game.
    • The Wind Waker, but of a justifiable variety. Before the start of the game, Hyrule was destroyed and people now live on former peaks and cliffs of this flooded world. Yet, it seems to further drive home the point that, even After the End, life goes on.
    • Link's Awakening ends with Link still stranded adrift at sea with no food or fresh water, no dry land is visible in the background, and he might possibly still in the area where the original storm occurred. The Switch remake adds a barrel of supplies to Link's raft to make his survival a bit more plausible.
    • The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link both fit chronologically last in one of the three timelines. The diverse cities seen in other games, including their unique cultural development, history, and anything else they might have contributed is either lost or replaced by a barren wasteland filled with Moblins and Octorocks, hermits hiding away in caves, and a small number of remote towns with a handful of people.
    • The map in the original The Legend of Zelda game matches up surprisingly well with the northern portion of the map for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: you have Death Mountain, a large river in front of it and dotted with islands, a graveyard in the southwest, and some greenery east of that. One official encyclopedia confirms they're meant to be the same place. That same region shows up again in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link... only it reveals that past the point of the original game's boundaries, the entire region, which comprised a good two-thirds of ALttP's map and included Kakariko Village and Hyrule Castle, is now underwater. Neither Kakariko nor Hyrule Castle are anywhere to be found. (Wouldn't be the first time they've been underwater.)
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn't state it openly, but the sheer number of ruined villages and farmholds (there are literally dozens of them all over the land, outnumbering by far the still inhabited settlements) hint that most of Hyrule's population died during the Calamity a century prior.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • This was one of the biggest problems which caused the uproar of the original ending, in which no matter which choice you made the mass relays, which made intra-galactic travel possible and were the backbone for the galactic community, are all destroyed; because of this the great majority of players felt that, even barring the devastating physical effects of such explosions, the galaxy would be plunged into another dark age and that billions of people would be cut off and starve to death.
    • On a smaller scale, the Citadel, a giant space station the size of a small country, outright blew up above Earth, which would result in horrendous destruction in addition to the deaths of everyone on it. Your True Companions got stranded on a deserted planet — and with the lack of mass relays no one's coming to save them, and due to biological differences either two of them will starve to death (two of the five most important characters in the series, in fact) or all but two will.
    • Because of a massive and unprecedented player demand, in June 26th 2012 BioWare released the "Extended Cut" free Downloadable Content, which changed the ending so that the mass relays were damaged instead of destroyed, the Citadel no longer explodes over Earth in the "Destroy" or "Synthesis" endings and galactic civilization is shown recovering and rebuilding. The holocaust, however, comes back in the low-EMS ending... minus the "inferred" part. The Crucible destroys the mass relays and fries almost every living being on Earth — and presumably other planets in systems with a relay.
  • Over the course of The Matrix Online's storyline, not only do large numbers of humans in the real world take up permanent residence in large hover barges, some choose to work for the Machines. As the storyline progressed, Zion and the Machines were embroiled in a cold war where the Machines worked to suppress Zion's recruitment efforts in secret and Zion was preparing for another war. It's very likely that, had the game not been shut down, future story arcs would have explored a second war between the Machines in Zion — one where Zion now has a way of causing real harm to the Matrix and the Machines who are dependent on it for survival.
  • The Mega Man and Mega Man X series play with this: the original glosses over all the implied death and destruction caused by Wily's attacks, with 7 being real bad as the robots that busted Wily out of prison must have killed a number of guards and inmates in the process. The X series averts this, by admitting the heroes are killing sentient robots. X4 onward was specific about this, with the heroes telling certain bosses that their actions could cause significant destruction if they didn't stop. X4 is especially notable, as the prologue stage has you fighting on a floating city called Sky Lagoon in the first half, and when it falls onto the city below, part two picks up in that decimated city that your character knows was inhabited by millions.
    • More unusually, by the time of X, nearly all of the characters of the classic series are nowhere to be seen. Doctor Light's absence makes sense (he was an old man, and he survives as holographic messages anyway), and Wily's implied to have made it somehow, but what about all the robot characters? Were they retired and scrapped? Killed in battle? Left the planet somehow? It certainly doesn't help that X's capsule was discovered in what was apparently the ruins of Doctor Light's lab, now buried a good ways underground — a lab that, in pretty much every canon appearance, is in the middle of a good-sized city. Keep in mind that these games are only about a century apart. What the hell happened there?
    • X6 somehow manages to invoke this. It's made clear that X6 takes place after the events of X5's good ending where Zero dies, but X retains his memories of Zero and inherits his Z-Saber. However, while the Space Colony Eurasia was destroyed in that timeline, we only ever see it have devastating effects in the bad ending, which causes the Colony Virus to infect Zero and awaken his old, Wily-brainwashed self. In X6, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs as the pieces of Eurasia manage to rain down on civilization, causing humans to take shelter underground as the Zero Virus takes form once again, this time under the classification of the Nightmare Phenomenon.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, the main characters are actually concerned about this happening because the Patriots are so deeply entrenched in the workings of the world that destroying them will cripple vital services like water and power worldwide. A clearly-resigned Campbell warns Snake early-on that the absolute best outcome they can hope for is to stop Liquid from taking over the system, and then the plan is to let the Patriots continue to exist so as not to plunge the world into a new dark age. When this fails, they decide to nuke the Patriots anyway because the dark age is simply preferable to Emperor Liquid. Fortunately Sunny is a much better coder than Naomi and finishes the virus so that it only lobotomizes the AIs, leaving basic services untouched. However, as Drebin implies, even with the basic resources being kept intact with the Patriots gone, there is not only still going to be war, but its most likely going to increase as a result due to "not everyone being too happy with rainbows and lollipops". That's not even getting into Drebin's drunken implication that the United Nations will most likely end up becoming the spiritual successor of the Patriots in terms of strict control, or that the entire world is completely broke to the extent that not even creating PMC regulatory laws will get them out of the debt. Largely confirmed by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
  • In the "good" ending of Myst III, the player sends Saavedro back to his home to reunite with his family. Well, there is also a small detail, that after 10 years spent in solitude he became homicidally insane and his people don't know that... Let's just hope, that he won't go on a murdering rampage when he learns that his wife married someone else while he was considered dead.
