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Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds

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Crow: Okay. Two things, Mike...first, uh, well, you blew up another planet, obviously.
Servo: Yep.
Crow: What's that, three for you now?
Servo: Think so. [chuckles]
Crow: Second, uh — ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR STUPID ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN!?!
Mystery Science Theater 3000 "Riding With Death", after Mike Nelson accidentally blows up a planet...with a baking soda bomb.

Plotting to destroy the planet is a good source of conflict for your standard Evil Overlord, but, when it comes right down to it, destroying the world isn't really a very effective Evil Plan — especially if it's the world the Evil Overlord is living on: it's where he keeps his stuff. Basically, plotting to destroy the planet is a good way to demonstrate that you're evil, but there are hardly any situations in which this sort of destruction is going to have any sort of value for the villain.

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Once this is understood, you find yourself in the curious situation where the sort of fellow who goes around destroying worlds isn't actively evil. More often, he's more a sort of buffoon. A guy who just doesn't have the sense of responsibility or the ability to wrap his mind around the consequences of his actions to realize that blowing up a planet is a particularly bad idea.

Or, just as likely, does it purely by accident.

He may not even realize his actions could possibly have such ramifications. Even worse, he could delegate the issue to someone with the means to Kill 'Em All, who doesn't have the scruples to not do so.note 

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Compare with the Omnicidal Maniac, the "serious" version of this trope who can wrap his head around the concept and wants to do it anyway. If this goes to the next step and the destruction is only really caused by the character's indirect actions, then the character is a Doom Magnet (though the normal version of this also applies as well). Compare From Nobody to Nightmare, when an average person wreaks havoc on purpose after a Start of Darkness. Compare also with Unwitting Instigator of Doom, when someone unintentionally plays a small and/or unlikely but crucial role in some horrible development (usually this action serves as the catalyst). These two tropes also frequently overlap if the destroyer-of-worlds in question is able to comprehend what his actions have caused, but had no intention of doing so; this is equally-likely to be Played for Drama or Laughs.

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Not to be confused with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, who wants to destroy everything because of past mistreatment. Can be considered a subtrope of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan has Ymir Fritz: originally an ordinary girl whose village was enslaved by the Eldians, a tribe of barbarian warriors. Ymir was blamed for releasing a pig, and was punished by being hunted for sport. Fleeing towards a mysterious giant tree, she fell into a pool of water where a strange spine-like creature attached to her and gave her the power of the Titans. She continued to serve the Eldian king, who used her power to spawn a worldwide tyrannical empire that oppressed other groups for almost 2000 years. Ymir herself died saving the king from an enemy spear, only to find her spirit inhabiting a mysterious realm that connected members of her race. Here, her spirit has spent the past 2000 years building the Titans' bodies and following the commands of the royal family. Ymir has had the power to do what she wants with the Titans, but has allowed two millennia of destruction simply because she can't let go of her slave mindset and carry out her own will.
  • The Great Demon King of Beelzebub. Tries to fit destroying the human world into his busy schedule between games of mahjong and poker and singing karaoke or attending demon golf tournaments. His social calendar is so full he ends up sending his 1-year-old spawn to do the deed in his stead.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma's father, through arranging trinkets in his house, accidentally summons Archangel Gabriel to Earth via Feng Shui. Touma and his friends have to jump through hoops to stop the angel from destroying the planet and send it back to heaven. Throughout the whole ordeal, Touma's father doesn't notice what is going on.
  • Code Geass:
    • Played for maximum effect in the big WHAM Episode of the first season: Lelouch experiences Power Incontinence at the worst possible moment during the Special Administrative Zone when conversing with Euphemia, causing her to interpret a geass command to "kill the Japanese", which incites a massacre of said Japanese that is only stopped when Lelouch tearfully shoots his sister.
    • More of a major territory destroying incident: In Turn 18 of Code Geass R2, Suzaku accidentally nukes the Tokyo settlement with FLEIJA when his Geass command overrides his wish to die in battle. The explosion kills off 30 million people both directly and indirectly, destroys a large portion of the city and completely shatters the Japanese's trust in Britannia.
  • In Date A Live, when Spirits arrive on Earth, they trigger a spacequake, a Sphere of Destruction that annihilates everything in the surrounding block. When Shido tells Touka about this, she is shocked and remorseful, as she had no idea. Every time she had appeared on Earth, she had assumed she was in a barren wasteland. There are, however, a few Spirits that can trigger spacequakes at will.
  • Dirty Pair:
    • The titular "Dirty Pair" have accidentally blown up at least ten planets, though it's only ever an indirect result of their actions.
    • Yuri once caused a star to go nova, resulting in a cascade effect across several other stars that would inevitably render an entire sector of space completely uninhabitable. She did this intentionally. In her defense, she had been convinced she was actually undergoing a VR-based test where she was required to act as "unconventional" as possible, with complete freedom to do what she wanted (after years and years of being the proper, uptight, by-the-books member of their team).
  • This is basically Dewey Novak's plan in Eureka Seven, but a bit more ambitious. In the show's universe there's a theory that too much thinking by sentient organisms will create what is essentially a thought black hole, and the world-covering Coralian life form is dormant to avoid crossing that threshold and destroying the planet. So he tries to wake up the Coralian collective. All of them.
  • The title character of Haruhi Suzumiya unconsciously sends off giants to attack an alternate, uninhabited version of Earth whenever she gets too frustratednote  and once unconsciously tried to rewrite the universe.
  • One Piece:
  • Jirarudan from Pokémon 2000 nearly wipes out the world's ecosystem by tampering with some very important, very pretty elemental birds. Destruction isn't part of his plan; only the birds are, and he never comes across as evil, only greedy and blissfully unaware of what he kickstarted.
  • A somewhat dramatic version of this trope can be found in Puella Magi Madoka Magica in the form of Kyubey/The Incubators. True, Kyubey was plotting to (indirectly) use Madoka's witch form to destroy the human race, but it's not for any of the typical reasons aliens do these kinds of things. Rather than, say, annihilating the human race For the Evulz like a typical Magical Girl villain, Kyubey's plan is to harvest the magical energy generated by Madoka. The trope comes in when one realizes that Kyubey doesn't understand why the human race would rather not be destroyed; after all, since their destruction will extend the lifetime of the universe as a whole, they should be eager to be sacrificed.
  • In the Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Saturn is theoretically capable of destroying the world just by bringing down the tip of her weapon. Thing is: she's a heroic character. So in the anime, she only ever starts doing this as a threat against certain Big Bads, but someone always has to stop her. In the manga, she actually does destroy the world, just once, at the end of the Death Busters arc. Since this is Sailor Moon and the main character has "reviving people and/or planets" explicitly as a power, it recovers. The manga also notes that Saturn slumbered during the Silver Millenium until the Talismans carried by Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto awoke her after the Moon Kingdom's destruction, causing her to also destroy the remnants of the Kingdom and allow a new world to be reborn (along with herself and the other Outer Senshi).
  • In Space Battleship Yamato, the crew's attacks push the volcanic activity of Gamala up to a point that the planet explodes. When they arrive at Iscandar, the learn that the attacks on Earth were the Gamalans' last ditch attempt to establish a new home, as their own planet was dying. The attack merely sped up this destruction.
  • Many of the planets that Space Dandy visits end up either blown up or made uninhabitable, usually because of him. Sometimes he ends up dying in the process, but thanks to Negative Continuity, he shows up completely unharmed in the next episode.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross brings us Admiral Bruno J. Global, Destroyer of Canadian Cities. When the Macross uses a completely untested forcefield while over Ontario, it explodes, destroying the entire city. Later on, the crew weaponizes this trait during the destruction of Bodolza's base. And this is after destroying Macross City twice — once by teleporting the island it was on to the orbit of Pluto, and again by ordering a transformation of the ship while having no understanding of how the reconfiguration would affect the city.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, Washu's way of showing that she is the greatest scientist is by creating a weapon capable of destroying planets as well as weapons capable of destroying small galaxies.

    Audio Plays 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who story "Creatures of Beauty" sees the Doctor of all people, and even the Fifth Doctor, perhaps the most noble incarnation of them all, getting involved with this. The trigger for the whole plot of the story happens when he and Nyssa inside the TARDIS drift through space and accidentally collide with what he thinks is just some strange kind of anomaly, but unbeknownst to him is actually a transport spaceship filled with extremely toxic chemicals. The crash results in a nearby planet suffering a serious bit of pollution, almost entirely killing off the ecosystem and causing the local population to evolve into a warlike, paranoid race because of the sudden scarcity of resources along with mental degeneration from the poisoning, as well as causing yet another race to commit to a slow-working Heroic Sacrifice in an attempt save the population. Even worse, the story combines the trope with a "Shaggy Dog" Story. While the Doctor witnesses the destruction and anguish that the aftermath of the event has wrought, he never finds that he was the one who inadvertently caused it all to begin with, and continues on his merry way at the end of the story, completely none the wiser at all.

