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MacGuffin Escort Mission

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Wizard: You must cast this rin- er... BAND into the fiery depths of mount... KILIMANJARO.
Sangwine: But... that's in Africa!
Wizard: DO IT!!!
How Not to Run a Comic, How Not to Introduce the Plot #7

While many important-item stories are about finding or recovering a MacGuffin, this trope is about when the MacGuffin is in The Protagonists' hands early. The rest of the story involves getting it from one place to another.


Compare Live-Action Escort Mission. Not to be confused with MacGuffin Delivery Service, where the villain uses the hero to obtain the item. Contrast Keep Away.

If the MacGuffin is a fake, compare Decoy Convoy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon:
    • The Orange Islands saga started with the heroes being sent by Professor Oak to Valencia Island to collect the mysterious GS Ball, and then taking it to Kurt the Pokéball expert in Azalea Town, Johto.
    • Professor Oak entrusts an egg to Ash for him to deliver to Samson Oak in Melemele Island in the Alola region.

  • Cattle Drives are merely a job in Real Life, but are typically this trope in fiction.
  • The 2008 Vin Diesel cyberpunk movie Babylon A.D. (in Babylon Babies, the book on which it's based, they just jump on the plane to Montreal, so the journey is less important).
  • The bible in The Book of Eli.
  • The plot of Children of Men revolves around Theo escorting Kee to a meeting point with the Human Project.
  • The plot for Children's Party at the Palace revolves around several characters from British children’s literature going on a quest to find the Queen’s lost handbag so they can deliver it back to her in time for the finale.
  • Chill Factor: Arlo and Mason have to take a super-weapon to a military base while being chased by terrorists who want it.
  • The Dark Crystal: The plot revolves around Jen getting the Shard to the Dark Crystal before the Three Suns meet to end the reign of the Skeksis.
  • The plot of The Hidden Fortress is about taking Princess Yuki and her gold across enemy territory to an ally's territory.
  • In From Russia with Love, Bond acquires the Soviet decoding device early on. The rest of the film is about trying to get in back to England while SPECTRE tries to steal it back.
  • The Big Fat Kill sequence in the anthology movie Sin City involves the transportation of a dead body to be properly disposed of. Later, it involves simply keeping the head out of the mob's clutches.
  • The Transporter has the title character doing this as a job.
  • The Enigma Device in U-571. The writer/director even calls it "The MacGuffin" in the DVD commentary.

  • Although the Seed of Charm only gets air-time later on in Dragoncharm, ultimately it needs to be escorted beyond the stars. Mantle is not the protagonist or villain but he performs the task.
  • The Lord of the Rings, which involves Frodo Baggins having to take the One Ring, the source of Sauron's power, into the land of Mordor to cast it into the fires of Mount Doom to destroy it.
  • The Radix: Brynstone steals the eponymous Radix in the very beginning of the book. Finding the Scintilla (the recipe to use it properly), however, takes the whole book. Thus, Two Halves Make a Plot.
  • Jasmine has no trouble acquiring The Well of Moments early on. Holding onto it long enough to turn a profit is the hard part, because a lot of highly motivated people want it too. Some of the potential buyers are happy to simply steal it if they can, from her or from each other.

    Live Action Televison 
  • The episode "The Duchess and the Devil" in the Horatio Hornblower telefilms has Horatio entrusted with top-secret dispatches to be delivered to the Admiralty. When his prize vessel is captured by the Spanish, his passenger the Duchess persuades him to give her the dispatches, as she won't be searched. Although she's sent on to England, she reappears on a shipwreck, still not having delivered the dispatches. It's never stated what is in them, only that they are vital and that Pellew was forced to scour "half the Atlantic" looking for them. Although it's unclear if Horatio's imprisonment was the full two years as it was in the book, it still took quite a while for them to get back into British hands.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Module I12 The Egg of the Phoenix. One of the missions involves taking the Egg to Doc's Island overland and by sailing ship through hostile territory.
    • Module Kidnapped. The party must get the ransom for a kidnapped boy to the kidnappers before time runs out.
  • Shadowrun. In one published adventure, the runners had to deliver a large package to a specific location. They eventually discover that it contains an egg belonging to the dragon Masaru.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • EVE Online Device. This is a thing. It does stuff. Which leads to "All hail the Device! For it is a thing! And it does stuff! \o/" It is used in a multi-part mission to activate gate.
  • Dying Earth. In the adventure The Exasperating Cadaver, the PC's must find a specific person and deliver a package containing...a dead body?
  • For the first half of Golden Sun: The Lost Age, you're taking the Jupiter Star to the Jupiter Lighthouse in order to light it.
  • Done occasionally in the Legend of Zelda series:
  • In Sonic Unleashed the titular hero has all seven Chaos Emeralds from the start, but he has to take each one to an ancient temple on each continent in order to repower them and restore the fractured planet.
  • Splatoon downplays this with its Rainmaker mode: Once a team arrives at the Rainmaker's initial position, they must get it to a certain point deep in enemy territory without either dropping it from being splatted or having it self-destruct after being carried far too long.
  • Protecting the hyperdrive generator from Darth Maul in the game of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Adventure Time, "The Other Tarts", had Finn & Jake transporting legendary level tarts to a meeting of various royalty.
  • Red Puckett's story in Hoodwinked!!: Upon discovering a break-in at her Granny's store, Red fears that the mysterious Goodie Bandit is trying to steal Granny's secret recipe book, so she removes the book from its safe and decides to take it in person to Granny for safekeeping.
  • WALL•E largely revolves around getting the plant to the scanner so the Axiom can return to Earth, while the autopilot tries to get rid of it, though this only really becomes apparent in the second half of the film or so.