  • The mortal battlefield plane of Valhalla in Nexus Clash is always a major city that would have had hundreds of thousands or millions of residents. When the events of the game happen the city is always abandoned and empty. What exactly happened to make it become empty is a Riddle for the Ages, but there aren't many indications that anything good happened.
  • Odin Sphere. Hoo boy, Odin Sphere. Don't get too attached to the beautiful land of Erion, because it's gone at the end of the game, along with nearly everyone in it. Only four people are left alive, with the faint glimmer of hope that Gwendolyn and Oswald can at least re-populate the world. Might be a subversion though. We do get confirmation that they succeeded and the world was repopulated, during a secret scene in which Cornelius and Velvet likewise finally become free of the Pooka Curse.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest ends with the reformed Kuro performing a Heroic Sacrifice to return Sein to the Spirit Tree and restore Nibel, and Naru and Gumo adopting her sole surviving child, who begins to emerge from their egg just before the credits roll. However, the teaser trailer for the sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, shows the fledgeling grieving over their mother's feather before panning to a landscape of charred or petrified owl corpses, implying that Kuro's sacrifice caused a large amount of Collateral Damage. In the game's actual backstory, though, the holocaust started much earlier, when Niwen's spirit tree passed away from natural causes, allowing The Corruption to take over.
  • The Zombies' takeover of Suburbia in Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Since their goal has always been to eat the brains of the living (and the Plants were the only ones stopping them) this implies that they got what they were looking for, meaning a lot of people died. Since the franchise is generally rated E10+, that aspect is swiftly glossed over.
  • During the ending in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team, your character was about to return to the real world after destroying the meteor. After a few heart-wrenching scenes, your character has made it back to the Pokemon world, and is reunited with his or her friends. This is great and all, but have you ever wondered how the character's real world family is responding to our hero's disappearance?
  • Portal 2:
    • The failure of the Relaxation Center condemning tens of thousands of test subjects to death or a persistent vegetative state. Wheatley comes right out and says this during the opening sequence, so it's less inferred than outright stated. The Fridge Horror comes in below, though.
    • The Noodle Incident of "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day", which is implied to have coincided with GLaDOS deciding to murder everyone in the Enrichment Center. So, she slaughtered a bunch of kids with neurotoxin, they became test subjects and died in her Death Course test chambers, or they became vegetables when the Relaxation Center failed — you pick. An Easter Egg reveals Chell to have been one of the girls in question.
    • Cave Johnson's pre-recorded messages in Old Aperture all but explicitly state that a vast majority, if not all, of the test subjects the company recruited over the decades died or suffered horrific injuries or mutations. This means that a whole generation of "astronauts, Olympians, and war heroes" were slaughtered by Mad Science, then a bunch of homeless people, then Aperture's own scientists once they started testing on themselves.
    • Several of the alternate Caves from the Perpetual Testing Initiative implied that many more of this happened in alternate universes, usually involving alternate versions of the pre-recorded messages in the main game, such as Mantis-men overrunning Aperature, a sentient cloud siphoning off people's skins and a space prison escape. Lampshaded with the Sick Boy, who Cave Prime specifically mentioned had died to eliminate any ambiguity on your end. Most of these end up saving Cave Prime's universe by solving his money problem and scaring him out of building GLaDOS.
    • The ending has Chell herself. She's free to go anywhere. After having bathed in lots of gel made of moon rock (which is said to be as poisonous as asbestos), breathed in actual asbestos, bathed in the blue gel (which apparently hates the human skeleton and can be absorbed by the skin) and god knows how much trauma from the tests and being sucked out onto the moon. She probably doesn't stay alive for very long. She's in the Half-Life universe, in a world occupied by the Combine, with no weapons, no current allies, and no idea about what might lie beyond.
  • Professor Layton:
    • Professor Layton and the Curious Village has the plot twist that 90% of the village's population is robots. The 10% of the population that's human includes Bruno, Flora (who leaves), Pavel (who's only there accidentally), and Stachenscarfen (who also leaves). Whenever the robots run out of power, the elderly Bruno fixes them up in the dead of night. If Flora lays a hand on her fortune, the robots will be deactivated for good; she decides to leave her fortune, as well as the village, happy ending for all — but what happens when Bruno dies?
    • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future a giant mecha bursts through the roof of the cavern in which "future London" exists, right into London, one of the largest, densely populated cities on Earth, which must instantly kill thousands of people. It then proceeds to shoot cannons across the city, presumably killing hundreds if not thousands more.