    Comic Books 
  • In an Archie Comics story, Archie and Jughead find a wand discarded by a stage magician and walk around waving it while speculating out loud about the sorts of amusing mischief one could commit with the wand if it had actual, limitless power to do anything. In doing so, they unwittingly cause such mischief to happen. Then Jughead considers a wand that powerful could fall into the hands of an Omnicidal Maniac. Waving it, he says, "He'd say, 'Goodbye, cruel world!', and—" The last panel of the story is a Blank White Void with no dialogue.
  • A variation of this trope occurs in The Authority. A past incarnation of The Doctor is given his old powers back for one hour by the current incarnation to help solve a problem. Past Doctor, of course, being an Omnicidal Maniac, doesn't plan to give the power back after an hour, instead he will become the ultimate ruler of everything. He is foiled by the plans of the current Doctor when, before the hour is up, he is exposed to the life, love, pain and death of every human who does and has ever existed due to the nature of being The Doctor — Earth's Shaman, with a spiritual connection to every Doctor who has existed and therefore connected to all life. The actual direct exposure the pain and destruction he would have caused puts him into shock long enough for the power to revert back to the current Doctor.
  • In Cosmic Odyssey, John Stewart decides he can stop the planet-destroying bomb by himself, so he traps Martian Manhunter, who is at Superman-level power, in a green energy bubble. It turns out the bomb is colored yellow and he can't stop it, so the planet is destroyed.
  • Diabolik is this on a small scale: He may be a mass murderer, but he never meant to cause mass panic by just having his name mentioned, or to indirectly cause the plane crash that gave him that fame, or to cause a terrorist attack that, had it been successful, would have started a civil war, or to cause a zombie scare...
  • In Empire's End, R2-D2 of all beings manages to blow up The Emperor's Throne World Byss. What makes it this trope is R2 was planning to just to destroy the Galaxy Gun by ramming it with Palatine's flagship. Byss being destroyed as well because The Galaxy Gun was about to fire when he rammed it was an added bonus.
  • Galactus, the Marvel Universe eater of worlds, is often portrayed as not exactly evil per-se, but as something of a sentient force of nature (though the question of whether it is possible to be a sentient destructive force of nature without this conferring some degree of "evil" may be a form of Carnivore Confusion). Additionally, he was just an average Joe astronaut from the previous universe before the Big Crunch forced him into his new job, so he not only never had any choice in the matter—he's become desensitized to it over the eons, and acted the trope much more in the beginning.

    On the other hand, considering that the alternative to Galactus means having Abraxas around, it seems obvious that the universe will happily accept having to deal with Galactus if it means choosing between "systematic destroyer of worlds destroying one every couple of months (Galactus) or a monster that destroys everything in the same amount of time (Abraxas)". Galactus may end up eating everything, but he keeps it around several billion years more than it would otherwise. That, and Galactus will also start the next Big Bang when the current universe ends, thus giving birth to the new one.

    In the past, it's also been implied that, while his hunger drives him to destroy planets (and all life on them), the shattered remains left behind are freed up to form new planets and new life, staving off entropy — which means that he functions sort of like a cosmic recycler. This is one of the reasons why Reed Richards has come to the conclusion in the past that, ultimately, the universe needs Galactus. It's assumed that Galactus, being nearly omnipotent, can overcome the complications of that plan.

    Depending on how hungry he is and what type of world his diet is this writer week, he may even have the heralds direct him to planets either not inhabited or not inhabited by sapient life, so he definitely does all he can to minimize suffering when alternatives are available. And if he has to eat an inhabited planet, at least he's nice enough to have his heralds give a planet advanced warning to evacuate before he comes over for dinner. True, it's usually a week or two before the end rather than the decades an evacuation of such scale would take, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Jean Grey, impersonated by the Phoenix Force, caused a sun to go nova in order to feed off the energy. A planet of sentient broccoli-looking people was destroyed in the process. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
  • The bounty hunter Lobo, of DC fame, has blown up several planets, at least one star system, countless species, and an entire universe. All by accident though (save his own planet; he destroyed it on purpose), owing to nothing but apathy and a habit of leaving high explosives lying around. Not that he wouldn't have blown them all up anyway given the chance...
  • In an out-of-continuity, Superhero Episode issue of Strangers in Paradise, Freddie Femur is a bumbling villain who purchases a Doomsday Device, intending merely to hold the world hostage with it. When he trips while carrying it, however, he accidentally sets the device off, destroying the planet and pissing off Saint Peter by flooding the gates of Heaven with several billion souls at once.
  • A parody of Galactus can be seen in Omnipotus from The Tick — a rather dim-witted planet eater who is talked out of destroying the earth and into taking a bite out of the moon instead.
  • Wonder Woman defeats Ares early in Volume 2 by simply ensnaring him in her golden lariat, forcing him to see what would happen if he successfully destroyed the world: he'd have no one to worship him or serve him.
  • In Zombies Christmas Carol, by spreading the Hungry Death plague through his selfishness and callousness, Scrooge nearly single-handedly destroys the world and wipes out mankind.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a very early Dilbert strip, he discovers a microscopic inhabited planet, which he accidentally crushes with his microscope while trying to focus in on it. He has accidentally caused quite a few other deaths over the years, but never again on that scale. The best part, as lampshaded by Dogbert in the last panel, is that Dilbert's first words to the tiny planet are "I mean you no harm".

    Fan Works 
  • In Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness, Coop gifts a Nintendo expy to Kaguya alongside several stacks of games. While this action was well-intentioned, Eirin notes that an overemphasis on technology would lead to magic's decline and Gensokyo's eventual cessation, so she had to make some sort of sacrifice to allow Kaguya to stave off her boredom.

    Film — Animated 
  • Beavis and Butt-Head Do America: Over the course of their journey across the United States of America, Beavis and Butt-Head's complete cluelessness gets them into several disastrous situations. Among other things, they nearly crash an airplane (because Beavis had a bunch of caffeine pills, became Cornholio, and went into the cockpit screaming), they flood the area around the Hoover Dam when they unwittingly sabotage the control system (trying to get the "TV" to work), they cause a gigantic traffic accident (after they escape from Muddy's trunk and Butt-Head just blithely pushes Beavis out, before falling out himself), and above all else, they unknowingly bring a dangerous bio-weapon to Washington DC. Neither of them have any idea that they've caused a lot of this chaos, or how much trouble they've gotten themselves into. Talk about Lethally Stupid.
  • In Frozen, this turns out to be the cause of the plot — after Elsa runs away to become the Snow Queen, her attempts to flee across the harbor cause the entire fjord to freeze behind her and the temperature of her entire kingdom to plummet. The land enters into an eternal winter, but she doesn't even realize what she's done until her sister comes and asks her to lift her apparent curse. She doesn't know how, which makes things even worse because it causes her Emotional Powers to start going haywire.
  • Scrat in Ice Age has a habit of causing natural disasters in his pursuit of acorns. Especially in the short where he causes continental drift. Ice Age 5: Collision Course has Scrat accidentally directing an extinction-sized asteroid towards Earth. Our heroes save the day and deflect the asteroid, only for Scrat to destroy all life on Mars instead.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph's departure from Fix-It Felix Jr. puts the game at risk of unplugging, which will destroy the world inside. His unintentional introduction of a Cybug from Hero's Duty into Sugar Rush threatens to spread a virus throughout their home arcade, which could destroy all the connected games.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Canada, in general, in Canadian Bacon. Years earlier, they were sold a device called the Hacker Hellstorm by a U.S. arms manufacturer, R.J. Hacker. Having been told by Hacker that it was nothing more than a weather predicting device, they place it on the top of the C.N. Tower in Toronto, where it sits idly until Hacker manages to activate the device himself. In fact, it is a master controller of the entire U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal, and with all weapons still pointed at Russia, global nuclear war is imminent, all in part to the Canadians. Thankfully, the Hellstorm is destroyed—and nuclear war is avoided—by Rea Perlman's character Honey, a laid off Hacker employee who goes postal with a machine-gun after seeing the Hacker emblem on the side of the Hellstorm.
  • Dark Star features a starship crew whose job is to traverse the Galaxy, using "Exponential Thermostellar Bombs" to destroy planets that might someday threaten human colonies. For twenty years. On the ragged edge of terminal boredom.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod unwittingly signs the order to destroy the Earth, thinking he was signing an autograph.
  • In Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005), Carl Denham's reckless quest to make nature movies and display Kong to the public results in multiple deaths and maimings, chiefly among his friends and associates. This habit persists in the books King Kong: The Island Of The Skull and A Natural History Of Skull Island, and is lampshaded by another film character, who remarks that Carl has an amazing ability to destroy whatever he loves.
  • In The Mole People, the main cast accidentally discover a subterranean civilization descended from the ancient Sumerians and end up destroying them by unintentionally inspiring their Servant Race of mole-men to violently rebel. This is actually a pretty common setup in many "jungle pictures" from the 1940s and 1950s: a group of well-intentioned scientists and explorers stumble upon a Lost World that's been chugging along on its own just fine before these big dumb white guys showed up, and promptly inadvertently bring out its catastrophic end.
  • Spies Like Us: Austin Millbarge muses after apparently starting World War III, "And to think my high school guidance counselor said I'd never amount to anything." This sparks a "Eureka!" Moment ("GUIDANCE!? SOURCE PROGRAMMABLE GUIDANCE!") that saves the day.
  • At the end of Thor: The Dark World, it's revealed that the presumed-dead Loki was impersonating his and Thor's father, Odin. The next film, Thor: Ragnarok, has Thor discovering this, but too late to prevent Odin dying as the implied result of being away from Asgard for too long. This results in Thor's long-lost, immensely powerful, and Ax-Crazy sister, Hela, escaping from a pocket dimension where she had been previously imprisoned and slaughtering a good chunk of Asgard's population, eventually resulting in Thor and Loki having to bring about the destruction of Asgard itself to stop her, spiriting the surviving population away aboard a spaceship. Then, as the real kicker, the first few moments of Avengers: Infinity War has Thanos intercepting the ship and slaughtering half of the survivors, Loki included.