  • Radiant Historia ends with the world only saved temporarily from the ongoing desertification, and still reliant on (voluntary) Human Sacrifice for its continued existence. The world might be saved for good some day... or it might be destroyed the *next* time something stops the ritual from taking place. Although the perfect ending provides a hope spot where a researcher is investigating a promising lead to reverse the desertification. The 3DS remake added an epilogue chapter in which the cause of the desertification can be dealt with permanently, ending the need for the ritual and allowing for the possibility that the land will eventually recover.
  • Resident Evil:
    • During Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, Leon and Krauser encounter piranha infected with the T-Virus... in the river. Given that this river is a tributary of the Amazon, that dam they visit had better be downstream from the piranha, because otherwise there's nothing stopping those fish from reaching the main river and biting everything they run into, creating an outbreak so big it'll wipe out the entire Amazon rain forest. The original T-Virus outbreak is in the middle of a massive forest in midwestern North America, and about halfway through Dead Aim you sink an ocean liner full of zombies in the middle of the Pacific. The T-Virus is loose in the biosphere and has been for quite a while, which means they're really just marking time until some kind of apocalypse scenario.
    • As of Resident Evil 6 where two major bio-terrorist attacks occur over the world, two of those with airborne viruses, it's 100% certain that something got out. Would explain why the BSAA get so much funding, though. And the President of the United States is now dead, Umbrella is still active under control of "the Family", and the BOW in the submarine lab still managed to get out, spreading the C-Virus throughout the Indian Ocean. No guarantee that the cure for the C-Virus can be properly administered or even works, either. If the world wasn't quite crapsack before, it is now.
  • Invoked in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Each ending (even the happiest of them all!) has some rammifications on either the main character, humanity or both. Though it's left up to the player to decide which path is the best and follow it.
  • Similarly to Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, this was present in every ending of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. Chaos created a world of Might Makes Right where only the strong survive, which between the demons and the fact that anyone you meet might kill you to avoid you killing them, doesn't bode well for humanity. Law created a world where humanity was enslaved to simply worship God by Zelenin's song, but even beyond the death of free will, the song is not perfect. The angels themselves say it didn't work for them because humanity's heart changed too much, and in gameplay, it's simply an extremely powerful, high-chance Charm effect and vulnerable to all the usual counters to that. So what happens to the people it doesn't affect? Neutral strongly implies the Schwarzwelt will return, and that humanity will have grown too complacent from their previous victory to resist it. The updated rerelease for 3DS changes them from "inferred" to "canon" and offers you a chance to prevent them, with endings where, while things might still go badly for humanity, it's no longer the certainty it seemed in the original endings.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic CD Bad Futures, horrifying as they are already, become even worse when you realize that the scale of Eggman's plan means that he is rendering an entire planet uninhabitable.
    • At the end of Sonic Adventure, the main cast treats things as having gone "back to normal"... while standing in the ruins of a city flooded out by a vengeful god, possibly killing thousands. Or not, somehow.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman blew up the moon. A later game shows the moon fixed, somehow. At Sonic Boom 2013, Word of God stated that the moon is still blown up, but we only ever see the good side in future games.
    • After you beat the final boss of Sonic Advance 2, the Egg Utopia falls to the ground in a giant explosion, presumably killing thousands.
    • In Sonic Unleashed Eggman cracks open the planet, leaving entire continents in pieces. Another No Endor Holocaust situation: the goal of the game is to put the world back together, and the cities and towns you visit in the meantime are having more trouble with Eggman's robots and Dark Gaia's monsters than the structural damage to the Earth.
  • In Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion, the protagonist is the first test subject to successfully avoid getting blended by Commander Tartar for use in his primordial goo, which is all well and good. This trope kicks in when you remember that the protagonist is explicitly labeled as Test Subject 10,008, which raises the question of what happened to their 10,007 predecessors.note 
  • Stories: Path of Destinies has, as its name implies, a ton of different endings that you go through caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in the hopes of collecting enough information to plot your way to the Golden Ending. Several endings have entirely-un-implied holocausts going on, up to and including the destruction of the entire universe. A number of less-severe 'bad endings' simply has The Emperor and La Résistance both get wiped out (along with Reynardo, the main character), and then make it clear that the resulting power-vacuum soon cause the entire empire to descend into chaos, anarchy and banditry. However, while the Golden Ending has Reynardo escape with his love-interest, he leaves the Emperor and most of his fleet destroyed, and the Rebel Council dead. There's no apparent reason why the rest of the empire should fare any better than in any other 'both sides got killed' ending, suggesting that it's not a particularly happy ending for anyone BUT Reynardo. The Mole also survives in the Golden Ending — with no-one left behind to tell whatever remains of La Résistance that he IS The Mole. Putting him in a fine position to survive and even prosper in the ensuing anarchy by taking advantage of The Remnant of both sides.
  • In Street Fighter (and really, any Fighting Game), this happens depending on who you lose to. Seeing how there is no referee or security enforcing any rules, and every tournament after 1 is stated to be funded by outright corrupt people, Fridge Horror suggests that the outcomes of some losses could be very ugly indeed. Yeah, losing to Ryu, Ken, or Chun Li might suck, but say whatever else you want about them, they aren't cold-blooded killers. Now people like Vega (US) (a sexually fixated sadist), M. Bison (Big Bad, mad scientist, demon worshipper, all around homicidal maniac), and Juri (confirmed shameless sadist who gets off on pain and suffering): some combatants' win quotes out and out say they're going to beat, kill, or torture the loser after the match is over.
  • In The Stinger of Sunset Overdrive, a fleet of helicopter drones takes off from the ruins of Fizzco's headquarters to distribute their Zombie Apocalypse-inducing Overcharge energy drink to the rest of the world.
  • Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance ends on an optimistic note regardless of which side you play as the pivotal force in stopping the Seraphim and the epilogue is narrated, but it's clear that a significant percentage of the human race is dead and Earth itself may be uninhabitable due to radiation. The Aeon are still mopping up a civil war and have lost their true leader, what's left of the UEF is struggling to find its feet after the Seraphim tore out its heart and soul (along with almost all of its military personnel), and the always-fractious Cybrans have lost one of the few commanders they could rally around, in addition to their own civil war. The Seraphim still have a great deal of military power and resources in the material world, and from the teaser at the end... it's not over by a long shot.
  • Being a prequel to Tales of Phantasia, where the world was torn apart by war, Tales of Symphonia becomes this. Made even worse by the fact that the Big Bad actually predicted this and stated this as a reason for continuing his evil plan.
  • Tales of Vesperia goes to great lengths to address this. The party realise that they have to permanently deactivate all of the world's Blastia in order to power the Wave-Motion Gun that will save the world, including the Barrier Blastia that keeps the major centres of population safe. First, they go to the world's leaders and get permission. Then they discuss ways to prepare for the ensuing blackout, such as creating a new military force to guard the cities. The end result is that the world will be harder to live in, but it's not without hope.
  • In the mission "Killing Time" in Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett must stop the clocktower mechanism. He ends up getting a bit more than he bargained for, as he ends up causing the tower to collapse. While it's never brought up, it's highly likely that a lot of people died in the collapse, both the Hammerites inside the tower, and the people on the streets whose houses were crushed. Even if we assume that there was ample warning and time to evacuate before the tower fell... there's still all the Hammerites that the player had likely knocked out and left unconscious in out-of-the-way places.
  • The Ultima series features vastly changed landmasses between games, with little indication of whether its populace died from a world changing cataclysm or survived those changes and died from the passage of time. A greater variety of non-human creatures are found in earlier games than later games, some moving from Sosaria to Serpent Isle, while others appear extinct. There are significantly less people in Ultima IX than Ultima VII, as the Age of Armageddon is in full effect, and Skara Brae has its own sequence detailing the town's destruction. The preceding two adventures, Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle, and Ultima VIII: Pagan, have The Avatar trigger continent wide destructive magical forces before leaving for another dimension without fully reverting the effects of those disasters.
  • Undertale: On any of the neutral endings, if you spare Flowey, then he's free to kill off the underground whenever he likes.
  • In part of the backstory to the Warcraft series, the Well of Eternity imploded after too much magical strain and the supercontinent Kalimdor was shattered into what we know today. This event is even seen in The War of the Ancients, where it was depicted as happening so quickly that the heroes riding on dragons couldn't even stop to pick up other groups of fleeing parties that they saw. Given the absolutely massive amount of land that became sea, it's safe to say that hundreds of thousands died.
  • In World of Warcraft there is a powerful being on the planet whose job is to wipe out everyone if it decides that the planet is "corrupted". It is convinced not to, but states that it has done its job countless times on other planets before.
  • X falls to this after the events of X3: Albion Prelude. The Precursors shut down the entire Portal Network to contain the incredibly aggressive Xenon terraformer AI. Doing so on a small scale in the past has been a good solution to bad problems, but this means not only will the younger species be incapable of traveling or communicating with each other or their own colony planets, they won't even know where the other sectors are to try and contact each other for years. Many sectors have nothing but manned manufacturing plants, most of which aren't self-sustaining, and even many planetary sectors rely heavily on trade. On the other hand, it also had the byproduct of stopping the Argon/Terran war in its tracks, which at this rate was going to end in one of the two sides being completely wiped out. The Terrans would come off the best, as a) over two thirds of their sectors are in the Solar System, and they've got non-jumpgate technology for intrasystem travel, and b) they do know where their other main sector is in space, and can reach it using jumpdrives.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: The game's ending deliberately leaves it somewhat ambiguous what the ultimate fate of the City population is, in light of Origin restoring Melia's world and Alrest back to their former states, especially since the City population are new life who doesn't belong to the original version of either world. A comment from Melia implies the City's people were also recorded in Origin (the City's people being shown when Melia mentions "future lives"), and Ghondor expresses the belief that she will eventually be born in one of the restored worlds, but the most cynical interpretation of the ending is that the City inhabitants were completely erased from existence along with Aionios itself, an outcome that Ghondor and Monica (assuming they even thought it was a possibility) nevertheless gracefully accept in exchange for time being allowed to flow properly again.
  • X-Men Legends:
    • The first game begins with a young mutant's power going off in the middle of a populated city, devastating several streets for miles. For the record, in those several streets, there's no sign of anybody around...
    • Meanwhile, the second game has Manhattan getting nuked. The sheer loss of life this would inevitably cause is merrily passed by with nary a word mentioned for the rest of the game.

    Visual Novels 
  • One of the most important events in the Danganronpa series is the Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History, usually shortened to The Tragedy. It's described as an extraordinary form of social unrest that spiralled out of control, culminating into worldwide chaos. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls give some additional details. Thanks to the influence of the Ultimate Despair, there was widespread terrorism, coup d'etats, wars solely for the sake of death and destruction, extreme pollution of the atmosphere, etc. It's safe to assume that a lot of people have been killed, no doubt in the millions.
    • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School adds another revelation: there's still people out there who are despair fanatics even without their leader around, and unlike Class 77-B not all of them can be rounded up and rehabilitated. Even worse, some of those fanatics are really good at hiding their insanity, like Chisa. While the end of the series shows that Hope's Peak was reopened with a more mindful person in charge, it still doesn't change the fact that those people could be lurking around, ready to disturb the peace at a moment's notice.

    Web Comics 
  • In Our Shadow does not gloss over the Rat Empire's genocide of the lemurs or the massive deaths that resulted after Emperor Schorl fired his flagship's main gun through a major city and accidentally blew up a Shroud pylon, even if he didn't care about them. But the tens of billions who would have died after the protagonists destroyed the Twilight Shroud altogether are barely mentioned.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 
  • In a "kill count supercut" of Captain America in film, the destruction of the Project Insight Helicarriers at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier sends the counter rising, then flying, then it zooms in on the "23" casualties with a pause and adds 23.
  • Terrible Writing Advice's video on The Empire as a story conceit notes that it's probably best to just end the story the moment the Big Bad is deposed, because actually displaying the realistic consequences of a major war power collapsing would turn incredibly depressing incredibly quickly. Nations would need to invest tons of resources into reforming or replacing the government, along with getting rid of the old leaders, new factions would spring up and start fighting each other, the army is still around even if their commander isn't, and the nation's allies, trade partners, and protectorates will now be bearing a grudge, possibly kicking off even more major conflicts and spiralling the world into a new dark age.
  • Discussed in The Unlucky Tug's review of the Thomas & Friends episode "Respect for Gordon". He wonders how many casualties Gordon's crash caused, and jokes that the Fat Controller didn't appear in the episode because he was busy dealing with hundreds of lawsuits.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer:
    • Averted in "Skytanic" where Cyril and Lana push a bomb off of a blimp...and realise that they just bombed Wales.
    • In "Arrival/Departure" Kreiger rips out a nerve gas canister contained in a missile just before it goes off. Even though Kreiger says that the nerve gas was the only dangerous part, it could still potentially do collateral damage at whatever city it's aimed towards.
  • In the Avengers Assemble episode "Depth Charge", Atlantean soldiers flood New York, and the entire subway system is shown to be filled with water. Despite the sheer scale of this attack, not a single mention is ever made to any casualties, even though there had to be a lot of people in the subway when the floodwaters hit. There's a throwaway line at the very beginning of the episode noting that the entire city had been evacuated. Exactly how they were able to get the entire city evacuated that quickly, especially for an event that's pretty common in their universe (originally it was a monster attack) is a story for another trope.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes LOVES this trope:
    • Let's reconsider the battle against Graviton in "Breakout: Part 2". The hellicarrier and the prison inside it fell into the ocean; could they evacuate that many people? (including super-villains). The whole of Manhattan island was taken out of the ground and then fell back: that can only generate a tsunami right next to New York, and a huge earthquake. In the battle, several buildings were destroyed or used as weapons (and nobody ever said that they were Conveniently Empty). To finally defeat him, Thor summons a thunderbolt that seems like an atomic explosion. A bit of Fridge Horror: after that absolute devastation, Thor wants to celebrate that they defeated the bad guy. But well, he's a Blood Knight, and for people like him, there is No Endor Holocaust.
    • That, however, was nothing compared to the events of "Gamma World, parts 1 and 2". At the end of the first part, The Leader managed to lure the Avengers into his trap and activated a gamma satellite that subjected everyone in the area of Las Vegas (including the Avengers themselves, minus Hawkeye and The Hulk) to the same gamma radiation that turned Bruce Banner into the green goliath, effectively turning everyone in the range of the satellite into Hulk-like monsters who started punching each other and causing destruction everywhere. This means, (not even getting into the aftermath of said transformations, or into the effects of gamma radiation on the elderly, the infirm or children and babies), that about 600,000 people (according to 2010 demographics) simultaneously turned into Nigh Invulnerable rage monsters strong enough to level buildings and massacre entire armies. We don't know exactly for how long was the satellite operating, but even if the effect somehow lasted only five measly minutes, that would have been enough for the whole city to become rubble and ash and for hundreds (or even thousands) to either die or suffer long-lasting effects and/or injuries. Yet the two-parter ends on a happy note with everyone returning to their human form, Las Vegas somehow not completely erased from the map, Hawkeye and The Hulk returning to the team and The Leader being imprisoned. It's even dumber when you realize that Iron Man had the same heart problems as in the films, and yet, despite turning into a Hulk himself and a visual showing the device in his heart getting destroyed in the transformation, he was completely fine in the end.
    • And let's not even begin with Kang's invasion "Come the Conqueror" and "The Kang Dynasty", which is a worldwide one. Explosions worldwide, blitzkriegs worldwide, killer robots worldwide... in New York alone, the focus of the episode, there are cars exploding or flying around, buildings damaged or destroyed, fires without control, the Brooklyn Bridge was destroyed and the glasses of a small kid were broken.
    • When Malekith opened the casket of the ancient winters in the episode of the same name, he unleashed a worldwide ice age and released ice monsters everywhere. But, as it was magic, it may be safely assumed that when Thor closed the casket everything got back to normal (perhaps including any collateral damage caused by the ice and the monsters).
    • In "Along Came a Spider", the street collapses and falls over a subway train. The passengers who leave it are at the station and see the roof falling and run away... but what about the passengers who were still inside the train, going to some other station?