    Literature 
  • Played for Drama in Alas, Babylon, where the nuclear war that wrecks the US and Russia is started by a rookie Air Force pilot who, while trying to shoot down a bogey just outside Syria, misses his target and accidentally blows up an important Syrian port. The author makes a point of highlighting that it was a completely ordinary person's mistake that got out of hand, and not active malice, that precipitated The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Battlefield Earth's hero Jonnie Goodboy Tyler wasn't trying to completely destroy the Psychlo homeworld, he just wanted to send a nuke through its Portal Network to at least prolong the time before the aliens could send reinforcements to their outpost on Earth. But Psychlo "breathe-gas" has a violently explosive reaction to even "a single isotope" of radiation, and the Psychlos had riddled their home planet with mining tunnels, so that single nuke caused a chain reaction that turned the planet into a radioactive sun. Then every other planet in the Psychlo Empire, because they don't have a Subspace Ansible, blindly opened a teleporter link to the capital and got blasted too. The end result is that the (sterilized) prisoners Jonnie takes are the last Psychlos in all the universes, but don't feel bad, they assure him that their race is better off dead.
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, Dr. Felix Hoenikker invents Ice-9 to help U.S. Marines turn mud into something they can walk on. The world-destroying potential seems never to have occurred to him. Simply, Ice-9 is virtually unmeltable, unbreakable ice thanks to its super-high melting point that lets it remains frozen even at tropical temperatures (although several scenes show folks cooking Ice-9 over a flame to melt it into drinkable water). And it turns all water it touches-into Ice-9. And then it falls in the ocean. Scientists have created actual Ice IX — which is to say a ninth possible arrangement of molecules within the ice crystal — but it has no special properties, and in fact can't exist outside a narrow band of pressure and temperature (around -200 degrees F).
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency tells us the extinction of the dodo was caused by a time-traveler trying to stop the extinction of another species. The main antagonist is a Time Abyss alien ghost trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong - his spaceship crashing, which caused the dawn of life on Earth.
  • In Orson Scott Card's award-winning novel Ender's Game, in the last of a series of war games, Ender Wiggen wants out of command school and doesn't want to lead. In what he thinks is a realistic simulation he uses the MD device — a WMD that causes molecules to violently separate from every other nearby molecule in a chain reaction until there are no molecules left — to destroy the home base of the enemy... i.e. the whole planet. His reasoning? Ender wants the Powers That Be to see him as unstable and ruthless and thus unfit to lead Earth's military forces. It turns out that the military lied to Ender and his jeesh about these being a final series of war games. The whole time, FTL communication has been used to relay commands and information between Ender and military forces light years away. So Ender actually ends up destroying the Bugger homeworld and thus basically annihilating the entire Bugger Race without meaning to. Oops! (It's okay, though. They get better.)