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force. In "Grounded" they intentionally scuttle a ship full of refined nuclear bat guano right next to the pier.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse has an even bigger one in "Hot Stretch", where a bunch of aliens, the Kraaho, use a nuclear device in an attempt to make Earth's climate raise so they can live here. By the end of the episode, they are stopped, but the machine still was activated and caused a volcanic eruption in the middle of Bellwood (we see a driving car being engulfed by magma, so at least one person died for sure). It's really hard to swallow that nobody died in this, seeing how entire buildings were seen being consumed. To make it worse, the Kraaho aren't even punished for that.
  • On The Boondocks, the world believes that a deadly fried chicken ingredient has been released on the masses everywhere that has the fast-food chain responsible. It is stated that the world economy has been halted, and it is believed that everyone except prepared survivalists will die. It turns out the disease isn't fatal, and everything is back to normal by the next episode. The world economy shutting down for weeks should have had a much more lasting effect, even if we assume every character is cynical enough to just ignore the inevitable riot deaths during the believed pandemic.
  • This trope is why Timmy Turner from The Fairly OddParents! always finishes his Snap Back Status Quo-restoring wishes with "and that everything was back to normal!". Even though fairy magic has a rule that fairy magic cannot be used to seriously harm or kill people directly, it's a bit hard to believe there aren't some people who get caught in the crossfire of some wishes, such as ones that result in erupting volcanos, or giant monsters rampaging throughout the city and tearing down buildings, and given "Da Rules" are infamous for the amount of Loophole Abuse that gets pulled throughout the series...
  • Brian on Family Guy is treated like another human member of the family, even though, as a dog, his expected lifespan is drastically shorter than the others. Peter makes several jokes about this. ("Wow, Brian, it's moments like this that make me sad that you're gonna die fifty years before I do."; "Beer that never goes flat!...That means that this beer still won't be flat by the time that you're dead and know...get a new dog to help the kids forget you.")
  • Gargoyles:
    • In "The Gathering", Oberon puts almost everyone in Manhattan to sleep for several minutes, during which he also conjures a freezing rain storm. Yes, a couple of traffic accidents are shown when everyone falls asleep, but nobody calls him on it when he claims everyone will wake up just fine. Unless he put far more thought into his spell than it looked like (and judging by what he seems to think of the rights of anyone aside from his own kind, he probably didn't), then it's likely that between traffic accidents, interrupting dangerous tasks, or simply falling from precarious places, thousands of people died. Everything is back to normal by the next episode, as though nobody outside Manhattan even noticed.
    • In "City of Stone", Demona turns all the New Yorkers into statues and goes about smashing them (obviously killing them). We only get to see her kill a few people on screen, but she was strolling down the street, no doubt smashing more. We also know people flying helicopters or working heavy machinery aren't immune, because Fox was also turned to stone, and only the timely action of Xanatos prevented their chopper from crashing into the ground. Greg Weisman is well aware of this and confirms that many people died off-screen.
    • In "Grief", the mad Jackal unleashes a 'wave of death' outside of the temple in Egypt after becoming the avatar of Anubis. While the heroes within the temple that he individually blasted are aged/de-aged rather than killed, outside we see trees crumble into dust, crocodiles reduced to skeletons, and an entire city fall into ruin. While the aging is reversed at the episode's end, the Emir (as a saner avatar of Anubis) confirms that those who are dead and gone cannot be brought back. If that was Giza that got blasted, that means three million people died in that episode.
  • Generator Rex:
    • A subtle and possibly intentional example of this in an otherwise unremarkable filler episode: a character comments that the population of Beijing is 15 million. Even compared to modern figures (Generator Rex takes place some time In the Future) that's 3 million low, and considering the backstory of the story...
    • One episode involves an EVO who puts everything in the world to sleep, Holiday mentions they don't have much time before people start dropping dead from dehydration, but it never brings up people who were in the middle of doing potentially dangerous tasks such as driving (which is a bit jarring, considering the show doesn't shy away from the implications of civilian casualties).
    • The series ends with Rex curing every Evo in the world. The end has a casual mention that there will still be nanites. Of course, this is because they weren't a hundred percent sure whether they were writing a season finale or a series finale. If it's the series finale, then there's the connotation that, if everyone's nanites are still there and active, then the thing that makes it such a Crapsack World — the fact that everyone is a ticking time bomb whose nanites can say "let's turn this person into a feral, rampaging monster whose appearance and powers would give Lovecraft nightmares" at any second — has not changed at all.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In Episode 2 Old Man McGucket claims that he's gone on murderous rampages in robots many times before and hasn't been caught.
    • Candy remarks that Several Timez "won't last a week" in the woods after Mabel lets them go. Subverted in that they live on garbage and have become scavengers.
    • "Northwest Mansion Mystery" ends on a high note except for the apocalyptic prediction made by McGucket with the townspeople now enjoying the party that had been promised to them generations ago, and Pacifica lifting a 150-year-old curse on her family. But as we've seen, her parents psychologically abused her into responding to a bell behind closed doors. So what do her parents have in store for her once everyone goes home for the night?
    • At the end of "Not What He Seems", some of Gravity Falls was destroyed, the government agents are still after Stan and now everyone in Gravity Falls is fully aware of the town's supernatural secret from the gravity anomalies. It does become subverted in the next episode when the Pines (now including Ford) use the Memory Gun and a fake story to stop the government agents. The town rebuilds and the weirdness becomes an Open Secret among the townspeople by the Grand Finale.