    It gets even worse when you learn later in the series that Buggers never meant any harm to humans, who started the Third Bugger War, which eliminated the Bugger race for 3000 years to prevent another Bugger War on Earth. Buggers at the time of the First and Second Bugger Wars didn't know humans were sentient. When they lost the first war they realized humans aren't just mere drones, but each a "queen" in their own right, and vowed never to hurt humans again. Humans start the third war because they didn't get the memo.
  • In Stephen King's one-minute play, "An Evening at God's", The Almighty is sitting at home in his recliner, drinking a beer and attempting to watch a sitcom on TV. Hanging in front of His face, blocking His view of the TV, is the Earth. Annoyed, He casually reaches out and crushes it, destroying the planet.
  • In the French fairy tale "A Fairy's Blunder", the fairy Dindonette manages to drive an entire island's population to extinction because she enchanted the spring so that it would turn children into adults and adults into children. How did it happen? Everyone who drank from the spring would rapidly age and eventually die. Dindonette had intended to please the people of the island rather then seeing them go extinct.
  • Fate/strange fake: Tsubaki Kuruoka is a little girl in a coma who has no idea about Holy Grail Wars or Servants. Despite this, she ends up becoming the Master of False Rider, who communicates with her in her dreams. Tsubaki, who isn't aware that she's in a dream, says she is lonely and asks False Rider to bring her animals and people to play with. The problem is that False Rider is the Horseman of Pestilence, who decides to grant her request by spreading disease and dragging the souls of the victims into the dream.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, in the Back Story, a simulation of the future had resulted in a virtual character burning a planet. The character, shocked, suffered a My God, What Have I Done?, which impelled him to become an independent, self-aware mind through pondering questions of existence. This is an important factor in why people are so opposed to the hero's projects, later on.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Strange has a sort of "habit" of using magic to move entire towns/countries elsewhere. He always means to undo it eventually, but he's inevitably distracted and never does.
  • Belgarion nearly did this in The Malloreon by David Eddings while trying to stop two warring Mimbrate nobles. The thunderstorm he called up was fairly small in and of itself and did a wonderful job of making certain he had their undivided attention — no small feat — but the timing and location would have started an ice age if not for the frantic running about by Belgarath and Beldin over the next few months to fix everything. They were not happy.
  • In The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect, the godlike AI Prime Intellect "kills" all nonhuman life in the universe (or, from its point of view, stops simulating them), because the First Law does not require PI to protect them, and they pose a nominal threat. PI genuinely does not understand why this is wrong.
  • Mission Earth's hero Jettero Heller wasn't trying to end the Cold War in the most brutal way possible, he just wanted to use his space tugboat to tow an icy comet made from Saturn's rings to hit Earth at just the right angle to create a gyroscopic effect to stabilize its spinning core so that the magnetic north pole would stop wandering into the ocean thereby causing the ice cap to melt and the world's water level to rise dangerously high. Unfortunately, an enemy fighter pilot (who Heller knew was still around) chose that moment to attack Heller's tug (and Heller didn't abort his run to deal with this threat, but instead asked the enemy pilot to stop trying to kill him), so the tug's controls got damaged, sending the comet straight into the heart of the Soviet Union, annihilating western Russia and killing a hundred million people. But don't feel bad, everyone can only gush about how this act of destruction only "proves there's a God after all", and how wonderful it is that the Cold War is over.
  • It's heavily alluded that previous incarnations of The Rifter embodied this trope. According to in-world history, the Rifter is usually an otherwise-ordinary person brought to Basawar from Earth and tortured until their pain and anger spark an apocalypse.
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, the Tralfamadorian aliens, who experience all moments in time simultaneously, know how the universe will end: in the distant future, a Tralfamadorian pilot will ignite an experimental fuel which, unintentionally on its inventor's part, will cause a lethal cosmic chain reaction.
  • In Star Trek: Vanguard, scientists tinker with an alien Artifact of Doom. They use it to "ping" certain planets to see if there are related installations that could hold all kinds of wonders (stuff that would later tie into Project Genesis research and replicator tech). They stop doing it after they realize that those pings apparently trigger safeguards that cause Earth Shattering Kabooms. The scientists try not to think about how many planets they might have destroyed by accident.
  • Michael Swanwick has a series of stories about a pair of conmen called Darger and Surplus who live in the future after The Singularity has come and gone. While lovable and not really ill-intentioned (other than the cons), the two have a habit of causing horrible destruction due to meddling with Lost Technology. For instance, the two accidentally burn down London and destroy Prague due to unleashing a plague of robotic golems.
  • In Stephen King's The Tommyknockers, the Tommies themselves have been responsible for accidentally destroying whole planets during their development stage. Like opening a portal into the heart of a star and flashfrying a planet for example.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gaius Baltar, on the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, didn't actually mean to give the killer robots unlimited access to the Colonial defense mainframe — he just thought with the wrong head when confronted by a gorgeous blonde with a vaguely plausible story. The fact that he then went on to give another Cylon a nuclear warhead as a courtship gift... and then persuaded the surviving Colonials to settle on a planet that the Cylons promptly conquered... and then acted as a human Apple of Discord to destroy Cylon society as well... well, some guys just don't learn.
  • Blackadder:
    • In the finale of the first series, "The Black Seal", Percy accidentally poisons the entire castle except for him and Baldrick, allowing Henry Tudor to take control of the crown and re-write history so that Richard IV's reign never existed.
    • In Blackadder: Back And Forth, Baldrick causes the extinction of the dinosaurs when he drops his underpants on the ground after killing a T-Rex with the smell alone.
  • Inverted in Community episode "Epidemiology". Dean Pelton's actions not only help stop the Zombie Apocalypse from spreading outside of Greendale, but also prevent the possibility of other patient zeroes.
  • The last episode of Dinosaurs, "Changing Nature", features Earl Sinclair accidentally causing the extinction of his species by a chain of events starting with a single wax fruit company being made. Unlike many examples, and especially given the general tone of the show, it is not Played for Laughs.
  • Tom Baker's final episode of Doctor Who, "Logopolis", sees the Master "temporarily" halting the workings of the titular planet in order to find out what the inhabitants are up to. It turns out that they've been holding a deadly field of entropy from doing any damage, and the Master's screwing about with them accidentally unleashes it on the universe. By the time the Doctor manages to stop the entropy field about a quarter of the universe has been disintegrated, meaning that the Master's single biggest atrocity (if not the biggest by anyone, ever) ended up being caused entirely by accident.
  • In Haven, the Trouble of the Week is often completely unaware that they are the one causing the supernatural activity and are often completely unaware of the Troubles themselves.
  • Oh boy, where to begin with Kamen Rider Decade? He's called the "Destroyer of Worlds" and is believed to be a (metaphorical) demon bent on wiping out the multiverse. When our hero Tsukasa is given Decade's powers and tasked with destroying the Alternate Rider Worlds by the originals, he chooses instead to help those worlds' heroes with whatever crisis is going on when he arrives. It seems to work, until the final episode, where the originals tell him he's actually accelerating the destruction and try to kill him. This leads Tsukasa to Face–Heel Turn and destroy the Riders before committing Suicide by Cop. This turns out to be the right thing to do, since it gives the Rider Worlds "immortality" by ensuring that their stories will be told forever, and brings back all the worlds destroyed earlier.
  • The Kids in the Hall: One memorable sketch features Dave Foley as an alien spy on Earth. After accidentally letting slip that he is an alien, he beams out and orders the planet destroyed. Then, back on the alien planet, he is berated by his superior for blowing up Earth as well as several other planets in the past. The spy then lets slip that he is a double agent, so of course, that planet must now be destroyed.
  • Lexx:
    • Stanley Tweedle is the captain of the Planet Killer spaceship. Stan is also a selfish, immature moron, so on many occasions he blows up a planet impulsively or accidentally. He has a bad habit of overreacting, and never really understands the enormity of destroying a planet or that it is not a proportional response to being mildly annoyed with one of its inhabitants. It does not help that Lexx wants to destroy planets (and eat the debris), and often suggests this course of action to Stanley.
      Stanley: For example, if I was to say, oh, "Lexx, blow up that planet"...
      Lexx: As you command.
      Stanley: No!
    • The Lexx is a Living Ship, but it demonstrates limited intelligence, meaning it qualifies on its own. In one encounter, Stanley threatens the sole inhabitant of a planet by ordering Lexx to blow it up in one minute unless he countermands the order before then. The inhabitant acquiesces to the threat, so Stanley tells Lexx to cancel that order. One minute later, Lexx blows it up anyway. Lexx claims it didn't understand what the word "cancel" meant and didn't think to ask. In "Eating Pattern", a large alien life form is clinging to Lexx's hull and biting into it. Lexx blows up a nearby planet to produce a cloud of debris so that it can maneuver through it and scrape the offending parasite off. This was an autonomous decision on Lexx's part, not Stanley's, but the motivation was just as petty.
    • When Zev temporarily becomes captain, she wields Lexx's power just as recklessly, blowing up a planet just to threaten the MedSat.
  • Almost happens to a General Bradley in the fourth-season finale of Madam Secretary. When the U.S. defense system updates their computers, Bradley, without any authorization, creates a simulation of a massive Russian missile strike on the U.S. But thanks to a snafu, that simulation is run and mistaken for the real thing, leading President Dalton to order a "counterattack". The only thing that prevents that is that the general who's meant to input the codes having had his security clearance suspended because of a divorce. That delays the launch long enough for Bradley to show up, realize what's happening, and abort it seconds before some silos are about to fire off. Needless to say, nearly causing WWIII due to a dumb test leads to Bradley being fired within the hour.
  • This trope is named for the human lead of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a basically lovable buffoon who, over the course of one season, destroys three planets, always by accident. In "Agent for H.A.R.M.", Mike gets tried for destroying worlds, and is sentenced to death - but his sentence is commuted because he's an amiable lug and instead is remitted to community service aboard the S.O.L.
  • Only Fools and Horses: Uncle Albert's sunk every ship he ever sailed on.
  • The script for the never-produced Ringo Starr show Our Show for Ringo Starr, written by Graham Chapman and Douglas Adams, ends with Rinog Trars unthinkingly waving Ringo goodbye and destroying the universe.
  • Outlander has Prince Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie) as this. The man is shown as an arrogant drunk convinced it's his divine right to rule Scotland and organizes the Jacobite Uprising. His followers revere him and believe he will lead them to victory and Scottish freedom. Being from the 20th century, Claire knows that not only will the armies be routed easily by the British, but the ensuing reprisal attacks will destroy the Highlander culture. Claire is visibly disgusted later when she returns to the 20th century and sees how a museum pushes the idea of Charles as an iconic hero when he did more damage to Scotland than any single man.
  • Power Rangers RPM features The Woobie, Dr. K, trying to escape unjust imprisonment by the government in a secret think-tank. She tries to wipe their computer systems out with a virus she made, but they apprehend her before she can install the firewall. The virus proceeds to escape the area she meant to keep it to, and nukes the entire planet to desert and rubble.
  • Red Dwarf:
  • End of the first season of Sledge Hammer!. The army request the aid of the police to fight against a terrorist organization, which has an atomic bomb. They defeat and capture them, but they activate the countdown to the atomic explosion. They search and find the bomb, and...
    Trunk: Hammer! You can't defuse that bomb!
    Hammer: Trust me. I know what I'm doing. [cue mushroom cloud]
  • Quinn Mallory from Earth-B in Sliders caused the destruction of his world by discovering interdimensional travel, leading the evil Krommag to conquest. This causes him so much guilt that it almost drives him insane. Another version of Quinn built a sliding machine that works on a global scale and requires a hydroelectric plant to power it. When he first activated it, it slid everyone from one world to another, suddenly doubling that Earth's population.
  • On Stargate Atlantis, Rodney accidentally destroys most of a star system due to his overconfidence in handling some Lost Technology even the Precursors couldn't handle. Five-sixths of a star system, to be precise, according to his argument with Weir about it.
    Rodney: It was uninhabited!
    And then there was that alternate universe...
  • On Star Trek: Voyager, a species called the Nacene visits the planet Ocampa—and accidentally destroys the biosphere. One of their kind stays behind to care for the Ocampans, becoming known as the "Caretaker".
  • In Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, the mysterious Burn that caused most dilithium to go inert and blow up any ship attempting to go to warp and, as a result, plunge the galaxy into chaos, turns out to have been caused by a Kelpien child witnessing his mother's death. Su'Kal was born on a radioactive planet full of dilithium, resulting in him not only being immune to the radiation, but also having an intimate connection to dilithium. Upon seeing his mother succumb to radiation, he screamed in grief, and the scream propagated through subspace and interacted with dilithium almost everywhere. In the season finale, Saru takes Su'Kal (who's now over a 100 years old) to Kaminar.

    Music 
  • The Lemon Demon song "The Saga of You, Confused Destroyer of Planets" is about an intergalactic traveler who repeatedly destroys planets by accident while drunk.

    Other Sites 

    Podcasts 
  • Pretty much the whole cast of Voyage to the Stars by the end of the first season, with accidental or not-so-accidental planetary destruction happening almost Once per Episode.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mister Darke, an archvillain from Shadowrun, spent decades working to unleash The Horrors upon Earth. The fact that their ravenous hordes trampled him into paste when they finally broke loose may have alerted him that he was playing out this trope all along.

    Theatre 
  • Little Shop of Horrors: Thanks to Audrey deciding to have Seymour feed her to the plant as her dying words, Seymour crosses the Despair Event Horizon and dies trying to kill Audrey II. As a result, the plant has vines and leaves cut from it to spread across the country, meaning Audrey II is now in prime position to Take Over the World.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands 2 has Mr. Torgue, the Idiot Savant/Manchild who founded the Torgue corporation, who once tried to destroy a planet while he and his shareholders were on it, just because it would look cool. He's genuinely a nice guy and a weapons genius, he's just Too Dumb to Live and genuinely doesn't know any better.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the Big Bad Corvus turns out to this. In contrast to previous villains, Corvus is not planning to start another war, destroy America, or start another war to destroy America. It instead turns out that he is chasing a location that doesn't exist. The finale notably has every robot and vehicle in Zurich going haywire after interfacing with the city's mainframe, and he nearly does this to the rest of the world before the player stops him. He also released Nova Six into the atmosphere of Singapore, killing 300,000 people, shortly after being born because he was in pain.
  • In the custom City of Heroes mission "Save the World in Five Minutes", one Dr. Armageddon is about to contaminate the atmosphere with plutonium and destroy all intelligent life in order to become immortal. Metaphorically, of course.
  • Dr. Muto starts off with the eponymous Mad Scientist character presenting what's supposed to be a machine that can provide unlimited clean energy to a planet, but that ends up obliterating the planet he lives on, save for a chunk of landmass. He then spends the game trying to repair the machine and rebuild the planet. However, it's later subverted, as it turns out that it was Burnital's sabotage of Muto's device that blew up the planet, not Muto himself.
  • Everquest II finds the Quel'ule Erudites managing to blow Luclin to tiny pieces in an attempt to reactivate the Ulteran Spire network, and removing their own homeland to Ultera as a bonus.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3's DLC Mothership Zeta, while exploring the eponymous spaceship, you will come across a button. When pressed, the ship's giant beam weapon blasts a giant crater into Canada, visible from space through the large windows inside the room. As the result, all the tribes, civilizations and potential nation states within the area have been entirely vaporized. Nice going, you idiot.
    • The Fallout: New Vegas: Lonesome Road expansion reveals this to be the backstory of the Courier. The Courier was once responsible for helping the towns of Hopeville and Ashton develop into thriving communities. However, a package s/he delivered from Navarro ended up triggering the dormant nukes hidden in the bunkers beneath the town, turning the Divide into a devastated hellhole that makes the rest of the wastelands look like paradise. Worse, the act gives Ulysses, then a Frumentarius of Caesar's Legion, some ideas about how one person can change the fate of a nation...
    • In Fallout 4's DLC Automatron, the idea is played with, though the outcome is sadly played straight. The Mechanist sought to bring forward peace and stability through a robotic police force. The hope was that the robots would protect traders and caravans on the road from the various horrors of the Commonwealth Wasteland. However, the Mechanist made a bit of a mistake using Robobrains as the field commanders of the robot forces. As it turns out, said Robobrains in question wound up becoming corrupted after 210 years of inaction. So they interpreted "protect the people" as "kill everyone we see". In their minds, the Robobrains saw that if everyone was dead, they were "saved". If the Mechanist can be convinced to see where everything went wrong, it becomes clear that this was never the intention.
  • According to the lore of Flight Rising, the Arcanist counts as one of these — he's the youngest of the game's dragon gods, created from a magical explosion that doomed humanity and born into an abandoned world. So he set up shop in an abandoned observatory and flew about the universe for a time seeing everything there was to see. And then, out of curiosity and a desire to find a friend, he started talking to the Shade, letting it know where the nearest world to leech power off of was. The repercussions of that are still ongoing.
  • The Ring, a space station in Freelancer, was originally built by the Emperor of Rheinland to be lined with mirrors and to serve Planet New Berlin as a second sun. Somehow, it ended up accidentally turned into an orbital superweapon which vaporised several colonies on the planet's surface.
  • Kratos inadvertently causes a number of environmental catastrophes by killing the gods in God of War III. For example, killing Poseidon, god of the ocean, causes a flood which decimates Greece. Alternatively, he knows exactly what will happen, but simply doesn't care.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's plot is entirely made of this. The heroes were tricked into activating the Luna Tower, causing the Eclipse and destroying half the population of Weyard just because they were railroaded from a Fetch Quest, and their only way of breaking through helps activating said tower without their knowledge. The only way to stop it is by activating the Apollo Lens. It turns out that the Eclipse is just another step to the antagonist's plan; the power of the Lens is what Alex and the Tuaparang forces actually sought for, and the former wants to use it on himself for his own benefit.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has Ted Faro. The world's first trillionaire at the head of Faro Automated Solutions was first known as the "man who saved the world" as his company was at the forefront of the Great Clawback, an effort to undo the critical ecological collapse that nearly occurred, through mass use of automation and AI. And then he saw a more lucrative market in automated military hardware. His cutting-edge Horus line involved killer robots (or "Peacekeepers") that were unhackable in any humanly feasible timeframe, had a self-repair/manufacture functionality, had an apparatus to hack and override any other enemy automaton, and a means to harvest biomass (any biomass) for fuel. Add in a software glitch that made them go rogue, and he effectively destroyed all life on Earth. AND THEN... when Dr. Elisabet Sobeck, a former disillusioned colleague of his who devised Project Zero Dawn to restart life after the end, sacrifices herself to fix a break that threatened the secrecy of the project from the Swarms, the verbal browbeating she regularly inflicted on him to keep him reined in is gone. After that, he becomes nihilistically unhinged (probably by the guilt of being this trope), remotely deletes Apollo, the component of the Project meant to teach the Second Humanity all the knowledge gathered by the First, and then remotely murders all the Alphas (the dream team of geniuses that were department heads) to ensure that they can't rebuild it.
  • The King of All Cosmos from Katamari Damacy, who took things a few steps further by destroying all the stars in the sky during a drunken bender.
  • The protagonist becomes this in the secret endings of both Kindergarten and its sequel. The games both have a Collection Sidequest where you innocently collect Monstermon cards. Once you've collected them all, you can bring them to Nugget. He'll perform some sort of ritual involving them, then take the protagonist to watch as the sky turns red and the rest of the cast systematically get killed via Bolt of Divine Retribution (or in the sequel, half of them getting dusted Infinity War style and the other half getting blasted), followed by a Sequel Hook.
  • Riku sort of accidentally-on-purpose doing this to his own world triggers the plot of Kingdom Hearts. Apparently all he was trying to do was get out and see the universe, and while destroying his world wasn't his intent, calling the darkness that did destroy it forth was a deliberate action so that he could escape his world, which he viewed as a prison.
  • Makai Kingdom has three examples of this, being a mostly comedic game to begin with:
    • Dragon Overlord Babylon is an extremely powerful and extremely large overlord... who just so happens to be senile and near-blind. He has a nasty habit of accidentally colliding into various celestial bodies during his wanderings through the cosmos, which usually gets away from it worse than him.
    • Zetta kicks off the game when he burns a book called the Sacred Tome in a fit of pique (it called him stupid), only to realize too late that destroying the book will also destroy his entire world.
    • Arguably Salome, who, near the end, smashes her own world into Zetta's newly restored one (just to get his attention). While this is never mentioned again, it can't have been a healthy act for either world.
    • The person from the example above also destroyed Valvoga's netherworld... for no particular reason other than the fact that it was there.
  • This trope is at the core of the Mass Effect series. Many millions (if not billions) of years ago, a race of giant, squid-like creatures later called Leviathans used their powerful psionic powers to enthrall other species. With this ability, they were able to become the apex lifeforms of the galaxy, using their "thralls" to pay them "tribute" while keeping a hands-off approach to ruling the galaxy. However, they noticed that species had a tendency to create synthetic life which then inevitably turned on them, which naturally made getting tribute a touch problematic. The Leviathans then made their own artificial intelligence and gave it the mandate of "preserve life at all costs". Only later did they realize that after exhausting all other options, their intelligence had resorted to creating bio-mechanical monstrosities that began harvesting the biological material of all sentient life in the galaxy, "preserving" all life "at any cost". Eventually, the machines, later known as "Reapers", attacked and almost wiped out the Leviathans, before retreating into the dark space outside the galaxy. They waited for a few thousand years, came back and did it again. This cycle of harvesting continues for many more eons, and is about to happen again just as humanity is taking to the stars.
  • The Villain Protagonist of Mastermind World Conqueror. In the end, he does succeed with Project Genesis and leaves the world, but can merely gloat and laugh at a bunch of floating rocks in space from within his one-man shuttle. However, he still seems quite satisfied with the result, and states that it was worth it... except, he forgot his cheesy snacks! NOOOOOOOOOO!
  • In Master of Orion 3, the stellar converter is a late-game weapon that can destroy planets (not stars, despite the name). If you forget you have one somewhere in your fleet when attacking a planet, it's very easy to accidentally blow it up. The AI suffers a similar problem since it always bombards planets if it has the chance, making it incapable of capturing them late in the game no matter how many invasion troops it tries to send (although this won't be noticed in the vanilla game since a fan-made patch is required to get it to use troops properly in the first place). The previous games in the series avoided this problem by requiring a deliberate effort to use stellar converters, and also allowed you to build planets out of the residual asteroid belts if you later decided you'd made a mistake.