  • The series finale to Iron Man: The Animated Series has the Mandarin unleash a fog on New York that shuts down technology for a few hours and later releases it on Hong Kong. While the viewer is shown this affecting Iron Man and War Machine's respective armors and M.O.D.O.K.'s life support, we're not shown anything else, but given it almost killed Tony and M.O.D.O.K., it's likely between hospitals being without power, various life support tech like pacemakers and respirators, traffic lights being out, and vehicles crashing, the Mandarin likely has a 100,000+, if not 1,000,000+, body count to his name.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Panic in the Sky", the Watchtower is invaded by multiple teams of Ultimen clones, led by Galatea, herself a Supergirl clone. Several scenes show Ultimen getting normal human Watchtower employees cornered, and preparing to kill them. The normal humans do fight back bravely, and we never see what happens to them, but it's very probable that they (along with numerous other humans offscreen) were flat out killed, as the Watchtower's security systems being down, and every single superhero who was on the station at the time was involved in a fight for their own lives, leaving said normals to fend for themselves against what effectively was an army of Kryptonian clones.
  • In a flashback portion of one episode of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, Dave the bug mutant tries to retrieve a handheld fan from a nerdy man. How does he get it back? By luring colossal Mega Beavers into a city, who proceed to tear it down and make it into a giant dam. Since some people and other mutant animals were still shown to be in the vicinity of the city once the beavers began their work, it is safe to say a lot of them died during the reconstruction.
  • At the end of every episode of Megas XLR, the city is invariably in ruins due to giant robot fights, with everything completely fixed by the next episode.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The reason Ladybug's powerset includes a World-Healing Wave is to avoid this trope. A good number of akuma attacks have left buildings destroyed, Monumental Damage happens on a regular basis, and secondary characters may even die to show the audience what Ladybug and Cat Noir are dealing with. That's not even mentioning the truly destructive akumas, like Stormy Weather (set off a volcano in the middle of Paris), Syren (flooded Paris to the point where building rooftops were the only dry zones), and Frozer (froze Paris solid, with multiple civilians seen frozen alive). Even the heroes are guilty of this on occasion, such as when Kaalki's portals destroy part of the city to ferry Ladybug and Rena Rouge around (a train is seen underwater, a building in a volcano, and multiple cars on the moon). As long as Ladybug can use Miraculous Ladybug, all of the damage and deaths can be repaired.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • The Hearth's Warming Eve play suggests the ponies fled their original home for Equestria due to monsters making it unlivable. There remains the question, what if some ponies stayed or got left behind?
    • Discord, the villain of the "Return of Harmony" two-parter, was said to rule Equestria before Celestia and Luna sealed him in stone. As shown in the two-parter, within hours of his escape he plunges Equestria into a World of Chaos in which time, gravity, causality and sanity are entirely optional. A stained glass window depicts him holding ponies over a pit of fire with puppet strings while agonized screams are audible in the background.
    • In the Season 4 finale, when Tirek drained the pegasi of their magic, depriving them of flight and presumably their cloudwalking ability as well, one would think that the residents of Cloudsdale fell out of the sky to their doom.
    • The Season 5 finale gets a double dose of this due to the Set Right What Once Went Wrong Bad Future theme and is one of the reasons why Starlight Glimmer's easy forgiveness and effortless redemption was so controversial among fans:
      • You never see the entire cast of characters in any one future, and while it is possible they were simply Out of Focus, nothing is said to guarantee they're not dead or worse. Shining Armor and Princess Cadance were in the Crystal Empire when King Sombra was freed meaning they likely died trying to defend it or worse were fitted with mind control helmets and forced to fight their loved ones, Applejack and Rarity lived in Ponyville when Queen Chrysalis took over meaning (since she knew of their forms in a timeline where they weren't heroes) they were likely killed or enslaved by her. The final timeline looks like something out of Mad Max and has no life in sight, making it the clearest example of this.
      • Of course, it also carries the baggage of any such plot where worst-case scenario all these alternate timelines and the people within them suffered greatly and then ceased to exist, or possibly are now still suffering in alternate timelines. Of course, in any case, these people in these altered timelines still lived, suffered, and died all the same. Pretty heavy stuff for My Little Pony, when you think about it.
    • One of the Season 6 episodes, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, has the Scrooge analogue being presented with the possibility of their actions causing a never-ending winter.
    • The Grand Finale has a massive chunk of Canterlot outright obliterated for a cheap laugh by Tirek and Cozy Glow. Lets just hope that entire area just happened to be empty, all that falling debris just happened to not hit anyone, and that gigantic beam of instant destruction with the mile-long diameter just happened to not hit anyone or anything. In fact, all we know for certain is that five guards happened to survive since Cozy Glow dumped them outside to get rid of them, as Twilight only solemnly declares they will "rebuild" after considering all the damage.
  • While it is never said onscreen, the Edge of Beyond from ReBoot is most likely a system that was torn apart by the Web and its Web Creatures.
  • In the final episode of Samurai Jack, Jack and Ashi return to the past and kill Aku in Jack's time. Ashi vanishes soon after, since she only exists because of Aku. What isn't shown is that the same thing must logically have happened to everyone else from the Bad Future that Jack has now erased, meaning that he spent so much time saving innocents, inspiring people, and making friends only to delete them all from existence.