  • Metroid: Samus Aran tends to leave the space stations or planets she visits in ruins or as clouds of debris. It's not always her fault - her enemies like to rig their bases to explode if she conquers them - but if Samus shows up in your neighborhood, things are either really bad or about to get worse.
    • Metroid: Samus kills the Space Pirates' leader, triggering a self-destruct sequence that blows up their base on Zebes and sparks a feud that spans the entire rest of the series.
    • Metroid II: Samus visits SR388, and instead of destroying it simply kills every Metroid living there, with a single exception, which she brings off-world for scientific study. Turns out that by wiping out all the Metroids, Samus removed the planetary ecosystem's top predator, allowing the X Parasites to surge in population and necessitating the events of Metroid Fusion.
    • Super Metroid: Samus returns to Zebes, passing through the ruins of the first Space Pirate base she destroyed, and after taking out their new headquarters, the resulting self-destruct sequence finally blows up the entire planet.
    • Metroid Prime: Samus kills a monster in a spaceship's reactor, causing the thing to go critical and crash into Tallon IV. The world survives her mission to it, save for most of a Phazon mine and the Impact Crater.
    • Metroid Fusion: A spaceship, made by the same people as the one from Other M below, serving the same purpose as that one, self-destructs due to Samus (though she had some help from others), taking SR388, that place that conspicuously didn't blow up in Metroid II, with it.
    • Metroid: Zero Mission: In addition to the Metroid 1 example above, the Space Pirates' mothership blows up after Samus infiltrates it.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: Samus manages to destroy a Dark World duplicate of Aether, which exists in Another Dimension. Aether itself is unharmed.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters: Samus detonates an ancient alien prisoner, inside a spaceship, inside a dimensional rift.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Samus converts a section of Elysia's floating city into a nuke and drops it on an obstacle. Later she destroys the planet Phaaze, thereby saving the galaxy.
    • Metroid: Other M: The entire game takes place in a spaceship, which, you guessed it, self-destructs at the end. Samus isn't responsible, for a change. In cutscenes flashbacky and post-gameish, she's spotted on Earth. It's only a matter of time...
  • Gehn from the Myst series (Riven and the novels, to be precise) is one of the rare outright villainous examples. He's quite smart and no Omnicidal Maniac, but his tendency to destroy worlds makes sense in context because he thinks he can just make more of them. He's convinced that the D'ni were gods and believes himself to be the same; unfortunately, his myopic insistence on copying existing work in piecemeal fashion means that all of the Ages he writes have, in Atrus' words, "a fatal instability." He believes the Ages he writes are worlds he's created, to do with as he sees fit; as Atrus comes to understand, the Books are gateways to worlds that already exist, and through the complex interplay of word and world, Gehn is not only Linking to worlds, but also changing and destroying them.
  • The title character of NieR just wants to save his daughter/sister. Through a series of misunderstandings and mistakes, this has the ultimate result of dooming humanity to extinction.
  • Many of the Big Bads in the Pokémon video games fall under this trope:
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (as well as Emerald, and the remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire), Archie of Team Aqua and Maxie of Team Magma each feel that freeing their desired Legendary — Groudon or Kyogre, respectively (and both in Emerald) — will renew the world for the benefit of both people and Pokémon. In all cases, all it causes is mayhem and chaos.
    • In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Lusamine's desire to include Ultra Beasts among her menagerie frees Necrozma, the one who stole the light from the world.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Chairman Rose tries to use Eternatus to provide limitless power to Galar without the pollution of the past. Then Eternatus gets free and ends up causing a replay of the "Darkest Day", a calamity of legend with potentially global consequences.
  • In Radiant Historia, there are quite a few ways to accidentally doom the world to slowly turn into sand (usually a result of a few major characters getting offed) as a direct result of your decisions. A few instances in particular really lean towards this trope, however — such as not resolving a Romance Sidequest between two relatively minor characters, resulting in the death of one of them, which is then pinned on the surviving character's people and sparks an all-out war between their respective countries. Or not taking the first watch on a night shift, causing a fatal misunderstanding when an ally arrives at your camp and sees a major character who is your ally but is also on the other side of the war, resulting in both characters (plus the character who takes the night watch in your place) killing each other. Or retiring from the war to be with your Love Interest (though this one is more Too Dumb to Live than anything).
  • Played with in Sands of Destruction, where destruction of the world is the primary goal of the main character and friends and, in fact, the main character is a construct created to do specifically that.
  • Although Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is usually prime Omnicidal Maniac country, Bonus Boss Asagi fits squarely into this trope when she destroys the world as a pre-battle taunt without much forethought, just to show off her badassitude. Due to this, you get a Non Standard Game Over even if you win:
    Gig: Oh please! You're trying to play the victim? We can't even move on with the story because you destroyed the world! Now we have to start all over again. Seriously, thanks a lot!
  • Spec Ops: The Line's protagonist Captain Walker just wants to help out, and even though his recon team is supposed to simply check for any survivors in the sand-choked ruins of Dubai and then call for reinforcements to properly evacuate the city, Walker insists on getting involved in a civil war involving Colonel Konrad's rogue soldiers and the civilians they tried and failed to evacuate six months earlier. Which leads to Walker killing other US soldiers in self-defense over a miscommunication. And making enemies out of the entire "Damned 33rd" Infantry Battalion. And getting involved with a CIA team with less-than-heroic intentions for the city. And using white phosphorus mortar rounds to destroy a refugee camp he thought was an enemy stronghold. And accidentally destroying Dubai's water supply, dooming thousands of people to a slow and painful death. And destroying a communications tower vital for any evacuation attempt. And potentially massacring another refugee camp after they lynch one of his men. And all but wiping out the entire Damned 33rd. At the end of all the carnage and madness, Walker finally realizes that he is the true villain of the story, which can potentially see him Driven to Suicide.
    Colonel Konrad: There were over five thousand people alive in this city, the day before you arrived. How many are alive today, I wonder? How many will be alive tomorrow? I thought my duty was to protect this city from the storm. I was wrong. I have to protect it from you.
  • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Edge incidentally causes the utter annihilation of an alternate universe Earth after giving an object from the future to a clearly crazy female scientist, who then proceeds to use it in an experiment that goes badly. He doesn't take it well.
  • Possible in Star Ruler. Some time in, you will be building and facing ships more durable than planets and with the firepower needed to destroy each other. This can easily mean that you target a planet to cleanse it of enemy life and end up accidentally fragging it because you underestimated just how much firepower you have in play. Beyond tech level 40, it's possible to accidentally blow up stars by selecting the wrong target. Better hope the other players don't "accidentally" target the quasar at the center of the galaxy and destroy all life in the galaxy in a hellish expanding wave of radiation.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, The Databank reveals Juno Eclipse to be this. The short version, Darth Vader sent her on a mission to bomb an Outer Rim world called Callos despite noticing the natives posed no threat to anyone. The target, however, was the planetary reactor which wiped out almost all life on the planet. It is heavily implied she sees it as her biggest regret.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
      • Lampshaded in when the Smuggler has this dialogue while being briefed for a mission on Hoth:
        Smuggler: I can't promise not to accidentally blow up the planet in the process. You wouldn't believe my luck.
      • Even better, the player can do exactly that during Flashpoint: Directive 7 as the Load-Bearing Final Boss has his systems directly connected to the moon's core and killing him destabilizes it. It is not entirely your fault, as pointed out in the debriefing, but your commanding officer is not pleased.
      • A double example happens in the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion: The titular Hutt Cartel's mining operations on Makeb are leading to an Earth-Shattering Kaboom scenario. Both the Republic and the Empire engage in separate attempts to avert a potential disaster (with the former evacuating the native population and the latter attempting to stabilize Makeb's core). They both succeed, but the Empire's plan leads to natural disasters that render the planet uninhabitable. In other words one group ends up nearly destroying a planet out of negligence and another renders it impossible to live on in their attempt to save it.
  • True, Bowser wanted to remake the universe in his image and rule over it forever in Super Mario Galaxy, but he didn't want to destroy it. Then Mario comes along, screws up his plans, and causes the formation of a universe-consuming black hole. It's only through the grace of Rosalina and the Star Children that said black hole creates a second Big Bang that recreates the universe.
  • Touhou Kaikidan ~ Mystic Square's plot is kicked off by a demonic invasion, which prompts the Reimu to travel to the magical world of Makai to put a stop to it. At the end of the game she meets Makai's Hot as Hell goddess, Shinki, who tries to explain that the demons were merely tourists, but she's still drawn into a fight with the heroine. In the battle that follows, Shinki's attacks reduce the surrounding section of Makai into a flaming ruin... and once she's beaten, Shinki and Reimu sit down for tea and make up. Fortunately, Shinki's status as Makai's creator means that presumably, the damage she caused wasn't permanent. Unfortunately, the whole encounter doesn't stop more demon tourists from poking around Gensokyo.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Happy Tree Friends episode "Breaking Wind", Splendid inadvertently destroys the world... by farting. Petunia lights a match, which ignites the huge gas cloud and sets literally the entire world on fire.
  • Without even realizing it, Rusty in Pokémon Rusty causes a massive wildfire on Route 17, trains a Beedrill to be a cruel hate-filled boss of Team Rocket, and causes a demigod Bidoof to enslave humanity.

    Web Comics 
  • Red Bright from Colour Wheel. "You know how the city's name is 'New Chroma'? He's what happened to the old one."
  • In Commander Kitty, Nin Wah of all people ends up setting back the party for several pages with one thoughtless act of sabotage against an undeserving CK which ends up killing the friendly "Safe Mode" Zenith, leaving the space station they're on crippled, and giving Zenith's original villainous personality an opportunity to regain control.
  • In Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth, Flintlocke attempts to find a device called the Ultimate Goblin-Engineered Weapon. On one occasion, when asked what he intends to do with said device, he yells out "We're gonna save and/or destroy tha world!" This is a particularly interesting example because Flintlocke is not evil per se, although he has incredibly poor judgment when it comes to explosives.
  • In Girl Genius, dangerous Sparks (i.e. most of them) can be divided into two groups: the evil ones whose creations wreak havoc on purpose, and the well-intentioned ones whose creations wreak havoc by accident. The backstory for the comic includes references to incidents such as a Spark who tried to make a land bridge across the English Channel and ended up sinking most of Britain and a Spark who loved molasses and didn't want to run out, so he made a fountain that dispensed it in infinite quantities, drowning his hometown in treacle.
  • A pseudo-example: in Goats, computer programmer Phil uses completely random trial and error to try and fix a terminal flaw in the source code of the entire universe. He is casual about the process until he is informed that the simulations he is running involve the creation and destruction of sub-universes, and the amount of living creatures he wipes out with each universe destruction works out to "3.5 gigaHitlers". Which works out to between 21 to 70 quadrillion (21*10^15 - 70*10^15), depending on which numbers you use.
  • In Homestuck, Karkat is charged with the creation of our universe (the one you're in right now), but he's in too much of a hurry to beat the game and doesn't find the last required component. As a result, it becomes unstable and is eventually destroyed by a kind of in-universe cancer. While Karkat's negligence was by far not the only factor in this outcome, and waiting longer to beat the Black King may have been untenable (because Sburb gets harder to beat the longer it goes on) it definitely didn't help an already bad situation.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, semi-recurring antagonist Fructose Riboflavin threatens to destroy the Earth if they don't surrender and allow them to be the ruler of Earth, which is what he really wants. Bob, the main character, lampshades this and buys time. It can be seen here.
  • minus. has the power to alter reality in any way she pleases, frequently leading to mass destruction and catastrophe because she doesn't really comprehend the consequences of her actions. At one point, she unintentionally kills everything on Earth (except Larry) by bringing back to life everything that has ever died.
  • In A Miracle of Science, a Mad Scientist fails due to the fact that "destroying the world you want to conquer" doesn't exactly count as a credible threat.
  • The end of Narbonic features the destruction of anonymous universes in order to acquire classic action figures.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • When Roy accuses Xykon of plotting to destroy the world, Xykon replies, "Hey, I LIKE the world. Some of my best evilness took place here." The gods alone know what he'll do if he ever figures out what Redcloak's really up to... Xykon also says he won't destroy the world unless he's really really bored. Half of the time we see him in the comic, he is bored.
    • The eponymous Order of the Stick and their allies may count as well; the plot of the comic revolves around five Gates; the existence of these Gates is key to the safety of the multiverse. The Good Guys have so far destroyed three out of the five: once on accident (due to the Quirky Bard activating a self-destruct rune), once due to a misunderstanding (a long story, boiling down to "She thought it was a good idea at the time"), and once on purpose (because, due to Plot, it was safer to destroy that Gate rather than let it fall into the bad guys' hands). Given that one Gate was accidentally destroyed by the Bad Guys in the backstory, things are starting to look a little hairy.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    "They crashed a gas giant."
    "You mean they crashed into a gas giant?"
    "They did that, too."
  • Despite occasionally saving the world as well, the cast of Sluggy Freelance (particularly Riff) do this from time to time.
    • At one point (albeit in non-canon filler), Riff builds a machine that lets the gang view versions of themselves from alternate universes. A surprising number of these parallel universes involve one of the main characters causing Armageddon.
      Torg: Whoa. There goes another one!
    • Bun-Bun, Riff, and Torg manage to completely destroy the Punyverse in the GOFOTRON arc. By stealing a giant robot's crotch.
    • Also in the Punyverse, Lord Grater causes the destruction of an inhabited planet by overestimating his henchmen's ability to parse simple grammar.
      Minion: Sir, you said if any ships escaped the planet we were to destroy it immediately!
    • One alternate version of Riff also caused a demonic invasion of Earth, and another one turned the entire population of Earth into butterflies. And in a Bad Future he released K'Z'K the Vowelless.
  • Head Is a Dinosaur from Super Mega Comics eats the world, but laments that his bike was still on it when he was eating it.
  • Yahtzee Takes on the World, former webcomic of Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame, ended with the eponymous character holding the world ransom with a doomsday device at the center of the Earth and then forgetting the deactivation code for his own bomb. Oops.
  • The Stickles from Zap! are a race of mad scientists from Sticklebat 7. The reason they are from Sticklebat 7 is because the first six were too flammable.

    Web Video 
  • Yogscast:
    • Sjin, in the Yogscast's series of the Minecraft mod pack Voltz, decided to test out some of the explosives in the pack, eventually working up to red matter. The result was a Very Special Episode dubbed "The Bomb". Thirty minutes of death and destruction later:
      Duncan: Why did you decide to spawn in some endgame explosives? I don't understand your logic behind that.
      Sjin: We just, we needed a little copper. We were mining, and we thought explosives would be a good way to-
      [everyone cracks up]
      Lewis: You needed a little copper? That's your excuse?
      Sips: Yeah, we needed to make some insulated wires.
    • The Yogscast (specifically Lewis, Duncan and Simon Lane) do this again in "Hole Diggers", when their space station eventually comes close to wrecking their factory headquarters with the mining laser, destroying one of the islands in the archipelago and nearly doing the same to their base. Only the destruction of the Dwarf Star stops it.

    Western Animation 
  • Barely averted in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Job", when reality begins to collapse once Richard gets a job as a pizza delivery man. Luckily, he's fired right before it happens, resetting things back to normal.
  • The 200th episode of American Dad! ends by revealing that Roger wandered into the Hadron Collider, accidentally causing the apocalypse as well as 200 of his personas created as clones.
  • In one episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz encounters a seemingly abandoned spaceship, with no apparently functioning steering, whose rather careless occupants (they were in the deep freeze) had apparently failed to consider that high speed plus near invulnerability plus being large enough to punch through planets was a bad combination. Luckily, they use the "cup holder" to steer it away from colliding with Capital Planet. Excused somewhat as the alien owners of the ship weren't in the deep freeze by choice.
  • Captain Hero from Drawn Together didn't exactly think things through (and really never does) when he single-handedly obliterated his home planet and all of its inhabitants. For attention As a temper tantrum.
  • In one Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century short, Duck Dodgers and Marvin are fighting for ownership of Planet X. Their rivalry winds up causing the planet's destruction. In the conclusion, Daffy pushes Marvin off Planet X as it is literally "not big enough for the both of us!" It stands out as there have been previous cartoons with Marvin trying to blow up the Earth, only this time he blows up a planet (a shaving cream mine to be exact) accidentally exactly like Dodgers.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • In his stupidity, Cosmo sunk Atlantis nine times. He's also apparently responsible for burning down Pompeii and turning Xanadu into Pittsburgh.
    • Not quite blowing up an entire planet, but Wanda has very strongly implied that she was the one who struck the earth with the meteor that caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Cosmo also nearly blows up the planet in that same episode (he was under orders to do one evil thing and they decided to call Vicky for advice...). We later see said meteor completely fail to kill the dinosaurs... so Timmy calls in movie star Sylvester Calzone.
    • In another episode, Timmy wishes for Vicky to become nice. As a result, All of Vicky's evil leaves in the form of a bug that starts inhabiting other people. Eventually, the evil bug tries to take control of the President of the United States, who controls some of the most powerful weapons on the planet, and even rigs a detonator that the main trio initially believe will blow up the Earth. By the end of the episode, after Vicky sacrifices herself to save the President (and goes back to being evil as a result), Cosmo presses the button and shockingly, instead of destroying the Earth, the detonator blows up Pluto.
      "He said the planet. He didn't say which one."
    • The episode where alien prince Mark Chang holds the Yugopotamian holiday F.L.A.R.G., which ends with the host planet being destroyed either by a missile or by a Yugopotamian's appendix exploding. When he can't blow up Earth, he sends the missile to Fairy World, (fortunately) with no casualties.
    • "We wouldn't have to blow up all these planets, if you'd just ask for directions!"
    • Binky was once chosen to host the secret Fairy Convention back during the Dark Ages, and he unwittingly unleashed the Black Plague on Europe as he believed it to be the name of a band rather than a deadly disease.
  • Killface in Frisky Dingo wants to destroy the world. That he and his son would die as a result of this doesn't seem to occur to him. But then, nobody has any foresight in the show. His mom was going to pick him up later (he's actually an alien).
  • Futurama:
    • In a "What If?" scenario, Fry manages to destroy the entire universe by creating a time paradox. Not to worry, Gary Gygax will DM an eternity-long AD&D campaign to kill the un-time.
      Al Gore: I'm a 12th level Vice President!
    • Another episode has Bender incinerate the entire Earth by lighting a single cigarette.
    • In another episode, the gang helps Fry to have all his dreams come to life (except that one). One of those dreams is so trivial, just to blow a whole planet apart with a demolition cannon.
      Leela: The most humdrum activities look almost exciting through your eyes. What should we do next?
    • Leela once destroyed several planets by dumping a shipment of candy hearts into a quasar, releasing a cloud of magical love radiation that spread through the galaxy "destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world."
    • The episode "Godfellas" has Bender being worshiped as a God by a tiny sentient culture on a meteor he hits while flying aimlessly through space. While he tries his best to be a benevolent God, the culture ends up starting a holy war and destroying themselves after finding Bender's "nuclear pile".
      Bender: I was a God once.
      Godlike Being: I saw. You were doing well until everyone died.
    • In the episode "The Farnsworth Parabox", through a series of events not entirely explainable, our universe is placed inside a box in Planet Express (don't ask). Bender nearly destroys the universe by shaking the box.
      Leela: Bender, quit destroying the universe!
      Moments later, Fry sits on the box, crushing it slightly, and visibly distorting reality.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Hordak creates the "Spell of Separation", which divides the planet of Eternia into Light and Dark hemispheres, but refuses to finish the spell when he realizes it could destroy Eternia completely. Years later, Two-Bad find the spell, misinterprets it as a cure to their Two Beings, One Body problem, and attempt to cast it. Note that Hordak could survive the destruction of Eternia (aside from flashback appearances, he spends the entirety of the series in another dimension), but he still realizes that destroying a planet that he wants to conquer wouldn't be particularly useful.
  • I Am Weasel:
    • I.R. Baboon, the very literal Butt-Monkey, inadvertently blows up the Earth at one point by plugging up a "ground-level volcano". With a giant inflatable cork.
    • It's also revealed that he (and a pair of time-travelling underwear) was the reason why the dinosaurs went extinct. They literally died of laughing (or more accurately, rolled off the edge of the Earth - which was flat back then) after seeing his butt... Wow. Who made that up?
  • Invader Zim:
    • Zim himself. Which is ironic, since when he's assigned to destroy the Earth he proves really bad at it.
    • Had the series continued, one episode would have featured Squishy, Hugger of Worlds. Basically a lovable space buffoon who loved to hug planets until they exploded. The plot would have revolved around Zim and Dib's efforts to stop him.
    • The Planet Jackers. The entire race of beings throws planets into their dying sun, using planets as firewood to extend the star's life. Apparently, the sheer stubbornness and general inefficacy of this plan has yet to occur to them.
      Nik: That one's gonna burn reeeal good. Lots of critters. Critters burn gooood.
  • In one Justice League episode, the Green Lantern is put on trial for accidentally blowing up a planet with a stray shot from his ring. Of course, ordinarily the ring can't do that. Unless it hits a point of critical tectonic instability. Well, comic book tectonic instability. In any case, the planet wasn't actually blown up. The whole thing was a set-up to take control of the Guardians of Oa's power.
  • Coop from Megas XLR has destroyed three planets, two of which were accidental. For the third one he had good intentions, but a lot of aliens were still pretty upset about it.
  • While not on the scale of planets, a lot of characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cause at least town-wide devastation through stupid, reckless, negligent, and accidental actions.
    • Nightmare Moon's goal in the "Friendship is Magic" two-parter is to bring about The Night That Never Ends so the ponies will finally appreciate the work she puts into making it. According to Word of God, this would have brought about The End of the World as We Know It since no sun equals no plants, which equals no food. Nightmare Moon appears to either not have thought of that or simply not care.
    • Snips and Snails bring a giant star bear that could have destroyed the town in "Boast Busters".
    • A sleeping dragon almost blankets the landscape in smoke for a century because he couldn't find a better place to snooze in "Dragonshy".
    • Twilight alters the Parasprites, which causes them to eat all the town's buildings, in "Swarm of the Century".
    • Pinkie makes a musical number so bad that it turns a tense situation into a full-on war in "Over a Barrel".
    • Twilight causes a giant brawl just so she can have a problem she can solve in "Lesson Zero").
    • In "The Cutie Re-Mark", Starlight Glimmer decides it would be a bright idea to rewrite history to screw over Twilight Sparkle by preventing her and her friends from meeting each other in the past. Of course, since Twilight and her friends have been instrumental in preventing The End of the World as We Know It numerous times, this results in destroying the world about fifteen times over, each in increasingly worse ways (the final time the world is a lifeless desert of ash) before the timeline is finally fixed. Unsurprisingly, her getting let off scot-free for this was a major reason she was such a Base-Breaking Character.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz accidentally causes a Zombie Apocalypse thanks to a power surge in "Night of the Living Pharmacists". The end reveals that while Danville was saved, the entire rest of the world is nothing but Doof-zombies, meaning Doofenshmirtz took over the entire world except the Tri-State Area. By accident. Not-So-Harmless Villain only scratches the surface.
  • There is an episode of Rugrats where the babies and Angelica are abducted by aliens (that look suspiciously like Stu, Didi, and Grandpa Lou) who are testing a TV remote-shaped ray gun that can destroy planets. The alien that invented it (based on Stu) wants to use it for knocking out walls to redecorate. Eventually Angelica and a fish alien steal it and go around blowing up random planets. Of course, in the end, it was all just a dream.
  • Homer has a tendency to do this on The Simpsons.
  • South Park:
    • In "Super Hard PCness", Kyle Broflovski spearheads a millennial movement to try to get the Canadian show Terrence & Phillip off the air. When he learns that his actions inadvertently led to the President nuking Canada, he is genuinely horrified.
    • Al Gore, out of his reckless pursuit to find and kill "ManBearPig", has filled a cave in with molten lead, nearly killing the boys inside, and nuked Imaginationland, temporarily killing everyone there.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star Butterfly is an adorable teenage princess. But she also has trouble controlling her magic wand, and the whole reason she was sent to Earth was because she inadvertently set fire to her own kingdom, and the plots of the first two seasons involve her causing Marco and everyone around her problems, both mundane and life threatening.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: "Dizzy Eat World!" When the kids are assigned to animate their own cartoons, Dizzy's is a ten-second sequence of him eating the Earth. The others are all rather dumbstruck.
  • Wander over Yonder:
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel causes at least one death in every episode, and frequently destroys entire towns. Total destruction of the Earth (or at least all life on it) was twice the end result of him attempting to help someone. He obliterates the world by making a machine give off too many vibrations in "Vibracaust" and he accidentally stops the rotation of the Earth in "Going Normal", causing it to freeze over.

    Real Life 
  • A mild Real Life example is Thomas Midgley Jr., who discovered that engine knocking in automobiles was slightly reduced when iodine was added to fuel. Further experiments revealed that lead would eliminate knocking completely — leading to the worldwide use of leaded petrol, and the poisoning of the atmosphere for generations. Some sources claim that he felt guilty about the global health ramifications of leaded gasoline, and that guilt may have led him to invent a substitute for the harmful ammonia, chloromethane, and propane used in refrigeration: dichlorofluoromethane, the first of the freons. Midgley diednote  long before it was discovered that these refrigerants were destroying Earth's ozone layer.

    Midgley is believed to have unintentionally done more damage to the environment than any other person in history. In fact, environmental historian J. R. McNeill argues that he did more damage than any other single organism, human or otherwise, in history!
  • In a similar vein, Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, intended its use for construction and demolition purposes, and was horrified when a newspaper erroneously published his obituary, which started with "the merchant of death is dead" and went downhill from there. It was knowing that this would otherwise be his legacy that spurred him to establish the Nobel Peace Prize. note 
  • European colonists in the Americas accidentally introduced old world diseases to the Native Americans, which ultimately killed far more people than the colonists did via warfare and forced labor. Smallpox was the biggest killer amongst the introduced diseases, though contrary to popular legend, it was no more lethal to the Native Americans than it was to the Europeans. That is a small comfort, though; as no one in the population had previously been exposed to the disease, during the initial wave of exposure, it wiped out 20-30% of the population all at once, rather than in successive waves as was the case in Europe.
  • Similar to the above, a combination of ignorance and disregard made the River Thames during the era of Victorian London one of, if not the most polluted waterway in the world. Raw sewage and industrial chemicals were dumped into the river for many years, making the water of the Thames, and by extension the city's water supply, extremely unsafe. Thousands died during three outbreaks of cholera in the span of about three decades that are now thought to have been because of this extreme level of pollution. Less extreme situations also rose from the pollution. The "Great Stink" of 1858, a period between June and August where the river made an incredible stench, caused general disruption and panicnote  among the populace of London. It got so bad that the House of Commons could not meet in Westminster, and chlorine-soaked drapes hung in the windows of Parliament in an unsuccessful attempt to block out the smell. The Great Stink, incidentally, was the impetus for a concentrated effort to reduce the pollution levels of the Thames, leading to new methods of sewage disposal and water sanitation.
  • Russell Martin Bliss was hired to control dust around Times Beach by spraying the roads with waste oil. Unbeknownst to him, the oil was contaminated with dioxin and as a result, after several years of spraying, the town was so heavily contaminated that in 1985, all residents were evacuated and the town razed.

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