    • One should remember the final line of the main theme. "... To undo the future that is Aku." He does exactly that!
  • The Grand Finale of Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Star completely destroy magic to stop a monster genocide in Mewni... and in so doing, implicitly causes genocide on a multiversal scale, considering many creatures and civilizations seen throughout the series were either dependent on magic, or (like Star's spells and the Magical High Commission, the latter of whom explicitly die) were made of it. Considering one such creature was responsible for maintaining the space-time continuum, further problems may yet affect the multiverse. That's not even getting into the potentially lethal consequences of merging Earth and Mewni together, given the dangerous wildlife of Mewni, and Earth's own history of bigotry and oppression...
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Ocean Gem", the water from all the world's oceans (or at least a good chunk of the Atlantic) is magically taken to form a pillar reaching into outer-space. Although Steven does manage to fix this issue, it appears to have taken at least a day to do so; one can only imagine the effect that would have on the Earth's environment and economy.
  • In a minor case, in Storm Hawks they show people being thrown out of airships constantly. Of course, they have parachutes, and are careful to show this... but they hardly ever show them being rescued. There are three given alternatives; either be unlucky enough to descend into the wastelands (a volcanic, monster-filled floor to the Atmos), go into one of the deep gorges where atmospheric pressure grows great enough to crush ships, or drift on air currents until reaching a Terra (which has thus far only happened once to a main good guy).
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Between the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear missile in the skies above Metropolis in "Bizzaro's World" and the meltdown of an offshore nuclear power plant in "Apokolips...Now!" a few months later, business for oncologists in that town is about to be very good, indeed.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Koop-zilla" apparently takes place in a fictional Japanese city called Sayonara. Because of a lab experiment gone wrong, Bowser actually transforms into the titular Koop-zilla and starts destroying the city, and as a result, Mario also becomes a giant just so he can stop Bowser, causing the city to be destroyed even more. A later episode called "Karate Koopa" also takes place in Sayonara, except that instead of a large, technologically-advanced metropolis, it's now a small Japanese fishing village, and Bowser is now a samurai. By the way, Sayonara means "goodbye" in Japanese.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan:
    • An obscured recurring theme every time the Monster of the Week trashes the city. But not even Conveniently Empty Buildings can overshadow the gianormously huge crater left at the very heart of the city (see image above). Unless anybody who worked in the area had called it a day, then infrastructure damage would be the least of their worries. The unreliable news channel said the collateral was no less than 14 billion dollars in damage along with some shaken populace. Casualties were not even mentioned.
    • The time where all of Human life on Earth was rendered unable to move for several days. Part of the initial problem was shown, where Octus walks down a street and passes a few crashed planes and helicopters.
  • Teen Titans Go! has "Serious Business", where all the bathrooms on Earth break out of their houses and blast away, and we're shown some people inside them. Judging by them spinning in a halo and the speed they leave Earth, it couldn't have ended well for them.
  • Thomas & Friends. The Jerkass diesels really are going to take over, most of the steam trains in the world really are going to be scrapped, and in Real Life many of the actual class of engines on which the characters are based are completely extinct. However, some stories (particularly in the books) take place a good deal later than the 1950s, and some are even in this century. Sodor had a great degree of operating independence and lacked the labor clashes that cemented Dieselisation on the British mainland. It is, in-universe, the one place to avoid it due to the Fat Controller having the authority to opt out as well as Sodor's economic prosperity.
  • Transformers:
    • In one episode of The Transformers they blow up Paradron, a planet recently populated by a pacifist race (who may or may not have completely evacuated everybody) just to keep the Decepticons from getting at its plentiful energon supplies. Aside from the Paradronian Sandstorm being sad, nobody seems to care.
      Ultra Magnus: I've never seen anything this beautiful in the entire galaxy.... All right, give me the bomb.
    • In Transformers: Armada, for some magical reason all the discovered Mini-Con panels seem to be in deserted areas. None of them ever pop up under, say, an apartment building in the Bronx.
    • Subverted in Transformers: Animated, and used as a source of major angst for the well-meaning but clumsy Bulkhead every time somebody needs a cheap excuse for him to get depressed. The humans of Detroit seem to actually waver between welcoming the Autobots as heroes and fearing them for all the property damage they cause, and one episode shows the Autobots helping to rebuild a bridge they destroyed.
    • Lampshaded in a G1 parody in Robot Chicken, where Optimus proudly states that only fifty humans were killed in the crossfire of their latest engagement, a new record.
  • When Yugo uses the six Eliatrope Dofus to battle Ogrest in space during the third Wakfu OVA, he breaks off large chunks of Mount Zinit, which come crashing down to various cities on the World of Twelve. Although nobody is shown being killed by the meteors, they're dangerous enough to have Ruel claim, "It's the end of the world."
  • The Young Justice episode "Misplaced" has every single adult on the planet disappear (which isn't actually what happens, but the effect is the same). Even ignoring all those who were driving or flying or doing something else dangerous at the time, the situation is only fixed two or three days later, meaning millions of young children at the very least were left helpless for days. The episode does address this — we see the protagonists and other teens rounding up and taking care of younger children in shelters, with the implication that the same is happening around the world — but one has to assume that some got overlooked...


Video Example(s):


Stanley's Evil Plan

The Nostalgia Critic notes on how Stanley covering New York City in plants is a bad thing.

How well does it match the trope?

4.59 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / InferredHolocaust

Media sources: